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red velvet crush

Album review: Red Velvet Crush: Smoke & Mirrors (EP)

I am a sucker for a good rock song and a catchy hook. Those seem to be top priorities for Red Velvet Crush on its new EP Smoke and Mirrors. The band spent the first part of 2013 traveling back and forth to Austin to record at yellowDOGstudios with resident producer Dave Percefull, whose credits include such recognizable names as Green Day, Bowling for Soup and KC area Idol David Cook. All songwriting duties were split between lead singer Jillian Riscoe and guitarist Daniel Mendala on this four-song introduction to the rock pop outfit. 
Riscoe reminds me a little of one of my favorite female rock vocalists, Eleanor Whitledge, of the punk band The Goops. Riscoe and Mendala recorded all the vocals, guitar, and bass tracks with studio drummer Josh Center. Percefull took care of some of the drums as well as the key and synth tracks.
The opening track starts with a hard electronic feel and a 1/16th-note driving bass line that pushes the verses. Chugging muted guitars give way to Riscoe’s declaration of the chorus, “You Didn't Lose.” Hard-hitting rock with pop sensibilities continues into track two, "Contents: Under Pressure.” It’s a slow and steady emotional one that keeps the vocals in the forefront—that one stayed in my head for awhile. The penultimate track begins with a soft voice and haunting piano riff, then kicks in quick with a tale of being "in love with a monster, devil in disguise... hiding behind blue eyes.” This rocker pulsates through 3 minutes and you don't want it to end. Smoke and Mirrors closes with the positive, uptempo message of grrrl power with "Girls Rock TOO" that will have your head bobbing and your feet stomping. 
Red Velvet Crush has been honored with accolades from the 2013 Project Backstage Midwest Rock Awards, including Female Vocalist of the Year and Best Acoustic Performance of the Year. The vocalist award doesn't surprise me, Riscoe has got pipes and knows how to control them. And there are plenty of YouTube videos of Red Velvet Crush online to back up the best acoustic award.

You can get your copy of Smoke & Mirrors this Saturday, June 15, at Czar. Doors at 5:30, show at 6:00. Red Velvet Crush will be playing with I Am Nation, Fight The Quiet (Nashville), The Amends (Colorado), and Root & Stem. Presale tickets are $5 for general admission and $10 at the door. You can also order a $15 presale ticket, which comes with a limited edition autographed copy of the new EP and a vinyl sticker. Order tickets here. Facebook event page. 

--Gavin Mac

Gavin Mac is a local musician, avid consumer of whiskey, and has a penchant for mischief. He may be lured to dark alleys with grape soda and has a plethora of socks.

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Artists on Trial: Red Velvet Crush

If you seek hooky, strong rock anthems, look no further than KC’s own Red Velvet Crush. Fronted by veteran vocalist Jillian Riscoe, the young band has already received recognition around town (Riscoe won female vocalist of the year and the group won best acoustic performance of the year in the 2013 Project Backstage Midwest Rock Awards). Now, the five-piece group is getting ready to debut its EP Smoke & Mirrors. We talk with Riscoe and guitarist Daniel Mendala about the album and what they have coming down the line.
The Deli: Down and dirty: 1 sentence to describe your music. What is it?

Red Velvet Crush: Pop/rock with hints of punk, dance, electronic and hard rock mixed with what we do.
The Deli: Tell us about your upcoming EP Smoke & Mirrors. What can we expect?
RVC: Chapters of what we've been writing over the last year while putting the band together. We (Riscoe and Mendala) wrote and recorded the whole EP at yellowDOGstudios in Austin, TX with producer Dave Percefull and studio drummer Josh Center. Smoke and Mirrors is the just the first of what's to come.
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?

RVC: Creating genuine support and networks of music loving people. Going out to shows and supporting bands that are working to get to the next level.
The Deli: Who are your favorite local musicians right now?

RVC: Nick Marshall and the Evalyn Awake crew, Beautiful Bodies, Rocker Lips, Jonathan Theobald, just to name a few.
The Deli: Who are your favorite not-so-local musicians right now?
RVC: Jillian: In This Moment, Deftones, Lana del Rey.
Daniel: Eskimo Callboy, Young Guns, Our Lady Peace.
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?

RVC: Jillian: Christina Aguilera.
Daniel: Our Lady Peace.
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?
RVC: Jillian: Christina Aguilera, Axl Rose, Steven Tyler, Katy Perry.
Daniel: Axl Rose, Raine Maida, Duff McKagan and Lisa Loeb.

The Deli: All right, give us the rundown. Where all on this big crazy web can you be found?
The Deli: What other goals does Red Velvet Crush have for this year?
RVC: To promote Smoke and Mirrors, finish building our stage show, tour in the fall, and step back in the studio at the end of the year. Plus, Daniel and I are doing a lot of writing for Red Velvet Crush and for other artists.

The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?

