Ed Gray has been around Iowa City for the better part of a decade. His last CD came out in 1998, without any distribution or promotion to speak of, so he's been in Day Job Hell ever since, with occasional breaks to do things like tour with Bright Eyes and Mountain Goats, before they became indie darlings and started making bank.
Finally he has a new CD out, and it's a barnburner. The song "Chester" has been kicking my ass every day since I picked up the CD. It's a sort of a country waltz, complete with strings, but it's also a searingly bleak song about an end stage alcoholic, pretty much Under The Volcano in under 5 minutes.
You can buy his CD via paypal if you click thru to his Myspace page -- he's also touring the first part of November. His live shows are legendary -- he starts out sounding like a hippie folkie singer songwriter, but every set includes a time when all of a sudden he flips the script and brings the noise. Kind of like The Man With Two Brains, except with brains provided by James Taylor and Merzbow.