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January 2015
Bonsai
"self titled EP
"
mp3

Our regular readers may have noticed that we like to highlight residencies played by local artists in local venues, but admittedly we entirely missed Bonsai's November one at Pete Candy's Store - admittedly, we weren't aware that the lovely east Williamsburg venue actually had residencies! Well, not only they have them, but they also pick good artists for them, since Bonsai's music is an absolute delight. Their self titled debut EP is a delicate and dreamy alt folk gem. Opener "Bonsai Trees" - the most accomplished track on the record, streaming below - shows the trio's interest in revisiting traditional American music in new ways, employing intriguing percussive textures, inventive and appropriate guitar parts, and a production that's edgy without being over the top. Of course, all this wouldn't do much if Simone Stevens' vocals and melodies weren't spot on, confident and compelling. The magic continues with "When it Rains," a more subdued track floating in oozes of reverb and supported by what sounds like an acoustic guitar two-note sample loop. Atmospheric ballad "I fashion you are a dreamer" turns up the melancholy big time with a verse as intense as it gets, only to deliver one of those powerfully uplifting choruses that - unless you are fully corrupted by life - can touch you in deep ways. Upbeat pop number "I Like You Man" and final folky song "Messed Up" fill up the record competently, but without reaching the heights of the first three tracks. This is a small, beautiful record with the power to awaken emotions and make people closer, i.e. exactly what the doctor orders every time a new year begins.

This band submitted their music for coverage here.
We added this song to The Deli's playlist of
Best mellow songs by emerging NYC artists - check it out!

 
The 60's
Bob Dylan

Simon and Garfunkel

Velvet Underground
The 70's
Television
Patti Smith
The New York Dolls

The Ramones

The Talking Heads
Richard Hell
The Dead Boys
Blondie
Suicide
Lydia Lunch
DNA  
Mars
The Contortions  
The 80's
Sonic Youth
Bad Brains
Beastie Boys
Bruce Springsteen
Swans
The Feelies
Laurie Anderson
They Might Be Giants
John Zorn
Arto Lindsay
Sonic Youth
The Fleshtones
The 90's

Jeff Buckley

The Magnetic Fields
Yo La Tengo
Soul Coughing
Cat Power
The 00's
The Strokes
Interpol
TV on The Radio
Fiery Furnaces
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
The Bravery
Animal Collective
Bright Eyes
Devendra Banhart
Moldy Peaches
Le Tigre
Liars
Blonde Redhead
Grizzly Bear
 

This is a preview of the new Deli charts - we are working on finalizing them by the end of 2013.


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2014 Year End Polls For Emerging Artists: Results Scene by Scene

LATEST NEWS: L.A. READERS' POLL IS ON! - CHICAGO READERS' POLL IS ON! - NYC Alt Folk Open Submissions - NEW ENGLAND READERS' POLL RESULTS! - TORONTO READERS' POLL RESULTS! - NASHVILLE READERS' POLL IS ON! - Los Angeles Open Submissions - NYC Indie Rock Open Submissions - PORTLAND READERS' POLL IS ON! - Nashville Open Submissions - NYC Garage Rock Open Submissions - KC READERS POLL RESULTS - Chicago Open Submissions - Portland Open Submissions - NYC Hip Hop + Other Open Submissions - S.F. BAY AREA READERS' POLL IS ON! - NYC Psych Rock Open Submissions - DC AREA READERS' POLL IS ON! - SF Bay Area Open Submissions - NYC Folk Rock/Americana Open Submissions.

For the full summary click...

HERE

The Deli's SXSW Issue 2014 is online!

Read it digitally here.

P.S. 10k free copies of this issue hit the street of Austin during SXSW Music week!


Album review: She's A Keeper - Westside Royal (EP)

Westside Royal, the new musical offering from She’s A Keeper, is out now on the Internet [the music IRL is at a party on Saturday at Davey’s Uptown, $6, 10:30]. The five new songs wash over with confidence and calm. It’s a professional and creatively successful piece of work that the band has offered up for critical review by The Deli KC.
 
