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The Best Releases of August: Music Staff Picks

Tropical Fuck Storm – Deep States Aussie noise rock band Tropical Fuck Storm’s third album, Deep States, is as messy and disorienting as the doomed political landscape it was birthed out of. Reflecting mind-poisoning social media discourse twisted through the filter of a distortion pedal, vocalists Gareth Liddiard and Fiona Kitschin deliver some of their most compelling melodies over lacerating guitar and synth lines. The opening track, “The Greatest Story Ever Told”, writes from the perspective of Jesus’ second coming to Earth to proclaim in a grand chorus “There ain’t no end of days.” Even at its loudest, a sense … Continued

Music
The Best Releases of June: Music Staff Picks

Spellling – The Turning Wheel The Turning Wheel, Chrystia Cabral’s third album under the project Spellling, offers bewitchingly captivating progressive folk and neo-soul songs. A shift towards natural instrumentation marks a stark change from 2019’s synth-heavy Mazy Fly, giving these songs a new liveliness, and pushing Cabral’s songwriting towards the theatrical. The sonic palette on its own can be bewildering at first–veering off without warning into performances of soul, hard rock, classical, folk, and of course, synthwave. It’s no surprise that the personnel list reveals more than thirty performers–all of whom sound great. The songs are left with an enchanting … Continued

522XX Tour Guide: Fair Grounds Coffeehouse & Howling Dogs Bakery

Carrying on my exploration of local caffeine hubs, I decided to take a trip over to 345 S. Dubuque and visit Fair Grounds Coffeehouse.  What struck me most about the establishment upon entering was how much it had going on simultaneously. After making just a cursory glance, I was swimming in sensory overload. Two televisions were streaming classic films above the main seating area. Blues guitar beat out from speakers that I couldn’t quite locate. An array of potted plants in various stages of disrepair lined the bank of windows behind tables to my right. Two separate ventilation systems bulged … Continued

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