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”...
Liz de Lise at The Basement, Sept. 21

Liz de Lise at The Basement, Sept. 21

Liz de Lise recently put out a self-titled album that is pretty damn compelling, and as much as I think you for sure should go listen to it (and in particular “Meat From Bone” and “Clouds Up Ahead”), I really think the thing to do to make sure you get your ass at this concert is watch their video for The Key, a Philadelphia musical publication. Watching them perform “Baby” as part of The Key’s Studio Sessions video series, even on my tiny little glowing screen, was a thrilling experience from start to finish. From the very first chord you are reminded of how precarious and delicate the process of performing live music can be. The recklessness with which these two musicians pursue their vision serves as a constant reminder that, at any moment, this whole thing could just fall apart. It almost seems like they’re piloting their song as close to that edge as possible just for the rush. In a lot of ways, their performance reminded me of seeing Furious 7 in theaters last summer. There’s this really great scene about 40-ish minutes in after the late great Paul Walker (RIP) has finally beat up all the bad dudes on this bus that was transporting the hacker, Ramsey, when he realizes that the bus is headed straight for the cliff. He manages to roll the bus and it stops short of falling off, but the cockpit of the bus, in which he is trapped, is dangling several feet from the edge. Miraculously he is able to exit through one of the side doors, and, as the bus...
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...
Interview with Sound Artist, Alex Braidwood

Interview with Sound Artist, Alex Braidwood

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. What distinguishes audio as an art form? In a world dominated by the visual image, you’ve chosen something much more intimate and truthful. Why does sound keep you searching? A great deal of the adventure of working with recording sound is the search. Sound is fleeting and can feel very illusive, no matter how much I plan and try to anticipate the results of recording I’m regularly surprised with what comes out. Sound and listening is one of the primary ways in which we as hearing beings engage with the world. We receive a great deal of feedback and information through our ears. Our hearing functions in 360° and is on all the time, even when we are sleeping. This has been very beneficial to us throughout our evolution. A huge part of why I find sound to be engaging as an art form is because it has the power to surround you,...