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Album Reviews: Annalibera — OPIA

In her interview with the Pants-Off Podcast, Anna Gebhardt discussed the difficulty of coming up with a succinct genre for her band Annalibera. “I was going for a sound that would combine sort of where I came from with what I like to listen to: I like experimental music, I like electronic music, I like classical music and I like rock — you know, like just rock and roll. I came from Nebraska where I grew up listening to my mom’s country music station. So, I was trying to combine all of that into some loud music.” […]

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Album Review: Jim Swim — In It With You

Weighing in at five tracks and 18 minutes, In It With You, the newest EP from Iowa artist Jim Swim, is difficult to pigeonhole in terms of genre. If pressed, I would describe it as a blend of hip hop, Nick Drake bootlegs, a book of poems by Rumi and a cold Arnold Palmer spiked with a little bit of whiskey. […]

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Astrology forecast — July 4-17

CANCER (June 21-July 22): An open letter to Cancerians from Rob Brezsny’s mother, Felice: I want you to know that I played a big role in helping my Cancerian son become the empathetic, creative, thoughtful, crazy character he is today. I nurtured his idiosyncrasies. I made him feel secure and well-loved. My care freed him to develop his unusual ideas and life. […]

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Album Review: Thomas Comerford — Blood Moon

The songs that make up Thomas Comerford’s new album, Blood Moon, weren’t necessarily planned to be an album. His goal following his 2014 album, II, was just to keep writing and recording songs at every opportunity without the pressure of a formal album release. He took the chance to work with Chicago acts such as Tatsu Aoki of experimental jazz group Miyumi Project, Panoramic & True, vocalist Amalea Tshilds and singer/pianist Azita Youssefi among others. Last summer he realized that he had a collection of songs that made sense as an album release. […]

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A true history of fake news: The many identities of Benjamin Franklin

Before the term “fake news” gained wide circulation during the 2016 presidential election season, deception had long been part of the U.S. media landscape. When Benjamin Franklin emerged as the publisher of the Pennsylvania Gazette, he used it to plant ironic satires, partisan potshots and other false stories. […]

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Album Review: Mock Identity — Paradise

For many eastern Iowans, your foot in the door to Mock Identity, a new band formed just last winter, is bassist Joshua David Hoffman, formerly of Supersonic Piss, which bowed out of the Iowa City scene in 2013. The band’s farewell blog entry, posted just under five years ago, indicated that Hoffman was off to new endeavors in D.C. — there, he built the connections that led to this new act’s formation, and resulted in Paradise, a debut that is more than Iowa City fans could have hoped for. […]

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Dear Kiki: My boyfriend is bothered by my bisexuality

My boyfriend is wonderful and feminist and sex positive, but he has issues with me being bisexual. It’s not that he’s openly raged at me or anything. It’s just that whenever it happens to come up, you can see the micro-flicker of discomfort on his face that he’s trying to suppress. I know it’s normal to feel a little uncomfortable at the idea of your partner having a past, but he feels especially threatened by the idea of me checking out a girl over a guy (when I actually don’t check out anyone; I’m too in love with him to really notice anyone else in that way). […]

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Dear Kiki: Will BDSM aggravate my mental health issues?

My wife and I have regularly engaged in BDSM throughout our relationship. I’m mostly dominant, but we switch on very rare occasion, and it’s something I’d like to explore more. However, I’ve been struggling with anxiety and depression this year and have self-harmed several times. Is engaging in sex that could involve degrees of pain and humiliation a particularly bad idea considering my current mental health, even if we’re both enthusiastic about it? […]

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Album Review: Byrn Paul — Dual Wielder

If you are a fan of guitar virtuosity, don’t bother reading the rest of this review; just go buy this album. Byrn Paul has put in the hours of practice to become a master of the instrument. There’s nothing left out of Dual Wielder because it was too hard to play. If you’re a fan of math rock and the viola da gamba — and who isn’t? — this is the only album you can buy this year that scratches that itch. […]

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