Mark Simmet

Studio One Host

Senior Producer Mark Simmet began working at KUNI over 20 years ago.  In that time he has produced and hosted a long-running daily jazz program, as well as weekly blues and world music programs.  Mark also was a fill-in/substitute folk music host.  He has spent many years perfecting IPR's unique blend of musical styles as the host and producer of Studio One.  Mark also reviews all new submissions to IPR’s Studio One library, deciding on CD of The Week artists and maintaining reporting of music aired to record companies, promoters and trade publications.

Mark has a Bachelor’s Degree in Art from St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN, and finds that his creative skills are very applicable to his work sculpting Studio One.

Ways To Connect

IPR/Tony Dehner

We took Studio One on the road May 21 for another live broadcast from The Basement venue of the Des Moines Social Club!  It was a great night of music, including two sets from the Iowa City indie band The Olympics.  Studio One has been hosting live performances from some of the Iowa bands appearing at the 80/35 Festival in Des Moines this July.  Have a listen as The Olympics give us a preview of what to expect when they take the stage at 80/35!

mymorningjacket.com Instagram

My Morning Jacket can be described as a roots rock band that is willing to experiment and stretch their sound. The new album is titled The Waterfall, directing the listener's attention to fluid and moving cascades of sound.  Since their 1998 formation in Louisville, Kentucky, My Morning Jacket have been in the tradition of deliberately creating albums of songs that flow best when heard together.  Vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Jim James leads the group.  They are on tour now, with an Iowa stop in Waverly on June 19.    

The Iowa City band Red Rock Hill played live for attendees of the Iowa Public Radio Open House in Cedar Falls on May 6.  Jay Wetmore is the songwriter, lead guitarist and lead vocalist in the band.  Elise Fillpot is the rhythm guitarist and occasional harmony vocalist.  Jeff Musel was filling in on bass for Dave Hanson.  Red Rock Hill played songs spanning several years of Wetmore's songwriting catalogue, and he gave us some insight into his songs along the way.  You can hear the set right here!

Alabama Shakes show absolutely no signs of "sophomore slump" on their new record Sound & Color.  The album comes three years after Boys & Girls, their debut full-length.  Alabama Shakes began when singer/guitarist Brittany Howard and bassist Zac Cockrell were attending high school together in Athens, Alabama.  They soon recruited guitarist Heath Fogg and drummer Steve Johnson, performed cover songs and worked on original material.  The band sounds positively  inspired on Sound & Color, and Brittany Howard's soulfully intense vocals are undeniable.

Untethered Moon is the first album from Built To Spill in nearly six years, and that's the longest amount of time between new records in the band's history.  Band founder Doug Martsch has indicated that the latest project was a bit of a struggle for him, and ultimately a new rhythm section were hired  to complete the album.  There have been several personnel changes since Built To Spill began in 1999, with guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Martsch the only constant member.  This is a guitar band through and through, with plenty to enjoy on Untethered Moon.

Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Mikal Cronin grew up in Laguna Beach, California where he developed a passion for surfing and also for rock and roll.  Cronin earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in music from the California Institute of the Arts.  Since 2005, he has played and recorded with several bands, most notably collaborating with fellow Californian Ty Segall.  Cronin released his first (self-titled) solo album in 2011, following it up with MCII in 2013, and now the new record.

toroymoi.com/

Toro Y Moi is the stage name of musician, songwriter and producer Chaz Bundick.  Bundick had been in bands in high school and also played music while at the University of South Carolina (his home state), where he received a degree in graphic design.  Within a year of graduation he released his 2010 debut album on Carpark Records, with two more full-length albums following as Toro Y Moi, and also one as Les Sins.  Album #4 under the Toro Y Moi moniker is titled What For?, and finds the artist moving in a definite indie pop/power pop direction.

William Elliott Whitmore lives in Lee County, between the Des Moines and Mississippi Rivers, in the very southeastern corner of Iowa.  He lives and works on his family's land, finding inspiration there for the songs he writes and the music he makes.  Radium Death is his third album for the Anti- label, and his seventh overall.  Whitmore recorded the record in Iowa City over a two year period, with Luke Tweedy producing.  About a third of the new songs are performed solo, and the rest feature a variety of musicians. 

