March 2011


Fabio Orsi is wasting no time in following up his wonderful Stand Before Me, Oh My Soul from earlier this year. And there’s ample reason that his latest album, Wo Ist Behle? wasn’t just packaged with it’s predecessor. First and foremost, this is a whole different aural experience. Where Stand Before Me. His first release from 2011 was an angular, loop-heavy post-punk, no-wave, post-rock workout. On the other hand, Wo Ist Behle relishes in the subtle difference between silence and sound. Album opener, the 12-minute long “Loipe1,” takes–depending on how high you have the volume cranked and how good your hearing is after years of going to concerts–up to three or four minutes to become audible beyond faint notions of  a drone (like when the TV’s on mute but you swear you can ever so faintly hear the voices). (more…)

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If hip-hop hasn’t gone punk yet, it has now. Death Grip, an almost militantly obscure rapper/outfit, who/that has just started shaking up the internet. Apparently this is Zach Hill (of Hella fame) and his long whispered about hip-hop project. Who his other collaborators are is unclear. (more…)

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…)

Artwork by Rachel Sauter

I’ve been meaning to offer up props to this new Iowa City crew, Emperors Club, for a couple weeks now. But it seems to be as good a time as any.
As seniors around the country get back into the groove after spring break or lower their head to eek out the last few days before that respite, graduation is ever-present on the horizon. And a good many students who are wrapping up their undergrad careers may do as the first track from Emperors Club suggests, and make their ways to the hipster’s mecca. (more…)

lo-fi, noise-rock purveyors Psychedelic Horseshit–thee of the unprintable band names, has a new album due May on Fat Cat Records. The Ohio duo will unveil Laced, it’s third full-length LP, on May 10th, but just yesterday, the first single surfaced on the world wide blogosphere. “French Countryside” is a scattered, playful piece of fuzz. The Latin American sway keeps the whole mess moving while samples and and kiss-off keyboard squeals spin out of control

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…)

Jeff Witscher, how do you do it? After 12 (!) releases of varying size, scope, and packaging in 2010–including a full-length, post-apocalyptic dream of a soundtrack, Porceleain Opera, Witscher’s latest moniker, Rene Hell, is possibly his most prolific. We’ve just eclipsed the half-way point of March, and Rene Hell is back with another LP, The Terminal Symphony, and it marks a distinctly different direction for this highly prolific composer. (more…)

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