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.

IPR/Madeleine King

Des Moines' Parranderos Latin Combo pride themselves on helping to keep Latin music alive and diverse in Iowa and beyond.  Exploring musical styles such as salsa, cumbia and samba, PLC is a true crowd-pleaser.  The multi-member group made a return visit to Studio One Underground for a couple of sets in The Basement of the Des Moines Social Club on May 2, 2019.

Listen to the infectious music of Parranderos Latin Combo right here! 

IPR/Tony Dehner

The last time we had the band perform live on Studio One, John June Year were about to release their EP "Pop Sucker."  This time the band came to perform songs from their debut full-length album "Modern Motives."

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South Carolina's Shovels & Rope take a giant step forward on their new album "By Blood."  Built upon the duo's strong Americana foundation, it's a thoroughly satisfying contemporary rock and roll record.

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The latest album from Weyes Blood is "Titanic Rising," with dreamy and cinematic songs haunted by the fateful tale of that doomed ocean liner.

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Jenny Lewis has been making indie rock for more than twenty years now. Yes, she records for major label Warner Bros., but her approach and her many collaborators are firmly indie. 

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Much can be said about Andrew Bird:  a classically trained violinist, known for his whistling (as befits his actual name), he was in the indie-jazz band Squirrel Nut Zippers in the '90s, and has been releasing his own style of indie music since his band Bowl Of Fire and a solo career that began in 2003.  

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Karen O is a powerful (both visually and sonically) vocalist, and she has fronted the band Yeah Yeah Yeahs since 2000.  She has also done solo projects and collaborated with some interesting people, gravitating toward the artier side of indie rock.  Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse) has been a part of Gnarls Barkley, Broken Bells and Danger Doom, and has worked with many others as a respected producer, musician and songwriter.  Karen O and Danger Mouse met in 2007, discussed working together, and finally got serious about it in 2015.  The project has come to fruition with the new album "Lux P

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Julia Jacklin wears her heart on her sleeve all through the ten tracks on "Crushing", her second full-length album.  Sure, that's a cliche, but it's such a fitting way to describe the Australian artist's approach to her songs, and why they are so compelling.  Jacklin writes about heartbreak and infatuation, and as her record company explains, she keeps "her storytelling centered on bodies and crossed boundries and smothering closeness."  Plus, Julia Jacklin has a wonderful voice to deliver the intimate indie pop songs she writes.    

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If you saw Conor Oberst joining Phoebe Bridgers on stage last July at 80/35, maybe you thought it would be cool if those two were in a band together.  In that case, your wish has been granted in the form of Better Oblivion Community Center.  It's an unwieldy band name to be sure, and serves as the title of their debut album as well.  As a record, Better Oblivion Community Center loosely ties together ten songs having to do with a fictional dystopian wellness facility.  Oberst and Bridgers kept quiet about the album as they recorded it last year, surprise releasing it in early 2019.

IPR/Chris Fenton

The Cedar Rapids band In The Attic performed a live set in IPR's Cedar Falls studios on March 21.  The group talked about the various projects they are involved in, and played songs from their forthcoming new album.  With their two guitars, bass, drums plus electric violin lineup, In The Attic provided a great rock set for the Studio One Tracks audience.

You can hear the night's performance right here!

Iowa City's Mission Creek festival is coming up next week. This is a unique and annual spring event curated by a team of organizers and hosted in part by the 106-year-old Englert Theatre. The festival spans 6 days, and full festival passes are $250. Mission Creek also offers single show tickets. If you're making plans to attend or are thinking about it, here's who we wouldn't want to miss.

