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.

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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.   

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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.

TV on the Radio

Several dependable bands, some innovators and a few pleasant surprises made the list of IPR's Studio One hosts' favorite music of 2014.

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". 

IPR/Tony Dehner

Pieta Brown, along with Bo Ramsey on electric guitar, stopped by IPR's Cedar Falls studios on Dec. 8.  The set list included songs from the new album Paradise Outlaw.  The live set was in advance of her Dec. 12 show at Des Moines' Temple for the Performing Arts, a night of music that will also feature The Pines, and is being presented by Iowa Public Radio Studio One.  Enjoy this wonderful live performance!

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.

IPR/Tony Dehner

Based in Central Iowa, Unknown Component is the project of multi-instrumentalist and producer Keith Lynch.  Unknown Component made a return visit to Studio One on Dec. 4, playing songs from the brand new release Arbitrary Ambiguity and more.  With a couple of guitars, a laptop and a few other pieces of gear, Lynch produced the full sound of Unknown Component.  You can listen right here!

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.

IPR/Tony Dehner

On Nov. 20, Studio One partnered with The Des Moines Social Club to broadcast a live set from The Basement at the DMSC.  Christopher The Conquered was in fine form, playing for an appreciative hometown audience just days before leaving for a month-long tour in Italy.  We were treated to songs from the forthcoming record I'm Giving Up On Rock And Roll and more.  You can listen right here!

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.

IPR/Tony Dehner

On November 18, the Iowa City band The Sapwoods returned to Studio One for a live performance.  Their second album, Peaks And Valleys, was released this past summer.  The Sapwoods are preparing for a Midwest tour beginning in January, and one of their gigs before a break for the holidays happened in our Cedar Falls studios.  The tight five-piece group was in fine form for this set.  Have a listen!

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!

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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.

When it comes to compiling a Halloween playlist, there are the staples like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” and “The Monster Mash” sung by the theatrical Bobby Boris Pickett. Oddly enough the 60s and 80s created a lot of the music that has ended up being played at nearly every Halloween event, but then every decade has produced some uncanny tracks. And for inspiration we’ve brewed up a short list of some of our favorites to spice up your Halloween festivities.

Scarlett Cerna, host of Studio One:

IPR/Tony Dehner

The High Crest is the Des Moines-based duo of Aaron Earl Short and Kat Darling.  They brought their self-described "Folk & Roll" music to IPR's Cedar Falls studios for a heartfelt live set on Oct. 27.  Playing songs from their brand new 24-track double album Gone, as well as their self-titled debut album and more, The High Crest engaged the studio audience with their music of trials and hope.  Have a listen!

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.

IPR/Tony Dehner

The Iowa band King of The Tramps played a live set for Studio One on Oct. 21.  Their performance included songs from their third album, Joyful Noise.  That title and the band's own description of their music as "whiskey gospel" turned out to be apt descriptions of celebratory audience engagement and a raucous good time!  Listen to what I mean right here!

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.

Mei-Ling Shaw Williams

Iowa native Pieta Brown's latest record Paradise Outlaw is being released this week on the Red House label. It's the 6th full-length studio album from Pieta (daughter of Greg Brown), recorded at the Wisconsin studio of Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon.  Vernon contributes vocals to a few songs, and Amos Lee is featured in a duet with Pieta Brown on the new album.  Guitarist and co-producer Bo Ramsey is vital to the sound of Paradise Outlaw, a record that Pieta Brown describes as "expansive...full of love."

IPR/Tony Dehner

On Sept. 22, the Davenport-based band Bedroom Shrine performed live in IPR's Cedar Falls studios.  Frontman Johnnie Cluney and the band played a great set, including songs from their Cartouche Records debut album No Deja Vu.  They'll be playing at the Maximum Ames Music Festival on Sept. 28.  Prepare for that show by giving a listen to Bedroom Shrine's Studio One set right here!

IPR/Tony Dehner

J.E. Sunde (of The Daredevil Christopher Wright fame) stopped by IPR's Cedar Falls studios for a solo live set on Sept. 23.  Sunde's fine voice and well-crafted songs made for a memorable Studio One performance.  He played music from his Cartouche Records release Shapes That Kiss The Lips Of God, as well as treating us to some unreleased new songs.  In anticipation of J.E. Sunde's Maximum Ames Music Festival set on Sept. 28, listen to our Studio One set right here!

MR. NASTI

MR NASTI, aka Nicholas Naioti, has relocated to Fairfield, Iowa.  In celebration, MR NASTI releases a new album on the Maximum Ames label this Tuesday, Sept. 23.  Truth Sound features guest appearances from Iowa artists Anna Gebhardt (Annalibera), Ryan Stier & Joel Gettys (The River Monks), and Adrien Daller (Trouble Lights).  Nashville's Spoken Nerd is also heard on the record.  Percolating beats, synths and acoustic instrumentation accompany thoughtful lyrics regarding the Big Questions.

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The Los Angeles-based band Allah-Las have a sound that harkens back to the glorious days of mid-60's California pop, with a garage rock edge.  The aptly titled Worship The Sun is the follow-up to their self-titled debut album from 2012.  Allah-Las bring a warm glow on the new record, pointing out once again how distinctive and evocative the "California sound" can be. 

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