Studio One

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. 

Flickr: Seth Anderson

Winter keeps dragging on, and here at Studio One we've got Cabin Fever! While we wait out these last few weeks of cold and snow, here are the top songs and bands keeping us warm and thinking about summer!

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host, Ben Kieffer will chat with Waterloo, IA's, loud and proud pop-rockers, TWINS.

Listen to and download the podcast to find out more about their latest album, Funny Faces and their upcoming album, Tomboys on Parade.

Hundred Waters, 'Cavity'

Mar 4, 2014

Here's some great news: On May 27, the Gainesville, Fla. quartet Hundred Waters will release its second album (via OWSLA, the label run by Skrillex), and today the band has shared a brand new song, "Cavity," along with an eerily beautiful video.

Flickr: Modern Creature

Beck is known for his sonically adventurous recordings, creating anticipation for each new release since he can go in so many different directions.  His twelfth studio album, Morning Phase, is drawing comparisons to his Sea Change record.   It's even being called a "companion piece" to that very successful 2002 release.  Many of the same musicians from Sea Change are back, and the songs are meditative and gorgeous in their use of vocal harmonies and  occasional string sections.

Samantha West from

Tune in during tonights' 7PM hour as a groundbreaking artist combines her viola and her iPad to create music that's hard to classify  (but of amazing beauty). Nadia Sirota is performing this weekend with the wcfsymphony and Jason Weinberger  - but also works with Arcade Fire, My Brightest Diamond, Grizzly Bear, Jónsi and other hard-to-classify artists. She's part of a new wave for which there's no adequate word quite yet - but you can catch it tonight! Al Schares hosts this Live from Studio One broadcast.

Roger Feldhans

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host, Ben Kieffer will chat with Auburn, IA's whiskey gospel rockers, King of the Tramps.

Listen to and download the podcast after this weekend's broadcast to find out more about how The Tramps are making more than just music.

Hospitality formed in Brooklyn, NY in 2007, with Amber Papini (vocals, guitar, chief songwriter), Brian Betancourt (bass) and Nathan Michel (percussion).  Their debut full-length album of infectious indie pop, Hospitality, was released in early 2012 on the venerable indie label Merge Records.  Two years later we have the second album, Trouble, also on Merge.  Hospitality's sound has evolved on this new release, becoming deeper and richer.


In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host, Ben Kieffer will chat with "Chicago Twang" artist, Mike Himebaugh.

Listen and download the podcast to find out more about Mike's latest album, Green.

Twitter: @TrishDorman

Minneapolis singer/songwriter Caroline Smith and her band stopped by Iowa Public Radio's Cedar Falls studios on Feb. 18 to perform music from her new album Half About Being A Woman.  Raised in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, Smith moved to Minneapolis and formed Caroline Smith and The Good Night Sleeps.  The band released their debut full length album in 2008, describing their music as "folk with an indie twist."  Two more records followed, and last fall Half About Being A Woman was released, this time as simply a Caroline Smith album.

Nick Waterhouse grew up in the ocean side city of Huntington Beach, known for it's surf culture.  He established his musical sensibilities in the middle of the burgeoning southern California Psych-Garage scene, while retaining his fondness for American Rhythm & Blues.  His new record is titled Holly.  As NPR has noted, Nick Waterhouse "draws from the classic sound of '50's American pop with a distinctive voice of his own, shouting and growling with infectious vigor."


Leslie Zeglin

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Ben Kieffer chats with Moline, IL pop-rock group, Minus Six.

Listen and download the podcast to find out more about their recent album, Come Out From Where You Hide.

The Zombies - A Reflection

Feb 14, 2014

In 1966, I was the drummer in my Jr. High Band, (Sudlow Jr High in Davenport) Tortoise & The Hair. Like all the other basement/garage bands in the Quad Cities, our song list included lots of British Invasion songs. Also, like all the other bands in the area, we played She's Not There by The Zombies. That means my connection to The Zombies music is now 48 years old! I have never heard them play live, but Saturday, Feb.

  Be listening for Iowa Public Radio exclusive live recordings of one of the original British Invasion bands, The Zombies, from their very well-received show last September at the Ames City Auditorium.  The performance was a highlight of last year's Maximum Ames Music Festival.  The Zombies, including founding members Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent, are known for such classic hits as "She's Not There" and "Time Of The Season."  The band runs through all of their hits, plus album tracks old and new, and hits that Argent had apart from The Zombies.

Dum Dum Girls is began as Dee Dee's (Kirstin Gundred) bedroom recording project, and she remains the main force in the band.  In fact, for the third full-length album Too True, Dee Dee plays and sings nearly everything herself.  Dum Dum Girls began in Los Angeles in 2008, with the name inspired by an album by The Vaselines titled Dum Dum, and also by Iggy Pop's song "Dum Dum Boys".  Too True expands on the noisy and romantic guitar pop sound of Dum Dum Girls.

