Studio One

IPR/Tony Dehner

Christmas will be here before we know it, and we firmly believe it's not too early to celebrate. Join IPR at the Basement venue of the Des Moines Social Club on December 3rd for A Conquered Christmas!

Iowa singer-songwriter Christopher The Conquered will be the host for this event, featuring classic songs of the season, along with new songs celebrating thankfulness, unity and love. There will be lots of surprises, including special guests that Chris hasn't even told us about yet!

On this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Iowa City's own Soul Phlegm takes the stage with their special brand of "blues roots outlaw funk." 

Listen in to hear host Ben Kieffer catch up with the band on their upcoming project, as well as tracks from their debut EP, "Phlourish."

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!  

On this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Iowa City native songwriter Nathan Bell talks with host Ben Kieffer about how he blends literary and industrial influences to create relatable, powerful songs. 

Listen in to the podcast below for tracks from Nathan Bell's upcoming project, "I Don't Do this for Love, I Do this for Love," as well as special poetry readings from Nathan's father and Iowa's first poet laureate, Marvin Bell. 

On Friday, November 20th at 2 pm in the Java House in downtown Iowa City, IPR Studio One's Ben Kieffer will host a special hour of "Java Blend" with Iowa Latin jazz ensemble Ritmocano. 

Ben Kieffer will chat with the group to learn more about their latest release, "Familia, A Latin Jazz Journey."

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.

On Friday, November 13th at the Java House in Downtown Iowa City, IPR Studio One's "Java Blend" will feature Iowa City's favorite The Burlington Street Bluegrass Band. Stop in to hear host Ben Kieffer chat with the group about their 200 collective years playing music. 

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host Ben Kieffer catches up with Dickie, the newest musical project of Java Blend frequenter Dick Prall and classically trained violinist Kristina Priceman. 

Listen in below to hear some tracks off Dickie's self-titled debut album. 

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!

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."      

On this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," hear Dan Tedesco seamlessly meld Bob Dylan-esque lyrics with powerful guitar work straight from a Motorhead album. Join host Ben Kieffer as he chats with Tedesco about his contrasting influences and high-energy stage show. 

Listen to the podcast below to hear tracks from Tedesco's new self-titled album. 

This Friday, November 6th at the Java House in downtown Iowa City, IPR Studio One's "Java Blend" will host Lowland Hum, the North Carolina folk duo that is quickly garnering a national following. Join host Ben Kieffer as he discusses their new self-titled release and time on the road. Lowland Hum will also play a free 50-minute set!

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.

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!

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.

On this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host Ben Kieffer explores the many musical facets of Dan DiMonte and the Bad Assettes. 

Listen in below to hear tracks off the group's latest studio effort, "The Runner, the Ends, and the Space Between."

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! 

Dylan Sires and Neighbors

It's that time again! We're heading back to the Des Moines Social Club on Thursday, November 5th. After doing a couple of upstairs shows, we're going back underground to our natural habitat, the Basement. IPR's Mark Simmet will be spinning your daily soundtrack right by the stage, and we'll be joined by the Cedar Valley's Dylan Sires and Neighbors, one of the hottest bands in Iowa right now. They've had a busy year, touring Japan and performing at the Gentlemen Of The Road stopover in Waverly, all while continuing to play across the state and recording their third album.

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/Phil Maass

Based out of Seattle, Washington, The Blackberry Bushes Stringband mix equal parts tradition and innovation, with the twang and instrumental chops of bluegrass and 21st-century sensibility to their original songs. Fiddler Jakob Breitbach (a Dubuque native) and singer-songwriter and guitarist Jes Raymond form the core of the band, with Daniel Ullom on mandolin, Forrest Marowitz on bass, and newest member Alex Genova on banjo. They paid a visit to IPR’s Cedar Falls studios during The Folk Tree on Sunday, Oct.

On this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host Ben Kieffer catches up with Iowa blues-rockers Wooden Nickel Lottery. 

Lend an ear to hear the group's blistering guitar work, powerful vocals and solid bottom from their debut record, "On My Way." 

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 (  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.

On Friday, October 23 at the Java House in downtown Iowa City, IPR Studio One's Ben Kieffer will host a live hour of "Java Blend" with guest Nathan Bell.

Stop in to hear Ben chat with Bell about his upcoming project, an ode to American workers entitled "I Don't Do This for Love, I Do This for Love."

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.

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.

On this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host Ben Kieffer chats with Iowa City folk group The Awful Purdies. 

Listen in to hear stories and songs from their new album, "All Recipes are Home."

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.