One of the hardest things about being attached to a smaller local music scene is when a promising act breaks up. It happens a lot. When Iowa City’s Molly Ringwald called it quits a year or so ago, I was pretty bummed. The flip side of that coin is that rarely do talented, interesting people stay off the stage for long. So welcome two-thirds of Molly Ringwald back into the fold, folks. Dustin Hamnes and Jake Mathesien find themselves part of a quintet making a similarly shaggy brand of music in Safe Words. (more…)
May 5, 2011
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…)
October 27, 2010
Living Ghost a/k/a Daniel Davis (ex-Weather is Happening, ex-Be Kind to Your Neighbor) makes dark, dense, lo-fi jams in the vein of TV on the Radio’s debut EP, Young Liars. But where TVotR mined the soulfulness of drum machine-laden post-punk, Davis brings out the punk in post-punk. Wilderness Names is the first release for his new(ish) solo moniker and over the 31-minute run time, it can get a bit messy and sprawling, but when it hits, it’ll lay you out flat. (more…)
October 22, 2010
2010 has been a busy year for Alex Body. Back in January, he offered up his self-released, solo debut, Just Say Yes. The album, which I loved, was a major departure from the work which Body had been involved with prior. As one half of The Twelve Canon’s macabre folk sound and a regular contributor of keyboard/organ parts to Miracles of God and various Samuel Locke Ward projects, Body had shown he wasn’t treading down the normal pop music path, but Say Yes‘ dark, gothy swaths of layered synths, layered vocals and Casio-programmed drums was out of left field, even for Body.
Alex has quickly built up an impressive catalog since his January debut. I’m giving you the skinny on the three projects which followed Just Say Yes: an EP for the, sadly defunct, Des Moines label, Moist Tapes called Little Hazey [sic]; a new cassette, Chief of Time and Frequency, from Iowa City’s Night-People Records; and a self-released EP, Culture of Closed Doors. (more…)
October 20, 2010
I’m in the midst of composing a massive overview/review of Alex Body’s output (three different releases) since his solo debut, Just Say Yes, was released back in January of this year, and he went ahead and tacked one more track on the heap: “Blood Orange.”
Since he just done gone and broke us off with one more cut, I’m not going to include it in my massive 1000-word review (coming later this week), I’m just going to point you in the direction of the new track and introduce my new segment: Fresh Jamz.
“Blood Orange” chugs along more than the trippy, glitchy rhythms Body has largely embraced. The track also finds Body’s triple-tracked voice creating a unified choir rather than the crazy, dischordant structures he often featured in prior songs. Body channels some Animal Collective, tribal freak-folk with this one.
Alex Body’s been super generous of late, hooking up almost all of his tuneage for $FREE.99 on his bandcamp site. You can score “Blood Orange,” download the entirety of Just Say Yes and Little Hazey, stream his latest, Culture of Closed Doors, and cop select tracks from his recently released Night-People Records cassette, Chief of Time and Frequency at the link above. That’s a boat-load of free music to help you get into the fall mood.
October 6, 2010
This may seem like a bit of a throwback, but I think name still serves this purpose well. It encourages me to stay on top of the creative people still making Iowa and Iowa City interesting and also leaves me open to investigate my new stomping grounds, plus Iowa and Illinois are numbers 1 and 2 in corn production, respectively. I hope to make this a semi-regular review feature–at least one per week, where I review an Iowa or Illinois band under this heading. So keep your eyes peeled if your down with the Midwest. (I’ll take recommendations or requests too, I’m always looking for things to check out.) I’m kicking this off with a lil’ something from one of the Iowa City acts I miss the most: Samuel Locke Ward & The Boo Hoos.
Sonically, there aren’t a whole lot of similarities between Samuel Locke Ward and his Boo Hoos from Iowa City, IA and Ames IA’s Mumford’s. Despite the abrupt aural difference between the Boo Hoo’s A-side and Mumford’s backing track, it’s easy to see how these two acts found one another. (more…)
September 19, 2010
I’ve already raved up and down about Black Milk‘s splendid full-length release (the ever more aptly-titled) Album of the Year, and I’ll try to limit the hype a bit, however, I have a lil’ more to dish about. It turns out, unlike many artists, Black had very few remnants on the cutting room floor when AotY was finished. In fact, he only had, according to a few different sources, a little under nine minutes of false starts and aborted beats/ideas.
On 2008′s totally boss Tronic, Black found a home for these undeveloped ideas by constructing interludes after a few tracks. Granted, it takes a bit of the life out of one of the most exciting hip-hop records of the last five years, but when you’re building your reputation on the back of your beats, showing off a few more ideas might not be a bad call. This time around, for Album of the Year, Milk trimmed the fat and now he’s serving it up, like scraps to a pack of dogs, on this EP. (more…)