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!
Published: February 27, 2014 |
Boulevardia hosts touring bands and showcases local talent
In only its second year, Boulevardia has experienced exponential growth as a music, food, and beer festival, curated by Boulevard Brewing Company and located in the historic West Bottoms district. Though its first year boasted a musical lineup of touring acts like The BoDeans and Catfish & the Bottlemen, this year exceeded expectations with J. Roddy Walston & the Business, Mayer Hawthorne, Atlas Genius, and more.
The festival also highlighted a bevy of local musicians on two stages, curated by and Ink 90.9 The Bridge. Among several others, the Greenville Acoustic Stage featured a Delta blues/gospel-inspired set from Kris and Havilah Bruders, one-man folk troubadour Nicholas St. James, and newly formed trio Lovelorn. Meanwhile, the Chipotle Homegrown Stage presented a diverse swath of artists, many of whom—such as The Architects, Hembree, and Making Movies—performed to a large, eager crowd singing along to their music.
Local groups also dotted the Boulevard Main Stage throughout the weekend. Outsides kicked off Boulevardia on Friday with a danceworthy set that warmed up the audience for In the Valley Below, MS MR, and The Mowglis. On Saturday, Captiva, Chris Meck & the Guilty Birds, and The Clementines endured strong sets in the sweltering heat before the evening’s headlining acts, which welcomed Boulevardia’s first sold-out day of 20,000 patrons. On Sunday, Sara Morgan and Hearts of Darkness warmed up a Father’s Day crowd for The Grisly Hand—who brought in a horn section to augment an already fully formed country sound—and Big Head Todd & the Monsters.
-- Michelle Bacon
Published: June 23, 2015 |
Song premiere: "Bad To Me" by Margo May
(Photo by Hannah Lavenburg)
The Deli KC is excited to premiere the latest track from Margo May, “Bad To Me,” off her forthcoming album I’m Not Coming Home.
May credits much of her songwriting to Elliott Smith, whose voice comes through on this track’s melodic arrangement and its stripped-down, heart-rending honesty. She wrote “Bad To Me” as a result of a relationship gone wrong: “I really had to question my intention if I was a good or bad person,” she says. “A week later with no phone or Internet and I got ‘Bad To Me’ on my self reflection.”
The raw delivery of the song mirrors the intimate tone of the album, a departure from May’s polished pop tunes of the past. Recorded/produced in Kansas City by Tim J. Harte ( Mother Russia Industries), its lo-fi sound lends more poignancy and sincerity to her subtle, breathy vocals and Doby Watson’s sublime, tasteful fingerpicking.
I’m Not Coming Home will be co-released on Mother Russia Industries and Double Shift Music and was mastered by Cory Schultz in Milwaukee. May and Watson will be embarking on a short tour in July, which includes an official album release show at Prospero’s on July 19.
-- Michelle Bacon
Michelle is editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands.
Published: June 22, 2015 |
Artist profile: Various Blonde
The version of Various Blonde I saw live at Czar in 2011 is very different from the band playing this Thursday at Lawrence Field Day Fest. The 2011 iteration, led by guitarist/vocalist Joshua Allen, moved through a set that dabbled a little in the psychedelic while adhering to a heavier rock and punk-based sound. It was a solid set, though I remember thinking the vocals needed something and the melodies hinted at something more. What exactly? I didn't know.
The release of Summer High a few years later illustrated the elusive what hinted at back at Czar years before. I caught up to a very different live band back in November at Apocalypse Meow, and again last week at The Riot Room.
The only element that remained from the band was Allen. His guitar and vocals were still there, but now different from what I remember. There was a new bassist, EvanJohn McIntosh, a new drummer, Mark Lomas, and the addition of keyboardist Eddie Moore. The three-piece had grown, shifted, and mutated into a very different band creating a very different sound.
There is a seriousness to watching this four-piece perform. Like any professionals at work, it is obvious they enjoy what they do. But, also evident is that they are on stage to work, put on a great show, and hone their craft. A lot of the songs they perform create a serious reflective mood, but they cut that stoicism nicely with soulful grooves and melodies that manage to conjure a very difficult thing: movement. I tried to fight the urge to move along with the tunes, but, damnit, I happily failed.
Joshua Allen can sing. His voice shifts effortlessly from an easy tenor to a smooth falsetto that avoids piercing metal clichés. That he is a solid guitarist is as advantageous as it is necessary to VB's sound. He could easily get away with just singing, moving to the music and fronting the band, but thankfully he doesn't. Without him, songs like "Savage Children" would fall into the trap of being a "jam" song. Which is fine I guess, but I wouldn't know, I've never made it through an entire "jam" song. Allen's guitar and vocals dice tunes like “Savage Children” into succinct, building well-rounded songs. While the vocals help guide on "Savage Children,” they truly shine on the danceable, rocking tune “Indigo Children.” The first time I heard that song was literally a WTF moment. A perfect illustration of the elusive what:familiar, yet totally different and new.
