Freakin’ Weekend: 2.5-2.7

For whatever reason, the last week or so has seen an outpouring of previously disclosed info via the internet. In case you haven’t noticed - non-Facebookers may not have, but everyone else has - it seems that everyone has reverted back to being on AOL and a freshman in high school again, as we’ve seen about a billion people (not really) post their “25 Things” on Facebook. This means that you get to both learn a ton of things you probably don’t need to know about a bunch of people you probably only tangentially know, but also that you’ve stumbled upon the biggest time-waster so far of this very young 2009. Of course, we didn’t need Michael Phelps to write one of these - he went ahead and disclosed his big #1 in a British tabloid, albeit unintentionally. Fortunately, we’ve got plenty on tap for the weekend so that you won’t have to dawdle all weekend online while attempting to escape the early semester blues. Just keep in mind that you never know where your picture is going to show up, so be careful out there.

JCVD / Bijou / 7pm / $5
For the second straight week, we direct you to the Bijou, who are looking like they are going to have a strong spring semester. This week it’s JCVD, which stars Jean-Claude Van Damme - yes that Jean-Claude Van Damme - plays himself in what the Bijou calls a “meta-action dramedy” that features Van Damme playing himself in a somewhat tragic self reference.

James Sham Gallery Open House / PS1 / 7pm / FREE
Extremely excited to be able to present the opening of the Public Space One Gallery, which is an expansion of the music venue that people have been checking out killer shows at for the better part of the last year. The space has expanded and the first in a series of monthly installations will be having its grand opening reception. James Sham, an artist with dual Canadian and Hong Kong citizenship, will be presenting a pair of visual installations. In “Opera Telephone,” the childrens’ game telephone is played by adults with an opera aria sung by a soprano. In “Close Caption,” a hearing impaired man attempts to keep rhythm while a sign language translator performs a hip hop standard. Both pieces focus on the idea of translation, order, and the disintegration of language. The installation runs from tomorrow until February 27.

Diplomats of Solid Sound w. The Parlour Suite / Mill / 9pm / $7
One of our old favorites of the Iowa City scene, the new soul sound of the Diplomats is the perfect cap to a weekend that we’ve got filled with some non-musical events. They are a dynamic outfit that’s known far and wide as one of the best at what they do - fortunately for us they play in town just frequently enough that we’re looking forward to it every single time. Minneapolis’ The Parlour Suite open the gig.

Last Minute Show Reminder: Yo Majesty

Damn. I’ve had this show on my radar since they announced it (seemingly forever ago) but it really slipped my mind in the last week or so. Seriously, though, this is a pretty remarkable event coming to Iowa City, which usually seems like a town starved for hip hop with occasional oases popping up from time to time. Yo Majesty, a female duo from Florida, represent the anti-gangster image that largely dominates the mainstream hip hop scene. Jwl. B and Shunda K embrace old-school beats and create songs based on the odd couple of legitimate feminist rap and dancefloor party jams. The first single, “Kryptonite Pussy,” pretty much speaks for itself, and if that doesn’t grab your attention, I’m just not sure about you. Anyway, it isn’t every day that lesbian rap comes to Iowa City, so you know you want to be there, if only to see what it’s all about. The duo released their debut record Futuristically Speaking…Never Be Afraid on Domino last year to largely positive reviews. Think of Salt N Pepa re-imagining “Push It” for a new world order and an underground audience. Yo Majesty are making hip hop history what they want it to be as they go. Check it.

What: Yo Majesty and Natalie “The Floacist” Stewart with School of Flyentology
Where: The Picador
When: 9pm
How Much: $10

Download: Yo Majesty - Club Action (Artwork Remix)

Corn Fed Music: Slanty Shanty Edition

For those of you who missed it, Corey Gingerich has ripped Slanty Shanty Records from its Iowa City foundation and shuffled it off to LA-LA-Land.  Do not despair, however, because Gingerich hasn’t quite quit Iowa City entirely (can you really ever?).  Tonight I’ll be chatting via telephone with the illustrious President and Founder of Slanty Shanty Records about the future of the label out West.

He’s also giving us the tip on some upcoming releases.  Some of this stuff is months off, so we’re getting in on the ground level here.  That’s coming to you at 5 pm this evening on 89.7 FM KRUI or at your very own computers right here.  And since 5 pm seems so-oo-oo far away right now, we’ve got a remix of the Freakin’ Peeked Slanty Shanty act ANAVAN below.

Download: ANAVAN - BOOM (Frost DJ Sexxx Remix)

P.S. KRUI is hosting a few more Slanty Shanty mp3s on their blog right here.

Preview: Elf Power + Vic Chesnutt

While 100 million viewers are expected to tune into today’s 43rd Super Bowl matchup, the fact remains that some people still like music more than football. If you’re in this group of people who rather see guitars and keyboards in the flesh rather than the Boss surrounded by captalist bombast, well, for once, on Super Bowl Sunday, you are in luck. Elephant Six veterans, Elf Power, will play at Huckleberry’s in Rock Island tonight alongside the folky and sublime Vic Chesnutt. It should be a charming and intimate show full of quirky and irresistable pop melodies. It’s a rare treat to catch these two Athens, Georgia bands in our area so be sure not to miss out. Thanks to Daytrotter for putting this show together.

