Alex Braidwood is a sound artist and Assistant Professor in Graphic Design at Iowa State University. His research into sound and interaction has taken him around the Earth for many projects, performances, and installations, all of which have been collected on his Listening Instruments website.
He recently travelled to Alpine National Park in Australia where he was artist-in-residence at the Bogong Centre for Sound Culture. While he was there, he collected a series of field recordings which he put to tape for release on Maximum Ames earlier this year.
On Saturday, September 17, he will install a listening experience at the Octagon Center for the Arts at noon as part of the Maximum Ames Music Festival.read more
Skateparks hold a place near to my heart. For me, it started with Rampage Indoor Skatepark (RIP) in Davenport, Iowa. I would get dropped off at the park as a 14-year-old by my parents, where I would be left to grind and air until I could no longer move.
As a middle schooler, my good friend, Dan Madesian, started a petition that later lead to a skatepark being built in our hometown of Bettendorf. A few years later, skateparks started popping in surrounding towns like Moline (Illinois), Eldridge, Le Claire, and eventually Davenport.
The 32,000 square foot Davenport Skatepark is one of the premiere skateparks of the Midwest, but the installation of this park called into question one thing for Des Moines residents: why does Iowa’s state capital not have a premiere skatepark as well, when every other large city in Iowa had one (Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Iowa City, Mason City, and Ames)?
This question is finally being answered, and in the true spirit of skating, many people have been instrumental in furthering the movement. Local skater and musicians, Justin Runge, aims to reinforce the movement and raise some funds by organizing the Des Moines Skatepark Fundraiser Show slated for July 16 at the Des Moines Social Club. Runge took some time out to answer a few questions about the event.read more
When you first hear Leyla McCalla’s voice emerge on her new record it feels like it has come a very, very long distance to get there, miles and miles and decades and decades away. And you’d be right. Leyla McCalla was born in New York to Haitian immigrants and, after training in classical music at Smith College and New York University, she moved to New Orleans to more deeply embrace her roots as a Haitian, as an immigrant, as an American, and as an inheritor of African-American culture.
The result is an album that is steeped in 300 years of history and emotion. You hear the determination and resolve of rebels in Saint-Domingue and the German Coast in Louisiana. You hear the pain and loss felt by women who had their children ripped from their arms, never to be seen again. You hear the hopes and fears of migrants standing on a dock trying desperately to make a momentous and irreversible decision. You hear almost the whole sweep of post-colonial history in the Americas, in all it’s monstrosity and grace.
On top of all that, her songs are just stunningly arranged. She has combined classical and jazz influences with Haitian and Creole folk traditions in a way that feels both freshly original and prehistorically natural. I had the incredible luck to ask McCalla a few questions about her art before her June 14 show at the Des Moines Social Club. I’m pleased and proud to present her answers below.read more
Since the band’s inception nearly two years ago, Des Moines’ Extravision has gone on to tour both of the United States coasts, waded in the festival rounds, and completed a Daytrotter session. Anchored by Ryan Stier, the band’s cast has transformed from show to show, allowing opportunity for the audience to witness the way a song can continue to transform after it has been written. Extravision will play a string of shows throughout May in celebration of the band’s new EP, “Nothing Will Remain”, alongside Iowa City’s, Brooks Strause.read more
Land of Blood and Sunshine is a central Iowa based rock band whose genre is hard to label. Sharing elements of punk and indie rock and some of the more tribal corners of world music, their sound can often range from layers of sonic aggression to psychedelic experimentation, much the same way the band name implies. The band has been featured on IPR’s Studio One and has played the stages of Des Moines’ 80/35 Music Festival and Iowa City’s Mission Creek Festival.
The band will be releasing their new full-length album, “Lady and the Trance”, will be released February 12 at The Basement. The show begins at 9 PM.read more
On Saturday the 19th Skin of Earth will return to The Fremont to release the 5-track self-titled LP recorded in the very room you will listen to them in. The record, put out by none other than Sump Pump Records, promises to be one of the memorable records of the year. The show will be free, so you should bring proper funds to purchase the Skin of Earth LP.
You can preview the album by listening to their single “Bin Bin Mary Bin Bin.” Skin of Earth will be joined by Fetal Pig and The Wheelers for what will be a loud, furious, and memorable night of music. I had the chance to correspond with Dan Hutchison, who helped record and mix the Skin of Earth LP, about the record.read more
MarKaus is Des Moines-based hip-hop artist and music label proprietor who has recently started putting on FreshenUP, a new monthly series showcasing local and regional artists involved in the Midwest’s rising hip-hop scene. The next FreshenUP will take place at The Basement at the Des Moines Social Club on December 12 at 9 PM. More information available from the DMSC website.
How did you come up with the idea for the FreshenUP series? What was the genesis of your desire to have a more hip-hop centric event in Des Moines?
The original idea was to start a monthly show built around the releases and artist on my label MediaFresh. After planning, I realized how much of an impact we could make on the city’s hip-hop scene. With that, I decided to include not only other hip hop artists in the town but rising talent from all over the region.
Tell us about who is playing this edition of FreshenUP on December 12. Why did you reach out to the respective artists on the bill?
The theme of this next FreshenUP is “Soul Sessions.” I’ve had the pleasure of working with most of these artists in one way or another and felt that they would hold down the tradition we’ve already set up. For this edition I have Steddy P, head of Kansas City’s Indy Ground crew, who is touring for his recently released album. DM Wright is the DJ for the night, along with The Illest Around B-Boy crew. My goal is to make sure the atmosphere is crisp and fresh.read more
Jack Lion is an electronic jazz trio from Iowa City. Their take on the genre combines Boards of Canada-esque ambient experimentation with each player’s University of Iowa trained jazz background. In addition to the numerous shows they’ve been playing around the state, the band landed a spot on the Mission Creek Music Festival last Spring and a live session with the world-renown Daytrotter studio in Rock Island, IL.
The trio will be playing the Des Moines Music Coalition’s Music University showcase this Saturday at The Basement joined by local hip-hop act, Markaus, and metal heads, Green Death. The all ages showcase will begin at 9:30 PM.read more
This Saturday, Iowa City hip-hop artist, Romulan will open for Shabazz Palaces at The Mill. In preparation for that show, he answered some questions for us about his experiences in the Bay Area, Iowa, and where he finds his inspiration.read more