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Album Review – The Wheelers: Bubix

The Wheelers are a pan-Iowan band with members scattered between Iowa City and Ames. Other joint efforts between these two cities often result in heavy drinking, name calling and injuries and, while I can’t confirm that The Wheelers encounter a similar fate when they get together, the teetering energy here is very much the same. […]

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Album Review – Acoustic Guillotine: Self-Titled

Billy Mac and Pete R are veteran Iowa City musicians, going back to the 1980s punk/hardcore heyday. Though this self-titled album is more metal than anything else, I have to plead ignorance as to which metal sub-genre Acoustic Guillotine pledges their allegiance to. Their bass-and-guitar-duo sound lacks metal’s trademark guitar heroics, but they’re too energetic and obtuse to be stoner rock. […]

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Album Review: The Uniphonics – Crawl

One of the most unfortunate legacies of the 90s was Rap Rock. Guitars and rhymes together don’t have to suck but it seems like those bands were trying hard to do just that. Thankfully the Uniphonics have gone another direction, mixing rhymes with funk. What could be more natural, since hip-hop was built on beats […]

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Pieta Brown – One and All

Local Albums: May 2010 – One and All, the sixth full-length from Pieta Brown, finds the folky at her most relaxed and confident. One and All feels like a commiseration at The Mill: It’s easy, fluid and full of prospective delivered in a comfortable drawl. The album opens with a double-shot of hopeless romanticism. “Wishes […]

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Johnny On Point – Keefin It Real

Johnny On Point’s new CD Keefin It Real doesn’t do anything to bring dance music out of the shadows, but I doubt that’s his intent. He doesn’t bother to conform to any genre I know–they’re not House, Techno, Dubstep or what’s currently mis-labeled Electro. The only thing I can really call him is a stone-cold sound geek. […]

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Idris Goodwin: Break Beat Poems

Local Albums: April 2010 – Back in the day–1979–Hawkeye basketball star Ronnie Lester was a hip hop ambassador. Ronnie took his boom box everywhere , playing “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang nonstop. It was, to Iowa ears, something strange and alien, and yet irresistible. Idris Goodwin’s track “Isiah Thomas Camp” took me back to […]

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Sad Iron Music: Self Titled

Local Albums: April 2010 – Sad Iron Music is the musical persona of Jason Lewis, originally from West Virginia, but living now in Iowa City and attending the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He was in the alt-country band Star City that a few years back achieved some prominence, accompanied, unfortunately, by little financial success. After turning […]

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Ben Schmidt: Silt

Local Albums: March 2010 – Ben Schmidt is a guy who writes songs and plays guitar, which in Iowa City, means he has to work pretty hard to stand out from the crowd. Schmidt’s singing is precisely pitched and without ornament. His songwriting has a pleasant, relaxed accessibility. His guitar playing is accomplished, but Schmidt’s […]

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Surf Zombies: Something Weird

Local Albums: April 2010 – Being of a certain age, and having been a kid in 1960s California, surf music is totemic to me. From listening to my uncle’s Beach Boys records on a blonde-tolex-covered suitcase record player, to hearing “Wipeout” played by every garage band on my walk home from Booksin Elementary in San […]

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