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Sound Check

March 22, 2012
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By Chad Taylor

Elizabeth Arynn



Once upon a time, I said that if you’re going to be one person on a stage with a guitar, your lyrics had better be able to pick up their end. Here is that thesis executed properly. To be sure, Arynn is a young woman, singing from a young person’s point of view and experience. If you’re too old or jaded to care about such matters, you may find her trite. But if you’re able to listen with unencumbered ears, then “Drifter” is pretty much a must-hear. The nakedly frank lyrics and unencumbered sound of the lone guitar are direct descendants of Ani DiFranco’s “Not a Pretty Girl” and Liz Phair’s “Whip-smart,” without sounding forced or derivative. The titular track — as well as the ninth track, “Suburban life” — are the two strongest on the album, but Arynn’s deft storytelling and winsome voice make every track a winner. CV

(Elizabeth Arynn plays the M-Shop in Ames on Thursday, March 22, 7:30 p.m., $12)

Tony Bohnenkamp
‘Side 2’

I’m of two minds about Tony Bohnenkamp’s solo debut. The erstwhile Lunchbox front man and Nadas drummer has been all over the Des Moines music scene, from writing to performing to production, and “Side 2” capably showcases his abilities and experience. But in his first solo effort, he seems so eager to show us just what he can do, that he doesn’t really dig in and DO a lot of it. Instrumentally, the album is a feast: Songs featuring everything from pedal steel to auto tune make sure that each track is distinct, and most everybody will be able to find something to tap their toes to. And yet, at the end of the day, you’re left wanting for more than a pile of hooks and bubblegum ooh-la-la’s. “Side 2” is like Chinese food. SO GOOD while you’ve got it, only to find yourself hungry again in a half an hour. CV

(Tony Bohnenkamp plays a CD Release Party at People’s Court on Saturday, March 24 at 8 p.m. $10)

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