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Drowned in Sound: Real Estate - Atlas


Shy Boys
"Shy Boys
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Shy Boys continue to bridge the gap between the basement and the stage with the release of their debut, self-titled LP. With efficiency and restrained flourish the boys have spun off 10 pop yarns, many of which are apt to linger long past their modest 24-minute duration. While the bulk of the earworms are front-loaded the album doesn’t flag nor does it deviate in its trajectory. The consistency of this record demonstrates that the Shy Boys know their strengths and are not ashamed to stick with them.
 
Such reliability is probably why Shy Boyscomposed of the brothers Collin and Kyle Rausch and friend Konnor Ervin, have enjoyed a recent burst in popularity. In short order they’ve managed to endear themselves to a variety of local bands and fans, the label High Dive Records, and assorted music journalism outlets. It’s no wonder they recently won The Pitch award for Best Band Everyone Can Agree OnThey’re appeal is almost egalitarian. Of course it doesn’t hurt to be backed by Solid Gold, the same talent agency that promotes the likes of Dirty Beaches, The Dodos, and The Sea And Cake.
 
Call it playing it safe, but what Shy Boys lack in boundary-pushing they make up for in general likeability. This record can easily play in the background, comfortably command the car stereo, or be the gentle panacea for your private boi slash gurl bedroom troubles; odds are the record will fit most settings without much abrasion. That’s the idea. Kudos given.
 
Much of the album’s warm roughness is owed to its simple and straightforward nature as well as the inherent qualities found by recording live to tape. For this engineering feat the nod is given to Mike Nolte of Westend Recording, a studio known for their dedicated use of the mediumSure, the reverb is cranked and the vocals can be muddied into ambiguity, but those cool, moody hooks are enough to keep the record spinning on repeat.
 
--Andrew Erdrich

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The MGDs hit the music scene in 2013 and have already secured regular rounds at venues such as The Kill Devil Club and The Phoenix. There’s no mistaking that these guys are true players, joining so many great bands in this city in offering up musical excellence. Elements of funk, soul, jazz and a splash of angsty rock are the sonic ingredients for this six-piece powerhouse.

From their debut self-titled full-length release, it’s clear that The MGDs are playing to win. The sonic spectrum of the ten-track album takes you back to bands such as Earth, Wind, and Fire and the Average White Band. The incredibly singable and memorable horn lines are right on par with local greats like The Hearts of Darkness and Diverse, not to mention the John Scofield-esque guitar lines, phat bass tone setting the groove, and the fun, gritty vocals.

All the tracks are worth the money and the time but a few jumped out as strongest. “Hey Lady” displays incredible piano work that leads up to a spectacular piano and sax solo rounding out to an incredible fadeout over the main riff. “Spicy Jane” highlights the vocals with a great distorted effect that compliments the mood of the tune. “QT” stands out as their absolute best track: the bass intro lays down a groove you can’t stop moving to, and the guitar lines are the most prominent, with riffs that fit perfectly within the horn lines in the chorus. If you only have a few minutes to spare, start with “QT”: it’s the epitome of everything this band does well.

Now for the nitty-gritty: the biggest opportunity for growth this band has is in its vocals. There are a few shaky lead lines and harmonies, but it seems to be only a matter of time before the vocals catch up, simply because of the sheer amount of overall talent this band displays.
Personally, I can’t wait to see their live show, and you should join me. At the very least you should run out and get this CD.
 
--Miguel Caraballo
 
 
Check out The MGDs tonight at The Riot Room. They’re playing the 8th annual 420 Fest and will be taking the indoor stage around 6:30 pm. Facebook event page. They also play at The Phoenix every fourth Friday, and will be there next Friday, April 25.

 

 

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April 19, 2014
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My Brothers & Sisters is the brainchild and passion project of Jamie Searle. Since deciding to leave his former band—It’s Over—to increase his knowledge of music, Jamie has been studying and working to compose, perform, and record Violet Music: Volume I.

 
My Brother & Sisters is a large band reminiscent of the soul revues of the 1960s. Weighing in at a staggering 15 members, the band presses right into the listener with a force embodying Phil Spector’s wall of sound. Violet Music: Vol I lifts off with “Fall Winter Spring & Summer.” Insistent horns and punching guitar pull the listener in immediately. Try not to move. I dare you. Pay no mind to the lyrics seriously challenging you to follow your passion; you will dance whether you mean to or not.
 
