Thursday, May 5, 2016

The weekend i've been waiting for!

As it happens, Flannel Season is putting out their first full-length album this very weekend - Saturday, May 7, 10pm at Gabe's, to be precise. Here is more info on the event. I was lucky enough to get an advance copy.

The album is entitled "Back Amongst the Dirt" and has 9 original songs - 10 tracks, though. My personal favourite song, "Electric Hearts", is reprised at the end of the disc in a killer acoustic version. This song is one of the first I remember hearing the band play when they started writing and performing original music - it didn't appear on their EP last year (which you can listen to here on Sound Cloud), and much of the new album is newer material, so I'm pretty stoked to get not just one, but two versions of it.

When the band first formed it was a four-piece (it's a straight-up power trio now, folks) that mainly covered 90s rock songs - all the most kick-ass ones, I assure you. It's amazing how much they have evolved since then; one thing that remains constant is their ability to all contribute so well. "Back Amongst the Dirt" is a perfect representation of how amazing it is when that happens.

The opening song "Centralia" has raw, rad as fuck vocals. It's a great heavy starter song that sets the tone - driving drums, group vocals, deep bass lines, and fuzzy, intricate guitar licks - all of which is super tight. By the time you get to "Dunwich Drift" you can tell how good the mixing and mastering by Flat Black Studios is - the bass line is rich in that song, but could have gotten easily lost under the drums in the wrong hands.

I urge you all to go out this Saturday to see and support, not just Flannel Season, but also Zuul (Iowa City) and Hazer (Des Moines). Both bands that are rad as hell -  I know because I've seen them and you would too if you ever went out, jeez. If you're one of those people who don't go for physical copies of music anymore, go flog yourself and then listen to Flannel Season on BandCamp. Or Zuul here. Or Hazer here

Bonus: the CD comes with art work by Claire Thoele (who also plays bass for the band - here is a small sampling of some of her other work) and a band photo shot by none other than everyone's favourite show shooter, Mike Weber of Shadowfox Photography.


rock on ~ mandab

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

This weekend is made of music!

Click on the links and observe the shiny, beautiful pictures for more information about these events and the artists who will be there.

THUNDERFEST. Have you seen Knubby yet? Das Thunderfoot? Dead Emperors? If the answer is no to any of those - OMIGAWD! Remedy that and donate to a good cause. Six kick-ass bands and camping for a $5 donation? Um...yes, duh.

getting their cow bell on with help from the audience

Gabe's - Canthrammer. 3 Metal Bands / 3 Country Bands. Also for a good cause - The Wounded Warrior Project. 6 Bands. Cover. Seriously, Cantharone will blow your mind.
Joe Anderson of Cantarone

ICYC - Maiden Mars, The Passes, The Ultrasounds, & Remod. $5 cover for the out-of-town bands.

Trumpet Blossom - FREE. All local musicians. And very cool people.

I will be spending a considerable amount of time trying to figure out how to navigate all 3 venues this Saturday so I can see everyone i want to. I haven't had to be this strategic since Riot Fest. Only Riot Fest was rainy and muddy and cold and a thousand times more difficult to navigate than the streets of Iowa City. I got this though. Here's to hoping you all like to plot and scheme to maximize your listening experience. See you there(s)!

If you live in Iowa City under some sort of rock (obviously not the punk kind), you probably haven't yet listened to Codependent Music. This, my stone-dwelling friend, is exactly what you need. Tune into 89.7 KRUI Sunday nights (Monday mornings?) at midnight for 2 hours of punk and insane hilarity. Do it - shed your dreary, heavy burden-home and live in the sunshine with the rest of us. Well, at midnight it'll be pretty dark, actually...
It's a super good time is really all i'm trying to say. Click the KRUI link above to stream.

Be excellent to each other, peeps.. ~ mandab

Monday, June 29, 2015

Free Music This Week -IC

(Hyperlinks will be up 6/30 - I'm experiencing technical difficulties, surprise surprise!)

As always, i have to plug the ICYC's Underground Open Mic. Every Tuesday, 8pm, hosted by Kate Kane. This week's line up is awesome - check it out for yourself here. Two out of state bands are gracing us with their presence. Spooky Ghost from Minneappolis, which I had a hard time finding out much about. And BIG IDIOT from the birthplace of grunge: Olympia, Washington. It sounds like they are going to thrash pretty hard; don't miss it!
Obsidan Sword, Hx Girls (who were really fun last time I saw them AND they wear super weird, witchy hats which is always good) and Nirdana (hmmm...I wonder what that's all about) are playing, as well as veteran UOM performer Ben Roller. The guy is a hoot and a half. There are other acts I don't know anything about but I'm not trying to figure it out, here's why: the first slot is filled by none other than ButtercupB√ttF√¢k. Yeah, google that and you're garuanteed to never look at PowerPuff Girls the same way ever, ever again.

Of course there is also Locally Owned at Gabe's on Thursday. Their fb page has no info for this week (hint, hint, dudes). But every other week has been booked by good bands (Milk Duct Tape, Def-Kittie BlinDogg, Men From Beyond, Thick, etc.) so it's a pretty safe bet it will kick ass. It's free anyway, so why not Zoidberg?

Uptown Bill's has an open mic Thursday as well, followed by a performance of original songs by an Iowa City native who is moving to L.A. soon. I have no idea what kind of music it is, but the guy (Elijah Jones) is an actor. Could be anything.

This weekend is (indeed, the next several weekends) packed full of shows and I promise to post later in the week to let you know who to see where.

