Studio One

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Ryan Adams fronted the alternative country band Whiskeytown from the mid to late 1990's.  He started his solo career in 2000, and he's released roughly an album a year since then.  The new one is Prisoner, Adams' first full-length since his track-for-track reimagining of Taylor Swift's 1989 album in 2015.  It's also his first release since his divorce was finalized last June.

dustinsmith.bandcamp.com

We've had some great live shows in recent months on Studio One Underground, live from The Basement venue of the Des Moines Social Club.  The Surf Zombies in January, The Max Wellman Quintet in February, and coming up this Thursday, March 2- Dustin Smith!  He's currently working on a full length Dustin Smith album with Logan Christian at Midday Studios for release later this year.  On Thursday night, Dustin and his band will treat us to all new material from this upcoming record.

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For the third year in a row, NPR invited unsigned musicians to enter to win a chance to perform at NPR's Tiny Desk in Washington, D.C., and tour the U.S. with NPR and sponsor Lagunitas.  The winner will be announced February 28.

We have been sharing the submitted YouTube videos of original songs from all of the Iowa entrants, with 30 shared so far.  Here is the final batch of 9 videos, submitted by you and your neighbors!  For the previous entrants, click on The B-Side link at the bottom of this post!

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California native Ty Segall is a songwriter, vocalist, producer and multi-instrumentalist.  The instrument he's best known for is guitar, with an approach that is mainly punk-leaning garage rock.  Segall has been in a lot    of bands, and when he's performing as Ty Segall he's backed by a shifting group of musicians with a band name that seems to change every few months.

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NPR this year again invited unsigned musicians to enter the Tiny Desk Concert.  For the third year in a row, they are offering the chance to perform for NPR's Tiny Desk Concert in Washington, D.C., and to tour the U.S. with NPR and sponsor Lagunitas.

The Homefires' Java Blend performance, scheduled for taping at The Java House in downtown Iowa City at 2 P.M. on Friday, February 24th, has been canceled due to bad weather. 

The next Java Blend live taping will be on March 10th with Iowa City's newest rising star, Elizabeth Moen, who will be fresh off a European tour. 

Stay tuned for make up dates for this event.

IPR/Al Schares

This is the third year in a row that NPR has invited unsigned musicians to enter the Tiny Desk Contest.   Currently, the judges are watching the submitted videos in search of the next great undiscovered artist to play at the Tiny Desk Concert in Washington, D.C., and tour the U.S. with NPR and sponsor Lagunitas.

IPR/Al Schares

For the third year in a row, NPR invited unsigned musicians to enter to win a chance to perform at NPR's Tiny Desk in Washington, D.C.  The entry period has now closed, and right now the judges are watching the submitted videos in search of the next great undiscovered artist to play at the Tiny Desk and tour the U.S. with NPR and sponser Lagunitas.

Effectively a "who's who" of the Iowa City bluegrass scene, this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend" features the classic, tight harmonies, deft picking, and quirky humor of Banjoy. 

Join host Ben Kieffer as he talks with the group- which consists of banjo legend Bob Black,  guitarists Kristie Black and Mark Wilson, and bassist Paul Wilson- about the many years of bluegrass they have under their belts. 

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Woods formed in Brooklyn in 2005, and have been steadily releasing their music on Woodsist Records, the Brooklyn-based label founded by band frontman Jeremy Earl.  Their latest record, however, is on Jack White's Third Man Records.  Woods Live At Third Man Records is part of an on-going series of full-length albums recorded in front of an audience in The Blue Room venue of Third Man Records in Nashville.  The albums are released on vinyl only.

IPR/Tony Dehner

Wayne Coyne, best known as the leader of the long-running band The Flaming Lips, is having a busy year so far, and it's only February! The latest album from The Flaming Lips, Oczy Mlody, was released in January, with a tour beginning in March (including a stop in Des Moines in April). And now he has a traveling art exhibit entitled Works By Wayne Coyne Featuring King's Mouth, which will be on display at the Waterloo Center For The Arts now through April 23rd.

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Toronto native Katie Stelmanis is classically trained (she began performing at the age of ten in the Canadian Children's Opera Chorus), and had been writing and performing music for several years before the band now known as Austra came into being in 2009.  Stelmanis released her debut album under her own name in 2008, then decided that a band name would be better.  In time, "Austra" was settled upon, referring not only to the mythological Latvian goddess of light, but also Stelmanis' own middle name.  Future Politics is the third full-length album from the indie synthpop group.

UNI Museum/Jess Cruz

In the long history of rock and roll music, Iowa is, unfortunately, best known as the state where Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper were killed in a plane crash. Of course, there’s much more to it than that. The UNI Museum’s exhibit Ballroom Bash: Iowa’s Rock n’ Roll Legacy shines a light on Iowa’s influence and importance in rock history. The exhibit has been on display at UNI’s Rod Library since August of 2016. It’s a collaboration between the UNI Museum and the Iowa Rock n’ Roll Music Association.

IPR/Tony Dehner

Mark your calendars. The third annual Hinterland music festival is happening August 4th-5th in St. Charles. The lineup has been announced, and it's terrific.

"We wanted to pick something a little bit different than what we did last year -  kind of bring out a different crowd, but also kind of accommodate the crowd we had curated here from the beginning," says Sam Summers, organizer for the festival. 

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The XX formed in London in 2005, and released their debut album in 2009.  That record was a critical and commercial success (eventually winning the UK Mercury Prize for best album) and The XX have continued their forward momentum to this day.  The trio's third full-length record, I See You, was highly anticipated by fans waiting four years since the last album, although they did have the solo release from group member Jamie XX (Jamie Smith) to tide them over.

