When it comes to celebrating Halloween, it’s film — not music — that is the popular art form that has best defined and shaped this most spooky of holidays. Ask anyone to name a scary theme from Halloween and the smart money says they’re most often drawing on ideas and motifs popularized in the movies.
Bob Dylan underscored his trouble-making philosophy countless times during two back-to-back sets at Overture Hall in downtown Madison on Monday night. Throughout both concerts, he demonstrated many times how his unpredictability can reveal the breadth of his genius. Occasionally, however, it also showed his mischievousness.
Only hours after sharing the stage with President Barack Obama at a campaign rally in Madison, Wis., unassuming indie-rock group the National finally seemed poised to shed their bashful ways and play to the kind of larger audiences that rock stars — even presidential ones — are accustomed to.
Newly reunited Stone Temple Pilots were once the greatest guilty pleasure of the ’90s rock scene. Two decades after they ruled the airwaves, the alternative-rock group is hoping its new disc will allow them to defend their arena-rock status and maybe bring their fans out of the closet.
Building on the critical success of 2007’s “Boxer,” Brooklyn-based the National toss down the gauntlet for rock album greatness with their new disc, “High Violet.” In a time when iTunes singles are the new normal, here’s a body of indie-rock anthems that while thoroughly modern, invite a return to the best of the album era.
Following up their strongest disc in years, the psychedelic-rock space cadets in the Apples in Stereo have completed a record that attempts to blend a secret ’70s dance-floor obsession into their mission of creating the perfect pop album. The new disc, “Travellers In Space And Time,” narrowly misses the mark.
When the definitive star-making moment came for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club in 2001, the group’s big chance slipped away. No matter. During Wednesday night’s concert in Madison, Wis., the band emphasized that they’re going to continue to persevere and do the hazy, distorted music even if they never make it big.
California freak-folk ambassadors Vetiver might be one of underground rock’s best kept secrets, but the quintet’s concert on Tuesday night proved this shouldn’t be the case for much longer.
With the release of their terrific last record in 2008, it was uncertain if Philadelphia retro-rockers Dr. Dog were really a stupefying, sometimes exhilarating mishmash of ’60s tribute bands who had unexpectedly struck gold or if they were something more. The band is now road testing a batch of new material in a short preview tour of North America and the new tunes only deepen the mystery.
Two years after knocking the pop world on its ear with a jaw-dropping debut, Vampire Weekend has returned with a new record that likewise seeks to find a fusion between power-pop and African and Caribbean musical styles. The only problem: the band forgot to include the pop.