Stephen Malkmus was the influential songwriter and singer in Pavement.  When that group went on hiatus in 1999, Malkmus formed the Jicks.  Current members of The Jicks include Mike Clark, Joanna Bolme and Jake Morris.  The new Wig Out at Jagbags​ is the sixth Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks album, with Malkmus' distinctive wordplay and jam/punk guitar style prominent.

Anthony Pepitone

The world lost a great treasure on Tuesday, when Pete Seeger passed away.  From the early 1940’s until just last year, Pete inspired audiences with his singing, his enthusiasm, and his conviction that the world can become a better place.  Mark Moss of Sing Out! Magazine had this to say about him:

Courtesy of the artist

The Comfort Kings stopped by Iowa Public Radio's Cedar Falls studios for a live set on Jan. 16.  The band is a part of the latest resurgence in bands with strong roots in folk music forms.  In recent years, bands like Mumford and Sons, Old Crow Medicine Show, Carolina Chocolate Drops, the Civil Wars, the Avett Brothers, Bon Iver and the Lumineers have been bringing traditional acoustic sounds to receptive listeners.

Singer/songwriter Damien Jurado has been recording music in his hometown of Seattle since the mid-1990s. 

  He began by releasing his lo-fi folk recordings on cassette.  Over the years Jurado has added more production and sonic techniques to his sound, all the while retaining the acoustic core of his music.  Brothers And Sisters Of The Eternal Son offers an invitation to the listener to interpret the religious themes of the record.

For their new record Foreverly, Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong, and his partner for this project Norah Jones, respectfully offer their own versions of all twelve tracks from the Everly Brothers 1958 album Songs Our Daddy Taught Us.  They honor the spirit and the fine harmonies of Phil and Don on this project, released just a few weeks before the January 3rd passing of Phil Everly.

Kevin B.F. Burt

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host,Ben Kieffer chats with Iowa native and Blues legend, Kevin B.F. Burt.

Listen and download the podcast to find out more about his famous Iowa Blues music.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host, Ben Kieffer  will chat with JD Eicher and his band, JD Eicher & the Goodnights.

Listen and download the podcast to find out more about their latest album Into Place.

Give The People What They Want is the fifth album from soul and funk revivalists Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings.  Sharon Jones was born in Augusta, Georgia, but moved to New York at an early age.  A professional singer for many years, she found breakthrough success in middle age with the Dap-Kings.  The group's heartfelt devotion to soul music is apparent on this eagerly-awaited new album, as it has been throughout their career on Brooklyn's Daptone Records.

Chad Elliott
Chad Elliott

On this episode IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Ben Kieffer chats with Iowa native and country artist,  Chad Elliott.

Listen and download the podcast to find out more about his recent album, So Sang the Crow.

Susan Werner
Susan Werner

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host,  Ben Kieffer will chat with Iowa roots artist, Susan Werner.

Listen and download the podcast to find out more about her new album, Hayseed.

Werner is a true performer and a veteran Java Blend artist. She connects her music to contemporary agricultural problems in songs like "Herbicides." At the same time Werner is grounded in the real-world experience of her life growing up as a farm kid.

Fire Sale
Fire Sale

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host, Ben Kieffer will chat with local Iowa City artists, Fire Sale.

Listen and download the podcast to find out more about how college life has influenced their music.

Wildewoman is the very well-crafted indie pop debut record from the Brooklyn band Lucius.  Co-writers and vocalists Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig met while attending the Berklee School of Music in Boston.  Wildewoman​ succeeds due to their classic pop songwriting and their wonderful harmony vocals.

This winter, January through February, we'll be looking back at some of our favorite Java Blend broadcasts of the past year.

Tune in every Saturday this winter at 2 PM to catch these special encore broadcasts starting Saturday, Jan. 11. Find our schedule below.

Los Campesinos! (the band include the exclamation point in their name) formed in Cardiff, Wales in 2006 at Cardiff University.  The Spanish word campesino translates as "peasant" or "country person."  All six of the current members, as well as the former members of the band use "Campesinos!" as their surname.  No Blues is their sixth full-length album, as energetic as before, but more focused this time out.

British vocalist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Nick Lowe is a major figure in UK pub rock, power pop and New Wave in the 1970's.  In recent years, his records have gone in a traditional and roots direction.  His latest release is a Christmas album, titled Quality Street:  A Seasonal Selection For All The Family.  The title is a nod to a famous UK manufacturer of holiday sweets.  For this project, Lowe offers traditional songs, forgotten gems, and new songs written by himself, Ry Cooder and Ron Sexsmith.