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items tagged with Rozz Tox

An Excellent Foundation: The River Monks, July 2 at Rozz-Tox
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2014-06-26 12:18:41

The River Monks. Photo by Bruce Bales.

The band’s moniker comes from the likely source of the Des Moines River’s name (the French Rivière des Moines – “river of the monks”), and TinyMixTapes.com declared that “the River Monks might just be Iowa. The five-part vocal harmonies swirl outward like wind across the fields, while the band’s traditional folk instrumentation is given Iowa’s unexpectedly progressive touch, leaving you with something entirely recognizable, yet completely new.”

Its new album is titled Home Is the House, invoking a sense of physical place.

And many thousands of people in Iowa know the band – even if they don’t realize it. The River Monks composed the theme music for Iowa Public Radio’s two talk shows.

The irony is that the band – playing Rozz-Tox on July 2 – no longer has a home. While the group originated in Des Moines, some of the sextet’s members have been scattered about – to Nashville, to Omaha, Nebraska, and soon to California.

So the River Monks’ seven-week summer tour, singer/songwriter Ryan Stier said in a phone interview last week, is a bid for longevity. “We’ve been really forced to figure out: If the band’s going to continue, then we need to set some groundwork.”


Read More About An Excellent Foundation: The River Monks, July 2 At Rozz-Tox...


Pin It Beneath Glass: Julie Byrne, May 28 at Rozz-Tox
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2014-05-14 18:08:55

Few people would be surprised to find Julie Byrne working in the service industry. The singer/songwriter, after all, is in her mid-20s with one album to her credit, and it’s hard for an emerging musician to make ends meet performing for small audiences and selling records one by one.

But if you see Byrne working at Rozz-Tox in the coming weeks, it’s not for that reason. Instead, she’s the first artist-in-residence at the venue, and her one-month stay in the Quad Cities – running through early June – will include a show on May 28.

The residency, Byrne said last week, originated with the idea of finding something to fill the gap between a two-month tour and her summer concert bookings. “I knew that going on such a long tour would be really wonderful and really exhilarating but also challenging just because there’s no privacy and no space to reflect on these constant, rapid experiences – each day in a new place,” she said. “So I was trying to figure out a calm, tranquil environment where I could exist after the tour to kind of take it all in and begin working on new material.”


Read More About Pin It Beneath Glass: Julie Byrne, May 28 At Rozz-Tox...


No Messing Around: Water Liars, May 14 at Rozz-Tox
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2014-05-02 11:31:59

Water Liars. Photo by Maggie Huber.

With the Water Liars’s self-titled album – the band’s third record in as many years – you could be forgiven for thinking that you’re in for a jarring ride based on the song titles and the opening track’s bleak but majestic riff. “Cannibal” is followed by “War Paint” and “I Want Blood.”

You are in for a ride, although it’s less the beat-down and carnage that the titles suggest than a careening from loud distortion to gentle Americana and back. “Ray Charles Dream” is a hooky, punk-tinged rock song sandwiched between the slow-footed guitar lament of “Tolling Bells” and the even-slower-footed piano lament of “Vespers.”

“That’s always been sort of a point for us,” said singer/songwriter/guitarist Justin Kinkel-Schuster in a phone interview last week, promoting the trio’s May 14 performance at Rozz-Tox. “Widely shifting dynamics has always been an important part of our sound ... both live and on records. ... I just always am intrigued by moving between those poles. There’s something interesting about taking a ride like that.”

It’s not merely a sonic roller coaster. The title and sentiment of “I Want Blood” (“I want blood all the time”) would seem to lend themselves to a ravenous rock treatment, but the song instead places the lyrics in a warm and ethereal musical context, making it a reverb-heavy anthem to searching and soaring. “Tension is why art exists,” Kinkel-Schuster explained of the apparent contradiction. “Without tension, I don’t think there’s a whole lot to go on. ... Without tension you don’t have a story; there’s nothing to resolve.”


Read More About No Messing Around: Water Liars, May 14 At Rozz-Tox...


Building to Moments: Decker, April 20 at Rozz-Tox
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2014-04-15 22:00:05

Brandon Decker. Photo courtesy Ashley Wintermute.

The band Decker calls its sound “psychedelic desert folk,” and each of those words carries roughly equal weight.

The folk influence is a carry-over from earlier incarnations of the band. Before its fourth album – last year’s Slider – leader Brandon Decker wrote the songs and brought people in to round them out. “I didn’t feel they were really musical,” he said in a phone interview last week. Rather, they were vehicles to say something.

But when the band performs at Rozz-Tox on April 20, Decker will be emphasizing the other two words. In its current form as a four-piece, the folk leanings are somewhat obscured by the wide-open space reflecting its home base of Sedona, Arizona, and the spaciness of psychedelic rock. (The band stylizes its name as “decker.”, but for readability I’m ignoring that.)

On Slider and the epic “Cellars” (from the upcoming Patsy EP), there’s a comfortable balance between direct simplicity and airy, patient exploration. Instead of being dense in any given moment, the songs wander purposefully, collecting detail to achieve their fullness.


Read More About Building To Moments: Decker, April 20 At Rozz-Tox...


A Patchwork from the Past: Foxholes, February 1 at Rozz-Tox; In Rooms, January 25 at Rozz-Tox
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2014-01-22 19:16:02

The Des Moines band Foxholes formed in late August 2012, and its first album is set to be released March 1. Can’t Help Myself is a surprisingly mature work, in the sense that a band this new has a clear sonic identity – rooted in late-’80s/early-’90s alternative rock – yet it doesn’t use its touchstones as crutches; the songs in no way suggest a group trying to find its feet over its first year-plus, or an ensemble beholden to its influences.

But the quartet – which will be performing its first show outside of the Des Moines and Ames areas at Rozz-Tox on February 1 – has indeed been a work in progress. And with a second full-length album planned for later this year, it’s evident that Foxholes moves quickly.


Read More About A Patchwork From The Past: Foxholes, February 1 At Rozz-Tox; In Rooms, January 25 At Rozz-Tox...





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