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Album Review: Noble Octopus | Noble Octopus

The Noble Octopus The Noble Octopus The Noble Octopus was started by Eric Rohn and friends at Grinnell College before moving to Iowa City. With the emphasis on clean guitar sounds and low-key vocals they recall the softer side of Yo La Tengo. The Steve Reich-esque looped guitar piece “Droplets and Isolations” immediately had me […]

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Album Review: Testifi | 2 the World

Testifyi 2 The World www.myspace.com/testifyi There’s a lot of recording artists now that give credit to God for their success, but their music has nothing to do with religious themes. Testifyi takes a different approach: There’s nothing but religious themes on “2 The World.” Testifyi has mastered the style of modern hip hop; if you […]

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Album Review: Bowerbirds | Upper Air

Bowerbirds Upper Air Dead Ocean www.myspace.com/bowerbirds The sophomore release from North Carolina’s Bowerbirds opens simply and unassumingly with an acoustic guitar and the voice of lead singer Phil Moore. Upper Air isn’t making a grand statement, nor is it declaring a grand departure from the group’s debut Hymns for a Dark Horse, it is quietly calling […]

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Album Review: Public Property | work to do

Public Property work to do www.publicprop.com Recorded in the famed Anchor Studios in Kingston, Jamaica, Public Property’s new album features some big-name contemporary reggae musicians like Toots Hibbert from Toots and the Maytals–who is playing with the band for their July 2 CD release show in Des Moines’ People’s bar–Ticklah from Dub Side of the Moon,and […]

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Miracles of God: Album Review

Miracles of God O’ What a Wonderful Day/No Refunds www.myspace.com/miraclesofgod Iowa City’s Miracles of God have waited long enough in obscurity. After years of playing dusty power-pop, the indie underground has finally caught up. A glut of new fuzzed-out pop purveyors like Times New Viking and Vivian Girls sing about the saccharine love and bitter […]

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Scheusch: Album Review

Scheusch Scheusch www.myspace.com/scheusch Consider now, the guitar-drum duo, of which persuasion is Scheusch. If you leave out the bass player, you only split the door two ways. You don’t have to load a heavy bass cabinet, and you don’t need to deal with the guy who always gets basil when you send him out to […]

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The White Tornado: Album Review

The White Tornado Seek Shelter www.white2rnado.com The White Tornado is keyboardist Bill Peterson, who’s been playing shows around Iowa City for some time. Seek Shelter, his debut record, showcases his facility with the piano and organ, not to mention his puckish sense of humor. Stylistically he’s not stuck in any one genre for long, but two […]

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Album Review: Porno Galactica – MixTape Vol. 1

Before Metallica and Napster ever butted heads, people used to venture
out and by their music on something called compact discs. Then, came
the era of the download. Now, artists like Porno Galactica can spread
their music without having to busk out on the pavement. Porno
Galactica, consists of Don and Phil Rabalais. They have made their
first release, Mixtape Vol. 1 directly available to anyone with an
internet connection and a computer. The release doesn’t sound like
anything you’d expect from Fairfield, Iowa. […]

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Album Review: N.A.S.A. – Spirit of Apollo

In the late 1990s, a new phenomena proliferated through commercial hip hop. Deejays began releasing albums overloaded with guest vocals and uninspired tunes. If you were a fan of rap music it was hard to escape this constant barrage of “exclusive” albums. Most were 15 tracks too long and you could tell every emcee was more concerned about the paycheck than the rhymes. […]

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Kaspar Hauser | The Sons CD Review

Kaspar Hauser The Sons www.kasparhausermusic.net Kaspar Hauser started in Iowa City and then moved to Chicago, but they’re back once or twice a year for shows at the Mill.  They play guitar-based pop music, with no grand pretensions or sonic gimmicks.  If you see them live, they look like they just finished a shift at […]

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This Machine | Lemming Nation CD Review

This Machine Lemming Nation You have to admire Marv Hain, for being true to his ideals, and his devotion to a musical form that’s been moribund for nearly 50 years, folk protest songs.  His stage name “This Machine” is, I assume, an homage to Woody Guthrie, who wrote “This Machine Kills Fascists” on his guitar. […]

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Laura Gibson | Beasts of Seasons CD Review

Laura Gibson Beasts of Seasons Hush Records www.myspace.com/lauragibson Midwesterners need few words to describe the seasonal bitterness laid upon them this time of year. Luckily, locals have a Garden of Eden from which to hand-pick shows this April, making the last blasts of winter somewhat bearable. Disheartened Iowans hopefully anticipating a lamb this spring may […]

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