We’re now over 50 albums deep into the career of Iowa City’s home-studio legend Samuel Locke Ward. He is, as they say, prolific. But the scale of his output wouldn’t be much more than a gimmick if not for the fact that he has maintained an almost unbroken string of high quality across his entire massive catalog. […]
Cedar Rapids musician Ryan Phelan has been a mainstay on the close-knit music scene there for years, from beloved jam band Dr. Z’s Experiment to fresh effort Young the Lion. So it’s no surprise that on Memories, his solo effort released last month, he draws on the wide array of Cedar Rapids talent for an album filled with guest appearances, varied genres and local hat tips. […]
To release two EPs under two different names within a few months of each other suggests Clancy Clark — aka Selec, aka Clarence Johnson — has been busy. According to Clark, horror at the election of Donald Trump motivated him to be more proactive at making and putting out music.
The songs on Des Moines band/project Gloom Balloon’s sophomore album were inspired by life-changing events of falling in love and the birth of Patrick Tape Fleming’s son Nilsson (who makes an appearance on the opening track, “Password”). […]
‘we will will you’ isn’t about Julie and Andrew Thoreen’s separation as couple and band but rather the subtly uncharted part where they consider coming back from it. The band goes on to describe the album as a record that “invites us into the process of re-commitment.” […]
The Host Country started as a Cedar Falls-based duo with Diana Weishaar and Ty Wistrand supplying tasteful piano and guitar settings to generous pop songs that they could really lay into hard in live settings. Since those early days the two have been vocal soul-mates with perfectly complementary timbres that make their songs ring. […]
Des Moines-native singer-songwriter Ryne Doughty approached the production of his latest album, Date Night, with the desire to step away from the more stripped-down folk sound of his 2013 album, Under The Willow Tree. “I love that last album and the sound but I just wanted to do something different and really bring these songs to life,” he explained. “All of the songs are still songwriter based, but with more instrumentation and energy.” […]
It’s impossible to talk about the history of Iowa modern rock without talking about Cedar Falls band House of Large Sizes. During their 17-year run (1986-2003) they released eight albums, including a very brief stint on Columbia Records and a bunch of singles. Since 2003, HOLS has sporadically come out of retirement to play shows in the area to eager fans; this month HOLS put out its first release since 2003’s self-titled album — a gorgeous, expanded, two-LP color vinyl reissue of their 1999 live album. […]
Trust a joker like Matthew James to open Impromptu Musicals For the Skeptic, his album with the Rust Belt Union, with a song titled “Goodbye.” Like Groucho Marx’s song “Hello, I Must Be Going,” it’s ironic but shows a restlessness mirrored in the lyrics: “But it’s just like before I’m always heading out a door and I never quite get where I’m supposed to go.” […]
Some of the best musicians in Iowa City and environs are not chasing a career in music. Keith Reins, for example, is a player and collector of folk songs who also works as a professor of English at Kirkwood Community College. After hours, you’re likely to find him at folk music sessions around Iowa City: at Hilltop Tap, Mickey’s or Uptown Bill’s Coffee House.
Ramona Muse Lambert — a visual artist, designer and teacher in addition to her notable performance art, music and emceeing career — is singer and songwriter for Ramona and the Sometimes, a Des Moines group just out with a new album, Negative Space Is a Positive Thing, recorded at Wabi Sound and self-released. The band members, all of whom contribute vocals, include Brian Brown on guitar, Katelyn Brown on keyboards, Dave Larsen on bass and Derek Muse Lambert on drums. […]