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Oedipus Tex, The Apologists, Building On Buildings (free)

  • Mickey's Tavern 1524 Williamson Street Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)
Photo by Connie Ward.

Photo by Connie Ward.

Oedipus Tex began as a solo project for guitarist Eric Caldera of the now-defunct Madison instrumental rock trio El Valiente, but over the years has expanded into a full band that gives a subtle kick to Caldera's playfully glum songs. In band mode, Oedipus Tex has a stark Southwestern twang, but focuses around Caldera's breathy and conversational vocals. Collaborators like drummer Joe Bernstein, guitarist Karl Christenson, and multi-instrumentalist player Nathan Tredinnick have focused on atmosphere and restraint, reinforcing the vocal melodies with gentle buoyancy (but not too much buoyancy—this is sad-sack indie-rock at heart). Caldera's lyrics veer between cryptic and blunt, somber and smart-assed: On the title track of 2015's Silver Lion EP, he calls out police violence in Madison ("I can't shake the feeling in the city I've lost my pride / songwriters and dark-skinned boys buying mistakes with their lives"), while "Yonder," from 2012's album Borracho Corazon, functions as a winking boast track for a nerdy singer-songwriter who studies ants by trade ("Hey I'm master in all things numerical / And I'm coming out your fuckin' stereo"). This will be our last chance to experience Oedipus Tex's subdued charms for the foreseeable future, as Caldera, having recently completed a PhD in entomology at UW-Madison is moving to L.A. soon. Another quietly stirring Madison rock band, Building On Buildings, will be playing its first live set in a good few months here, and local country-rockers The Apologists will round out the bill. Read more in our story about Caldera this week. —Scott Gordon

Earlier Event: June 9
Rooftop Cinema: Kamikaze '89