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Geared Up: Independent Gear Shops

XLR8R's Brandon Ivers gets wired at teh country's best independent gear shops.

Nova Musik
608 N Broadway, Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 270-1948

Tony 'Tone' Gral has operated downtown Milwaukee's Nova Musik since 1999. Boasting a staff knowledgeable in fine beer and synthesizer customization, you can find everything from Nova's modded Moog and Studio Electronic synths to all the usual suspects from Nord, Roland, and Yamaha.

What are people getting most excited about in the store?

Professor Murder: Transit Steez

"There's a certain sound or aesthetic that people associate with being a 'New York band,'" notes Mike Bell-Smith, lead vocalist and percussionist for five-borough denizens Professor Murder. "We don't necessarily fit into that whole Velvet Underground/Ramones/Strokes lineage, but what we're doing is a product of living in New York. [It's] the whole idea of seeing a million people everyday in this crazy place and walking through neighborhoods with a million types of people, and how that affects your psyche."


Aspohdel's Bold Control Center

One day, this too will all be obsolete. Why? Because San Francisco's Recombinant Media Labs–built by Asphodel label heads and industrial music experimenters Naut Humon and Mitzi Johnson–puts into question everything you've ever thought possible about composing, recording, and performing electronic art. And in the years to come, they'll likely top themselves again.


MIDI Mafia In The Studio

Since the mid-'60s, production teams like Gamble & Huff and Holland-Dozier-Holland have masterminded the regional innovations and aesthetics behind R&B and soul. Studio partnerships like Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, The Bomb Squad, The Neptunes, and MIDI Mafia are all cast from that old blueprint, stamping their production style into veritable empires within the pop music landscape. Read more » 

Squarepusher: Melody and Method

Sadist. Self-saboteur. Shit disturber. Over the years, Tom Jenkinson has been called all of the above, sometimes by his beleaguered fans. Like a jazz drummer who refuses to lay in the pocket, his discography's 11-year arc has been winding and evasive; to the frustration of many, the Chelmsford, UK-born musician has made an art of dabbling in subgenres just long enough to prove his ability before moving on.


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