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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.
 
Usually badly.
 
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
 
 
Catch Heidi Lynne Gluck with her full band next Saturday, June 27 at Lawrence Field Day Fest; they’ll be playing at Eighth Street Taproom at 10 pm.
 

 





June Artist of the Month: Brooklyn Rye

Congrats to our June Artist of the Month, Brooklyn Rye! This new blues-influenced rock/pop group is fairly to the KC/Lawrence scene, making its live debut earlier this year. Find out more about the band and see what they have coming up.
 
The Deli: Down and dirty: one sentence to describe your music.
 
Brooklyn Rye: Time warped rock & roll best paired with a good whiskey.
 
The Deli: Give me some background on Brooklyn Rye. How did the band come to be?
 
Brooklyn Rye: The band started nameless in the dormitories of a small junior college in southeastern Kansas. Zach Dodson, Branden Moser, and Steven Bauer passed the time by creating simple progression songs with melodies that usually piqued the humor of the group. Bauer and Moser continued writing songs in this fashion before forming their first band in summer 2014. Kyle Babson had played with a group of friends in college and had toured the Midwest before meeting Bauer, Moser, and Dodson. On the search for a female vocalist Moser found Grace Griffin, who had been a solo singer-songwriter looking to collaborate with other musicians around the Kansas City area. Then we started jamming and haven't stopped.
 
The Deli: What inspires your music and songwriting?
 
Brooklyn Rye:Life, love, loss, hope, sex. We write about what everybody feels and goes through in their life. We just tell our side of the story. We try to always push each other out of our comfort zones and try to create something that has parts of all of us. A Frankenstein of music roaming the streets of Kansas City.
 
The Deli: What have been your greatest accomplishments as a band?
 
Brooklyn Rye: We feel that being able to play music everyday with your best friends and share that music is our greatest feat. We are just lucky enough to have the opportunity. But we are honored to receive the Deli KC’s Emerging Artist of the Month.
 
The Deli: Do you have any recorded music or anything in the works? What can we expect?
 
Brooklyn Rye: We have released two demo tracks (“Demon Shake” and “Hangman”). We have an EP in the works without a release date at the moment but probably winter/spring . In the meantime, we are branching out later this summer/fall to continue pushing our own boundaries and road test new songs for the record. We adore playing live so we just try to work sessions around that.
 
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?
 
Brooklyn Rye: In Kansas City alone, there are hundreds of bands that go unnoticed that have a great deal of talent. This city has so much to tell the world, and Kansas City's choice of medium just happens to be song, which is pretty damn cool. We like to believe in the underdog and that you can make music and be seen and heard no matter where you're from.
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite local musicians right now?
 
Brooklyn Rye: Grand Villanova, Me Like Bees, Scruffy and The Janitors, Radkey, and the other bands in the poll with us.
 
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?
 
Brooklyn Rye: The ‘69 Woodstock bill would be pretty rad.
 
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?
 
Branden Moser: That's impossible. I'd put the other four members of our band on there. They're pretty good looking and would provide great overseers for the people of South Dakota.
 
The Deli: What goals does Brooklyn Rye have for 2015, and beyond?
 
Brooklyn Rye: Recordings, festivals, gigs—anything we can get our hands on. We want to fully immerse ourselves in music.
 
The Deli: Where can we find you on the web?
 
Brooklyn Rye: www.brooklynrye.fm
 
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
 
Brooklyn Rye: Stay hydrated and ration the use of selfie sticks, people.
 
Brooklyn Rye is:
Steven Bauer: vocals
Kyle Babson: bass, guitar
Zach Dodson: drums
Grace Griffin: vocals
Branden Moser: guitar
 
 
--Michelle Bacon
 

Michelle Bacon is editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands.





