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Arriving a bit early to be a summertime record, Tacocat's second album NVM​ can certainly fit the bill as a fun, fun, fun springtime record!  Emerging out of the Pacific Northwest and based in Seattle, the female-fronted (Emily Nokes on  lead vocals, Lelah Maupin on drums, Bree McKenna on bass, lone male Eric Randall on guitar), Tacocat deliver with short, punchy power pop songs and sweet harmonies.

IPR/Andrew Arganbright

The Des Moines-based band (with Davenport connections) Brother Trucker brought their roots-rock Americana sound to IPR's Cedar Falls studios for a crowd-pleasing live set on April 10.  Andy Fleming (lead vocals/guitar), Mike Fitzpatrick (lead guitar/vocals), Lyle Kevin Hogue (bass), Jim Viner (drums) and Matt Jesson (keyboards) showcased some of their best songs with road-refined musicianship! Listen here for the complete performance, including a song that only the studio audience got to hear!

Courtesy the artist

The War On Drugs formed in Philadelphia in 2005, with founding members Adam Granduciel and Kurt Vile.  Vile left for a solo career following the release of The War On Drugs' debut album in 2008, and the band has included a few other members over the years, with songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Granduciel the only constant.  The new record, Lost In The Dream, is the third full-length release for The War On Drugs, furthering the band's appealing blend of indie-rock and classic rock.

Black Lips

Black Lips formed in 1999 in Dunwoody, Georgia, a northern suburb of Atlanta, while founding members Cole Alexander (guitar) and Jared Swilley (bass) were still in high school.  Drummer Joe Bradley joined a few months later, and lead guitarist Ian Saint Pe' joined in 2004.  After releasing records for other labels, Black Lips signed with Vice Records in 2007, releasing their new Underneath The Rainbow on that label.

IPR/Tony Dehner

In anticipation of the April 1 release of their new record Tomboys On Parade, the Waterloo-based band TWINS joined me for an exuberant March 27 in-studio performance on Studio One.  The band (lead vocalists/guitarists Joel and Harper Sires, drummer/vocalist Luke Sires and bassist/vocalist Devin Ferguson) were in fine form, playing Tomboys On Parade songs and more, including an encore that was not part of the live broadcast, but was heard by the studio audience.  Here is their set, complete with encore and my conversation with TWINS.

IPR/Tony Dehner

The Iowa band John June Year stopped by IPR's Cedar Falls studios for a high energy in-studio performance on March 25.  Their music has been described as filling the gap between British guitar rock, the raw and artsy sounds of the Velvet Underground, the early 2000's garage rock revival of bands like the Strokes, and contemporary torch-bearers such as the Arctic Monkeys.  You'll hear those influences in this live set, plus a Monkees cover included among their original songs! 

John June Year, from Clinton, Iowa (and currently residing in Cedar Falls) join me for a live in-studio set on Tuesday, March 25, beginning around 7:15 pm.  John June Year fills the gap between British guitar rock, the raw and artsy sounds of the Velvet Underground, the early 2000's garage rock revival of bands like the Strokes, and contemporary indie rock torch-bearers such as the Arctic Monkeys.  The free show will be on the third floor of the Communication Arts Center on the UNI campus in Cedar Falls.

The Waterloo, Iowa band Twins are about to release the  follow-up to their 2012 album, Funny Faces.  The new record, Tomboys On Parade, was self-produced by the band at Jealous Dog Studios in Cedar Falls, with Al Eacret engineering the recording sessions.  Eacret mixed the album along with Twins lead vocalist and guitarist, Joel Sires.  The line-up of Twins also includes Luke Sires on drums, Harper Sires on guitar and Devin Ferguson on bass.

Flickr: Jason Persse

Annie Clark, better known as St. Vincent, began her career as a member of The Polyphonic Spree.  She formed her own band in 2006, and released her debut album the following year.  After a couple more full-length records, she collaborated with David Byrne on Love This Giant.  Byrne and St. Vincent toured together, wowing the crowd at last year's 80/35 Festival with a tight and celebratory show.  The new album, St. Vincent, showcases the next steps in Clark's musical evolution, with smart, accessible songwriting and ear-pleasing innovative songs.

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James Mercer is the lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter in The Shins.  Brian Burton (also known as Danger Mouse) is the artist and producer with many notable projects on his resume.  With their band Broken Bells, the two artists combine their considerable musical credibility with great success.  The second full-length Broken Bells album is After The Disco.  For the new record, the band's atmospheric synth pop is augmented by a four-piece choir and seventeen-piece string orchestra. 

CD of The Week from Low

Mar 31, 2013
npr.org

The Invisible Way is the tenth album from the Duluth, MN trio Low.  Low's guitarist and vocalist Alan Sparhawk tells the story of how the new record came together:  "While driving through Chicago, on tour, we stopped finally to visit Wilco at their studio, The Loft....It's a great place- a sea of instruments in a relaxed, open working environment."  Wilco's Jeff Tweedy agreed to produce the new Low album.  "He spoke a language we understood, but then took us effortlessly into the mystery," according to Sparhawk.

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