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Iowa City band Aseethe is taking its minimalist metal sound back on tour

Aseethe, the Iowa City band made up of Brian Barr and Eric Dierks, has been kicking around the Midwest heavy music scene for a few years now, with an evolving sound based around Barr’s exploration of the raw sound of guitar, synth and samples. Having caught the ear of Thrill Jockey owner Bettina Richards, they went from selling her a T-shirt, to Thrill Jockey distributing their 2015 EP ‘Nothing Left Nothing Gained,’ to releasing their current record, ‘Hopes of Failure,’ on the label. […]

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Album Review: The Fuss — The Fuss

The Fuss — a Des Moines-based rock band who have released a couple of EPs in recent years — make the kind of catchy pop rock music that reminds one of Tommy Tutone or The Replacements. Their self-titled debut album, which includes four tracks from an earlier EP, drops July 1. […]

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‘Quite a little fight’ — the Harris family’s move to Bever Avenue was an early step forward in Cedar Rapids integration

At Percy Harris’ Memorial Service on Jan.30 at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Cedar Rapids, Ted Townsend, the president of St. Luke’s Hospital, began his eulogy for Dr. Harris by saying that before he met him, he’d heard so many good things about him that he was surprised to find out he was still alive. It was a funny line and on the edge of inappropriate for a memorial, but would have tickled Harris’ famous sense of humor. It would be difficult to find someone in Cedar Rapids who has a bad word to say about Harris. He devoted his life to serving Cedar Rapids, becoming its first black physician in 1957. He later served as the Linn County Medical Examiner, President of Medical Staff at St. Luke’s and for two terms as a member of the Iowa Board of Regents.

One of the most famous incidents of Harris’ life was the controversy that surrounded the 1961 decision of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church — where he was, according to fellow parishioner Carolyn Wellso, the only African American member — to sell him a lot on which to build his home. Robert Armstrong, owner of Armstrong’s Department Store, had donated land adjacent to his Bever Avenue home to the church as a contribution to its building fund; he proposed to the board that they sell a lot to Harris. […]

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

Bridget Kearney Won’t Let You Down bridgetkearney.bandcamp.com 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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Exploring the visceral and diaristic music of Mykki Blanco

Mykki Blanco has gained prominence in the past few years as an artist that blows up conventions — in the hyper-masculine world of hip hop, she’s queer, HIV positive and gender fluid, a gay man performing as a woman without being either trans or drag. Her songs are, as she says “diaristic,” speaking about personal fears and feelings in a genre known for bragging about expensive cars and coke-dealing and violence. She is both Mykki Blanco and Michael Quattlebaum Jr, she and he — an artistic creation, but never artificial. […]

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Album Review: Beyond Peace — Beyond Peace

Beyond Peace Beyond Peace beyondpeacehc.bandcamp.com 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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Set in rural Iowa, Darnielle’s ‘Universal Harvester’ focuses on connections

John Darnielle Reading Prairie Lights — Monday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. A palimpsest is a piece of parchment that has been written on, scrubbed clean and written on again. Scholars of the first millennium focus on recovering the erased text, which can tell a story more interesting than the surface writing. The Palimpsest was […]

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Album Review: Belly Belt — Stay True

Belly Belt Stay True EP bellybelt.bandcamp.com 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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Album Review: JCϟjp — Self-titled

JCϟjp JCϟjp jcjp.bandcamp.com/releases JCϟjp by JCϟjp The name JCϟjp is an unpronounceable acronym of the group members’ names, Justin Comer and Jason Palamara. Palamara is a violinist and electronic musician currently working as a lecturer at Iowa State University. Comer is a saxophonist and electronic musician who is one of the people behind the eclectic […]

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Album Review: Karen Meat — She’s Drunk Like the Rest of Us EP

Karen Meat She’s Drunk Like the Rest of Us EP karenmeat.bandcamp.com She's Drunk Like the Rest of Us by Karen Meat Karen Meat is a pop genius. Karen Meat sings a lot about barf. Karen Meat is not her real name — Arin Eaton is. If you peruse her music on Bandcamp, you’ll hear someone […]

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Album Review: Anthony Worden — Demos

Anthony Worden Demos anthonyworden.bandcamp.com When I saw Anthony — aka A.J. Worden, formerly of Bull Black Nova — perform at The Mill recently, I was struck by how he sometimes sounds a little like Lou Reed. With Reed, you always hear the limitations of his voice. Worden is an actual singer, who confidently hits and […]

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Album Review: Jim Swim — Half Woke

Jim Swim Half Woke EP itsjimswim.bandcamp.com/releases Half Woke EP by Jim Swim Hip hop came to Iowa City in the boom box on the shoulder of celebrated University of Iowa basketball player Ronnie Lester, blasting the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” in 1979. Ever since then, hip hop culture has been passed down from MC to […]

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