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Pop ... ish: Wet Hair, February 11 at Rozz-Tox PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Wednesday, 08 February 2012 12:54

Wet Hair.For Wet Hair singer and keyboardist Shawn Reed, being experimental is the only thing he can do. “Unless it’s weird and challenging, I’m just bored with it,” he said in a phone interview this week. “It just doesn’t feel important to me.”

The surprise of last year’s In Vogue Spirit was that the Iowa City band produced a batch of songs that was – for it – downright poppy.

That might seem like a contradiction unless you’re familiar with Wet Hair’s previous work, or the output of Reed’s and bandmate Ryan Garbes’ previous noise-rock outfit Raccoo-oo-oon. Pitchfork.com wrote that “in both Raccoo-oo-oon and Wet Hair, Garbes and Reed have been uncompromising in their pursuit of the outer limits. ... That hasn’t changed. But with In Vogue Spirit, Garbes and Reed have delivered a more consistent, considered record. Space is still the place, but they’ve found shortcuts to getting there.”

 
Channeling Doom: Deleted Scenes, February 3 at Rozz-Tox PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Friday, 27 January 2012 10:19

Deleted Scenes. Photo by Laura Rotondo.

When the quartet Deleted Scenes recorded its second album, Young People’s Church of the Air, the atmosphere was “intense and pressurized,” resulting in a “doomed energy,” singer/guitarist/co-songwriter Dan Scheuerman has said.

In an interview this week promoting his band’s February 3 performance at Rozz-Tox, Scheuerman elaborated on those intriguing phrases. To start, the recording period was more compressed than for the band’s debut, he said: “We wanted the record to have a moment. Instead of being recorded over a year, it was recorded over more like three months. In that sense, it’s more identifiable as one piece of work.”

But the time frame was just one factor. “There was a weird vibe going on in the studio,” Scheuerman said. Producer L. Skell “is hard to read. So there was a lot of silence and glowering ... . And so we’d go in a direction and not be sure what was going on. And then when things seemed dark and we weren’t getting anywhere, everything would sort of snap together and ... [Skell] would come up with one or two really amazing suggestions to focus everything. There was a sense of ominousness to the proceedings, and that I think created a sense of doom. And there’s also a bit of doom in the songwriting as well. ... There was a high degree of tension.”

 
Symphony Spin-Off: The Lyrebird Ensemble, January 21 at the Figge Art Museum PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 12:55

The Lyrebird Ensemble's Lillian Lau and Ellen HuntingtonNot long after meeting through their participation in the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, second flutist Ellen Huntington and principal harpist Lillian Lau decided to form their own two-person ensemble. Yet while they knew they had more than enough flute-and-harp repertoire to sustain a professional partnership, what they didn’t have was a name.

 
Modern Metal with a Sabbath Touch: Helmsplitter, January 13 at RIBCO PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 09:44

Metal often skates by on aggression and technical chops, and it rarely creates drama. The Quad Cities quartet Helmsplitter, on its debut Storms of Genocide – for which the band will perform a CD-release show Friday at RIBCO – nails the requisite fury and dark majesty while also capturing that elusive elevating quality.

 
Many-Trick Ponies: Satellite Heart, January 7 at RIBCO PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 10:12

Satellite Heart. Photo by Shannon Colgan.

If you attend a Satellite Heart show – such as January 7’s at RIBCO – two of the songs you might hear are “Rock N’ Troll” (“Fighting dragons / Killing marauders / Doing things that we thought that we’d never do”) and “Pizza Party” (“Even Saddam Hussein like[s] pizza”). Both are irresistibly dumb; the first could be a Spinal Tap cover, and the second could have come from Flight of the Conchords.

Yet before you think that the Quad Cities-based quartet is a joke band, or a one- or two-trick pony, make sure to check out Satellite Heart’s full-length studio debut, Become the New, when it’s released in late January. It does include the aforementioned live-show staples, but it’s also a roughly vibrant rock record filled with hooks and charm aplenty.

 
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