Chicago math rockers T’bone make complex grooves for the kids who just barely passed Algebra II. Mt. Trashmore tracks tend to fall into one of two categories: pulsating jams with fairly conventional structures and completely or largely instrumental exercises punctuated with bellowed non-sequiturs. The trio–Ed Bornstein on drums, Pat McPartland on guitar, and Leland Meiners on bass–pack a lot of ideas into a song, time signature and key changes abound, but they went for the populist jugular on the lyrics. (more…)
November 15, 2011
June 23, 2011
June 22, 2011
It’s been five years since Ed Gray last laid tracks to tape. That resulted in one of my favorite albums of the last 10 years, the lo-fi stunner The Late Gray Ed Great. The long-awaited follow-up to Gray’s 2006 masterstroke, Old Bending River is considerably more polished. Before you start bellowing “sell out” or some such nonsense, that doesn’t mean Gray is penning tunes for Train or Matchbox 20; River is still dark and gruff, it’s just recorded on some better microphones. (more…)
April 15, 2011
Iowa City’s premier punk outfit, Supersonic Piss, has itself a serious slab of shellac about to drop. The dirtiest quartet that the city has to offer is about to scramble some brains and blast through some ear drums with their debut full-length Umbilical Noose–out soon on Rotted Tooth Records. (more…)
April 11, 2011
Alex Body is poised to stake a claim as the most consistent and prolific songwriter in Iowa City–a title currently held by Samuel Locke Ward. On Thursday, Body announced a Kanye-esque roll-out for his latest album, Cutting Down Camelot. Friday he declared that he’d release “one track every day or so” leading up to the album’s release, which “will be available on 12″ [LP] by the time [he goes] on tour.” (more…)
April 8, 2011
Cedar Falls, Iowa has had some bruisers in the past. In fact, Cedar Falls has almost always been the Hawkeye state’s stronghold for tight, intelligent music with an edge. Continuing in that tradition is the fist-pumpingly good Former Thieves.
Yesterday, the normally indie-leaning AV Club posted a stream of the quartet’s upcoming jam, The Language That We Speak, dropping courtesy of No Sleep Records on Tuesday, April 19th.
The Cedar Falls hardcore group’s full-length debut is pretty darn impressive. It’s lean–10 tracks clocking in under a half an hour, it’s muscular with enough riffage to keep the Converge-cravers sated, and it has just enough swagger to stomp around to. (more…)
March 29, 2011
Iowa City’s Brooks Strause is back with another collection of dark, demented folk, My Foreign Right Hand. Strause posted his latest effort on his new bandcamp site a mere 9 days ago. With that posting, Strause has radically redrawn his musical boundaries. My Foreign Right Hand certainly treads familiar ground with the opening pair, “An Autobiography” and “Identity Crisis Blues,” both clinging faithfully to Strause’s rasp and penchant for whiskey-soaked folk blues. However, the Juke-joint rave-up of “Can’t Remember” might sooner find itself on a new Devotchka LP than the raspy, mid-tempo melancholy which occupied Strause’s previous effort, the wonderful The Misanthrope and his Doubtful Faith. (more…)
March 24, 2011
Iowa City’s Wet Hair has been getting poppier and poppier since it emerged from the ashes of art-rock darlings Raccoo-oo-oon as a solo moniker of Shawn Reed. Now that the troupe has swollen to a trio (and benefiting from writing partner and fellow Coo-oo-oon-er Ryan Garbes), the sun shines a bit brighter on their muddy, dubby tunes. Reed’s no longer burying his baritone caterwauling beneath an ocean of reverb and distortion, he now uses almost negligible levels of echo on his now melodic lines. Garbes’ drums are spirited, almost shimmering with creativity. The addition of now departed Matt Fenner (concentrating on his other band Solid Attitude) on bass, adds even more pop punch to this new incarnation of Wet Hair. (more…)
March 14, 2011
Iowa City ambient duo, Cocoon, has a few dates scattered across the Midwest in the coming weeks including a set tomorrow night at Panchos Bar, here in Chicago.
Since I last blogged about Ian MacMillian and Zach “Avery” Dowling (a/k/a Goldwater Marmalaid), they’ve finally played more shows than Cocoon has releases. And they have a few with Zodiac and Hugs Unlimited over the next few days. If you’re in the Midwest, all the shows are pretty inexpensive, so if you’re feeling like getting some fine Iowa ambiant, this should be your jam. (more…)
March 11, 2011
The insanely prolific Iowa City lo-fi wizard Samuel Locke Ward is back with more new music–only his first studio release of 2011. The slab in question is a split 7″ EP with ex-Moldy Peach Toby Goodshank released by Omaha’s Slumber Party Records and CHTHONIC RECORDS in Salt Lake City.
It’s a match made in heaven for lovers of eccentric pop geniuses. Locke Ward is in fine form with a 50-second blast of scuzzy power-pop of “Nothing For Me,” and the swaggering, ringmaster blast of “Take it to the Top.” But the real winner is EP-standout “Bliss Blue Skies.” It’s one of Sam’s most fully arranged and ornate tunes, featuring the lilting violin of Skye Carrasco and a lil’ sax solo from Pete Balestrieri–both add punch to the other tracks on Locke Ward’s side too. It’s also deceptively dark, almost horrifying, for such a delicate, almost childlike pop tune. Check out “Bliss Blue Skies” streaming below. (more…)