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A One, and a Two, and a Three

Max Weinberg has led an interesting life as a musician. He recorded and toured with Bruce Springsteen and it’s his snare shots that propel Bruce’s biggest hit, “Born In The USA.” When Springsteen disbanded his E Street Band in 1989, Weinberg tried a variety of things–producing records, session work, Law School, college drum clinics, even (according to Wikipedia) motivational speaking to corporate audiences–before becoming the band leader for Conan O’Brien’s “Late Night” on NBC in 1993, a job he held for 17 years.

Now, in what Weinberg calls his “third act,” he has formed a 15-piece big band, appearing at the Englert Theatre Oct. 22. Weinberg was in Italy when I spoke to him about his current project and where it fits into his career.

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Album Reviews: Paul Cary — Ghost of a Man

Paul Cary’s nasal squall of a voice–familiar to fans of his former Iowa City band The Horrors–is irresistibly rough. And on Ghost Of A Man, the vintage microphones and elderly spring reverbs turn his voice into something that exists out of time. It’s as though he was the guy who got thrown out of Sun Studios in the ‘50s for smoking up in the bathroom.

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Album Review: Hubcap Holmes: Just for Funstuff

This is a free CD I picked up at a Public Space One show. Hubcap Holmes is a solo project of Kurt Austin, one of the loose cohort of early-20s musicians currently making noise in Iowa City. The live performance (with Matt Fenner on bass) showed that Hubcap Holmes has a good grasp of pop songwriting; his songs had sing-along melodies, simple without being too simple.

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Album Review: Be Kind to Your Neighbor: Be Kind to Your Neighbor

Be Kind To Your Neighbor is Dan Davis and Ed Bornstein (The Occasionals), and since Ed moved away, they’re no longer playing together. But they did get together at Flat Black to record this CD. As with Dan’s other band, Weather Is Happening, the organizing principle is a titanic wall of guitar noise, pummelled drums and tortured, screamed vocals.

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Album Review: Wax Cannon: The Ankle Hour

SWax Cannon is two guys–David Murray and Jay Miller–who have been playing together for several years. They put out the titanic Someone in Madison is Praying for You (And it’s not me) four years ago, a double CD that was a tour de force of rock ‘n’ roll songwriting, their answer to Daydream Nation or Zen Arcade.

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Album Review: Sarah Cram & The Derelicts: Little Secrets

Most folks who bother to go out to hear live music in Eastern Iowa know that Sarah Cram has that voice–a dark, smooth alto with a jazzy vibrato at the end of sustained notes. As good as The Diplomats of Solid Sound are when they roll stag, with Sarah and her sister Diplomettes, they’re a whole other thing–elegant, sexy, and even funkier.

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Best in Sew

Most people became aware of Leslie Hall a few years back, when her YouTube videos went viral. People forward links to all their friends for, as they say, the LULZ. Laughing at the unselfconsciously ridiculous people on the internet always has a cruel edge to it, but Leslie was never oblivious to her ridiculosity. In fact, it’s been the unifying attribute of her public persona.

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