Photos: Hinterland Music Festival

This year’s Hinterland Music Festival was a real hootenanny. From locals like Field Division and William Elliott Whitmore, big-name national acts like Ray LaMontagne and Lake Street Dive, and of course the legendary Willie Nelson, the festival this year continued to solidify its status as one of the Midwest’s best up-and-coming folk and bluegrass music festivals.

The whole experience felt like a proper throwback to 60’s summer festivals rather than a contemporary take on the tried-and-true camping music festival format of decades past.

Here’s to many more.

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Guest Mix: Brian Smith of Jack Lion

Always looking to expand the variety of content we offer here at DSM Shows, we’ve decided to start pestering local musicians to make us mixes that we can post.

On one hand, it’s a nice opportunity for the artist to cite some of their influences and intersperse some of their own songs. And on the other hand, its an opportunity for us, the audience, to continue expanding our aural studies of the trends and microgenres that decorate the many unique corners of our state.

Up first in the guest mix line-up is Brian Smith — horn player and audio/visual programmer for Iowa City based jazz trio, Jack Lion.

Check it out below:

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Phoning It In At The 80/35 Music Festival

Whenever the 80/35 Music Festival rolls out its lineup every year, we start trying to brainstorm new and interesting ways to cover it. After all, we don’t do much for post-show coverage here on the website, and most of the acts booked for the festival need little-to-no introduction from us.

What we came up is this: Phoning It In At The 80/35 Music Festival. We decided we’d carry on a group message conversation among our writers during the festival as well as the days leading up to it, and post it here for an honest-to-goodness first-hand account of the real 80/35 experience!

Okay, so mostly it’s just jokes and cat pictures, but that’s pretty much all we do here at dsmshows, so what did you expect? Enjoy(?)!

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What are we going to do about all these fucking manic pixie dream girl bands?

You guys, tho:

A few days ago, intrepid Des Moines music columnist Chad Taylor boldly and bravely put the Des Moines Music Coalition on blast for (what else?) their booking strategies w/r/t their three major festivals. He made a number of good points and put forward a broad set of constructive suggestions for ways to tweak and improve the way that the DMMC runs their events. The key take-away for me though was his call to action regarding the city’s over-saturation of manic pixie dream girl bands. At first I was skeptical about this, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized how dire this situation is.

If we are really honest with ourselves, we have to admit that, over the past few years we’ve really glutted ourselves on these manic pixie dream girl bands. It started rather harmlessly as they were but a small portion of a more balanced musical diet, but those days of balance have long since passed. Now-a-days, I can hardly turn my head without bumping into half a dozen new manic pixie dream girl bands, I think.

Let’s back up for a second, because, while I’m sure the venerated Mr. Taylor is correct when he labels this manic pixie dream girl band infestation as one of many key problems facing our music community, I think it would be helpful for some of our less informed readers to define some identifying characteristics of manic pixie dream girl bands so that we can remain vigilant and resist their influence. Unfortunately, Mr. Taylor declined to cite any examples at all of manic pixie dream girl bands in his column, and so we must dig a little deeper.

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The Gross Domestic Product Music Festival

Gross Domestic Product is Des Moines’ all local music festival. This year marks the 11th anniversary of GDP, and to look back at the past ten years of lineups is like looking through a photo album of the year in Iowa music. The festival’s continued success is due to the Des Moines Music Coalition’s ability to curate a lineup of local artists from a wide scope of genres and present those acts in conjunction with one another to paint a larger picture of the diversity of music our fair city has to offer.

This year, we here at DSM Shows were asked to write up the band previews for every artist on the GDP 2016 lineup. We, of course, accepted.

Over the next two weeks leading up to the festival, the Des Moines Music Coalition and our humble crüe of jotters here at DSM Shows will be releasing the write-ups for your previewing pleasure.

Our hope is that releasing these bios one-by-one will build an enormous amount of hype for Gross Domestic Product, so much so that in years to come, the engaged music audience of Des Moines will celebrate not only GDP itself, but the two weeks leading up to it as well in a manner consistent with what many have come to expect from a Naw’Leans Mardi Gras.

Our expectation is that every one of you reading this right now will attend GDP, support this grand opportunity for local musicians, and celebrate our lovely little music culture here in the City of Two Rivers. Or else…

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Best of 2015: Trey’s List

Considering the sheer amount of Iowa music that was available for us to cover this year and the tendency for blogs and netzines like ours to make lists at this time of the year, we decided we’d play our part. We’ve put together lists of our favorite musical events of 2015, including live shows, specific releases, or really any kind of music-related experience of any kind.

