KC music

Album review: Erik Voeks - Finulu (EP)

Finulu is the first extended follow up to Erik Voeks’s debut EP Free Range (see my review here). While I very much enjoyed the more laid-back and folky sounds featured on Free Range, it is nice to see Voeks further invite the whole orchestra pit to play on this EP.
“Descending From a Daydream” is a solid upbeat pop tune. As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, I am a complete whore for a good chug beat and “woo hoo”s. Both are featured here in spades. The harmonies are air tight, the arrangement is playful, the instrumentation is tastefully lush, and the lyrics are a little mischievous and tongue-in-cheek. Perhaps best is that this song really puts its money where its mouth is, as it is both somewhat a sonic departure from Voek’s previous work that I am familiar with as well as thematically about being sick of the same old tired music.
“And I’ve had enough of 12-bar blues,
And I’ve had all of your face that I can use”
“Cuz I’ve had enough of 1, 4, 5,
and I’ve had all of your shit I can’t survive
“Voted the boy most likely to succeed at the Dr Who convention…” greets your ear as you groove into the EP’s second track, “Dark Angel of Delmar.” This two-minute song tows the more goofy and playful side of power pop. But even if you don’t know what Tardis is, you can still bob your head to the solid groove and hum along to the hooky guitar line. Complete with a crowd-noise/baby-wailing fade out into the next song, this effort reinforces the sentiment laid out in the first track: don’t be the soulless jerk just rehashing the same crap that has been done over and over and over and over again.
The last two tracks are more like the material I remember from Free Range:heavy doses of thoughtful Americana meets the Beatles in “Hester A.Fish” and early to mid-‘90s power pop ala the Gin Blossoms or Soul Asylum in “What It Feels Like.” Whereas not as experimental or varied in their sonic landscape, these tracks are still top notch.
Finulu, which also happens to feature some of the most adorable album art ever, is another solid effort from Voeks. It is sonically impressive, lyrically astute, and notably coddled into a sincerely enjoyable listen.
You can see Erik Voeks and witness his brilliant range of songwriting at Crossroads Music Fest next Saturday, September 14 at Collection at 9:30 p.m. You can buy tickets in advance at this link for $15, $20 at the gate.
--Zach Hodson

Zach Hodson is a monster. He once stole a grilled cheese sandwich from a 4-year-old girl at her birthday party. He will only juggle if you pay him. I hear he punched Slimer right in his fat, green face. He knows the secrets to free energy, but refuses to release them until "Saved by the Bell: Fortysomethings" begins production.

He is also in Dolls on Fire and Drew Black & Dirty Electric, as well as contributing to various other Kansas City-based music, comedy, and art projects.


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Spotlight: Ryan Beye Foundation's C4 Fest - Tonight!

If you want to support a great cause that’s also fun, check out the first annual C4 Fest from the Ryan Beye Foundation in the Crossroads Arts District for tonight’s First Friday. The foundation was formed for Ryan Beye after he passed away in late 2012. Beye founded Bandwagon Merchandise, was a musician, and believed strongly in a sense of community. C4 stands for Communicate, Collaborate, Commemorate, Celebrate for the Kansas City Community.
The block party will run at Locust St from 18th to 19th St and 19th Street from Oak to Locust. It will feature several artists, musicians, charities, and local businesses.
Here’s a schedule of events:

6:00 p.m: Four murals will be unveiled on the corner of 19th and Locust:
Eeks Art, Deuce Sharbonda, David Gant, and muralist Alexander Austin.
Grants to supported charities will be made promptly at CrossroadsKC. 

5:00–11:00 p.m: Artists, nonprofits, organizations, and businesses that support the local community will have booths throughout Locust Street between 18th and 19th St. 
A commemoration wall for all to write/draw tributes to loved ones that have passed away.

5:15–12:15 a.m: Bands playing at
CrossroadsKC behind Grinder’s: St. Andrews Pipe and Drums, Ruddy Swain, La Guerre, The Pedaljets, The Calamity Cubes!, AY-MusiK.
Poets/writers from Kansas City Voices/Whispering Prairie Press reading between set changes: Jason Preu, Timothy Christopher Ryan Volpert, Melissa Sewell, & Amy Kierzek Ash. 

All day: Free Wi-Fi provided by Connecting for Good and Bandwagon Merchandise.

The Filling Station and Soho Bakery will be selling coffee and treats.
Boulevard Brewing Company will provide Zon, Pale Ale, and Unfiltered Wheat at CrossroadsKC.

Check out the
Facebook event page for more information.

