Iowa music

Janet Eckles

The Des Moines Music Coalition, the not-for-profit that curates 80/35, is trying to breathe new life into another event called Gross Domestic Product

GDP is happening this weekend, Nov. 23, featuring exclusively Iowa bands and musicians at Vaudeville Mews and the 4th Street Theatre. 

Photo courtesy of Sara Routh

Kat Darling will never forget her first year as a coach at Girls Rock! DSM. She was walking down a hallway and heard screaming coming from inside a room where a practice session was taking place. She soon discovered it was coming from her then ten-year-old daughter, Abileen Darling.

Cameron Wittig

Pieta Brown’s eighth full-length record “Freeway” is prime Pieta Brown music.

“If you’re listening to your own voice that’s about the best you can do right?" she says about her sound. "There’s a great quote from Miles Davis that I think of often:  ‘It takes a long time to sound like yourself.’  Maybe I don’t sound like myself yet, maybe I do.”      

Devin Ferguson

Life has a way of reminding us of our past at the unlikeliest of times. For members of the Iowa band The Teddy Boys, it happened at a friend’s wedding. After performing a reunion show at the reception, they were handed a download card for an album they recorded, but didn’t finish, 12 years ago.

Nirmal Majumdar / Special to IPR

School has begun, and fall is in the air. But we’re not done with music festival season. Maximum Ames is happening September 5-8.  It lists dozens of sets, some of whom will make even the most Serious of Music People stop and say “wait, what?”

For starters, Des Moines based blues artist Matt Woods is playing a show at the United Church of Christ.  

Courtesy of Max Wilkening


Music festival fans in Iowa found a lot to love this summer, with a mix of established festivals and new ones popping up around the state. Why are these festivals so appealing? Enter a well-planned music festival, and it can feel like you’re stepping into another world. One full of adventure, inspiration and escape. 

Charity Nebbe / IPR

Remember those afternoons at the lake, road trips with the sun blazing through the windshield, hot summer nights? The moments that make up our summer memories are often accompanied by music. 

Iowa Public Radio’s stage is celebrating its sixth birthday this year at 80/35 with the same great mix of local and nationally known talent. This year, we’re moving to a new location at the corner of 13 St. and Locust, near the west gate to the ticketed area. 

The Diplomats of Solid Sound

"A Higher Place," the new album from the Iowa City based band The Diplomats of Solid Sound is full of great hooks, danceable grooves, big funk sound and clever lyrics. 

The band released it’s first album 18 years ago and has gone through a lot of changes since then. This is album number six and although band members now live all over the country they try to come back together in Iowa once a year to write and make music together. 

Photo by Alyssa Leicht

As a Serious Music Person, you know that vinyl is a superior way to listen to music unless you’re tuned into Iowa Public Radio’s Studio One.

Heady conversation about warmth of sound aside, if you are into collecting limited edition vinyl presses, Octopus College Hill is brewing up a plan that you should know about.

Madeleine King / Iowa Public Radio

With great live music happening every weekend, it can be hard to plan your summers accordingly. Luckily, we're here to guide you through it.

Raelyn Ramey / Special to Iowa Public Radio

EleanorGrace self-debuted her first recordings after taping a few tracks in her bedroom and posting them online when she was 13.

Jason Garber / Flickr

The 8-track tape was a revolutionary technology that allowed people to play music on-demand in their vehicles. It was a very popular medium in the United States from the mid 1960s to early 1980s, but it's popularity was short-lived.

In this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Bob Anders, who is working to reinvigorate the appeal of the 8-track with his show, "Bob’s 8-Track Garage Sale" on KHOI-FM in Ames.

Like so many kids growing up in the Midwest, singer-songwriter Lissie was eager to leave. But after 15 years in California, the Rock Island, Illinois native has traded in her life on the West Coast for 47 acres and solitude on a rural farm in Northeast Iowa.

Shadow Fox Photography

Serious Music People: there’s another Sam and Dave that you should know about.

Michael Weber / Shadow Fox Photography

For more than two decades, multidisciplinary artist Jason Snell has been challenging the relationship between music, maker, and technology to create richly engineered performances and complex soundscapes. 

Jon Lemons Photography (Instagram: jonlemons)

Des Moines-based band The Maytags, who have been blending soul, funk, and jazz for years, are releasing a new album this summer.

"Meriweather," due on June 28th, will be the band’s second full-length album. It follows their first full-length album "Lovelines," and the EP "Nova." The new record is co-produced by lead vocalist and guitarist Dustin Smith and Jon Locker of Sonic Factory Studios in Des Moines.

Des Moines hip-hop artist, Asphate, is releasing a new album this spring. The Main Dude’s debut album, “A Bloodied Up Conclusion,” is produced by Batsauce and will be out this summer under the longtime underground rap powerhouse indie label, Galapagos4, based in Chicago.

In this Talk of Iowa segment, Charity Nebbe talks with Asphate about the inspiration for the album.

Courtesy of Sam Fathallah

The music scene in Iowa and the rest of the Midwest is thriving right now and videographer Sam Fathallah wants everyone to know about it.

That's why Fathallah started Circular Sessions, a video series showcasing the breadth and depth of the Midwestern music scene through interviews and performances. Through the series, Fathallah invites artists including Elizabeth Moen, The Maytags, and Bad Bad Hats into his sun-filled artist's loft for a session that feels as creative as it is intimate. 

“Music in this type of space, in this natural lit open space... it's reminiscent of how music is made, when it's really made. You know, when it's rehearsed in people's living rooms, and in their basements before it even gets to the studio," Fathallah says. "That's what music really looks like especially in Iowa, where folks are just making music in their homes.”

KWWL

The music festival scene in Iowa gets bigger and better every year! It's an exciting time for live music fans in our state, but it can also get a little overwhelming if you're trying to make plans for the summer. We're here to help with our list of festivals happening in Iowa.