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Album Review: Katharine Ruestow – Self-titled

You might be familiar with Katharine Ruestow as one of the Diplomettes–the female vocal duo that fronts the Iowa City Soul and R&B group The Diplomats of Solid Sound–or as part of Iowa City band New Beat Society, which gigged around town in 2005 and 2006 and released one EP, Bare Essentials. Ruestow’s self-titled solo […]

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Album Review: The Uniphonics – Crawl

One of the most unfortunate legacies of the 90s was Rap Rock. Guitars and rhymes together don’t have to suck but it seems like those bands were trying hard to do just that. Thankfully the Uniphonics have gone another direction, mixing rhymes with funk. What could be more natural, since hip-hop was built on beats […]

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Album Review – 85 Decibel Monks: Reel-to-Real

85 Decibel Monks is the production team of Iowa City hip-hip producers Tack-Fu, The Chaircrusher and drumk. Reel-to-Real is their latest release and the third under this name since 2000. To make the album, Tack sorted through a sizable archive of work amassed over fourteen years. Still, consumed in one sitting, the collection of tracks is surprisingly even.

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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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