Monday, Jan. 26th, 2009
Sunday, Jan. 25th, 2009

Covering Bon Iver

I know I just made some statements in the current issue of Volume One about being sick of all the local Bon Iver buzz – and I am, especially with ANOTHER (can you believe it?!?!) front page story in the Leader-Telegram this Sunday – but I stumbled over two new videos posted within the last week that I just have to pass along. If you type "Bon Iver" into YouTube, you get nearly 1,000 video hits, a few hundred of which are actually fans doing various covers of songs from For Emma. Crazy, but nothing new. Most are pretty standard, but some are amazing for various reasons. These two are pretty notable:

1. Here's one of a young a capella group from the Netherlands and their version of "Lump Sum." That song has some pretty thick harmonies, and these kids really nail it, percussion and all. They also do one of "For Emma."

2. And here's one of "Skinny Love" covered by Ruby Isle, a group who covers all sorts of indie rock songs (everything from the Decemberists and Fleet Foxes to Sonic Youth) and morphs them into a bizarre electronic/techno versions. Awesome. The video is really irrelevant to the song, but fun none-the-less.

If you enjoy these, I'd encourage you to poke around on YouTube and other video sites and you can find plenty more cover versions from all over the world. It's still just so weird, this Eau Claire band has made some SERIOUS impact all around the world...

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UW-Madison snowball fight big, but not big enough

At least they tried. UW-Madison’s bid at holding the world’s largest snowball fight fell short on Saturday, blamed on cold temperatures and poor snow conditions. The current record, set in 2006, is held by 3,700 participants from Michigan Technical University. Despite a massive promotional effort and a Facebook group of more than 4,000 members, according to various sources this Saturday’s event didn’t even clear 2,000 fighters. Organizers vow to try again, and to bring the title to Wisconsin where it rightfully belongs. The image above is from the Associated Press. Check out a random YouTube video here.

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Friday, Jan. 23rd, 2009

This Weekend:
Cabaret Triple X (+I)

OMG Cabaret!! It’s true, jazz hands fans – UWEC’s Cabaret XXXI kicked off last night with more shows on Friday night, Saturday afternoon, Saturday night, and next weekend. ’XXXI consists of a musical revue showcasing songs about “many colors,” all of it presented by the department of Music and Theatre Arts and University Centers. Song, dance, the whole deal. Some shows include dinner. Many different prices available for many different variables. Details here.

By the way, that picture above is not from the actual show. It’s just awesome all by itself.

Also this weekend: The Dead & Dying of the Analogue World, Pat McCurdy, Timber Wolf Winter Ecology Workshop, Ask a Scientist for Kids, Colleen Raye's "A Tribute to Patsy Cline", Represent! + Hyland + Now & Forever + Breakneck the Mage + Jonathan Stark + Fin De Vie, Heatbox + Root City Band, and Howard "Guitar" Luedtke and drummer Jim Schuh.

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New V1 Blog: Soundboard

If you’ve already read my letter in the current issue about the world’s new-found interest in Eau Claire’s music scene, you may have noticed the reference to a new blog coming to Well today we’ve gotten it started with a few posts. Called Soundboard, it’s focused on the ever-evolving music scene of the Chippewa Valley. We’ve gathered a starter list of bloggers from various corners of local music to contribute to this thing, and hope to gather additional perspectives as it grows. Spanning everything from jazz and blues to rock and folk, there will be reviews of new music, show updates, public debates, and even a few history lessons. As with all of this site, it will be constantly evolving, and we’ll be adding new features as we go. Feel free to join in the discussion and make your music preferences heard, or just let us know what we might be missing. (And hey, keep in mind its only a few hours old).

Check out Soundboard here.

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What's in Menomonie's water?

It may be a cliche to say it at this point, but it seems like every semester UW-Stout's Blue Devil Productions has their stuff together just a little more than the average college music booker. Sure, they get credit for having major names like Sufjan Stevens, The Bad Plus, and Atmosphere, but I think it's the little names that really put Stout ahead. Every single Thursday they book regional bands in "The Underground" that range from good to great. Just the past semester, they had The Wars of 1812, Zoo Animal, Dressy Bessy, The Owls, The Hopefuls, White Light Riot, and The Daredevil Christopher Wright (not to mention Cloud Cult in The Great Hall). Most of these bands don't cost a lot of money, they consistently put on a great show, and they're college kid friendly. It begs the question - how did those damned Blue Devils do it, and more importantly how do we bottle it and get it in Eau Claire? Something to think about while looking up weird Steampunk keyboards on google image search. (The above photo is of Cloud Cult in UW-Stout's Great Hall.)

