A note from DMMC Program Manager, Jordan Mayland.
I am ready for the return of 80-35. From someone who has had the pleasure of playing the festival with some of my bands such as TiRES, Mantis Pincers, and Volcano Boys, to a spectator and supporter of local music, I am ready. And now I’m behind the scenes realizing how massive of an endeavor putting on this non-profit music festival really is…and I have to say how much I look forward to bringing a huge weekend to Des Moines full of international, regional, and local music. I know I could share a colossal amount of blurbs, thoughts, and videos regarding more of the 80/35 acts I’m stoked to see, but I’m also busy organizing the upcoming DMMC Music Summer Camps as well as working on the festival itself, so we’ll leave it with a select few with some videos to go along with my thoughts so I can get back to work! I hope to see you July 8th and 9th at the festivities.
I am so excited to see Future Islands perform at 80/35. I was first captivated by them (with the rest of America) after their mind-blowing performance of “Seasons” on the Late Show with David Letterman back in March of 2014. There is something about letting the music move you and lead singer, Samuel T Herring, not only becomes one with the gorgeous synth filled dance tune, but brings the audience with him on a 3 minute and 46 second pop perfected journey.
Like the rest of us, Letterman was pretty bowled-over by the performance, shouting, “Oh buddy, come on!” as the song came to a close. Being a big fan of Dave and the countless historical performances on that Ed Sullivan Theatre stage, we all shared his excitement. There was a lot of truth in that performance and I can’t wait to see what else they bring to 80/35. I’ve been diving back into their 2020 album, As Long As You Are, and I’m still trying to put my finger on what is so damn relatable and alluring about their sound. I feel like someone is trying to empathize with me, to bring an audience together and let us know we’re all in this together…with a pretty rad beat and an 80’s synthesizer lore.
Father John Misty
I was first introduced to Father John Misty during a double date years ago when my wife and I made our way to a friend’s place for a late afternoon hang session. We each took turns picking records to spin while we chatted away. Drinks were had, food was grilled, and we listened to music and caught up on life. Time flies when you’re having fun and the next thing we knew it was getting much past the point of when we thought we were going to hit the road home. As my wife and I made the “I think it’s time to leave” look at each other and I gave the old Midwest exiting announcement, “welp,” our host (we’ll call him Josh) said that we absolutely had to check out this album by Father John Misty before we left. “At least this one song before you go,” Josh requested. It had been a nice enough evening and I was happy enough to listen to one more track or so (and it also gave me time to finish my last drink). Josh put on the album, Fear Fun, and cued up the song “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings.” Josh had just heard my new album and figured Fear Fun was something that would be up my alley – and he was absolutely correct. I was blown away and I quickly dove into the Father John Misty catalogue on the drive home. I have since learned more about his history as a musician in other groups, such as Fleet Foxes, and have found myself often falling down the FJM YouTube rabbit hole, so to speak. Father John Misty will be performing with a seventeen-piece group at 80/35 and I am so looking forward to experiencing whom I believe is one of the most prolific and influential musicians of our time right here in Des Moines. While the live performances are one beautiful aspect of his brand, his new album, Chloe and the Next 20th Century, is a bold change of pace. And with this gorgeous new take of music and his thoughtful existential lyricism, FJM shared his new single “Funny Girl” with a beautiful music video before the album dropped. The imagery moves the song with abstract form and takes you on an optical journey I was not expecting.
I have been teaching music and leading music camps and classes for about fifteen years now. I have taught rock, jazz, pop, country, guitar, drums, piano, and the works. I had never led a Hip Hop class or would have known where to begin when I started running the DMMC Music Education programs. What was I to do? Luckily, I’ve been surrounded by some pretty key players in the Des Moines Hip Hop scene such as Chill Mac, Colo Chanel (also playing 80/35!), and AM Mixes to name a few. When seeking out more teaching artists to help with our education programs the name Juliano Dock was brought up to me multiple times. “He’s the best around.” “He lives, eats, and breathes Hip Hop.” “I think Juliano has helped with some classes back in the day.” So I thought I had better check this guy out. I did not know this type of talent was living in our backyard. Not only IS this guy talented, but he is also very admired by his peers, has insane flow and lyrical content, brings a great vibe professionally to everything he touches, he works with our students very well, and has easily become one of my favorite Iowa artists of all time. His work inspires me, our students, the community, and his most recent album, Alias, straight up crushes. I think he knows he’s got the talent, (why else would he gift us with his flair?) but he’s also as humble as they come. I am so psyched to finally see him set foot on the 80/35 stage and bring what he does to our audience. Check out his video to one of his new tracks, smooth wit the rake – Ft. FlyLife & Ace Forgiato and “Leasure Suit Larry” Ft. FlyLife. Don’t miss him now, because I hope he’s unavailable for the best reasons in the near future.
If you’re a fan of late-night talk and comedy shows like me, it’s been hard to miss Japanese Breakfast, who were recently the musical guests on the Saturday Night Live finale. Michelle Zauner has been busy chatting on talks shows such as The Late Late Show with James Corden, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, they were the musical guests on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and nominated for two Grammys. Zauner turned heads at this year’s Met Gala and her first book, Crying in H Mart: A Memoir, debuted at number two on The New York Times nonfiction best-seller list. Oh, she was ALSO recently named one of the world’s most influential people on the 2022 TIME 100 List as well as being profiled in The New York Times. Just a few recent mind-boggling accomplishments.
I’ve had the tune, “Be Sweet” stuck in my head almost every other day for the past few months, which they played on SNL as well as doing a one camera shot performance on The Tonight Show, which was just really fun and full of neat lights and also included an alien bartender as well. I cannot confirm or deny any aliens being involved in their upcoming 80/35 set, but I’ll be there in full support of about anything she’s going to throw at us.
Greg Wheeler and the Poly Mall Cops
The pandemic sucked. We missed going to concerts, getting sweaty at rock shows, and recycling that energy back and forth from the band, to the audience, and back to the band, to the window, to the wall. Okay, I’m trailing off here. I missed live music – and while we couldn’t gather at our favorite local venues to check out the newest noisiest jams from our musical pals, something special was brewing from Transpiritus Video. Spearheaded by Marshalltown musician, Bo Becker, Transpiritus put on multiple pre-recorded live streamed events giving us what we craved; community and some sort of human interaction between musicians and lovers of music. Viewers were able to chat, comment, and interact during the events while a variety of Iowa music was also shared in between sets. And while fans were anxious to connect with their favorite bands, I had a hunch Greg Wheeler and the Poly Mall Cops had energy storing up and ready to blow like boiling pent up manic garage-rock steam coming from a real cool lookin’ retro teapot. Check out their set from the Transpiritus live stream or watch the entire event including Iowa bands, Glass Ox and Nicholas Beard here.