Willliam Locker and Nella Thomas “1871” Music Video

Willliam Locker and Nella Thomas “1871” Music Video

It’s funny how nationalism and the Western genre have become intermingled. I blame John Wayne. After all, most of the best characters in the classic Westerns are outlaws, taking our American notions of justice and liberty into their own hands, following a civil war which had divided the the United States’ national identity down the middle. Sure, at some point we started rooting for the sheriffs and their deputies, but in this day-and-age, I think those times have passed. We’re once again rooting for the outlaw. Take the 2016 contemporary western, Hell or High Water, for example. The protagonists are two brothers, who’ve been forced to rob banks in order to secure a future for their families. The police officers charged with stopping them aren’t even presented as the antagonists, but rather the film points the moral finger at the banks which have been “legally” robbing people for years. That’s kind of the cultural shift we’re seeing right now. It’s a time of re-examining the laws that put civil rights and environmental activists under arrest, while “rulemakers” like police, banks, and big business continue to mold those laws to whatever form best fits their interests. Considering the state of things in this country, the figure of the outlaw probably holds more relevance today than it did when westerns first began to glow from the silver screen. So, it’s good to see some love for the ol’ western from some of our own here in Des Moines. The video for William Locker and Nella Thomas‘ “1871” (from Stefan Egeberg Hansen) does it right, starting with a death, and ending with a shootout, all while weaving a fiery tale...
DSMShows Presents Dylan Boyle, Night Stories, UWEFTBH, Osario at Chapman House, Oct. 7

DSMShows Presents Dylan Boyle, Night Stories, UWEFTBH, Osario at Chapman House, Oct. 7

Summer is overrated. I don’t like the sun, I’m not into the daytime, and I prefer to wear sweatshirts. And that’s not to mention the season’s climate extremes which continue to rain destruction across our state on a more and more frequent basis. Therefore, I welcome October in Iowa. With it comes all those wonderful gradients of warm colors dancing and falling in the leaves on the trees. All the good foods are finally harvested and ready to enjoy. And people finally stop all of their summer procrastination and get back into their routine, whatever it may be. For us, it means throwing killer house shows! And October being the month it is, we decided to go a little dark and a little spooky with this one. The bill is comprised of all experimental-leaning electronic acts — a genre appearing more frequently from the dark corners of our burgeoning lil’ music scene here. In that regard, this show is like that black cat crossing just in front of you before scurrying off into the shadows from whence it came. Scary noises emanating from the dark corners of an old, creaky house. Candlelight dancing through the cracks and crevices. The chill of ancient spirits in the air. Attend at your own risk. October 7 7 PM Chapman House 1711 Ninth St. All Ages $5 Suggested Donation Underwater Escape From the Black Hole Dylan Boyle Night Stories Osario More information available...
Cubits “Oh Well That Ends Well”

Cubits “Oh Well That Ends Well”

Lately, language has been failing me. I have been facing experiences and profundities whose lessons seem too complex to ever be described through something as reductive as words. After all, human emotional response certainly came before language, and while literature can help us shape our understanding, the basic determination of whether or not a particular experience fits into our worldview occurs before the words we use to explain why. Music history is rooted in this preverbal understanding. Rhythm has always had an energizing effect on listeners, while classical techniques elicited emotions from audiences for thousands of years before lyrics were added to direct them. Considering my own recent experiences into the nonverbal realms buried deep by evolution in the crevices of the brain, I’ve found myself really disconnected from lyric-based music. Hearing the attempts of contemporary musicians to frame otherwise naturally occurring emotions using the same worn-out metaphors of nature’s operation has seemingly run its course on these old, tired ears. So, when the first single, “Oh Well That Ends Well”, from the new Fairfield-based electronic-tinged shoegaze trio, Cubits, started kicking its way around the ol’ WWW, I was reminded of instrumental-based music’s ability to explore and rediscover these old musical concepts. The subtle electronic production that starts and builds underneath the track lifts the whole song into transitory realms where the distant guitar melodies collect and swirl like low-hanging fog. In fact, the song’s only lyrics, “I’m okay / In a way / I’m okay / Far away”, just further the song’s wandering, searching qualities, without oversimplifying the emotions involved in its capacity for self-discovery. “Oh Well That Ends Well”...
Iowa City’s Witching Hour Festival Announces Lineup

Iowa City’s Witching Hour Festival Announces Lineup

In many ways, Iowa City’s newest festival, Witching Hour, is a renaissance. After all, the festival celebrates the cultural exploration of the unknown in a time when many are turning away from the traditional American dream experience to lifestyles more sustainable and contributory. In doing so, we are collectively seeking a more open cultural identity: one without discrimination of thought, with a search for understanding and a refocusing on the arts and culture which detail the lives we lead. We’re chipping away at it here in Des Moines, but with Iowa City’s strong cultural history, they’ve always been ahead of the curve. Witching Hour collects artists and academics of all types into Iowa City’s downtown/campus area for two days of talks, performances, and demonstrations. This year, the festival will be headlined by musicians/activists, Pussy Riot, engaging in a discussion with Chicago based critic, Jessica Hopper, followed by a screening of portions of Act and Punishment, a 2015 documentary about the band and its activist role. There will also be musical performances by the likes of Duluth avant-rock legends, Low, dsmshows favorites, NE-HI, and Chicago’s own hip-hop goddess, Psalm One, among others. Witching Hour truly has something for everyone (and probably everything for someone), so take a look over the lineup, if for no other reason than to get a view of the cultural renaissance beginning inside our state lines, to understand the opportunities for education and inspiration growing all around us. In other words, get out there. Witching Hour, presented by the Englert Theatre and Little Village Magazine, takes place in Iowa City November 4-5. Tickets start at $30 for a single-day pass, or $50 for both...
Zenith Chamber Music Festival, Aug. 16-20

Zenith Chamber Music Festival, Aug. 16-20

Welcome August, the month of music festivals! Srsly, our city just crams ’em in when this time of year rolls around. Not to be confused with the Zeitgeist Music Festival, Drake University’s Zenith Chamber Music Festival highlights local, national, and international classically-trained musicians across a handful of concerts throughout the week at beautiful venues all around the city. Each night, the festival curates one concert featuring a range of musical styles from classical to jazz to world music. Celebrate musical diversity in August! Whether you’re into jazz, avant garde, latin music, hip-hop, EDM (or just EM), classical music, other world music, bluegrass, rock, folk, pop, there is quite literally festival music for EVERY (except maybe metal fans…) Des Moines resident this month. Zenith’s whole focus is to take the classically-trained musical stylings of Drake University’s historically diverse music program and push it off campus into the community in order to continue enriching Des Moines’ thriving music culture. All shows are free and open to everyone, so don’t miss this great opportunity to get some traditional music into your otherwise overly-contemporary aural life. Full Festival Schedule: August 16, 7:30 p.m.: Salisbury House 4025 Tonawanda Dr, Des Moines Concert Program August 17, 6:00 p.m.: Jasper Winery 2400 George Flagg Pkwy, Des Moines Concert Program August 18, 9:00 a.m.: Masterclass : Drake University, Sheslow Auditorium 2507 University Ave, Des Moines August 18, 1:00 p.m.: Des Moines City Sounds Project at Capital Square Concert Program August 19, 7:30 p.m.: Art Center 4700 Grand Ave, Des Moines Concert Program August 20, 7:30 p.m.: Drake University, Sheslow Auditorium 2507 University Ave, Des Moines Concert Program All concerts are free and...