Studio One

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Iowa City-based tenor saxophonist and composer Jeff Miguel unveils the latest installment of his group, the Jeff Miguel Quartet. 

Lend an ear to the podcast below to hear Java Blend host Ben Kieffer chat with Miguel, as he plays tunes off his debut record, Perseverance. 

Gretchen Dehner

It was a great night of Midwest soul at the Des Moines Social Club, as we welcomed two great bands to the Kum & Go Theatre: from Minneapolis, Sonny Knight & The Lakers, and Des Moines' own The Maytags!

A retired truck driver, Sonny Knight joined forces with The Lakers and toured nonstop, earning rave reviews for their performances at the Monterey Jazz Festival and the Rochester Jazz Festival. The band released a live double-LP, Do It Live, in 2015 and will release  their first studio album this year.

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Radiohead formed in 1985 (originally using the band name On A Friday), while the five band members were attending Abingdon School, a school for boys in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.  The lineup of Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Phil Selway and Ed O'Brien has remained remarkably unchanged throughout their career.  Radiohead released their debut album in 1993, and within a few years they became, arguably, the most critically acclaimed band of the nineties and early 2000's.

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Scottish vocalist and guitarist Scott Hutchison began performing as Frightened Rabbit in 2003.  His mother had given him the name in childhood due to his shyness.  The solo act grew into a band with his brother Grant Hutchison joining on drums in 2004, and guitarist Billy Kennedy coming aboard in 2006.  That was also the year Frightened Rabbit released their debut full-length.  For album number 5, Painting Of A Panic Attack, producer Aaron Dessner (of The National) worked with the group at his home studio in New York City.

IPR/Tony Dehner

The Des Moines-based group The Well Pennies played a set with the full band in IPR's Cedar Falls studios on April 28.  The Well Pennies played songs from their album Endlings, featuring the beautiful vocal harmonies of Bryan and Sarah Vanderpool, and fine playing from all five members.

Enjoy this live set!

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Illinois-based blues band Kilborn Alley, fresh off their European tour earlier this year, burns through their original blues tunes on The Java House stage in downtown Iowa City. 

In the downloadable podcast below, you'll hear host Ben Kieffer get the low down on the group's time abroad, as well as their interesting songwriting process. 

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Love Letter For Fire is a collaborative record from songwriters Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop.  Vocalist and guitarist Jesca Hoop has recorded several albums under her own name.  Sam Beam has performed and recorded for many years as Iron and Wine, and for some time he has contemplated doing a male/female duets record.  He found the vocalist he was looking for (and more) in Hoop.  According to Beam:  "I was looking to work with another songwriter because I had never shared the songwriting responsibility with anyone.

IPR/Tony Dehner

The final Wednesday of the month isn't our normal night for our live broadcast from the Des Moines Social Club, but we'll happily make an extra trip when the music is this good! Iowa native Julie Christensen and her band Stone Cupid were in the area for a string of performances, and managed to squeeze us in for a couple of great live sets. Check out their performance right here!

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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.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host Ben Kieffer catches up with singer-songwriter Bob Hillman after his decade-long break from music. 

Listen to the podcast below to hear tracks from Hillman's new album, "Lost Soul," as well as several of his old hits. 

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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.

Photo courtesy of Iris DeMent

During the 4:00 hour of The Folk Tree on Sunday, April 17, Iris DeMent talks with IPR's Karen Impola about her roots in the Arkansas Delta, her emergence as a songwriter, and her most recent album, The Trackless Woods, on which she put music to the poems of Russian writer Anna Akhmatova. Iris will be performing on Thursday, April 21 at the Temple for Performing Arts in Des Moines; opening the show will be her daughter-in-law, Pieta Brown.

Click here to hear a song from The Trackless Woods.

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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!  

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Iowa City Latin-jazz group Ritmocano brings infectious grooves and soaring solos to the stage in The Java House. 

Lend an ear below for some insight into the group's songwriting process and Latin influences, as well as some original tracks. 

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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. 

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host Ben Kieffer chats with local acoustic-rockabilly group Cedar County Cobras. 

Check out the podcast below to hear about the group's familial ties, as well of some tracks off their new record, "Delta Ave Juke Joint."

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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.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Ben Kieffer hosts Iowa City bluegrass group Flash in a Pan and their high-octane, witty brand of music. 

Check out the podcast below for some pick-me-up tracks from the outfit's new record, Antidote to Sell, and some stories from the band's time on the road. 

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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.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Iowa blues fixture Matt Woods wows a packed Java House with his versatile guitar work and powerful vocals. 

Listen in below to hear host Ben Kieffer chat with Woods about his impressive day job and the genesis of his latest release, "Sawdust and Gasoline."

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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!

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Cedar Falls native and Twin Cities transplant Ben Cook-Feltz catches up with host Ben Kieffer about turning 30, getting married, and more. 

Listen in below to hear all this plus tracks from Cook-Feltz new album, "She Doesn't Believe Me." 

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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!   

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Doug Collins' Receptionists are out, but Collins' acoustic treatment of his cleverly written songs proves just as pleasing. Listen in to host Ben Kieffer as he chats with Collins about dog sitting and papal miracles. 

Check out the podcast below for some tracks off of Doug Collins and the Receptionists' new release, "Complicated Compliments.

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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.

On this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Milwaukee singer-songwriter Jay Matthes joins host Ben Kieffer for a solo acoustic set.

Listen to the podcast below for some of Matthes' clever lyrics and award-winning vocals. 

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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.

Hinterland Music Festival

The Hinterland Music Festival made its debut last year in St. Charles, IA, and was by all accounts a smashing success. Festival organizer Sam Summers is hoping for another successful festival in 2016, and they've got the lineup to do it! In this interview with IPR's Tony Dehner, Sam Summers discusses putting together the lineup for the Hinterland festival, and talks about camping, shuttle buses and other key parts of the Hinterland experience.

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