• Tea-dance divas

    Crystal Castles Crystal Castles vocalist Alice Glass alternates between disco diva status and punk banshee, sometimes in the same song, on the Canadian electro duo’s aptly named sophomore effort “II” (Fiction). You can get a taste of that in the suitably titled opening track “Fainting Spells,” which should come with its own smelling salts. “Doe Deer” and “I Am Made of Chalk” pack.... Read More
  • iMusic: It takes two

    Court Yard Hounds Sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Robison go from being two-thirds of the Dixie Chicks to being the Court Yard Hounds on their eponymous Columbia debut. We already know they are gifted musicians, thanks to their work with fellow Dixie Chick Natalie Maines. With assorted guest musicians, Court Yard Hounds fulfills the promise of previous DC discs that found the trio expanding on th.... Read More
  • Summer soul

    Toni Braxton Once you get past the lifted Leona Lewis energy of “Yesterday” and the borrowed Beyoncé spirit of “Make My Heart” and “Lookin’ At Me,” Toni Braxton’s eagerly anticipated comeback record “Pulse” (Atlantic) can’t be beat. Not that there’s anything wrong with the aforementioned tunes. In fact, they prove that Braxton is capable of being a musical chameleon. It’.... Read More
  • ’80s fever

    Duran Duran Duran Duran arrived on the frilly coattails of the new romantic movement (see early Spandau Ballet, Classix Nouveau, Visage) at the beginning of the 1980s, but shortly thereafter morphed into something else entirely. You can hear the roots of the group’s sound on the expanded Capitol reissue of its 1981 self-titled debut. The original disc included the hits “Planet Earth,” “Car.... Read More
  • Pump beats

    Sugar & Gold Sugar & Gold’s pump-and-hump “¡Aya!” remix EP teased listeners, giving them a taste of what this “freaky five-some” from San Francisco was capable of doing (i.e. “Slice Me Nice”). Like a left-coast version of Ssion, Sugar & Gold demonstrates a shameless fondness for the disco/dance pop of the ’80s, but delivers it with a sweet and shiny contemporary twist .... Read More
  • Gay music men

    Is life a cabaret or isn’t it? The gay male music scene is divided into a few different camps. Julian Yeo and Carlo Chapelle represent the cabaret/show tunes faction. Yeo’s “Deep Purple Dreams” (LML Music) adds a jazz hue to his interpretations of standards by Jobim (“How Insensitive”), Cole Porter (“Love For Sale,” “Anything Goes,” “Too Darn Hot”), Kurt Weil (“September .... Read More
  • Leaping lesbians!

    Chris Pureka Out singer/songwriter Chris Pureka has been peddling her brand of moody folk music for nearly 10 years. Think Mary Gauthier, minus the twang. With each album, including the fittingly named and most recent “How I Learned To See In The Dark” (Sad Rabbit), Pureka continues to mature as both a songwriter and performer. Opener “Wrecking Ball” sets the atmosphere with its mournful f.... Read More
  • Runs in the family

    Jakob Dylan Did Jakob Dylan have any choice about becoming a musician like his father Bob? Was it written in his DNA? Success didn’t come immediately for Jakob and his band The Wallflowers, but they didn’t have to wait long. T-Bone Burnett produced their second album, 1996’s “Bringing Down The Horse,” providing them with their first hits, including “One Headlight” and “6th Ave.... Read More
  • Perfect Harmony chorus offers diverse musical range

    Perfect Harmony Men’s Chorus has plenty to sing about these days. As the leading gay men’s chorus in Madison, the group will celebrate its 15th anniversary next year and most likely release its second CD of recorded music, this one geared toward the holidays. “We’ve had so many requests,” says artistic director Ken Fortney. “We’re going to try and get that in given all that we’re d.... Read More
  • Music reviews

    “Animal” That didn’t take long! The first of the Lady Gaga imitators, the (low) classy Ke$ha (who “threw up in the closet,” but doesn’t care, according to the song “Party At A Rich Dude’s House”) has arrived to try to swipe the mirror ball crown from La Gaga’s head. Stir in the worst aspects of Katy Perry and you have Ke$ha’s debut album from RCA/Kemosabe. Swede-pop beats an.... Read More