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Album Review: Brian Johannesen — ‘Holster Your Silver’

As I listened to Brian Johannesen’s Holster Your Silver this week, driving south on I-80 in the January dusk — a nearly full moon rising in the clear sky, plane contrails lining the sunset, bare trees silhouetted in the orange-pink-twilight blue — it hit me that dropping this standout album in deep winter makes all the sense in the world. […]

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Album Review: The Vahnevants — ‘Freakout People’

Two years ago, I saw the Vahnevants play a show on a city bus. The audience was an even split: Half of the people were bus regulars, just trying to get to their stop on their way to or from work. The other half was a mix of the kinds of freaks and art geeks who tend to turn up for these out-of-the-ordinary occurrences of live music. Due to the […]

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Album Review: Douglas Kramer Nye — ‘The End is Nye’

Doug Nye has been playing shows around Iowa City for almost a decade. A self-taught guitarist, singer and songwriter, he’s always had a resonant, deep baritone voice and an ear for bleak folk-tinged songwriting. His voice has become more confident even as his songwriting has turned more cryptic and playful. […]

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Album Review: Body Punishment — ‘Body Punishment Presents: Oyster World’

Body Punishment surfaced on Oct. 27 with an EP — Body Punishment Presents: Oyster World — released on Bandcamp, which features Siren Song I-IV. The “about” section says, “Millennia old sea sirens surface with a vengeance and a taste for human blood.” Shortly thereafter, the group performed at Yacht Club — a costumed duo […]

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Album Review: Arthur Russell — ‘Iowa Dream’

Iowa Dream by Arthur Russell It was awfully sweet what Kevin Costner’s Ray Kinsella said about Iowa — but nobody has made this place sound so good as Arthur Russell. Iowa is always polite, always wild, not the convenient setting of some canonical work of literature read in high school classrooms. The lines are all […]

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Album Review: ‘No Obedience for this Dog’ — A Benefit for Jeff Nehring

There’s a classic axiom about judging a man by the company he keeps. Despite my years in this job, I am not IC-scene enough to have met Jeff Nehring (known for Los Marauders, the Rough Housers and the Day Glow Bomber Boys). But I feel like I know him, judging by the amazing array of people who have rallied around him. His support […]

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Album Review: Dan Padley — ‘Druthers’ (out Nov. 1)

Dan Padley (a member of Laranja and Elizabeth Moen’s band) is releasing a new EP of ambient guitar improvisations Nov. 1 to benefit the Emma Goldman Clinic. Padley is not wedded to a specific style of music. With Elizabeth Moen, he meshes with her rootsy singer-songwriter style; with Laranja, he explores modern jazz. On Druthers he probes 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: Al Naylor — ‘Friends’

It’s impossible to consider Al Naylor’s album Friends without addressing the underlying fact behind its creation. Naylor — nothing short of a legend in the region’s jazz community as both an educator and a player — has been diagnosed with a health condition that will soon force his early retirement from performing. In the face of the news, […]

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Album Review: Dan Padley — ‘Perfectly Whelmed’

Dan Padley, a graduate of the University of Iowa College of Music, has been a versatile asset to Iowa City’s music scene. From touring with singer/songwriter Elizabeth Moen to performing with his band Laranja, he’s a player’s player, meshing seamlessly with the music at hand. Perfectly Whelmed seems more personal and reflective than his […]

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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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