--Michelle Bacon 

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Artists on Trial: Katy Guillen & The Girls

(Photo by Brandon Forrest)
They’ve only been around for about a year, and already Katy Guillen & The Girls (formerly The Katy Guillen Trio) have taken Kansas City by storm with their compelling, proficient brand of blues and rock. Guillen, along with “The Girls”—bassist Claire Adams and drummer Stephanie Williams—have big plans for the rest of 2013. They’ve released a series of singles, and they’re finalists for the 2013 KCBS Kansas City Blues Competition this Saturday at Knuckleheads. We’ll find out more about them here.
The Deli: Down and dirty: 1 sentence to describe your music. What is it?
KG & The Girls: Rock and roll, heavy blues, lots of guitar, big drums, soulful harmonies, and songs about working to survive, dreams, and people.
The Deli: Tell us about …and then there were three, the EP you're releasing. What should we expect?
KG&G: It’s more of a release of three singles and/or a taste of the band, than an official EP. Our goal is to release an album soon with these songs and more on it. They’re the first three originals of mine that we ever jammed on and made into band songs.
The Deli: Katy, you play solo and also played with Go-Go Ray in the past. How/why did you start this project with Claire and Stephanie?
KG&G: Katy: Last September, I got asked to open for the Royal Southern Brotherhood at Knuckleheads with 2 weeks’ notice, and said of course, not knowing who I would play with. I asked Stephanie and Claire if they would want to play this show, and maybe just be a band. They were stoked and we’ve been playing music together ever since. We were already good friends, and playing in Claire & The Crowded Stage together too, so the chemistry and comfort was there from the beginning.
The Deli: All three of you are members of several other bands around town. What is it about this specific project that's most rewarding to each of you?
KG&G: Stephanie: It’s the coolest!
Claire: It’s nice because it’s a small group and we communicate very well together, musically and organizationally.
Katy: I second what Claire said. It’s easy and fun.
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?
KG&G: Playing shows, seeing shows, and volunteering your time and music for community events and causes. It’s staying active with others, and when we support each other, we support the music.
The Deli: Who are your favorite local musicians right now?
KG&G: Everyone in The Grisly Hand, and Julia Haile.
The Deli: Who are your favorite not-so-local musicians right now?
KG&G: Those Darlins, Lily Hyatt, Delta Spirit, Heartless Bastards.
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?
KG&G: Heartless Bastards, Tedeschi Trucks Band, and Carrie Brownstein.
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why? 
KG&G: Carrie Brownstein because she rules at life, John Bonam because he rules at drums, Janis Joplin because she rules at the stage, Jimi Hendrix because he rules at the guitar. Or, Steph’s 3 dogs and Claire’s dog, because they’re loyal.
The Deli: Where can we find you on the web?
The Deli: What other goals do KG & The Girls have for 2013?
KG&G: Play shows, travel more, and record!
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
KG&G: Have fun, love it, and don’t turn your back on a good thing!
You can catch KG & The Girls anytime in the next few days! Tonight they’ll be at BB’s Lawnside BBQ (Facebook event page), tomorrow they’re playing a benefit for the Sherwood Foundation, and they round it out Saturday at Knuckleheads for the KCBS Blues Competition from 2-6 p.m. The winner of this round goes to Memphis in January to represent Kansas City at the International Blues Challenge. Good luck, girls!
Also, for today only, you can download the band’s three-song release on Bandcamp at this link for free, or pay what you want.

--Michelle Bacon

Michelle is editor of The Deli Magazine - Kansas City, and also plays drums Drew Black & Dirty Electric and bass in Dolls on Fire and The Philistines. She likes to visit potentially dangerous or blighted areas because sometimes you find castles. 

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Album review: Cherokee.Rock.Rifle - Ta-Li

