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/ilovelucius

Good Grief is the second full-length album from the Brooklyn-based band Lucius.  The group is currently a five-piece, but began in 2005 with just the core of lead vocalists Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig.  The two met while attending Berklee School Of Music in Boston.  They eventually moved to Brooklyn and spent time honing those wonderful vocal harmonies.  The other band members eventually joined up, and the debut album from Lucius was released in 2013.  Perhaps you caught their visually arresting and sonically gorgeous set at last year's Hinterland Festival.

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Andrew Bird is from the North Shore area of Chicago (Lake Forest), and that's where he learned to play the violin.  He was a Suzuki student beginning at age four.  In 1996, Bird graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in violin performance.  He soon began recording, including three albums with the band Squirrel Nut Zippers and three more with his own group, Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire.  At this point, Bird is well into a successful solo career, with many quirky and intriguing albums to his credit.

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More Rain is the eighth solo album from Portland, Oregon's M. Ward.  The singer-songwriter and guitarist is also known for being half of the duo She & Him, a member of the group Monsters Of Folk, and a producer who has worked with many other artists.  Ward began working on More Rain in 2012, originally intending to layer his vocals and make a doo-wop record.  In time, the album went in a different direction.

IPR/Tony Dehner

 The Des Moines-based band The Well Pennies played two acoustic sets for Studio One Tracks on April 7.  The venue was The Basement of The Des Moines Social Club.  It was a preview of what's to come on May 1st when The Well Pennies will bring their music upstairs to the Des Moines Social Club Theater.  On that night, the band will be joined by the Valley High School Orchestra.  Here's your chance to hear the beautiful harmonies of Bryan and Sarah Vanderpool in an intimate acoustic setting!  

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A Man Alive is the fourth studio album from the San Francisco-based band Thao & The Get Down Stay Down.  The group's origin dates to 2003, when band leader Thao Nguyen met drummer Willis Thompson.  Thompson has since left, as has the former group member who came up with naming the band "The Get Down."  Nguyen expanded on that idea for "The Get Down Stay Down."  A Man Alive was recorded in San Francisco, with Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs  producing.  Garbus brought a lot of tUnE-yArDs energy to this infectious and creative new album. 

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Quilt arose out of the Boston music scene in 2009.  Guitarist and vocalist Anna Fox Rochinski is the daughter of Berklee College of Music faculty member Steve Rochinski.  A jazz guitarist himself, he began teaching  Anna the basics of the instrument when she was 13 years old.  She later met guitarist and vocalist Shane Butler.  A year after that, drummer Taylor McVay joined them (he has since left the band) and Quilt was born.  The group released their first full-length album in 2011, moved to new York City in 2013, and recorded Plaza (album number three) in Brooklyn.

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Chicago-born Mavis Staples has been singing rhythm & blues and gospel music for decades, beginning as a child with her family's band The Staple Singers.  In recent years she has been a solo act, touring (with old friend Bob Dylan this summer) and steadily releasing new music.  Staples' latest album is Livin' On A High Note, produced by M. Ward.  Ward and ten other songwriters wrote new songs just for this project.  Ben Harper, Justin Vernon, Neko Case, Valerie June, Nick Cave, Benjamin Booker and others wrote the material specifically for Mavis Staples to record.

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The Syracuse, New York band Ra Ra Riot formed in early 2006, when they began playing at venues and house parties around the campus of Syracuse University.  Their high energy live shows attracted attention to the group, and soon they were opening for bands in New York City and touring the UK.  Ra Ra Riot's debut album came out in the summer of 2008.  Need Your Light is their fourth full-length record.  It's full of synthy hooks to grab you and get you out on the dance floor!

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Dr. Dog formed in West Grove, Pennsylvania in 1999, and The Psychedelic Swamp is their ninth album.  However, in a way this record is their first, since this new release is a revamped version of Dr. Dog's unreleased debut album.  Scott McMicken (vocals & lead guitar) and  Toby Leaman (vocals & bass guitar) were college students at the turn of the millennium.  The story goes that writing and honing the songs that would eventually become The Psychedelic Swamp is what led the two to form Dr. Dog.

IPR/Tony Dehner

The Iowa band The Soul Searchers played two crowd-pleasing sets for our live broadcast of Studio One Tracks on March 3, from The Basement venue of The Des Moines Social Club.  The four piece group, led by guitarist and vocalist Scott Eggleston, lived up to their reputation of presenting a tight blend of blues, rockabilly and surf music.  You can listen to the night's proceedings right here!   

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James Hunter began his career as a blue-eyed soul singer in the mid 1980's in his native England, using a stage name.  He was Howlin' Wilf in the trio Howlin' Wilf & The Veejays.  Van Morrison was a fan, and after The Veejays broke up, Hunter spent some time in Morrison's band before he started recording under his own name in 1996.  For the past couple of albums, the records have been credited to The James Hunter Six as a way for Hunter to acknowledge the contributions of his long-time backing musicians.  Hold On! is the first album for the band on Brooklyn's Daptone label.

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Eleanor Friedberger and her older brother Matthew Friedberger formed The Fiery Furnaces in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park in 2000.  Much of that band's music was inventive, creative and often weird (in a good way).  The Fiery Furnaces went on hiatus in 2011, and both siblings began making records under their own names.  While still a quirky lyricist with a distinctive vocal style, Eleanor Friedberger's songs have been more conventional on her solo records.  Perhaps it's maturity, or a newfound appreciation for traditional pop songcraft.

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Let Me Get By is the third studio album, and fourth full-length release overall from the Tedeschi Trucks Band.  The Jacksonville, Florida blues-rock band is led by married couple Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi.  Both are guitarists, and Susan Tedeschi also sings lead vocals in the band.  The two musicians led their own bands (Trucks is also a veteran of The Allman Brothers Band) before combining their talents as the Tedeschi Trucks Band in 2010.

IPR/Tony Dehner

The Quad Cities band The Multiple Cat stopped by IPR's Cedar Falls studios on Feb. 8.  The band played a set which included songs from the new album Intricate Maps.  ​Frontman Patrick Stolley plays guitar and sings lead vocals in The Multiple Cat.  In addition to being a songwriter and musician, Stolley is an audio engineer and producer.  He built his own studio and started a record label (both named Futureappletree), plus he was one of the founders of Daytrotter.  Have a listen to The Multiple Cat, right here!   

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Shearwater is from Austin, Texas, and led by songwriter, lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Meiburg.  Since the band's name derives from the long-winged seabird called the shearwater, it's often mentioned that Meiburg has a degree in ornithology.  That fact, plus Meiburg's lyrics and his vocal style give Shearwater a somewhat cerebral reputation.  The band began in 1999 as a side project for Meiburg and Will Sheff when both were in Okkervil River.  In time, Meiburg left Okkervil River and Sheff left Shearwater.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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