IPR/Tony Dehner

On April 16, the Eastern Iowa band Wooden Nickel Lottery played songs from their just-released debut album On Our Way, for Studio One listeners both in IPR's Cedar Falls studios and those tuning in for the live broadcast.  It was a set of tasty guitar licks and solid songwriting from the Cedar Rapids-based blues/rock band.  Check out the Wooden Nickel Lottery sound right here! 

IPR/Tony Dehner

The Iowa City band Soul Phlegm stopped by IPR's Cedar Falls studios on April 13 to play a set of what they call "soulgrass outlaw funk."  Whatever you call it, you can hear those elements plus a strong undercurrent of the blues in their high-energy performance.  Soul Phlegm played songs from their new Phlourish EP and more. New songs that are perhaps a preview of the full-length album expected later this year.  Enjoy this live set!

The Melbourne, Australia singer/guitarist/songwriter Courtney Barnett first attracted attention in America with her 2013 release The Double EP:  A Sea Of Split Peas.  It was lengthy, but was in fact two separate EPs put together.  Her actual debut full-length is the new release Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit.   Barnett is known for her confessional and sometimes rambling lyrics, delivered in her conversational singing style. Throughout the new album, her distinct voice is supported by her compelling guitar work.

Live from The Basement venue of The Des Moines Social Club

NPR.org

Strangers To Ourselves is the first album in eight years from Modest Mouse.  Vocalist and guitarist Isaac Brock and drummer Jeremiah Green remain in the band as founding members.  Original bassist Eric Judy left Modest Mouse in 2012.  After their hiatus, Modest Mouse is back with an album that is not about experimentation, but rather serves to remind us of their signature sound.   

From The Basement at The Des Moines Social Club 

The Canadian electronic music duo Purity Ring are originally from Edmonton, Alberta, and formed in 2010.  Megan James is the vocalist, and Corin Roddick the main instrumentalist in the band.  Another Eternity is the followup to their 2012 debut album.  While still ethereal and atmospheric in its sound, the new full-length finds the duo stretching in a more pop direction.  Both members write the band's songs, with James basing many of the band's lyrics on writing she had done in the past.   

IPR/Tony Dehner

The Waterloo-based Michael Reed Band stopped by IPR's Cedar Falls studios on March 26, playing a set consisting  of various shades of Rock and Americana for an appreciative audience.  The band, led by singer-songwriter Michael Reed, played songs from their new release Running Wild and more.  Have a listen to their set!

Second full-length album from indie "supergroup"

The Sioux Falls, South Dakota band The Tinder Box are in the midst of a Midwestern tour that will include stops in Lincoln, Madison, La Crosse, Morris (MN) and more.  The four-piece group stopped by IPR's Cedar Falls studios on March 9, bringing their folk rock/Americana songs and talking about their new album The Attic Sessions:  Volume 1.  It was a rousing set, with instrumentation consisting of guitars, banjo, trumpet and drums.  Have a listen! 

Malin Johansson via jose-gonzalez.com

The family of Jose Gonzalez (his parents and sister) fled Argentina in 1976.  They settled in Gothenburg, Sweden where Jose was born two years later.  He played guitar and bass in a variety of bands, and eventually released his first album in 2003.  In addition to records under his own name, Gonzalez has collaborated with a number of musicians, worked on different musical projects, and most notably has been a member of the band Junip.  The new Vestiges & Claws features his de-tuned classical guitar work and thoughtful lyrics.

jdmcpherson.com/

It seems fitting that JD McPherson grew up in rural Oklahoma.  It was in that down-to-earth environment that he started playing guitar at age 13, and later began writing his own songs.  He went on to study, and eventually teach, visual art.  Musically, McPherson had been drawn to 1950's rock and roll, and he decided to pursue a career in music.  His debut album was released in 2010, and now comes the follow-up Let The Good Times Roll.  JD McPherson draws upon R & B, rockabilly and roots rock traditions for his own contemporary take on rock and roll. 

