My Tentative 80/35 Schedule

Tires has a new EP available on their website. Click to listen to it. Photo by Tony Galloro and borrowed from their Facebook.

Tires has a new EP available on their website. Click to listen to it. Photo by Tony Galloro and borrowed from their Facebook.

80/35 dropped their schedule a few days ago, and it is full of awesomeness and a little heartbreak. It is not as agonizing as last year’s, but there are some definite conflicts that I think we are going to have to deal with. As always food and drink and stopping so my wife can pump and the children and friends and family throw wrenches into these things, but its always good to have a plan. So, let’s get to it.

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Some 80/35 Pre-Shows For You To Check Out and Invite Your Friends To, Please!

Video by Cody Osen of Iowa Concert Photographers

While I have been away from the blog, I haven’t exactly been doing nothing. I wrote a couple of things for Des Moines Is Not Boring. I threw together a couple more band previews for the 80/35 website. I got to San Fierro on GTA: San Andreas. I watched as my wife raise our newborn son. So, you know, I have been busy.

But something I am super proud of is something for everyone to enjoy, unlike most of my writing which is pretty self indulgent, to be honest. Myself, along with Band Bombshell and Iowa Concert Photographers have put together a couple of fun 80/35 pre-shows with some of our collective favorite Iowa bands.

On July 4th from 4-9 head out to the PBR Bar (the outdoor bar next to Vaudeville Mews) for Land of Blood and Sunshine, Christopher the Conquered, Diamonds For Eyes and Is Home Is.

On July 5th from Noon- 4, head down to the 80/35 festival grounds early and head over to Gas Lamp for Peace Love and Stuff, Rebel Creek and Lesbian Poetry. The festival itself doesn’t start until 5, so this gives you a chance to have some music all day and get warmed up for the festival proper.

Oh, and both shows are free. Both shows are all ages. Both shows really want you to come. Pretty please?

Head here for more info on the 4th

And here for more info on the 5th

The Locals, Wolves in the Attic and More, Uh, Right Now!

I had a post a couple of days ago about a show tonight. It was beautiful. Okay, it was pretty much normal, but I put some actual effort into it. The bands, though, they are beautiful. The Locals are a great, great band and I wrote some kind words about them. Wolves in the Attic I have spoken of a bunch. But into the vast abyss of the internet, my post disappeared. Gone. Poof. There appears to be no trace; no Google Cache nothing in my deleted posts. Nothing. Technology is mean.

So here’s the deal. Cancel your plans and go to Vaudeville Mews, right now. 5pm, May 18. Also, pretend I wrote roughly a thousand words extolling the virtues of strong women and strong music.

Euforquestra and Camp Euforia Celebrate Ten Years Together


Earlier this week I spoke of some upcoming festivals. Well, the tenth annual Camp Euforia has now announced their initial lineup and it is pretty awesome. I am usually not one for these jam out camp out festivals, but this year’s Camp Euforia in Lone Tree on July 12 and 13 is trying to change my mind. A great lineup including two nights of Euforquestra and also a night of 80/35 alums Greensky Bluegrass headline a solid lineup of roots, jam, bluegrass and all sorts of other music.

Here is the pertinent info:

Camp Euforia Tenth (!) Anniversary at Lone Tree, Iowa on July 12 and 13. Tickets are available at the wonderful Midwestix.

Eufórquestra – two nights
Greensky Bluegrass
Dumpstaphunk featuring Ivan Neville
Pimps of Joytime
Family Groove Company
That 1 Guy
Pert Near Sandstone
Public Property
UltraViolet Hippopotamus
Mr. Baber’s Neighbors – The Solar String band
Beaker Brothers
Dead Larry
Chasing Shade
Fire Sale
Zeta June
The Candymakers
Coffee with the Grosso Family Band
D. Bess
Jaik Willis
Maximilian Eubank

Gross Domestic Product 2013 Announced, A Review of Now That’s What I Call Music 45, and More


