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

facebook.com/cagetheelephant

Cage The Elephant have been around since 2006 when they formed in their hometown of Bowling Green, Kentucky.  Their first album came out in 2008, and they've released a new studio record approximately every two years since then.  The new one is Tell Me I'm Pretty.  This time out the band recruited Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys to produce.  Cage The Elephant recorded the new songs at Auerbach's Easy Eye Sound studio in Nashville in the spring of 2015.

facebook.com/giversmusic

New Kingdom is the second full length release from the Lafayette, Louisiana band Givers.  Two of the group's members, Tiffany Lamson (vocals and percussion) and Taylor Guarisco (vocals and guitar) began playing music together following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  They were forced to leave school and their New Orleans apartment due to the conditions there.  Returning to Lafayette, the duo found they had little to do.  That led them in the direction of making music, and eventually they recruited the other members of Givers.

4ad.com

El Vy (press material on the band helpfully indicate it's pronounced like "hell pie" or a plural form of Elvis) is a collaboration between Matt Berninger of The National, and Portland-based Brent Knopf, formerly of Menomena and now in Ramona Falls.  The two met about ten years ago when their respective bands were touring together.  Since then, musician/producer Knopf had occasionally been sending Berninger musical ideas, and Berninger had been writing lyrics with this project in mind.

IPR/Tony Dehner

Iowa City drummer/composer Jim Viner (Brother Trucker, Diplomats of Solid Sound, High and Lonesome) is fronting his own band for the first time.  The band is Jim Viner's Incredible B3 Band, and Viner and his fellow musicians lived up to the promise of their name with two sets of expertly played soul grooves on Jan. 7 at The Basement venue of the Des Moines Social Club.  The live audience braved the January rain for the show, and were rewarded with a set of Hammond B3-centric tunes from the new album Comango! in the first set.

facebook.com/beachhouse

Thank Your Lucky Stars was the second full-length album released by the Baltimore-based band Beach House in 2015, coming less than two months after their previous record Depression Cherry.  The group began in 2004 when Vassar College graduate (and French-born) songwriter, vocalist and keyboard player Victoria Legrand met songwriter/guitarist Alex Scally in his native Baltimore.  The music of Beach House has been described as "dream pop"- moody and atmospheric, with the focus on sonic textures, breathy vocals and introspective and existential lyrics.

facebook.com/actuallygrimes

Grimes is the stage name of singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Claire Boucher.  Boucher was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia.  While attending McGill University in Montreal, she began recording her own experimental music.  She began releasing albums in 2010, and Art Angels is the fourth studio album from Grimes.  The new record is more accessible, yet still arty in its approach to synth pop.  Grimes enlisted like-minded guest vocalists for a couple of tracks on Art Angels:  Janelle Monae and Taiwanese rapper Aristophanes.

facebook.co/sharonjonesandthedapkings

South Carolina-born Sharon Jones certainly knows her way around a Christmas song.  She began as a gospel singer in church, and only much later in life began singing professionally.  Jones has been singing with the Brooklyn, NY band The Dap-Kings since around the turn of the current century.  Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, along with other artists and groups affiliated with Brooklyn's Daptone Records, are at the forefront of the current soul revival.  The idea is to keep alive the spirit and the feel of the classic soul/funk era- roughly the mid 1960s to mid-1970s.

IPR/Tony Dehner

The Quad Cities band Centaur Noir played a highly danceable live set in IPR's Cedar Falls studios on Dec. 15.  Jon Burns and Lora Wegener did a lot of dancing themselves as they sang and played songs from the latest Centaur Noir full-length record Puppets, ​along with songs from a forthcoming album they are currently working on.  You can hear their irresistable beats right here!

facebook.com/deerhuntermusicgroup

Deerhunter was co-founded by lead vocalist, songwriter, guitarist and keyboard player Bradford Cox and drummer Moses Archuleta in 2001.  The band's name was inspired by a series of arcade games named Deer Hunter.  The group formed in Atlanta, Georgia, and several members have come and gone over the years.  Along with Cox and Archuleta, Deerhunter currently includes Cox's childhood friend Lockett Pundt on guitar and vocals, and bassist Josh McKay.  Fading Frontier is the band's seventh studio album.

facebook.com/yacht

The band YACHT began in Portland, Oregon is 2002.  The core members of the band are Claire Evans and Jona Bechtolt, and it was Bechtolt's attendance at an alternative school in Portland called Young Americans Challenging High Technology that gave the band its name (YACHT is an acronym).  In fact, challenging (or at least observing and calling attention to) technology and modern life is a good description of what the band is all about.

