Category Archives: Uncategorized

Soulful and Funky Local Band to Play for Mission Creek Festival

The funky soul band, The Diplomats of Solid Sound, comes from straight out of Iowa City, IA. The group was a side project of retro-rockers the Bent Scepters and originally formed in 1998. Dustin Connor (bassist), Doug Roberson (guitarist), and Jim Viner (drums) were all members of the Brent Scepters. They then added keyboardist Pat White. The last days of the Brent Scepters was in the year of 1999. The trio of Connor, Roberson, and Viner wanted to continue performing but under the name, the Diplomats of Solid Sound. Par White was replaced with Nate “Count” Basinger, though White occasionally guested on the band’s recordings. The groups first single, “Bullfrog Boogaloo,” was released in 2001, and they released their first album, Instrumental Action Soul, under their own label, Prescription Records. The prime garage rock label Estrus Records release the band’s second full-length release, Let’s Cool One, in 2002. Destination…Get Down! was their third album that was released in 2005 and was the first with new member David Basinger (alto/baritone sax). The Diplomats of Solid Sound has a few recordings featuring a group of women named the Diplomettes. These vocalists are Sarah Cram, Katherine Ruestow and Abbie Sawyer.

This show will be apart of the Mission Creek Festival, a week-long musical experience that takes over local venues in downtown Iowa City. The Diplomats of Solid Sound will play at The Mill tonight at 9 P.M. The tickets for the show are $10 in advance but will include seeing two other acts by The Miles Kean Project and Pressure Drop. Come on out tomorrow to show some local love to The Diplomats of Solid Sound!

Check out one of their tunes here, thanks to NPR radio.

Canadian Rock Group to Tear Up Local Stage

Canadian rock band, White Lung, will bring their talent al the way from Vancouver, British Columbia, to the stage at Gabe’s in Iowa City. The group was formed around the year 2006 because Mish Way, White Lung’s lead vocalist, was not happy in the band she was playing with her boyfriend she had at the time. The other members of White Lung are Anne-Marie Vassilou (drums), Grady Mackintosh (bassist). The real quartet was not formed until 2009 when Kenny William replaced the original guitarist they had. The group originally consisted of all girls, much like their inspiration, Hole, a group from the 1990’s that shared similar sounds to White Lung. The name of the group, White Lung, came about because they believed that is what accurately described them as a group; disgusting. It is a disgusting disease term that is used when bakers inhale too much flour, gets packed in their lungs and makes them sick. They have sort of a feminist approach because they believe it is important that three-fourths of the group is dominated by women. White Lung has toured both all over North America and Europe. They have released two albums under the record company, Deranged Records. Their first album was entitled It’s the Evil and their second one was titled Sorry. Their second album achieved acclaim in magazines such as Spin, Pitchfork, Exclaim! and Rolling Stone.

White Lung will bring their feminist, punk sound to Gabe’s on Wednesday, April 3rd. The show starts at 10 P.M. and will be $10 to get in. Get over the mid-week hump by checking out this talented group from across the border!

(Video credit: pitchforktv)

Local Roots Rocking, Indie Artist to Come to The Mill

David Zollo made his debut onto the local music scene in 1992 as a member of Iowa City’s band, High and Lonesome. However, his stint with High and Lonesome only lasted until 1994, when pre-cancerous tumors were found in his vocal cords. Zollo is a man of many talents. He is a singer/songwriter/keyboardist with his own band, as well as others. He plays alongside Todd Snider, William Elliot Whitmore, Greg Brown, Bo Ramsey and The Pines. Zollo is also the founder, owner and operator of the underground music label, Trailer Records, and is the producer for the bands The Pines and Brother Tucker. Trailer Records was formed to have a music-as-family sort of feel after his move to Nashville, relocation to his hometown of Iowa City and assemblage back with Bo Ramsey and Greg Brown. Zollo has released six records consisting of songs he has performed and written: Alackaday (1992);
Livefromgabes (1994); and For Sale or Rent with High and Lonesome, and
The Morning is a Long Way From Home (1995); Uneasy Street (1999); and
The Big Night (2002) all covered by his record label, Trailer Records. He is currently working on a new album titled For Hire. 

David Zollo and The Body Electric will be performing at The Mill tomorrow, Friday, March 29th. The show will begin at 9 PM so be sure to get there early to get  good seat. It will be $8 in advance but if you don’t get them early, the tickets will be $10 at the door. Come on out and enjoy the timeless sound of David Zollo and The Body Electric.

