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The Sluts
"Loser (EP)
"
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 Lawrence, Kansas (affectionately to be referred to henceforth as LFK) continues to be a source of the kinds of music that I want to hear more of and know more about. One band in particular has really caught my ear of late with a sound that’s raw, dirty, energetic, and undeniably attention-grabbing: The Sluts, a bare-bones twosome consisting of Kristoffer Dover on drums and Ryan Wise on guitar and vocals. Two musicians, no more, no less … but as the sounds you’ll hear on their new EP Loser will demonstrate, two musicians is plenty when it comes to making a substantial sonic statement.

 
Their mix of garage, punk, and grunge kicks things off with the opener, “Let Me Go,” as The Sluts tear things up with a grimy bounce firmly entrenched in 4/4 time. “Loser” starts with a tip of the cap to upbeat new wavey rhythms, but 25 seconds into the track, the boys re-establish the power presence that is their raison d’etre (how’s THAT for some damn NPR-speak, kids?). “Green” and “Linger” wrap up the four-track, barely-more-than-ten-minute EP with the sound that I’ve most commonly described as “Nirvana without Krist Novoselic,” as Wise’s sneering vocals and snarling guitar combined with Dover’s relentlessly on-point percussion give the music just a bit of Bleach-era homage while sounding very much of the present day.
 
I had the honor of introducing The Sluts during this year’s Midcoast Takeoverat SXSW; they were on the roster of the I Heart Local Music / Whatever Forever day-party that featured more examples of LFK’s finest (Black on BlackShy BoysJosh Berwanger Band, and Oils/CS Luxem). After a couple long days of music and food truck fare and drinking, the abrasive grind of The Sluts was a much-needed Brillo pad to the brain. Give Loser a listen, and keep an eye out for this band.
 
Love me some dirty, filthy, nasty The Sluts. Awwww yeahhhhhh.

--Michael Byars

Welcome to the new Deli Charts, organized by genre and scene.

To rank the artists with the star system go to the Top 50.


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LATEST NEWS: L.A. READERS' POLL IS ON! - CHICAGO READERS' POLL IS ON! - NYC Alt Folk Open Submissions - NEW ENGLAND READERS' POLL RESULTS! - TORONTO READERS' POLL RESULTS! - NASHVILLE READERS' POLL IS ON! - Los Angeles Open Submissions - NYC Indie Rock Open Submissions - PORTLAND READERS' POLL IS ON! - Nashville Open Submissions - NYC Garage Rock Open Submissions - KC READERS POLL RESULTS - Chicago Open Submissions - Portland Open Submissions - NYC Hip Hop + Other Open Submissions - S.F. BAY AREA READERS' POLL IS ON! - NYC Psych Rock Open Submissions - DC AREA READERS' POLL IS ON! - SF Bay Area Open Submissions - NYC Folk Rock/Americana Open Submissions.

For the full summary click...

HERE
January 13, 2015
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Westside Royal, the new musical offering from She’s A Keeper, is out now on the Internet [the music IRL is at a party on Saturday at Davey’s Uptown, $6, 10:30]. The five new songs wash over with confidence and calm. It’s a professional and creatively successful piece of work that the band has offered up for critical review by The Deli KC.
 
Upfront, let’s be clear: I like this album. I’d like-button this album, probably, but that’s not the point. After over a dozen streams or so I hear plenty of good stuff, great stuff, and yet—and always—there are compositional choices inevitably worth questioning. Today this will be me, tomorrow it will be someone else, ultimately it is you. There is something really nice about being critical of material that strives for and achieves a certain level of quality. We get to dig a little deeper and talk about the little things, the details. So thanks for the new stuff, guys, and allowing us to pick apart this awesome EP a little. Let’s get into it…
 
Album opener is “Wannabe.” Great opener. A strong sense of longing in the mood and lyrical content creates magnetism. The music is lively and progressive with great drum work and a really nice piano feature midway. The whole track blossoms and just feels good. The only part that sticks out to me as a missed opportunity is the lack of sonic interest after the piano section. It’s a transitional period in which the band hits a wall (a sequence all in unison) that serves to de-escalate the intensity of the building momentum. What it lacks is some sort of textural context, some color to complement such a straightforward approach. It’s a standard technique and is cultivated by the dynamics of a live show. For a recording it might be more effective to provide a sound to either carry the listener’s attention as an auditory focal point, or as an embellishment to the simple, homophonic texture of the band.
 
And, of course, once I criticize the band’s use of color I have immediate cause for praise. The second track, “Staying Up” is my favorite kind of song: refreshing, reflective, organic. From the immaculate roll of the opening chord, the music unfolds with elegant gravity. Imagine leaves falling. Jangly guitars fit snugly in a vibrant mix and are accompanied by tasteful and highly complimentary banjo picking. This is one of the most unique moments on the album; Keeper finds a place to reside comfortably and welcomes the listener to a sound of its own. The vocal work at the end is really cool and extremely well done. Because I like this track so much, I wish there was more to bite off lyrically, but I think this is a minor smudge in light of the track’s overall magnificence.
 
