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Kevin ‘B.F.’ Burt, International Blues Challenge champion, reflects on Iowa’s rich blues history

Kevin “B.F.” Burt is unstoppable. Burt was the second Iowan to win an award at the festival, the first Iowan to win in the Solo/Duo category and the first artist in the festival’s 34-year history to sweep the solo categories—he also won the Solo/Duo Cigar Box Guitar Award for most promising acoustic player and the Lee Oskar Harmonica Award. […]

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Iowa City band Aseethe is taking its minimalist metal sound back on tour

Aseethe, the Iowa City band made up of Brian Barr and Eric Dierks, has been kicking around the Midwest heavy music scene for a few years now, with an evolving sound based around Barr’s exploration of the raw sound of guitar, synth and samples. Having caught the ear of Thrill Jockey owner Bettina Richards, they went from selling her a T-shirt, to Thrill Jockey distributing their 2015 EP ‘Nothing Left Nothing Gained,’ to releasing their current record, ‘Hopes of Failure,’ on the label. […]

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Support the ACLU and local music this Friday

The music site Bandcamp announced this week that on Friday, Feb. 3, it would be donating its share of all proceeds to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In a post on its website, Bandcamp founder and CEO Ethan Diamond condemned last week’s Executive Order limiting travel and immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, writing: “Like […]

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Album Reviews: Younger – Self-titled

The self-titled debut by Iowa City trio Younger nicely balances intricate arrangements with more hooks than a box full of fishing tackle. Many of their songs contain verse-chorus-verse-defying breakdowns and changes, though without sounding busy or proggy, like on the album’s lead track, “Street Rat.” Similarly, “Clash” begins with a lilting guitar riff and rumbling bass line that propels the first two verses before switching gears halfway through—slowing the tempo and descending into a spiral of three-part harmonized, interlocking bah-bah-baaaah vocals.
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Album Review: Mirror Coat – Whispers

“Shoegaze” was the genre of a group of late ‘80s and early ‘90s bands primarily from the U.K. who shared a common musical esthetic. Part Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” and part Britpop, the sound was distinguished by its use of layers of effects. The name “shoegaze” came from the observation… […]

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Listen up: Younger premiere “Like A Wave,” the first single from debut LP

Iowa City rock band Younger, featuring local indie veterans Amanda Crosby, Rachel Sauter and Sarah Mannix (from Emperors Club, The Wandering Bears and others) are preparing for the release of their self-titled debut LP, engineered by Pete Becker. “It’s a killer fucking record that is currently changing my life.” wrote Becker in an email — […]

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Album Review: Ritmocano – Familia

Latin jazz collective Ritmocano is an all-star lineup of the Iowa jazz community, headed by percussionist and one of my former UI instructors, James Dreier. On Familia, Ritmocano’s most recent album, he demonstrates his abilities playing multiple percussive instruments, from the congas often found in Afro-Cuban music, to the Batá drums of West Africa. […]

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Album Review: Volcano Boys – Self-titled

On paper, Volcano Boys looks like another project from the prolific Jordan Mayland (Jordan Mayland and the Thermal Detonators, Keepers of the Carpet, Nuclear Rodeo, Electronidoll and Tires), who is the principal vocalist and songwriter. But the blending of talent from Wolves in the Attic and Mantis Pincers member Trent Derby (drums, percussion and vocals), Eric Moffitt (guitar) and Tom Reneker (bass), gives Volcano Boys a sound reminiscent of retro-’90s alternative guitar rock.
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Album Review: Cuticle – Mind Holding Pattern

Techno originated in Belleville, Mich., and was invented by middle-class black teenagers with ties to Detroit. Techno brought together the influences of disco, James Brown and Parliament-Funkadelic and combined them with the paler European electronic styles of Kraftwerk and Giorgio Moroder, which embraced a dreamy futurism born out of comic books and science fiction paperbacks. […]

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Album Review: Peas and Carrot – Big Girl Shoes

When Iowa Public Radio asked Peas and Carrot lead singer and guitarist Audrey Robinson who her vocal influences were during a recent in-studio interview, she snapped back, “NOT Janis Joplin!” “Janis Joplin” is too often used as shorthand for any female singer who has a raw, bluesy edge, but Robinson’s sound is less hoarse belting and more dynamic rock and soul reminiscent of vocalists like Linda Perry, PJ Harvey and Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes. […]

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