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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Flickr: Jason Persse

Annie Clark, better known as St. Vincent, began her career as a member of The Polyphonic Spree.  She formed her own band in 2006, and released her debut album the following year.  After a couple more full-length records, she collaborated with David Byrne on Love This Giant.  Byrne and St. Vincent toured together, wowing the crowd at last year's 80/35 Festival with a tight and celebratory show.  The new album, St. Vincent, showcases the next steps in Clark's musical evolution, with smart, accessible songwriting and ear-pleasing innovative songs.

James Mercer is the lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter in The Shins.  Brian Burton (also known as Danger Mouse) is the artist and producer with many notable projects on his resume.  With their band Broken Bells, the two artists combine their considerable musical credibility with great success.  The second full-length Broken Bells album is After The Disco.  For the new record, the band's atmospheric synth pop is augmented by a four-piece choir and seventeen-piece string orchestra. 

Flickr: Seth Anderson

Winter keeps dragging on, and here at Studio One we've got Cabin Fever! While we wait out these last few weeks of cold and snow, here are the top songs and bands keeping us warm and thinking about summer!

Flickr: Modern Creature

Beck is known for his sonically adventurous recordings, creating anticipation for each new release since he can go in so many different directions.  His twelfth studio album, Morning Phase, is drawing comparisons to his Sea Change record.   It's even being called a "companion piece" to that very successful 2002 release.  Many of the same musicians from Sea Change are back, and the songs are meditative and gorgeous in their use of vocal harmonies and  occasional string sections.

Hospitality formed in Brooklyn, NY in 2007, with Amber Papini (vocals, guitar, chief songwriter), Brian Betancourt (bass) and Nathan Michel (percussion).  Their debut full-length album of infectious indie pop, Hospitality, was released in early 2012 on the venerable indie label Merge Records.  Two years later we have the second album, Trouble, also on Merge.  Hospitality's sound has evolved on this new release, becoming deeper and richer.


Twitter: @TrishDorman

Minneapolis singer/songwriter Caroline Smith and her band stopped by Iowa Public Radio's Cedar Falls studios on Feb. 18 to perform music from her new album Half About Being A Woman.  Raised in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, Smith moved to Minneapolis and formed Caroline Smith and The Good Night Sleeps.  The band released their debut full length album in 2008, describing their music as "folk with an indie twist."  Two more records followed, and last fall Half About Being A Woman was released, this time as simply a Caroline Smith album.

Nick Waterhouse grew up in the ocean side city of Huntington Beach, known for it's surf culture.  He established his musical sensibilities in the middle of the burgeoning southern California Psych-Garage scene, while retaining his fondness for American Rhythm & Blues.  His new record is titled Holly.  As NPR has noted, Nick Waterhouse "draws from the classic sound of '50's American pop with a distinctive voice of his own, shouting and growling with infectious vigor."

 Mark Simmet will be hosting Minneapolis singer/songwriter Caroline Smith for a live performance in the Cedar Falls studios of Iowa Public Radio on Tuesday night, Feb. 18.  Smith and her band the Good Night Sleeps released their debut full length album in 2008, describing their music as "folk with an indie twist."  Two more records followed, and last fall Smith released her latest album, Half About Being A Woman.  Her sound now has an irresistible neo-soul, R&B feel.

  Be listening for Iowa Public Radio exclusive live recordings of one of the original British Invasion bands, The Zombies, from their very well-received show last September at the Ames City Auditorium.  The performance was a highlight of last year's Maximum Ames Music Festival.  The Zombies, including founding members Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent, are known for such classic hits as "She's Not There" and "Time Of The Season."  The band runs through all of their hits, plus album tracks old and new, and hits that Argent had apart from The Zombies.

Dum Dum Girls is began as Dee Dee's (Kirstin Gundred) bedroom recording project, and she remains the main force in the band.  In fact, for the third full-length album Too True, Dee Dee plays and sings nearly everything herself.  Dum Dum Girls began in Los Angeles in 2008, with the name inspired by an album by The Vaselines titled Dum Dum, and also by Iggy Pop's song "Dum Dum Boys".  Too True expands on the noisy and romantic guitar pop sound of Dum Dum Girls.