The first tidbit of attitude we get comes immediately with the onset of “I Won’t,” a cool, breezy, kinetic track lushed out quite beautifully. The egg shaker, for instance, is a breath of fresh air. The drums are built logically and done with precision. The dirty guitar would contribute more with a more vibrant tone, maybe more chord definition. But, the clean guitar work is spot-on. I love the tone and the slinky riff that carries the groove and harmony. I am looking forward to experiencing this song live. It seems honed by interaction.
 
On “Dead Serious” we get the most intriguing literary premise and the lyrics have more color, a wider vocabulary, and more devices. This sort of lyrical craft is a great complement to Keeper’s instantly amicable sonic stylings. We also get a cool, augmented, kinda hypnotic chord structure bringing in some welcomed harmonic struggle in the midst of the album’s overall consonance. The outro feels fresh and playful with that augmented bit making a delicate return.
 
“Pennsylvania” closes the EP nicely. It’s a sentimental ballad about a far off place, a far off time. My initial thought is a harsh one: Do we need more of these? The track goes down easy... maybe too easy, but again, Keeper does it well. The band stays concise and resists the urge to include a four-minute chant section that helps keep the song lean and honest. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a gorgeous melody and the style is executed with great skill, I just can’t help but wonder if the band could have been a bit more adventurous in its closing statement. I am being quite critical of a track that is, for all intents and purposes, flawless. This is food for thought. Here is a band that has a great following, great instincts and musicianship: Do we have the faith to follow them into unknown territory?
 
Finally, here’s my dilemma with the piece and the EP in general: while the band packs a little too much sugar in their recipe sometimes, the music ultimatelyleaves a good taste in my mouth. It also leaves me with an undeniable sense of peace and closure. Which, damn it all if that’s not the point.
 
Overall, it’s obvious that She’s A Keeper is a group of talented musicians who know how to make a solid recording. Due credit must also be given to engineer/producer Joel Nanos at Element Recording, where the project came to life… which is just down the street from what I can only assume is our mutually local liquor store of which the title may have been adopted (my hunch).
 
 
Check out She’s A Keeper online and join us on Saturday, January 31, to see them LIVE at Davey’s Uptown with Organized Crimes. Facebook event page.
 
--Jerad Tomasino
 
Jerad is a musician and human being local to KCMO since 2005. He studied Music Composition at the Conservatory at UMKC, is a founding member of Golden Sound Records, The Crossroads Summer Block Party, and has been active as a writer/player/producer for bands, including his own Everyday/Everynight (KCMO) and Nifty250 (Omaha).
 
 

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January 30, 2015
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Music—writing songs that resonate with people, observing snapshots in time, and reconciling emotions in one’s head—can be cathartic and somewhat serious business. Out of a conversation with Hembree singer/guitarist/songwriter Isaac Flynn, you get very little of that. The guy is just really nice. He says early in the conversation that they “want to make fun music.” New Oasis, Hembree’s eagerly awaited debut EP, does just that. In spades.   
 
From the ashes of Lawrence/KC group Quiet Corral rose Hembree. This quintet—the remainder of the QC members after vocalist/guitarist Jesse Roberts departed—took stock of its situation and instead of going their separate ways, they seized—as Flynn tells it, the “opportunity to create something totally different.” Take a liberal dose of supremely fresh Americana and add to it a couple scoops of vintage keyboards and beats and you’re beginning to get the idea.
 
New Oasis is, from front to back, a journey of gritty and honest vocals, dreamy and ethereal harmonies, beautifully constructed guitar layers, a near perfect rhythm section, and killer keyboards that provide a yin to the roots rock yang. The lyrics come from the heart as well; all drawn from, as Flynn asserts, “my life experience and those close to me.” He fills pages, his mobile phone memo app, and has even inundated the memory in his car’s onboard voice memo storage with lyrics he sings aloud to remember tune ideas that randomly pop into his head. 
 
“It’s like an ‘80s band decided to become an Americana band but forgot to tell the keyboard player,” he explains. Well said. 
 
The feel of New Oasis is poppy but real. Many of Hembree’s musical influences such as Tom Petty, Hall & Oates, and Tears For Fears can be heard, but with a definite modern freshness. Hembree has taken these filters and molded them into a remarkably cohesive sound that literally anyone could listen to and find a slice that inspires them and leaves them wanting more. 
 
