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FEATURES

FEATURES

  • Features
    FeaturesGallery

    GALLERY: CHILL RUSSELL (THE RINO / KANSAS CITY, MO)

    - by Anna Selle

    Photographer:
    Anna Selle
    Date:
    Oct. 11, 2017
    Location:
    Kansas City, Missouri

  • Features
    FeaturesReviews

    ALBUM REVIEW: MADELEINE MCQUEEN, ‘WILDFIRE’ EP

    - by Bayley Cawthon

    unsigned


    New York native Madeleine McQueen is bringing a wind of change with her new Wildfire EP. Being the second extended play in McQueen’s arsenal, there’s no denying the musical and emotional power of the artist. The new EP features five new tracks, all filled to the brim with mellow rock vibes that lyrically echo to your soul. Each of the five tracks, with their own individual patterns and melodies, flow seamlessly in McQueen’s work.

    The title, Wildfire, speaks for itself, echoing something hidden inside everyone. This sensation resonates throughout the tracks, reflecting off McQueen’s out-of-the-ordinary vocals. The first track, “Come Up Clean”, brings out chill 90s indie-punk and is emphasized by the intermittent instrumental that hits hard with an astounding guitar solo. The track is almost opposite of the following tune, “Guide Me Steady”. The melody has a bounce and is paired with a darker, almost pleading lyric to be guided away from the artists own actions.

    “Earth” is a much softer sound, a song about longing to be free of a place and past. The short clip is just enough to slow your racing heart following the crashing and cascading sounds from the EP’s start. The album continues to slow with “Desert Flower”, a story of an emotional break that is just peaceful enough for a night drive. The tune continues to carry on the traditions of life—people leaving, falling behind, and staring at the sky. The out-of-reach context is only emphasized by the artists creative use of keyboard synthesizer, feeling entirely out of this world. If you’re feeling out of place, this melodic composition is perfection.

    The capstone of this EP and the title song, “Wildfire” has a much more upbeat tune than its predecessors. As a revival of hope and life itself, the artist’s journey continues and grows. That follows the melody at least. The lyrics, much darker and tackling that same emotional break found in “Desert Flower”, continue the darker pattern of the EP. However, these same lyrics contain some traces of hope as the writer tries harder to be more than what is inside her head.

    Wildfire will be released October 13th, but if you can’t wait till then, McQueen has more music available on her Bandcamp. Hands down, this is not a musician you’ll want to miss.

  • Features
    FeaturesLists

    3 GEMS FROM THE AUSTIN MUSIC SCENE

    - by Maddie Wise

    I couldn’t mention that I was moving to Austin without hearing “oh my god, the music! There’s good music everywhere there!” And there is. It’s not confined to brand-name festivals either – it’s like a live soundtrack that follows you everywhere you go (and it’ll find you in the strangest of circumstances). There’s a wide-range of locally sourced artists here, and these three are my faves.

    1) Slim Gravy

    Both Slim and the music he creates have an infectious energy, light-hearted and dancy, yet always hinting at something a little deeper. I first saw Slim perform at a Hurricane Harvey benefit concert at Mass Gallery, a small art gallery in East Austin. There was a circular stage in the middle of the room with the crowd gathered around. Slim whirled around the stage, rapping face to face with fans, slowing down only to adjust his mic cord or to take a moment and serenade his lady. He’s a captivating performer and lyricist, combining quick-lipped raps with groove-inducing beats, and he’s given a name to this genre that’s home to the likes of Kaytranada and Goldlink – “Ghetto Disco.”

    2.) Omenihu

    I stumbled upon my first Omenihu show on a Bumble date at Cheer Up Charlie’s in downtown Austin. His message was clear from the start – he was there to have a good time and wanted everyone else to do the same. He embodied the message on stage with DJ joaqu.n and had the crowd feeling it too, yelling out and dancing, drenched in sweat. Relatable and engaging with an ever-positive vibe, it was the ideal atmosphere for a first date. I’ve since seen Omenihu perform a second time, and he consistently brings this energy that commands a joyful presence.

    3.) The Bad Invaders

    Pudding wrestling, anyone? I really thought that was going to be the highlight of my trip to Rainey street, but The Bad Invaders proved me wrong. They took to the stage between strange and chocolate soaked wrestling rounds and stole my heart with their personality. While a tall man pranced around the stage in a top hat and tighty-whities (which eventually soaked through to reveal a charming ass tattoo), a sassy female simultaneously bounced a tambourine off her body and belted out soulfully. Everything about this self-defined “garage gospel dancey-dance juice rock” group is enchanting.

  • Features
    FeaturesReviews

    ALBUM REVIEW: ACID TONGUE, ‘BABIES’

    - by Meredith Schneider

    Freakout Records

    Acid Tongue’s debut full length Babies drops October 13th, and it’s one for the books. Comprised of 11 tracks – including “Intro (Completely Useless Activity)”, which is a gut buster if you have a sense of humor – the undeniable talents of Guy Keltner (vocals, lead guitar, bass, acoustic guitar) and Ian Cunningham (drums, production) – with help on this recording from Daniel O’Neil (drums, percussion), Jacob Rose (bass), Jason Cairati (keyboards), James Squires (drums, piano, bass), Maiah Manser (backing vocals), and Thomas Fredrickson (bass) – shine through on the album in its entirety, edging us into a laid back existence.