IPR/Myrna Johnson

A festive time was had by all at The Basement venue of the Des Moines Social Club on Dec. 3.  It was A Conquered Christmas with Christopher The Conquered and special guests, performing music of the Holiday season as well as songs of love, unity and peace that fit the spirit of the season.  Christopher was joined by many special guests, all adding their own unique talents to the evening.  IPR's Studio One Tracks broadcast the first two sets of the evening live.

facebook.com/ryanadams

Ryan Adams began his career in his native North Carolina in 1994 , fronting the alt-country band Whiskeytown.  His began making music as a solo artist in 2000, and 1989 is his fifteenth studio album.  The new record is a track-by-track cover album of Taylor Swift's 1989, the biggest selling album of 2014.  Of course, Adams' musical approach to recording the songs that Swift wrote is entirely his own, and Swift is fine with it.  Adams' marriage to singer and actress Mandy Moore was ending when he first became interested in 1989.

facebook.com/blitzentrapper

Blitzen Trapper have told different tales regarding the origin of their name, but the most plausible in the one about vocalist/guitarist Eric Earley's Junior High girlfriend.  She had a Trapper Keeper (loose-leaf binder) in school with pictures of Santa and his reindeer on it.  Her favorite reindeer was Blitzen.  Earley thought "hmmm, good name for my future band."  Actually, when the group began in Portland, Oregon in 2000 they had a totally different name- Garmonbozia.  By 2003 they had come to their senses and became Blitzen Trapper, self-releasing an album with that title.

IPR/Tony Dehner

On Nov. 17, Quad Cities singer-songwriter Lewis Knudsen and his band played a generous set of songs from Knudsen's new album The Way Of Most Resistance.  The four-piece group performed in IPR's Cedar Falls studios.  Knudsen talked about being a songwriter, the recording of the album, the stories behind some of the songs and more.  Enjoy a great set from Lewis Knudsen and his band!  

facebook.com/neonindian

As I was listening to the new Neon Indian record, VEGA INTL Night School, hearing track after track of sublime electronic dance music, I had the thought that this was the dance pop record every other dance pop oriented band was trying to make in 2015- in other words, the best one I've heard this year.  Neon Indian is Mexican-born Alan Palomo's band.  He moved to San Antonio, Texas as a child.  Palomo attended college in Denton, Texas, and Denton remains his home base.  He had already been writing and performing music in high school, under the name VEGA.

IPR/Tony Dehner

The Waterloo-based band Dylan Sires & Neighbors are in the process of recording their third full-length album.  The band played live for Studio One Tracks from the Basement venue of the Des Moines Social Club on Nov. 5, treating us to songs from that forthcoming album, plus, of course, DS & N favorites.  The three-piece group rocked the Basement in fine style- and you can hear it right here! 

neworder.com

The British band New Order rose from the ashes of Joy Division in 1980, following the suicide of that band's lead singer, Ian Curtis.  The remaining members- Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris and Peter Hook added Gillian Gilbert to complete the lineup of New Order.  As time went on, band members have shifted a bit, and their new album is the first without founding member Peter Hook.   From the beginning, the group has combined post-punk and electronic dance music.  Their tenth studio album is titled Music Complete, and it's being hailed as "classic New Order."      

facebook.com/chvrches

Every Open Eye is the second studio album from the Scottish synthpop band CHVRCHES.  The band is decidedly synthpop, with all three members playing synths and samplers.  Lauren Mayberry is the lead vocalist, with Iain Cook and Martin Doherty also contributing vocals.  Cook also plays guitar and bass in the trio.  CHVRCHES formed in Glasgow in 2011, and they began generating buzz even before their debut full-length album dropped in 2013.  Two years after that very successful record comes the follow up album.

facebook.com/drjohn

I'll be hosting the Saturday, Oct. 31st edition of Studio One Tracks.  Selecting music for the Halloween show is always a delight, and I think I've come up with a great playlist this year.  It's Studio One, so our approach is not to go in the direction of kitsch and novelty (not that there's anything wrong with that), but rather to present a typical mix of great music- with songs from the latest releases as well as favorites from the past.  For this show, the songs on my playlist all have some connection with Halloween.  Tune in Saturday night 7-10 pm!

gurfmorlix.com

The name "Gurf Morlix" is memorable, and if you've ever listened to alt-country ( a term frequently used to describe a certain type of roots-based singer/songwriter music, often emanating from Austin, Texas) you have probably come across that name.  Morlix began his career in music as a producer for some of the major figures in alt-country.  Only later did he begin to record his own songs.  His new record is Eatin' At Me, and I recently had the pleasure of talking with Gurf about that and much more.

facebook.com/kurtvileofphilly

Kurt Vile is a Pennsylvania native who began his musical career creating lo-fi home recordings in Philadelphia.  He worked with his friend Adam Granduciel, and the two of them would eventually form the band The War On Drugs.  Following the release of the debut album from The War On Drugs in 2008, Vile embarked on a solo career.  He has been consistently releasing his own music since then, and the new album b'lieve i'm goin down... is his 6th full-length album.  Vile plays guitar and banjo, along with piano and various keyboards on the record.