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Best of 2015: Casey’s List

Considering the sheer amount of Iowa music that was available for us to cover this year and the tendency for blogs and netzines like ours to make lists at this time of the year, we decided we’d play our part. We’ve put together lists of our favorite musical events of 2015, including live shows, specific releases, or really any kind of music-related experience of any kind.

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Best of 2015: Bruce’s List

Considering the sheer amount of Iowa music that was available for us to cover this year and the tendency for blogs and netzines like ours to make lists at this time of the year, we decided we’d play our part. We’ve put together lists of our favorite musical events of 2015, including live shows, specific releases, or really any kind of music-related experience of any kind.

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For Kids Who Think It Still Exists III

The summer is over. It was great and glorious. We rolled down hills and collected wild flowers and climbed great big trees. We stayed up late and woke up early. We ran and we jumped and we sat and we danced. Oh boy did we dance. We danced in dimly lit bars and on brightly lit street corners and in the comfort of our own living rooms.

After we danced, when the time came for the sun to set, we gathered close to our friends and let the dying campfire illuminate our sunburned faces while the chilly evening air cooled our backs. And then we danced under the stars.

But that fire is dead now and the stars are hiding behind clouds, and as we piss on the smoldering ashes we are faced with the dubious prospect of elbowing our way through another long, dark Iowa winter.

But fear not, weary traveler. Just as the summer of 2015 has laid down to take one final nap on the hillside while the winds blow and the sun beams, another summer, the summer of 2016, has begun to gestate. It may seem tiny and theoretical right now, but soon it will grow and it will have fingernails and a scant handful of months from now it will be everything we know and it will stretch out forever in every direction as far as we can see and it will be full to the brim with all of our favorite things and we will rejoice and be glad.

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The 2015 Halloween Show Shortlist

Bloodbath: A Halloween Rap Battle, Des Moines Social Club, 9 PM

First off, let’s all just stop and consider how great it is that our city now hosts rap battles. Bloodbath will throw a bunch of young guns against each other among the eerie lamplight of The Basement. Closing the event will be Des Moines hip-hop mainstays, MarKaus, Gadema, and Lottobandz.

Gozer-Ween, Crane Artist Lofts, 8 PM

The Crane will be laying down some serious ritual throwback vibes to a time when parties were thrown on the blood-stained dirt of the sacrificial aftermath. Seeing as how the entire Crane building is just a huge incubator with artists and weirdos alike, this full floor party is likely to be a real killer. Anyway, Person Whale is playing and that’s usually reason enough to go anywhere.

Spewfest, Vaudeville Mews, 8 PM

This year, the Vaudeville Mews moved their usual Misfits Karaoke Halloween Party to Friday, the 30th, making room for Spewfest! This night of music is bringing a pretty wide reaching bill of Des Moines music, throwing sewer punk of Goldblums and The Vahnevants against an eerie array of electronic acts including DJ DJ TANNER, Annalibera, Night Stories, and Haunted Gauntlet.

Grateful for Dead Moines 2, Wooly’s, 8 PM

Labeling itself the “Hippie Halloween”, Wooly’s is making their jam band Halloween intentions clear. After all, the event name is some kind of strange combination of a Grateful Dead reference and the name of our city. This being the second annual Grateful for Dead Moines, it’s looking like this one might stick around for a few years.

Halloween Bash 2015, Lefty’s, 9 PM

Lefty’s is definitely cornering the market on the rawk show this Halloween. Holy White Hounds don’t take shows lightly in general, so considering the holiday here, I can’t imagine they’ll be turning the dials to anything but 11. Locals, The Fuss and The Other Brothers, will open the show with Red Daughters of Minneapolis.

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Upcoming Events

Aug
22
Tue
7:00 pm Jazz On The House @ Noce
Jazz On The House @ Noce
Aug 22 @ 7:00 pm
Jazz On The House DES MOINES, IA Every Tuesday is Jazz On The House at Noce, with free live jazz from 7-10pm. Doors at 5, half-off specialty cocktails until 6:30.
9:00 pm Jazz night @ The Lift
Jazz night @ The Lift
Aug 22 @ 9:00 pm – 9:15 pm
Free admission – Jazz night at The Lift
Aug
23
Wed
8:00 pm Fourth Wednesdays with Farmer Ta... @ Lefty's
Fourth Wednesdays with Farmer Ta... @ Lefty's
Aug 23 @ 8:00 pm
Fourth Wednesdays with Farmer Tan Funk Band @ Lefty's
4TH WEDNESDAYS W/ FARMER TAN FUNK BAND When Every 4th Wednesday Location Des Moines Venue Lefty’s $5 Farmer Tan Funk Band reforms just for Lefty’s – Jeff Banks (Jeff Banks Band, Mothership Blues Band, Rock[...]