    “Humpty Dumpty” has a 60s feel to it, defined by the reverb-filled vocals and – if we’re being completely honest – the striking tambourine. It’s a track that simultaneously makes us want to sway our hips amongst a kaleidoscope of colors and also pick up percussion of really any sort. “If I Really Loved Her” is a beautiful testament to love, as Keltner elaborates: “I was in the process of uprooting my life in Seattle and moving to Brooklyn. I lost my job, I lost a lot of my friends, and I was flat broke. I’m still flat broke. But I was with someone who believed in what I was doing and stuck it out with me during a really difficult period of my life.” It slowly grooves into “Dive”, which slows down to a crawl in the intro before exploding a glittering world of crashing cymbals. “Accidental Drug Use” is one of our favorite tracks from the album, though this could be entirely due to crazy random happenstance if we’re being completely honest. The title has no bearing on our favoritism, and had it not been for the unmistakable B-52’s twinge to the track we may not have taken another listen. But there’s just enough staccato edge to the vocals to make it a standout amongst its peers, and a hard track to follow.

    But Acid Tongue does follow it, and they do it with flare. Established with the steady beat of a drum, “Something In The Water” coaxes us into a spirited frenzy, as we imagine ourselves yelling the lyrics back at Acid Tongue live in concert. There is no doubt that this song would jive well with a totally beach bum-worthy crowd. And while “Friend Like You” maintains a similar tempo for the majority of the track, it begins slow and becomes nothing less than a head banger toward the end as it explodes into a cacophony of sound.

    Approaching the eighth track “Talking In Your Sleep”, we’re inclined to question how this wasn’t included as a single, as its lyrics are entirely too relatable and the instrumentals are some the most adrenaline-inducing and impressionable of Babies. “Whatever Happened” lends whirring guitars that provoke the notion that much of Babies‘ influence lies in 60s and 70s psych rock. And while “Maybe Tomorrow” is set at a jaunting, easy pace – Does anything scream “chill” more than whistling in a song? – the lyrics bring to mind the idea that you don’t get second chances, as lines like “maybe tomorrow / I’ll take less chances” work to inspire and coax the listener out of their shell.

    But it’s last track “Why Can’t You Just Lie To Me” that really strikes a chord with its listener. Dark vocals, dismal lyrics, and desperate pleas for honesty crooned for a significant other (“Sometimes the truth feels like a cancer / I wish you’d tell me that I’m fine”) bring up a melancholic feel with more of a cliffhanger ending, as the song serves as a reminder to move forward with the truth. (Regardless of how “easy” it feels at the time.)

    Babies is out October 13th via Freakout Records. Follow the guys here.

  • Conversations
    ConversationsFeaturesFestivals

    CONVERSATIONS: KEMBA

    - by Anna Selle
    All photography by Anna Selle

    We caught up with Kemba after his set at The Bay in Lincoln, Nebraska for the city’s annual music festival, Lincoln Calling.

    A message of resilience comes across in your music. What’s the power and importance of resilience?

    I think resilience is one of the most important qualities you could have. Resilience is what created hip hop. Poor people not being able to own instruments and making the best of already recorded music to make something new is resilience. The whole culture is based on resilience. Anyone who grew up poor and found success has had to be resilient. So really, it’s a difference between life and death. Either you’re resilient or you don’t make it.

    Kemba at Lincoln Calling. Photo by Anna Selle.

    The most recent album you made was inspired by a trip you took to Ferguson. What about that experience moved you to write about it?

    I’ve been going to protests and marches and things of that nature since I was 16. But I’ve never seen something that was more the people than the organizers. More of a community coming together than just organizers coming together. I had never seen a protest led by people my age. So that was super inspiring. If they can do it, why can’t I? And not do exactly what they’re doing, but just be a leader. Age is not an obstacle. It inspired me in that way. It incorporated hip hop so much, and that was super inspiring to me. We were chanting to instrumentals. People were freestyling. It was crazy and incredible, this raw youthful energy. It wasn’t the standard ‘we’re gonna march in the street until the cops tell us to move to the sidewalk.’

    What drew you to take part in those protests?

    I’m one of the founders of a hip hop art collective. The short answer to that is, my mentors were going. And of course everybody was watching the news and saw what happened with Mike Brown. If that’s who you are, you’re gonna wanna go. And if that’s in you, you’re gonna wanna go.

    You use your music and your voice to speak to invasive societal ills. Why is it important for you to do that as an artist?

    I just write whatever’s on my mind and whatever’s on my heart. My new album is going to have nothing to do with any societal ills, not in that way. It’s not gonna have music inspired by protest or social injustice in that way. For me, art is like the only release that I have. I’m not this super outgoing, expressive, or emotional person. Whatever’s on my mind has to come out through music or I’m gonna go crazy. I’m not making a big statement. I don’t believe artists have to make political statements. But for me, whatever I see that I’m moved strongly by, I have to write.

