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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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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: 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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Elvis Costello rocks the Paramount in Cedar Rapids

The world’s oldest enfant terrible, Elvis Costello, performed a long-overdue (for his Iowa fans) concert Oct. 3 at the Paramount Theater in Cedar Rapids. The audience was mostly — like Costello — angry young punks gone grey and sedate, but Costello was equal to the difficult task of staying fresh and relevant. Costello charmed and challenged […]

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Album Review: Kasper Hauser — Last Ghosts

Kaspar Hauser - Last Ghosts

Kaspar Hauser Last Ghosts www.kasparhauserchicago.bandcamp.com/album/last-ghosts Kaspar Hauser was formed in Iowa City in 1999, led by singer/songwriter Thomas Comerford. Since the last Kaspar Hauser album, The Sons (2009), Comerford has put out two solo records and juggled performing live with his day job teaching film-making. Last Ghosts, recorded mostly live in a Chicago basement studio, […]

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Album Review: Larry “The Wizard” Sievers — Kingdom of Mermaidia

Larry “The Wizard” Sievers Kingdom of Mermaidia www.larrysievers.bandcamp.com/album/mermaidia The artist formerly known as Larry “Machine Gun” Sievers is back with a new album of his unique original compositions. If you’ve seen an older gent wearing a black hat with white ostrich feathers out and about downtown Iowa City, that’s Larry. After playing drums in local […]

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