Interview with Dave Zollo:

(Video credit: Tack Fu)

The Main Squeeze Oozes Unique Funky Sound

A funk experience, The Main Squeeze, are Bloomington, Indiana natives but now call Chicago their home. The thrived in the young, fresh faced environment in the college town of Bloomington’s music scene but their move to Chicago was to pursue bigger goals that they had. They have achieved many of their goal by playing at some of the biggest music festivals in America and earning some pretty prestigious awards in the music world. The Main Squeeze has headlined at Bonnaroo, Summer Camp, Equifunk, Big Pig and Glowfest in the past. They have on several battle of the band contests around the world. They were also single handedly picked by Rolling Stone magazine to open for The Roots and Jane’s Addiction at the formal Superbowl XLVI tailgate party in Indianapolis. The members of The Main Squeeze are:

– Max Newman (lead guitar)

– Ben “Smiley” Silverstein (keyboard)

– Reuben Gingrich (drums)

– Willy Robinson (bass)

– Corey Frye (vocals)

Their music incorporates a unique sound of funk that blends with some old school hip-hop. They released their debut album in June 2012, a self-titled album, that take each member of the groups influence and blends them together to make an extremely unique, funky sound.

The Main Squeez will bring their soulful and funky sound the Iowa City Yacht Club on Thursday, March 28th. The event is 19 and over with a $5 charge to get into the show. Doors open at 8:30 PM and the show starts at 9 PM so be sure to get there early to get a close spot to the stage! You don’t want to miss this.

(Video credit: MainSqueezeMusic)

Rock n’ Roll and Hillbilly Soul

It is a roller coaster ride at one of The Hooten Hallers shows. Their take on music is to make it unexpected to the audience and for them to not know where the music is to turn next. The Hooten Haller’s tuns consist of a unique blend of modern rock n’ roll spiced up with blues, punk, country and the occasional gospel. The two members of the group are John Randall (guitar/vocals) and Andy Rehm (drums/vocals). The duo formed the group in 2006 in Columbia, MO. Their first gigs were located at house parties but then began to gain recognition which led them to play at some small festivals and led them on a few short tours. Rumor has it that Rehm still get nervous when playing, even after playing at shows across the nation, so he prefers to prefer to play in rural areas. The Hooten Hallers have released two full length studio albums, “We Have Friends” in 2008 and “The Epic Battle of Good and Evil” in 2009. There is so much power that comes from this group that crowds are often said to fall in love with the chilling rhythm and soul that Randall and Rehm take to the stage.

The Hooten Hallers will bring their unique blend of genres and high energy set to The Mill tomorrow, Friday, March 15th. The show will be 19 and over with a $6 admittance fee. Their performance is sure to be one that you will never forget so kick off your weekend right by stopping by The Mill tomorrow night!

Equilateral: Jazz Quartet of Iowa Natives With Rich History

Equilateral is a jazz group from Eastern Iowa that consists of  Chris Merz on the sax, Brent Sandy on the trumpet, Greg Mazunik on electric bass and Eric Thompson on drums, whom are all native Iowans. Some members of the group have played with some of the greats of music, such as Aretha Franklin and The Four Tops. Although they do not get the ideal amount of performance time, they are a common name to headline The Mill’s jazz night that occurs every Friday and are never let down to the crowd turnout during their performances. Chris Merz and Brent Sandy discuss what they have to do to survive as a group in Iowa, some of their strange encounters and how their music oscillates differently with audiences. 

LAUREN: Equilateral is an Eastern Iowa jazz quartet that is filled with all Iowa natives, including Chris Merz on the sax and Brent Sandy on the trumpet. Being from Iowa, they have had to incorporate a variety of styles and work to survive as a group.

CHRIS: For me, a successful gig is when I have played something I have never played before.

BRENT: Living in Iowa, we have to plan different projects.

CHRIS: And yeah, different kinds of things just to stay afloat.

BRENT: Yeah.

LAUREN: During their time together, they have played with some of music’s greats but have also had their fair share of odd run ins while playing.

CHRIS: We played with Aretha Franklin together.

BRENT: Yes we did.

CHRIS: One of the great highlights of my life.

BRENT: We played with The Temps (The Temptations) …

CHRIS: And The Four Tops but I think the the weirdest gig that I have ever played, and it was cool but weird, was when I was living in South Africa doing a Tom Waits cover show. Tom Waits was like the ultimate white guy …

BRENT: But he sings like a very black man. I mean, a weird one that I do is totally business, playing a telethon. Rehearse all afternoon and then basically play for two days.

LAUREN: The members of Equilateral play about once a month, which they all agree is not enough. The thing that makes their performances most interesting is seeing different dynamics from the audience.

CHRIS: We only ever play local. We play our music, you know, and it’s a communal thing and as long as these four guys show up there is going to be that thing. And what tunes that are going to resonate in a certain environment. It’s weird and sometimes things, a tune will play, and sometimes it has to do with the performance and I can feel it, we all can. Sometimes it is sort of like, really? You were into that? Okay, cool.

BRENT: Well, different strokes.

CHRIS: Yeah, yeah.

I would like to extend my appreciation to the members of Equilateral for giving me their time.