Facebook: Tinder Box

The Sioux Falls, South Dakota band The Tinder Box are touring around the Midwest.  Stops include Chicago, Lincoln, Madison, La Crosse, Burlington (Wisconsin), Morris (Minnesota) and...Cedar Falls.  I'll be hosting the band for a free performance in IPR's Cedar Falls studios, on Monday, March 9.  With their roots in the southeastern South Dakota soil, The Tinder Box play their own blend of folk-rock, Americana and self-described "BlueSgrass."  They have a new release out titled The Attic Sessions:  Volume 1.  ​You'll hear songs from that album and more on Monday night.

Facebook: Canby

What's it look like when I host a Studio One show?  You can find out this Thursday, March 5 at The Basement (901 Cherry Street) in Des Moines!  IPR is excited to be taking Studio One out on the road for the first time, partnering with the Des Moines Social Club for the entire 7-10 pm show.  I'll be playing new indie rock, singer-songwriters and roots-rock, plus a sprinkling of great older tracks.  It will be just like our usual great mix, except that I'll be spinning the discs live with an audience of Basement patrons.

Emma Tillman/Courtesy of the artist via NPR.org

Rockville, Maryland native Joshua Tillman has been recording music for over ten years under his given name, as well as J. Tillman, and most recently as Father John Misty.  He was also a member of Fleet Foxes from 2008-2012.  It was after leaving Fleet Foxes that Tillman began releasing albums as Father John Misty, for the Sub Pop label.  I Love You, Honeybear is his second full-length under that moniker.  Tillman is a vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter with a distinct narrative voice.  He has described the new record as a concept album about himself.   

drdogmusic.com/

Live At A Flamingo Hotel is the new live record from the Philadelphia band, Dr. Dog.  The group has been around since 1999, but this is their first official live album.  The performances are spirited, with 19 songs spanning Dr. Dog's career.  The material was recorded during the six-piece band's 2014 tour, drawn from shows in different cities, with devoted and enthusiastic Dr. Dog fans in the audiences.  You may have seen Dr. Dog last July in Des Moines- their 80/35 set was a highlight of the festival!   

IPR/Tony Dehner

The Iowa City trio Milk Duct Tape played an energetic live set for Studio One on Feb. 17, in IPR's Cedar Falls studios.  In the great rock tradition of guitar/bass/drums, the band played songs from their new release Styrofoam Tombstone and more.  Milk Duct Tape describe their music as "grunge rock from the Iowa desert."  Have a listen and find out what that means! 

    

Cjc13 / Wikimedia Commons

There’s a new music festival coming to Des Moines this summer.

Flickr / belles glasgow

Belle and Sebastian formed in Glasgow, Scotland in 1996.  Of course, the first thing to mention is that there is no Belle and no Sebastian in the band.  The name comes from a French children's book that later was adapted for television.  Long-time critical favorites, Belle and Sebastian have released their ninth full-length record, Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance.  Stuart Murdoch is the lead singer and songwriter in the group, lending his distinctive vocals and literate lyrics to their songs.

beck.com

Conventional wisdom has it that the voters participating in the Grammy Awards are often out of touch with current music.  Those voters work in various creative and technical areas of the recording industry, nominating the finalists and determining the winner in each category.  One theory is that they vote based on name recognition, therefore they may be  biased toward artists that have been around longer.  A famous example of this is Jethro Tull winning the Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Performance award over Metallica in 1988.

The Portland, Oregon band The Decemberists have been creating their own particular brand of folk-rock/baroque pop since 2000.  What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World is their seventh full-length release.  The Decemberists have maintained their folky traditional instrumentation and idiosyncratic approach to writing lyrics, even as they have edged closer to being a "mainstream" band.  Lead vocalist and principal songwriter Colin Meloy is the frontman in the group.

Instagram: Sleater-Kinney

Sleater-Kinney formed in Olympia, Washington in 1994, and by the turn of the century the trio had come to be recognized as one of the best rock bands in America.  They released seven studio albums between 1994 and 2005.  In 2006, Sleater-Kinney went on a hiatus to work on individual projects and also to simply live their lives.  Corin Tucker (vocals and guitar), Carrie Brownstein (guitar and vocals) and Janet Weiss (drums) quietly reunited about a year ago to write and record the songs for a new album, No Cities To Love.  Their common aim was to reinvent the band.

Pages