Featured Release

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.

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.   

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.   

Second full-length album from indie "supergroup"

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. 

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!   

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.

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.

Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper is the fifth full-length album Noah Lennox has released under his nom de plume Panda Bear.  Baltimore native Panda Bear is a co-founding member of Animal Collective, a band known for their musical creativity and experimentation.  The multi-instrumentalist has indicated that death and personal growth are lyrical themes of the new record.  The music has been aptly described as "swirling" and "as pure as a babbling brook." 

rosespawnshop.com

Gravity Well is the new album from Rose's Pawn Shop.  The Los Angeles-based, five-piece group formed in 2006, and this is their third full-length album.  The sound of Rose's Pawn Shop can be categorized as Americana leaning toward the indie rock side.  In fact, the songs on Gravity Well have been described as rousing, fierce and anthemic; the music a "stomping interpretation of alt-country and Americana songcraft." 

Philadelphia's DRGN KING (pronounced "Dragon King") began as a duo in 2009, with singer and frontman Dominic Angelella, and multi-instrumentalist and producer Ritz Reynolds.  The duo later expanded to a four-piece band.  After recording a few tracks and releasing a few EP's, the debut full-length album from DRGN KING was released in 2013.  Baltimore Crush is the follow-up, with songs inspired by Angelella's youth in Baltimore, and highlighting the band's bright indie-rock sound.  

mrgnome.com

The Heart Of A Dark Star is the fourth album from mr. Gnome, a married duo from Cleveland, Ohio.  The full sound of mr. Gnome's music is created by singer/guitarist Nicole Barille and drummer/pianist Sam Meister.  They have been recording as mr. Gnome since 2006.  Their sound has been described as "art rock", with songs that explore fantastic and mythical subjects, and a theatrical approach to their music and stage show. 

npr.org

James Mercer's band The Shins began as a side project of his then primary group, Flake Music.  The Albuquerque, New Mexico band was more collaborative than The Shins, and was active for much of the 1990's.  They only released one full-length album, When You Land Here It's Time To Return, in 1997.  Because of the success of The Shins (and another Mercer project, Broken Bells), interest remains high in Flake Music.  The album's songs, remixed and reissued now on the Sub Pop label, are enjoyable guitar-based indie pop.   

blindboys.com/

Blind Boys of Alabama formed in 1944, and have stated that their goal is to "spiritually uplift audiences."  They have released many records over the years, and Talkin' Christmas is not their first Christmas album.  It is, however, the first to feature collaborator Taj Mahal.  Taj Mahal has been putting his unique stamp on blues and world music for nearly 50 years.  In Talkin' Christmas the singers and musicians have created a special blend of gospel and R&B for the season.

npr.org

La Isla Bonita is the twelfth full-length album from Deerhoof, a band that formed in San Francisco in 1994.  In that twenty year span, Deerhoof have produced and managed themselves, creating an avant-garde pop sound that can be equally challenging and intriguing.  Japanese-born Satomi Matsuzaki is the band's distinctive vocalist.  Inspired by the high energy, to-the-point style of the Ramones, Deerhoof reportedly recorded La Isla Bonita live in the basement of guitarist Ed Rodriguez in a "weeklong sleepover". 

Ariel Pink is the stage name of Ariel Marcus Rosenberg, a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter and producer based in Los Angeles.  He studied visual art for a time at the California Institute of the Arts, and has been writing songs for most of his life.  He began making lo-fi recording of his songs in the mid-1990's, and has recorded over 500 songs since then, most of them unreleased commercially.  The new album Pom Pom is an entertaining mix of accessible pop songs and Frank Zappa style eccentricity.

thenewbasementtapes.com

Bob Dylan gave producer T Bone Burnett a batch of his lyrics written circa 1967.  Burnett gathered Elvis Costello, Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes), Marcus Mumford (Mumford & Sons) and Rhiannon Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops) to write music for those lyrics.  The musicians (calling themselves The New Basement Tapes) recorded an album in Los Angeles, and titled it Lost On The River.  The songs harken back to Dylan and The Band's storied Basement Tapes, but are also fascinating songs in their own right from this unique group.

