Saturday, March 25, 2017

Episode 44: Iowa Indie and Alternative Music

"It's funny, it's taken me this long to get to these genres, because this is actually my kind of music.

I listen to all kinds of music, but punk and alternative are my go-to music. I grew up listening to The Pistols, The Clash, Violent Femmes, Talking Heads, early Police, Devo, early R.E.M....

So I'm quite happy to finally present some of Iowa's figurative grandchildren of those guys, plus a Iowa band actually from that era!

Other IMSC posts and podcasts with indie music:

Other IMSC posts and podcasts with alternative music:

Other IMSC posts and podcasts with 1980s music:

To download the podcast, right click the link below and hit "Save as...":

original picture cropped and extended
Art by Robert Braune

Sunday, March 12, 2017

OTHER SOURCES: The CarpeDM Compilation Albums

For the last three years, The Greater Des Moines Partnership and The DMMC (Des Moines Music Coalition) got together and produce a free cd of Des Moines music to present in Austin, Texas, at The South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival. Part of the purpose of these cd's was to entice people to move to Des Moines by showing them our awesome music scene. (It involved more than that, but this was one piece of the puzzle!)

""We see this as a new opportunity to spotlight our local bands and the diversity of music we have here, and a unique way to "sell" Des Moines,' said Mary Bontrager, the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s Executive Vice President of Workforce Development/Education."
- from the Greater Des Moines Partnership website

Also from Mary Bontrager on their website: “When recruiting talent we have found the music culture of a community is important to many people, whether it is how they make a living or how they live their passion.”

Actually Dave Murphy on the Des Moines Is Not Boring website explained the whole thing very well:

"I’m the music guy on this blog. So, I won’t go into the full scale of what the Greater Des Moines Partnership has unleashed with CarpeDM. I’d imagine someone with more gravitas or clout will tackle the full scale of what they are trying to do. The Seize Des Moines campaign helps to both draw people to Des Moines and help them while they are here. It highlights the city’s services, its attractions and much more. It’s exactly what we need: a targeted full-scale marketing strategy poised to show that this town is incredible and that, um, Des Moines is not boring, I guess…

"But again, I’m just the music guy, so all I really care about is the compilation they put together to help highlight the music scene in Des Moines. I think despite some initial hand-wcringing from, well, me, they put together a solid fifteen tracks."

A description of how the tunes were selected from the second mix from the Greater Des Moines Partnership website:

"The selection process for the Mix was based on three criteria: 1) songwriting – the quality of original musical and lyrical compositions, 2) musicianship – execution appropriate to the material, and 3) appropriateness for compilation – lyric content, production quality, and artist activity with the community. The top 25 songs with the highest score were then in the running to appear on the Mix. The public was invited to vote for their three favorite songs that best represent the Central Iowa music scene. The songs with the most votes are featured on the Mix."

The Greater Des Moines Partnership also brought some Iowa artists to play at The South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival in 2015 and 2016.

From an article by Joe Lawler in The Des Moines Register:

"The state of Texas' tourism slogan boasts that 'it's like a whole other country,' so it seems fitting that there be an embassy there. The Greater Des Moines Partnership is hosting a Des Moines Embassy tent in the heart of Austin's South by Southwest conference.

"The Des Moines Embassy is a 450-person circus tent located at 6th and Red River, a main thoroughfare for the conference's 72,000 registered attendees...

"The Des Moines Embassy will host a Des Moines: Hell Yes Showcase on Friday with music by 10 Iowa acts, including Bonne Finken, Holy White Hounds, The Maytags, Canby, Max Jury and others. The tent will also host showcases throughout the week focusing on bands from other locations and genres...

""It's going to be a good thing for the Des Moines music scene to have an outlet like this," (Gloom Balloon's Patrick) Fleming said. 'It will also be nice to have a base place to go. It's pretty crazy down there, like 80/35 times 10 within a radius not much bigger than 80/35 is.'

From an article by Matthew Leimkeuhler in The Des Moines Register:

"SXSW, the annual music conference and festival in Austin, Texas known for showcasing a mixture of up-and-coming talent and household names, kicked off the music portion of its event on Tuesday.

