USSpaceForce is the newly-hatched solo home recording project of Iowa City’s Chris Ford (Petit Mal, Samuel Locke Ward & the Boo-Hoos), which he just announced on Facebook thusly:

I started some home recording under the moniker USSpaceForce, and I just finished my first song, called Dr.Dr. If you’re interested, you can go to my site and listen to it and download it. Go here to do that: Thank you, that is all.

You can go to to that link, or just play it here. Or both.

There you have it: new project, one song, pretty promising start.

I’ve been remiss in not posting this sooner, but a little over a week ago Iowa City songwriter Samuel Locke-Ward (is it supposed to be spelled with the dash or not? I never know for sure) did a live solo performance on the Little Village Live radio show on KRUI. In it, he tore rapid-fire through something like two dozen songs off his last something like eight albums. Download the audio, watch the video, read a bit about Sam at Little Village’s site. Or watch the videos below:

If you spent any time in the Iowa indie-rock scene between about 1997 and 2005, you’ve probably been wondering for the past couple years, “Whatever happened to A Is Jump?” Maybe you thought they had disappeared completely. You probably remember them holing up in a house in Waterloo, ostensibly to work on a new album, only to be disappointed when no new album came and the band members instead moved away to parts unknown.

Well today I got this delightful little mp3 attached to an email from lead singer/guitarist Brad Brandhorst:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Right away I had to track down Brad by IM and ask him about it. Turns out Brad, Cory, and Ryan merely moved to the vicinity of Chapel Hill, SC but A Is Jump has continued (they still have a MySpace page by the way). According to our IM conversation, this track is just a rough mix, but A Is Jump is indeed very much alive, and with Casey Averill, whom you’ll remember from another bright-shining Iowa band Vernon, on drums. Quoth Brandhorst:

none of the other guys have heard it yet. i know ryan will complain that his guitar is too loud … this mp3 is my attempt to get all viral to let people know that we still are alive … i’ve been saying this for a couple of years now, but i truly believe we’re gonna have a new record out this year. we have a lot of stuff recorded … i’d estimate we’ll be finished by early autumn, but who knows. we’re all old guys now, with jobs and wives and kids and stuff.

You can still get A Is Jump’s 2004 CD My Ice-Fingered Ghost over at CDBaby.

(va Scented Vinyl)

Via a Facebook posting last night by the video’s co-director Joel Anderson (also a guitar slinger in Tornavalanche, and back’na’day, Ten Grand):

this was co-directed by alan ortiz and myself. bill adams is not only an awesome dude, he ran a camera to boot. dean fisher handled the art direction and made the cabin look amazing. ruben vela II did the masterful editing. jill dibiase helped see the whole editorial process through. joey potts created the illustration…s and sean jean cough animated them to life. craig leffel worked his magic on the color correction and joel signer helped with the color as well. thanks to optimus, vagrant and the great people of murder by death!

Good Morning,Magpie came out last month on Vagrant Records.

Super-active Iowa rapper/songwriter/musician Coolzey has a new summer project. You’ve heard of this concept before: put out a song online every week. Except he’s also doing videos for them. For 12 weeks. Here’s the first one.

Check out Public School Records website for a download of the song, including a clean version suitable for radio.

Just so you know, in case you weren’t there. Metromix has some photos. I’m on the left in #14.

I got there just in time for Wolves In The Attic and they were a definite highlight of the evening, way more exciting in person than I’d come to expect from some YouTube video I saw of them once. When I first moved to Des Moines I got them confused with Wolves In The Throne Room for a while because I wasn’t familiar with either but both names seemed to be floating across my radar regularly at the time. Turns out I ended up liking both. In some ways they aren’t that different — both seem to present an intense level of energy and a formidable racket of guitar texture. Wolves In The Attic, rather than a black metal band oriented around nature, sound something more like Swervedriver on overdrive.

Christopher The Conquered was intense in their dramatic testimonial kind of way, every bit as raucous and fun as their set at Gross Domestic Product. The Mynabirds, in from Omaha, were pretty pleasant, especially in the vocal department. There’s a fair bit of buzz around them but I can’t help thinking they might kinda disappear in the sheer mass of similar indie-folk outfits in their hometown.

I don’t have to tell you Poison Control Center put on a wild, raucous, super-fun show, because they’re remarkably consistent in that regard. They were joined by a horn section borrowed from Christopher The Conquered, and from what I’ve heard, were likewise joined onstage by just about everybody in the venue at the end according to Dan (Why Make Clocks), who reports that he was among the throng playing a tambourine, but by that time I’d gotten really tired and made my way home.

PCC is touring the US epically this year in support of this new CD, which is called Sad Sour Future. I haven’t given it a good full listen yet but I’m expecting it to meet all expectations.

UPDATE: for a more detailed account, probably more insightful than my terse reportage, check out Marc Hogan’s bit over at Des Noise.

Metromix (and several others via Facebook, Twitter, etc) reports that co-headlining 80/35 Fest along with Spoon this year will be Modest Mouse. Also local singer-songwriter Cashes Rivers and Iowa folkster extraordinaire William Elliot Whitmore. This is shaping up to be a freaking awesome show.

Dubuque avant-psych-blues duo Map Of The Woods are doing a live webcast Wednesday night. I have no idea what they’ve got cooked up — probably playing some songs, who knows what else. Definitely worth checking out.

At the end of what I think is the third verse of “Rock and Roll” on Led Zeppelin IV there’s this weird noise that’s definitely part of Robert Plant’s vocal track. It’s after the line “Open your arms open your arms open your arms, baby let my love come running in”. I’m pretty sure Plant was just exclaiming something like “yeah!” but for some reason it comes out all garbled on the album, sort of like “glelp!” I listened to this record a bunch of times as a kid, and always been curious about this. Check it out at about 2:41:

I wonder if it just turned out that way somehow from going back and overdubbing at that spot, or what. Anyone have any ideas?