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Album Review: Eric Paul — ‘Killer’ EP

The first thing I notice about Eric Paul’s Killer EP is guitar tone. In particular, the opening track, “Paradise of Sin,” has a wide stereo guitar sound, subtly overdriven. It’s the kind of electrified guitar sound that gives you that warm feeling when you hear it at concert volume, combined with the punchy drums that bob and weave around the guitar parts. […]

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Album Review: Dryad — ‘The Silurian Age’

The metal scene in Iowa City has always been a pocket universe where the boundary between fans and musicians is permeable. It’s like the bar in Cheers — where everybody knows your name — but with more long hair, tattoos and black leather. The competition between bands is to be the loudest, heaviest and tightest, not the most successful. […]

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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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