The consistent blues infused groove created by McIntosh is unstoppable. Good luck not moving some part of your body. McIntosh's bass lines lead without overstepping, cyclical but never simple. I've been a fan since his days in Cherokee Rock Rifle and am selfishly happy he's found another outlet for his formidable skill set.
I don't know how long McIntosh and Lomas have been playing together (I'm just that thorough a correspondent) but the sound they produce belies whatever actual time they've spent working together. Their styles align perfectly. Nicely complementing each other as the foundation of the tone and mood of this band. Lomas' playing seems unflashy, until you take a moment and try to keep up with what he's doing. Seeing and hearing this guy live as he holds down patterns and changes that would make a drum machine pass out is mesmerizing. And again, good luck not dancing.
The addition of keyboardist and local jazz standout Moore adds depth and changes things drastically for this group. From a songwriting perspective alone, Moore's instrument and playing allows for a myriad of new directions, from sonic to classical to his specialty, jazz. As a musician, Moore's jazz sensibility and musical intelligence lend themselves perfectly to McIntosh’s and Lomas’ rhythmic foundation. Moore knows how to create his own distinctive musical plots and subplots within the framework of the sound already set in motion by his bandmates; he does so effortlessly, and without overplaying.
Obligatory comparisons? You should make your own... while dancing.
With the excellent full-length Summer High already out, I can't wait to hear what these guys build next. Until then, they play at Lawrence Field Day Fest this Thursday, June 25, at the Replay Lounge before taking a little Summer Hiatus.
Video and story by Chris Nielsen
Published: June 22, 2015 |
Album review: Heidi Lynne Gluck - The Only Girl in the Room
Back in the late sixties and early seventies, when artists like Emitt Rhodes, Todd Rundgren, and that Paul fella from The Beatles made records all by themselves it was a noteworthy thing. It’s been done plenty of times since.
In her modest home studio, Lawrence’s Heidi Lynne Gluck made such a “solo” recording. On The Only Girl in the Room, Gluck sings and plays every note. And she made a terrific record.
Gluck has an extensive resume as touring and session musician, including a stint in the band Some Girls with Juliana Hatfield and recordings with Margot & the Nuclear So and Sos. A 10-year Lawrencian, Gluck played previously in The Only Children with her ex-husband, Josh Berwanger.
The Only Girl in the Room is a refreshing EP (the first of four slated for release on KC’s Lotuspool Records), a focused gem of songwriting and performance. With these five songs, three co-written with Kenny Childers, Gluck makes a persuasive case for her art.
Gluck’s melodies are both composed and natural. Her poetic but unpretentious lyrics reflect on relationships, and on identity and destiny. Gluck’s voice is not a powerful instrument, but it has character and quiet power. Her sensitive musicianship creates a discreet emotional undertow.
On the title track Gluck’s phrasing is subtly swinging, evoking singers like Rickie Lee Jones and Carol Van Dyk (Bettie Serveert), women who can pull off a smoky ballad better than the run of the mill singer-songwriter. The lyrics convey loneliness and isolation, but a certain pride and resolve at the same time.
Gluck’s chamber-pop production values are likely a product of both design and thrift; their economy gives the songs focus. “Target Practice” is a nuanced look at personal and social weariness and mistrust. Gluck’s admiration for Jon Brion—especially his production work with Aimee Mann—is evident here. “One of Us Should Go,” guitar-based and closer to the folk idiom than much of Only Girl, recalls Paul Simon’s early songs, with a bridge that tilts toward Brian Wilson melodically.
Gluck is a convincing multi-instrumentalist; perhaps most at home as a bass player. Her bass lines, simple and supple, give “Orchids” an affecting throb. She has a fine ear for details, images of “your perfect shoulders” and a timely shift to falsetto highlight the insinuating melody.
Only Girl closes with “Where Will They Bury Me.” Death and the deposit of one’s remains is not typical pop song material, but it’s stock and trade for blues and folk music. Gluck’s Rickie Lee- ilt, and a lyric worthy of Tom Waits, favors a meditation on family and origins–more than death per se. “Where” sucks you in with a chorus melody quietly evocative of the maudlin sixties hit “Last Kiss,” (J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers … or Pearl Jam?) a tragi-comic ditty about a dude losing his gal in a car wreck. It lends a familiarity, leavening the solemnity of the lyric.
The job of an EP is simple—to leave you hungering for an entire album of material from the artist. The Only Girl in the Room is a varied, inviting, and brief recital that introduces Heidi Lynne Gluck, and makes you want more.
-- Steve Wilson
Published: June 17, 2015 |
Published: December 31, 1969 |
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