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Music Staff Picks: The Best Releases of April

billy woods – Aethiopes On Aethiopes, billy woods reestablishes his strengths as a storyteller, with help from producer Preservation’s experimentally jazzy beats. By now, woods has cemented himself as one of hip hop’s greatest writers, and his brooding yet clever introspection sounds especially powerful over Preservation’s musical backdropping. Samples of pianos will twinkle across some tracks, and pound discordantly on others, while electric guitars ring and horns blow. By the time the harmonica enters the equation, the beats here are unparalleled. It is an enveloping atmosphere completed by excellent percussion, which moves between hand drums, full kits, and shuffling jangles … Continued

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Soccer Mommy Hints at New Sound at Mission Creek Festival

Overall, Soccer Mommy earned the headline spot at Mission Creek Festival with their bright-sounding indie underpinning the deeper, darker meaning looming in the lyrics. Sometimes, Forever releases June 24th and can be pre-ordered through her website. 

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On Cloud Nine with Beach Bunny

Beach Bunny had had their first performance of their tour at the Englert Theatre. The theater quickly filled with excited young bodies thrilled to see Beach Bunny live.

The Body & BIG|BRAVE – Leaving None But Small Birds  The Body and BIG|BRAVE have each earned their tenure in metal, but together they have created an album that defies any preconceived notions one might have had for them. On Leaving None But Small Birds, both bands veer into a brand of folk rock that is rife with an eerie grit. Twangy layered strings mesh with the heavy distortion of guitars that both The Body and BIG|BRAVE are known for, creating a delicate and foreboding atmosphere. Similarly, the guttural shrieks and growls of The Body are replaced by the haunting croons of BIG|BRAVE’s lead vocalist Robin … Continued

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Written contributions from Jaden Amjadi, Sydney Sjobakken, and Derek Tate Illuminati Hotties – Free I.H: This is not the One You’ve Been Waiting For Everything about the presentation of this new record from Illuminati Hotties–from its status as a mixtape to its name–implies it is meant to be taken more as an interim before their real sophomore album. And yet, this may go down as one of the most memorable punk records of the year. Core member Sarah Tudzin takes the foundation of power-pop and plays with its boundaries with songs that are still fun and immediate. The opener, “will … Continued

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On a holiday that celebrates American Independence, the directors take a moment to reflect on the rich history of political activism in music. We are not free until all of us are free. (image via Bernie Boston/The Washington Star Collection)

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The University of Iowa sent out an email to students on Friday which detailed their plans for reform following the Iowa City Police Department’s recent use of teargas and flashbangs against peaceful protestors–inducing a seizure for one protestor and knocking others unconscious. In the email, they acknowledge “calls from members of our campus community to cut ties with the Iowa City Police Department”. Student Government demanded this same action in a mass email sent just moments before the University’s. After a paragraph discussing how the University must be a “driver of change” they list the plan’s steps. Any decrease of … Continued

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Written contributions by Jaden Amjadi, Derek Tate, and Jake Bisson Jeff Rosenstock – N O D R E A M Throughout his career, though especially the last decade of it, Jeff Rosenstock has done more than possibly any artist to remove the stigma from pop-punk. His earworm melodies, impassioned shouts, and nervous energy consistently produce cathartic listening experiences. His newest effort, the surprise-release N O D R E A M, is no exception to this rule. Acting as a soundtrack to yet another anxious breakdown, songs respond to perceived personal inadequacies (“Old Crap”, “Beauty of Breathing”) and political helplessness (“Scram!”, “N O D R E A M”). While many tracks aren’t more than four minutes, most have a tremendous sense of pacing and dynamism, never wearing out a melodic or sonic idea before moving onto the next. The title track’s different musical phases cover a … Continued

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