80/35 Play In Semi Finals

Hey, remember last week when I mentioned the 80/35 play-in semi-finalists? It was buried in this here news and notes column. Anyway, in said column I made mention that the semi-finalists would play in a battle of the bands. Well, I was kind of a liar. Turns out that these semi-finalists will all play on Iowa Public Radio’s Live From Studio 1 all this week and next. Monday through Thursday, one band will be featured and then a voting period will commence. The top three vote getters will THEN play a battle of the bands for a spot on 80/35’s main stage.

Here is the schedule:

Monday, April 30 — Ladysoal

Tuesday, May 1 — Emperors Club

Wednesday, May 2 — The White Elephant

Thursday, May 3 — The Beat Strings

Monday, May 7 — Seedlings

Tuesday, May 8 — The Wire Frames

Wednesday, May 9 — Holy White Hounds

Thursday, May 10 — Love Songs for Lonely Monsters

I don’t have a dog in this race, at least publicly *wink*. But here is the thing, even if you don’t vote, this is a handy way to listen to 8 awesome Iowa bands in the comfort of your own home. So listen and vote, but most importantly, listen.

Not sure where IPR is on the old fashioned radio machine dial? Then just go here or click the banner. Looks like it will be updated daily with each act, so bookmark it and check it everyday.


Unsolicitation Theater Presents : Eleven:Eleven – Electric Sex

Since I am now a world famous blogger (people from Andorra, St. Kits and Nevis, South Korea, Finland and Germany have all read this blog!) and Des Moines’ ninth most trusted music journalist (probably), I get lots of random bands who follow me on Twitter. Sometimes, I even listen to their music. I figured I would start highlighting some of them in a new feature I call Unsolicitation Theater. Today we highlight Austin, TX’s Eleven:Eleven.

Disco is dead. That is what I have been told my whole life. It was taken apart by talented new wave artistes and taken behind the woodshed and shot by heavy metal. It was carved up and fed to Blackie Lawless’ pigs. I grew up being told that disco was the bastard child of music genres by my Scorpions loving father. I hated disco so much growing up that I would always giggle in French class when they talked about the discotheque. Silly Europeans, still listening to disco. But like most things from my childhood, I was pretty much wrong.

While I still don’t think I could sit around and listen to Vicki Sue Robinson or anything, I can now at least appreciate that disco music is pretty much the pre-evolution of our modern day dance music. The technology has improved so much now that a song can have that bass vibe of The Trammps, without the cheesiness of the overblown horns. So, when I hear a group like Eleven:Eleven come around with their synth production and sultry lady voice, I can appreciate where it came from and respect the genre a little more. It has taken me a while, but I have finally started to come around.

While the disco vibe is in full effect, the production on the track is a lot darker and more refined. I was a bit nervous listening to it, because when you see a pretty girl with a slightly mysterious ethnic origin (the band page says her name is Sicca, but some light to medium Facebook stalking lead me to find her name is not actually that and is much more traditional, so I’m still not sure), and kind of a goofy song title, the potential for eye rolling trash is high. But all in all this wasn’t bad. The production, while simple, is really mean sounding, which gives the music a bit more of an edge than the bubble gum it could be. Sicca’s voice, while heavily produced, is angelic at times, and slightly creepy at others. I would recommend it, and could see this played while strobe lights blast and you wonder how the hell you ended up in this joint anyway. So yeah, I like disco a little more now. I’d say don’t tell my father, but I found a Cher CD in his car the other day, so he’s got nothing to talk about.

(While the review is based on the song “Electric Sex”, I also gave a listen to their remix of Empire of the Sun’s “Walking on a Dream”. That song rules, and their remix of it is actually really good and does a lot of justice to the original. So, bully for them and a hat tip to their producer J. Childs.)

Go here for more.

You in a band? Want to send me a song? Follow me on Twitter.God, I’m going to regret this, aren’t I?

Today @ Des Moines Is Not Boring

Today I talk about In Rooms and also break my friend Chris’ rule about telling my audience I’m an idiot. So, I’m not an idiot, I am bright and intelligent. It was just a gimmick for the column. Damage contained.

Oh, go here to read it.

While I Was Out…

I am 31 years old. That seems ancient to me at times, but still young at others. I still have some of my youthful exuberance and occasional bouts of irresponsibility, but I also know that with a young daughter and wife, I have to start thinking about the future. I suck at money, both making it and keeping it, and that seems to be a bit of a problem. I need more education, but I feel like I don’t have the time to actually do it. (excuses and assholes and all that…)

My day job is retail management, which is a job I can do and do well. I wouldn’t say I’m passionate about it or anything, but I can do it. (Off topic, but do you want to get money back on your purchases at Sports Authority? Then see me about signing up for The League, a free rewards program that gives you 5% back on every $100 you spend. This is a free service and you’d be silly not to sign up. All I need is a name, email address and phone number) But I am getting closer and closer to where I need to decide if that is what I’m going to do to take care of my family and actually commit to it or if I am going to do something else. If the latter is the case, then I need to figure out what that other thing is.

