Monday, August 8, 2022

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Sound Check


“Real is a Joke”

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, thoughtful, powerful and full of some of the tightest lyrical work you are going to hear around town. The album comes out swinging with “Back Like We’ve Been Somewhere,” which starts hard and knocks you on your ass with a funky gear change halfway through. It is that ability to switch things up and give you a different look that makes Prettygirlhatemachine work as well as it does. “Meet Your Maker” sounds like an Asheru deep cut, while “Under My Skin” would not feel out of place on a Black Star setlist. If you are going to take a flier on just one local album this year, make it this one. CV


Damon DotsonDamon Dotson

Damon Dotson almost feels like he is not real. Everything about “Tumblin” carries a high degree of polish and shine, and that is not going to be for everyone. But for music fans who like their album experience to be as crisp and clean as possible, there is a lot on “Tumblin” to spend time with. The album opens with the title track (and lead single), which does a good job laying out everything you are going to get from the Damn Dotson experience: clean, strong vocals; simple, efficient melodies; a general feeling of earnestness. Dotson has a voice and sound that feel ready-made for a televised competition show; “Tumblin” is a slick package, no doubt. Translating a polished presentation into a genuine audience connection is the trick. Your mileage may vary. CV

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