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Top five 2018: A look back on Iowa music

2018 has been a trial, as we’ve watched the country succumb to the increasingly outlandish and horrible thrashing in the mud of President Tony Clifton. People have said that great music comes out of dire political times, but I hate that idea … Making great music is a personal, inward-focusing task. […]

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Album Review: Ben Driscoll — Earthly Remains

Doing due diligence on Ben Driscoll — whose name I know mostly from live performances on KUNI FM — I turned up an article from 2015 in the Cedar Rapids Gazette that calls him a “former musician” and describes his Cedar Rapids woodworking business. Lucky for us, news of his demise as a musician is greatly exaggerated. […]

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Album Review: Anthony Worden — Slouching Towards Tomorrow

AJ Worden’s Slouching Towards Tomorrow is inescapably tied to musical touchstones of the ’60s and ’70s, particularly Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground. It is wrong to say that his music is derivative of those influences, even as the listener can’t escape noticing them. Like Borges’ poet Menard, his project is a fresh creation in a new context; instead of 1965 New York, Worden lives in 2018 Iowa.

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Album Review: William Elliott Whitmore — Kilonova

Will Whitmore has been performing and making albums since the turn of the millennium, always faithful to his own idea of what makes a song that sticks. He writes songs that are simple and devastating. His voice, as it did even when he was in his 20s, sounds not just older than his years, but as though it comes from a different century. […]

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Album Review: Byrn Paul — Dual Wielder

If you are a fan of guitar virtuosity, don’t bother reading the rest of this review; just go buy this album. Byrn Paul has put in the hours of practice to become a master of the instrument. There’s nothing left out of Dual Wielder because it was too hard to play. If you’re a fan of math rock and the viola da gamba — and who isn’t? — this is the only album you can buy this year that scratches that itch. […]

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Karen Meat’s musical circus

It’s a tale as old as time: Boy makes albums. Girl makes albums. Boy meets Girl. Boy and Girl make more albums. Boy and girl start touring together, performing in matching silver-lamé dresses. Or maybe that’s a new story, or at least news. In advance of their joint album release party May 12 at Gabe’s, I sat down to chat with Dana Telsrow (Dana T) and Arin Eaton (Karen Meat) at the Sanctuary. They’re now a couple, both personally and professionally, but met through music: Telsrow played a show at Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines, where Eaton was working the door. Later, Eaton asked Telsrow to play a show in Milwaukee when her full band wasn’t available, and they’ve been performing together ever since. […]

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Worden and MacMillan’s music will take you places

A.J. Worden and Ian MacMillan are trying something different this Sunday, April 29. They will be presenting a two hour performance without beats, without melodies, without words. Using modular synthesizers and keyboards, they will create minimal ambient drone music in the new Garden Club space, upstairs at RADinc. The event, which begins at 7 p.m., is free. […]

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