Stephen Malkmus was the influential songwriter and singer in Pavement.  When that group went on hiatus in 1999, Malkmus formed the Jicks.  Current members of The Jicks include Mike Clark, Joanna Bolme and Jake Morris.  The new Wig Out at Jagbags​ is the sixth Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks album, with Malkmus' distinctive wordplay and jam/punk guitar style prominent.

Courtesy of the artist

The Comfort Kings stopped by Iowa Public Radio's Cedar Falls studios for a live set on Jan. 16.  The band is a part of the latest resurgence in bands with strong roots in folk music forms.  In recent years, bands like Mumford and Sons, Old Crow Medicine Show, Carolina Chocolate Drops, the Civil Wars, the Avett Brothers, Bon Iver and the Lumineers have been bringing traditional acoustic sounds to receptive listeners.

Singer/songwriter Damien Jurado has been recording music in his hometown of Seattle since the mid-1990s. 

  He began by releasing his lo-fi folk recordings on cassette.  Over the years Jurado has added more production and sonic techniques to his sound, all the while retaining the acoustic core of his music.  Brothers And Sisters Of The Eternal Son offers an invitation to the listener to interpret the religious themes of the record.

For their new record Foreverly, Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong, and his partner for this project Norah Jones, respectfully offer their own versions of all twelve tracks from the Everly Brothers 1958 album Songs Our Daddy Taught Us.  They honor the spirit and the fine harmonies of Phil and Don on this project, released just a few weeks before the January 3rd passing of Phil Everly.

Give The People What They Want is the fifth album from soul and funk revivalists Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings.  Sharon Jones was born in Augusta, Georgia, but moved to New York at an early age.  A professional singer for many years, she found breakthrough success in middle age with the Dap-Kings.  The group's heartfelt devotion to soul music is apparent on this eagerly-awaited new album, as it has been throughout their career on Brooklyn's Daptone Records.

Courtesy the artist

The Comfort Kings are a contemporary acoustic band from the Cedar Valley.  They use a traditional bluegrass instrumental arrangement for their mix of old-time, Americana and original songs.  Join us for a live performance from The Comfort Kings in our Cedar Falls studios on Thursday, Jan. 16, in the 7:00 pm hour.  You are invited to be in the studio audience for this free show on the third floor of the Communication Arts Center on the UNI campus in Cedar Falls, or be listening to our live broadcast!

Wildewoman is the very well-crafted indie pop debut record from the Brooklyn band Lucius.  Co-writers and vocalists Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig met while attending the Berklee School of Music in Boston.  Wildewoman​ succeeds due to their classic pop songwriting and their wonderful harmony vocals.

Los Campesinos! (the band include the exclamation point in their name) formed in Cardiff, Wales in 2006 at Cardiff University.  The Spanish word campesino translates as "peasant" or "country person."  All six of the current members, as well as the former members of the band use "Campesinos!" as their surname.  No Blues is their sixth full-length album, as energetic as before, but more focused this time out.

British vocalist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Nick Lowe is a major figure in UK pub rock, power pop and New Wave in the 1970's.  In recent years, his records have gone in a traditional and roots direction.  His latest release is a Christmas album, titled Quality Street:  A Seasonal Selection For All The Family.  The title is a nod to a famous UK manufacturer of holiday sweets.  For this project, Lowe offers traditional songs, forgotten gems, and new songs written by himself, Ry Cooder and Ron Sexsmith.

Cut Copy formed in 2001 in Melbourne, Australia as the solo project of DJ Dan Whitford.  During his studies in the graphic design field Whitford became interested in dance music and began working as a DJ.  He also bought a sampler and various keyboards, finding inspiration for his music in both dance and indie low-fi sounds.  Since then, Cut Copy has become an actual band.  Free Your Mind is their fourth album.

Host Charity Nebbe sits down with "Studio One" host Mark Simmet and "Blue Avenue" and "Backtracks" host Bob Dorr of Iowa Public Radio's Studio One to talk about the best music of 2013.  Their picks are listed below, and you can hear excerpts throughout the show.

