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the slowdown

Song premiere: Ready Astronaut - "Somewhere We Exist"

In conjunction with The Temp Agency, The Deli KC is happy to premiere the first single from Ready Astronaut, “Somewhere We Exist.” Ready Astronaut is the solo project of Josh Johnson, also of The Slowdown. His debut self-titled album will be released on November 4.
With his solo project’s lead single “Somewhere We Exist,” Josh Johnson takes a modern folk rock stroll in the woods away from his usual work in The Slowdown. The variant, almost multiple personality approach to songwriting still exists, with plenty of unexpected turns, changes, stops and shakeups that we’ve come to expect from his regular outfit. However, the layers upon layers upon layers of distorted guitars are replaced by a varied selection of tones and timbres. Countless strings, keys, and a melodic lead guitar weave a maypole around the periphery while the track is driven by Johnson’s wispy voice, an acoustic guitar, and solid percussion work. Fans of Rogue Wave or The Dodos would really dig this.
--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 FireDrew Black & Dirty Electric, and Riot Riot Riot, as well as contributing to various other Kansas City-based music, comedy, and art projects.
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Album review: The Slowdown - A

(Photo by Todd Zimmer)

As a reviewer who had not been aware of The Slowdown, its debut album did not disappoint. The sixteen-track, hour-long album A solidly sold the band.
Tearing in with the first track, “Acting Strange Of Late,” the band holds nothing back as to what the rest of the album will sound like. A promiscuous mess of guitars, synths, drums, and words rises up to bear a fantastic modern rock-inspired, heavy indie sound. With the combination of distorted riffs, clean and plucky bass, and smooth percussion overtones, this six-piece band definitely knows how to write a song.  
The album, collectively, is full of highs and lows of all kinds: the tempo, the lyrics, the emotions—all of it. Songs like “A Mirror, A Touch” appear soft and mellow at first, and quickly build up into a prog-rock epic. This specific song is a thriving example of how the band can lead you on a rollercoaster ride. Despite these ups and downs, The Slowdown will still stick in your head. Catchy hooks from “Runaway” and “Wardance” will repeat themselves endlessly in your head.
It’s refreshing to know that a band with six members can coherently compose songs that display the talents of each member. There isn’t a time in A that I felt as though talents were being lost. Every guy in the band appears in tune with his part of the song and showcases it brilliantly. The music is intricate and mastered beautifully. The vocals seem low at times, but the sound of guitars carries the song forward.
Some of the best songs on this album come from the formidably experimental tracks. My personal favorite, closing track “Whispering Lights,” combines an acoustic diddy with a bluesy electric lead, and pseudo-hip-hop drumming to create an absolutely wonderful song. Soft lyrics with corresponding harmonies complete the track. In other cases, such as “Unable To” and “Tears From the Compound,” the tracks keep the slow tempo with the experimental sound.
Out of everything this album is, dull is not one of them. There is guaranteed to be at least one song from A that will resonate with any rock fan. Some songs are clearly rock, some indie, some indefinitely experimental—it’s simply a great album. Not every song will stick with every listener, but surely several tracks will be taken away. 
The Slowdown celebrated the release of A at The Riot Room this past Friday evening. The official release of the album is Tuesday, December 11. See more photos below from Todd Zimmer, from the band's recent show at recordBar on November 24.
--Steven Ervay
Steven is the intern of Midwest Music Foundation and The Deli - Kansas City. He can't go to 21+ shows yet and that bums him out.  

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The Slowdown's new track: "To Wonder"

The Slowdown has released a streaming and download link to its second single, "To Wonder," off its upcoming debut full-length album A. The 6-piece Kansas City band includes former members of Elevator Division, and describes itself as a "riff-based, roots-inflected, electronic-infused, deftly experimental take on full-bodied rock that conjures a blend of Wilco, Flaming Lips, M83, early Aerosmith, Alice in Chains, and My Morning Jacket."

"To Wonder" is a bit more straightforward than the band's previous single, "A Mirror, A Torch." The song is driven by Sam Hoskin's whispy vocals, atmospheric backing vocals, and constantly moving backbeat, with a heavy alternative but bluesy Jerry Cantrell-style guitar solo to top things off.

Listen to "To Wonder" for yourself at The Slowdown's Soundcloud page.

And if you missed our post on this when it debuted, here's the video for "A Mirror, A Torch":

--Michelle Bacon

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The Slowdown: "A Mirror, A Torch"

Here's the video for "A Mirror, A Torch," the new single from The Slowdown, who has a full-length album due out toward the end of summer. 


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