Blue Devil Productions website
Video of Zoo Animal at Stout (produced by Eau Claire's Peer Validated)

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Thursday, Jan. 22nd, 2009

With your head in a Cloud and
a Hymn in your heart

A locally brewed, independent record label recently made its newest addition to an already strong roster that includes The Daredevil Christohper Wright, Meridene and The Gentle Guest, among others. Milwaukee native John Nielson signed his Herby Hancock on a deal to release his first solo album under the Cloud Hymn moniker on March 3 through Amble Down Records. Nielson wrote the eleven songs that make up “A Seed Buried in the Ground,” over the past few years while attending UWEC, and recorded them in a home studio last June. The album is an introspective and organic blend of acoustic instruments and Nielson's crisp, sincere vocals that fans of slow, folky indie-pop, autumn leaves, Jose Gonzalez, and general moping will be sure to enjoy.

Amble Down website
The Cloud Hymn on VIRB, MySpace

Wide from A Seed Buried in the Ground


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Where did everybody go?

The Chippewa Valley is a fertile music scene that consistently produces WAY above average bands in most every genre. But we somehow have a local populace (especially you college kids) that don’t leave their houses, TVs, or computers to go out to experience music live and in the purest sense possible. For a college population of 10,000+ students, trying to get 200 to show up to a decent night of music seems to be something of the past. Last homecoming, I attended a Drunk Drivers show at the House of Rock (one of EC's better bands). The bar was maybe half full. Yet, across the street, dozens upon dozens of college kids stood outside of Shenanigans waiting to get in an already overflowing club. That picture is just wrong. I don't want to pull any of that “back in the day” bullshit, but... back in the day (early to mid 90s... and into the later 90s from what I'm told), if a band was playing, that was the default cool thing to do. Even if it wasn’t your “favorite” local band, most would go anyway because that’s where their friends were.

Did you used to go to shows and now don’t? Why not? If you never really went out to local shows ... why not? MySpace, Facebook, texting, inter-connected-viral-up-to-the-second-ness virtual living should bring everyone together, spread the word, and hopefully, culminate in the ultimate musical expression and experience and support the scene while allowing it to grow and evolve. You can't use that “too much smoke” excuse anymore, so help me out, why is this the reality of the current Chippewa Valley music scene? See you at the show...

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Good Movie News Gets Even Better, Charlie Kaufman-er

So I warned you in the current issue’s cinema story that the titles of Carmike’s film series may change. Well, I just got an e-mail from the manager, Milo, who says they indeed have changed the lineup. And if you’re like me, you’ll react embarrassingly giddily when you glance at the new list. Not only will the series include previously mentioned titles like Ashes of Time Redux, Frozen River, and I Served the King of England, but our humble market will also get Pray the Devil Back to Hell, Blessed is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh, The Other End of the Line, and the BIGGEST OF THEM ALL: Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York!

Each movie is a mere $5, and the screenings begin with Anita O’Day: Life of a Jazz Singer on Feb. 6, and end with The Other End of the Line on April 2. Synecdoche, NY plays March 6-12.

“This is supposed to be the final list,” Milo wrote, “… but I’ll update you if there’s more changes.” I make the same guarantee to you, my friends my loyal followers people I sometimes stalk kind readers.

This amazing news comes a week after London Square announced its screening of Slumdog Millionaire, which starts tomorrow (more than two months after its release).

When you go to any of these flicks, feel free to hurl your jujubes and snow caps at the annoying bastard sitting in front of you. That’ll be me.

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Cribshitter = Weird, Good

Every once in a while we get a memorable press kit in the mail at the Volume One office. This was one of them. It’s for the debut album Cry A Little Rainbow from Madison band Cribshitter. The amazing/terrible graphics (including the drummer in a lion mask vomiting a rainbow), a bizarre hand-drawn sketch and description, and the child-like letterhead on which it all came = awesome. Then there’s the music – 30 tracks ranging from twelve seconds to over four minutes in length, with titles like “Don’t Tell Me How to Raise My Kin!” and “Derek Threw a Fucking Eraser at Me.” And the titles certainly get even more, um, interesting, than those. The music varies wildly in style from track to track, ranging from lush, experimental pop to electronic hip-hop and I swear everything in between. It’s a great ride, and even though you might not want to listen everyday, it’s the most interesting album to come across my desk in a year or more, and it really makes me want to see them live. There’s even a fake “VH1 Behind the Music” on their Myspace page. It’s awesome.

Most interesting note: Cribshitter is the band of Karl Christenson, a former Eau Claire resident and member of the popular local band Jimmy’s Comet (who brought Clem Snide to play at the House of Rock in 2002). The Comet left town for Madison in roughly 2002/2003 if I remember right, renamed themselves My Firefly, and eventually called it quits.

Cribshitter on Myspace
Cribshitter "Behind the Music" on YouTube

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