Upfront, let’s be clear: I like this album. I’d like-button this album, probably, but that’s not the point. After over a dozen streams or so I hear plenty of good stuff, great stuff, and yet—and always—there are compositional choices inevitably worth questioning. Today this will be me, tomorrow it will be someone else, ultimately it is you. There is something really nice about being critical of material that strives for and achieves a certain level of quality. We get to dig a little deeper and talk about the little things, the details. So thanks for the new stuff, guys, and allowing us to pick apart this awesome EP a little. Let’s get into it…
 
Album opener is “Wannabe.” Great opener. A strong sense of longing in the mood and lyrical content creates magnetism. The music is lively and progressive with great drum work and a really nice piano feature midway. The whole track blossoms and just feels good. The only part that sticks out to me as a missed opportunity is the lack of sonic interest after the piano section. It’s a transitional period in which the band hits a wall (a sequence all in unison) that serves to de-escalate the intensity of the building momentum. What it lacks is some sort of textural context, some color to complement such a straightforward approach. It’s a standard technique and is cultivated by the dynamics of a live show. For a recording it might be more effective to provide a sound to either carry the listener’s attention as an auditory focal point, or as an embellishment to the simple, homophonic texture of the band.
 
And, of course, once I criticize the band’s use of color I have immediate cause for praise. The second track, “Staying Up” is my favorite kind of song: refreshing, reflective, organic. From the immaculate roll of the opening chord, the music unfolds with elegant gravity. Imagine leaves falling. Jangly guitars fit snugly in a vibrant mix and are accompanied by tasteful and highly complimentary banjo picking. This is one of the most unique moments on the album; Keeper finds a place to reside comfortably and welcomes the listener to a sound of its own. The vocal work at the end is really cool and extremely well done. Because I like this track so much, I wish there was more to bite off lyrically, but I think this is a minor smudge in light of the track’s overall magnificence.
 
The first tidbit of attitude we get comes immediately with the onset of “I Won’t,” a cool, breezy, kinetic track lushed out quite beautifully. The egg shaker, for instance, is a breath of fresh air. The drums are built logically and done with precision. The dirty guitar would contribute more with a more vibrant tone, maybe more chord definition. But, the clean guitar work is spot-on. I love the tone and the slinky riff that carries the groove and harmony. I am looking forward to experiencing this song live. It seems honed by interaction.
 
On “Dead Serious” we get the most intriguing literary premise and the lyrics have more color, a wider vocabulary, and more devices. This sort of lyrical craft is a great complement to Keeper’s instantly amicable sonic stylings. We also get a cool, augmented, kinda hypnotic chord structure bringing in some welcomed harmonic struggle in the midst of the album’s overall consonance. The outro feels fresh and playful with that augmented bit making a delicate return.
 
“Pennsylvania” closes the EP nicely. It’s a sentimental ballad about a far off place, a far off time. My initial thought is a harsh one: Do we need more of these? The track goes down easy... maybe too easy, but again, Keeper does it well. The band stays concise and resists the urge to include a four-minute chant section that helps keep the song lean and honest. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a gorgeous melody and the style is executed with great skill, I just can’t help but wonder if the band could have been a bit more adventurous in its closing statement. I am being quite critical of a track that is, for all intents and purposes, flawless. This is food for thought. Here is a band that has a great following, great instincts and musicianship: Do we have the faith to follow them into unknown territory?
 
Finally, here’s my dilemma with the piece and the EP in general: while the band packs a little too much sugar in their recipe sometimes, the music ultimatelyleaves a good taste in my mouth. It also leaves me with an undeniable sense of peace and closure. Which, damn it all if that’s not the point.
 
Overall, it’s obvious that She’s A Keeper is a group of talented musicians who know how to make a solid recording. Due credit must also be given to engineer/producer Joel Nanos at Element Recording, where the project came to life… which is just down the street from what I can only assume is our mutually local liquor store of which the title may have been adopted (my hunch).
 
 
Check out She’s A Keeper online and join us on Saturday, January 31, to see them LIVE at Davey’s Uptown with Organized Crimes. Facebook event page.
 
--Jerad Tomasino
 
Jerad is a musician and human being local to KCMO since 2005. He studied Music Composition at the Conservatory at UMKC, is a founding member of Golden Sound Records, The Crossroads Summer Block Party, and has been active as a writer/player/producer for bands, including his own Everyday/Everynight (KCMO) and Nifty250 (Omaha).
 
 

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Album review: Hembree - New Oasis (EP)

Music—writing songs that resonate with people, observing snapshots in time, and reconciling emotions in one’s head—can be cathartic and somewhat serious business. Out of a conversation with Hembree singer/guitarist/songwriter Isaac Flynn, you get very little of that. The guy is just really nice. He says early in the conversation that they “want to make fun music.” New Oasis, Hembree’s eagerly awaited debut EP, does just that. In spades.   
 
From the ashes of Lawrence/KC group Quiet Corral rose Hembree. This quintet—the remainder of the QC members after vocalist/guitarist Jesse Roberts departed—took stock of its situation and instead of going their separate ways, they seized—as Flynn tells it, the “opportunity to create something totally different.” Take a liberal dose of supremely fresh Americana and add to it a couple scoops of vintage keyboards and beats and you’re beginning to get the idea.
 
