Studio One

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Justin Vernon is putting forth the proposition that each of his four Bon Iver records have been connected to a different season.  The Eau Claire, Wisconsin native and proprietor of April Base recording studio just outside of Eau Claire, considers the new album "i,i" to be his autumn record.

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Sleater-Kinney returned from an eight year hiatus in 2014.  The band released the highly acclaimed "No Cities To Love" the following year, and that record rocked like there was no tomorrow.  Trusting that tomorrow would come, Sleater-Kinney took their time for an album to follow that one.  "The Center Won't Hold" is the band's response to our fragmented, divisive times.

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The Hold Steady formed in 2003, and from their first album right up to their latest, "Thrashing Thru The Passion," the band has remained true to a certain musical approach.  You could say that they've held steady with a sound that bridges indie rock and classic rock.

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.  

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Robert Randolph's career as a musician began by playing gospel music at the House of God church in Orange, New Jersey.  He plays pedal steel guitar, and many African-American Pentecostal churches refer to the instrument as "sacred steel."  In time, Randolph took his joyous music (inspired by bands like Earth, Wind & Fire and Sly & The Family Stone) out to clubs.  Robert Randolph and the Family Band includes members of his family that share the same background.

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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.

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Dude York are in the time-honored lineage of the three piece rock band- guitar, bass, drums.  Like Cream, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Nirvana, Husker Du, Sleater-Kinney and many, many more.  It's a simple configuration of players that shows no sign of being played out.  The Seattle trio Dude York have been at it since 2012.  Their latest album is "Falling."

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Radiohead frontman and solo artist Thom Yorke specializes in turning angst into art.  A stressed out world turns to Yorke for catharsis and to experience the textural aural pleasures he comes up with on each new project.  His success is due in no small part to the fact that Yorke himself is often an anxious man, and he knows what it is he's conveying.

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. 

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The Head and the Heart has been a band aware of the potential conflict between logic and love from the very beginning.  The group members met while performing at open mic nights in the Seattle area about ten years ago.  They were practically minded musicians, looking for a way to make a living that might involve music.  But starting a band, with all the uncertainties involved, is something you do for the love of it.

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A raconteur is a skillful storyteller.  The Raconteurs are a rock band, with roots in Detroit and currently based in Nashville.  As is the custom with rock 'n' roll, the story is told here not just with words but also with attitude and electric guitars.  Raconteurs co-founders Jack White and Brendan Benson play the guitars.  As the high profile frontman, White has the edge and charisma to get across the attitude.

Seth Macey
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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. 

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Hot Chip are not synth pop neophytes.  They've been performing and recording their distinctly British brand of indie and electronic dance music for around twenty years.  Main songwriters Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard have something to say about life and love on the new Hot Chip album "A Bath Full Of Ecstasy," and they would like you to consider their philosophical ruminations out there on the dance floor.

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. 

The Black Keys Rock On

Jul 15, 2019
Alysse Gafkjen- facebook.com/theblackkeys

The phrase "highly anticipated" is often used to describe a new release by a band that hasn't been heard from in a while.  In the case of The Black Keys, it seems totally justified.  Their ninth studio album "Let's Rock" comes five years after their last one.  That's the longest they've ever gone between records, and it seems even longer considering the great success the band had with "Turn Blue" and the two albums before that one.

Prince At His Peak

Jul 8, 2019
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Prince had his greatest mainstream popularity in the 1980s.  It was the decade where each year brought more and seemingly greater music from the prodigiously talented songwriter and musician from Minneapolis.  Of course, Prince never stopped creating, working right up to his untimely death on April 21, 2016.  He reportedly left a huge amount of unreleased music in the vault.

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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. 

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Since their beginnings over a dozen years ago, the Brooklyn band Yeasayer have been known for their arty experimentation.  For "Erotic Reruns," their fifth studio record, the weirdness has been reined in and the songcraft has been stepped up.  

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. 

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Heads up, Serious Music People: there’s been a change in the lineup for this year’s 80/35 festival. Rapper/songwriter Dessa will replace Noname, who recently canceled her summer tour.

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.

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Mavis Staples will celebrate her 80th birthday on July 10, and she's excited about it.  Staples announced three special "Mavis & Friends" shows coming up this year in New York, Nashville and Los Angeles.  "I just wanted the world to know that I made it to 80!" she explained.  "I am letting my fans know that I'm over the hill but now I'm going over the mountain."

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The National mark twenty years as a band with their eighth full-length record "I Am Easy To Find," presenting the world with a quintessential National album that also manages to expand upon their music.  Known for the melancholy, dark and sometimes difficult nature of their songs, to fans of The National those songs are like anthems.  Not rousing, celebratory anthems, but anthems in the secondary sense of church music sung by a choir.

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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Upon hearing the latest Foxygen record, "Seeing Other People," my first impression was that this was a full-length farewell from the duo.  From the record's title on down to the often vitriolic lyrics of the songs, it seemed like maybe two guys who started their band in high school fourteen years ago had finally had enough.  

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Brooklyn, New York based Big Thief recorded their third album "U.F.O.F." in rural western Washington.  The band set up in a large cabin-like room at Bear Creek Studios.  It's the kind of environment that seems an integral part of the recordings that make up the new record.

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