Album Review: NAOMI — Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish

In Cedar Rapids we appear to have a new trend of band names that are, um, a name: DICKIE, Colleen and the latest of these: NAOMI, which is named after its radically asymmetrically-coiffed frontwoman.

NAOMI aptly calls their high-energy music “snarky pop/rock.” On their debut record, Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish, I hear bits of Garbage, No Doubt, P!nk and Avril Lavigne peppered through the songs. Songs like “Hell To Pay,” “A Common Story (I Know)” and “Sex Appeal” all adhere closely to the compressed and distorted guitars, stomping drums and fun synth lines. The layers of Naomi’s edgy vocals in harmony and unison carry the melodic hooks into earworm territory. […]

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Album Review: Jordan Mayland & the Thermal Detonators — This Mess

Come for the harmony; stay for the melancholy. The soul-stirring Ames/Des Moines pop unit Jordan Mayland & the Thermal Detonators delivers a tantalizingly dark treat with its generous new record This Mess, their first LP from the hand-made Nova Labs label.

Mayland is a veteran of some of Iowa’s best bands of the past two decades, starting with the beloved early 2000s (local) hitmakers Keepers of the Carpet and continuing through today with acts like Volcano Boys and TIRES. The Thermal Detonators are Dave Atchison, Paul Hertz, Sean Huston, Claire Kruesel and Frank McBroom — a seasoned outfit that blends voices and diverse instrumentation into a rich sound that feels gracious, even compassionate. You can hear the band listening. […]

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Album Review: Bridget Kearney — Won’t Let You Down

Bridget Kearney Won’t Let You Down MCF: Bridget Kearney with Elizabeth Moen, Paul Cary The Mill — Wednesday, April 5 at 10 p.m., $12-15 Won't Let You Down by Bridget Kearney The title song that starts the album, the obvious “single” (if that even means anything), is a sunny, upbeat number layered with unsettling […]

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Album Review: MacMillan & Spengler — Demonstration

Iowa City experimental electronic musicians Ian MacMillan and Brendan Spengler joined forces in 2012 to create the sound of bees for an Iowa City installation. The duo has collaborated on a number of projects since, most recently this recently released cassette, Demonstration.

Spengler, who plays a combo organ and analog synthesizers in the duo, is a transplant from Memphis, Tennessee and was trained as a classical pianist before moving on to play in the Memphis rock and punk scene that revolved around the label Goner Records. […]

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Album Review: Anthony Worden — Ideal Conceptions of the Beautiful and Good

Once labeled freaks, David Bowie and Lou Reed broke down the confines of masculinity found in the prototypical rock star persona of their time, while reimagining the vivacity and delicacy of rock and roll when others were preoccupied with LSD-laden fantasias (though that didn’t keep them away from their respective addled phases). Their legacies are undoubted; they carved a path of self-indulgence, spanning influences between Americana, krautrock, electronic and more. […]

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Album Review: Telekinetic Yeti – Abominable

Occasionally, a recording reaches out of the speakers and grabs you — shakes you — doesn’t invite but demands that you trip with it along whatever imagined pathways it produces. Abominable, the first full-length release from Dubuque’s Telekinetic Yeti (out on Sump Pump Records March 17) may just be the first such album of 2017. […]

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Album Review: Beyond Peace — Beyond Peace

Beyond Peace Beyond Peace Beyond Peace by Beyond PeaceIt’s not original to compare metal and punk music. Both use loudness as their primary gesture, both use distortion pedals, both employ screamy vocals. However, Beyond Peace’s sound draws on both genres, which heightens the intensity of the music. Rather than the verse/chorus/verse of punk rock, […]

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Album Review: Colleen — Vol. 1

Colleen Vol. 1 Colleen is a Cedar Rapids-based husband and wife duo that delivers a beautiful, often soaring mix of bombastic live percussion and electronics buoying silvery vocals. Heather and Tyler Stück built excitement over the past months by releasing two of the tracks as singles in the lead-up to their new 4-track EP, […]

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Album Review: Aseethe — Hopes of Failure

Aseethe Hopes of Failure Iowa City trio Aseethe — Brian Barr, Danny Barr and Eric Diercks — broke last summer when they signed to Chicago’s Thrill Jockey Records (Future Islands, the Fiery Furnaces, Trans Am). The band drops its first album on that label on Feb. 24, and returns to Iowa City for a […]

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Album Review: Night Pits — Last Night Forever

Night Pits Last Night Forever Last Night Forever by Night Pits Writing a punk anthem is a fundamentally communitarian act. The idea is that anyone — whether they think they can sing or not — can and will be screaming along in one joyous voice. If only for 20 sweaty minutes in a darkened […]

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Album Review: TIRES — LP1

TIRES LP1 LP1 by TiresThe big, anthemic sound of Phil Young’s (the Wheelers) new instrumental project TIRES was inspired by the recent passing of his grandfather. “He was kinda a cranky old guy to me most of my life,” Young told me in online chat. “We were one of the only families that didn’t […]

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Album Review: Belly Belt — Stay True

Belly Belt Stay True EP Stay True by Belly Belt Iowa City West High alum Kate Feldmann’s Belly Belt isn’t miles away from her day job dressing as a Disney Princess for children’s birthday parties. She adopts personas, she plays make-believe, she toys with identity as she did on her previous album, Bangers. The […]

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