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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, May 18, 2024

Weekend showcases O.K. music





Which three-letter word do you like the best? 




(a) Ida 




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(b) emo 




(c) all of the above 




If you chose (c), then you're in luck.  




Karla Schickele, pianist and vocalist of Ida who has since created a solo album titled New Problems under the clever alias of K., is performing at the Catacombs Coffeehouse, 731 State St., tonight. Solo projects can be a bit pretentious at times, with artists singling themselves out from the rest of their group and bringing their talent (or lack thereof) to the forefront. The spotlight can either reveal the individual's creative force or the artist's need to conform to fellow band-mates.  




In the case of K., New Problems is a little of both. The album is a stripped-down version of what Ida is collectively. The same dreamy, endearing vocals familiar to Ida are at center stage throughout the entire 12-track album. However, melody and pitch variation take a backseat on New Problems, as smooth, consistent articulation of the personal, hard-hitting lyrics sung by K. dominate. 




Ida's vocal presence is felt, but K. seems to borrow from other female-led acts as well. Many of the songs on New Problems are reminiscent of Liz Phair circa Whip Smart, taking advantage of K.'s harmonious story-telling skills.  




K.'s creative energies are exposed in the wide spectrum of instruments heard on the album. She is accompanied by everything from piano, violin, clarinet and oboe to bass, guitar, drums and xylophone. This hodgepodge of sounds compliments K.'s voice and brings much-needed diversity to each track.  




Without this instrumentation New Problems may have easily fallen into the nap-rock category, but with its variety of sounds and styles the album is much more stimulating and inviting with each slow jam. 




K. can be soothing at times and challenging at others. Track 2, titled 'Not Here,' has K. asking, 'Who will be my saving?/Where is my grace'? These silky smooth lyrics and vocals are beautifully layered with piano and violin that flow gradually through highs and lows.  




Track 4, titled 'Reminder,' displays K.'s ability to punch out her words in a story- telling beat. 'Reminder' is eerily similar to Liz Phair's style and adds complexity to the album's whole, joining power with vocal mastery. 




Track 9, 'Telegram,' diverts from the simple 'girl with an acoustic guitar' mold by adding backward, sped up tracks into the mix. Each track displays K.'s desire for experimentation and creative freedom yet stays down to earth using vocals as the dominant force. 




K. can be thought of not as independent from Ida, but more of a jagged extension of it. With haunting vocals, poignant narrative and sound variety, K. can make it on her own.  




Artists that feature their voice as the dominant instrument are always a treat live, so check out K. tonight performing at the Catacombs Coffeehouse. It will be interesting to see which instruments K. brings along to her stop in Madison.  




The show starts at 8 p.m. Call 257-3025 for information. 














Chicago label Hefty Records has been around for a few years, putting out releases aimed at the experimental music fan, from free jazz to electronica. Fans of the IDM movement will no doubt find interest in the Hefty Records showcase tonight beginning at 9p.m at Club 770 in Union South. Performers include Slicker, Beneath an Autumn Sky and Telefon Tel Aviv.  




Telefon Tel Aviv is notable for its performance of the score to 'New Port South,' and for an appearance on the last NIN remix album. Its new album, Fahrenheit Fair Enough, released about a month ago, presents the same old swooshes, blips, weird production and processed found- sounds any follower of electronic music lately has heard before. Telefon tweeks their music just a little differently than anyone else to try and dodge comparisons to other musicians of the same cut. Comparisons can still be made, of course, but your discerning ear will have to attend and draw the inferences on your own. And what's a label showcase without the label founder? Slicker, the alias for label leader John Hughes, will present his take on the same idea as Telefon Tel Aviv. Perhaps slightly more interesting than Fahrenheit, Slicker's The Latest sets itself apart by offering a CD pamphlet full of abstract art'or perhaps not. Regardless, this is a show not seen in Madison very often'a reputable dead-end for electronic music.  














Ohio-born 12 Rods found its greatest early success in Minneapolis. Discovered there in 1997 by V2 Records, 12 Rods' debut LP, Split Personalities, was released to relative critical acclaim in 1998. However, its follow-up LP saw a resounding 'what happened here'? asked by its listeners. Still, 12 Rods' guitar driven pop-rock a la Smashing Pumpkins should be at least worth stopping by to check out if you're in the area. Cardinal Arts made the mistake in 1998 by purchasing Split Personalities, so we won't make another by insisting on your attendance.  




On the other hand, local music crusaders Tycho One, who open for 12 Rods tonight at 9:30 p.m., are always worth your time. Isthmus music guru Tom Laskin calls them the 'best pop/rock recording artist out of Madison in the last few years.' Granted, Laskin has also referred to Beck as 'an embarrassing, funk-obsessed has- been,' but Cardinal Arts isn't so opposed to his appraisal of Tycho One. They've just released a new album, and they should be ready to rock the homeland.  




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