Anyway, all that crap is just a way to say the weight of the world was pushing me down a bit this last week and I honestly didn’t have the motivation to write. Shitty excuse and not something I am proud of, I know, but y’all deserve the truth.

Oh, and I got a new video game, so that’s taken up some of my time.

So, while I took a brief mental health vacation, here is some stuff I probably would’ve talked about:

-Semi-finalists for the 80/35 play-in were announced. These are local acts that play a Battle of the Bands in order to get a main stage spot at 80/35, and there is a ton of talent. Here is the list:

The White Elephant
The Beat Strings
The Wire Frames
Love Songs for Lonely Monsters
Emperors Club
Holy White Hounds

I can’t decide who I want to win. To be honest, it is encouraging that this year’s 80/35 is so good, that bands of this caliber aren’t just automatically in. At the same time, it means that I won’t get to see all of them this year, so that sucks a little. I guess, that means less conflicts, so um, yay? Click the links and listen to the bands, and then make an informed decision on who you want to see the most this year. Then go see the others at other shows, too. Perfect plan.

-Nitefall on the River announced two more acts and they’re pretty okay. The pop stylings of 80/35 veteran Ingrid Michaelson will be at Simon Estes on July 17. She is a wonderful singer-songwriter and a has a beautiful voice.

Oh, and on August 21, Andrew Bird.


Sorry, I am very excited. So, along with Jimmy Cliff, that makes three acts that I am so very excited to see. Well done, Nitefall. If you missed it, here is my review of Bird’s album “Break It Yourself”.

-Built to Spill at Wooly’s on 8/27. Fuck. Yes.

-Cool show tonight at Wooly’s for just $5. The synth-dance machine that is Pictureplane is coming from Denver to New York and stopping in Des Moines along with Alphabet. Oh, and Little Ruckus and Trouble Lights. You remember Trouble Lights, right? I have talked about them enough, though. Let me speak a little about Little Ruckus. Little Ruckus is awesome. The end.

– A kind of 80/35 sister festival in Omaha, Maha Music Festival announced their headliners and they’re so very cool. 90’s icons Garbage will be a the co-headliner and the Conor Oberst fronted punk band Desaparecidos will headline. Desa rarely plays, so this will be a very cool festival. Oh, and Shirley Manson.


I’m pretty sure she was my first music crush. She’s all red-haired and Scottish. Oh, to be 15 again. Wait,
no, that time pretty much sucked. The music still holds up pretty well even if the unrequited love doesn’t.

Click the link for ticket info (they’re way cheap for an all day festival of this nature, too.)

I think that’s everything I missed. Well, I know it’s not everything, but well, it’s everything enough for now. I will try to be back later in the day with some more stuff.

Your Weekend To Do List – Now With More Cats

The internet was made for cat pictures and I have two.

This is Tink. It is short for If Mandy Patinkin Was A Cat. If you get that reference you get a hundred internet points. She is fluffy and thus throws up hairballs frequently. She also still has her claws, so she can be kind of a pain in the ass. For a while, she used to do cool flips when chasing things, but now, she doesn’t.

This is Little. She was named Yoshi and Dr. Gonzo for a while, but we always just called her Little (because at the time, she was the smaller of our two cats. The other was Moosh, god rest his soul, a twenty-five pound behemoth with type 2 diabetes) and that’s what stuck. She is skittish, and kind of a biter.

These two cats can’t go to live music (unless we get HR 1343 passed, and God willing we will. We have the signatures). So you should go for them. Here are some places you should go

Bootytronic’s Electric Veishea – Friday 4/20 Union Drive on the ISU Campus, Ames

A bunch of terrific DJ’s plus Trouble Lights and Surgery. Awesome for those who are curious about Iowa’s EDM scene. Also, are you gonna see Trouble Lights, or what? I’m sick of talking about them. Just make them famous already. I’m very impatient.

Live @ The Cabin Saturday 4/21

This is kind of a random and unique show. Christopher the Conquered, The Chatty Cathys, Diamonds for Eyes, Rebel Creek and more. It is a really good lineup, if you can find it.

John Lefler w/Dustin Smith and Goatee Brothers Vaudeville Mews 4/20

John Lefler is a member of Dashboard Confessional, who are somewhat unfairly maligned. He is a gifted singer-songwriter.

Viva Montesa Vaudeville Mews 4/21

Viva Montesa is an on the rise hard rock band from Des Moines. Ground floor stuff, so get on it.

Tomorrow is also Record Store Day. Head to ZZZ on Ingersoll for lots of cool RSD stuff.


If I missed something (which is very likely because I am sleepy and wrote this in a hurry, but, you know, cats!) leave it in the comments. Follow me on Facebook, and share some stuff there, too.

This Week @ Des Moines Is Not Boring…and other stuff

This week at Des Moines is Not Boring is well…Monday from Iowavesmusic.com. I got busy/am lazy and wasn’t able to get anything written this week. So, DMiNB reprinted my now world famous (somebody from Kitts and Nevis read it! I don’t even know where that is!) GDP review. But, they’re good people and deserve your click, so head that way.

