Madison calendar, January 7 through 13

Milo, Bell Monks, the Rare Plant records showcase, and more of the best stuff in Madison this week. | By Chris Lay, Joel Shanahan, Scott Gordon, Mike Noto

Clockwise from left: Milo plays Jan. 7 at the Majestic and Jan. 9 at 100state, Rebecca Scherm reads Jan. 9 at Mystery to Me, and Bell Monks play Jan. 9 at Audio for the Arts.

Clockwise from left: Milo plays Jan. 7 at the Majestic and Jan. 9 at 100state, Rebecca Scherm reads Jan. 9 at Mystery to Me, and Bell Monks play Jan. 9 at Audio for the Arts.

THURSDAY JANUARY 7

IshDARR, F. Stokes, Milo, CRASHprez, Fringe Character, Lord Of The Fly, Sincere Life, Broadway. Majestic, 8 p.m.

On last year’s impressive Old Soul Young Spirit mixtape, Milwaukee emcee IshDARR (née Ishmael Ali) sounds incredibly hungry and more than ready for the hype that’s been following him for the past year. While Ali’s lyrics often teeter between light-hearted, lady-crazed party jams (“Only You”), introspective couplets on trying to “make it” (“Right Now”), and sometimes all of the above, the delivery is always fierce as he spits circles around the well-curated and hazy grooves that fill out the collection. The rest of this show’s lineup runs the gamut of local and regional hip-hop faves that we thankfully hear from pretty often, from whopping 10-piece live-rap ensemble Fringe Character (which features Dumate emcee Laduma Nguyuza) to Oakland-based, Madison transplant wordsmith F.Stokes. —Joel Shanahan


Golden Donna, Samantha Glass, Lens, Noxroy, TV Dinner DJs. High Noon Saloon, 9 p.m.

Joel Shanahan, the man behind electronic project Golden Donna, is a Tone Madison contributor and one of my closest friends, so of course I’m glad he’s back visiting Madison from his current home base of Portland. But let’s focus on the other folks playing this stacked lineup of Wisconsin experimental and electronic artists. Samantha Glass, the solo outing of Madison’s Beau Devereaux, combined strains of celestial pop and ominous industrial hardware on 2014’s Surface Water Perception EP, and is currently working on a new album. Madisonian Dan Woodman ventures into throbbing, unmoored low-end and fanciful nods to dub under the name Lens. Former Madisonian and currently Eau Claire-based musician Andrew Fitzpatrick is a member of All Tiny Creatures, Volcano Choir, and Bon Iver who delves deep into abstract modular synth and heavily processed guitar in his solo project Noxroy. Rounding out the evening will be eclectic selections from DJs Carlos Castillo and Lauden Nute. —Scott Gordon


There Will Be Blood. Central Library, 6:30 p.m. (free)

Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2007 film There Will Be Blood ranks among the most memorable films of the past 10 years, and maybe even manages to manifest destiny itself into the top spot. A fantastic adaptation of Upton SInclair’s novel Oil! (what’s not to love about titles that end with exclamation marks?), it follows Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis, who won his second best actor Oscar for the role) as he grabs for the oil-rich land under the feet of easily duped and manipulated townsfolk who are led by religious charlatan Eli Sunday (Paul Dano). In Plainview’s fury for fossil fuels he finds there are unexpected prices to be paid. Personally, while I can easily see this film as one of Anderson’s most artistically accomplished works, as well as one of his most broadly appealing, I’ve never felt that strong of a desire to revisit its stark New Mexico landscape and brazen opportunism, but I’m apparently in the minority since for a number of folks this is one of the films, up there with The Shawshank Redemption, that they can’t bring themselves to turn off if they skip past it playing on TV. —Chris Lay


FRIDAY JANUARY 8

Rare Plant Records Showcase. High Noon Saloon, 9 p.m.

Founded by Proud Parents guitarist-vocalist Claire Nelson-Lifson and Fire Retarded/Dumb Vision member Erick Fruehling, Rare Plant is a cassette label ambitiously documenting the current crop of remarkably solid punk and garage-pop outfits that have popped up in Madison over the last few years. This show is special in that it marks the release of Proud Parents’ first proper album, Sharon Is Karen, as well as a new full-length from Dumb Vision, which is somehow still yet-to-be titled—but you can hear Dumb Vision's Fruehling-sung track “Warm Meat” below. Collecting shards of early twee, garage-rock, and pop-punk, Sharon Is Karen finds Nelson-Lifson’s airy croon and guitarist-vocalist Tyler Fassnacht’s swaggering voice rotating in and out of focus, occasionally making room for drummer-vocalist Heather Sawyer to snag the lead with her own sugary hooks. In contrast, Dumb Vision—which boasts members of Fire Retarded, Dharma Dogs, and Paint—pulls influence from a lot of the same places as Proud Parents, but opts out of the sweetness in favor of a faster, grittier, and more visceral take. —JS


Night Light: Luck Of The Draw. Central Library, 8 p.m. (free)

A new art show at the Central Library, Luck Of The Draw, compiles new drawings from nearly 80 artists, the gimmick being that when the show comes down, each artist will get back not his or her own work, but someone else’s randomly selected from the show. The library’s grown-up/after-hours Night Light series marks the opening with drinks, drawing activities hosted by artist Angela Richardson, and apparently even some art-supply giveaways. The night also marks the opening of a new photography show at the library, Brad Baranowski’s Between Two Lakes. —SG

SATURDAY JANUARY 9

Bell Monks, Brain Grimmer, Grimm/Willis Duo, Nude Human. Audio for the Arts (7 S. Blair St.), 8 p.m.

