The Mission Creek Festival will soon be upon us, and Iowa City is holding its collective breath until it finally arrives. While Mission Creek’s main entrée is music (with healthy portions of literature and culinary arts), I won’t spend too much time explaining the festival here. That being said, much of this issue’s noteworthy live music doesn’t hit us until the fest starts on April 1.
For more information on Mission Creek, I will direct you to the included insert for the lineup, schedule, artist bios and more. The Little Village and Mission Creek websites, as well as their respective social media pages, will also provide updated information as the festival kicks into full gear.
Our first event is an emotionally heavy multimedia performance by innovative New York dance company, Palissimo. Sure to be a hefty sensory load, Palissimo’s website explains that the group “treats each aspect of the production—dance, movement, sound, light, set and video design—as equal.” The crew will be performing “Strange Cargo,” the third installment of artistic director, Pavel Zuštiak’s The Painted Bird Trilogy. The project touches on themes of identity, otherness, displacement and transformation and has received high critical praise from the New York Times and Dance Magazine. The performance is scored live by Christian Frederickson, a former member of acclaimed chamber rock group, Rachel’s. The show will take place at CSPS Hall in Cedar Rapids on both March 29 and 30.
It’s no joke—Kendrick Lamar’s April Fool’s day show at the IMU is, in fact, sold out at the box office. There is a reason for this and if you happen to get your hands on some tickets, here’s why this one is important. The Compton-based rapper is one of the country’s most talked about artists right now. His 2012 major label debut, good kid, m.A.A.d city made just about every “Best Of” list you can think of last year, taking the number one spot of many (Pitchfork, BBC, Complex, to name a few). The album is at least loosely autobiographical and, put simply, follows the story of a young dude getting into trouble and contemplating life in a crime-ridden community. His lyrical flow is unique but graceful and the accompanying beats explore the boundaries of his genre.
Ducktails is the solo project of Matthew Mondanile, who perhaps until recently was best known for his other sensational indie rock band, Real Estate. With the January release of The Flower Lane, it is clear that Ducktails has gone from a whimsical bedroom project to a full on musical endeavor. The fourth release under the Ducktails moniker, The Flower Lane exhibits a project that has come into its own. The collaborative effort features members of Cults, Oneohtrix Point Never and Big Troubles and has received positive critical reviews. Opening up the night will be Monopoly Child Star Searchers and local act, Gem Jones. The show will take place on April 1 and is free, though an RSVP is needed to guarantee entry, as this show will likely pack the house. Please see The Mill’s website for more details.
The project that William Basinski is most known for, The Disintegration Loops, was the accidental product of his attempt to salvage old tapes by converting them to a digital format. As the frail tape passed through the device, it began to deteriorate, creating eerie “disintegrating loops” as a result. More eerily still, Basinski finished the project the morning of September 11, 2001. Basinski sat on the roof of his Brooklyn apartment building, listening to his new recorded deteriorating tape loops as the World Trade Center building collapsed. The project is regarded as one of the most important ambient works of the 2000s. Joining Basinski will be Julianna Barwick. Barwick uses reverbed-out vocal loops to create a lush, minimalist, dreamy soundscapes. Basinski and Barwick will perform at Gabe’s on April 2.
San Francisco-based band, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down are certainly one to keep an eye on right now. The group is fronted by singer-songwriter, Thao Nguyen, who began playing guitar in bands at a very young age. It wasn’t until the late 2000s that the ball really started rolling for Nguyen and her backing band, The Get Down Stay Down. Making connections with Sufjan Stevens and Decemberists producer, Tucker Martine, she released her first album on the Kill Rock Stars label and subsequently embarked on separate tours with Xiu Xiu and Rilo Kiley. Her latest release, We the Common (Ribbon Music), was released in February of this year and features a brilliant collaboration with fellow songstress, Joanna Newsom. Catch Thao & The Get Down Stay Down at The Mill on April 2.
White Lung is one of the most acclaimed punk bands out there at the moment. The Vancouver outfit has perhaps tried to stay under the radar, releasing their music on small labels and playing DIY tours around the U.S. and Canada. But their latest album, Sorry, a 19 minute blast of heavy, spastic punk rock has turned a lot of heads since its release in the summer of 2012. Sorry made many “Best of 2012” lists and has received critical acclaim from (very non-underground) publications such as SPIN, Pitchfork, Magnet, Exclaim! and Rolling Stone. White Lung will be joined by a stacked lineup of local acts—Slut River, Nerv and Gluestick—at Gabe’s on April 3.
Steve Crowley is a red blooded Wisconsinite marooned in the fetid morass of Iowa City that had to make due with the yokels and, over the course of five years, came to quite like it here.