The opener, “Whistler,” is a longing introduction that sucks you in with an Alan Parsons-ish vibe and is followed by the hopeful title track, which seems to spell out the bright outlook of this group that—in spite of their losses—sees only promise for the future. “Subtle Step” is a downright infectious number (I’ve had it in my head for literally days) that would be perfectly placed on the soundtrack for Real Genius or Weird Science. “October” is that perfect, lovely mixture of the Americana/synth compound: Equal parts Tom Petty, a wide-open Midwestern twang, and OMD. “Walk Alone” is a modern and somewhat lonely song that belies its outwardly upbeat meter. The hooky and interplaying vocals, dynamics, and immaculate guitar riffs make this one as strong as any cut from the record. “Six Years” closes it out with greater guitar fuzz and an earnest entreat: Meet me on the other side / Where there’s time to learn this life.
 
New Oasis has focus, it has balance, and it has integrity. My only complaint about the record is that it’s too short. As to Hembree’s goal of making “fun music”? Check that one off the bucket list, guys.
 
Hembree is:
Jim Barnes: Drums, vocals
Garrett Childers: Guitar, vocals
Isaac Flynn: Guitar, vocals
Matt Green: Bass
Zach Mehl: Keyboards
 
--Jeff Stalnaker
 
 
Hembree will be celebrating the release of New Oasis in Lawrence this Saturday, January 31, at the Granada Theater. It’s an all ages, free show sponsored by KJHK, with special guests Paper Buffalo, Ebony Tusks, and The Phantastics. Facebook event page.
 
 

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January 30, 2015
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Deli Readers,

The Deli KC's Best of 2014 Readers and Fans' Poll for local emerging artists is over, thanks to all those who cast their vote in support of the emerging local bands and artists in our list of nominees.

1. Kangaroo Knife Fight

Congratulations to The Deli’s 2014 KC Readers’ Choice artist, Kangaroo Knife Fight (pictured above)! The four-piece rockers recently released its debut self-titled EP, which can be found below. We’ll be featuring them in an upcoming interview very soon. Until then, check out their tunes!


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2. Yore
 
 
Before even playing its first show, Yore has taken second place in our Readers’ Poll! This new project includes former members of The Cherry Tree Parade, Mother Culture, and Gentleman Savage. Yore recently released its first video; keep your eyes peeled for a new single from them soon.
 
---
 
 
 
Coming in at third place is The Blackbird Revue, the husband-and-wife duo whose folk pop melodies have been winning over audiences in KC and around the country (they’ve been featured on The Voice and The Discovery Channel). The couple recently released a video in advance of a 2015 album. Here’s a Q&A we did with them.
  

 

Here's this poll's top 10 chart, full results can be found here

BEST OF KC 2014 - READERS' POLL RESULTS
 
Artists
Votes
 
1
Kangaroo Knife Fight
502
2
Yore
461
icon
3
The Blackbird Revue
302
icon
4
ATLAS
181
icon
5
AY MusiK
57
icon
6
Scruffy & The Janitors
34
icon
7
Jorge Arana Trio
21
icon
8
Riddles
18
icon
9
The Gorlons
17
icon
10
The Thunderclaps
15
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Stay tuned for the composite chart, to be released soon, which will include the point nominees accumulated from the jurors and Deli writers' votes, and will crown The Deli's Best Emerging KC Artist of 2014.

The Deli's Staff

January 27, 2015
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With a mission to “create fresh, inventive art with musical sounds” andpromote skillful musicians and songwriters whose goal is to compose from mind, body, and soul,” The Nation of Love is an independent record label that connects passionate music makers with devout music lovers.
 
In 2009, songwriter/drummer/producer Phylshawn Johnson founded the label out of a desire to create and promote albums. “Inspired by Motown Records having musicians and artists that searched for a new sound and had a professional way about them,” Johnson remarks, “the mission was to find artists to compose in a unique way but also connect with the listener.”
 
Mr. History was the first band whose album was released under The Nation of Love’s purview, and the label has since added fellow KC band The Future Kings and Columbia artists Violet & the Undercurrents, Ruth Acuff, Zorya, Violet Vonder Haar, and Phylshawn. “I wasn’t looking for the most popular musicians,” says Johnson, “but those who would always make music because it’s their calling and love.” As a result, the label’s artist roster is an interconnected and collaborative collective of musicians that has released more than 15 albums altogether since its inception.
 
Johnson runs The Nation of Love from Columbia, where the music/arts scene has gained tremendous support and traction in recent years. Most of the label’s Columbia artists have been building their fan base in various projects for over 10 years, helping establish the city’s musical identity. “I believe that every artist/band should have their town or city behind them, and bands should represent their town or city. To me, artists express the world around them and the world that influences them.”
 
The Nation of Love continues to expand its reach by embarking on its first tour in March with Ruth Acuff, Violet & the Undercurrents, and Future Kings. They’ve also launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for travel and showcase expenses. The Golden Hour Tour, from March 14-21, will cover venues in Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana, with several unofficial showcases at the big music fest in Austin (including a day party at MidCoast Takeover on March 19).
 