What: Elf Power + Vic Chesnutt
Where: Huckleberry’s Pizza — 223 18th Street, Rock Island, IL (about an hour east of Iowa City… the calzones at Huckleberry’s are awesome!)
When: 7PM
How Much: $10 (get there early — this show will likely sell out!)

New Music: Musee Mecanique on Daytrotter

Mission Creek/Freak friends Musee Mecanique are rolling into town Saturday, but you already knew that.  But a little icing on the cake: our buddies over at Daytrotter threw up a “preview” of this weekend’s show. 

The set features a quartet of tunes from the Portland, Oregon quintet’s latest Pitchfork-ok’d, Little Village-loved record, Hold This Ghost.  These gents have crafted a fine set of everything-and-the-kitchen-sink brand of twee-indie-pop, and few bands sound as at home in the intimate confines of the Daytrotter studios as these honeydrippers.  If you’ve waited this long to get with the program, there might not be a better time than now.  All you have to do is click right here.

And just in case you slept on the post yesterday:
Who: Musee Mecanique w/ Radio Moscow and Quiet Bears
Where: Public Space One (Basement of the Jefferson Bldg)
When: Saturday (1/31) @ 9 pm
Cover: $5

Freakin’ Weekend: 1.29-1.31

‘Tis the big weekend, perhaps the most revered weekend in American sports. Few single events take precedence over this Sunday in America - partly because our other most revered championships - the World Series, the Stanley Cup, the NBA Finals - fail to feature the single game draw of the Super Bowl. And while plenty of events hold up to it in stature within their field, such as the Kentucky Derby or the Daytona 500, the Super Bowl is, without a doubt, the single contest America loves to love. Personally, I’ll take the drama of a seven game series or the culmination of March Madness, but every once in a while we get a great game, and this year is looking like no disappointment. And besides, for every person who enjoys the football aspect of it, there’s someone else who “just watches for the commericals.” Crazy world we live in. Regardless, we know that you can’t stand to spend your entire weekend analyzing that Polamalu/Fitzgerald matchup, though, so we’ve provided you with a handy guide on a kinda slow weekend to get you through to Sunday night. What? Oh, you don’t care about football? Oh, then, just sit back and enjoy the ads.

Timecrimes / Bijou Theatre / 9:45pm / $5
A slow night of music means a good chance to check in on your independent cinema. There’s a slew of worthwhile movies playing right now at the major theatres in anticipation of the upcoming Academy Awards, but it’s important to hit up your indie campus movie house every once in a while. There’s rarely a dud, and while I confess to have not yet seen Timecrimes, my general curiosity and bias towards Spanish film means this has got my interest already. This is Academy Award nominated director Nacho Vigalondo’s first feature length film.

Caleb Engstrom / Java House / 8pm / FREE
Two things I irrepressibly love: a good cup of coffee and the music of one Caleb Engstrom. I plan to put them together at this free show Friday night as part of the weekly Friday night music series presented by the Java House (full disclosure: the Java House is my employer). Caleb hasn’t played a gig in Iowa City in a while, so make sure to stop by and check out what he’s been working on while you load up on caffeine for your Friday night on the town.

Musee Mecanique w. Radio Moscow, Quiet Bears / PS1 / 9pm / $5
Portland’s etheral Musee Mecanique stop in town for the third time in the last year. This time they’ll be down at Public Space One for a great Saturday night trio of music. Davenport’s Quiet Bears play Iowa City for the first time in a while. We always look forward to their slow folk reminiscent of Bonnie “Prince” Billy, David Karsten Daniels, and other songwriters with three names. Musee Mecanique are still supporting their debut full-length Hold This Ghost, which recently received a glowing p4k review. Radio Moscow, a killer blues trio - think the Black Keys with classic psych-rock influences - are kicking off a tour in support of their forthcoming record.

Corn Fed Preview: Strap on Your Dancin’ Shoes

I don’t know if there’s something in the water, but 2009 is shaping up to be a year for body-movin’.  We’ve already been blessed with not one but two solid electronic bills that have gotten heads noddin’ and booties bouncin’ and on top of that we just had some science dropped on us by DIY DJ(s) Cuticle.  So in honor of this momentum, the first official installment of Corn Fed Music will contain a hearty set of remixes, mixtape cuts, and certified bangers featuring: Cuticle, Porno Galactica, and Exterminator (Ryan Garbes of Wet Hair).  The dance party starts at 5 pm on 89.7 FM or stream it over your interwebs here.

The first side of Exterminator’s first mixtape is sitting right there below.  Get a sneak peek, and if you want the whole kit and caboodle head over to his blog here where you can get the side B and FIVE other mixtapes.  Dude’s been busy.

