When You Go Out To Vote

Happy Halloween! I know it's spooky out today, but what's scarier than the prelude to All Soul's Day? Election Tuesday! That said, your vote has the potential to make our national shitshow slightly less terrible. At the very least, your vote may help protect the rights of women, persons of color, non-American citizens, queer folks, and everyone…

The Smudge – Wrong Longings

(photo by Lulu Rader) “Some people are worth the right gold. Some people search after the wrong gold.” - The Smudge The Smudge is the musical persona of enigmatic multidisciplinary artist Bucko Crooks.  Where does the persona end and the person begin? And what does it matter to you? The Smudge boasts 82 releases on the artist’s b…

Bill Nelson – The Futurist Looks Back

  The recording career of Bill Nelson can be traced to 1968 at Holyground studios in Yorkshire, England. Since that time Bill has put forth well over one hundred releases - from a solo artist to Be Bop Deluxe, then Red Noise and back to a solo act, as well as countless collaborations with artists like Harold Budd and the group Channel Light…

JEAGS’ FANCY SLEEVES

Fancy Sleeves: The Importance of Cover Art in Record Sales and History Listening to a vinyl LP allows a person to spend time with an artist’s work. One engages in “active listening.” This includes more than merely hearing the music. You must remain present to listen to a record. You have to place the needle into the grooves. You have to fl…

ASVA – Presences of Absences LIVE

This June, the mighty Asva reassembled to perform their essential album Presences of Absences for the first time live. The group, led by Stuart Dahlquist and featuring his brother Adam, Nick Hudson, and Toby Driver, played at Subterranean in Seattle on June 22. Here is live video from that show of the album's title cut. Simultaneously maje…

VIDEO PREMIERE: VOIDDWELLER – “SNAKES”

VoidDweller, whose Illegal Content album we reviewed here, returns with  a new single, "Snakes." The video, shot by Angelo Rossi - who has established himself as a photographic documentarian of many Iowa bands and scenes - and manipulated in post by Mr. VoidDweller himself, features the artist sitting down at a desk in something of an interro…

BLACK STEEL IN FLYOVER COUNTRY

“Armageddon, Been in Effect. Go get a late pass. Step.” My local newspaper once highlighted a local hair band, quoting the lead singer snottily saying, “Rap has never been popular in Dubuque.” While The Summer of 1988 was a seminal point in the history of Hip Hop, a time when old school rap stars—at that point, the rap artists of only …

CLAIRE SAYS

(Photograph by Dasha Denger) Here's an interview with Claire Lambach (bass, vocals) of Chicago minimalist psych-pop duo GOSH! I first heard GOSH! in 2015 when Ruix booked them at our old space, and was lucky enough to have done some tour dates with them last fall. It's been rad to see them change and grow over those few years. The group has …

Thollem’s Hot Pursuit of Happiness

  For our first entry in Ruix's archival series, we have an essay from 2013 about the prolific musician and peripatetic traveler Thollem McDonas. Thollem is presently on tour, playing and singing his songs, presented under the name Hot Pursuit of Happiness.  With Thollem playing at Monk's Kaffee Pub in Ruix's home base of Dubuque, I…

Mentoring Youth: Live Performance and Songwriting

In late 2015, members of the Dubuque Area Arts Collective developed a new program building on the organization’s mission statement to mentor and empower young artists. Project 1 was devised to encourage young musicians to work together toward learning the fundamentals of live performance and songwriting. This goal was to be achieved with assistan…