As the label grows, Johnson hopes to connect with more artists, venues, and fans. For now, The Nation of Love relies on a solid foundation of artists savvy in the music business. “Each NOL artist is special and unique in a sonic way,” Johnson says. “Also, they are more than artists; they are my friends and family. We are all connected in some way.”
 
--Michelle Bacon
 
Michelle is editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands.
 
 
This Saturday, January, 31, The Nation of Love will be showcasing four of its artists (Ruth Acuff, Zorya, Violet & the Undercurrents, and The Future Kings) at Coda. Doors at 8 pm. Facebook event page.
 

You can also visit this page to help The Nation of Love reach its goal for The Golden Hour Tour; the campaign ends February 6. Listen to tunes from each of the artists at this link 

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January 27, 2015
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One of the newest projects in KC music is Redder Moon, our Artist on Trial today. The band, essentially a dual collaboration between Jeremiah James Gonzales and Matthew Naquin (they also recently added Jon VanSickle as a live drummer), blurs the lines of electronic, avant garde, and psychedelic shoegaze sounds. We talked with Gonzales a bit about Redder Moon and what they have planned for 2015.
 
The Deli: Down and dirty: one sentence to describe your music.
 
Gonzales: Sounds like the soundtrack to a post apocalyptic film that has not yet been made. 
 
The Deli: Who writes the music?
 
Gonzales: I come up with the big picture of the songs for the most part, and then Matt helps translate the idea into digital ear candy. At times, he adds some of the most essential elements that cap off the big picture and make it better.
 
The Deli: What inspires your songwriting?
 
Gonzales: I am mostly inspired by movie soundtracks and the feeling I get when I’m in engulfed in a great film, alongside being influenced by the need to express ourselves, as are most creative people. I also cite pizza (the food) as an influence.
 
The Deli: What have been your greatest accomplishments as a band?
 
Gonzales: The day we finished production of the first record, a small EDM outfit from Canada called Upstairs Recordings wanted to put out or EP digitally, so that was pretty cool. Also, Matt Hill of UMBERTO has made a few remixes of some songs and as a result, a pretty cool label Not Not Fun Records (LA) will possibly be putting something out for us sometime in 2015.
 
The Deli: Do you have any plans to record a new album anytime soon?
 
Gonzales: I’m currently compiling/accumulating songs for the possible NNF release. However, we are always open to releasing digital tracks/albums intermittently and physically with the right pairing of record label.
 
The Deli: You've been making music in Kansas City for a long time. What's your goal with Redder Moon compared with bands you've been with in the past?
 
Gonzales: Over the years I've had the pleasure and experience to be in some very great bands with some very talented people. I would say that I'm very lucky to have been able to be a part of the music scene over the years. But with playing in traditional bands comes all the traditional woes and throes of juggling multiple schedules/tastes/personalities. I never really set out to do anything specific with Redder Moon. In fact, I was somewhat satisfied with a musical hibernation, so to speak, when Matt convinced my return from slumber. We have also found that playing in a duo breeds less stress on the overall quality of our creative lives.
 
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?
 
Gonzales: I try my best to support local music in as much of a non-biased opinion as possibly allowed. Meaning, I can ALWAYS appreciate the guts that it takes to put original music out into the world, be it live or on a recording. I am constantly battling with myself on whether I think our stuff is good enough to put in front of people or if I will only scar the listeners’ ears forever. That said, I know exactly what it means to put together a band/project and the vulnerability one must go through to do it. So I do my best to find the good in everyone's unique take on their art and have learned to grow from constructive criticism toward my own. 
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite local musicians right now?
 
Gonzales: I have also been in somewhat of a slumber in the local music scene that I’ve been reawakened to as of late, so I have yet to experience some of the newer acts emerging in the KC scene. Some of the few I have kept up with are Organized Crimes, Scammers, ISAM, Expo 70, Mat Shoare Band, and C.S. Luxem. I know there are plenty of local bands that I have yet to hear or older bands that have released new material and I can only look forward to experiencing the sounds to find out for myself.
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite non-local musicians right now?
 
Gonzales:Steve Moore, megafortress, Lansing/Drieden, gayngs, Xander Harris.
 
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?
 
Gonzales: Bernard Sumner, Robert Smith, Gonzales Hetfield (early years of course) and Klaus Schulze.
 
The Deli: Where can we find you on the web?
 
 
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
 
Gonzales: Recycle plastic and always get your pet spayed or neutered. Also, may all your ups and downs in life be between the sheets.
 
Get down to Replay Lounge this Friday, January 30. Redder Moon will be performing on a psychedelic bill with CS Luxem and No Cave. Facebook event page.
 
--Michelle Bacon
 
Michelle Bacon is editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands.
 
 

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January 25, 2015
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