The normal Muzak at my work is one of the most surprisingly progressive radio stations in town. You’d think that a big box retail store wouldn’t play songs by the likes of Cut Copy, Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr, Handsome Furs, Billy Bragg and Wilco, XX, Miike Snow or Ra Ra Riot, but everyday I hear that and more. Unfortunately, our Muzak crashed and we had to go with a back up plan. We bought Now That’s What I Call Music 45 (full disclosure, we also bought the 2013 Grammy Winners CD and Now 44. We also had an unfortunate stint with Now 11. Oh and I made a couple of mixes (with some Iowa artists even!), but they were nixed because my co-workers are haters. Well, one co-worker. Well, he thought Black Lips’ “Family Tree” was too loud. He was probably right.)

Here comes a shocking revelation. I am a music blogger who doesn’t listen to Top 40 much anymore. Or like, at all. I know that there is a thing called One Direction that exists, and one of them is named Harry and he got hit in the groin at a concert recently, but I had never listened to a single song. It isn’t personal; I just have precious little free time, so I don’t go out of my way to seek out stuff I probably won’t like. However, being exposed to Now 45 for four to five hours a day for roughly six days exposed me to some stuff I wouldn’t know otherwise. On that note here is one sentence about each song. Scroll down to the next bullet point if you don’t care and just want to read some stuff about Iowa.

One Direction – “Live While We’re Young” – I have a soft spot for boy bands ever since Donnie Wahlberg told me I had cool hair back in the late 80’s, so I kind of liked this song more than I imagine most non-12 year old girls would.

Flo Rida – “Cry” – The hook annoyed me, but this wasn’t terrible.

Ke$ha – “Die Young” – Ke$ha has this trait where I can’t stand her verses, but I always really like the choruses and this was no exception.

Ne-Yo – “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself) – There are so many songs that sound exactly like this song.

Pitbull – “Don’t Stop the Party” – Still wish Daddy Yankee was the breakout Reggaeton superstar, but Pitbull is kind of an endearing dude who got shipped to Alaska and went with a smile and holds concerts where he just pumps his fist with a Bud Light in his hand…


and I couldn’t help but like this one.

Calvin Harris and Florence Welch – “Sweet Nothing” – Love.

The Script feat. Will.I.Am- “Hall of Fame” – Didn’t love.

Maroon 5 – “Daylight” – This wasn’t as good as “Harder to Breathe” or “She Will Be Loved” but better than “Moves Like Jagger”.

Phillip Phillips – “Home” – This is in a bunch of commercials.

Ed Sheeran – “The A Team” – I think it was about a hooker and I could see why someone would like this, but I didn’t really.

Taylor Swift – “We Are Never Getting Back Together” – So catchy I eventually got Stockholm Syndrome and threatened anyone who tried to speak ill of it.

Kelly Clarkson – “Catch My Breath” – I still like Kelly, but this one was a bit forgettable.

P!nk (Does she still spell her name with an exclamation point? Did she ever? Did I dream that? Ke$ha spells her name with a dollar sign, still, right? Can I spell my name D@ve? No? Okay.) – “Try” – Hey, she’s coming to town on Nov. 8 and this song was a pretty okay little pop ballad.

OneRepublic – “Feel Again” – This is in a bunch of commercials, too, I think.

Imagine Dragons – “It’s Time” – I was familiar with this one because they played Gas Lamp just before they blew up, and I was pretty meh about it then and still am.

Florida Georgia Line – “Cruise” – Every time this guy goes “and sing from the heart”, the Earth moved a little closer to the sun and I could feel our imminent demise as a species.

There were a few bonus tracks, but I think this pretty well covered my experience with the Now records. Wasn’t a horrifying experience, but I do hope the regular Muzak works when I go back on Thursday.