(Photo by Todd Zimmer)
There are just not enough synonyms for blistering or scalding in the thesaurus to fully describe the sonic cock punch known as Cherokee.Rock.Rifle. Beloved by many for a bursting and no-holds-barred live show—described by the band as “a high energy show leaving you with the feeling of having been gently trampled by a herd of sonic buffalo somewhere in the untamed plains”—Cherokee.Rock.Rifle has somehow managed to adequately capture their scorching volcanic eruption on Ta-Li, a six-song EP released in April 2013.
This is your older brother’s dirty, unapologetically STD-laced riff rock still rolling after a weekend bender on the good shit, the stuff that even Lemmy would think is too strong. The guitars hit harder than any of that indie crap you’re SOOOOO into right now. The rhythm section of Brett Southard and EvanJohn Mcintosh somehow stakes the burgeoning cavalcade of guitars to the ground. Singer/wailer/screamer/guttural-hellfire-screecher Dutch Humphrey bends your ears over like a skanky White House intern.
If you know much of Cherokee, the lead track “Loose Talk/Noose Talk” seems almost like a joke at first. Slide guitar, a barely distorted, almost cowboy sound, rim shots? However, fear not troopers, as after a few minutes of slow and careful dynamic build all is put back in its rightful place with a trademark Cherokee ground-zero detonation of rock ‘n roll around the four-minute mark.
The other five tracks are much more straightforward outbursts of angst and grit. Doug Nelson, Scott Reed, Southard, and Mcintosh keep the blazing wildfire formula just varied and interesting enough to make you want to strap the gimp mask on and take another round of the switch. Humphrey continually shreds his vocal cords apart with slivers of glass and flaming sandpaper to pound the stories home. “Burn” stands out as the single of the bunch, but it would probably kick my ass for saying that.

The music Cherokee.Rock.Rifle presents on Ta-Li is not fancy. It’s not overly clever or new. But it will run your Prius off the road, pull you out of the driver’s seat and unmercifully thrash your skinny ass to a pulp before peeling out in a 1978 Mustang with a “My Kid Knocked Up Your Honor Roll Student” bumper sticker. And to think, their live show is even better.

You can bear witness to Cherokee.Rock.Rifle’s live show tomorrow night, September 5 at The Riot Room. The band will be partying with Coward (Columbia) and Austin’s Not In The Face!. Show starts at 9 p.m. with Coward. Facebook event page. You can also catch them at Crossroads Music Fest next Saturday, September 14 at The Brick. They will be the last act of the fest, playing at 1:30. You can buy tickets in advance at this link for $15, $20 at the gate.

--Zach Hodson

Zach Hodson is a monster. He once stole a grilled cheese sandwich from a 4-year-old girl at her birthday party. He will only juggle if you pay him. I hear he punched Slimer right in his fat, green face. He knows the secrets to free energy, but refuses to release them until "Saved by the Bell: Fortysomethings" begins production.

He is also in Dolls on Fire and Drew Black & Dirty Electric, as well as contributing to various other Kansas City-based music, comedy, and art projects.


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Album review: Molly Picture Club - I'm My Own Time Machine (EP)

(Photo by Todd Zimmer)
Molly Picture Club’s third release, I’m My Own Time Machine, answers the prayers of wallflowers around the region. Finally, dance music for non-dancers. The tracks on Time Machine are so full of rhythm and fun beats that it doesn’t matter if you have two left feet or a Ph.D in jazz hands. No matter what varying level of awkwardness that will ensue, you will dance to this album, and you will like it.
And the movement won’t take long. For example, within the first 30 seconds of “Disconnected” your toes will start to tap and, as the song progresses, the rest of your limbs will join the party. And so on and so forth with the rest of the tracks.
“Dark disco,” as the band has coined their sound, is a blend of synthesizers, afrobeats, and ‘80s/’90s punk influences. That said, unlike the typical loosey-goosey disconnectedness of disco or other dance music, Molly Picture Club’s tempo and beats almost seem mathematical. Everything they produce sounds intentional and planned; they don’t miss a beat, which is especially apparent in the fifth track on the EP, “We Live Underground.”
Molly Picture Club is one of those bands whose “sounds like” list is distinct and obvious, as their music carries clarity and transparency. And though the group’s sound parallels that of The Talking Heads, LCD Soundsystem, and maybe even Animal Collective, it’s as if they take the best elements and characteristics of those groups and set out to carve a unique niche for themselves.
Molly Picture Club is:
Michael Tipton: vocals, guitar
Aniko Adany: vocals, synth
Matthew Hayden: percussion

I’m My Own Time Machine was recorded at Weights & Measures Soundlab by Duane Trower and Southland Studios by Matthew Hayden. It was mixed and mastered by Trower.


Make it a point to catch this infectiously dancey synth pop group live this Sunday, September 1, at The Riot Room, as it will be their final performance. The show kicks off at 8 pm with Molly Picture Club—who will be a five-piece group for the evening—followed by GRMLN and Geographer. Molly Picture Club will joined on stage by Andy Kirk on bass and keys, and Justin Skinner on percussion and samples. Facebook event page.

--Alex Peak

Alex Peak is a magazine designer by day and a music listener by night. To her, stumbling across great new music is even better than finding a $10 bill floating around in the laundry.

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