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Album Review: (self-titled) The Sullivan Gang

The Sullivan Gang Self-titled www.thesullivangang.com I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a CD in recent years that more overtly identifies itself as roots music.  From Michelle Wiegand’s acoustic cover of country music classic “Abilene,” to the ass-kicking stomp of “The Colorado Mines Song,” there’s nothing on this CD that couldn’t have been recorded 40 years […]

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CD Review: She Swings She Sways – Wasted Love Songs

She Swings She Sways Wasted Love Songs www.sheswingsshesways.com A common sophomoric “insight” into music is that we only have 12 notes, and that this imposes some upper limit on the possibility of musical expression. It’s not like it’s hard to demolish this idea with combinatorial mathematics, but both the argument and refutation are beside the […]

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Eugene Chadbourne, Crackety Sax, Evan Miller 11/16/08 @ The Mill

Eugene Chadbourne is a prolific guitarist/banjo/songwriter who has produced a supremely odd, but brilliant, body of work over the last 30 years. He started out as a performer working with John Zorn, a more famous but just as brilliant an experimentalist. When Chadbourne struck out on his own, he genre-hopped with reckless abandon, from Country […]

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Best Of, Schmest of, Part Deux

BEST FORMER ROCK & ROLLER LIVING MORE OR LESS QUIETLY IN IOWA CITY: Pete Balestrieri Pete Balestrieri was a mainstay of the rotating assembly of musicians known as the Horns of Dilemma, who the Violent Femmes used to add a generous portion of crazy to their live shows, and he appears on several of their […]

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Album Review: Musée Mecanique: Hold This Ghost

Musée Mecanique Hold This Ghost Frog Stand Records myspace.com/museemecanique [audio:http://www.false45th.net/Audio/Two%20Friends%20Like%20Us.mp3] Musée Mecanique is one of those bands who puts way more into their songs — both the writing and performance — than the short-attention-span musical culture of the US requires. Delicate quiet vocals that trace out long melodic lines, couched in brushed drums and string […]

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Album Review: Brighton MA – Amateur Lovers

Brighton MA Amateur Lovers Loose Tooth Records www.brightonma.net [audio:http://files.for-robots.com/daveb/sunblinded.mp3] Brighton MA is a Chicago Band with some ties to Iowa City. They have my sympathies — Chicago is a rough town musically, full of clubs and bands playing mean zero sum games.  Safe to say anyone mediocre or timid gets tossed in Lake Michigan tout […]

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McCain, Palin, Socialism

Lately McCain and Palin have been hammering Obama for having “socialist ideas.”  Now of course, they don’t actually care whether Obama really advocates Socialism or Capitalism or Communism. They are just using words with negative connotations to describe their opponent, as though they were magical spells. They count on their constituency being ignorant, and not […]

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Jugs Across America CD Review

Jugs Across America Jugs Across America: A Modern Jug Band Compilation Self released Kellie Everette, Banjo Kellie from Escape The Floodwater Jug Band, has taken things up a notch with this new compilation, impishly titled Jugs Across America. It’s always been possible to find jug band music—either the original recordings, the ‘60s revivalists, or the […]

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Unknown Component – In Direct Communication CD Review

Unknown Component In Direct Communication Self Released [audio:unknown_component_its_a_fine_line.mp3] Unknown Component – Its a Fine Line (mp3) Keith Lynch is a local singer-songwriter that has never done things the usual way, starting with his chosen stage name Unknown Component, which suggests an electronica act, or a band at least, but it’s just Keith, his guitars, and […]

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