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Album Review: Piss Exorcist — Piss Exorcist

From the depths of the Eastern Iowa punk scene comes Piss Exorcist’s self-titled album, released this past February. The Piss Exorcist identifications on Bandcamp range from hardcore punk to thrash music, but their Facebook claims they produce “punk bullshit,” which couldn’t be a more fitting classification in the most favorable sense. […]

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Album Review: Koplant No — Elker

The opening track “Before We Go” on the reunited Koplant No’s new album “Elker” is a compound of skittering synth decay and dripping percussion flitting around a lone trumpet carrying a mournful melody. It’s a track that would fit perfectly on a Jack Lion record — which seems obvious when you consider that fellow Iowa City group Jack Lion shares Brian Lewis Smith on trumpet and Drew Morton on bass.
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Album Review: Dizzy Bridges — Speakerphobe on Speakerphone

Hearing a tune like “Variations on a Heartbeat” is a bit like visiting an old friend. It’s the kind of skillfully addictive pop tune that has you singing along by the second listen. But for Dizzy Bridges, the solo project of Iowa City musician SJ Gonzales, that isn’t enough. […]

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Album Review: Society of Broken Souls — Midnight and the Pale

Dennis James and Lauryn Shapter are an Iowan roots/country duo who tour constantly around the middle of the United States. Their music is based in the folk tradition that wouldn’t seem novel 50 years ago. […]

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Album Review: Peanut Ricky — I Think I Am Not Okay

A self-described sententious high school student, Jordan Adams (Conetrauma, Jailbus) was frequently skipping class and finding herself in Saturday detention, where she would spend her time in the art room. One day, when sorting through stacks of art prints as she usually did, a particular picture caught her eye. The dark photograph was of a blank wall that read “Peanut Ricky as a thunderbolt.” Adams, now 20 years old, has since released all of her solo music under the namesake. […]

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Album Review: Middle Western — When Your Demons are Underground and You’ve Got to Dig Them Up

When long-time Iowa City scene staple Dave Zollo and Lee County troubadour William Elliott Whitmore started performing together a couple years ago as Middle Western with members of Zollo’s band The Body Electric and Chicago guitarist Stevie Doyle, it seemed a natural fit. […]

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Album Review: Dustin Matos — Layers

“Layers” is storytelling symphonic rock at its best. There’s an epic, synth-y feel that could set it as the soundtrack to an ’80s fantasy film — but the narrative is more concise. These aren’t the kind of instrumental tracks that exist to travel alongside someone else’s story. They’re self-contained tales.
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Album Review: Homogenized Terrestrials — Suspension

Phillip Klampe is a veteran of the dark ambient scene, self-releasing his first cassettes in the mid-1990s. His nom de ambient is Homogenized Terrestrials, which is a nod to his similarly long career as a grocery store dairy department manager. […]

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