2013 Gross Domestic Product was announced and it is a doozy. Spread across four 4th street venues on April 13, this year’s event features 19 acts and is headlined by the highly influential House of Large Sizes. This is a very rare opportunity to see one of Iowa’s legendary acts and so many others. Click the link for full info.

– I wrote a couple of pieces for Des Moines is Not Boring one about Cedar Falls post punk/pop band Twins and one about Iowa City singer/songwriter Brooks Strause

Lazerfest 2013 added Killswitch Engage and Bush to a lineup with Alice in Chains and more on May 10 in Boone. That may get me to go.

-Speaking of summer festivals, a new one called Rocket Suzie will be held in Spencer on June 8. It features a lot of really cool folk, acoustic, rock and alt country acts headlined by another influential and legendary Iowan Greg Brown and Texas band The Trishas. That is neat.

-Earlier this year I had a post mentioning a new album from Gadema and Aeon Grey. Well Aeon Grey’s album Lead Breakfast is out today and is available on Uncommon Records. Oh, and Gadema decided to drop ANOTHER album, this time with Purify called Hard to Hate and you can check that out here.

-I am going to check out Darwin Deez tonight at Vaudeville Mews, I think. But there are a ton of other cool shows in the next day or two. A favorite of mine, Fetal Pig, is playing the late show at Mews with Universe Contest and more. Also, one of my favorite country acts Ryan Bingham is playing a show at Wooly’s.

-Tomorrow Vaudeville Mews has an early show of Fol Chen, a late show with Jaill, Wooly’s has G Love and Special Sauce, and House of Bricks has Red Lamb, Dark Mirror and more. So, there is a lot going on. Try to hit at least one.

Vaudeville Mews Is 10!

Poster by the awesome Basemint Designs. It will be available for puchase on Wednesday.

Poster by the awesome Basemint Designs. It will be available for puchase on Wednesday.

This Wednesday, the most beautiful venue in the world is 10 years old. Now, the beauty of the Vaudeville Mews will never be skin deep. It is a little run down. The carpet is torn and the stage is small. The green room is crowded. And the bathrooms, dear God, let’s not even speak of the horrifying conditions of the restrooms. Pray you never have to poo, you’d almost be better off doing it in the alley.

But for all of its warts, Vaudeville Mews is and always will be the spot for local talent, the spot for a band living out of a van and trying to make a name for themselves and the spot for only the hippest of national acts. Of course, I am going to be biased because of where I live and what I’ve seen there, but I love Vaudeville Mews almost as much as I love family members.

I grew up musically with the Mews. It has been as big a part of what has defined me as a music fan as any other outlet in the world; magazines, radio, internet, what have you. Sometimes, I would just go there regardless of who is playing, whether I had heard of them or not, and often I would be completely blown away. Often, I would convince myself I was blown away, buy a CD, listen to it the next day and realize that I was not, in fact, blown away; I was just drunk. Sometimes, high school kids would wear Sesame Street t-shirts and sing death metal. But I never went to Mews and got bored. I never left underwhelmed. I always left with a new tune to whistle, or a CD in my hand or at the very least, a greater appreciation for what I do like.

I also owe a debt of gratitude to this place for what it’s down to help me, personally. On a personal and professional level, I never would’ve gotten the guts to book shows with DMSC without the help of Ladd Askland and Amedeo Rossi. Their kindness and openness helped me learn about a lot of the bands I got to work with and now write about. I would also be a jerk if I didn’t mention the affection I was afforded from the late Frank Burnette, arguably the most amazing man I ever got the pleasure to know. A gentle soul who only wanted to make other’s lives better.

On a more philosophical level, I owe Vaudeville Mews a huge debt just for existing. If it wasn’t for them, I never would’ve discovered my love of music. Because they they were able to bring in so many awesome unknown acts, I probably wouldn’t have discovered that there is a a whole world outside of the FM dial. I can pinpoint where things changed for me to a specific show I saw at Vaudeville Mews. No other place in town would’ve brought in Awesome Car Funmaker at that time and I will forever be beholden to Mews for letting me see them live.

