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Book Review: ‘Guitar Chords by Brook Hoover’

Brook Hoover is an Eastern Iowa music scene staple. He plays out every week, whether it’s a solo gig with his cover band the Flaming Camaros or a tour stop with his surf-rock group the Surf Zombies. When he’s not in the spotlight, he’s teaching guitar to folks from the very young to the, well, older. His classes are tailored to the goals of the […]

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Album Review: Pink Neighbor — ‘Time Beach Universe’

The brightly illustrated Peter Max-influenced pop-art cover of Time Beach Universe, the debut album from Grinnell band Pink Neighbor, gives us a pretty good idea of what lies within. But, it’s not all tangerine trees and marmalade skies — it’s a perfect pastiche of the full variety of 1960s party pop. The neighborly tone of the record is set at the […]

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Album Review: Halfloves — ‘Dazer’

When a band takes the time to create an album as a single work and does it well, as Iowa City band Halfloves has done with their second album Dazer, the investment of experiencing the whole work pays off. Overall, Dazer explores a theme of human connection or, in some cases, the lack thereof. […]

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Album Review: Pieta Brown — ‘Freeway’

The press material for Pieta Brown’s new album, Freeway, quotes guitarist Jeremy Ylvisaker asking, “what kind of music IS this? Prairie gaze?!” The question, while humorous, touches on the sonic explorations of the sessions that make up her eighth album. For her first album on Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe label, Brown returned to Justin […]

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Album Review: DICKIE — ‘Minus Thieves’

If various comic book universes have taught us anything, it’s that every hero needs an origin story. For DICKIE, that was their 2015 self-titled release—a concept album summarizing songwriter and vocalist Dick Prall’s life to that point. Returning like Superman from the Fortress of Solitude, Prall has reconvened DICKIE with a different lineup […]

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Album Review: The Diplomats of Solid Sound — ‘A Higher Place’

The Diplomats of Solid Sound are back with a new slab of soul! The line-up has changed a little since 2010’s fantastic What Goes Around Comes Around, but the core of the band is still Doug Roberson on guitar; Nate “Count” Basinger, who flew up from Austin to provide his signature Hammond B3 and piano; and Eddie McKinley on sax. […]

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Album Review: Blake Shaw — ‘it happened.’

There is a long-standing tradition in jazz of performing pop standards, and those songs became kind of a lingua franca for jazz musicians. Iowa City jazz bassist and vocalist Blake Shaw — whose latest album, it happened., is a collection of standards — explained the tradition […]

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