Music News

Jack Plunkett / Invision/AP

We’ve put the lid on 2019.  And we’ve looked back at the decade just finished, reveling in all the great music that has come our way.  Of course, every year has its share of stellar sounds, and 2020 will be no exception.  Here are five records coming out in the next few weeks that we are eagerly awaiting. 

IPR/Matthew Alvarez

Nearly a dozen people sat in a small room painted black and lit only by two theatre lamps, drawing attention to a DJ booth with its chrome and silver equipment glimmering.

DJ Patrick Blin stepped up to the booth, and the silence was broken by the sounds of record scratches as those watching pulled out their phones to begin filming. Smiles broke out across their faces.

IPR

A handful of us at IPR have spent entirely too much time obsessing over what we think the best albums of the decade are. After much deliberation, here are our picks. 

We also want to know what your favorite albums were! Tweet us @IowaPublicRadio #iprmusic. 

Leander Arkenau / Flickr

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, we get a rundown of some of IPR's favorite new releases from 2019 from classical, folk and blues musicians. Charity Nebbe talks with IPR Classical's Barney Sherman, the Folk Tree's Karen Impola and the one and only Bob Dorr, who hosts Blue Avenue and Backtracks on IPR's Studio One. 

Madeleine King / IPR

2019 was another great year for Iowa music, with a wide variety of artists releasing new songs, EPs and albums.  Here are ten noteworthy full-length albums from the past year, listed in the order of their release.

30 Albums From 2019 You Should Hear

Dec 18, 2019
Madeleine King / IPR

There was a lot of good music that came out in 2019. If you're like us and anxiously awaiting the new Tame Impala album which is forthcoming in early 2020, here are the best records to listen to between now and then. 

Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

It's easy to grow tired of hearing the same holiday songs over and over again. Happily, there's a lot of seasonal music that's not heard as much and is just waiting to be discovered! 

Roan Lavery / Unsplash

Songwriter Frank Loesser wrote "Baby, It's Cold Outside" in 1944, essentially for the amusement of himself and his party guests.

Decades later, there's been fierce debate about what's implied in the back and forth conversation that comprises the lyrics. Ironically, the song was originally written as an invitation for someone to leave, not to stay. 

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.

Matt Alvarez / IPR

When cellist Hannah Holman began her YouTube series exploring the lives of female cellists throughout history, she did not anticipate getting many views or subscribers. Austin McConnell, a YouTuber with nearly one million subscribers, recently promoted Holman's channel in one of his videos, helping Holman develop a larger audience. 

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.

Beth Teutschmann / Unsplash

Think October is the best month of the year? You're not alone. 

As you breathe in the smell of the falling leaves and wrap your hands around a cup of apple cider wearing your favorite flannel, take heart knowing there's a camp of Iowa based musicians who have written and recorded you the perfect soundtrack. 

Elly Hofmaier

At the age of 21, Lily DeTaeye may not come across as a veteran of the music business, but she’s been writing and performing music for more than a decade.

This Friday, the Des Moines singer-songwriter will release her first full-length album, “BiTe Back,” along with a music video for the first single, “Peppermint.” 

Amy Baugess / Unsplash

What isn't being said about the lives of women in rural Kentucky?

Fueled by intuition, and inspired by time she spent filming present day life in rural Appalachia, pianist and composer Rachel Grimes set out to answer that question.

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. 

Tiffany Biehl / GoFundMe Photo

Marvin Franzen is one of those Iowa farmers you can’t help but smile at when you meet him. He’s been working on the farm that’s home to Codfish Hollow in rural Maquoketa since he was a teenager. On show nights, he can be seen clad in bib overalls and a feed store hat rain, shine, or punishing heat driving a green John Deere tractor.

Elly Hofmaier

One of Iowa City’s busiest and most accomplished sidemen is stepping into the spotlight for a new solo project. Guitarist Dan Padley will release his new album, “Perfectly Whelmed,” Friday. If you’re a fan of the Iowa music scene, you likely know Padley as one of Elizabeth Moen’s backing guitarists.

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. 

Madeleine King / IPR

As one of our followers said on Instagram over the weekend, there are "little pockets of fun" all around Hinterland. There are also little pockets of thoughtfulness. Our Studio One staff hung out in the Hinterland Cafe for part of the festival and had the opportunity to talk with a handful of the artists who played the main stage, asking them about everything from what inspires them, to why music matters right now in this moment in history. Here are a few of the most compelling conversations we had this weekend at the festival. 

Madeleine King / IPR

Now celebrating its fifth birthday, Hinterland has grown into one of the largest music festivals in Iowa. The lineup this year was packed with Grammy winners and Grammy nominated artists who did not disappoint on stage. Like many other festival goers, we left feeling inspired to go home and shower off layers of sunscreen and bug spray. We also left with the desire to google the tour schedules of the acts we loved, so that we can see them again soon. 

Seth Macey
Unsplash

Yes, you read that right. There is an unofficial road race happening through the campgrounds at Hinterland. 

For the second year in a row, Chris Dandurand and his camp are organizing a fun run on Saturday and are inviting other campers to go with them. 

Our Favorite Acts From 80/35

Jul 16, 2019
Madeleine King / IPR

Another 80/35 has come and gone, and all that's left are the memories we made with other Serious Music People along the way. Just kidding, kind of. Now that we've all showered, packed away our gear and returned to the air conditioning, we asked Studio One Hosts Mark Simmet, Tony Dehner and Sydney Hauer to write about their favorite acts from 80/35 this weekend. 

Madeleine King / IPR

We hosted our Live Session's Stage at 80/35 this weekend for the sixth year in a row. Check out our photo recap of an awesome, music filled weekend. 

Israel Palacio / Unsplash

We'll feature nearly 20 bands this weekend at 80/35 on our IPR Live Sessions free stage including nationally touring acts And The Kids, Dessa, The Harmaleighs, and Lissie.

We've also got three exclusive sets happening. 

Alyssa Leicht / Special to Iowa Public Radio

Cedar Falls based band The Copper Smoke Trials released their debut, full-length album a month ago this week. 

The self-titled record, "The Copper Smoke Trials," is available on all streaming platforms, and the band is offering a free download of the album on their website. 

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. 

Best Albums Of 2019 (So Far)

Jun 25, 2019

We asked our panel of public radio writers one question: What is your favorite album of 2019 so far? There were so many ways to answer: we've heard albums that feel germane to our time, that allowed us to escape, that reconfigured a beloved artist's roots or that signaled the next wave of sound. But ultimately, what we have here are the No. 1s as picked by some of the biggest ears in the country, the albums that we just can't stop listening to, even when time, algorithms and unending news cycles demand otherwise.

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.

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