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Album Review: Human Aftertaste – Black Toad

Human Aftertaste Black Toad humanaftertaste.com DC Comics introduced us to Bizarro World, the cubical world where everything is the opposite of our world. The Bizarro aesthetic code was “Us love ugliness!” Human Aftertaste would, I guess, be the Bizarro Bieber. They’ve gone through various incarnations through the past several years but there’s a consistent commitment […]

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Album Review: Death Ships – Circumstantial Chemistry

Death Ships Circumstantial Chemistry deathships.bandcamp.com Death Ships w/ Mike Doughty, Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps // The Mill // Thurs, Mar. 29 Back in 2006 Dan Maloney and his band Death Ships were gigging regularly from his Iowa City home-base and gaining some notoriety. Life changes forced a do-over in Chicago which resulted in […]

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Album Review: Kelly Pardekooper – Yonder

An oft-quoted rule-of-thumb for writers is “write what you know.” Great written works are usually imbued with a strong sense of place derived from the writer’s ability to pull that little bit of themselves in–people, places, conversations, situations. Kelly Pardekooper lived in Iowa most of his life and recorded five albums of Grade-A Iowa Americana. […]

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Album Review: The Pines – Dark So Gold

I’ve been a dedicated follower of former-Iowa City band The Pines since their first album came out on Dave Zollo’s late record label, Trailer Records, in 2004. Benson Ramsey and David Huckfelt have since recorded three albums for Red House Records—a label with a famous affinity for the Iowa City folk and blues scene. Each […]

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Album Review: Grism – Social Obligations

Grism is a group comprised of Zach Lint (aka Coolzey of the Sucker MCs), Grace Locke Ward (Petit Mal, Leslie & The LY’s, Etsy.com superstar), Rachel Feldman and Kate Kane (Lipstick Homicide). They’re longtime friends and members of the recombinant scrum of rock bands in Iowa City. Even though Grism is a vehicle for Zach’s […]

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Album Review: Cuticle – Mother Rhythm Earth Memory

This release by Cuticle (aka Brendan O’Keefe) is notable in the first place because it will be released on Not Not Fun, a well-respected boutique label, known internationally for adventurous releases on vinyl and cassette. Mother Rhythm Earth Memory will be limited to 500 vinyl records; I hope the vinyl will be followed by a […]

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Album Review: Thomas Comerford – Archive + Spiral

Thomas Comerford Archive + Spiral www.thomascomerford.bandcamp.com As the principal singer and songwriter in the band Kaspar Hauser, Thomas Comerford has built a reputation for his inventive take on roots rock. Archive + Spiral is less rocking and more country, with a vibe more living room than rock club. Comerford’s slightly nasal baritone recalls Lou Reed […]

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Album Review: Grand Tetons – They Do Move in Herds

The debut album, They Do Move in Herds, from Grand Tetons is a quintessential 20-something’s album. The quartet has composed a paean to the lost years between college graduation and the “real world.” It’s clear from the opening organ strains of “Honey Don’t Know”—the aural equivalent of the sun cutting through the blinds and peeling open the lids glued to your eyes by a whiskey-soaked sleep—that Grand Tetons are sucking down experiences like well whiskeys and $2 tall boys. There isn’t a whole lot of restraint: too much to drink, too quiet, too loud, too many instruments; there’s a lot of life, and energy and the alt-country group wants you to feel it as intensely as they do. […]

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Album Review: Lady Killaz – Dynamic Duo

Lady KillAZ is Lyssa and Klymaxx, two young women who reside in Cedar Rapids, and Dynamic Duo is their debut mix tape. Since I’m a middle-aged white guy my taste in hip hop runs to the classics from the ‘80s and newer ‘conscious’ rap. Lady KillAZ on the other hand are ghetto and proud. They don’t give a f*ck what a geezer like me might think of their beats and rhymes. […]

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Album Review: Clancy Everafter – iowania

If there is one thing that you can say about the current generation, it is that it has a disturbingly high proclivity towards chilling. Don’t take this as everything being alright. For all of the fun it sounds like everyone is having, the chill vibe is laced with malaise, anxiety and wanderlust. This ambivalence towards the good life can be heard on Clancy Everafter’s excellent Iowania. […]

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Album Review: Ex-Action Model – Dropland

Ex-Action Model Dropland Mission Freak Records exactionmodel.com Brendan Hanks’ full-length debut under his long-running nom-de-plume, Ex-Action Model, is a testament to the years Hanks has spent perfecting his programing and sequencing abilities. Dropland is a diverse collection of electronic pieces that manages to cram a wide variety of sounds and textures over the run of […]

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Album Review: T'Bone – Mount Trashmore

T’Bone is based in Chicago, but is made up of Iowa natives Leland Meiners (bass), Ed Bornstein (drums) and Pat McPartland (guitar), and their album Mount Trashmore was recorded in Iowa City at Luke Tweedy’s Flat Black Studio. Chicago, birthplace of seminal post rock bands like Tortoise and Gastr Del Sol, is an apt home for these guys, whose songs follow their own crooked paths, leaving pop song conventions far behind. […]

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