    Kemba at Lincoln Calling. Photo by Anna Selle.

    Your live show incorporates some projections and vignettes, including one of a teacher and a young student discussing race. How does that relate back to your music?

    I found that in a documentary from the 1960s and I thought it was cool to see this radical teaching. People thought it was radical but it was really just teaching people to love themselves, despite the constant brainwashing they’re gonna get in society. So when I saw that, it was super powerful, and it was one of the main themes of the entire album. I want to bring that same experience to the stage.

  • Features
    FeaturesFestivalsGallery

    GALLERY: LINCOLN CALLING 2017, DAY 03 (LINCOLN, NEBRASKA)

    - by Anna Selle

    Day 3 Bands: 

    • Allsortsofgood
    • Charli XCX
    • David Nance
    • Flint Eastwood
    • Pile
    • Plack Blague
    • PUP

    Last weekend, Lincoln, Nebraska found it’s streets devoid of Cornhuskers. Instead, their presence was replaced by avid music lovers from all across the midwest who congregated for the three-day festival, Lincoln Calling. This year’s lineup featured a diverse array of acts, ranging from local punk bands to hip-hop up-and-comers. Spread across multiple venues, attending the festival was a positive introduction to downtown Lincoln, where you could start the night at a combination coffee shop & skate park and end it in a small photo studio having a tintype portrait taken.

    Photographer:
    Anna Selle
    Date:
    Sept. 30, 2017
    Location:
    Lincoln, Nebraska

  • Conversations
    ConversationsFeatures

    CONVERSATIONS: GUY KELTNER OF ACID TONGUE

    - by Meredith Schneider
    All illustrations by KWYJIBO. Banner photography Sierra Wagner, above photograph by Sevlynn Photography

    Just ahead of Acid Tongue‘s October full-length release Babies, the highly entertaining musical duo of Guy Keltner and Ian Cunningham – who are often joined by “friends” and operate out of New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle – has been busy, busy, busy. First premiering their track “If I Really Loved Her” via All Things Go, which boasted that “the band demonstrate both instrumental prowess and respect for their musical heritage as the sons of psychedelic forebears,” and they’re not wrong. These guys have got a handle on crooning, beautiful, psych sounds that could really drive the way you see your autumn if you choose to partake in some listening pleasure.

    But we don’t just have the inside scoop on the album release. (Friday October 13th, mark your calendars.) We also have a little more insight on some of the tracks, their feelings on the music industry, and snacks in this quick (and fun) interview with Guy Keltner that happened in honor of their upcoming album release. Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-check it out!

    What is the first song or album you ever remember hearing, and who introduced it to you?

    Probably my mom playing Bob Marley or the Cranberries to us as kids. We had one of those old Technics sound systems with the tall boxy speaker cabinets. I’m sure we danced like goofy little kids to that stuff.

    Was there a moment that it struck you and you realized you were going to pursue music, or did it kind of slowly evolve?

    I used to think I was going to be an astronaut. I started playing piano at five, but I wasn’t exactly keen on scheduled lessons and the homework that came with it. I finally got a guitar when I was 11 and I think that’s when everything clicked. I mostly just banged on it for the first year or so, but my parents set me up with this great teacher, an old session musician from Seattle named Al Kaatz. He’s really into soul, classic R&B and reggae, and helped shape my taste and how I approach music to date.

    And did you choose the “post-menopausal” life, or did it choose you? (Referencing their “genre” categorization on Facebook.)

    Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a awhile, you could miss it.

    “If I Really Loved Her” has such a beautiful sentiment behind it. Can we expect more of the same emotion behind the rest of Babies?

    The entire album is full of little easter eggs, relatable songs about daily life, but with a much deeper meaning to them. I’m not always just signing about the good stuff, either. There’s a lot of odes to life’s minutiae, thoughts on how mundane things can get. I don’t think people always want to hear about breakups and star-crossed lovers. There’s something beautiful about eating top ramen and being broke with your friends, talking about nothing and killing time.

    “Talking In Your Sleep” struck our fancy with its title, and it’s one of our favorites off the release. Is this a love letter to a certain someone, or does it pull from many places?

    This song is about charisma. The type of people who spin webs and can turn a boring story into something compelling. We all have friends or co-workers or family that do this.

    “Accidental Drug Use” threw us for a loop, one of those “well, that escalated quickly” songs when it comes to lyrics. It’s amazing. How was this one to work on in studio?

    That song was actually written the night Bowie died. I don’t usually get upset when one of these aging rockers passes away. They’ve lived epic lives, and lot of that generation is pretty old and has seen their best days already. Bowie’s new record was surprisingly great, though, and I felt this new excitement for his music after that. KEXP in Seattle did a Bowie day, a tribute to his tunes, right after that record dropped. A few days later, I’m hearing Bowie all day again and wondering “what the hell?”. When I heard he had passed, I was absolutely crushed and this song just spilled out.

    Did you choose Friday the 13th as release date for any particular reason?

