Studio One

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.

Orchestras are a bit of a trend this fall on Studio One, popping up on new releases from The Flaming Lips and Jim James, and most dramatically on the new Angel Olsen record.  Olsen possesses a powerful voice that's just right for this kind of backing, harkening back to a time when singers and their orchestras were recorded in big cavernous studios.

Brittany Howard's appeal as an artist is due in large part to her outstanding vocal presence.  Along with that, everyone can see that Howard is authentic and true to herself.  For her first solo album, Howard wants to share more of her life, and that includes memorializing her late sister, Jamie.

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.”

Each new studio record from the Canadian indie pop band The New Pornographers is greeted with high expectations.  It's a status they've earned, and that they maintain with their eighth album, "In the Morse Code of Brake Lights."  That title, plus car and driving references throughout the record, contribute to the sense of a headlong rush through a lush and sophisticated set of songs.

One might assume that the quiet religious current in the music of Hiss Golden Messenger is due to the Durham, North Carolina based band being from the southern United States.  Actually, songwriter and frontman M.C. Taylor is originally from Irvine, California.  Of course, they also have religion in Irvine, along with hardcore punk bands like Ex-Ignota.  Taylor was a member of that group.

Pixies' Mythic Mystique

Sep 30, 2019

Pixies are truly a foundational band in the world of alternative and indie rock.  The band formed in Boston in 1986, early enough to be an influence on groups like Nirvana and Radiohead.  David Bowie was a fan, and proved it by recording a cover of "Cactus."  Pixies called it quits in 1993, allowing their myth to grow in their absence.  And they've had to live up to that myth since the group reunited in 2004.

The term "bedroom pop" is a way of describing lo-fi music recorded at home with a laptop and a microphone.  It's a DIY aesthetic embraced by many these days.  Greta Kline (daughter of Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates) released DIY music as a teenager under a variety of names, including Ingrid Superstar and Frankie Cosmos.  The first studio album came out in 2014, and in time Frankie Cosmos became a full-fledged band.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

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

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.

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-

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

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.