But, that’s the wonderful thing about Vaudeville Mews. This little hole in the wall always seems to pack a wallop. I have been to shows there that have blown me away, and been the only person there, and I have been elbows to assholes with some of Des Moines’ finest. It just always seems like Vaudeville Mews is a magical place that somehow manages to always bring int he best.

On Wednesday, December 5, the Mews turns 10. To celebrate they have the amazing bands Eternal Summers and Land of Blood and Sunshine and one of my absolute favorites Love Songs For Lonely Monsters. Show is at 7 and is only $7. So go, listen to awesome music and give thanks. Because having a place like this in our town is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

A Couple of Links To Take You Into The Weekend

Click this to hear the new Seedlings album, and then go buy it on iTunes.

It has been just over a year since I started writing about music. I started at Des Moines Is Not Boring in July of last year with a review of Mumford’s Triple Trinities, which turned out to be one of my favorite albums and an okay review. I’m going to level with you. When I first started, I thought I was going to be some sort of universally beloved figure who had a hit count of millions and the respect to waltz into any show an just say “Hey, I’m Dave Murphy” and get whatever I want. I thought that I would just be able to sit down and pound out a few hundred words, hit send, and dust off my hands and be awesome. I’m not real sure why I thought that. That is dumb. Throughout this year, I have learned a few other things:

– I am much better at this when I really try, so I shouldn’t half ass things and just accept the outcome.

– You are never universally beloved.

– It takes a year, at least, to figure out your voice. I will let you know how long after that it takes to actually perfect it.

– Iowa is bad ass. When you devote your free time to one area, that area better be awesome.

Anyway, here’s some stuff:

Earlier this week, I mentioned Heartless Bastards. Well, it’s tonight and you should go. I’m gonna go, and you want to be like me, right? I made my return to DMMC’s website just for a preview. That’s how much I am looking forward to this one.

It’s right here.

I also wrote a couple of things for Des Moines is Not Boring in the last couple of weeks. I reviewed the EP from Alex Kintzle and The Davis Brothers (hey, remember what I said about half-assing stuff. Here is me half-assing something). I actually feel bad about how little I like this review, because the album is great. I also reviewed the new album from Seedlings. Incredible album.

So yeah, have a good weekend. Be well.

The Slow March to My Celebration of Being Elderly Is At Least Littered With Great Music

The Heartless Bastards play Wooly’s on July 27

On Monday, I turn 32. It isn’t an age that is easily celebrated or anything. In fact, I’m of the mindset that after, say 30, you really only need to celebrate the tens, 40, 50 60, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 130 (yes this is how old I plan on being when I die). I think the best use of your birthday as an adult is to analyze the year you just had and decide if you lived your life the way you want, and if maybe you should make changes. You know, figure out what works and what doesn’t.

So, at 31 I had a lot of ups and downs. Professionally, I was stuck in the mud. I am pretty much exactly where I was at 30 with little sign of breaking that. This has caused me great stress and monetary struggles. So, obviously at 32, I need to change that. That seems to be the biggest change I need to make. I need top figure out a way to not be in such a stagnant state and find a way to better support my family. So, 31 has been a little rough, but it’s cool, I think analyzing my failures is the first step towards correcting them, right?

However, it was 31 year old me who finally started writing publicly. By finally swallowing my fear and allowing you to read shit I’ve written instead of my usual start something and then bury it that I did pretty much from adolescence on, I have been able to broaden my horizons, learn more about my hometown and make lots of new friends and gain experience and confidence. So, that’s something, right?

Anyway, all confusion about the maturation process aside, it seems as if the promoters in this town are excited for the day of my birth, so they have decided to almost ridiculously pack this week with a bunch of cool national acts, so let’s dive in.

Jane Rose & The Dead End Boys – July 24 Gas Lamp

Some fun Nashville rockabilly with an awesome female lead. Should be a hoot and it should be quick and loud.