    Sometimes things just work out that way.

    Do either of you have a favorite song off of Babies, or is that feeling applied to the entire work, since it’s your first release?

    I’m torn between “Humpty Dumpty” and “If I Really Loved Her”. Both of those fell into place so perfectly during the sessions, and they are such strange tunes in general. Ian is partial to “Accidental Drug Use” though. I really dig the way his drums turned out.

    What has been your favorite memory together as a band so far?

    We did a short run in the Northwest recently, opening for De La Soul, playing Upstream Festival in Seattle, and generally having a blast with our friends when we were home visiting. Our bassist, Alessio, is from Italy and lives in Paris now. It was his first time in that part of the country and it’s such a different vibe than the rest of the US. We started laying down the tracks for our next LP, the follow-up to Babies. Just a really perfect trip.

    How do you imagine people listening to this album?

    Everywhere. It’d be so cool to just have this be one of those LPs that synonymous with rock & roll during our era. One of those things you hear at dive bars, coffee shops, taxi cabs, wherever.

    Guilty pleasure snack. Go!

    Chopped cheese.

    What is your opinion of the modern music industry?

    It’s amazing that I have access to literally everything I could want to listen to in the palm of my hand. I’m a huge fan of Spotify and I think this is a cool era, we just have to slug it out and be persistent to make any money from our art.

    Anything else you’d like to add?

    Go out and buy/steal/stream Babies as soon as you can. The vinyl looks really cool, too.
    ___

    Babies is out October 13th. Keep up with Acid Tongue here.

  • Conversations
    ConversationsFeaturesFestivals

    CONVERSATIONS: CAKES DA KILLA

    - by Anna Selle
    All photos by Anna Selle

    Over a glass of white wine and in between his two sets at Lincoln Calling this past weekend, Cakes Da Killa answered a few of our questions about being a theater kid, keeping spaces safe for the LGBTQ+ community, and owning your voice in hip-hop.

    Why is it important for there to be strong, proud, queer voices in hip-hop?

    I just think anybody’s voice in hip hop should be strong. Hip hop is originally about being yourself. Me being gay, I couldn’t make hip hop and not be myself.

    How has your queer identity influenced your writing and performance?

    I think my identity has influenced my stage performance and my confidence. I have this campy-ass personality and I don’t take myself too seriously. And that’s just from watching people like Bette Midler and being that “theater gay.” It influences my lifestyle and the way I carry myself.

    Did you do a lot of theater growing up?

    Of course I did, every gay has to. Since I was one of three boys, I always got cast in the main male part. Whenever we did Dreamgirls, Raisin In the Sun, I always just wanted to play the girl, and that never worked out.

    What’s your dream role?

    Blanche in Streetcar Named Desire.

    What did you like about doing theater?

    I just liked the whole process of it. The performance, and the leading up to it. The rehearsals, getting dressed up.

    What have you carried over from your days in theater to your role as a rapper?

    I definitely am more mindful of crowds, unlike other rappers. A lot of rappers don’t break the fourth wall. It’s like, ‘I’m cool, just watch me jump up and down on stage.’ I know I’m cool, I might jump up a little bit, but if you’re not having fun then we’ll change the song or do something different. There’s comedy and theatrics.

    What do you want someone to experience when they listen to your music or come to shows?

    For listening to my music, I don’t really set a restriction on it. Whatever you take away from my music is what you take away from it. From the live shows, I just want people to feel like it’s just okay to be chill and be yourself. It’s okay to fuck up. I know I put on a good show, but it’s not about being polished. We’re all adults, let’s just have fun.

    What’s the importance of safe spaces?

    As someone who volunteered at the LGBT center in high school and college and was that black gay kid in academia, I think safe spaces are very important. Anywhere you go as a person in our community should be established as a safe space. You should always set the tone. Even if you don’t appreciate someone’s lifestyle, don’t disrespect them and don’t put your hands on them, and just stay to yourself.

    Do you feel like as an artist you have a responsibility to set that tone of a safe space on stage?

    I think it sets the tone anyway. When I started out, I was performing at straight parties and straight bars. Someone might be homophobic, but who wants to gay bash the kid that’s on stage and making them laugh? You might think you don’t like gay people, but it’s in your family, it’s in the world, just get over it.

  • Features
    FeaturesReviews

    ALBUM REVIEW: ROSELINE, ‘BLOOD’

    - by Steven Ervay

    King Forward Records (Benelux)

    Colin Halliburton has a penchant for effortlessly relaying the charms of small-town life in his music; from joy to heartache to being bluntly honest with oneself. Halliburton, the singer-songwriter behind Lawrence, Kansas’ The Roseline, will be releasing his fifth studio album – Blood – this Friday.

    Blood, the follow up to 2015’s Townie, carries all the heart and soul of earlier Roseline works. Throughout these country-tinged songs, we hear stories of love come and gone. The pacing of this album is something to note. Like setting sail on calm waters, Halliburton guides us through the 12 tracks without a hitch. Like a good whiskey, smooth up front, but a slight burn on the way down.