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Bobbie Gentry had one huge hit song, and it was a good one.  The atmospheric and mysterious "Ode To Billie Joe" is fondly remembered to this day.  Gentry's follow-up to that song (and accompanying full-length LP) was her 1968 album The Delta Sweete, which expanded on "Ode" themes of Southern life and culture.  Fifty years later, The Delta Sweete had largely been forgotten.  Crate diving indie bands like upstate New York's Mercury Rev don't forget, however, and the group have recorded a brand new version of Gentry's song cycle.  Mercury Rev are joined by a roster of twelve

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California native Cass McCombs has been recording his own blend of folk-rocky alt country since 2002.  McCombs new album is Tip Of The Sphere, recorded quickly by McCombs and his core band in Brooklyn.  It's a compelling listen, with an immediacy that never seems to lag, despite a playing time of nearly an hour.  According to McCombs' label, ANTI- Records, the idea all along was to make a consistent statement.  The song "Sleeping Volcanoes" sits right in the middle of the record, and it's described as the thematic centerpiece of the album.  According to McCombs, the song is about "

IPR/Tony Dehner

The Candymakers have a brand new release titled Family Flowers, and the Iowa band brought those songs and more to the Basement of the Des Moines Social Club for two energetic sets.  The occasion was IPR's live broadcast of Studio One Underground.  The sweet sounds of The Candymakers are a confection made up of soul, funk and blues.

Have a listen to both sets from The Candymakers right here!   

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Girlpool is the core duo of Cleo Tucker (guitar and vocals) and Harmony Tividad (bass and vocals).  The Los Angelenos met in November of 2013, each quitting the bands they were involved with at the time.  In just three months they had released their debut EP.  What Chaos Is Imaginary is the third full-length album from Girlpool.  Tucker and Tividad each write and arrange songs for the group.  Tividad claims the record's title track as her own, explaining:  "I was experiencing a lot of mental health issues.  That song comes from a place of being disconnected from reality.  The world

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Deerhunter (not to be confused with Deer Tick, who also have a new record, or Deerhoof, who do not) have a new album intriguingly titled Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared?  It's the eighth full-length album from the band formed by Bradford Cox and Moses Archuleta in Atlanta, Georgia in 2001.  Fellow songwriter (with Cox), second guitarist, and sometime lead vocalist Lockett Pundt came aboard a few years later.  I fondly recall Deerhunter's set at 80/35 a few years ago.  Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared?  finds Bradford Cox and the band in a more mature mod

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Chaz Bear (formerly Bundick) was born in Columbia, South Carolina.  In the Bundick household, Chaz heard music from many different genres, and he was already playing and recording original compositions in his preteen years.  He began forming bands in middle school.  Chaz had already released over ten albums as Toro Y Moi on his own before signing with Carpark Records in 2009.  His latest album for that label is Outer Peace, written and recorded in the Bay Area after Chaz's return from a one year stint in Portland.  The new record has elements of funk, Eurodance, hip hop, and ambien

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New Jersey native (currently based in Brooklyn) Sharon Van Etten self-released her music in the form of handmade CDs for a few years before her first actual studio album came out in 2009.  Van Etten is also an actor and (since 2017) a mother.  In fact, she was pregnant, going to school, and auditioning for an acting role while writing the songs for her new album Remind Me Tomorrow.  Van Etten says:  "I want to be a mom, a singer, an actress, go to school...and I feel like a mess, but I'm here.  Doing it.  This record is about pursuing your passions." 

Madeleine King / Iowa Public Radio

The Hinterland music festival in St. Charles is announcing its 2019 line up today, including a mix of Grammy nominated and Midwest-based acts. The festival will also expand to three days this summer.

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David Bazan is the frontman of the Seattle-based band Pedro The Lion.  Even though the singer/songwriter also has a long and successful solo career, and his latest batch of songs reflect on his hometown and growing up there, Bazan decided to record these songs as a group project.  Phoenix is the first Pedro The Lion album in about 15 years.  Bazan's effectively delivers his heartfelt and detailed lyrics based on his memories of his youth in the desert city.  He plays bass, synth, and some guitar on Phoenix.  Erik Walters is the lead guitarist, and Sean Lane is the drummer.