Todd Snider and Hayes Carll – July 25 Wooly’s

Todd Snider is a gifted wordsmith and awesome songwriter, but this show is all about Hayes Carll for me. He is a country star who brings a lot of the swagger lost in the pop-ification of the genre.

Nachtmystium – July 26 Vaudeville Mews (All Ages)

Those who tell me about metal shows say this one is pretty special. So, if you’re into metal, maybe check this one out.

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals – July 26 Simon Estes

80/35 Vets Grace Potter and the Nocturnals return to Des Moines in support of their new album, The Lion, The Beast, The Beat. I like them. I like this new album more than the last one, and some of their early stuff is breathtaking. Also, she’s very pretty, if that’s your thing.

Scott Lucas and The Married Men – Vaudeville Mews – July 26 (21+)

The lead and brains behind the great Local H, Scott Lucas has devoted a lot of time to this new project, which shares some of Local H’s tendencies, but not a lot of its sound. Still, a great show to check out.

Heartless Bastards w/ Love Songs For Lonely Monsters – Wooly’s July 27

Heartless Bastards are incredible. They are part folk, part country, part garage rock. Their new album The Arrow has been in rotation for a while now. They are incredible. Plus, the great LS4LM from Des Moines open. This one will be awesome and completely can’t miss.

JEFF The Brotherhood – Vaudeville Mews – July 29

Another one that I am super excited about. JEFF The Brotherhood are filthy garage rock that is just quick and loud. I am super pumped about that. And hey, it’s a late show, so maybe at midnight we can all celebrate me being old.

The Empty Spaces w/ No Good Deed and Ladysoal – July 30 Gas Lamp

Hey, it’s my birthday.

80/35 Set Times Released – Let The Agonizing Begin

Hey, 80/35. Thanks tons for making me pick between Little Ruckus and Now, Now. Ya, big bunch of jerks, ya. And I’ll miss the start of Christopher the Conquered? (Photo from Little Ruckus’ Facebook page)

The final acts for 80/35 were released today, and they included three favorites: Mark Mallman, K-Holes and Little Ruckus. All are huge additions for me personally. I like Mark Mallman’s un-subtle brilliance. K-Holes features Jack Hines, formerly of the incredible Black Lips and well, we all know my affection for Little Ruckus.

Now comes the daunting part, the decisions. Seems every festival, there’s some tough choices. But also, in the heat of the moment plans go by the wayside. Last year at Lollapalooza, my biggest conflict was Death From Above 1979 vs. Big Audio Dynamite. Wanna know who I saw? The Drums. Sometimes things happen, so don’t set your plans in stone or anything. Be versatile, be available. Maybe check parts of sets here and there if you can.

Before we get into my biggest conflicts, here is the schedule. It is pretty incredible, but look at the Kum and Go Stage on Saturday. That is just ridiculous for a free stage. If you’re a little light in the wallet, that lineup is as good as anything you will find in any city in the world. Oh, and all the Iowa acts, oh the Iowa acts are so good.

Friday, July 6

Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Stage
5pm – Fucked Up
7pm – Dinosaur Jr.
9pm – The Avett Brothers

Hy-Vee Triathlon Stage
5pm – 80/35 Play In Slot *
6pm – Tajh
7pm – Bright Giant
8pm – Pieta Brown

Kum & Go Stage
5pm – Dustin Smith & The Sunday Silos
5:45pm – Dumptruck Butterlips
7pm – Useful Jenkins
8:15pm – Freddie Gibbs
9pm – DJ Eight Ten
10pm – Alex Brown
11pm – John Solarz

Saturday, July 7

Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Stage
12pm – 80/35 Play In Slot *
1:30pm – Christopher the Conquered & His Black Gold Brass Band
3:15pm – Greensky Bluegrass
5pm – Atmosphere
7pm – Leftover Salmon
9pm – Death Cab for Cutie

