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.

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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.

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Workerbee Records Announces Ugly Singles Club

Quietly killing it up in Ames, Iowa, Workerbee Records has been a major contributor in the physical music 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 with a release from France’s Double Cheese, and will be followed by something really grimy and good from our own The Vahnevants.

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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.

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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... read more

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... read more

Bob Bucko Jr. Announces Spring Tour

Dubuque-based free-form music guru, Bob Bocko Jr. (BBJr) has announced (most of) the dates for his Springtime MAXIMUM POOR DECISIONS tour, and he has basically booked my dream route. See, it paddles around the Midwest just long enough to gain some traction for the haul up to the Pacific Northwest, playing on the KPSU radio station in Portland, OR and spending almost an entire week in Washington. Jealous. Then the whole thing dips down into California for a handful of shows and a brief visiting artist residency at Humboldt State University in Arcata. After that, it turns back east, playing the wonderful Bar Bar in Denver before returning to the Midwest for some Heartland love, including three shows in Iowa to bring the whole thing to a close. That Iowa Music Store show on April 25 is sure to be a real doozy. Check out the full list of dates below: MAXIMUM POOR DECISIONS Tour: 3/25 – Eronel, Dubuque, IA w/ Arc Numbers, Brett Harris 3/26 – Rozz-Tox, Rock Island, IL w/ Arc Numbers, Laser Background 3/27 – The Hexagon, Minneapolis, MN 3/31 – Ole Beck VFW Post 209, Missoula, MT w/ Teens from Alberton 4/1 – House show, Bellingham, WA 4/2 – Anacortes Music Channel, Anacortes, WA 4/3 – The Mothership, Portland, OR w/ Dead Air Fresheners, Jagula 4/4 – What’s This Called on KPSU, Portland, OR 4/4 – Gallery 1412, Seattle, WA w/ Tasier Eyes, The Colour Out of Space, Brilligh 4/5 – house show, Tacoma, WA w/ Mother Tongue, Coma Figura 4/6 – Deadbeat Records, Olympia, WA 4/7 – Old Skool’s, Ellensburg, WA 4/9 – 4/11... read more

Gross Domestic Product Music Festival Announces Lineup

It is possible that putting together this DSM Shows website has caused me to be more in the middle of Iowa music than I ever was previously, and that is the only reason the Gross Domestic Product festival lineup seems soooo great to me this year. It is also possible that the GDP lineup actually rules this year. It is the festival’s tenth year anniversary, so perhaps the ol’ DMMC wanted to really make this one count. Decide for yourself! The full lineup is below: The Maytags Canby Druids Annalibera AWTHNTKTS prettygirlhatemachine Volcano Boys Field Division Creation Complex Surf Zombies Peas and Carrot Easy Fruit Men in Lead Masks Karen Meat & The Computer Extravision Goldblums Sinkholes (formerly Alistor) Community Selected Artist: Grandchamp The festival will take place all around the East Village on April 25 this year. Tickets are all of $10 for access to every show and will be available on March 20, when the full schedule is... read more

Gloom Balloon to Release Cassette on Maximum Ames Records

You guys, I’ve been saying it for years: the cassette tape is making a huge comeback. Ok, actually its a pretty small comeback in the grand scheme of things, but now there are so many people on the Earth that everything is nostalgia. So, let’s all stop trying to cover up our strange obsessions and collections still lingering from childhood, and just allow ourselves to geek out about all of our nonsense to other people without getting all embarrassed. Yes, I think your VHS collection is great. Yes, I think it’s cool that you still have the first three Pokemon card game sets in plastic sheets in a binder that you consciously chose to move into your new apartment with you. And yes, your boxes of old 8-tracks are amazing to me. You should see my tape collection. Ridiculous. And it’s about to get bigger with the recently-announced, ass-kicking, Guinness-sipping, Irish-kissing, St. Patrick (Tape Fleming?)’s Day release of the first-ever cassette tape on Maximum Ames Records: Gloom Balloon’s Songs that Couldn’t Swim (A Collection of Demos)! Oh, cassette tapes. What joy you bring me with your warm hum and naturally occurring filter and phaser effects as the magnetic tape begins to degrade over time. Pre-orders are open now. Stay tuned for our review of Songs that Couldn’t Swim. I’ll probably let Casey write it up. He looooves Gloom... read more

Gentlemen of the Road Stopover and No Coast Music Festival Bring Big Names To Iowa

When the Des Moines Music Coalition created the 80/35 Music Festival nearly a decade ago, they had one goal in mind: put Des Moines on the music map. Mid-level national acts weren’t coming to Iowa at all. They would hit our neighbors in Kansas City, Omaha, Chicago, and the Twin Cities but the state of Iowa was mostly a black hole for touring acts. The summer of 2015 is shaping up to be the time when that vision becomes a reality. We’ve already seen the announcement of the here in Des Moines bringing big names like Old Crow Medicine Show along with indie darlings like Future Islands and Lucius to the metro area, and then yesterday we received news of two other big music events coming to our fair state. When the Des Moines Music Coalition created the 80/35 Music Festival nearly a decade ago, they had one goal in mind: put Des Moines on the music map. Mid-level national acts weren’t coming to Iowa at all. They would hit our neighbors in Kansas City, Omaha, Chicago, and the Twin Cities but the state of Iowa was mostly a black hole for touring acts. The summer of 2015 is shaping up to be the time when that vision becomes a reality. We’ve already seen the announcement of the Hinterland Music Festival here in Des Moines bringing big names like Old Crow Medicine Show along with indie darlings like Future Islands and Lucius to the metro area, and then yesterday we received news of two other big music events coming to our fair state. Firstly, Juice reported that Mumford and... read more

Upcoming Events

Jul
23
Sun
7:00 pm Sunday Night Blues Showcase @ The Gaslamp
Sunday Night Blues Showcase @ The Gaslamp
Jul 23 @ 7:00 pm
Sunday Night Blues Showcase @ The Gaslamp
Event Name : Sunday Night Blues Showcase Staring The Bad Boys of The Blues (EVERY SUNDAY). Start Date : 2016-04-03 Start Time : 7pm Event Details : 7pm to 11pm FREE EvenT Content : Sunday[...]
7:30 pm Open Mic @ Iowa Music Store
Open Mic @ Iowa Music Store
Jul 23 @ 7:30 pm
Come and play your songs, read your poetry and share your art. Sign up on the day of open mic.