When, during the dying days of December, it comes time to review what happened in pop music during the year that was, it seems inevitable that any list of achievements usually includes far too many records that never registered on the general public’s radar. The questions might be asked: Why didn’t we hear more about these albums earlier? And more consistently?
As if many Wisconsinites’ longing for summer wasn’t already overheating, the lineup for Milwaukee’s Summerfest music festival was announced on Wednesday morning.
After years of self-imposed exile from music-making, Jeff Mangum and his underground-rock group Neutral Milk Hotel have seen cult-like audiences grow in their absence — one that sees the group as indie-rock messiahs. Their concert in Madison on Saturday night was a second coming that proved miracles really do happen.
If the Grammys ever had good intentions of recognizing artistic achievement in music, the show has forsaken such lofty goals long ago for just making good TV.
At a tour stop in Chicago on Friday night, a troupe of all-star performers including Bob Dylan, Wilco and My Morning Jacket captured much of that old folkie spirit of hootenanny collaboration and musical joie de vivre to an arena of fans. And rarely has such a six-hour musical lecture left such an impression.