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Album Review: John William Watkins — The Oracle EP

John William Watkins, an Iowa native living in New York City, showcases his songwriting and singing in minimal acoustic arrangements on The Oracle EP, released June 21. His lyrics deal with evergreen topics of love and loneliness, from his point of view as a gay man. Watkins sings blunt, personal lyrics in a gentle, quavering voice

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Album Review: Jarrett Purdy — Motion & Stillness

Motion and Stillness by Jarrett Purdy Garrett Purdy is a pianist, a composer and a recent graduate of the University of Iowa’s School of Music (and through the end of July, he’s an intern at Hancher Auditorium, where I am on staff). His debut album, Motion & Stillness, is entirely made up of his jazz […]

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Album Review: Land of Blood and Sunshine — House of Bellow

Listening to Land Of Blood and Sunshine is being taken on a journey through a fantasy world of damaged misfits moving through surrealist landscapes. From their first album, 2009’s Magick Carcass Ride, through their last, 2015’s Lady and the Trance, they’ve continued to spin fables in song form. […]

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Album Review: The Diplomats of Solid Sound — A Higher Place

The Diplomats of Solid Sound are back with a new slab of soul! The line-up has changed a little since 2010’s fantastic What Goes Around Comes Around, but the core of the band is still Doug Roberson on guitar; Nate “Count” Basinger, who flew up from Austin to provide his signature Hammond B3 and piano; and Eddie McKinley on sax. […]

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Album Review: Eric Paul — Killer EP

The first thing I notice about Eric Paul’s Killer EP is guitar tone. In particular, the opening track, “Paradise of Sin,” has a wide stereo guitar sound, subtly overdriven. It’s the kind of electrified guitar sound that gives you that warm feeling when you hear it at concert volume, combined with the punchy drums that bob and weave around the guitar parts. […]

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Album Review: MC Animosity — ’79 Til Now, Vol. 1

Ohio native MC Animosity has been making music in Iowa City since 1998. He currently serves as lead vocalist for the Uniphonics, who have opened for the Roots, Wu-Tang and many more amazing hip-hop, jazz and rock-influenced artists. His latest project, ’79 Til Now, Vol. 1, with production from DJ Johnny Sixx […]

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Album Review: Aseethe — Throes

Out May 17, Throes, the new album from Iowa City’s metal mavens Aseethe (their second since signing to Thrill Jockey), is overflowing with emotion. This album is exhausting. The opening title track is a nine-and-a-half-minute relentless epic. Aseethe pulls no punches, demanding full investment and offering no quarter. […]

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