"And in the heart of the chaos is The Des Moines Embassy, a pop-up venue put on by the Greater Des Moines Partnership.

"One of the eight scheduled showcases at the Des Moines Embassy is the second annual edition of “Des Moines: Hell Yes,” an all-Iowa music spectacle taking place Thursday night. The showcase helps elevate the Iowa music scene on a national stage, amid growing efforts among other Midwestern hubs to showcase their music nationally as well. An estimated 40,000 people visited the Des Moines Embassy last year, with each showcase reaching capacity — 450 people — at least once."

From the article, "Des Moines city leaders expand music, tech scene nationwide" on the KCCI website:

"The Greater Des Moines Partnership plans to sell the Des Moines music scene at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, an epicenter for music and technology.

"The festival attracted over 80,000 people from across the country last year.

"Greater Des Moines Partnership CEO Jay Byers said it’s the perfect state to sell Des Moines’ music and technology scene.

“'This helps us to reach a lot of new audiences, a lot of new people in terms of telling that story people might not know about great Des Moines,' Byers said.

"The Partnership set up a Des Moines Embassy tent for the second consecutive year featuring Iowa bands, including the Maytags, and tech companies.

“'Letting bands know that Des Moines has an amazing live music scene, but all from the tech side,' said Mary Bontrager, executive vice president of Greater Des Moines Partnership.

"The goal is to convince bands and companies to come to central Iowa...

“'People are pleasantly surprised at what they learned... when they hear we’ve got this thriving music scene,' he said.

From Dave Murphy on the Des Moines Is Not Boring website:

"Des Moines: Hell Yes Showcase – 3/20 – E. 6th and Red River (Austin, TX) Starting at 12:30

"Okay, so I know darn near everyone reading this probably isn’t going to make this show, but I just want to throw a quick highlight out there for people who may not know. Sonic Factory and the Des Moines Partnership have thrown together a showcase of Des Moines artists in a prime spot for SXSW. It is super cool that this is happening and I hope everyone who is playing becomes big stars, but at minimum it is a great lineup featuring Bonne Finken, The Maytags, Holy White Hounds, Gloom Balloon, MAIDS, Canby, Will Locker and more. Kudos to the Sonic Factory and the Partnership for putting together a stellar lineup and I hope this draws some eyes and ears towards what we in Des Moines have known about for years."

The CarpeDM BandCamp page:

Des Moines Is Not Boring article, "CarpeDM Project Helps Shed Light on the Des Moines Scene":

Des Moines Register article on The Des Moines Embassy at SXSW 2015:

Des Moines Register article on The Des Moines Embassy at SXSW 2016:

KCCI article on The Des Moines Embassy at SXSW 2016:

KCCI video on The Des Moines Embassy at SXSW 2016:

Other IMSC posts and podcasts on compilation albums:

Other IMSC posts and podcasts on The DMMC (Des Moines Music Coalition):

Other IMSC posts and podcasts using BandCamp:

Other IMSC websites and links:


Saturday, March 4, 2017

OTHER SOURCES: Band Bombshell's "Completely Covered"

"Completely Covered" was an interesting little project started by Chad Taylor, former music critic of "Cityview", when he was managing editor of the now defunct Des Moines music website, Band Bombshell.

Chad, though, described the project better than I ever could on his own website, Culture Myth and on the Band Bombshell:

"Almost exactly two years ago, in January of 2015, I came up with an ambitious idea.

"I was, at the time, the Managing Editor for a site called Band Bombshell...

"...I came to Erika with what I still feel is the best idea I've ever come up with: gather together 10 local acts, give them all a single, well-known song, and have them cover it. The idea of 10 different points of view on the same song intrigued the hell out of me, and everyone I pitched the initial idea to was just as excited. Erika loved it, we got Nova Labs' resident genius Bryon Dudley on board to help with the production side, and we were off and running. Eventually, we wound up doing a second edition, with new acts and a different song.

