Once upon a time, I used to be a music writer. It was during that time, writing for the greatly underrated, dearly departed Band Bombshell, that I first had the chance to chat with Muffs founder Kim Shattuck.Read More
I will not, even for a second, cheapen the memory of Larry Enos by pretending that we were great friends. There were people who knew him longer, knew him better and are surely missing him with more profundity than I am.
But god DAMN it, he was a good one, wasn’t he?Read More
I don't know when or how I first discovered Naomi Hulteng. I've never seen her in person, so it was obviously over some kind of social media, probably Facebook. Aside from cultivating the best hair in the state, Naomi is in to a lot of things; her own graphic design company, some photography and, of course, music.
As a musician, Naomi doesn't do enough. She just dropped a new music video last week, but everything on her Soundcloud page is at least a year old. She plays live shows and occasionally posts covers to YouTube, but she hasn't recorded anything since her album "Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish," which was uploaded to Soundcloud in October, 2016.
Which is a shame, because she's a snarky, clever lyricist, blessed with a dynamic, extremely listenable voice. Or, as that self-same Soundcloud page says, she "(focuses) on vulnerable, matter-of-fact lyrics, thoughtful melody lines (...) drawing from dramatic and traumatic life experiences, NAOMI crafts rage and passion into catchy songs that morph into healing, boldness, and reckless courage...". It's kind of like early '00s pop punk filtered through a smidgen of Alanis Morissette.
But here's the thing kids: I'm not really a music writer anymore, so I'm not really here to talk about the music, or at least not focus on it. No, I'm here to talk about Naomi.Read More
Madison Ray has worn a lot of hats: Actor. Singer. Front man. Booker. Writer. Now, five years after the release of his last album with a band behind him, Madison is turning his most ambitious page yet, as he readies himself to release his first truly solo full length album, coinciding with the launch of a new, minimalist fashion clothing line called Andro.
Everything comes to a head on Friday, Nov 10 at the Stoner Theater, but in the lead up to that event, we sat down with Madison Ray at his home and listened to the upcoming album in its entirety, chatting about his music and life along the way.Read More
Courtney Krause is, in my mind, responsible for one of the defining moments in 80/35 history.
The Des Moines Music Coalition’s signature event sells tickets based on the strength of each year’s main stage acts. And while there have been more than a few great performances from acts like the Wu Tang Clan and Flaming Lips, 80/35’s heart and soul has always lived on the free stages, born from Amedeo Rossi’s Rain Man-like ability to suss out great local and regional talent. Weezer sells tickets. Courtney Krause gave people a memory.Read More
The first time I saw Korby Lenker was at Bumbershoot. I had moved to Seattle from Des Moines about four years prior, and in many ways was still trying to figure out where I fit in a city much larger and much cooler than I was used to. Coincidentally, Lenker had recently done the same, moving to the Emerald City from Idaho by way of Bellingham, WA, where he had fronted a hugely popular local act called the Barbed Wire Cutters, but had become too big a fish for B-Ham's small pond. By the time I saw Lenker perform at Bumbershoot, he was fresh off releasing his album “King of Hearts,” which had been recorded with Bellingham musicians and was getting plenty of love on Seattle's KEXP.Read More
For a matter of a few, miraculous heartbeats from 1967 to 1970, Creedence Clearwater Revival was on top of the world. Behind the dynamic vocals of front man John Fogerty, CCR tapped into the anti-war angst of the young Baby Boom generation like few others had or would. But like all white-hot things, CCR was seemingly destined to disappear quickly. John's brother Tom would leave the band in '71, and the trio of Fogerty, bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford limped on for another year, eventually turning out the almost universally panned “Mardi Gras” in April of '72 before infighting broke the band apart for good.Read More
"Kinky does not wish to discuss politics."
In prepping for my phone conversation with legendary songwriter and humorist Kinky Friedman, his manager makes the parameters of the phone call clear: no politics. So naturally, exactly four minutes and 28 seconds into the call, Kinky starts talking about politics.Read More
In case you missed it, The Des Moines Music Coalition made their initial lineup announcement for 80/35 this week, including headliners The Shins and MGMT. But, of course, you didn't miss it. Because as a simple perusal of the social media format of your choice will show, there are always two phases to every 80/35 lineup announcement: the statement itself, followed immediately by the moaning from people who can't wait to tell you how much the lineup always sucks, but how this year's is the Worst Ever.Read More
A friend recently posed a question on their Facebook page: what is your favorite rock band in Des Moines? The answers received were a crushingly disappointing mixture of defunct acts, cover bands (oh so many cover bands) and, of course, Slipknot.
On the other side of that coin, there are a small number of bands in town who somehow always manage to be recipients of an amount of praise and admiration that is inordinate compared to their output and, frankly, talent level. Both of these situations vex me, and for exactly the same reason.Read More
Much like Patresa Hartman and the Other Brothers before them, the poor Monday Mourners were completely blindsided by this song choice. "Gold Digger" was completely out of the country act's wheelhouse; none of the members were even familiar with the song.Read More
Des Moines has always been a pretty metal-loving town. Our biggest export helped define the genre in the 90s, and the east siders make sure that metal shows always draw well in town, be they touring acts or locals. So it seemed obvious to have that facet of the scene represented. The question was: who to pick?Read More
Most of the bands that participated in the first installment of Completely Covered really disliked the Kanye West source material, but still managed to come away pretty pleased with their finished results. One exception to that, however, was Cover Grrls.Read More
Even before we managed to get Nova Labs on board to help with the recording of each "Completely Covered" track, I knew I wanted to have Bryon Dudley's band, Strong Like Bear involved. Partly because there wasn't anyone else doing what SLB was doing, on the level they were doing it, but also because I figured if anyone was going to take the idea and run off into some uncharted territory with it, it was going to be Dudley and his crew.Read More
For day three of our "Completely Covered" retrospective, we turn to the only solo act to complete the project, Patresa Hartman. Once a song had been decided on, Patresa was quickly the first person I pictured in my mind. Patresa's intimate, personal songwriting style was so incongruous with Kanye's flash and bluster, that I knew the results had the potential to be some of the most interesting of the entire project.
Patresa, of course, hated every minute of it.Read More
The idea in and of itself wasn't a new one. As soon as the first song was ever written, the first cover song probably followed closely behind. More recently, publications and websites have been pulling bands together for cover song series for years, with The Onion A.V. Club's "A.V. Undercover" probably being the best known current example.Read More