    It’s hard to listen to this album and not get hung up on the content. The lyrics are incredibly accessible. Songs comprised of simple themes blown up and examined in close-range fill the album. Little tid bits for the locals are strewn about in the form of Bourgeois Pig references and so on.

    The instrumentation is another thing to note. Everything is tied together with peppy, country drumming and a mellow, tempered guitar tone. But beyond that, there’s a symphony of sound; layers and depths beyond belief in each track. The simple piano on “Junonia,” the swirling violin on “Nocturnal” that compliments the track’s honesty almost too well, the seemingly out-of-place yet expertly inserted saxophone on “Moving In A Dress,” the expected pedal steel driving everything home.

    Blood is an album to reflect on, as you stare down the highway, windows open, on a cool Kansas afternoon. Highly recommended for your next commute between Kansas City and Lawrence.

    The Roseline will be releasing Blood into the wild this Friday, with two release shows scheduled. Friday at the Brick with Chase The Horseman and Justin Klaas and Saturday at the Replay with Tougies and Jasper.

  • Features
    FeaturesFestivalsGallery

    GALLERY: LINCOLN CALLING 2017, DAY 02 (LINCOLN, NEBRASKA)

    - by Anna Selle

    Day 2 Bands: 

    • Beach Fossils
    • Cakes Da Killa
    • Kemba
    • Thalia and Jewel

    Last weekend, Lincoln, Nebraska found it’s streets devoid of Cornhuskers. Instead, their presence was replaced by avid music lovers from all across the midwest who congregated for the three-day festival, Lincoln Calling. This year’s lineup featured a diverse array of acts, ranging from local punk bands to hip-hop up-and-comers. Spread across multiple venues, attending the festival was a positive introduction to downtown Lincoln, where you could start the night at a combination coffee shop & skate park and end it in a small photo studio having a tintype portrait taken.

    Photographer:
    Anna Selle
    Date:
    Sept. 29, 2017
    Location:
    Lincoln, Nebraska

  • Features
    FeaturesFestivalsGallery

    GALLERY: LINCOLN CALLING 2017, DAY 01 (LINCOLN, NEBRASKA)

    - by Anna Selle

    Last weekend, Lincoln, Nebraska found it’s streets devoid of Cornhuskers. Instead, their presence was replaced by avid music lovers from all across the midwest who congregated for the three-day festival, Lincoln Calling. This year’s lineup featured a diverse array of acts, ranging from local punk bands to hip-hop up-and-comers. Spread across multiple venues, attending the festival was a positive introduction to downtown Lincoln, where you could start the night at a combination coffee shop & skate park and end it in a small photo studio having a tintype portrait taken.

    Day 1 Bands: 

    • Best Coast
    • Cayetana
    • Hakim
    • Ian Sweet
    • Maddog and the 20-20s
    • Matt Stansbery and the Romance
    • Palehound
    • Post Animal
    • Twinsmith

    Photographer:
    Anna Selle
    Date:
    Sept. 28, 2017
    Location:
    Lincoln, Nebraska

  • Features
    FeaturesReviews

    ALBUM REVIEW: CULTS, ‘OFFERING’

    - by Meredith Schneider

    Sinderlyn

    California-raised, East Village-based duo Cults – flawlessly comprised of Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin – is set to release their first full length since 2013’s Static on October 6th, an eleven track stunner aptly titled Offering. The two already have the music world abuzz, having already released the title track and second single “I Took Your Picture”, and then – most recently – a music video for their single “I Took Your Picture” which features an additional track, “With My Eyes Closed”. All of the releases feature featherlight vocals and entrancing synth, and it’s all just the tip of the iceberg with Offering. Luckily, they took the time and space necessary to have robust, new material for us in the wake of touring madness with their last projects.

    “These songs have both instability and solutions for how to deal with instability,” Oblivion says. “I think my favorite lyric is from ‘Took Your Picture’: Tinge of blue/To the end/left our hearts/With regrets/I’m learning. That’s as close as you get to a thesis statement for the album.”

    To expand, fourth track “Recovery” continues in an upbeat, glittering way without being overtly optimistic in its lyrical content, and “Right Words” comes forward with a full 80’s pop feel to it, singing of regret with timing. The beginning of “Good Religion” could be the intro to a 1950s/1960s sitcom, really establishing the feel good nature of its title, before a more self-reflective narrative ensues. By the time we get to seventh track “Natural State”, we’re wondering if we should expect sticky sweet harmonies for the entirety of the album, but this track takes a natural approach to a tempo slow-down, feeling more like a bluesy slow dance at a sock hop.

    “Nothing Is Written” is even darker in its disposition, though it takes a while to establish its sound space through the static intro. That doesn’t keep Follin from matching what we have come to know of her high-reaching vocal range at times throughout the song, making it feel more like a steady wave in its tempo. (One might even draw comparisons to The Beach Boys at times, which is another layer of “wave” in itself.) Ninth track “Talk In Circles” really brings everything back to self reflection, as first line “take a step back” begs you to evaluate the situation from a different perspective. And while “Clear From Far Away” is more dependent on its staccato beat than its predecessors, “Gilded Lily” provides the tranquil, 80’s-influenced ballad we really needed to properly round out this delectable new release.