From the frenetic pace of the opening track, the sparer “If Once”opens with just Searle’s voice. Soon the band joins in and fills out the song that focuses on a person’s search to balance priorities in life. “How to Move, What to Wear” departs from the established mood, floating in sultry and straightforward. It has a very Sade “By Your Side” vibe.
 
Keening strings welcome persistent percussion as Searle’s voice takes on an almost Jack White sensibility in “In My Sights.” “I’ll Be Leaving with You,” with its delicate string arrangement, beckons you to listen as Searle’s voice—subdued and intimate—like he’s singing to you alone in a crowded room trying to convince you to take him home. The smooth edges of “You Should Have Known” slide in and out of focus. Searle offers a cautionary tale poured in the calmest of voices served up with an I-told-you-so chaser. “Pillow Bella” has a Bollywood feel with the harmonies and pulsating rhythm of a Technicolor dance number. “The Devil & I” is that track you want to play when you get in the car after a long day—complex and mellow. I can see you now, windows down, singing along, “try to relax.”
 
My Brothers & Sisters sends us on our way with “In You I Find.”Sparing, compared to the rest of the album, this track seems lonely, like it is sitting on a fire escape in the rain, a love song fighting with the notion of all that has happened to the lovers before. This is a get-up-and-move record. Whether it is a slow dance or something to shake to depends onto which track you drop the needle.

My Brothers & Sisters are releasing Violet Music: Volume I tomorrow night, April 12, at The Mission Theatre. The show is all ages and features DJ Joc Max. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Facebook event page. Also, 10% of the proceeds from Violet Music will be graciously donated to Midwest Music Foundation.
 
--Angela Lupton
 
Angela is Executive Director of Midwest Music Foundation.
 
 
 

 

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April 11, 2014
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(Photo by Lindsy Dugan)
 
You have to admire a band that starts an album off with a song that most bands would end theirs with. A gospel-shoutin' barn burner of a song called "Come Take My Hand" kicks off The Quivers' second long-player. This is definitely a band that has confidence in their material. The obvious question after you hear this song is: “How can they top this?" Luckily for us all, they do.
 
The new release Hot Young Mess is a blast of early rock and roll that never lets up from the first track to the last. This band knows the fundamental rules of real rock and roll: hit 'em hard, make it fast, and move on to the next song. Nothing on this album is over 4 minutes long; most songs clock in between two and three minutes. If a rock and roll song takes more than three minutes, it's overstayed its welcome. Other than a cover of "Little Red Book" with Love's arrangement, all the songs on this record are composed by the band. 
Vocalist/bassist Terra Skaggs is a force of nature. Her voice is reminiscent of Lavern Baker's as she romps through "Love Me Or Leave It," for instance, or she can rip it up like Little Richard on "(Come On) Let's Maybe." You can tell by listening to this album that the band is road-tested and has hit its stride. The rhythm section of Skaggs on bass and Bernie Dugan on drums is locked in. Guitarist Abe Haddad has learned to play within the rhythm like all good rock and roll guitarists, and when it's time for him to step out as on the title track, he shows he's got chops to spare (note: Desmond Poirier has taken over on guitar since the album was recorded). To my ears, keyboardist Todd Grantham is the anchor of the band. Whether it's a gospel organ sound on "Come Take My Hand," the wonderful cheesy Farfisa sound on "Guaranteed," or the rockin' piano on "It Ain't You, Hon" (on which he would make the ghost of the Big Bopper smile with his lead vocal), his keyboard work is the foundation of the band's sound. 
 
This album is one of the best pure rock and roll albums to ever come out of KC. Hearing the intensity of this album, one can only imagine how much more intense they are live. You can find out this Saturday at the Brick when they debut this record in concert at their cd release party. Bring your saddle shoes and get ready to dance. That's what real rock and roll does—it makes you move your feet and rocks your soul, and The Quivers deliver. 
 

 
Join The Quivers as they celebrate the release of Hot Young Mess at The Brick tomorrow, April 12, with special guests The Bad Ideas and Schwervon!. Facebook event page.
 
--Barry Lee

Barry is the host of KKFI 90.1 FM’s Signal To Noise, which broadcasts on Sundays from 8 to 10 p.m.

 

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April 11, 2014
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Joe Lieberman is the founder and CEO of FanAddict: a new mobile app that allows music lovers to easily find, track, and share their favorite live events locally or nationwide. Here, Lieberman discusses FanAddict’s birth and future. This interview took place at his KC home.
 
The Deli: Why is it important for fans to follow bands they love?
 
