The B-Side

Welcome to The B-Side - your source for all things music! We'll discuss, play, and share music, talk about what's interesting us in the industry, and give you our inside scoop on what's happening in the Iowa - and national - music scene.

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.

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.

The next Studio One Tracks live broadcast from the Des Moines Social Club is coming up this Thursday, Oct. 1, beginning at 7:00 pm.  We will be featuring a live performance from Amasa Hines, a six-piece band from Little Rock that has been creating a buzz not only in their home state of Arkansas, but nationwide.  You may have caught their excellent set at the 80/35 Festival this past July.  Amasa Hines will be back in Des Moines to play the Kum & Go Theatre at the Des Moines Social Club for this ticketed event.

As I've been preparing for our Studio One Tracks live broadcast of The Mountain Goats this Saturday night (Sept. 12, beginning at 7:00 pm with opening act Kate Kennedy), I've come across many surprisingly varied ways that other writers have described John Darnielle's voice.  One of my favorites is from a Paste magazine scribe who wrote that The Mountain Goats' songs are "steadfastly proclaimed in (Darnielle's) geek who-lived-to-tell wail."  The writer liked  the singer's  voice, and so do I.

IPR/Tony Dehner

With the 80/35  Music Festival behind us for another year, some Iowa music fans may now be wondering, "Okay, what's next?" We're here to help! In this latest edition of the B-Side podcast, the Studio One team is joined by IPR's Lindsey Moon to talk about upcoming music festivals that are on our radar. And, as always, we want to hear from you! What festivals are you excited about? What festivals did we miss that we should know about? What advice do you have for festival attendees? Thanks!

Matt Anderson

Hello Studio One Readers,

This coming weekend I will be attending the 2015 Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago for the first time. I will be documenting my first-timers' experience into a narrative podcast with my good friend and fellow music junkie, Jonathan Smith. I'm expecting the weekend to be insane, funny, stressful and joyous all at the same time.


We were joined early on Friday night at our free stage by Anna Gebhardt and Ryan Stier from the Des Moines band Annalibera, ahead of their amazing Saturday performance. The intimate setting was a terrific showcase for Anna's powerful vocals. We think you'll agree!


Iowa-based singer-songwriter Damon Dotson opened our stage weekend on Friday night, playing a great set before the festival technically began! How cool is that?


Having had Mighty Shady in both our Cedar Falls studios and on IPR's Java Blend, it felt right for them to perform on our 80/35 stage. They turned out to be a perfect choice to close out the stage on the first night of the festival, as they definitely got the crowd ready to party!


We have to admit, the Ames band Fuzzy Logic hadn't been on our radar before the festival. After this set, though, we're definitely wanting to hear more of those funky acoustic sounds!


We're still not sure how, but we managed to get all eight(!) members of the Minneapolis-based bluegrass band The Kind Country onto our stage AND stay on schedule! For many of the audience members who stopped by our stage over the weekend, this was a definite highlight of the festival.


The Studio One team has crossed paths with Minneapolis' Jon Wayne and the Pain before at 80/35, so this was a treat for us. The band had already played the Hy-Vee main stage earlier in the day, and played the official after party just a few hours later with the Jaden Carlson band!


Here's another example of how our stripped-down setting can bring new dimensions to music you may have already heard. As much as we LOVE the 12-piece (or more!) band Canby, lead vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Scott Yoshimura does pretty well by himself!


While some musicians had to make some adjustments to our stage, others were already perfectly suited to the intimate, stripped-down atmosphere. The Iowa-based husband and wife duo The High Crest definitely fell into the second category, and played a great set following their appearance at the Kum & Go stage.


Another band from Boulder, and veterans of IPR's Java Blend, Head For The Hills turned out to be the perfect band to wrap up our weekend. Even though the day was winding down, we still had a great crowd for this great bluegrass band!


Along with Jon Wayne and the Pain, Boulder, Colorado's Jaden Carlson Band also managed to fit us in between their main performance and the after party later that evening. This band definitely brought the funk, and more than anyone else at the festival, 15-year-old Jaden made it look easy with her incredible guitar playing.


