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Sound Check

Dec 29, 2011
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By Chad Taylor


‘American Jukebox’


Sample Tracks

If anyone ever tries to tell you that there’s nothing to love about Des Moines’ local music scene, you punch him or her right in his or her stupid, ugly face. Then you give him or her a copy of “American Jukebox” and try to be magnanimous when they tell you how wrong he or she was. MooseKnuckle has one of the most clearly developed, well-rounded sounds I’ve heard in the Capital City, and “American Jukebox” showcases the group’s abilities and versatility. The latter of which the band has in spades: the ’60s funkadelic keyboards on “Take Me Home;” the C&W roots of “Way Out West;” from the Ska undertones in “Sidetracked” to the hooks in “Mr Smiles” that are pure rock, MooseKnuckle is a quartet of gifted musicians who have managed to produce an album that showcases their respective strengths without muddling the overall sound. CV

(MooseKnuckle performs a New Year’s show at StarBar Dec. 31. 9:30 p.m., free.)

Guided By Voices

‘Let’s Go Eat the Factory’

Guided By Voices Inc.

Sample Tracks

Hipsters ruin everything. 30 years ago (!), Guided By Voices’ (GBV) lo-fi sound was a progressive and important bridge between the angry chaos of punk and the bare-bones garage sound that would evolve into ’90s Alternative. Today, track after track sounds like it would be used to sell you a pair of skinny jeans. Depending on how you look at it, GBV has either stayed true to their sound or they’ve stubbornly refused to evolve and explore new avenues as artists. “Let’s Go Eat the Factory” is a nostalgic trip, to be sure; retro-rock from guys who created the sound in the first place. It’s nowhere near the high-water mark of 1994’s “Bee Thousand,” but tracks like “Laundry and Lasers” act as a serviceable primer for the uninitiated. Fans will appreciate the return of the band’s “classic” lineup, but new listeners may wonder what all the fuss is about. CV

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