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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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UI Lecture: Ayana Mathis at The Englert Theatre

The Englert Theatre was packed last Monday night, February 25 at 7 PM. The crowd, filled with students and Iowa City citizens, was there to see one incredible woman: Ayana Mathis. Mathis, a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, came back to Iowa City to read from her debut novel, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie. The novel’s recent acclaim is partially due to its acceptance in to Oprah’s book club. Following a wild applause, Ayana Mathis took the stage and read a short poem by Gwendolyn Brooks entitled “Kitchenette Building.” She then commented on the poem, noting that it questions whether … Continued

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