Follow the music ~ mandab

Friday, June 26, 2015

This weekend! And other blazz

Here are a few live music options for this weekend:

In Iowa City -

Basically, there are tons of shows, but they are mostly hippie, jam band stuff that is dime a dozen. Just follow the pot smoke if that's your deal. Also, a lot of people really like Dave Zollo and he's playing, like, every single day this weekend. You can find more info on your own.


Daddy-O (Dennis McMurrin) is playing at The Mill at 8pm. $7 Cover. You probably should see this guy if you haven’t. He used to play the Yacht Club every month, but those days are gone.  He was a good friend of my late, great Uncle Chuck who was about the rockin’est guitar player who ever lived and one hell of a swell dude. True story. Daddy-O will play "Brick House", if you ask nicely, but you had better shake your ass if he obliges. If you go, order the fried pickles. Seriously.

Also, Flannel Season is playing the Deweyville Block Party, somewhere, at some time. Like 6pm or something? My suggestion is to ride your bike or drive slowly with your windows down somewhere on the east side of town. When you hear kick-ass music, park and walk toward it. Solid plan. I think Porch Burner is playing too? Anyone who wants to clear up the mystery, please feel free to do so in the comments below. 

For those of you in the QCA -

There is this thing called Rock Camp USA. I don't know the whole deal, but I know it involves teenagers or children or both, and rock music. Most probably children paying rock music. It's at the Redstone Room, 129 Main St, Davenport, IA 52801. Doors at 11:30, show at noon. It's like $5 for 3 hours of music. I mean, it's for the children. Why wouldn't you go? Are you some kind of monster?! More info here. After that you can head over to the Rock Island Brewing Company at 1815 2nd Avenue in Rock Island, of course, and see...

Waking Robots! They start at 9pm and it's just a $5 cover. I haven't seen this band yet (I wish they would come to IC and bring Centaur Noir with them), but the venue is cool. Heavyweight plays there often - you should go see them at your earliest opportunity, by the way. They are so heavy! Oh...i see what they did there.

GO LISTEN TO LIVE, LOCAL MUSIC! And get Bandsintown. Especially if you're a musician. It makes my life easier.

One Last Thing:
Yes, Eastern Iowa rocks, for sure, and the bands around here, doubly so. A lot of their rocking is done on stage, but it also comes in the form of the careful selection of the bands they bring to town to play gigs with them. One amazing out-of-state band that I got see last weekend at ICYC was Lever, out of NW surburban Chicago.

The band is a four piece with a drummer, 2 guitarists, and a bass player. They describe themselves as "bipolar grunge rock: and, after the privilege of getting to hear their set, I totally agree. Lots of dirty, fuzzy guitar riffs with heavy bass and super loud banging drums topped with sometimes screamy, sometimes melodic lyrics make for a way fun, head-banging listening experience. They are also very tight and technically talented. All their stops and starts and heavy, heavy jam spots were right on and super clean. I sincerely hope they come back to Iowa City, or that I can make it over there so see one of their local shows. Anyone out there in Not-Iowa-Land who hears that Lever is playing near you - GO SEE THEM!!! You will not regret it. Click on the here to get to their FB page so you can see where they are going on their tour.

As always, rock on! ~mandab

Saturday, June 20, 2015


Alright, folks, this is the weekend to get up and go out in Iowa City. It’s Pride kick off weekend, for one thing, so there’s stuff going all over the place, and in my post last week I alluded to a show at the Iowa City Yacht Club that you would cry about missing. Well, tonight is the show.
Kick ass flyer byClaire Thoele

While I have yet to see Lever, by clicking the link under their pic, you can know just as much as I currently do, which is that they call themselves Bipolar Grunge Rock (which sounds pretty rad), they’re from Crystal Lake, IL (my old stomping grounds), they have a lady bass player, and the names of their songs are hella great – check that out here.
I have seen the other 3 bands a number of times. Quite frankly, I don’t miss any of their shows if I can help it.
Crystal City played last weekend at the Mill and I hated not being there so I am super stoked they’re in the lineup tonight. Think good ol’ rock and roll plus a trumpet and lots of harmonies. I can pretty much guarantee you will be compelled to boogie for a good deal of their set. For more info and a sneak listen visit their bandcamp page.
Crystal City

Velcro Moxie has been aroind for a while and hopefully you’ve already seen them. If not, tonight is the perfect opportunity. It will be a good show, as usual, but also interesting as the band lineup has changed recently. I’m not worried about them not sounding as good as before Jasmine Terrell left the group (although she is an amazing singer) because I swear to gawd every single time I have seen them they have had a different configuration of members. And they always kill it.
Finally, we com to Flannel Season – quite possibly my favourite Iowa City band. I get a lot of flak for being biased because these are ma peeps. I’ve known them since before they formed the band. Living next door to them has afforded me the unique experience of hearing this band evolve from the beginning. They started our covering 90s songs, which is probably why I glommed on so quickly. Hearing The Pixies, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, The Toadies, L7, Babes in Toyland, Green Day, and countless others of my favourite bands 3-4 times a week for free was the coolest. However, the real treat came when they started writing their own music.
With three vocalists, the harmonies these guys (and lady) achieve are stellar. Their music is obviously influenced in small part by the bands listed above, but it is so much more complex. Sometimes, they rock so hard and raw that it’s all you can do not to bang your head. Other times, their music is so hauntingly melodic as to be almost mesmerizing. They recently went from a 4-piece to a 3-piece, but I can attest that even without the second guitar, the music is just as rich and layered and full as it ever was. Listen to them if you don’t believe me.  My personal fave -