Back in October, Madison label Bright as Night released on CD and for download a new compilation, Mesmerized in Madison, highlighting the local music scene. The LP version is now finished and gets its own release show this Saturday, Feb. 13, in the cozy confines of Mickey’s Tavern (around 10 p.m., after dinner service ends). The bill includes sets by comp representatives Vanishing Kids and Red Museum, as well as Cave Curse (a new synth project led by Bobby Hussy), Conjuror and Dos Males.
Bright as Night has been around since 2007, and the label’s third release was also a compilation. The Bright Side/The Night Side featured mostly bands with Madison ties, and included some interesting vault tracks dating back to the early ’90s. Like that earlier disc, Mesmerized leans toward harder-edged sounds, but adds in more electronic experimentation along with featuring mostly newer recordings.
The compilation was curated by Vanishing Kids guitarist Jason Hartman, who has done a good job creating a flow to the proceedings, even though mixing up seemingly disparate genres such as metal, chilly electronica and the gothic C&W of Those Poor Bastards. For example, the album kicks off with electronic artist Samantha Glass, segues smoothly into a new moody psych track from Vanishing Kids and then into some straight-up metal from Sardonyx, and makes it seem natural.
In discussing the experimental side of Mesmerized in Madison with Tone Madison’s Scott Gordon on a recent WORT broadcast, Hartman says he was struck by the increased presence of experimental sounds in Madison when he and partner Nikki Drohomyreky (Vanishing Kids singer/keyboardist) returned from living on the West Coast for a time. The album does provide a higher profile to some artists that diverge fairly far from the mainstream, such as Red Museum, an electronic project self-described as the “horror” genre, and throat singing experimentalist db pedersen, who cooks up an Aretha Franklin-inspired bit of wizardry.
Other favorite tracks for this listener compete in the metal arena, including exclusive tracks from Zebras and Panther, as well as a stoner instrumental from duo Emerald Douglas. Mesmerized in Madison is overall a very entertaining peek into the more iconoclastic corners of local music, and hopefully will win some new fans for both the familiar bands as well as those who will be new to all but the most embedded scenesters. (Bright as Night 009, 2015)