Seeds is the fifth full-length album from TV On The Radio.  The band formed in Brooklyn, NY in 2001 and have retained the same line-up for most of their career.  Seeds is the first album from the group since the death (from cancer) of bassist Gerard Smith in 2011.

Hold My Home is the fifth full-length release from Cold War Kids.  The band formed in Fullerton, California ten years ago, and remains based in the Golden State.  Cold War Kids have said that in the beginning, having instruments was secondary to their enthusiasm.  At band practices they thumped on walls, banged on heat pipes, stomped and chanted.  Cold War Kids now have more instruments, a steadily growing indie rock reputation, and a solid new album titled Hold My Home.

Bazaar is the second album from the Portland, Oregon band Wampire.  Childhood friends, songwriters and multi-instrumentalists Rocky Tinder and Eric Phipps honed their sound playing house parties in Portland as a duo.  Their band name is said to originate from the way that Phipps' goth friends from Germany pronounced "vampire."  After their debut album was released in the spring of 2013, Wampire expanded to a five-piece band and toured extensively.  Now comes the new record, Bazaar, with nine tracks of state-of-the-art indie rock!

exhexband.com/

Rips is the debut album from the Washington, D.C. trio Ex Hex.  They have been described as a "power trio" with members that all happen to be women.  Mary Timony, known for her work in the bands Wild Flag and Helium, is the guitarist and lead vocalist in Ex Hex.  Laura Harris plays drums, and Betsy Wright is on bass.  Rips, released on the well-regarded indie label Merge Records, is catchy and melodic with big guitars and power pop vocals.

Canadian musician and composer Dan Snaith began recording his music as Manitoba around the turn of the century, but for legal reasons later changed his stage name to Caribou.  Inspired by psychedelia and electronica, Caribou has become known for creative compositions and arrangements, as well as experimental production.  In recent years, Caribou's music has retained those qualities, but also become more danceable.  That trend continues on the sixth studio album, Our Love.

The Studio One Featured Release this week is Black Moon Spell, the new album from King Tuff.  Band members are Kyle Thomas (also known as King Tuff) on guitar and vocals, with Magic Jake on bass, and Garett Goddard on drums.  King Tuff is from Vermont, and they record for the venerable indie label Sub Pop Records.  Black Moon Spell is their third full length album.  In describing their sound, King Tuff says "We make rock roll."  'Nuff said!  

IPR/Tony Dehner

Project Trio were in Iowa recently for a performance schedule that included being a part of WCF Symphony's season opening concert on Oct. 11.  The Brooklyn, NY three-piece also stopped by IPR's Studio One for music and conversation.  Project Trio (Greg Pattillo on flute, Peter Seymour on bass, Eric Stephenson on cello) delightfully blur the edges of musical genres, as you can hear right here! 

IPR/Tony Dehner

The Des Moines-based band Mighty Shady played a tight, energetic live set for Studio One on Monday, Oct. 13. The five-piece Mighty Shady combine rock, reggae, funk and more to create their own signature sound, as heard on their new album Double Think.  Have a listen to Mighty Shady, live on Studio One!

For Hire is the new album from David Zollo and The Body Electric.  The band includes Zollo on vocals and keyboards, Brian Cooper on drums, Stephen Howard on bass and electric guitar, and Randall Davis on acoustic and electric guitars and lap steel guitar.  Zollo, from Iowa City, has been called "practically the patron saint of (Iowa's) roots music underground."  He was the frontman for Iowa band High and Lonesome, started up Iowa City-based Trailer Records, and has been a session player on many projects over the years.

Sukierae ​(pronounced "sue-key-ray") is the debut album from the duo Tweedy.  Tweedy is mainly Jeff Tweedy, best known for being the leader of Wilco, as well as his work in Uncle Tupelo with Jay Farrar (and the sometimes overlooked group Loose Fur).  Jeff is the guitarist, vocalist, bassist and keyboard player in Tweedy, joined by his 18-year old son Spencer on drums.  Sukierae certainly does not represent a great musical departure for Jeff Tweedy.

Pages