Monday, August 3, 2015


Posted May 20, 2015in Sound Check

Superchief “Trophy Room” Magnetic Eye If you are a fan of good, old-fashioned, hard-driving rock music, and you are not already a fan of Superchief, you need to come to Jesus. The Des Moines five-piece has been churning out quality music for a good while now, but in “Trophy Room,”

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Posted May 13, 2015in Sound Check

Mumford & Sons “Wilder Mind” Gentlemen of the Road/Island Two words drew me to the new Mumford & Sons offering: “no banjo.” For all but the most ardent folk fans, the frantic banjo and double bass attack of 2012′s “Babel” came on a little strong. Even the band’s biggest fans

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Posted May 06, 2015in Sound Check

Matt Woods “Sawdust and Gasoline” Independent It seems like it has been ages since Matt Woods said goodbye to his longtime compatriots, The Thunderbolts. In point of fact, it has been right about two years, and, in that time, Woods has popped up here and there with other musicians but

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Posted April 29, 2015in Sound Check

Prettygirlhatemachine “Real is a Joke” Independent Do not let anybody tell you that there is not good hip hop coming out of Des Moines. Now, as it turns out, some of the very best of it came out this past week, courtesy of Prettygirlhatemachine. “Real is a Joke” is funky,

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Posted April 22, 2015in Sound Check

Dwight Yoakam “Second Hand Heart” Reprise Dwight Yoakam has sold 21 million copies of his albums. Nine albums have gone platinum, and five of them have hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts. So you know it is saying something when I say that “Second Hand Heart” is one of

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Posted April 15, 2015in Sound Check

Blues Traveler “Blow Up the Moon” Loud & Proud   Blues Traveler has always been, in essence, a talented group of guys fronted by a talented singer/mouth harp player who has been capable of churning out genuinely clever songs. But you get the nagging sense that it was never enough

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Posted April 08, 2015in Sound Check

Death Cab For Cutie “Kintsugi” Atlantic Death Cab For Cutie is perhaps the most transparent band ever. For much of its career, the band was content to wallow in the Elliot Smith, doom and gloom end of the sonic pool. Then singer Ben Gibbard found love, and out comes 2011’s

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Posted March 31, 2015in Sound Check

Various Artists “Hooray For Branstad” Maximum Ames As the past couple of state elections have clearly shown, Iowa loves Terry Branstad. We might all give him a hard time for the ever-present mustache, but at the end of the day, we think he is a swell guy who genuinely wants

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Posted March 25, 2015in Sound Check

Toto “Toto XIV” Frontiers Chances are very good that if you still think of Toto at all, the album you think of is “Toto IV,” and its two No. 1 singles, “Rosanna” and “Africa.” If that is what you are yearning for as you fire up “Toto XIV,” then prepare

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Posted March 18, 2015in Sound Check

Modest Mouse “Strangers to Ourselves” Epic   A bit of a footnote, but still worth mentioning: “Strangers to Ourselves” is Modest Mouse’s first album without bassist and founding member Eric Judy. Bands swap members all the time, and very few bands are truly known for what the bassist brings to

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