    Catch Cults on one of their upcoming tour dates, outlined below.

    Offering is out October 6th. Keep up with Cults here.

  • Features
    FeaturesGallery

    GALLERY: ANDREW MCMAHON, LO MOON (MUSIC ALLEY / KANSAS CITY, MO)

    - by Meredith Schneider

    On September 29th, Lo Moon made an incredible performance opening for Andrew McMahon in The Wilderness at an intimate show in Leawood, Kansas. The crowd was incredibly invested on this beautiful Friday night, and the energy from both bands was palpable as they took the stage.

    Photographer:
    Meredith Schneider
    Date:
    Sept. 29, 2017
    Venue:
    Music Alley
    Location:
    Leawood, KS

  • Features
    FeaturesGallery

    GALLERY: CREAMER (THE MIDLAND / KANSAS CITY, MO)

    - by Meredith Schneider

    On September 23rd, Creamer made their second appearance opening up for the storied Wilco. The new musical project from Nashville worked with Pat Sansone on their debut album, and got the unique pleasure of opening up for Wilco during a handful of dates on their U.S. tour. Check out a selection of photos from their performance at Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland.

    Photographer:
    Meredith Schneider
    Date:
    Sept. 23, 2017
    Venue:
    The Midland
    Location:
    Kansas City, Missouri

  • Features
    FeaturesGallery

    GALLERY: PINEGROVE, FLORIST, LOMELDA (THE BOTTLENECK / LAWRENCE, KS)

    - by Anna Selle

    Photographer:
    Anna Selle
    Date:
    Sept. 26, 2017
    Venue:
    The Bottleneck
    Location:
    Lawrence, Kansas

  • Features
    FeaturesGallery

    GALLERY: SYLVAN ESSO, HELADO NEGRO (CROSSROADSKC / KANSAS CITY, MO)

    - by Suzanne Corum-Rich

    Photographer:
    Suzanne Corum-Rich
    Date:
    Sept. 26, 2017
    Venue:
    CrossroadsKC
    Location:
    Kansas City, Missouri

  • Conversations
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    CONVERSATIONS: JENNY O.

    - by Meredith Schneider
    Artist photo courtesy Shelby Duncan. 

    Jenny O. is everything we want to be most days. With the help of band members Jason Roberts, Mike Green, and Brian Filosa, she is spreading her ambient, ethereal rock sound around the world. With new new 11-track release Peace & Information – from which we greatly recommend the track “Funeral for My Former Self” – garnering so much attention here recently amongst her hectic tour schedule, we’re surprised she even has room to breathe.

    But what is, perhaps, one of the most amazing facets of her personality has to be her genuine desire to connect with her fans. So, without further ado, check out the new album alongside some fun questions we had the honor of asking Jenny O. recently.

    Was there a moment that it struck you and you realized you were going to pursue music, or did it kind of slowly evolve?

    Slowly evolved. I pursued it from childhood and searched for another more ‘legitimate’ path which never came.

    Your video for “Case Study” is so fun with its mixed media and simplistic design. How did you come up with the concept for the video?

    Thank you. I wanted to illustrate a physical manifestation of what we do to one another emotionally, psychologically. I always picture what unseen energy might look like in the space between us.

     

    We hear that – not only did you come up with it, but – the video was a long time coming. Could you shed some light on the behind the scenes of it all?

    Well, I wanted the band in the video to be my friends Sam and Clay from Mapache, they are really great guitarists & singers but they don’t play drums or bass, so having them fake it was really amusing to me.

    How punk rock did you feel when you shot the last part of the video? (I feel like we all aspire to that mic/guitar drop moment, and here you are!)

    I was mostly rushing to get everything done in the time we had the warehouse and hoping I wasn’t getting too much bird poop on me. There had been pigeons living there.

    Peace & Information was released recently. How do you feel, now that the pressure of delivery is gone?

    So good, really. I thought everyone would be disappointed but the response has been really positive. So now I’m excited to start working on new songs for the next one.

    What was studio life like for this one, perhaps as opposed to your previous studio time on previous releases? Did you have go-to snacks, a strict schedule, brainstorming time?

    There wasn’t any food routine or stuff like that. We usually get going around 12 or 1 and work ’til night, then I’d go home and watch 2-5 episodes of Frasier.

    “High Regard” is one of our favorites. Was there something that specifically inspired it?

    Personal crisis, trying to convince myself through mantra.

    What is your favorite venue to play and/or see a show at? Or is there an ambience you’ve preferred in a city or out on the road?

    I really like Largo in Los Angeles. Pure vibe, great sound.

    Favorite board game or video game?

    Super Mario World, Tetris. I checked out after Supernintendo.

    Guilty pleasure snack. Go!

    Doritos or cheese puffs.

    ——

    Peace & Information is out now. Keep up with Jenny O. here.

