If you've never been to Madison, Wisconsin, you might have some preconceived ideas about it, possibly something involving cheese, football, and maybe beer. Sadly, you'd be missing out on Madison's real gem: their electronic music scene. It never ceases to amaze me just how much talent comes out of this one college town. They have loads of great bands, great venues, one of the best promoters I've ever met, and a friendly crowd of open-minded people attending events. Madison also has a weekend-long
Null Device is one of the bright stars of the Madison scene, an intelligent and interesting synthpop outfit that is as good on the stage as on the CD. Erics Oehler and Goedken get better and better with each release, and watching their fans frantically gobble up the latest offering at their shows, I get the impression that I'm not the only one who thinks so. Their 2007 album Excursions is still one of my favorites, aptly titled for its wanderings into styles that not only cross genres but the entire globe. Their 2010 contribution Suspending Belief comes out tomorrow (June 22) on
Null Device is playing alongside fellow Madison talent
Somewhere back in the '90s, I drug a handful of friends to a Placebo show in St. Louis. Having only ever heard their solitary US hit "Pure Morning", they were skeptical, and I can hardly blame them. I don't much care for that song; to me it is to Placebo what "Vaseline" is to Flaming Lips fans: an annoyance that requires so many "no but really, their other stuff is so much more than that" explanations.
I'm proud to say that my friends left the show that night as Placebo fans, and henceforth trusted my judgement about these sorts of things.
Despite the little airplay they get here in the States, thankfully they've attracted enough of a cult following to tour here every few years. I always go see them, and -I can't say this about too many bands- they've always gotten better. One of the things one comes to expect from their encores is a cover of someone who has influenced them; I'm quite fond of what they've done to The Pixies and Kate Bush. But since this week we are providing the afterparty for The Queen Is Dead (details to your right), it seemed more fitting to post their rocked-out version of The Smiths' classic "Bigmouth Strikes Again" from their collection of covers Sleeping With Ghosts. Though not necessarily as good or true to the original, their take on it is worth noting.