Music roundup for Aug. 21, 2014

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By Bill Livick, Special to The Gazette
Thursday, August 21, 2014

Live on King Street: Deer Tick at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22, in front of Majestic Theatre, 115 King St., Madison. With The Weeks, Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas. Call 608-255-0901.

When the members of alternative rock band Deer Tick perform Friday, they'll likely be in a partying mood. That's the sort of vibe generated at the Live on King Street concert series. Loud and raucous is also the way the band made a name for itself.

However, Deer Tick's latest album, “Negativity,” released last September, sounds different from most of its previous work. For the first time, frontman and founder John McCauley wrote and sang deeply personal lyrics. The guy who had gained a reputation for liking to mess things up suddenly was introspective and sincere—no doubt reflecting on his failed relationship with singer Nikki Kvarnes of the Nashville band Those Darlins.

McCauley began to form the band in 2007. He enlisted the help of drummer Dennis Ryan and bassist Chris Ryan to record its debut, “War Elephant,” in summer 2007.

Ten months later, Ian O'Neil joined as lead guitarist. He was too late to record with Deer Tick on its second album, “Born on Flag Day,” which Rolling Stone magazine hailed as a breakthrough.

The band released its third album, “Black Dirt Sessions,” in June 2010, and the next month it added keyboardist Rob Crowell to the lineup.

The band recorded “Divine Providence”—its fourth album—in 2011. The sound was described as “loud and raw,” which likely will be the sound the band brings to the Live on King Street series.

Screeching Weasel at 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22, High Noon Saloon, 701 E. Washington Ave., Madison. Tickets: $22-$25. Call 608-268-1122.

Punk rockers Screeching Weasel are still at it more than 27 years after releasing their self-titled debut album in 1987. The band is led by singer and songwriter Ben Weasel (Ben Foster), who also has performed on bass and lead guitar.

He and John Pierson formed the band in the Chicago suburb of Prospect Heights in 1986 after seeing a Ramones concert.

Screeching Weasel has released 12 studio albums and is cited by several hard-core and punk bands as an influence. The band recorded albums almost every year in the 1990s and toured actively, despite frequent lineup changes and disbanding a few times.

The group's productivity dropped off after 2000, the year it recorded “Teen Punks in Heat.” Screeching Weasel would not record another album until the release of “First World Manifesto” in 2011.

That was also a controversial year for the band. On March 18, during Screeching Weasel's South by Southwest Festival performance in Austin, Texas, Foster punched a female audience member who had thrown a beer and ice cubes at him. A woman on the stage, believed to be the club's owner, then grabbed Foster from behind. He apparently mistook her for an attacking fan and punched her twice in the scuffle. He was then restrained by security and left the venue. A few days later, he apologized.

The incident was covered extensively by the music media, and the four other members of Screeching Weasel—Dan Schafer, Adam Cargin, Justin Perkins and Drew Fredrichsen—quit the band.

Foster was forced to cancel a planned three-day festival in Chicago marking the band's 25th anniversary. He reformed the band with new players the next year.

Jimmy Buffett at 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy. Tickets: $36-$136. Call Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000.

Over 45 years, Jimmy Buffett has built a small financial empire, writing several best-selling books, appearing in films, establishing restaurant chains and releasing more than 30 albums.

The Florida-based singer-songwriter has also won a devoted following. His fans call themselves Parrotheads and rival the followers of the Grateful Dead in their reverence for their hero.

Buffett is known for humorous songs that depict his laid-back, seafaring life. He is also a noted environmentalist and has spent a considerable sum supporting such causes.

Buffett attended the University of Southern Mississippi, where he earned a journalism degree in the late 1960s. He once worked as a Billboard magazine reporter.

He recorded his first album, “Down to Earth,” in 1970 and sold fewer than 400 copies. He recorded two more albums of little note in 1973 but scored the next year with the single “Come Monday.”

Buffett formed the Coral Reefer Band in 1975. His commercial breakthrough came in 1977 with the release of the album “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes” and its hit single “Margaritaville.”

During that period, Buffett spent most of his time living on his 50-foot sailboat and rarely toured as a performer.

His 1985 compilation, “Songs You Know by Heart,” sold 2 million copies. By the time he released the album “Boats Beaches Bars & Ballads” in 1992, Buffett had established his Margaritaville empire, including a record label and two restaurants.

He also wrote three best-selling books: “Tales From Margaritaville,” which is a collection of short stories, the novel “Where is Joe Merchant?” and the memoir “A Pirate Looks at Fifty.”

Buffett also has co-authored several children's books with his daughter.

Chris Isaak at 8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 24, Potawatomi Hotel and Casino, Northern Lights Theater, 1721 W. Canal St., Milwaukee. Tickets: $65-$75. Call 800-729-7244.

Chris Isaak's music and his classic good looks—including his pompadour hairstyle—are reminiscent of the 1950s and early '60s. His tender, crooning vocal style and his habit of offsetting rock songs with haunting ballads of heartache are often compared to Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison.

Isaak has received positive reviews for his 13 albums and enjoys a strong cult following. He's also appeared in film and television, usually in cameo roles.

He recorded his debut album, “Silvertone,” in 1985. The next year he released a self-titled album. But despite acclaim from the press and other musicians, his moody, guitar-driven songs didn't get much attention on radio or MTV.

In 1990, after his third album, “Heart Shaped World,” was a commercial flop, film director David Lynch used an instrumental version of Isaak's single, “Wicked Game,” on the soundtrack to one of his films. The song caught the attention of a radio DJ in Atlanta, who tracked down the original version with Isaak's vocals and began playing it on heavy rotation.

Word spread to stations across the country, and the single hit the Top 10 in 1991. Isaak's next album, “San Francisco Days,” reached the Top 40.

Isaak has remained busy in the music industry, releasing six albums since 2002. From 2001-04, he starred in “The Chris Isaak Show” on Showtime, a sitcom that glamorized the lives of Isaak and his bandmates.

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