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Album Review: Dan Sartain, Lives

In the early 2000s, as many remember, there was much ballyhoo given to the return of real rock-n-roll. This was not represented in bands like Queens of the Stone Age, but bare bones garage rock bands like The Hives and The White Stripes. While these bands are awesome, they were only the headliners. As with any movement, there is always a subset that does not necessarily make it to mainstream attention, much to their detriment. While, in most situations, this would suggest that they were not as important (read: good), Birmingham, AL- based Dan Sartain serves as a very real exception to this rule.

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Tin Kite: Internet Only Demos

A Facebook message showed up in my inbox the other day, from Stefanie Drootin, member of the well-known Omaha band The Good Life. It announced the availability of an album’s worth of songs she’d recorded with her friend Chris Senseney. No album title, no track order, unmastered. They went down into Stefanie’s basement and just had fun with writing and recording songs.

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The Wandering Bears

Iowa City indie pop quintet, The Wandering Bears, have offered up a potluck, of sorts, for their self-titled debut. The Bears have cribbed a little bit from nearly every great left-of-center pop act and placed it all in front of you in heaping, steaming, well-produced portions.

The group, comprised of members of The Western Front and Vagabonds, opens with the glitchy, down-tempo, electropop number “William S. Burroughs Teaches Photography” (they also have a knack for whip-smart-alec titles), followed by the alt-country swagger of “Tom Bodett Rearranges his Living Room.” […]

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Pieta Brown – One and All

Local Albums: May 2010 – One and All, the sixth full-length from Pieta Brown, finds the folky at her most relaxed and confident. One and All feels like a commiseration at The Mill: It’s easy, fluid and full of prospective delivered in a comfortable drawl. The album opens with a double-shot of hopeless romanticism. “Wishes […]

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Samuel Locke Ward & Darren Brown – From the Privilege of the Grave

Local Albums: May 2010 – The fact that you can hold this album in your hands is astounding. From the Privilege of the Grave faced nearly every hurdle imaginable–from technical and logistical issues to legal and financial difficulties. That it was worth the wait, is still more astounding. […]

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Johnny On Point – Keefin It Real

Johnny On Point’s new CD Keefin It Real doesn’t do anything to bring dance music out of the shadows, but I doubt that’s his intent. He doesn’t bother to conform to any genre I know–they’re not House, Techno, Dubstep or what’s currently mis-labeled Electro. The only thing I can really call him is a stone-cold sound geek. […]

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Idris Goodwin: Break Beat Poems

Local Albums: April 2010 – Back in the day–1979–Hawkeye basketball star Ronnie Lester was a hip hop ambassador. Ronnie took his boom box everywhere , playing “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang nonstop. It was, to Iowa ears, something strange and alien, and yet irresistible. Idris Goodwin’s track “Isiah Thomas Camp” took me back to […]

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Sad Iron Music: Self Titled

Local Albums: April 2010 – Sad Iron Music is the musical persona of Jason Lewis, originally from West Virginia, but living now in Iowa City and attending the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He was in the alt-country band Star City that a few years back achieved some prominence, accompanied, unfortunately, by little financial success. After turning […]

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