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Album Review: Other Brothers — Born Out Of Tune

In April, KUNI’s Mark Simmet interviewed Des Moines Blues Rock trio the Other Brothers, who had just released their third album, Born Out Of Tune. He brought up the question of what to call their brand of music and decided it was classic rock. The conversation turned to how classic rock has gotten a kind of stigma based on the typical limited radio station song rotation, but that the sound of that music is making another comeback. Guitars are cool again and bands like the Other Brothers are are getting deserved attention from it.

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Album Review: Anthony Worden — Slouching Towards Tomorrow

AJ Worden’s Slouching Towards Tomorrow is inescapably tied to musical touchstones of the ’60s and ’70s, particularly Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground. It is wrong to say that his music is derivative of those influences, even as the listener can’t escape noticing them. Like Borges’ poet Menard, his project is a fresh creation in a new context; instead of 1965 New York, Worden lives in 2018 Iowa.

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Album Review: William Elliott Whitmore — Kilonova

Will Whitmore has been performing and making albums since the turn of the millennium, always faithful to his own idea of what makes a song that sticks. He writes songs that are simple and devastating. His voice, as it did even when he was in his 20s, sounds not just older than his years, but as though it comes from a different century. […]

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Album Review: King of the Tramps — Wild Water

The Tramps’ latest album, Wild Water, returns with the southern rock-influenced formula the band is known for — dual Allman Brothers-style guitar leads, searing slide, driving drums and lots of groove. Partridge draws from his small town Iowa experiences, yet delivers songs I think can resonate with anyone. But, while I wouldn’t call Wild Water a political record per se, it’s clear that Partridge has had some hot button issues on his mind. […]

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Album Review: Thrio — We Like To Have Fun

In the bio for Eastern Iowa jazz trio Thrio, they describe themselves as “chord-less” — a somewhat clumsy way to explain that the band, as a trio of sax, bass and drums, doesn’t incorporate any instruments that play chords (keyboards or guitars for example). This isn’t a new idea for jazz — in fact, Sonny Rollins is credited with pioneering this configuration in 1957, which in turn influenced sax-led trios for decades to follow. In an interview with The New York Times in 2007, Rollins said that the lack of piano allowed him freedom to play outside of a song structure typically dictated by it.

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Album Review: Young Charles — Armageddon Party Dress

Mitch McAndrew, both the vocal and songwriting chops behind Young Charles, comes across on the band’s debut, Armageddon Party Dress, as a jazz composer who desperately wants to be a folk singer (with a slight addiction to pop melancholy). The genres fuse and break, weave in and out of each other in ways that evoke the mid- to late-’70s years when Joni Mitchell and Billy Joel were contemporaries. […]

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Album Review: Annalibera — OPIA

In her interview with the Pants-Off Podcast, Anna Gebhardt discussed the difficulty of coming up with a succinct genre for her band Annalibera. “I was going for a sound that would combine sort of where I came from with what I like to listen to: I like experimental music, I like electronic music, I like classical music and I like rock — you know, like just rock and roll. I came from Nebraska where I grew up listening to my mom’s country music station. So, I was trying to combine all of that into some loud music.” […]

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Album Review: Jim Swim — In It With You

Weighing in at five tracks and 18 minutes, In It With You, the newest EP from Iowa artist Jim Swim, is difficult to pigeonhole in terms of genre. If pressed, I would describe it as a blend of hip hop, Nick Drake bootlegs, a book of poems by Rumi and a cold Arnold Palmer spiked with a little bit of whiskey. […]

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Album Review: Thomas Comerford — Blood Moon

The songs that make up Thomas Comerford’s new album, Blood Moon, weren’t necessarily planned to be an album. His goal following his 2014 album, II, was just to keep writing and recording songs at every opportunity without the pressure of a formal album release. He took the chance to work with Chicago acts such as Tatsu Aoki of experimental jazz group Miyumi Project, Panoramic & True, vocalist Amalea Tshilds and singer/pianist Azita Youssefi among others. Last summer he realized that he had a collection of songs that made sense as an album release. […]

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Album Review: Mock Identity — Paradise

For many eastern Iowans, your foot in the door to Mock Identity, a new band formed just last winter, is bassist Joshua David Hoffman, formerly of Supersonic Piss, which bowed out of the Iowa City scene in 2013. The band’s farewell blog entry, posted just under five years ago, indicated that Hoffman was off to new endeavors in D.C. — there, he built the connections that led to this new act’s formation, and resulted in Paradise, a debut that is more than Iowa City fans could have hoped for. […]

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