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Posts Tagged ‘music’


Friday Night Concerts Begin THIS WEEK!

by Kara Logsden on May 13th, 2014

2014 05 FezLet the SUMMER begin in Downtown Iowa City! Summer of the Arts’ “Friday Night Concert Series” kicks off this Friday May 16 with The Fez.

The Fez is a 15-piece Steely Dan jazz/rock-fusion tribute band composed of many awesome local musicians. Bring your lawnchair and head Downtown to the Weatherdance Fountain Stage to enjoy summer sounds from 6:30-9:30 PM.  If there’s a chance of bad weather, check the Summer of the Arts webpage for schedule and location updates.

Can’t wait until Friday night for some local music?  Check out the Library’s Local Music Project at http://music.icpl.org/ or click here to listen to Fez musician Saul Lubaroff and his quartet play “Blues for Zane and Will.”

For a full Summer of the Arts schedule, navigate to: http://www.summerofthearts.org

We’ll see you Downtown this summer!

P.S. Don’t forget the Library is open until 8:00 PM on Fridays :)

An R&B Christmas

by Jason Paulios on December 11th, 2013

Are you sick of the same tired Christmas interpretations? Try something from this collection of CDs for an R&B Christmas.
"Best Man Holiday" CD art Soundtrack to the new Malcolm D. Lee film “The Best Man Holiday” featuring contemporary R&B artists such as: Jordin Sparks, Fantasia, R. Kelly, Mary J. Blige, John Legend, and Ne-Yo.

"Funky Christmas" coverA holiday compilation of Atlantic Records’ Cotillion imprint featuring performances by 1970s R&B/Soul singers including a young Luther Vandross.

MaryChristmasA new Verve Christmas release of classics from Mary J. Blige called, “A Mary Christmas” (we see what you did there).

Christmas with a little New jack swing, it’s “Christmas With Babyface.”

Christmas soul originals with James Brown, it’s no Sex Machine but it’s still funky.

Despite the ridiculous cover, this CeeLo Christmas album, “Cee Lo’s Magic Moment,” is the real deal.

Many of the songs included on the Jackson 5 “Ultimate Christmas Collection” have become modern Christmas classics.

A Motown Christmas” collects songs from Motown legends from 1965 through the early 1970s including tracks by: Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, and Diana Ross & the Supremes.

Lightning Bolt

by Candice Smith on October 15th, 2013
Lightning Bolt Cover Image

First disclaimer: I am one billionty percent biased in this review.

Second disclaimer: I haven’t even listened to the entire recording that I’m recommending to you, but I already know that I love it.

I’ll admit that I am not the most adventurous when it comes to music. I listen to new stuff and buy things based on reviews or recommendations, but in general, I already know what I like, I stick with it, and occasionally add to the ‘I like’ category when I want. I’m not ashamed to admit this! Yes, all those Spiritualized CDs sound similar…and they do it really, really well, so I continue to buy and listen! Yes, some of the songs I listen to when I run are the exact same songs I listened to when I ran in high school…still good to run to! The music is more than something to listen to…it’s a pick-me-up, a warm blanket, a reliable friend.

And Pearl Jam is my bff. We’ve been constant companions for over 20 years now. I have run, literally, thousands of miles with PJ (now you know why I run so much). I’ve traveled to concerts and met great people because of PJ. I have postered my locker, clothed my abdomen, and stickered my car with symbols and pictures of PJ, proclaiming my devotion and gratitude to anyone who might see! I schemed to meet my husband-to-be because he reminded me of Eddie Vedder; he (my husband, that is) invited me to his dorm room to listen to Pearl Jam bootlegs, and here we are, 20 years later, in harmonious bliss!

There’s no real way to defend or explain why you like the music you like, and I don’t think you need to. You just enjoy it, and be happy that it exists. I have no musical talent at all, so my appreciation is simply as a listener. I like the music. I like the words. I like the songs. Solidly grounded in classic rock with a flash of punk, a bit of a diy ethic, strong morals and good storytelling. Is it corny to say that it’s part of my life? Maybe. But it’s more than just music…it’s the emotions, thoughts, moments and memories that go with it.

As I get ready to listen, I recognize this album as a gift. Sure, it’s one I bought myself, but with all that comes with it, it’s worth so much more than I paid.

Go on, give it a listen…and tell me, what’s on your turntable or playlist that you love?

R.A.P. Music – Killer Mike

by Jason Paulios on February 28th, 2013

This was an album that, for whatever reason, I kept putting off listening to last year.  I finally got around to it after seeing how many “Best Of 2012″ lists included Mike and it now tops my “Best of 2012 that I didn’t listen to until 2013″ list.

This is an aggressive album both musically and lyrically.  The production is tackled by El-P who is known for his dark, tense beats, mixing synths, grime and classic samples; they are a soundtrack to a dystopian urban future.  His soundscapes are detailed and crafted with Mike’s delivery and content in mind.  A less skilled rapper would be swallowed by these sounds but Mike’s swagger and righteous anger fit hand and glove with El’s beats.

Lyrically this album is message-heavy with nods to classic hip hop (Eazy-E and Public Enemy are referenced) as well as R&B/Soul/Jazz/Blues legends that infused politics into their art (Nina Simone/Miles Davis).  His song “Reagan” details government and political lies (“We invaded sovereign soil going after oil, taking countries is a hobby paid for by the oil lobby”), “Don’t Die” is a story of running from dirty cops (“Cause if I get caught it’s my life they terminate, or stick me in a cell at Guantanamo Bay … I’ll be an outlaw before I ever behave, I’ll die a free man before I live like a slave, and nothing changes if they catch me today, f*#k the police is still all I gotta say.”).

For me, Mike is probably at his best when he’s rapping about the difficulties of growing up poor in a racist society and the impact family and music can have.  He ends the album with two inspiring tracks “Willie Burke Sherwood” and the title track: “What I say might save a life, what I speak might save the street, I ain’t got no instruments but I got my hands and feet … And the words that I put in the wind, coming back like a boomerang, when I take this microphone, point it at the crowd they start to sing.”

Be sure to check out Killer Mike live at the Blue Moose on April 6th as part of the Mission Creek Music Festival!

This Wheel’s On Fire

by Guest on May 15th, 2012
This Wheel’s On Fire Cover Image

Everyone knows what Levon Helm sounds like, and I’m happy to report that his authorial voice matches that exactly.  Were it a wine, it would be a rich, downhome red, with a pronounced twang and hints of vulgarity.  Barbecue wouldn’t overwhelm it, nor possom for that matter.

Helm had a lot of interesting friends, a lifetime of road stories, and plenty of practice telling them.  He was, after all, mentored both by rockabilly wildman Ronnie Hawkins and The Bob Himself.  He backed Dylan on his first electric tour, and describes the surreal experience of riding a private jet, staying in the best hotels and getting booed every night.  It shook him so much, he quit music for a time, and worked on an oil rig in the gulf.

He also kept a molten anger against Robbie Robertson, The Band’s primary songwriter.  Helm felt the songs were more collaborative than the songwriting credits reflected.  Playing music was his whole life, so Robertson’s decision to break up the band didn’t sit well either.

How much of this to believe?  Can’t say, tho parts of it seem pretty well embellished.  I doubt they really blew up a nightclub after the owner declined to pay them.  Or if they did, that the police let them go because the owner was a jerk.  On the other hand, “Well, it ain’t easy to come out and say I shot myself in the ass” has the ring of truth to it.

Helm died last month.  Nobody’s going to forget The Band anytime soon, but his late-life records (after surviving throat cancer) Dirt Farmer and (especially) Electric Dirt are well worth your attention as well.




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