Incidentally, I want to try and feature some more metal acts, but well, I don’t really listen to metal. So, while I build up my knowledge, I want to send some love out to a couple of places that do know what they’re talking about.

One would be the Facebook group Iowacore. They post lots of stuff about upcoming shows to check out.

Also, my friend Curtis Morgan from Becoming the Villain and The Boston Hell Mask has started a new blog over at Iowaheavymusic

If you’re looking for something to do tonight, head to The Space For Ames to see Kimya Dawson, Patrick Tape Fleming and Kate Kennedy. They kick so much ass and this will be awesome. Head here for more info.

Partial Lineups Announced For Nitefall on the River and Ankeny Unplugged

Two summer concert series have announced partial lineups, and they are pretty okay, so I thought I would share.

The first is the annual Nitefall on the River which is one of the more famous concert series in the state. Every year, Simon Estes Amphitheater hosts many well known and legendary National, International and Iowa acts. This year is no exception and here are the early details:

Sat., May 26 – Hairball – Doors 7pm, Show 8pm – $20/25

Fri., June 1 – The Nadas w/ Steve Poltz – Doors 7pm, Show 8pm – $15/20

Tues., June 12 – Jimmy Cliff – Doors 6pm, Show 7pm – $30/35

Wed., June 20 – Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers w/ Cornmeal – Doors 6pm, Show 7pm – $25/30

Thurs., July 5 – Yonder Mountain String Band – Doors 7pm, Show 8pm – $20/25

Thurs., July 26 – BoDeans – Doors 6pm, Show 7pm – $15

Advance tickets are on sale on Friday, April 20 at 10am at http://ticketfly.com. Tickets will also be on sale at Wooly’s (504 E. Locust St.) with no service fees.

I’m personally most excited for Jimmy Cliff. I caught about ten minutes of his set at Lollapalooza in 2010 and it blew me away. I am excited to get the chance to rectify my mistake.

Also, don’t sleep on Bruce Hornsby. While the name may elicit groans from some people because of his Adult Contemporary status, he is actually a very gifted singer and songwriter.

For more info head to nitefalldsm.com.

The other series that released at least a partial list of bands is the now annual Ankeny Unplugged. Sponsored by the Ankeny Jaycees and held in Wagner Park in ,um, Ankney obviously, this features many of the best Iowa has to offer in an outdoor, acoustic setting. This years announced bands are:

Christopher the Conquered & His Black Gold Brass Band
Fierce Bad Rabbit
Patrick Tape Fleming (of Poison Control Center)
Elizabeth Arynn
James Biehn
The New Bodies
The Host Country

Readers of this site will know where my tastes lie, but it will also give me a good chance to see some acts I am less than familiar with, like Fierce Bad Rabbits and The Host Country. Should be a heck of a time.

Head to

Review: 2012 Gross Domestic Product : Iowa’s Coming Out Party


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Christopher the Conquered – “10,000 People”

As promised, here is the new Christopher the Conquered video. It is for the song “10,000 People” and is from the now officially released Christopher the Conquered & His Black Gold Brass Band Decide…The Fate of a Good Man

Here is what singer and songwriter Chris Ford had to say about the video:

“It is on the opposite end of the music video spectrum as the Free To Try video. I wouldn’t really even call it entertainment…I would call it a form of experience. The concept is that it is the dream you might have about a dream you might have had about a party you may have gone to in a past life. It’s more like a visual companion to the song.”

It was shot by Tony Galloro using a Bell and Howell Zoomatic Director Series, the same style of camera used during the Zapruder Film. So its old fashioned look comes not from new school camera tricks, but from an old school camera.

Anyway, watch, enjoy and buy the album.

Exciting News!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Look At All Those Damned Exclamation Points!)

Okay guys, tomorrow is going to be a very special day here at Iowaves. Right at midnight, I get the pleasure of debuting the new Christopher the Conquered & His Black Gold Brass Band music video for their song “10,000 People”. The video is a unique companion piece to the song where you’re taken to a dream of a dream of a party from a past life. The video was shot by Tony Galloro and is a very unique experience to behold. The song and the video meld together into a truly beautiful blend of images and sound.

This video will be released on the same day of the official release of Christopher the Conquered and His Black Gold Brass Band Decide…The Fate Of A Good Man. If you want an early listen, stop out to AOL Spinner where you can listen to the full album. Along with albums from Janis Joplin, Daniel Johnston, Jack Johnson, Dry the River and Maps & Atlases. So you know, pretty special company. Or you can stop out to Vinyl Cafe tonight and listen to it and also get to see a free performance from Lesbian Poetry. Pretty cool, too.

Oh, and buy the album from Maximum Ames Records.

Also, tomorrow I will have my review of GDP. Did I make it in time to see Trouble Lights? Did I survive the torrential downpour during Tires? Did I finally meet Jen Allen in person? Did Nate Logsdon almost take out a chandelier and perform a cover of Salt N Pepa with his girlfriend during the Mumford’s set? Did Christopher the Conquered knock over his keyboard while doing some acrobatic dancing?

You will have to wait until tomorrow to get the answers to all of those questions.

Okay, the answer is yes. But the review will be worth your time, I promise. Or at least I hope.