Artist on Trial: Witch Jail

Though they created an online presence two years ago, Witch Jail has only been playing out as a band for a short time. Formed by husband-and-wife team Rob Gillaspie and Emily Filley, the group recently added drummer Zach Turner to the mix. Gillaspie—formerly of Lawrence bands The Spook Lights and Pale Hearts, as well as The Cramps tribute band Stay Sick—lends his extravagant frontman stylings to the surfy, primitive garage rock band. Witch Jail’s music has all the makings of the soundtrack to a sleazy horror movie, and we mean that in the best possible way. The trio sat down together to answer our questions, and we think you’ll be amused by the answers.
 
The Deli: Down and dirty: one sentence to describe your music.
 
Zach Turner: Pineapple Boom Bop.
Rob Gillaspie: LISTENABLE. Incredibly listenable Pineapple Boom Bop.
Emily Filley: A 45 you find in a thrift store dumpster but don't know if you wanna listen to it.
Rob: I would. It's LISTENABLE.
Zach: It came from the garbage disposal.
 
The Deli: Give me some background on Witch Jail. How did the band come to be?
 
Rob: There is this picture from the ‘40s of these classy­looking schoolgals standing in front of the old Salem Witch Jail in Massachusetts. We saw that and decided to steal the name before anyone else could. Made a Facebook page and a Bandcamp page before we even had any instruments. Locked it down. Conjured up the band around it. SORCERY. I'm used to just being a wild­ass frontman, breaking bottles on my head and taking off my pants and all that... so being anchored to a guitar has been a real humbling experience for me. It's a good thing.
Emily: You forced me to play guitar even though I was super sick.
Rob: What?
Emily: Yeah! Remember that time I was sick for 6 weeks?
Rob: I forced you to play guitar?
Emily: Yeah, you were like, “We should do this!” and I was like, “I can't even stay awake right now.”
Rob: So you're saying I healed you? I cured your illness?
Emily: Yes.
Rob: THAT'S WITCHCRAFT.
Emily: We went through a slew of drummers. Then Zach came up to us in a bar and asked if he could play drums for us.
Zach: That's how I get all my drumming gigs. I just go up to people and ask. That's how I ended up playing with Folkicide, too.
 
The Deli: What inspires your music and songwriting?
 
Rob: Vintage melodramas. Old comics and sleazy movie trailers. Slime. Artists of singular vision­­ like Doris Wishman or that guy who directed Miami Connection. Unsolved murders. Drugs, obviously. The Devil—not the metal one but the blues one. Ghosts—at my age, the kind of life I've led, you start to know quite a few of them.
Emily: Romance comics, cats, shoplifting, movies.
Zach: Sticky buns. I think about sticky buns. Don't put that.
Emily: Those sticky buns are gonna be good when I'm done. Better hurry up and finish this song.
Rob: What about your drumming? What inspires your drumming?
Zach: I just like to hit stuff.
 
The Deli: What have been your greatest accomplishments as a band?
 
Emily: Not getting frostbite in the shed at Satan's Gay Acid Bath.
Rob: I was gonna use that show, too. Opening for Guantanamo Baywatch in that freezing shed. They're one of my favorite bands. Also, Getting Zach to play drums for us.
Zach: I don't know. SHE'S ASKING THE TOUGH QUESTIONS. I thought this was gonna be a fluff piece.
Rob: Actually, the fact that we're playing shows ANYWHERE is an accomplishment. I'm just happy Kansas City has been such a good fit for us. We love it here.
 
The Deli: Rob, you’ve been playing music in the KC/Lawrence area for a number of years. How has the scene changed, in your opinion?
 
Rob: I don't know that it's changed a whole lot. The way I interact with it has changed as I've gotten older, sure... I think the only thing that really changes in a scene is perspective. The music in KC has ALWAYS been on point. It's a creative town, lots of energy here. That being said, there's always an ebb and flow. Kansas City just happens to be FLOWING in a huge way right now. We just moved here after living in Lawrence for 20 years. Lawrence is... not really a GULCH these days, but close. There's certain things going on with the economy over there that makes it hard to be a struggling artist. Which is probably why KC keeps stealing such great talent from there, ha ha ha. I know it's a BIG reason we decided to migrate here.
 
The Deli: Do you have any recorded music or anything in the works? What can we expect?
 
