Album Review: Mad Monks – The Dark Retreat

Mad Monks

Mad Monks The Dark Retreat Mention “concept album” and many will picture the recorded excess of bands like The Who, Rush, Styx, Pink Floyd, Yes, ELP — the list is endless. Sometimes it’s done well, but the need to squeeze in an overwrought story oftentimes compromises the overall work. Iowa City band Mad Monks […]

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Album Review: Mirror Coat – Whispers

Mirror Coat - Whispers

“Shoegaze” was the genre of a group of late ‘80s and early ‘90s bands primarily from the U.K. who shared a common musical esthetic. Part Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” and part Britpop, the sound was distinguished by its use of layers of effects. The name “shoegaze” came from the observation… […]

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Album Review: Volcano Boys – Self-titled

Volcano Boys

On paper, Volcano Boys looks like another project from the prolific Jordan Mayland (Jordan Mayland and the Thermal Detonators, Keepers of the Carpet, Nuclear Rodeo, Electronidoll and Tires), who is the principal vocalist and songwriter. But the blending of talent from Wolves in the Attic and Mantis Pincers member Trent Derby (drums, percussion and vocals), Eric Moffitt (guitar) and Tom Reneker (bass), gives Volcano Boys a sound reminiscent of retro-’90s alternative guitar rock.

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Album Review: Peas and Carrot – Big Girl Shoes

Peas and Carrots

When Iowa Public Radio asked Peas and Carrot lead singer and guitarist Audrey Robinson who her vocal influences were during a recent in-studio interview, she snapped back, “NOT Janis Joplin!” “Janis Joplin” is too often used as shorthand for any female singer who has a raw, bluesy edge, but Robinson’s sound is less hoarse belting and more dynamic rock and soul reminiscent of vocalists like Linda Perry, PJ Harvey and Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes. […]

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Album Review: Kelly Pardekooper – Milk in Sunshine

The musician credits of Kelly Pardekooper’s new album Milk in Sunshine is a who’s who of Eastern Iowa country, folk and blues legends including Bo Ramsey, Dave Zollo, Dave Moore, Pieta Brown and Radoslav Lorkovic. Milk in Sunshine is a massive 24-song CD and/or vinyl LP package encompassing 10 new songs with a bonus 16-song “greatest hits” of Kelly Pardekooper. […]

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Album Review: Pieta Brown – Paradise Outlaw

Pieta Brown -- Paradise Outlaw

During her show at CSPS in October 2013, Pieta Brown mentioned that she was working on her next album at Justin Vernon’s April Base studios in Fall Creek, Wis. As a fan of Vernon—better known as the frontman and songwriter of Bon Iver—I was anxious to hear the results. […]

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Album Review: Jack Lion — JAC EP

Jack Lion -- JAC EP

It seemed that after Slip Silo vocalist and guitarist Matt Logan split the Midwest and his band to take an opportunity on the West Coast, the remainder of the band was rudderless. In a March 2013 interview with Little Village he said that he hoped they’d be able to continue on the mission of connecting and tapping into a “transcendent and universal creativity source” without him. […]

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Album Review: The Sapwoods – Peaks and Valleys

The Sapwoods

Iowa City band The Sapwoods are back with their second album titled Peaks and Valleys. While the lineup in the band has changed since their 2012 release Electric Glow, the core of Justin Swafford (vocals and guitar) and David Suchan (lead guitar) remains the same. Joining Swafford and Suchan are Brian Speer on bass, Derrick Cook on drums and Miranda Peyton on keys, vocals and guitar. […]

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Album Reviews: Eufórquestra – Fire

Euforquestra's Fire

The jam band genre is often less focused on the style of music played by the band and more focused on the community the band has with its audience. These communities, which are typically built through extensive touring, allow bands like Eufórquestra to eschew traditional artist-label relationships for more direct, fan-to-artist connections. […]

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Album Reviews: The White Elephant – Cocaine Love Letter

Cocaine Love Letter

Cocaine Love Letter was born while the band was taking some downtime. Rohr and bandmate Ron Coleman both ended up writing a bunch of acoustic demos during this time and decided to turn them into three albums, which will all eventually be released for free on their website… […]

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