Mark Simmet - Best alternative/independent albums of 2013

10.  Sky Ferreira- Night Time, My Time   
She’s very young and she’s a tabloid celebrity, but her debut full-length album is catchy and creative.  It’s not disposable pop music, it’s good pop music.

IPR/ Tony Dehner

Someone, the new record from the Waterloo-based band Dylan Sires and Neighbors, will be officially released on Tuesday, Dec. 17.  That night, the band will join me on Studio One to play live and talk about the new album.  I invite you to be part of the studio audience for this free show!  We are located on the third floor of the Communication Arts Center on the UNI campus in Cedar Falls.  The set from Dylan Sires and Neighbors will begin around 7:15 pm.  Come on up, or listen live on Studio One!

Cults formed in 2010, while core band members Brian Oblivion (guitar, vocals) and Madeline Follin (vocals) were both students in New York City.  The songs on thier 2011 self-titled debut album were inspired by early 1960's pop and their own relationship as a couple.  Cults' second full-length release, Static, is an album of breakup songs, again reflecting their personal relationship while expanding on the sound of their first record.

The Seattle band La Luz ("the light") bring their own take on girl groups and surf rock to their debut full-length album, It's Alive.  The line-up of Shana Cleveland (guitar), Marian Li Pino (drums), Abbey Blackwell (bass) and Alice Sandahl (keyboards) also adds a lo-fi retro-rockabilly vibe to the sound of La Luz.

Join us on IPR's Studio One Wednesday, Nov. 27 at 8:00 PM for a special live concert from Arcade Fire, performing at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles.  The band performed many of the songs from their new album Reflektor, as well as some of Lou Reed's music in tribute to the passing of Reed earlier that week.

Devonte Hynes is a British vocalist, songwriter and producer who has recorded as Lightspeed Champion in the past, and more recently as Blood Orange.  Hynes was born and raised in Ilford, Essex, and has resided in new York since 2007.  The new release Cupid Deluxe is Blood Orange's follow up to the 2011  album, Coastal Grooves.   Cupid Deluxe tunefully expands on the electro-pop of that acclaimed debut record.

Join us on Studio One Thursday, Nov. 21 in the 7:00 PM hour for a special feature on Minneapolis-based musician and songwriter Mason Jennings.  Iowa Public Radio's Clay Masters will be talking with Jennings about his life and his new record Always Been.  The new release was produced by Bo Ramsey.  Musicians and vocalists appearing on the album include Pieta Brown, Iris DeMent, and members of the Pines.  Along with the interview, you'll hear music from Jennings' records, including Always Been.  Also, the new album is our CD of the Week this week.

Shulamith is the second album from the Minneapolis-based band Polica.  An offshoot of the Minneapolis collective Gayngs, Polica was formed in 2011 by producer  Ryan Olson and  vocalist Channy Leaneagh.  Leaneagh described the songs the two co-wrote for the new record thusly:  "Drums.  Bass.  Synths.  Me, Women."  The title of the album is a reference to the feminist Shulamith Firestone, who Leaneagh described as her "muse and mentor."

In 2010, Virginia native Jonathan Russell and California transplant Josiah Johnson formed the core of the songwriting partnership of The Head And The Heart in their new hometown of Seattle.  The band was quickly rounded out with the addition of drummer Tyler Williams, keyboardist Kenny Hensley, vocalist/violinist Charity Rose Thielen and bassist Chris Zasche.  Their 2011 debut album on Sub Pop became one of the label's best-selling debut releases to date.  The Head And The Heart's Let's Be Still is their follow-up to that initial success.

B-Room, the new album from Philadelphia's Dr. Dog, has been called the most cohesive, soulful, loose and just plain fun record of their career.  The title of B-Room references the band's newly built studio, an integral part of the making of the new album.  The band built the new studio themselves, from the studs to the sheet rock to the recording booth.  Recording many of the album's tracks as live takes, Dr. Dog discovered the soul roots always inherent in their Philadelphia background.