Rob: We have a really rough demo up on our Bandcamp page, but we're gonna record everything over again, then start shooting music videos. Maybe do a horror movie about killer cats. And definitely put out a tape soon.
 
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?
 
Rob: Reducing the amount of shit I talk online about local bands I don't like.
Emily: Buying a round of shots for bands when we see them play.
Rob: I'm too broke and crotchety to get out to all of the shows I want to see, which is A LOT of shows, so I try to do my part by spreading the word to people, help build audiences. I've been trying to do art for local bands that I like, too, whether they want it or not. Ha ha ha.
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite local musicians right now?
 
Witch Jail: Johnny Blood. Lazy. Schwervon!. Psychic Heat. Drugs and Attics. Cop Knock. Folkicide. The Quivers. The Bad Ideas. The Latenight Callers. That band Bill Murray likes (The Philistines). Pretty much any band playing at the Green Lady.
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite non-local musicians right now?
 
Rob: Martin Denny? Liberace?
Emily: Can it all just be dead people?
Zach: Guantanamo Baywatch. Shannon and the Clams.
Rob: La Luz. I like them a lot.
Emily: Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds.
Zach: Cherry Pits are really good. The Rebel.
Rob: I listen to rock music some of the time, but when I'm at home I mostly listen to exotica albums and lounge music.
Zach: I mostly listen to bubble-gum pop and soundtrack music.
 
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?
 
Zach: Wrestlemania in Hawaii.
Emily: Hasil Adkins with Tom Lehrer and The Cramps. The Cramps with Kid Congo.
Zach: I don't know. I don't really have a fantasy concert.
Rob: Playing at some seedy fucking titty bar in the 1950s and ending up on one of those Las Vegas Grind comps later on. Or opening for ourselves from 20 years in the future.
Zach: I'm not really a concert guy. So I don't really have one. I like albums better.
Rob: That's a really good answer. I feel like a lot of people come up with really extravagant concerts…
Emily: "The Who and Cher!"
Rob: …I think that's a way more honest answer though. I totally feel that.
 
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?
 
Rob: We were gonna say the Residents at one point, just four eyeballs.
Emily: Poison Ivy, Levi Stubbs, Mark Mothersbaugh, and Tuna from the Rock Cats.
Zach: Paul McCartney, John Cage, Erik Satie, Macho Man Randy Savage. There was a question on one of those Legends of Wrestling specials; it was an episode about managers, and they actually had a graphic of their top four managers on Mount Rushmore.
Rob: No girl groups?
Zach: Fuck. I wanna change Macho Man to Ronnie Spector now.
Rob: Martin Denny, Link Wray, Mrs. Miller... Nah, my Mount Rushmore is gonna have The Chipmunks and Screamin' Jay Hawkins on it.
Emily: You're just doing that out of spite!
 
The Deli: What goals does Witch Jail have for 2015, and beyond?
 
Emily: Get the all­important Dan Aykroyd endorsement.
Rob: Get a Crystal Skull vodka endorsement.
Zach: I don't like vodka, though.
Rob: You like Dan Aykroyd, don't you? Then you'll like his vodka.
Emily: We'll just fill a crystal skull with gin for you.
Rob: Also, supporting Zach in his bid to become a pro wrestling manager. What's the story with that?
Zach: The story is, I got a walrus in my bathtub and a crapper fulla diamonds, and I'm gonna buy me a fucking champion!
Emily: And we're gonna ride his coattails to stardom.
 
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
 
Zach: You should probably die before the war.
Emily: Good times, great oldies.
Rob: Never shower. It washes your creativity down the drain.
 
Witch Jail is:
Rob Gillaspie (Guy Slimey): guitar, vocals
Emily Filley (Suzy Bones): guitar
Zach Turner (Tommy Guyana): drums
 
There are several opportunities to catch Witch Jail this month; the first is tomorrow, June 9, at recordBar with Lazy, Heavy Buffalo, and Mr. & the Mrs. Facebook event page. They’ll also be at East Wing next Wednesday, June 17.
 