IPR/Tony Dehner

The Chicago-based power pop band Mooner are currently touring in support of their just released debut full length album, Masterpiece.  We were able to get the band into our Cedar Falls studios for a live set when they were in town for a show on Oct. 21.  Mooner have cited Big Star as a prime influence on their music, and one can certainly hear that in this live set.  In addition to their own music, the group played a cover song by another (pretty well known) Illinois band.  Check out their performance right here! 

IPR/Tony Dehner

The Iowa City band Crystal City performed live on Studio One Tracks on Oct. 20.  Dave Helmer (vocals/guitar), Sam Drella (vocals/trumpet/whistling), Dan Peterson (drums) and Randall Davis (bass) played a set that included songs from their full-length release Changeplus they treated us to some new songs. Crystal City began quiet and acoustic, and before long they hit full rock and roll mode.  Hear for yourself, right here!

IPR/Tony Dehner

Famed alt-country musician/vocalist, songwriter and producer Gurf Morlix is currently touring the country in support of his new album Eatin' At Me.  He stopped by IPR's Cedar Falls studios for an afternoon session on Oct. 20, playing a generous selection of songs, not all of which are on the new album.  Morlix and I also talked about his storied career and his views on a variety of subjects.  Have a listen to the songs and conversation right here!

IPR/Tony Dehner

Iowa native Julie Christensen has traveled far in her musical career since leaving her home state.  She returned to Iowa for some live dates that include her participation in this year's Folk Alliance Region Midwest conference in Iowa City (farmfolk.org).  Christensen and guitarist Chris Tench from her band Stone Cupid stopped by IPR's Cedar Falls studios on Oct. 19  for a live set that included many songs from Stone Cupid's upcoming new album, The Cardinal.  She also talked about her days with the band Divine Horsemen, singing with Leonard Cohen and much more.

facebook.com/beirutmusic

As you can see in this photo, Beirut is a band.  As is often the case these days, Beirut began as a solo project, with teenage songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Zach Condon recording in his bedroom in his hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico.  When he was 17, Condon traveled to Europe with his older brother.  European music (from the Balkans and France, for example) and "world music" influences are characteristic of Beirut's particular brand of indie rock.  Beirut expanded to a band, with their first live performances in New York around the time of their debut album in 2006.

facebook.com/juliechristensenmusic

If you've listened to songs from the great Leonard Cohen album The Future, you've heard Iowa native Julie Christensen's wonderful vocal contributions on that record.  She also toured with Cohen, and can be heard on live Leonard Cohen recordings of that era.  Or maybe you recall Divine Horsemen, the post-punk/Americana-leaning rock band that Christensen co-fronted (with Chris D.) in the 1980's.  Perhaps you've heard Christensen's solo albums or her current band Stone Cupid.  Join me on Studio One Tracks on Monday, Oct.

facebook.com/lowmusic

Slow, deliberate tempos and minimalist arrangements.  Mystery, atmosphere and perhaps even  trance-inducement.  That's the music of Low.  Founding members Alan Sparhawk (guitar and vocals) and Mimi Parker (drums and vocals) began Low in Duluth, MN/Superior, WI in 1993.  Their debut album was released the following year, and with the new Ones and Sixes, Low is now up to their eleventh full-length studio release. The record was recorded at Justin Vernon's studio in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.  Sparhawk and Parker are married with two children, and still live in Duluth.    

IPR/Mark Simmet

The Little Rock, Arkansas band Amasa Hines, a hit at the 80/35 Festival this past July, returned to Iowa Oct. 1 for a performance broadcast on Studio One Tracks.  They played two sets on the Kum & Go Theatre stage of the Des Moines Social Club.  Fusing their diverse influences into a musical blend they call "Psychedelic Afro-Futurism," Amasa Hines demonstrated their musical approach to a rapt audience in the theatre.  Their sets included songs from the band's debut album All The World There Is, with musical exploration a key component in their sound.

thearcs.com

Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney are The Black Keys, a band that continues to grow in popularity.  Meanwhile, Auerbach and Carney each find time to get involved in producing other artists, record solo albums and start up side projects.  For the latter, check out Blakroc, Drummer and The Rentals (not a start up, but an existing band Carney joined last year).  The latest side project is The Arcs.  The debut album Yours, Dreamily began as another Auerbach solo record.

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