IPR/Tony Dehner

The Studio One Underground Series continued on Feb. 2, with a live broadcast of The Max Wellman Quintet from The Basement venue of The Des Moines Social Club.  Wellman sang a variety of classics from the Great American Songbook, accompanied by Damani Phillips, Benjamin Oliver Poppen, Steve Charlson and Ron Roberts.  Max Wellman was in fine form, backed by this group of skilled jazz musicians for two sets.

Listen to the Max Wellman Quintet right here!

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Jonathan Rado and Sam France formed Foxygen in 2005, while the two Californians were still in high school. From the beginning the duo have been influenced by the avant-garde and psychedelia, but they also have an affintiy for late 1960s/early 1970s classic rock and songcraft.  Foxygen's sprawling 2014 album, ...And Star Power, contained some nice Todd Rundgrenesque tracks, but also found the band indulging their experimental side a bit too much.  For their latest release, Hang, Rado and France are still eccentric and experimental, but much more focused.

Max Wellman

This year's Studio One Underground series got off to a great start in January with the Surf Zombies, and we've got lots more great stuff happening in the coming months! In February, we're heading back to the Des Moines Social Club for another live broadcast, and we'll be joined by Max Wellman!

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The Flaming Lips have been bringing their psychedelically-informed sound to listeners for over 30 years.  They have established themselves as a must-see live act (did I see you at the Gentlemen of the Road tour, Waverly, summer 2015?)  On record, Wayne Coyne and company have been as creative, experimental and out-there as anyone, but they have also recorded music that is melodic, accessible and song-oriented.  The Soft Bulletin (1999) and Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (2002) are in that vein, and remain the go-to Flaming Lips albums for many fans.

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Kaiser Chiefs are a fine example of a band that is very popular in their native England, yet remain marginally known  in the United States.  They formed in Leeds under the name Parva in 2000.  After one album, and the usual record label intrigues, Parva re-invented themselves as Kaiser Chiefs in 2003.  The name is derived from the Kaizer Chiefs, a South African football team.  The original lineup of the band has stayed nearly intact, with only the founding drummer being replaced a few years ago.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host Ben Kieffer welcomes the signature pop melodies and tight harmonies of The Well Pennies to Iowa. 

The folk duo, who recently relocated from Los Angeles to Des Moines, earned national acclaim for their rendition of the classic Beatles tune "All My Loving," featured on a 2013 release called "Beatles Reimagined." 

Download the free podcast below to hear The Well Pennies play their Beatles takes and well-crafted original music that spans the length of their careers. 

IPR's Studio One Underground series for 2017 has begun! On Thursday the 5th, we returned to the Des Moines Social Club for our monthly live broadcast, with our guests the Surf Zombies performing two terrific sets. While we were at it, we talked about the band's recent honors bestowed upon them by the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame and an Iowa brewery. And as if all that weren't enough, the Surf Zombies were kind enough to help jump-start the IPR van at the end of an especially cold January night!

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Dr. Dog have been playing and recording their folk-rock/baroque pop music since around the turn of the century, when they began as a local band in the Philadelphia area.  Late in 2016 they dropped a surprise album titled Abandoned Mansion.  In the band's own words:  "Its a mood record...Nothing too jamming or atonal.   No blips or bloops or anything else that might unsettle you...We did a song a day for two weeks.  And, almost everything is tracked live...Thematically, this is Dr. Dog meat and potatoes.  Our proverbial wheelhouse.  Songs of the oldest questions.

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After being in the game for over 50 years, Neil Young seems determined not to settle into professional old-fogeyism.  His new album Peace Trail was reportedly recorded in just four days, with most of the ten tracks recorded on the first or second take.  Many critics are saying this would have been a better album if the artist had just spent more time refining it.  Obviously, a spontaneous, off-the-cuff feel was what Young was going for.

Paul Sabin Photo

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host Ben Kieffer chats with Iowa music legend  and visual artist Tony Brown. 

Listen to and download the free podcast below to hear Brown impressive command of a wide-range of styles from old school Blues to R&B, Soul, Ska, Reggae, Jazz, Rock, Fold, Funk and Latin flavors. Plus, here incredible stories of Brown's childhood in Waterloo, as well as his experiences abroad. 

Chris Ford

On Dec. 1, Studio One returned to The Basement venue of The Des Moines Social Club for our second annual live broadcast of A Conquered Christmas.  Christopher The Conquered and Special Guests provided a generous helping of holiday (and some not holiday related) songs.  A lot of great Iowa talent was heard, and it was a night of fun and frivolity for both the musicians and The Basement-filling live audience! 

Have a listen! 

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I like to think of Kristin Hersh as a kind of godmother of indie rock.  Her band Throwing Muses had an impressive run in the '80s and '90s, and sporadically since then.  In the 21st century, she formed the band 50 Foot Wave.  She has also released many solo albums over the years, and she's authored a few books.  As she's done twice before, Hersh has paired a book and a CD for her latest work, Wyatt At The Coyote Palace.

In this special, outdoor episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Iowa music greats David Zollo and William Elliott Whitmore join together to perform at IPR's second annual Great Iowa Potluck. 

Download the free podcast below to hear host Ben Kieffer chat with the pair about their storied music careers, their Iowa upbringings, and their new project Middle Western. 

Kari Bedford

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Illinois singer-songwriter Ben Bedford tells  host Ben Kieffer about the his background in history has shaped his songwriting. 

Listen in to the podcast below to hear tunes from Bedford's new album, "The Pilot and the Flying Machine.

Courtesy of Bob Dorr

Looking for the best of Blues in 2016? Bob Dorr, frontman for Bob Dorr and the Blue Band and host of Beatles Medley, Backtracks, and Blue Avenue on Iowa Public Radio, shares his thoughts on this year's releases.

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