 
--Michelle Bacon
 
Michelle Bacon is editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands.
 
 

 





Too Much Rock's 7" series: The Uncouth!

(Photo by Todd Zimmer)
 
The fourth installment of Too Much Rock’s 7” single series features The Uncouth!, arguably the leading purveyors of Kansas City’s Oi! scene. Too Much Rock has also released singles from Schwervon!, Rev Gusto, and Josh Berwanger Band; each 7” includes an original song from the band and a cover chosen by TMR’s Sid Sowder.
 
The album’s A-side is “KC United,” a 2-and-a-half-minute track that celebrates KC pride and displays what The Uncouth! does best: producing unabashed, fast-paced anthems with a classic punk throwback. This carries over onto the B-side, a cover of “Gudbuy T’Jane,” a 1972 hit from Slade, who influenced both the skinhead and glam rock scenes. The KC trio’s interpretation retains the original’s rhythmic drive and adds its own brand of immediacy and ferocity.
 
Check out this single from The Uncouth!, also available on Teenage Heart Stateside Distro.
 
 
--Michelle Bacon
 
Michelle Bacon is editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands. 




Artist on Trial: Suneaters

(Photo by Rachael Jane)
 
In celebration of the release of its third album Suneaters II: Loving Relationship, four-piece rock group Suneaters is our Artist on Trial today. Self-described as “psychedelic, post-graduate rock,” the band takes a passionate, sometimes sarcastic and playful approach to its music, and draws influence from groups as diverse as Hall & Oates, Thin Lizzy, Slayer, and X. Frontman Christopher Garibaldi, who also owns local label Lotuspool Records, talks with us a bit about the project.
 
The Deli: Down and dirty: one sentence to describe your music.
 
Garibaldi: Rock rooted with an ambitious commitment to confuse and delight those who listen to our songs.
 
The Deli: Give me some background on Suneaters. How did the band come to be?
 
Garibaldi: I started a band, Dr.Doctor in LA with KC native and star of HBO’s True Blood, Michael McMillian. When Michael opted to focus on acting, writing, and directing, I took our songs back to Kansas City and formed Suneaters with longtime friend Scott Hartley. Our first album Suneaters I was a mix of new collaborations and rehashed Dr.Doctor songs. Our second album, Suneaters XIII was a soundtrack (mostly written by Scott) for Michael’s movie Charlie 13. When that album was finished, Scott and I committed to releasing a total of 13 Suneaters’ albums. We then started a plan to release albums in pairs.
 
After Suneaters II: Loving Relationship is released, Suneaters XII will soon follow. We both agree to end Suneaters when the ascending albums and descending albums meet at Suneaters VII.
 
After several fruitful years with drummer David Saab, we changed the lineup to include Chris Cardwell and Michael Judd. Both Chris and Michael each added their own unique energy to the band coupled with broad musical tastes and abilities. Scott and I couldn’t be happier with the current lineup and what this oddly matched/perfect fit group is capable of creating.
 
Suneaters’ recordings are supported by a number of folks, including Michael McMillian on vocals, multi-instrumentalist Matt Nalbach, and Matt Ku (vocals/Kaoss pad).
 
The Deli: What inspires your music and songwriting?
 
Garibaldi: Generally, we look for the perfect intersection of sincerity and smartass.
 
The Deli: What have been your greatest accomplishments as a band?
 
Garibaldi: Things keep getting better. We were pretty damn proud of SEII and then we started making videos with W. Dave Keith (director of Metcalf South Memories). That has been an energizing experience, and a way we can all better express the energy and fun in our music.
 
The Deli: Tell us about your new album, Suneaters II: Loving Relationship. What can we expect, and how do you think it’s shown your growth as a band from previous works?
 