RVC: Dreams to realities.
Red Velvet Crush is:
Jillian Riscoe – vocals, guitar, keys
Daniel Mendala – guitar
Kelsey Cook – drums/percussion
Josh Colburn – keys, synth, guitar
Bill Wald – bass
Make sure you hit up the release of Smoke & Mirrors this Saturday, June 15, at Czar. Doors at 5:30, show at 6:00. Red Velvet Crush will be playing with I Am Nation, Fight The Quiet (Nashville), The Amends (Colorado), and Root & Stem. Presale tickets are $5 for general admission and $10 at the door. You can also order a $15 presale ticket, which comes with a limited edition autographed copy of the new EP and a vinyl sticker. Order tickets here. Facebook event page.
--Michelle Bacon
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Album releases: June 4

Several local bands have released albums today. Here's a short preview of each.

The Jinxed – The Loon (Digital 7”)

If you haven’t heard of The Jinxed, you’re probably in good company; but you should recognize most of the names. This local supergroup of sorts has emerged with a digital 7” released by Sharp County Records today. The group—who also plays together in local cover band The Magnetics—includes lead vocalist and guitarist Bobby Topaz (Bad Wheels), and Antennas Up members Jon Ulasien (piano/synth, drums, bass, guitar, backing vocals) and Bo McCall (guitar). Ulasien recorded and produced the record, and Lennon Bone (Ha Ha Tonka) provides trumpet on the title track.
And from this track alone, there’s plenty of reason to give this group some well-deserved buzz. “The Loon” is a driving pop-rock diddy drenched in a feel-good ‘70s glam sensibility. Penned by Ulasien, the track has the infectious pop intensity of an Antennas Up song. McCall’s squealing guitar brings a psych element to the music, and Topaz adds the cherry on top with his charismatic vocals that strut seamlessly across the aural landscape.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed for future recordings from these guys.
Hidden Pictures – Sister Wife (EP) 
Hidden Pictures releases Sister Wife, a 3-track EP, today on Golden Sound Records. The songs were recorded with a host of local talent: band regulars Richard Gintowt (lead singer/songwriter), Nate Holt (keys), and vocalist Claire Adams (Claire & The Crowded Stage, Appropriate Grammar, Quirk & Ruckus), guitarist Jeff Freling (Victor & Penny), bassist Kyle Akers (Antennas Up), and drummer Lennon Bone. Though a slight departure from the band’s previous recordings, Gintowt’s songs retain their characteristically clean-cut, bright pop leanings. Sister Wife was mixed by Joel Nanos at Element Recording and mastered by Doug Van Sloun at Focus Mastering in Omaha. Drums and bass were recorded by Paul Malinowski at Massive Sound Studio.
This Friday, June 7, Hidden Pictures will be playing at the Crossroads Summer Block Party on 19th and Wyandotte. This will include eight local bands from Golden Sound Records and The Record Machine, along with food trucks and art/fashion vendors. The free fest goes from 6 to midnight; Hidden Pictures plays at 9:00.
Red Velvet Crush – Smoke & Mirrors (EP)
Smoke & Mirrors is the debut EP from Red Velvet Crush, fronted by young veteran musician Jillian Riscoe. The album was produced by Dave Percefull (Green Day, David Cook) at yellow DOG Studios. These four tracks give us an idea of the dancey but heavy-hitting appeal of a young band that fires from all corners of its material.

The band will have a special release party for Smoke & Mirrors at Czar on Saturday, June 15 at 6:00. The show is all ages and $5 presale or $10 at the door. Facebook event page.

Doby Watson & Margo May – Watson & May
Singer/songwriters Doby Watson and Margo May have teamed up to record Watson & May, a 7-track album that has been released digitally today. Tapes will be available at shows. May’s dreamy vocals coupled with Watson’s heavy-hearted, mature voice add critical textures to the sparse tone of the instrumentation. Watson & May was produced and engineered by Lennon Bone.
Watson and May kick off a week-long Midwestern tour tomorrow in Minneapolis. On Tuesday, June 10 they will perform at The Peppermint Forest in Columbia. Facebook event page for tour.

And here are a few other releases happening this weekend:

Waiting For Signal is releasing Mayday on Friday, June 7. The party will be at The Riot Room with Heroes+Villains, Roman Ships, and Sons of Great Dane. Show starts at 8. Facebook event page.

On Saturday, June 8, David Hasselhoff on Acid releases Eudaimonia at The Riot Room with special guests At The Left Hand of God, Narcotic Self, and Maps for Travelers. Show starts at 8. Facebook event page.

The Latenight Callers will also be releasing an album on Saturday. Their first full-length Songs For Stolen Moments will be released at recordBar; Thick and the Foolish and In Back of A Black Car will also perform. Show starts at 10. Facebook event page.

--Michelle Bacon

Michelle is editor of The Deli Magazine - Kansas City, and also holds down half the rhythm section in Drew Black & Dirty Electric and Dolls on Fire. Her phone just cracked, and apparently that's a hip thing to do. She is too old to think so.

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