"Stripped down" and "intimate" don't necessarily mean "laid-back" and "relaxing", as the Chicago band The Kickback showed us on Friday.

Less than 20 minutes after his amazing performance at the Nationwide free stage, Des Moines artist Christopher The Conquered rushed over to our stage and treated us to a couple of covers, along with the full, true story behind one of his newer songs.


Now based in Los Angeles, Boh Doran returned to her home state to play at 80/35 and gave a terrific performance. As you'd expect from the setting, her amazing voice was on full display.


From Iowa City, The Olympics played 80/35 for the first time, and by all accounts they played a great set at the Nationwide free stage. It was fun working with them again after their IPR appearance at the Des Moines Social Club in May!


One of the most talked-about bands from any of the stages at 80/35 was Brazilian 2wins, from Cedar Falls. Between both of their electrifying sets at the festival, they've acquired many new fans!

With the launch of the new Iowa Public Radio Studio One 24-hour music stream and IPR app for iOS and Android this week, plus the annual 80/35 Festival in downtown Des Moines this weekend, it's a great time to be a music fan in Iowa!  The Studio One crew will be at 80/35 again this year- with bells on!  The IPR booth will be at the corner of 10th and Locust.  Please stop by and say hello, and take in some exclusive performances from many of the Iowa and national bands appearing on 80/35 stages this year.

John Pemble/IPR

Name: Clay Masters

Job: Morning Edition is weekdays from 5 to 9 on the Iowa Public Radio News Channel. I'm also a reporter spending a lot of time covering the Iowa Caucuses.

What was the very last thing you listened to today? Be honest!

I've been listening to My Morning Jacket's new record, "The Waterfall", on my 4 a.m. commute to work. I saw them play at The Ranch Bowl in Omaha 12 years ago and I've been hooked ever since. Every album they've put out has taken some getting used to...this one is finally sinking in. 

IPR/Tressa Glass

Gentlemen Of The Road Festival Stopovers are organized by Mumford & Sons, so it's fitting that seemingly 98% of festival attendees are there for them, and the other bands are kind of an afterthought.  When they took the stage Saturday night and played for over two hours, Mumford & Sons more than justified the buzz generated by their presence in Waverly.  They played great, with spirited performances of both the hits and album cuts, and they did an intimate acoustic/near- a cappella set.

IPR/Jason Burns

 What's almost as much fun as listening to your favorite music? Talking about it, of course! And with the year already half over, we've got a built-in excuse!

Clare Roth

Name: Lindsey Moon

Job: I'm a producer at IPR, which means that I help brainstorm and research ideas for the shows and stories you hear on the air. Lots of the people who have conversations with Ben Kieffer or Charity Nebbe during "River to River" or "Talk of Iowa" spoke with me first.  

What was the very last thing you listened to today? Be honest!

"Your Party" by Ween

What album have you been listening to a lot lately?

Ben Kieffer

Name: Ben Kieffer

Job: Host of River to River; Host/Producer of Java Blend

What is the last thing you listened to today? Be honest!

An audio book version of "Dead Wake", the latest book by Erik Larson about the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915. I love Larson's historical work and once had the pleasure of interviewing him. 

What album have you been listening to lately?

Van Morrison's "Astral Weeks". It reminds me of being young!

What's your favorite song today?

Name: Mark Simmet

What's your job?

I'm a Studio One Host (Tuesday/Thursday/Friday) and I also manage the music we play. I determine what gets added to the library and I book bands to play in the studio. 

What was the very last thing you listened to today? Be honest!

Alabama Shakes' new album "Sound & Color". My first thought when listening to it was that Brittany Howard is an incredibly soulful singer. It blows you away at how soulful she is. 

Name: Tony Dehner

Job: Production Assistant/Studio One Host (Sundays & Mondays)

What is the last thing you listened to today? Be honest!

I listened to a CD that The Michael Reed Band dropped off after their live performance in Studio One last Thursday. 

What album have you been listening to lately?