Garibaldi: While it is the third album recorded in our basements, it is sonically the best thing we have done. Matt Allen (local producer) helped us make the most out of our home studio without relying too much on ProTools or plugins. The songwriting, sounds, and performances are a huge step up from our past recordings, yet we preserved our “anything goes” approach to making the songs. In all sincerity, it is an album concocted from an odd array of influences (America, Bread, Graham Nash, George Harrison, Al Green, Hall & Oates, and Slayer), but I think it makes sense when you hear it. As an example, “Hai Karate” is a song that ties together the styles of Thin Lizzy and The Cure.
 
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?
 
Garibaldi: My perspective on local music comes from someone who has played in local bands and run a local label for the last 22 years. In my mind, supporting local music is a broader extension of the Suneaters/Lotuspool DIT (Do It Together) approach to creativity. I know that there is a tremendous group of creative folks in this area. I support and encourage us all to help each other raise the bar on our creative output. We should support each other locally with the goal of being globally recognized. And when we get that recognition, we should continue to grow the pool of our collaborators, supporters, and friends. When I lived in Lawrence, I was lucky enough to spend time with William S. Burroughs and James Grauerholz. Those dudes were very locally committed, but also fostered a collective of international writers, artists, and musicians. I am forever grateful for the support they gave Lotuspool and the example they set when it came to being global creative moguls with a dedication to the local scene.
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite local and non-local musicians right now?
 
Garibaldi: My favorite local musician is Heidi Gluck. I just saw her play at Love Garden Sounds in Lawrence with her, new band and that performance would have been just as amazing in Kauffman Stadium. She is the real deal. I also love Til Willis and Erratic Cowboy. Til is a dude who is down for music no matter what. I love that.
 
In the last month, I got to see Built to Spill and The Replacements live. Both shows were amazing for very different reasons. While many would consider those bands ancient, I am still in awe of what I saw them do on stage last month. As for somewhat modern performers, I think women vocalists are dominating the creative spectrum. Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Christina Aguilera, and Niki Minaj are doing some crazy shit, but will never get the props of innovators like Slint, The Pink Fairies, or Faust because today’s ladies are doing what they do, shrouded in pop.
 
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?
 
Garibaldi: I know it is an impossibility, but I’d love to open for Minutemen. I had a life changing experience waiting on Mike Watt at the Blue Bird Diner in Lawrence, and I think Minutemen are Scott’s favorite band. In my humble opinion, Minutemen were the best example of punk rock.
 
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?
 
Garibaldi: Michael Jackson, Barry Manilow, D. Boon, and Abe Lincoln. Needs no explanation.
 
The Deli: What goals do Suneaters have for 2015, and beyond?
 
Garibaldi: Finish a video for every song on SEII. Release Suneaters XII. Write Suneaters III.
 
The Deli: You also run Lotuspool Records. What bands do you represent and what are your goals with the label?
 
Garibaldi: Lotuspool Records was started in 1992 by Matt Hyde (currently owns 715 Restaurant and the Lady Bird Diner in Lawrence) and me. While Scott and I currently run Lotuspool, Matt is still involved in label activities. He introduced us to Heidi Gluck (arguably our most talented artist to date). We are releasing a four-track album of Matt’s sometime in the fall. We hope to someday sign his super talented daughters, who are incredible musicians and vocalists. The current Lotuspool catalog includes Zoom, Panel Donor, Bully Pulpit, Mild 7, Hollow Body, Krafty Love Lordz, Suneaters, and Heidi Gluck. Our goal is to be an artist-friendly label committed to music and music choices that pleasantly surprise our patrons.
 
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
 
Garibaldi: Thank you for supporting publications like The Deli KC. When we grew up, we needed zines to help us find life-changing music. With current-day media being a dense soup that is very difficult to traverse, an oasis like The Deli is just as important as those zines we read as kids.
 
Suneaters is:
Scott Hartley: Bass/Vocals
Chris Garibaldi: Guitar/Vocals
Chris Cardwell: Drums/Vocals
Michael Judd: Guitar/Vocals
 
Check out Suneaters’ latest album Loving Relationship, released today on Lotuspool Records. Watch out for their upcoming show in August at The Tank Room with labelmate Heidi Gluck.
 
--Michelle Bacon
 
Michelle Bacon is editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands.
 
 

 

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