Review Mega Postamaniapaloozagate Vol. 1 (Featuring Courtney Krause! MarKaus! Glitter Density! and Holy White Hounds!)


Louise Bequeaith (left) and Catherine Lewin are Glitter Density

I left this blog pretty well high and dry for a long time, so I missed a chance to talk about a lot of great bands. Entirely too many. Iowa artists were just pumping out the hits and I was too busy doing data entry and feeling sorry for myself.

For the next, I dunno, however many long it takes, I guess, I’m going to catch up four bands at a time. As always, I urge you to listen and make your own opinions, because I like most of this stuff and you may not.

To start it off, I’m going to cover some of the local bands playing 80/35 (which kicks off this Friday)! Download the app for full show times or check out the Generation Z and the three main stages here! Hopefully we can get through all of their new releases by Friday.


Courtney Krause (5pm Friday – Kum and Go Stage) – Thoughts and Sounds

I want to give this album a true review. I really really do.

I want to tell you about the beauty in Krause’s voice. Her talent with a classical guitar. The way she weaves stories with confidence, but also with a little bit of vagueness so you can fill in the blanks yourself. The way Dylan Boyle’s slide guitar only hints to his immense talent (For real. Dude might be the best guitarist in this town) but would make this album completely incomplete without.

But I just can’t get past “Hardwood Floors”.

I can’t tell if it’s the haunting backing vocals by Patresa Hartmann or just the simple music on top of that huge voice, but “Hardwood Floors” wrecked me

I’ve listened to Thoughts and Sounds a couple of times and I don’t know if I was distracted by life or what, but sitting in a booth in a bar at 2 pm and openly crying was, let’s say, unexpected.

The album is full of little emotional moments, but “Hardwood Floors” has the sort of hook that can grab you directly by you aorta and just start yanking. The way the instruments almost mimic movement on a hardwood floor (who knew a tambourine could tug at my emotions?) The way Krause’s voice decends off the  high notes and hammers the repeated “My arms.” The ethereal Hartman, hovering behind the proceedings. Every moment is special and rewards the listener for paying attention.

I’ve been known to fixate on a track, from time to time, but to have one completely overtake me on an album this good is rare. It’s almost perfect on an album that could stand on its own without it.

Here’s my suggestion: listen to it once. Pay attention to the vocals, the productions, the guitars. Pay attention to the lyrics and the changes and the pacing.

Then listen to it again and don’t do any of that. Just let the album take you where it wants you to go. Don’t be distracted by life or by criticism. Just let the album be and see what it does to you.


MarKaus (7pm Friday – Nationwide Stage) – White Mans Burden

A few weeks back, I made my post about which 80/35 bands I was going to try and see. I included a little shout out section at the bottom about local acts you should check out, but were sadly up against bands I was dying to see.

One name I left off that list was MarKaus. At the time, I thought it was just a dumb error on my part, but the more I think about it, the more I think there was more to it than that.

MarKaus has been such a force on the scene in such a small time, that in my head, I just assume everyone knows who he is. In just a small amount of time he has burst on the scene, worked with some of the best in Des Moines, received a lot of acclaim and attention, played some big stages and generally staked his claim as one of the best in town, and maybe more.

It’s an impressive amount of work, hustle and just congenial charisma that can propel someone that quick, but MarKaus also backs it up with a lot of ability. He’s an MC who is not afraid to tackle tough subjects about society and life that can be deemed uncomfortable by some but really need to be paid attention. He presents his ideas and experiences with incredible production and a live show to match.

His debut solo album, White Mans Burden, couples his incredible flow, his smart and often intense rhymes and pairs it with incredible production and samples. He also has the backing of some of his MediaFresh cohorts as well as work by some of the Des Moines’s most respected artists, like a guest verse from Gadema and production from Aeon Grey.

So, MarKaus may not be at the level of fame he should be, just yet, it really is just a matter of time.

Holy White Hounds (8:15 Friday – Nationwide Stage) – Sparkle, Sparkle

You guys.

Holy White Hounds are so great.

It’s so neat to see their success, because, man, they’ve been so great for so long. Dig Angees were great. La Strange was great. Guitars are great. Guitar solos are great. Debauchery is great. Hometown pride is great. Tattoos are great. Freaking out squares is great. Charismatic front men are great. Just being happy about music is great. Success for a bunch of good dudes is great.

I just sort of want to slam this PBR and shout.

I dunno, just, fucking buy the album.

Sorry, as I re-read this the next day, I realize I may have been a bit drunk when I wrote the above. I don’t really get into the album much. It is great, though.

Fuck it, I stand by it.

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Glitter Density (6:15 Friday – Generation Z Stage) – Live at Vaudeville Mews 7/2/16

There’s something unique happening with Glitter Density. I have been to a lot of shows in my life. I have seen lots of teenagers in bands. I have watched as they get embarrassed when their dad dances and takes pictures or when aunts and uncles awkwardly high five or when grandma sits in the back and smiles.

I have seen as they make faces when they screw up a chord or if their voice cracks. I have seen as they reach out to friends standing in the front row and as they sing songs people know the words to. I’ve seen them turn red when someone “whoos” in the crowd while they’re awkwardly bantering between songs or as a guitar is tuned. I have seen as they plowed every bit of teenage awkwardness forward and turned into the the unmistakable lack of fear that teenagers sometimes overdose on to overcome their base fears. I’ve seen bands that had no reason to be that confident.

So yeah, none of that is unique to Glitter Density. They have all of that, the familial support, the goofy friends in the front row, the awkwardness, the surprise poise.

What makes Glitter Density unique is that a lot of these bands are bad. All they have is the support of family and friends. They haven’t yet developed the ability to be something more than a fun thing to do with their friends and to make their parents proud. Not to say being bad at something at a young age is a terrible thing, it is just the norm. A lot of times, these awkward teenagers develop into incredible performers and musicians. Other times, they grow up, go to college, get a job and only break out their instrument at parties or for lullabys or to show their kids they used to be cool.

Nothing about Glitter Density’s actual ability suggests they are a flash in the pan. There is real gifts of performance and grace underneath the teenage exuberance. They are taking simple sounds and transforming them into low-fi, even-keeled works of art. While neither member of Glitter Density shows themselves as a guitar or bass virtuoso, Catherine Lewin’s voice can transform from shy teen to real lung-blowing powerhouse. When Louise Bequeaith sings, she has a Moldy Peaches quality. She’s wry, simple but understood and confident.

It’s neat to watch a duo and wonder where they’ll go. But it is rad to see actual talent and fearlessness mixed in with the normal teenage red-cheeked glow as dad takes his 900th picture.





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