Lieberman: It’s a natural inclination of people who really love music and to want to see their favorite bands live. That was one of my biggest passions as a kid. I remember reading the album covers from back to back...studying up on the band members...keeping track of my ticket stubs. I built a scrapbook of all my memorabilia. I felt that the tracking and the scrapbook could be combined. That’s the genesis of FanAddict.
 
The Deli: What’s your sales pitch for FanAddict?
 
Lieberman: Track your favorite bands and relive your memories. You can only say one message at a time. Because if you say too much you’re saying nothing.
 
The Deli: How has living in KC affected FanAddict?
 
Lieberman: There’s a very strong entrepreneurial in spirit KC and a community ecosystem that revolves around small business development. It’s very nurturing. It was easy to find other professionals who had skill sets that I could use collaboratively.
 
The Deli: How do you think FanAddict will change the live music industry as a whole?
 
Lieberman: We hope to change the way that artists engage directly with their fans. Even using Spotify or Pandora you’re really just listening to the music. It’s distant. We’re trying to create an environment where you feel connected using your own notes, photographs, and band twitter feeds.
 
The Deli: You’re involved with two other Kansas City companies.
 
Lieberman: Yes. ManGoDo Productions is a fun shell for some creative things I do. At The Capitus Group, I do business consulting to help small business owners through growth transitions.
 
The Deli: How do you divide your time between projects?
 
Lieberman: Everything ebbs and flows. Currently FanAddict is working on version two development. I’ve got a bunch of people who are busy with that. So I have more time to focus on business consulting. But over the last year I did ramp up my involvement in FanAddict as needed.
 
The Deli: How do bands sign up?
 
Lieberman: Right now we are working on phase two, which allows bands to directly use FanAddict to manage their tour, events listings, and social media feeds.
 
The Deli: What lessons have you learned about launching a venture?
 
Lieberman: Foremost, you have to build an awesome product no matter what you do. It has to meet the needs of a key group of people. If you don’t do that; give up. You have to be careful about the robustness of your first product set.
 
The Deli: You had a contest for bands to submit videos for a chance to win a FanAddict traveling band van (the winner was Not A Planet).
 
Lieberman: We wanted to see if we could get bands to market FanAddict in a way that we couldn’t get exposure otherwise. It worked. It was a month long contest; In a few weeks we got over 4000 Facebook likes.
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite bands?
 
Lieberman: Currently Arcade Fire, of Monsters and Men, and The Doves. My favorite older bands are The Smiths, Morrissey, and Death Cab for Cutie. One of my favorite locals is Cowboy Indian Bear. They have these really nice lush harmonies.
 
The Deli: How do users find you in the AppStore?
 
Lieberman: We use a multi faceted marketing program including lots of organizations who want to promote us, the bands themselves, and PR agencies. Within the store, we use Search Optimization to find people who are searching words about our product. 
 
The Deli: Bands can’t make money anymore by just selling music.
 
Lieberman: It’s the truth. It’s a sad state of affairs for the people developing the content that gets marketed by others. I think the bands that make it are quickly learning it takes a whole environment of cultivating fans. FanAddict helps with that.
 
The Deli: What’s the next big trend for bands making money?
 
Lieberman: It will continue to be fan access, like how big artists sell backstage passes. But I think smaller bands are going to get more and more creative marketing different ways to connect with their fans.
 
The Deli: Do you play music?
 
Lieberman: I don’t anymore, but I learned to as an adult. I took guitar lessons and started a band with a friend. We created our own music, played live, and cut a CD. But I couldn’t fit it all in, so I “put that to bed”. I then learned how to edit music, and now I have FanAddict.
 
The Deli: It’s a mystery to many users how apps actually make money.
 
Lieberman: It’s a mystery to me too [laughs[. Very little apps make money by selling themselves directly. We have affiliate revenues which make money off of song downloads, ticket commissions, and advertising.
 
The Deli: Do you have any new products on the horizon?
 
Lieberman: No, but I’ve had lots of ideas come and go over time. This is the biggest one I have jumped at. The experience has been incredible. I’ve been exposed to all sorts of great people I wouldn’t have met otherwise.
 
The Deli: How do you think FanAddict would have changed your experience as a young music listener?
 
Lieberman: It was what I was looking for. I needed it. I would have been clued in and probably obsessed with it [laughs].
 
--Hannah Copeland
 
Hannah Copeland is a UMKC business student and self proclaimed "Fun Engineer". She books concerts for local bands every month, is working on an e-commerce music merchandise start-up, and is a lyricist and singer for her electronic band, Hunter Gatherer. She cannot wait to graduate next spring and work in radio broadcasting, music promotions, or bartending in South America. You can contact her at HeyHannahCopeland@gmail.com.

