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

ezrafurman.com

Chicago musician and songwriter Ezra Furman began his career with the band Ezra Furman and the Harpoons.  They formed at Tufts University (near Boston) in 2006, and had a run that included three albums.  In 2012, Furman raised money through Kickstarter to record and self-release his first solo album.  He signed to a label and received great critical acclaim for his second album, particularly in the UK.  With album number three, Perpetual Motion People, Furman is really hitting his stride.

facebook.com/summercampmusic

Bad Love is the third full-length album from the British indie-pop duo Summer Camp.  In addition to those three, the band also released a film soundtrack album last year for the teen movie documentary Beyond Clueless.  Multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Warmsley and vocalist Elizabeth Sankey are a married couple, and formed Summer Camp in October, 2009.  Although lyrically a bit dark, their music is influenced by 1960s girl groups and 1980s synth pop.  It qualifies as fine summertime listening!  

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!

IPR/Tony Dehner

The Des Moines independent hip hop group prettygirlhatemachine re-energized the IPR Stage Saturday afternoon!  Unfortunately, IPR's videographer had gone to offload video from previous performances and couldn't get back in time for their set.  However, we do have the audio- enjoy!

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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!

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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?

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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"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.

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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.

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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!

richardthompson-music.com

British songwriter, guitarist and vocalist Richard Thompson began his recording career in 1967 with the revered folk-rock band Fairport Convention.  He has continued to record and tour throughout the world.  Still is officially his sixteenth studio record under his own name (including many great albums credited to Richard and Linda Thompson).  Thompson wanted to shake up his approach to making records this time out, so for the role of producer he sought out Wilco's Jeff Tweedy.  Tweedy was happy to oblige, and the album was recorded in Chicago at Wilco's The Loft studio.  

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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!

iowapublicradio.org

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.

npr.org/courtesy of the artist

Two bands make up the collaborative project known as FFS.  Of those two, the Glasgow, Scotland group Franz Ferdinand is certainly the more well known.  The other part of the equation is Sparks- a "cult band" since the 1970's.  Brothers Ron and Russell Mael are the core members of Sparks.  Over the decades, they have achieved some success in Europe, but were generally thought of as "too weird" to make it in the US.  The times have caught up with their weirdness, but now they would probably be thought of as "too old."  Franz Ferdinand are fans of Sparks, and met them a few years ago.

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.

facebook.com/hopalongtheband

While Frances Quinlan was a senior in high school, she began her acoustic solo project and called it by the rather unwieldy name of Hop Along, Queen Ansleis.  That was in 2004.  In 2008, Quinlan's brother Mark joined as drummer, and bassist Tyler Long came aboard in 2009.  The Philadelphia band shortened their name to just Hop Along around that time, and have since added guitarist Joe Reinhart.   Painted Shut is their third full-length album; their first for Omaha's Saddle Creek label.

IPR/Tony Dehner

Des Moines-based performer Dan Tedesco played a great live set on Studio One on June 18.  The singer-songwriter treated us to songs from his latest album Death In The Valley, ​plus some older compositions.  He accompanied himself on guitar and stompbox (percussion for a one-man band), and also played the vintage Steinway piano in IPR's Cedar Falls studios.  You can listen to the set right here!  

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!

npr.org/courtesy of the artist

Why Make Sense? is the sixth studio album from the British electronic music band Hot Chip.  The band formed in London in 2000.  Hot Chip strive to be melodic in their dance music.  While listening to their music, one never feels that the synths are overpowering the humanity behind the machines.  For the new record, the band has said they had enough material for an album twice as long, but they held back in an effort to not be indulgent.  They made the right choice- Why Make Sense? is a great listen!

IPR/Tressa Glass

Des Moines' Parranderos Latin Combo played two great sets live on Studio One on June 4.  We were broadcasting live from  The Basement venue of the Des Moines Social Club, spinning discs and also bringing listeners another sample of what's coming up at the 80/35 Festival this summer.  Parranderos Latin Combo will be on hand for 80/35 with their expertly played, irresistibly danceable music!  Check it out right here!     

blur.co.uk

The Magic Whip is the the eighth studio album from the British band Blur.  It's the first new album in 12 years for the band, and features the intact original lineup:   Damon Albarn (vocals & keyboards), Graham Coxon (guitar & vocals), Alex James (bass) and Dave Rowntree (drums).  Blur has achieved mass popularity in the UK, but here in the US they are known for their own particular brand of smart indie (albeit on a major label) rock.  Recorded in Hong Kong and London, The Magic Whip is the welcome return of Blur. 

bestcoast.net

Songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Bethany Cosentino and guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno formed Best Coast in Los Angeles in 2009.  California Nights is their third full-length album.  Influences for the band include surf rock, 1960's girl groups, The Beach Boys and much more.  Those influences and Best Coast's own take on them combine to create their sound.  Their songs evoke the feeling we've come to associate with west coast music.  That appealing vibe continues on California Nights.

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