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    ALBUM REVIEW: SINK IN, ‘ORDINARY PEOPLE, EXTRAORDINARY THINGS’

    - by Meredith Schneider

    Standby Records

    Yesterday Standby Records debuted pop/rock four piece Sink In‘s first full length release since 2015. The band – comprised of Tighe Eshleman (vocals), Cobrette Bardole (guitar), Brett Latorre (bass/vocals), and Stefano Pigliapoco (drums/vocals) – has pieced together their signature energetic sound with important and inspiring messages to form Ordinary People, Extraordinary Things. The title alone gives more emphasis to its underlying message and the freeing feeling it provides its listeners, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the nostalgic 2000s pop/punk feel we get in these brand new, intricately woven tracks.

    The work opens with its acronym “O.P.E.T.”, a speech recording that really sets the pace for the album itself, quoting its title and really revving the listener up. It bleeds right into “Higher”, which is a standard punk-tinged pop track, something to really get a party going. “Get Out!” carries on at a moderate clip, notable more for its hard hitting bass and drum beat than its predecessor. The song itself is a dramatized piece about improvement and knowing yourself enough to know when to “get out,” so serves as its own inspiring piece. “Up There” is softer in sound overall, a track about flourishing when given a different space to thrive in.

    “Love Lust” features Evan Baker and a quirky, tempo-changing melody that implores that “life is what you make it.” There is a sound change when headed into “On The Radio”, which features DAVII and is more synth-ridden than those that went before it. But it also proves to be the perfect blend between its more lightweight, electronic chorus and verses that don’t drop bass and play with such glittering notes. “Tell The Kids” brings the instrumentals back down to a raw sound space, a dramatic track that begins with a child speaking out loud to his absent mother about not being around, then morphs into Eshleman doing the same. Tinged with regret and sadness over childhood, this one will make you contemplate your own past.

    “Off The Deep End” brings the energy back up, and has quite possibly the most endearing intro of the 13 track release. It’s also one of the most mosh-worthy tracks of Ordinary People, Extraordinary Things, which makes us look forward even more to seeing this band live. While “Absolute” seems like more of a throwback summertime song for the turn of autumn, “Here & Now” is a track we can see many people adapting as their perseverance anthem, at least in the near future.

    If you’re looking for a slower track to admire, latch onto the acoustic rhythm provided by “Glory Follows”, the band’s beautiful and lightweight lyrical journey through the appreciation that they feel. (Seriously, the octaves they hit… are challenging and confusing for most.) And while the regular release of Ordinary People, Extraordinary Things might end with that beautiful song, “Wither” and “Castaway” are two bonus tracks that help take the cake in the quick, hard hitting, inspirational space.

    One thing is for certain. If you give this album a chance, you will walk away with a lighter heart, more optimism than what you came with. And, after all, isn’t that what we’re all after right now? Don’t you “wanna be something more than this” too?

    Ordinary People, Extraordinary Things is out now. Keep up with Sink In here.

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    ALBUM REVIEW: FLORIST, ‘IF BLUE COULD BE HAPPINESS’

    - by Austin Ratzki

    Double Double Whammy

    Lo-fi indie pop darlings Florist, or as the band puts simply, “a friendship project that was born in the Catskill Mountains” create beautiful music therapy. In their sophomore full length album If Blue Could Be Happiness, Emily Sprague’s lyrics serve as a reassuring voice that doesn’t shy away from the harshness of the world such as “​Being alive is not singing alone/or looking outside of the window into the darkness of it all“ as heard in the album’s opening track “Blue Mountain Road”. Such an impact can only be made with help from the entirety of the friendship project between Sprague, Rick Spatsro, and ​Jonnie Baker. Together they pair Sprague’s intimate lyrics with beautiful comforting chords that made me feel strangely both alone and yet safely looked after, even if from eyes as far away as the Catskill Mountains.

    Sprague sings in a language of colors and nature that you can’t help but be moved by and of course try and dissect. As the title suggests there is a theme of “blueness” consistently throughout the album that is often paired with shades of light and dark found notably in the slow building sound spectrum “Thank You Light” ​wherein Sprague candidly states “the blue that always takes me home/the light I lose that loves me even though/I bring the dark when I can’t feel that I am warm/and I look inside to see that there’s nothing more”. The safe haven away from the uncontrollable forces of dark and light that Sprague seems to find is the melancholic blue feeling the entire album preaches. I of course don’t mean melancholic as simply sad and gloomy, quite the opposite. There is a peace of mind felt when one accepts suffering, grief, loss, etc. more as natural and comfortable feelings than a woeful punishment. At times If Blue Could Be Happiness to me is like a how-to guide in which you can “track” Sprague and company’s acceptance of their fate, life without innocence but not without desire, to still understand and be understood. This is cultivated in the beautiful title track’s chorus “if blue could be happiness/ then that’s all I want”