New Oasis is, from front to back, a journey of gritty and honest vocals, dreamy and ethereal harmonies, beautifully constructed guitar layers, a near perfect rhythm section, and killer keyboards that provide a yin to the roots rock yang. The lyrics come from the heart as well; all drawn from, as Flynn asserts, “my life experience and those close to me.” He fills pages, his mobile phone memo app, and has even inundated the memory in his car’s onboard voice memo storage with lyrics he sings aloud to remember tune ideas that randomly pop into his head. 
 
“It’s like an ‘80s band decided to become an Americana band but forgot to tell the keyboard player,” he explains. Well said. 
 
The feel of New Oasis is poppy but real. Many of Hembree’s musical influences such as Tom Petty, Hall & Oates, and Tears For Fears can be heard, but with a definite modern freshness. Hembree has taken these filters and molded them into a remarkably cohesive sound that literally anyone could listen to and find a slice that inspires them and leaves them wanting more. 
 
The opener, “Whistler,” is a longing introduction that sucks you in with an Alan Parsons-ish vibe and is followed by the hopeful title track, which seems to spell out the bright outlook of this group that—in spite of their losses—sees only promise for the future. “Subtle Step” is a downright infectious number (I’ve had it in my head for literally days) that would be perfectly placed on the soundtrack for Real Genius or Weird Science. “October” is that perfect, lovely mixture of the Americana/synth compound: Equal parts Tom Petty, a wide-open Midwestern twang, and OMD. “Walk Alone” is a modern and somewhat lonely song that belies its outwardly upbeat meter. The hooky and interplaying vocals, dynamics, and immaculate guitar riffs make this one as strong as any cut from the record. “Six Years” closes it out with greater guitar fuzz and an earnest entreat: Meet me on the other side / Where there’s time to learn this life.
 
New Oasis has focus, it has balance, and it has integrity. My only complaint about the record is that it’s too short. As to Hembree’s goal of making “fun music”? Check that one off the bucket list, guys.
 
Hembree is:
Jim Barnes: Drums, vocals
Garrett Childers: Guitar, vocals
Eric Davis: keys 
Isaac Flynn: Guitar, vocals
Matt Green: Bass
 
 
--Jeff Stalnaker
 
Jeff Stalnaker plays in a local band and can open a beer bottle with his wedding ring.
 
 
Hembree will be celebrating the release of New Oasis in Lawrence this Saturday, January 31, at the Granada Theater. It’s an all ages, free show sponsored by KJHK, with special guests Paper Buffalo, Ebony Tusks, and The Phantastics. Facebook event page.
 
 

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Best of Kansas City 2014 for Emerging Artists: Readers' Poll results

Deli Readers,

The Deli KC's Best of 2014 Readers and Fans' Poll for local emerging artists is over, thanks to all those who cast their vote in support of the emerging local bands and artists in our list of nominees.

1. Kangaroo Knife Fight

Congratulations to The Deli’s 2014 KC Readers’ Choice artist, Kangaroo Knife Fight (pictured above)! The four-piece rockers recently released its debut self-titled EP, which can be found below. We’ll be featuring them in an upcoming interview very soon. Until then, check out their tunes!


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2. Yore
 
 
Before even playing its first show, Yore has taken second place in our Readers’ Poll! This new project includes former members of The Cherry Tree Parade, Mother Culture, and Gentleman Savage. Yore recently released its first video; keep your eyes peeled for a new single from them soon.
 
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Coming in at third place is The Blackbird Revue, the husband-and-wife duo whose folk pop melodies have been winning over audiences in KC and around the country (they’ve been featured on The Voice and The Discovery Channel). The couple recently released a video in advance of a 2015 album. Here’s a Q&A we did with them.
  

 

Here's this poll's top 10 chart, full results can be found here

BEST OF KC 2014 - READERS' POLL RESULTS
 
Artists
Votes
 
1
Kangaroo Knife Fight
502
2
Yore
461
icon
3
The Blackbird Revue
302
icon
4
ATLAS
181
icon
5
AY MusiK
57
icon
6
Scruffy & The Janitors
34
icon
7
Jorge Arana Trio
21
icon
8
Riddles
18
icon
9
The Gorlons
17
icon
10
The Thunderclaps
15
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Stay tuned for the composite chart, to be released soon, which will include the point nominees accumulated from the jurors and Deli writers' votes, and will crown The Deli's Best Emerging KC Artist of 2014.

The Deli's Staff


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