  

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April 09, 2014
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(Photo by Scott Stormann)

Westerners, a Lawrence-based indie-rock quartet, has been playing a seemingly overflowing swarm of shows in recent months. Having had the pleasure of catching a couple of those performances, I was pleased to stumble across their new EP on a recent Bandcamp stroll. With yet another strong production job from Joel Nanos at Element Recording, the band has managed to capture its raw live energy, tight arrangements, and dynamic range quite effectively in this four-song sampler.
 
The EP’s opener “Ugly Girls in Pretty Shoes” (which coincidentally is one of the best song titles I’ve seen in awhile) is a nice fiery shot out of the gate. This Nada Surf-meets-Me Like Bees slice of garage rock bounces from jazzy strains to feathers of prog rock, all brought home nicely by a strong and poppy singalong chorus.

“Tetris” sees the band move more in a psychedelic or jam direction. Easily comparable to a more meandering version of The ACBs or the older, less-dancey Soft Reeds material, this song features the best vocal work of the EP. The more tender moments are carried perfectly by Floyd-esque “ooooo”s that transform the listener to a serene place. Extra points for the tasteful and effective use of hand claps.
 
“Broken Bells” shows a bit of a Midwestern side of Westerners. The proggy, tight rhythm section featured previously is replaced by a content shuffle beat and walking bass lines. The chorus explodes a bit into a chuggling, folk-punk experience, proving even the “slow” songs can have some nuts.

My favorite song of the EP, “Dog Days,” closes things out with a powerful, body-moving Zeppelin-style groove. A little more riff-driven than the other tracks, the guitarist really shines here with a dynamic and careful use of effects. Typically I shy away from a band’s more jam-esque material, but this song seems to be the perfect harder rock culmination for this batch of songs.


I would imagine Westerners are coming to a bar or town near you. As stated previously, they keep a pretty busy schedule about the Midwest. Go over to their Bandcamp and throw them a few bucks for this EP (currently selling for $3 or more). Gas aint cheap and Westerners have some good sounds to spread about.

 

 

You can catch Westerners next at Art Closet Studios on Friday, April 11, with The Decatures, Hardi Har Har, Vela, and Monzie Leo and The Big Sky. This is an all-ages show, $4. Facebook event page.

 

 

--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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April 03, 2014
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Another important music fest is taking place in Kansas City this weekend that provides a punk alternative to what's happening a few blocks south. This weekend will mark the third annual Center of the City Fest, at Vandals (in back of Black & Gold Tavern). The fest focuses on the KC punk rock community, and is jam-packed with a stellar lineup.

This year’s COTC fest will feature bands on indoor and outdoor stages (Friday and Saturday). Tickets are just $7 for one day, $21 for all three days. Drink specials will be available at Black & Gold. Facebook event page

Friday
7:00     The Big Iron (inside)
7:30     Plug Uglies (outside)
8:00     5 Star Disaster (inside)
8:30     Stinkbomb (St. Louis) (outside)
9:00     Four Arm Shiver (inside)
9:30     Bombs Over Broadway (outside)
10:00   The Haddonfields (St. Louis) (inside)
10:30   Documentary (outside)
11:00   American Dischord (inside)
11:30   Smash the State (outside)
12:00   The Shidiots (Omaha) (inside)
12:45   The Uncouth (inside)
 
Saturday
7:00     Deco Auto (inside)
7:30     Dead Ven (outside)
8:00     The Itch (Joplin) (inside)
8:30     Donner Diaries (outside)
9:00     Scene of Irony (St. Louis) (inside)
9:30     KC Thieves (outside)
10:00   Molotov Latte (Springfield) (inside)
10:30   Red Kate (outside)
11:00   Bottle Breakers (inside)
11:30   Hipshot Killer (outside)
12:00   The Bad Ideas (inside)
12:45   Iron Guts Kelly (inside)
 
Sunday
6:45     Black on Black
7:30     The Biff Tannens
8:15     The Hemorrhoids
9:00     The Protesters
10:30   The Rackatees
11:15   Bummer
12:00   The Death Scene
12:45   Ghetto Blaster (San Diego)
 

--Michelle Bacon
 
Michelle Bacon is editor of The Deli KC and plays bass in The Philistines and Dolls on Fire, and drums in Drew Black & Dirty Electric.
 
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April 03, 2014
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