This show celebrates two new releases from local artists: Somber pop minimalists Bell Monks’ Big Bay EP and warped hip-hop producer Brain Grimmer’s I, Nefarious compilation. Bell Monks, centering around the multi-instrumentalist duo of Jeff Herriott and Eric Sheffield, create austere but strangely comforting songs on Big Bay. Herriott shares lead vocal duties with Heidi Johnson, whose subtle and warm performances on “Open Song” and “Over My Head” make for a nice contrast with Herriott’s restrained but still tormented-sounding shudders. Read more about Brain Grimmer, a project of multi-talented Madison musician Brian Grimm, in our preview of his release. The show also features a duo performance from Grimm and bassist Ben Willis, and a set from long-form Madison-Milwaukee ambient duo Nude Human. —SG

Rebecca Scherm. Mystery to Me, 3 p.m. (free)

Rebecca Scherm visits here to read from her 2015 debut novel, Unbecoming, which bends the thriller genre into an inventive, introspective look at how people deceive and reinvent themselves. The plot follows its protagonist, Grace from an idyllic, if somewhat dysfunctional childhood in small-town Tennessee to a fearful adulthood wrapped up in art forgery and the occasional violent run-in with gangs. But the most striking thing about Scherm’s novel is the stark frankness with which Grace explains how she gradually breaks down and sheds identities as a means of survival—at first checking out of her own uncaring family and all but being adopted into that of her childhood sweetheart, and then eventually turning her back on even them. —SG

Neens, Little Legend, Control. Mickey’s Tavern, 10:30 p.m. (free)

Madison band Little Legend’s first full-length album, Orphan League Champs, celebrated at this show, expands on the gritty but lovable rock of their first two EPs, a self-titled one in 2012 and No Way To Tell In 2013. Singer/guitarist Brandy Tudor’s songs, as before, seek depth and goodness in weary, poor, frustrated characters (especially on “Vietnam,” “Let It All Appear,” and “Sweet Ascending”), but surprised me here with some playful moments, especially the goofy Latin pop of “Coca Cola” and the dance-y intro to “Overshadowed By Jesus.” The band as a whole—Joe Copeland on lead guitar, Daniel Jin on bass, and Robby Schiller on drums and harmony vocals—still plies a deceptively eclectic palette of early rock-’n’-roll and R&B, surf-rock, and folk, but fleshes that out further with horns, strings, and a far more detailed approach to production that wrings additional variety from the core instrumentation. We’ll have an interview with the band on our podcast this week, so look for that on Thursday. —SG

Milo. 100state, 7 p.m.

In a genre that seems to rely more and more on overtly colorful vocal peculiarity as a common sonic trope, Wisconsin-based rapper Milo exploits a purposefully flat monotone as his calling card. This choice can seem a little off-putting at first, especially when you also filter in Milo’s tendency to rap in stop-start, thorny and speechlike patterns. But that's the key: Milo's impassive voice (which occasionally resembles Earl Sweatshirt’s) and stealthily rhythmic flow have been deliberately calibrated for subtlety. Stylistically, he recalls a lot of indie rap that came from the '90s and early 2000s: there's a hint of Oakland MC Saafir in his offbeat delivery, and Milo ends his latest album, 2015's So The Flies Don't Come, with a track titled "song about a raygunn (an ode to Driver)," a reference to the nasally unhinged, quicksilver-paced LA rapper (and Milo’s frequent collaborator) Busdriver. But Milo is much less showy than either of them, preferring to mask a wealth of information in his lyrics with a natural understatement. On So The Flies Don't Come, Milo's rapping is tethered to producer Kenny Segal's strangely bent beatmaking. Segal's production, as evidenced on standout songs "re: animist," "an encyclopedia" and "souvenir," has a weird proclivity for detuning and retuning itself with every measure that passes, which lends a constantly woozy and unmoored feeling to the music. Milo is also playing Thursday at the Majestic, and takes a bit of a detour here to perform at Madison coworking space 100state. —Mike Noto


International Festival. Overture Center, 10:30 a.m. (free)

King Of Madtown Rap Battle. Frequency, 9 p.m.

MONDAY JANUARY 11

Funky Mondays. High Noon Saloon, 6 p.m.

TUESDAY JANUARY 12

Serious Singer Songwriter Night: Lue Lueck. Mickey’s Tavern, 10:30 p.m. (free)

Midwest Beat singer/songwriter/guitarist Matt Joyce launched his Serious Singer Songwriter series last year and already has installments booked up into March, continuing the series’ efforts to get folks from Madison bands into a stripped-down solo setting in which they don’t usually perform. The first one of the year features Lue Lueck, who’s brought his meandering guitar and gravelly vocals to Madison psych-rock outfits including Disembodied Monks and The Non-Travellin’ Band. Both Lueck and Joyce will play solo sets, and they’ll pair up for a short of collaborative jams as well. —SG