Hy-Vee Triathlon Stage
12pm – 80/35 Play In Slot *
1pm – Little Ruckus
2pm – The Sun Company
3pm – Mumford’s
4pm – Maxilla Blue
5pm – The Sundogs
6pm – Mantis Pincers
7pm – Leslie and the LY’s
8pm – Dead Larry

Kum & Go Stage
12:00pm – Derek Lambert and the Prairie Fires
12:45pm – Now, Now
1:45pm – Delta Rae
2:45pm – Mark Mallman
3:45pm – Night Moves
4:45pm – Jaill
5:45pm – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
6:45pm – K-Holes
8pm – Dan Deacon
9pm – Jade Reed
10pm – Jesse Jamz
11pm – Brad Goldman

Friday seems pretty cut and dried for me, personally. Wellmark stage. Maybe pop in for Tajh and, for sure, Freddie Gibbs in between bands.

Saturday, though, Saturday is an issue.

Conflict Number 1 – Play In Winner vs Play In Winner vs Derek Lambert and the Prairie Fires

The play in winners would either be Seedlings, Holy White Hounds or Love Songs For Lonely Monsters. Two of them would be up against each other on Saturday along with Derek Lambert and the P-Fires. All four bands are incredible and each have their own pros. Seedlings are a little folk, Holy White Hounds have their garage rock sound down. LS4LM are their anarchic sound would fit in well with an outdoor venue, and D-Lamb are a little classic rock. But where they are similar is that they’re all from Iowa and they’re all awesome. I think this is a game day decision.

Winner – Iowa

Conflict Number 2 – Little Ruckus vs. Now, Now

The inspirational dance machine Little Ruckus up against the the spacey pop of Now, Now and well, gosh I just don’t know. Part of me says go with the out of towers because you’ll have a better shot at catching the locals at another date. However, the Iowa bands tend to go all out at 80/35 (as CtC’s last two years have shown) and when the Sandwich Eating Crew go all out, they go all out. Now, Now are incredible and their album is amazing and has been in my rotation for a while now but Little Ruckus will be the show most people say “Dammit, I can’t believe I missed that” and the people who do see it will get to hold it over everyone else’s heads for all of eternity.

Winner – Little Ruckus (then hopefully the end of CTC’s set)

Conflict Number 3 – Mumford’s vs. Mark Mallman

Mumford’s will undoubtedly be fired up. This is the first time they’re playing 80/35 and when they bring their “A” game, very few bands can top them. It’s just that Mark Mallman is special and, I just can’t see a scenario where I miss his set. There is a fifteen minute time difference, so hopefully I can race down the street and catch the end of Mumford’s set.

Winner – Mark Mallman

Conflict Number 4 – Jaill vs. Atmosphere and Jason Isbell vs Atmosphere

I ain’t missing Jaill. I just ain’t. But good lord, Atmosphere is incredible. I think the real loser in this will be Jason Isbell, as I think I will catch all of Jaill and then the end of Atmosphere. Then at 6 there are the Mantis Pincers, which just might be their last show, so um, hmmmm….

Winner – Jaill and Atmosphere and hopefully Mantis Pincers

So my schedule looks like this, in theory:

Friday – Fucked Up, Tajh, Dinosaur Jr., Freddie Gibbs, Avett Brothers, Solarz

Saturday – Something awesome from Iowa, Little Ruckus, CtC, Mark Mallman, Mumford’s, Maxilla Blue, Jaill, Atmosphere, Mantis Pincers, K-Holes, Dan Deacon, Death Cab For Cutie, Goldman

Boy, that kind of hurt, and what’s funny is in one month, this might all change.

So look over the schedule and blaze your own trail or follow me around all weekend, if you desire.

I’m gonna do my best to bring back Song of the Day-ish for 80/35 starting tomorrow. Since I only have a month at this point, it may actually be of the day with no -ish. Aren’t you all lucky.

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

This week at Des Moines is Not Boring is well…Monday from 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.