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Album Review: The White Elephant – Self Titled

The White Elephant Self Titled thewhiteelephantband.com Brothers Ron and Tim Coleman and Chris Rohr of The White Elephant grew up in Wapello, IA (pop 2,067) in the Southeast corner of Iowa. Where many from similar small towns in the Midwest might choose other less productive extra-curricular activities, these guys chose to form a band in […]

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Album Review: Iowa City Song Project

Iowa City Song Project maximumamesrecords.com   As a teenager hungry for a scene larger than the veritable cultural island of Bellevue, IA, at night I would arrange and rearrange my radio antenna to try to capture KUNI to get a glimpse of the world of music around me, which included bands from Iowa City. It […]

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Album Review: Samuel Locke Ward – Double Nightmare

Samuel Locke Ward Double Nightmare samuellockeward.bandcamp.com I was introduced to the insanity of “Big Lizard In My Backyard” by The Dead Milkmen sometime in the 80’s. The irreverent, usually scatological humor and unpolished performances on the album seemed to have dislodged the chromosome that would have prevented me from being able to enjoy the hometaping […]

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Album Review: Dave Olson – No October

Dave Olson No October daveolsonmusic.com “What’s that place that she came from? A little town a couple miles from where the plane of Buddy Holly went down.” – Dave Olson, on “Buddy Holly” “Buddy Holly” with its Clear Lake reference wraps up No October—the latest album from Dave Olson, a Twin Cities-transplanted former Iowa Citian. […]

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Album Review: Bermuda Report – Bittersweet

Bermuda Report Bittersweet facebook.com/bermudareport When I reviewed their debut EP last year, I said that Bermuda Report easily evoked a vacation in the tropics with their jazzy tropicalia-influenced pop. For Bermuda Report’s debut full-length album, Bittersweet, the tiki bar is closed, the vacation is over and singer Abby Sawyer is unpacking her baggage—emotional baggage. The […]

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Album Review: Dynoride – What You Wanted

Dynoride What You Wanted facebook.com/dynoride Dynoride is a Quad Cities band that was started in 2008 by a pair of old high school friends with the intent of producing—according to their press release—“quirky acoustic songs.” They quickly evolved to their self-described “hard rock riffs, punk energy and pop sensibility.” On their debut album What You […]

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Live Music: An interview with Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes, playing The Englert August 19, 2012

In October of 2009, California band Dawes was invited to be part of the second Daytrotter.com Barnstormer tour which included such exotic Iowa locations as Green Island, West Branch and Maquoketa. The crowds at those shows were not prepared for the fiery, passionate performances by this then-unknown band, influenced by the classic sounds of Tom […]

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Album Review: Lake Street Dive – Fun Machine

Fun Machine EP lakestreetdive.com Lake Street Dive is a four-piece birthed from Boston’s New England Conservatory Jazz program, mixologists of the perfect martini of soul, folk and jazz, shaken not stirred, and garnished with a sprig of indie-pop sensibility. This intoxicating formula is equal parts spare, precise percussion delivered by Philly native Mike Calabrese, brassy […]

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Album Review: Surf Zombies – Lust for Rust

  Surf Zombies Lust For Rust facebook.com/surfzombiesband My dad tells a story about seeing the seminal surf-rock band The Ventures at the Melody Mill Ballroom outside of Dubuque in the early 1960s. He happened upon a comb on the sink in the bathroom left by the band. He picked it up and shortly after sold […]

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Album Review: Jason T. Lewis – The Fourteenth Colony

Jason T. Lewis The Fourteenth Colony http://www.sadironpress.com/ A common problem fiction writers have with musician characters is that if the author isn’t a skilled songwriter, then the character is much less believable. Never mind the fact that we never really know what the character’s songs would sound like, either. Iowa City author and musician Jason […]

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Album Review: Death Ships – Circumstantial Chemistry

Death Ships Circumstantial Chemistry deathships.bandcamp.com Death Ships w/ Mike Doughty, Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps // The Mill // Thurs, Mar. 29 Back in 2006 Dan Maloney and his band Death Ships were gigging regularly from his Iowa City home-base and gaining some notoriety. Life changes forced a do-over in Chicago which resulted in […]

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Album Review: Kelly Pardekooper – Yonder

An oft-quoted rule-of-thumb for writers is “write what you know.” Great written works are usually imbued with a strong sense of place derived from the writer’s ability to pull that little bit of themselves in–people, places, conversations, situations. Kelly Pardekooper lived in Iowa most of his life and recorded five albums of Grade-A Iowa Americana. […]

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