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Album Review: Hairless Monk — ‘Monolith’

Carved by the Sea, B-Sides from the Depths by Hairless Monk Even before the great quarantine of 2020 started, Jacob Willenborg, under the guise of Hairless Monk, was being highly productive. Since 2015 he has performed, recorded, mixed and mastered five EPs all while maintaining a full-time job and drumming for Cedar Rapids punk band […]

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Album Review: Paul Cary — ‘Raven’

Paul Cary makes raggedy, broken music. His guitar sounds are dirty, distorted and low-fi. Drummer Johnathan Crawford sounds like he’s banging on a briefcase. Cary’s nasal voice puts the mixer in the red, surrounding every accented syllable with a cloud of fuzz. “Snake In the Grass,” the opening track on his 2020 release, Raven, drips […]

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Album Review: TWINS — ‘Dream On’

Dream On by TWINS The four years leading up to the latest album from Cedar Falls band TWINS, Dream On, could be summarized in this line from track two, “Hearts”: “Well, I was playin’ around ’til you came to town…” Singer and songwriter Joel Sires told me in a chat, “I’d exhausted the type of […]

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Album Review: The Host Country — ‘Strike Gently’

I listened to a lecture once explaining why classic country music has the greatest capacity to elicit sadness among all the genres. It’s in the words. The point-of-view is usually more specific; the details more individualistic and unique to the singer. Where other genres may use a simple lyric like “she’s leaving” to communicate loss, […]

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