    That being said, for me the most powerful sentiment brought forth was Sprague’s relationship with their mother, first alluded to in the most forward sounding tracks on the album, “Glowing Brightly”. Between the groovy guitar riffs and rhythmic downbeat of the snare, Sprague reflects upon their mom’s presence “mom I love you, I still hear your voice inside my sleep / next time you see me I’ll be glowing brightly / outside with the birds in the middle of the yard”. The album’s final track “Red Bird” is a heart wrenching yet prudent ballad written to Sprague’s mother, who unexpectedly passed away one day after the recording. Sprague’s wistful voice gives us yet another nostalgic sound vision; “​a mother’s only daughter in the red of the earth / tell the bluejays “come inside” / you love to watch them, now so do I” if only to crack the hull of the tear ducts before leaving us with “​but the sunrise always came / and it sometimes made you happy / and if I was afraid / you told me not to be / but were you afraid? // I understand the birds now that I’ve learned some things / yeah I think”. Beautiful as it is raw, the final track was kept in its original demo form, exactly how it’s inspirator last heard it.

    I liken If Blue Could Be Happiness to a lot of different experiences. It is a wonderful self reflection on your childhood adolescence, it’s also a thought provoking gospel on how we, as humans, grow up but our minds so often stay with our childhood . It’s something to lay on your couch and let your ears read like a musical book. It’s something to cause you pause and take in the world around you whilst you ride your bike (wherein I spent a good portion of my time with the album). It could be a guiding light or just something to tell you “you’re not alone in this” as you experience life changes involved with becoming an adult. It’s a thought experiment on living a life of melancholy and how above all else, that’s ok.

    If Blue Could Be Happiness comes out today Friday, September 29th on Double Double Whammy. Florist is currently on tour with Pinegrove and Lomelda in support of the album.

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    ALBUM REVIEW: WORRIERS, ‘SURVIVAL POP’

    - by Meredith Schneider

    SideOneDummy

    Brooklyn punk outfit Worriers – expertly comprised of Lauren Denitzio, Mikey Erg, Rachel Rubino, Audrey Zee Whitesides, John McLean, Lou Hanman, and Nick Psillas, with a host of others – is gearing up to release a twelve track album titled Survival Pop – their first since 2015’s Imaginary Life – at the end of the month. We got our ears on it, so we could give you the down low on what to expect when September 29th rolls around. (Hint: Maybe get in on that preorder action.)

    “My 85th Rodeo” seems a little against the punk scene title-wise and it certainly begins the album on a slower, simpler note, but it quickly ramps up with the lyrics “I hate everything” and layers in that rough, electric punk sound that Worriers is known for. “Not Your Type” is about to be the next singles’ anthem, and we are 100% on board with it. Take it as you may, but this song actually sounds like a Barenaked Ladies recording. (Hey, we know they’ve had some issues over the years but we’re still down with their music.) Quick hitting from the start, you may need to listen to this track a few times to memorize the intricate lyrics. “The Possibility” has an upbeat, 90’s reminiscent sound, with the highlight lyric “in between anxiety and hindsight” really drawing the listener in. Fourth track “Gaslighter” has already been released to rave reviews, so there might not be much we can say that hasn’t been said, but the instrumentals grab on to your heart and kind of throw you through a loop with their intensity.

    How do you recover from that?

    “What We’re Up Against” is how. The quick, staccato beat of the drum starts and you feel like you’re in 1960’s London for most likely no reason at all. Upbeat and encouraging, the message is clear: you have nothing to prove to anyone. Take it and run with it, but make sure to try on “Future Me” for size as well, as it maintains the quick, light tempo that its predecessor laid out. This song also seems to be the amalgamation of Denitizio’s approach to the album, as they explained, “I wrote the majority of the songs on this record thinking about what past versions of myself would’ve needed or been listening to at different points in my life.”

    “Self Esteemed” is particularly notable for its crashing drums and is such a fun song that you can’t help but move to it. Until you hear the word “presumptuous,” and then decide to really analyze the lyrics. And that’s the thing with Worriers, they will always have this insane lyrical aspect to their tracks because they utilize their entire vocabulary and make music that’s both highly educated and enlightening. “No Thanks” follows suit lyrically, but it’s much slower, taking you to another level of vulnerability. Ninth track “Glutton (Reprise)” brings with it a smooth, summertime vibe while “WTF Is Sleep” – while first a little off-putting, as we aren’t all all about modern acronyms – has an easy-going sound to it as well, the vocals feeling more staccato and quick than anything else.

    “Best Fear Worst Fantasy” gives no impression that it needs to build to its sound. It starts off at an intense tempo, making it the most mosh-worthy track from the album. (In case you need any clues for when you undoubtedly go see them live.) We can only imagine the line “I hope I never have any children” might give your mother a heart attack if you’re found singing this song anywhere near the family. (So do it.) Worriers rounds out Survival Pop with the track “Open Heart”, the snare correctly introducing the track like an insane heartbeat. The bass brings with it this robust, freeing feeling that Denitzio’s lyrics exude elsewhere. This was absolutely the best song to end on, leaving a positive and inspirational impression on its listeners, which is ultimately what the band was going for. Expands Denitzio, “I think we’re all probably having a tough time right now and I hope that the songs on the record can be intentionally uplifting and cathartic.”

    Well played, Worriers. We can’t wait to see it all live!