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The Well Pennies are a husband and wife duo- Bryan and Sarah Vanderpool.  They were each solo artists when they met in Boston, became a couple, and relocated to Los Angeles.  After eight years in California, and the release of an EP and their debut full-length album, The Well Pennies relocated again.  Their current home base is Des Moines, a place the duo says they chose in order to "...escape the chaos and desperation of Los Angeles and move somewhere where artists can afford to be artists."  With their home recording studio in place, and a batch of new songs inspired by heartland living,

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Foxwarren formed over ten years ago, with the group of siblings and childhood friends sharing the experience of growing up in different small towns across the Canadian prairies.  Andy Shauf (guitars/keys/vocals), Dallas Bryson (guitar/vocals) and brothers Darryl Kissick (bass) and Avery Kissick (drums and percussion) collectively became Foxwarren in Regina, Saskatchewan.  The band's name comes from the Kissick brothers' family home in Foxwarren, Manitoba.  As laid-back Canadians, Foxwarren took their time recording their self-titled debut full-length album, although the delay was also due t

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My Brightest Diamond is the project of Arkansas-born Shara Nova (Shara Worden until her 2016 divorce).  The songwriter, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist began performing and recording in the late 1990's while attending college in Denton, Texas.  A few years later she started using the name My Brightest Diamond, and began releasing albums and EPs with that band name.  The latest is A Million And One, with Nova taking her band in a more electronic direction, with her techno-pop tunes intended for dancing down at the club as much as listening in your headphones.

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In mid-November of 2018, Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy released his memoir Let's Go (So We Can Get Back).  The book was followed up a couple of weeks later by Tweedy's second solo album, WARM.  WARM consists of all new material, unlike his first solo album which found the songwriter revisiting some of his Wilco songs.  This is not to be confused with the all-original Sukerie album by the band Tweedy, which is pretty much just Jeff along with his son Spencer on drums.  Well, Spencer also plays drums on WARM...but no matter, fans love Jeff Tweedy for

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The Fleet Foxes release First Collection 2006-2009 gathers together the Fleet Foxes songs that you know and love, plus the Fleet Foxes songs that you probably don't know, but will soon love.  The Sun Giant EP and the Seattle band's debut full-length album Fleet Foxes are of course included in this new set.  But of most interest to fans will be the barely-released 2006 EP titled The Fleet Foxes, and the B-Sides and rarities included in First Collection 2006-2009.

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Sooner or later, it seems like every artist in the wide field of popular music has something to say about the holidays that occur at the end of every year.  In many cases, the result is a Christmas Album; Bob Dylan even did one a few years ago.  In 2018, after many decades of recording, Eric Clapton has released his holiday record titled Happy Xmas.  It's not a straight blues album by any means, although there are some blues tracks that showcase Slowhand at his best.  Happy Xmas also features a surprising EDM version of "Jingle Bells".  Plus selections that featur

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Rodney Crowell has been writing and recording in the Americana field for decades.  He released his debut album in 1978, and went on to have his greatest success in country music in the 1980s into the '90s.  He's still at the top of his game as a songwriter, with recent albums that have included two collaborations with Emmylou Harris.  Now Crowell has turned his skills to a holiday record, for the all-original Christmas Everywhere, with no versions of the familiar Yuletide standards to be found.  Like JD McPherson's Socks, it's a singer-songwriter/Americana record that just

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JD McPherson is a songwriter, vocalist and guitarist who specializes in a retro blend of classic rhythm and blues, rock and roll, and rockabilly.  McPherson and his band don't just play in imitation of those genres; they thoroughly inhabit them.  Since his debut album received wide release in 2012, McPherson has attracted legions of fans who quickly picked up on his authenticity.  His fourth record, Socks, is sure to continue that trend.  It's a fun listen from beginning to end, with the Oklahoma-born McPherson writing (sometimes co-writing) an album's worth of original Christmas s

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Robbie Fulks was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in Virginia and North Carolina, and has lived in Chicago since 1983.  He's a singer-songwriter completely comfortable in the realm of neo-traditionalist (or alt) country music.  Louisiana-born singer and pianist Linda Gail Lewis is currently based in Memphis. She's the younger sister of Jerry Lee Lewis, with a long recording career as a solo artist, and also in collaboration through the years with her brother and Van Morrison.  Fulks invited Linda Gail Lewis to Chicago to record Wild! Wild! Wild!

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The shorthand take on J Mascis is that his solo albums are his more mellow side.  The less mellow side would be his work with the band that he co-founded in 1984, Dinosaur Jr.

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