"The bands almost universally hated the songs they were given; seven acts would wind up not turning anything in at all. Both editions were plagued by recording delays due to scheduling conflicts, and ultimately traffic remained flat, so the songs themselves were almost completely ignored.

"The actual songs were absolutely glorious."
- from the Culture Myth post, Band Bombshell, Cover Songs and a Cluster Fuck: A Retrospective

"The idea in and of itself wasn't a new one. As soon as the first song was ever written, the first cover song probably followed closely behind...

"There were, however, a couple of things that made "Completely Covered" unique. Firstly, most cover song projects give the bands involved at least a certain modicum of choice... But for "Completely Covered" what intrigued me was... how a bunch of different minds and talents would choose to look at exactly the same material. It was meant to come off less like a tribute CD, and more as an examination of perspectives.

"But more importantly, of course, it was local. Musical projects that try to incorporate a large number of Des Moines-area musicians are few and far between. There's the occasional local music festival.. Juice has been producing their terrific "Side Sessions" video series since August, and it really highlights what kind of fun, creative things you can do with local music in Des Moines when you've got a little money to throw at your ideas.

"But Band Bombshell had no cash, and one really can not heap enough praise on Bryon Dudley and Nova Labs for his willingness to hop into the project with both feet, and do all of the recording and mastering for nothing more than the fun of the project, a banner ad and a hearty thank you. The series also stands as a credit to the musicians who took part. When I pitched the idea to them all, they were given the basic premise, but were not told what song they were going to be working on until after everyone had said yes. It was a bit of a gamble for everyone involved and one that required more than a little adventurous spirit. It was incredibly fun to watch it all come together."
- from the Culture Myth post, Covering a Local Music Retrospective, Day 2

"The concept was simple: to see how different people, with different tastes and influences, would approach the same material. How much different would a song sound, if it were tackled by a metal act as opposed to a country one? The idea was intended to both challenge the artists artistically and creatively, while simultaneously showcasing the wealth of talent within our state's borders. Plus, it just sounded fun as hell.

"And so, at the beginning of the new year, these are the ground rules we gave our 10 participants:

"The song may have been written by a different artist, but it's yours now. Own it. Don't like the chorus? Change it. Hate that one verse? Drop it. Change the perspective, add to it, strip it down, make it your own. You've got 30 days to re-imagine, write, rehearse and record your cover. Don't tell anyone. With those scant instructions, we turned everyone loose. On the back end, the absolutely amazing Bryon Dudley at Nova Labs in Ames generously offered his studio and his time to help bands get their tracks recorded and mixed, and it really can't be overstated: this project would not have happened without him.

"For the first round, our song choice was a controversial one. It's by an artist who's polarizing on just about every front. Not all of the lyrics are appreciated by everyone, and people have found the subject matter offensive. So why did we choose it? We wanted to see what people would do with a song they didn't necessarily like."
- from the Band Bombshell post, COMPLETELY COVERED: 10 BANDS, 1 SONG

"Our song of choice, Kanye West's "Gold Digger", was not the most popular of choices. Kanye isn't the most popular of artists among the bands we tapped, and "Gold Digger" is far from his best song, so covering it—and making it into something entertaining—required a little more effort on the part our bands. Not everybody was up to it, and three of our bands dropped out, with varying degrees of grace."
- from the Band Bombshell post, COMPLETELY COVERED: THE STORY THUS FAR

Chad has written a post of each version in the first series on this Culture Myth website. You can read them here...

Ira Grace and The Bible Belt Prophets -

The Other Brothers -

Patresa Hartman -

Strong Like Bear -

Cover Grrls -

Murder Earth -

Monday Mourners -

And Band Bombshell interviewed each artists about covering the song:

Ira Grace and The Bible Bible Prophets -

Patresa Hartman -

The Other Brothers -

Strong Like Bear -

Monday Mourners -

Murder Earth -

Cover Grrls -

James Biehn -

Microwaved -

Bonne Finken -

Randy Burk -

Other IMSC websites and links:


Most Popular Posts of the Past 7 Days

Most Popular Posts of the Past 30 Days

Most Popular Posts of the Past 365 Days

Most Popular Posts of All