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...
Omaha’s Maha Music Festival Announces Lineup

Omaha’s Maha Music Festival Announces Lineup

There has been somewhat of an ongoing discussion between those of us here at DSM Shows as to what roles surrounding cities play in your own music scene. Does a well-curated music festival a couple of hours away play a part in the quality of surrounding cities’ music culture? Or is the condition of a city’s music culture defined only by that which occurs inside the city lines? I think it depends on the city. Des Moines is in a unique position due do its central location between a number of (once?) thriving metropolises. Growing up in central Iowa, driving to see live music was expected. In my teenage years, I probably saw as many shows at Gabe’s Oasis in Iowa City and the Sokol Underground in Omaha as I did at the Vaudeville Mews and The House of Bricks. That’s not to mention the fact that Des Moines band’s are frequently invited to play shows in surrounding cities. Many locals played the Mission Creek Music Festival this year and numerous shows in places like Minneapolis, Omaha, and Chicago this year alone have featured some of our very own musicians in their lineups. Perhaps it’s all a discussion of semantics. Local vs. regional. Either way, until Des Moines becomes a must-tour destination for artists, I’ll continue driving a couple of hours to see incredible, contemporary musicians with no complaints. Omaha’s Maha Music Festival has been bringing great music to the Midwest since its start in 2008. It’s one-day, outdoor festival setup in Omaha’s Aksarben Village is a welcome balance to Mission Creek’s exhausting week of insane talent booked all around Iowa City. Last year’s...
Workerbee Records Announces Ugly Singles Club

Workerbee Records Announces Ugly Singles Club

Quietly killing it up in Ames, Iowa, Workerbee Records has been a major contributor in the physical realm of local music. In the past few year alone, the label has been responsible for a grip of excellent Iowa music compilations, as well as releases by local names like Nate Logsdon and Goldblums (among others). Those busy bees always have something new in the works, and this time they’ve really stepped up their game with the Ugly Singles Club. Riding in the merchandising wake of things like albums on USB drives that could be worn as necklaces, Workerbee has tastefully announced a new line of buttons for your denim jacket, hat, backpack, etc. Each button comes packaged with a download code for an otherwise unreleased EP or single. Then we can all wear our buttons and walk around and give each other nods of appreciation for supporting local music, big and small. Or you can just flip that shit on eBay for 400% profit. Supply and demand, bitches. The Ugly Singles Club is kicking off March 25 (that’s today) with a release from France’s Double Cheese, and will be followed by something really grimy and good from our own The Vahnevants. See the label’s own handwritten Ugly Singles Club guide below for more information....
DMSC Announces Inaugural Music Series

DMSC Announces Inaugural Music Series

Long the torch-bearer for objectively supporting music of any and all genres, the Des Moines Social Club recently announced its new music series specifically curated to continue expanding their musical boundaries both figuratively and literally. The series begins on Valentine’s Day with a lovely performance by Austin, TX based Swing-ers, The Hot Club of Cowtown. From there, it continues over the next few months with performances ranging from throat singing of Southern Russia to punk rock from Mongolia with some offerings of good ol’ American Jazz, Soul, and electronic music thrown into the mix to really round out the diverse roster of the first season of this new series simply called DMSC Presents. It’s like all of the globe-trotting grandeur of a Civic Center season announcement scaled down to working class prices for the rest of us. Thanks DMSC. After all, if you have to live life landlocked, then you might as well try and bring the world to you. Check the listings below for specific information about each show. February 14 7 PM The Basement All Ages $15 The Hot Club of Cowtown February 29 6 PM Kum & Go Theater All Ages $17 Alash, Throat Singers from the Republic of Tuva March 4 7 PM Kum & Go Theater All Ages $12 Davina & the Vagabonds NOLA Jazz Band April 3 7 PM Kum & Go Theater All Ages $15 HANGGAI Land of Blood and Sunshine April 9 7 PM The Basement All Ages $17 Har Mar Superstar Gloom Balloon MAIDS April 13 9 PM The Basement All Ages $12 Kneedelus (Kneebody/Daedelus collaboration) Jack Lion Tickets and more information available...
Little Ruckus to Show “Wrong Doing” Film at the Interrobang Film Festival

Little Ruckus to Show “Wrong Doing” Film at the Interrobang Film Festival

Fairfield has long been leading the Iowa pack in the audio/visual trend becoming more a part of artist’s musical output. In fact, I wonder how many current bands in that pack of Fairfield electronics kids haven’t at least made one or two music videos. The number can’t be very high. It’s kind of what they do over there: make music, record video, release music video, repeat. They’re really quite the technologically-educated bunch, considering the slower, more down-to-Earth ways of Fairfield citizens. That is a bit of a stereotype about the city and its residents stemming from the presence of the Maharishi University there, I admit, but I wonder if the combination of that thoughtful mentality, when mixed with this paced-by-Internet world is the recipe that makes Fairfield electronic music so engaging. Of all the bands in that Fairfield crew, I’d be hard-pressed to name one more prolific than Dominic Rabalais’ Little Ruckus project. The first time I met the guy, he handed more four handmade CD-R albums he’d made. The sleeves were stapled together and all the information was typed onto each individual sleeve via typewriter. Then, there was word of a Little Ruckus 7” and an impressive showcase at SXSW in Austin, TX. Music videos seemingly began to surface every few months. The output of Little Ruckus has always had a heavy focus on the live show. Perhaps, this explains all of the music videos, as if Rabalais were suggesting that the visual and audio aspects of his project are inseparable. The music itself moves at an ADHD pace and drips with raw, sweaty emotion, layers of synth...
Colt Walkers Announce Nova Labs Release Shows

Colt Walkers Announce Nova Labs Release Shows

The Ames-based label, Nova Labs, continues to spread its reach through the tendrils of central Iowa music. This time, they’re stepping away from some of their more experimental and/or noisy and/or lo-fi tendencies and diving into a straight-shooting Americana album, Trail of Blood and Broken Hearts, from Ames band, The Colt Walkers. The band will be celebrating the album’s release over the span of two shows, the first at the Gaslamp in Des Moines on March 27 and then at DG’s Taphouse in Ames on April 18. Check out a few songs from the album below: Des Moines: March 27 9 PM The Gaslamp $10, 21+ Dan Tedesco The Colt Walkers Ames: April 18 9 PM DG’s Taphouse Free, 21+ The Colt Walkers David Zollo The Body...