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Singer-songwriter Damien Jurado reinvents himself constantly. Since the late '90s, he's released tracks that range from hardcore punk to acoustic folk. Maraqopa, his 2012 release, and this year's follow-up, Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son, are his first concept albums. He'll focus on the latter record at the Frequency on Jan. 30.
"In the past, each song was a story," Jurado says. "This is the first time I've had two records based on one story. It's a...more intricate kind of story."
That story follows a man who disappears from society. He takes nothing with him except a couple hundred dollars and stumbles upon a mysterious place called Maraqopa.
"He's discovering a lot of interesting things about who he is," Jurado explains. "He ends up leaving Maraqopa after a while, and then he gets into a car accident."
Brothers begins at the scene of the crash and follows the man's next journey, and the consequences of his actions. The title references Maraqopa's residents, whom Jurado describes as "hippies" who "wear matching solar outfits" and are all named Silver.
Jurado is a longtime fan of concept albums. He grew up listening to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and the Who's Tommy.
As with these albums, cover art plays an important role in Brothers. Look closely and you'll see one of the Mitchell Park Domes, a trio of horticultural conservatories in Milwaukee. Jurado planned to use a photo of a beach, but Daniel Murphy, a Milwaukee-based designer who works with Jurado's record label, convinced him to go with something more unusual: a dome in the middle of the beach. Jurado hopes to play a show in that dome in the future.
Jurado, who's from Washington state, has fond memories of playing shows in Madison, despite an unfortunate situation that happened here in 2006. It was right before Christmas, and Jurado had recently bought a new car.
"I turned on the defroster and [realized] it was so cold that the ice had cracked my windshield," he says. "I'd never experienced that before. Out here it gets cold, but nothing like that."
In other words, a warm welcome is in order when he visits on Thursday.