The Deli Readers' Kansas City Artist of 2012: #1 - Dollar Fox

(Photo by Todd Zimmer)

Congratulations to Dollar Fox, The Deli Readers’ Best Kansas City Artist of 2012! 

Dollar Fox is a five-piece Americana collective that bursts with talent, energy, and depth. Made up of Tommy Donoho, Justin Penney, Ryan Watkins, Nick Dothage, and Ethan Taylor, the group was featured as The Deli KC’s first Artist of the Month. This multi-instrumental band has found success across the KC region and beyond, with engaging live shows that can range from a folky, stripped-down string set to a bombastic rock show.
Dollar Fox has released two LPs: Close To Home and its most recent effort Little Mother’s Things I Am Keeping, released in October 2012 (see our review of the album). The band also released a split 7”, Big Rock Candy Mountain, with labelmates The Peculiar Pretzelmen. As the flagship band on Money Wolf Music, Dollar Fox has amassed a loyal following, which makes it easy to figure out why readers have chosen this talented band as their #1 artist of the year. Congrats, guys!
--Michelle Bacon

The Deli Readers' Kansas City Artists of 2012: #2 - Gentleman Savage

(Photo by Jason Comotto)

Gentleman Savage has only recently been making waves in the Kansas City music scene, but has already made an indelible impression. The second place group’s psych-pop sensibility appeals to wide audiences with its tightly composed hooks while channeling pop greats like The Beach Boys, The Zombies, and Big Star. The group, made up of Holden Simpson, Kyle Anthony, and Nick Talley, released its debut EP Open Eyes in October 2012 (see our review of the album). They are currently in the studio working on new material, which promises to be another solid release and expand its audience.
Note: Gentleman Savage placed third in Open Submissions poll for emerging Kansas City band.
Gentleman Savage will be performing at recordBar next Saturday, February 2, with The Casket Lottery and The Dead Girls.

Today I Realized from Gentleman Savage on Vimeo.

--Michelle Bacon

The Deli Readers' Kansas City Artists of 2012: #3 - We Are Voices

(Photo by Sandy Rushing)

Rounding out The Deli readers’ top 3 is We Are Voices, an atmospheric indie rock quartet whose songwriting continues to grow with each release. The band’s debut release, What Makes Us So Alive?, peaked the interest of indie lovers across the area, while its second album Fighting Fires established its reputation as a polished Kansas City mainstay. Its anticipated third album Tread Lightly (here's our review),  which was released last month, garnered rave reviews inside and outside of Kansas City. The group includes Lucas Larson, Eric Baldwin, Joshua Greenlee, and Carson Land.
Today it was announced that We Are Voices will be among over 40 KC-area bands featured at MidCoast Takeover at SXSW this year. This will be the band’s third showcase at MidCoast.
Note: We Are Voices placed second in the Open Submissions poll for emerging Kansas City band.
This Saturday, January 26, We Are Voices is playing at the Jackpot with Grenadina and Forrester.

Show announcement: Sangha Studios Showcase at recordBar, 1.5.13

Tonight, local production company Sangha Studios will hold its own music showcase at recordBar. The show kicks off at 7 pm with a special dinner performance by Stacked!. At 9 pm, performances will begin from A Thousand Dreadful Things, followed by Run With It, and Claire and the Crowded Stage. All three bands will be releasing EPs at the show.

A Thousand Dreadful Things is a seven-piece band born out of the musical performance of Titus Andronicus last summer at The Living Room. Composer Eryn Bates and the band sets Shakespearean language to lush, theatrical tunes. The group will release its debut self-titled EP at the show.

Run With It is also releasing a debut self-titled EP. This energetic party rock four-piece has a groovy, crisp blues sound while incorporating R&B and soul into its repertoire. 

Claire Adams and eight multi-talented musicians make up the collective Claire and the Crowded Stage. Adam's smooth voice weaves in and out of a unique brand of quirky, intricate music. The group will be releasing its second EP, Technicolor

The show will be hosted by The Deli KC's editor Michelle Bacon. Sangha Studios is committed to help showcase local bands through reasonably-priced recording options, as well as music lessons and for-rent rehearsal spaces. The Deli KC and Midwest Music Foundation strive to help musicians further their craft through several different methods, and we're happy to work with other local groups—like Sangha—with these same goals in mind.

Tickets are $7 at the door or can be purchased at the link here.


Album review: Dollar Fox - Little Mother's Things I Am Keeping

(Photo by Todd Zimmer)

First off, let me say this: Dollar Fox plays great music.  We’ll get deeper into that in a little bit here.  What I really want to start with is how warm it made my jaded musician heart to read the biography on their web site.  Too often these self-written, masturbatory passages are overflowing with clichés, trite phrases, and one big, smoke-filled asshole.  They applaud … something I guess, but rarely actually define or express the music in any way that actually means something.  Check your band’s.  If it says anything to the effect of “can’t be pinned down by one genre” or uses the words or synonyms of “groundbreaking” or “up and coming,” I suggest you give serious consideration to spending the first 15 minutes of your next band practice kicking each other in your stupid, stupid balls.
But Dollar Fox’s immediately made me want to listen.  It is heartfelt, articulate, and sincere.  They talk about serving the song above all else.  They talk about keeping their music pure, honest, and, most importantly, a direct reflection of themselves.  It is a perfect explanation of everything that is right about the core of musical expression.
So, I started off impressed without having heard a note.  Fortunately, the music is just as good, if not better.  Dollar Fox’s Little Mother’s Things I am Keeping is a superb collection of beautifully crafted music.
True, there are many bands out there riding the alt-country/folk-rock boxcar right now.  Dollar Fox is able to hold onto their ticket without falling into the pitfalls of this wildfire genre.  They apply a sly wisdom and reflection to a style of music too often crutched on group chanting and handclaps.  Thematically, the songs all tend to ride the good old “longing for love” or “weeping over love lost” trains, but through dynamic vocal performance and just witty enough phrasing, Dollar Fox is able to sell me on every fluttering heart palpitation or tear of agony.  Couple that with a perfect balance of impactful yet tasteful musicianship, and you get ten beautiful slices of heartfelt reality.  The true brilliance of this album is its ability to cut through all the pretenses and bullshit applied to modern music and just be a damn beautiful and honest batch of songs.
“Letter” is the perfect barnstorm of high energy folk rock to kick off the record.  The haunting, chugging strains of “Josephine” take the listener through the throes of scorn and regret.  “Don’t Remember Names” is just barely not a Tonic or Gin Blossom’s song, in a “vacations but doesn’t want to live there” kind of way.  “No Accords” tears at the heart like a guitarist trying to rip off a broken A string halfway through the first chorus.  “Keep it Straight” closes out the album with a playful and dancey two-step kick to the ass on the way out the door.
Money Wolf Records has put out some very solid releases this year (see also The Hillary Watts Riot, Alacartoona, The Peculiar Pretzelmen, among the others on the Money Wolf roster. With an innovative blend of ideas old and new, Dollar Fox is certainly a rising and consistent voice in the Kansas City scene (and beyond).  As long as they keep putting out records as good as this one, they are destined to be around for a long time.
Dollar Fox is playing its first round of shows since the album was released in late October. The group will be playing next Friday, January 11 at The Clarette Club in Mission, and Saturday, January 12 at recordBar for a dinner show with the Rumblejetts.

--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.