Download: Exterminator - Side A

New Music: Cuticle Mixtape - Baby Games I

Not that you needed confirmation, but the show at the Mill on Friday night did indeed confirm that everyone from indie snobs to DiY freaks to preps, geeks, gays, straights, rockers, mods, blacks, whites and Puerto Ricans has embraced dance music in one form or another.  Dance is everywhere right now-even disco is huge again, most obviously with bands like LCD Soundsystem and Hercules and Love Affair.  But beside these straight-up beat makers, there is also a long history of dance “crossing over” into rock.  You could do some fun music-crit lineage here from Neu! to The Rapture, but if you’re reading this blog than chances are you’ve covered this ground somewhere in the early 2000s.  Still, I think it’s worth reminding ourselves that someone made a lot of money selling bumper stickers that say this. Perhaps the significance of this resurgence is not that dance is finally really meshing with rock (there have been instances of this since at least the early 70s), but that these kind of genre experiments and cross-pollinations are now wildly popular among those who might have snubbed the genre for years in favor of “real music” made by “real instruments.” From its beginning, dance music has been all things not “rock”: mechanized, emasculating, playful.

Nothing captures and exploits these contradictions between rockers’ fascination with dance and dancers’ fascination with rock right now more than the newest Cuticle mixtape.  I might be overstating it, but for a self-proclaimed “shameful take on noise and house,” Iowa City label head/mixmaster/musician Brenden O’Keefe has assembled a not shameful collection that (sometimes aggressively) pushes those two genres right up against each other: The Shangri-La’s up against Robert Hood, the Soft Pink Truths with Driphouse and Omar S., etc.  Cuticle’s own live performances, especially with new collaborator Jeff Witscher, are some combination of house, noise, soul, and punk-if you haven’t seen them, this mixtape serves as a primer, and if you have, well, then you know what you’re getting yourself into.  In true DiY fashion, the mixtape is cassette only, but Brendan has digitized one for us into two 15 minute tracks (sides A and B), and scanned the art.

And if you like mixtapes, please don’t forget to read about Porno Galactica and then get their mash-up mashterpiece (zip file), and do the same for Sarah Dorpinghaus’ podcast.

Download: Cuticle - Baby Games I (side A)

Download: Cuticle - Baby Games I (side B)

Download: full res album art


It’s darn cold outside so we’ve been inside putting together Mission Creek Festival 2009. There is still A LOT of work to do but we thought we’d share some of our early confirmed musical acts:














But wait, this just ain’t a music festival. We like to get our literarture-on as well. The literary line-up, so far, is just as blazing as the musical stuff. On deck for readings we have highly-acclaimed fiction writers EDMUND WHITE and CHARLIE D’AMBROSIO plus mind-numbing poets STEVE KUUSISTO and MARK LEIDNER and literary magazine representatives from FORKLIFT: OHIO. Also: the curators of the most killer reading series in town, ANTHOLOGY, will host several events.

What about film? Ah yes, there will be a screening of Benjamin Franzen and Kembrew McLeod’s documentary on sampling and copyright in music, Copyright Criminals.

The festival dates are: APRIL 1 - 4, 2009 and limited edition, all-access festival passes will be available soon at a cost of $50. Individual tickets for shows are also available!


Freakin’ Weekend: 01.22-01.24

That was fuckin’ sweet.

My Dear Disco @ Physical Challenge / Picador / 10pm / FREE
You know about Physical Challenge, the Picador’s weekly installment of dance grooves and sleaze, but do you know My Dear Disco? The Michigan combo will be stopping off to play the upstairs of the club this week in support of their recently released sophomore effort Dancethink. Not your typical fare either - this band, which features six members on various instruments, promises to bring an intriguing style to your normal Thursday night routine. They’ll be back at the Mill in March, so get a free taste tomorrow night. $2 if yr under 21 (19+ only, kiddos).

Porno Galactica w. School of Flyentology, Cuticle, Single Indian Tear / Mill / 9pm / $6
Well, we’d be lying if we said this wasn’t the most excited we’ve been about a show in a hot minute, so full disclosure: Porno Galactica is playing this show in support of their debut mixtape, which is out on Mission Freak Records, calling this website home. In addition, Single Indian Tear features our own Craig Eley (with collaborator/genius David Z. Morris), so we’ve got a lot at stake in this electronica/out music show. Mainstays of Iowa City dance School of Flyentology and Cuticle make this a party. Download Porno Galactica’s Mixtape Vol. 1 right here.

The Parish Festival w. Twelve Canons, Olivia Rose Muzzy, Banjo Kellie / Mill / 9pm / $6
We will certainly head to the Mill again to nurse our hangovers with a much more serene evening of music. Davenport’s the Parish Festival are piecing together a string of winter shows across the Midwest to support their debut Handshakes and Heartaches. H&H is likely to please indie folkers and fans of traditional folk and bluegrass too. They are joined by an all-star lineup of Iowa City’s alternative yet acoustic movement.