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Album Review: Mirror Coat – Whispers

“Shoegaze” was the genre of a group of late ‘80s and early ‘90s bands primarily from the U.K. who shared a common musical esthetic. Part Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” and part Britpop, the sound was distinguished by its use of layers of effects. The name “shoegaze” came from the observation… […]

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Album Review: Volcano Boys – Self-titled

On paper, Volcano Boys looks like another project from the prolific Jordan Mayland (Jordan Mayland and the Thermal Detonators, Keepers of the Carpet, Nuclear Rodeo, Electronidoll and Tires), who is the principal vocalist and songwriter. But the blending of talent from Wolves in the Attic and Mantis Pincers member Trent Derby (drums, percussion and vocals), Eric Moffitt (guitar) and Tom Reneker (bass), gives Volcano Boys a sound reminiscent of retro-’90s alternative guitar rock.
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Album Review: Peas and Carrot – Big Girl Shoes

When Iowa Public Radio asked Peas and Carrot lead singer and guitarist Audrey Robinson who her vocal influences were during a recent in-studio interview, she snapped back, “NOT Janis Joplin!” “Janis Joplin” is too often used as shorthand for any female singer who has a raw, bluesy edge, but Robinson’s sound is less hoarse belting and more dynamic rock and soul reminiscent of vocalists like Linda Perry, PJ Harvey and Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes. […]

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Album Review: Kelly Pardekooper – Milk in Sunshine

The musician credits of Kelly Pardekooper’s new album Milk in Sunshine is a who’s who of Eastern Iowa country, folk and blues legends including Bo Ramsey, Dave Zollo, Dave Moore, Pieta Brown and Radoslav Lorkovic. Milk in Sunshine is a massive 24-song CD and/or vinyl LP package encompassing 10 new songs with a bonus 16-song “greatest hits” of Kelly Pardekooper. […]

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Album Review: Pieta Brown – Paradise Outlaw

During her show at CSPS in October 2013, Pieta Brown mentioned that she was working on her next album at Justin Vernon’s April Base studios in Fall Creek, Wis. As a fan of Vernon—better known as the frontman and songwriter of Bon Iver—I was anxious to hear the results. […]

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Album Review: Jack Lion — JAC EP

It seemed that after Slip Silo vocalist and guitarist Matt Logan split the Midwest and his band to take an opportunity on the West Coast, the remainder of the band was rudderless. In a March 2013 interview with Little Village he said that he hoped they’d be able to continue on the mission of connecting and tapping into a “transcendent and universal creativity source” without him. […]

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Album Review: The Sapwoods – Peaks and Valleys

Iowa City band The Sapwoods are back with their second album titled Peaks and Valleys. While the lineup in the band has changed since their 2012 release Electric Glow, the core of Justin Swafford (vocals and guitar) and David Suchan (lead guitar) remains the same. Joining Swafford and Suchan are Brian Speer on bass, Derrick Cook on drums and Miranda Peyton on keys, vocals and guitar. […]

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Album Reviews: Eufórquestra – Fire

The jam band genre is often less focused on the style of music played by the band and more focused on the community the band has with its audience. These communities, which are typically built through extensive touring, allow bands like Eufórquestra to eschew traditional artist-label relationships for more direct, fan-to-artist connections. […]

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Album Reviews: The White Elephant – Cocaine Love Letter

Cocaine Love Letter was born while the band was taking some downtime. Rohr and bandmate Ron Coleman both ended up writing a bunch of acoustic demos during this time and decided to turn them into three albums, which will all eventually be released for free on their website… […]

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Album Reviews: Item 9 & The Mad Hatters – III

Item 9 & The Mad Hatters was originally a cover band called Old Style, but in 2010 they added lead vocalist Adam Maxwell to the mix and made the transition to original tunes. The time spent honing their chops playing a variety of musical genres in Old Style paid off and is highlighted in the band’s newest album, III, a funky stew of seemingly every rock and roll ingredient. […]

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Album Reviews: Twins – Tomboys on Parade

My passion for music started to deepen when I discovered The Beatles in sixth grade. For the first time, I wanted to know everything about a band. This love of The Beatles opened the door for my appreciation of bands who were clearly influenced by the Fab Four. Often grouped under the genre of “power pop,” I was a sucker for bands like The Smithereens, Urge Overkill and Game Theory. […]

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Album Review: Bedroom Shrine – No Déjà Vu

If you are a follower of the music website daytrotter.com, you have already been exposed to Johnnie Cluney’s illustrations, which give the site its signature pen-and-ink look. What you might not be aware of, however, is Cluney’s work as a musician with his band Bedroom Shrine. The group’s debut full-length album, No Déjà Vu, is a product of the Quad Cities’ tight-knit music community. No Déjà Vu is the first release for Iowa’s newest record label, Cartouche Records, run by Davenport’s Ragged Record… […]

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