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Middle of the Map Fest – the combined effort of the Record Machine, Ink Magazine, and Mammoth – put on another spectacular event, full of local, regional, and national talent. Headlined by Spoon, Grizzly Bear, Built To Spill, and Social Distortion, the two-day festival continued it’s tradition of bringing world class music to Kansas City. Here are six artists that we truly believe you’ll be seeing more of:

Y god Y

If buttery, groovy jams are your thing, Y god Y is your thing. The project by Garrett Marsh and Joel Martin creates wildly experimental indie/pop R&B tracks. With an infectious performance, Y god Y will have you dancing before you know it. Keep an eye on this group as they’ll soon be releasing a video for a new track titled “Say”. Until then, we’re boppin’ the unofficial song of summer.


Move over pops, Fathers is here to take the crown of King Dad. The 8-piece act comprised of men and women of many talents is a force to be reckoned with. The brainchild of frontman Kenneth Storz, Fathers puts eight friends, guitars, drums, keys, trombones, more keys, another guitar, some bells, and an army of shakers on one stage. A soft, yet chaotic sound emanates from the act, lulling the entire audience into a trance. Fathers is gearing up to release new material, until then, we’ve got these three tracks.

Chase The Horseman

We can’t think of an instrument Chase Horseman cannot play. His solo sets are rife with instrument changes, but his set at Middle was different, he was backed by his band. An all-star cast of seriously talented musicians (Ada Brumback, Ian Dobyns, Skylar Cowdry) back Horseman up, and fills out the already large sound. Horseman plans on releasing more singles paired with videos in the coming months.

Keaton Conrad

Young and hungry, Keaton Conrad is eager to earn the hearts of the masses, and he’s got our vote. The singer/songwriter, who played solo at this year’s Middle Of The Map, has a unique “crooniness” quality to his performance. His voice is packed with emotion, and even a little grit. Accompanied by only his guitar, Conrad was found seated during his performance, which actually worked given the setting: a large stage in an old church sanctuary. Conrad will be releasing new music this summer.


Listener has made a name for themselves with their wildly erratic form of post-hardcore, almost emo, a little spoken word-esque, approach to rock music. A tapestry of rich tones and driving melodies lay groundwork for Listener’s songs, but Dan Smith’s distinct vocals set the band’s vibe. It’s difficult to casually listen to Listener, as the emotional weight of their songs is gripping.

Rachel Mallin & The Wild Type

We’re fans of Rachel Mallin, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. But, objectively speaking, Rachel Mallin & The Wild Type will soon be taking over the radio waves with their insanely catchy hooks and bombastic performance. Impromptu on-stage dance parties, countless hair flips, perfect vocal harmonies….this quintet has got the perfect recipe for a festival band.