Midwest Reggae Rockers to Bring Their Talent to Gabe’s

Minneapolis based reggae-rock group, John Wayne and The Pain, was started up in 2005 and has been taking the nation by storm ever since. Being a part of the Minneapolis music scene helped them develop connections to play at more well-known venues and provided opportunities to play with bigger name artists. The groups frontman, John Wayne, has a story much like the late Bradley Nowell, Sublime’s former frontman, because Wayne is a recovering addict. Their songs often reflect on the struggles that Wayne had with addiction and how he dug his way out to see the light of redemption. However, their goal is to break free of the drug stereotype that is often associated with reggae music by solely promoting positive vibes to their audiences. The other two members of the group are Tito Miller (drummer) and Chuck Torgerson (bassist). Their sound is much like that of Sublime and Slightly Stoopid. The message they convey is something like Matisyahu or Wookiefoot would express in their songs. John Wayne and The Pain’s blend of electronic dub-style sounds with powerful lyrics is what sets them apart from other reggae-rock groups of today.

The sole reason for their reggae-rock style is to spread the love and unity that reggae music has to offer, to bring the audience together as one. They will be taking the stage tomorrow, Friday, March 8th, at Gabe’s. The show begins at 10 PM and will be available for ages 19 and over. It’ll be $7 to get in so be sure to not forget that. So if you’re either looking for some redemption or a good time, be sure to check out John Wayne and The Pain tomorrow at Gabe’s!

(Video credit: TheLizardKingAaron)

Personal Touch Sets Austin Musician Apart From Other Artists

Americana songwriter, David Ramirez, is an Austin, TX native who’s heartache is expressed through the lyrics and melodies  within his songs. He sings more about personal struggles and hope that can be derived out of those particular struggles. His soulful music is either played solely by himself or he sometimes has an accompaniment. Paste Magazine labeled him as “the best damn songwriter you don’t know yet.” Ramirez has been at it for well over a decade but it was with his last album, Apologies, released in August of 2012, that really pulled at listeners heart strings. Within the songs on this album, he reveals a lot about himself and give listeners a look into his vulnerable past. His other two albums are titled American Soil and Strangetown. Ramirez’s music is often classified as folk that has been brewed to pop but still embodying the heartfelt delivery that traditional Americana artists have. Himself and his listeners would both say the thing that sets him apart from other artists is that it is personal, which is hard to come by with music these days.

Ramirez’s music is ultimately a search for understanding of himself which is why he projects his struggles to audiences around the nation to help him with this discovery. He will take his soulful voice and lyrics to the stage at The Mill on Thursday, March 7th, at 10 P.M. The best thing about this show is that it is all ages and it is FREE! Get a kick start to your weekend by checking the genuine talent David Ramirez has to offer.

(Video credit: artists)

High Energy Brother/Sister Rock Duo Brings The Weird to Iowa City

If you’re a fan of The Sonics, The Monks or The Dead Weather, then you will most likely dig what the group White Mystery has to offer. Based out of Chicago, White Mystery is a brother-sister duo that started up in the April of 2008. Their music is a mix of distorted power chords, high pitched guitar riffs and the voice of a woman, Miss Alex White, that belts through the song. Frances White, the brother, also sings and plays the drums to accompany his sister shredding on her guitar. According to Guitar World, she is ranked in the “Top Ten Female Guitarists to Look Out For.” Miss Alex White started playing guitar in her early teens and Francis picked up the drums around that time as well. Alex had played in her fair share of band before collaborating with her brother. They have released two full length albums that have earned recognition from well-known publications such as, LA Weekly and The Chicago TribuneIt truly is a family business because their parents or another member of their family is in charge of White Mystery’s recording, production, art, design and assembly.

Some listeners would consider their music weird and others would call it experimental but either way, there is no denying that this red-headed sibling rock duo has some unique talent. They will be playing at The Mill tonight at 11 PM. Good Habits, a group of guys with catchy music that appeals to a variety of genres, will open for White Mystery. Be there early to get more bang for your buck by checking out both artists!

(Video credit: whitemysteryband)

Head for the Hills: Modern Acoustic Music With Traditional Melodies

Head for the Hills, a group created within a circle of friends at Colorado State University in 2004, was originally bluegrass inspired music but with a more refreshed take on it. Over the years their music has been classified as “modern music” that embodies traditional bluegrass with modern styles and sounds. The quartet of guys consists of Adam Kinghorn (guitar), Michael Chappell (mandolin), Joe Lessard (fiddle) and Matt Loewen (bass). Their mixture of new and old appeals to a wide array of listeners. Their self-titled cd release in 2012, Head for the Hills, charted a position on the CMH Tope 200 national radio listings. Their self titled release also landed them the #29 spot on Colorado Radio’s “Top 50 Albums of 2010.”  Head for the Hill’s early success paved the opportunity to perform at several well-known music festivals in 2012 which included: Wakarusa Music Festival, Telluride Bluegrass Festival and SxSW, just to name a few. Their success has only just begun and a talented group of individuals such as these guys, the boundaries are limitless.

Head for the Hills will be visiting Iowa City as part of their 2013 Winter Tour.  They will be playing at the Iowa City Yacht Club tomorrow, Wednesday, February 27th. Come out and support these breakthrough artists that have put a twist to traditional bluegrass to take a more refreshing take on acoustics. The show is open to all ages and will cost you a mere $7 at the door. The show starts at 8 P.M. and there are no opening acts so be sure to get there beforehand!

(Video credit: OblioProductions)