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On the Beat: Hometown sound

In Everything But The Girl’s “25th December” (one of those great non-Christmas Christmas songs that end up on “indie xmas” mix tapes), Ben Watt sings about the quintessential winter feeling: regret. “I’m thirty and I don’t know nothing no more,” he whines in the way that only British people can whine, thinking about old friends, […]

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On the Beat: October’s bag of tricks

Best known for Halloween, its costume-and-trickery grand finale, October leaves almost everything to the imagination. The theme of surprise and disguise has also been a trend this year in local music promotion. With the rapidly changing venue scene, including new owners/bookers/venues, a bunch of shows popped up that had people saying, “Really? That show is happening there?.

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On the Beat: To New Beginnings

August is harvest season, and I don’t mean corn: It’s the annual time of year when we welcome the bountiful student population back to our small city. Whether or not you’ve been away, it’s worth noting that summer vacation has brought a few changes in the music landscape.

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On the Beat: Pick out the jams

It’s October, and there are a ton of shows to talk about, so insert funny Halloween joke here, followed by an apology about how I just didn’t write this column last month (how, I ask, did you know what shows to go to??), and then get on with the getting’ on. Jack-O-Lantern, fools! This month […]

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On the Beat: Beyond Jazz Fest

Over the last few years, it seemed like the exponential spread of the summer mega-festival was never going to stop, as little Bonnaroos and Coachellas started showing up from Maine to Oregon and everywhere in-between, including our own state. Like anything, this trend has been slowed by the economic situation—the Langerado Music Festival in Florida […]

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On the Beat: Showered in Shows

As we all know, thanks to T.S. Eliot, “April is the cruelest month,” but for music lovers in Iowa City, the pain and suffering that April causes may be in the form of cubicle and classroom hangovers, not an actual musical wasteland. In fact, April showers bring May flowers, and when it rains it pours, […]

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On the Beat: Spring breakdown

March in the actual world might be known for St. Patrick’s Day or warmer weather (hopefully), or a certain kind of basketball madness, but in the music world, it’s all about one thing: the SXSW music festival and conference in Austin, Texas. Perhaps the biggest and most indulgent exercise in industry self-love ever to be […]

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On the Beat: Prepare to be judged

January is the month of perpetual hangovers, and if December was any indication, the whole damn town might be frozen over. So I’m going to partake in the long tradition of using the New Year to pass judgment and make changes—though, not on myself (fine, more vegetables), but on the local venues (Mill: more vegetables!). […]

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On the Beat: Breaking in the new year

I want to have a commemorative plate destruction party. I was thinking about some Christmastime introduction to this column, and all I could think about was some single woman carefully setting up commemorative plates around her living room, in their little stands, and getting the lighting just right, and it was making me insane with […]

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On the Beat: Spirited shows

Welcome to the War on Xmas, pt. II. If it were up to me, starting every Oct. 1st, every department store–and one random radio station–would start playing Halloween music all damn day and night. From the classics (Boris Pickett’s “Monster Mash”) to unheralded gems (Bob Marley’s “Dracula”) to the downright stupid (Zacherley’s “Dinner with Drac”), […]

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On the Beat: Up and coming

Labor Day weekend: the end of white shoes, sure, but also the first school-day off–and the start of National Potato Month (seriously). Oh yeah, right here and now, the great month of September, National Be Kind to Editors and Writers Month. September, National ADHD Awareness month, and–wait–what was I talking about again? Just kidding. Celebrate […]

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On the Beat: Summer shows

After the Independence Day success of the 80-35 Music Festival in Des Moines and the Jazz Festival here, it’s Cedar Rapids’s turn to get into the summer festival mix with its second annual New Bohemia Music Festival. This year they were planning for major expansion and a more youthful sound, but the floodwaters washed away […]

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