Saturday, August 20, 2016

Episode 32: Iowa Electropop and Electronic Music

Although it hasn't been as well known as some other music scenes, Iowa has had a consistent electronic music scene for decades. University of Iowa has had an electronic music department since freakin' 1963! Which shouldn't be that surprising since one of the first computers was built at Iowa State University in 1942! - Take that, hick state stereotypes!

"The University of Iowa Electronic Music Studios were founded in 1963, when renowned physicist James Van Allen (known for the Van Allen radiation belt) supervised a thesis project by James Cessna to build the world's first digital synthesizer." - from the University of Iowa Electronic Music Studios website

This department, of course, dealt more with the more classical and experimental side of electronic music, which we will feature in a future podcast. In this podcast, we deal with the poppier and more accessible stuff.

But even back in the day, some Iowans were getting into new wave and synth pop and creating some of their own music. Along with some current electropop, we feature one of the first, if THEE first, electronic pop bands, Soldiers in a Field. And some new music from 80s Iowa electropop band, Gallery of Voices!

So get out your glowy sticks or whatever you raving kids do today, and enjoy!

Other IMSC articles and podcasts featuring electronic music:

Other IMSC articles and podcasts featuring electropop:

For more information, click on the link below the track.

Intro - "Red Tide Texture 0001" (excerpt) by Gallery of Voices

Song 1 - "Spaceship Launch" by Reidwell

Song 2 - "Safe with Me" by Trouble Lights

Song 3 - "Renaissance Man" by Soldiers in a Field

Song 4 - "Bowlingsmith" by Jack Lion

Song 5 - "These Days" by Maids

Song 6 - "Just Let Go" by Centaur Noir

Song 7 - "Retribution" by Microwaved

Song 8 - "Don't Look Away" by Gallery of Voices

Outro - "Red Tide Texture 0001" (excerpt) by Gallery of Voices

All song are copyrighted by the performers and composers, and used by their kind permission.

Next episode : A tribute to former Cityview music critic, Chad Taylor!

Iowa Music Showcase can be listened to and/or downloaded on the following sites:
Home page:
TuneIn Radio:

Iowa Music Showcase is also on Code Zero Radio every Tuesday and Thursday at 10pm central time:

Other websites:
Spotify profile:
Spotify playlist:


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Other Sources: An Iowa folk and ethnic music compilation

I would like to thank Paul Hertz for telling me about this delightful Smithsonian Folkways collection of ethnic and folk music from our fair state, "Iowa State Fare: Music from the Heartland"! -We'll politely ignore the fact that they misspelled "fair"!

(For those who don't know, Paul Hertz is an Ames musician that has played in too many bands to mention. Mumford's probably being the most popular. But Paul also composes and performs classical pieces of his own. You can hear his music at

And he does the local music show, "Ready, Ames, Fire", on Ames community station, KHOI. For all the details , go to You can also listen to it, along with other KHOI shows, at

As for this album...

"Scandinavian string band melodies, Meskwaki Indian love songs, gospel harmonies, polkas, old-time fiddling, Mexican folk songs, and blues are some of the vibrant community-based musical traditions presented in this unique collection of Iowa music. Iowa State Fare showcases the vitality and diversity of the state's musical traditions on the occasion of the celebration of 150 years of Iowa statehood. These 1996 studio recordings feature eight ensembles and one solo performer selected to appear in the Iowa Sesquicentennial program at the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife. The CD booklet features essays, bibliographic information, and lyrics with translations. 'The joys of Iowa's indigenous musics abound.' "
- from the Smithsonian Folkways website

Below is the Spotify and YouTube playlists for the album...

For other IMSC podcast episodes and articles featuring compilations:

For other IMSC podcast episodes and articles on folk music:


Friday, August 5, 2016

Other Sources: Iowa Blues Showcase Podcast and the Best of the Blues in Des Moines website

Tom Gary has been part of the central Iowa blues scene for decades.

"Tom Gary is an extraordinarily gifted piano player and singer. He was born and raised in Des Moines where he learned the Blues in high school. He played professionally in college in 1982. Tom moved to Kansas City in 1986 and performed there until 1990 with Lonesome & Dangerous and with John Paul and the Hell Hounds. From 1991-1996 he performed with his own Tom Gary Blues Band in Des Moines and toured with his band in Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas. In 1993 he founded the Central Iowa Blues Society in Des Moines. In 1999 he founded the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame in Des Moines. Tom resides in Storm Lake, Iowa where he is an Adjunct Professor of History at Buena Vista University and continues to teach a Blues Series he started in 2005."
(from a Chronicle Times article on The Tom Gary Blues Band)

And he puts all this to good use with a podcast, Iowa Blues Showcase Podcast, and a couple of blogs. One blog, Blues Historian, features the podcast as well as videos and insights that The Blues Historian cares to share. The second blog, Best of the Blues in Des Moines, is actually videos of blues performances in Tom's and my hometown of Des Moines.

Below I've featured an early episode of Iowa Blues Showcase Podcast and the most recent two as of the time of this writing. Below that, I've included the three most popular videos from Best of the Blues in Des Moines.

Blues Historian website featuring the podcast and articles on the blues by Tom Gary:

Best of the Blues in Des Moines featuring videos of live blues performances in Des Moines:

The Itunes page to subscribe to The Iowa Blues Showcase Podcast:

Facebook page for Tom Gary's Blues Army of Des Moines:

Central Iowa Blues Society:

Iowa Blues Hall of Fame:

A Storm Lake Pilot Tribune article on Tom Gary:

Other IMSC articles and podcasts featuring the blues:


Monday, August 1, 2016

Playlists: Random Iowa Music Spotify Playlist 4

Well, sorry, but I've been busy this past week going to family events, doing home improvement, and engaging in other middle-age-family-man-type affairs. So I didn't get a proper article done this weekend. Instead, you're getting one of my random Iowa music playlists again.

This coming weekend, I should have a proper article for you. But enjoy this playlist until then!

Other Random Iowa Music Spotify Playlists:

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