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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.
 
 

 





May 2015's Artist of the Month: No Cave

Congrats to No Cave, The Deli KC’s May Artist of the Month! Having been a band for slightly over a year, No Cave has already made strides acrossLawrence with its groove-based psychedelic jazz rock sound. Just last month, the band beat out seven other semi-finalists in KJHK’s Farmer’s Ball competition. We talk with frontman and guitarist Ross Williams a bit more about the project.
 
The Deli: Down and dirty: one sentence to describe your music.
 
Williams: Dark Bandicoot Jazz.
 
The Deli: Give me some background on No Cave. How did the band come to be?
 
Williams: No Cave started a little over a year ago at this house James (Thomblinson) and I used to live at about 15 minutes west of Lawrence. We had about 80 acres of land, a 5-bedroom house, and a converted wood shop we used as a rehearsal/recording space and as a DIY venue. James and I had been having weird krautrock jams regularly for about 6 months before I asked Nick (Frederickson) to come over and jam. We knew immediately we were a band. I recorded our first jam! It didn’t just feel good, it sounded good too. Just recently we have added a member (Joel Stratton) to play bass with us, while James is going to move to synth.
 
The Deli: What have been your biggest accomplishments as a band?
 
Williams: We won this battle of the bands sponsored by KU a few weeks ago called Farmer’s Ball. That was big for us because it exposed us to the students of KU and the crowd of people who won’t come out for a show that starts at 11 pm. We also won a big cash prize, which is great for us. And you know, we won this reader’s poll! We found about this right after we won Farmer’s Ball, so I would say we got some momentum in the month of April from multiple sources.
 
The Deli: What inspires your music and songwriting?
 
Williams: We do a lot of writing together, so the camaraderie of hanging out with your best friends trying to have fun but think critically together and create something greater than the sum of its parts. There is so much instability in the world,; ust having friends that are on the same wavelength as you can make a huge difference in how you perceive your place in it all.
 
The Deli: You recently released your first EP, Eyes Brighter Then the Sun, in early 2015. What can we expect?
 
Williams: It’s 4 songs and about 20 minutes. We recorded it live as a band, and I mixed it and added some overdubs afterwards. I’m extremely proud of the fact that we did it all ourselves and made a recording that is of respectable quality. Stylistically, it’s rock and roll with the aforementioned kraut thrown in for seasoning.
 
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?
 
Williams: Well, we are a local band, so it means supporting our friends and people who we like. But on a more philosophical note it means helping to grow something that is a product of its immediate environment. You’re empowering your community to be the best it can be, which benefits everyone. When you see someone you know doing something you like, you want to do it too! The more people pay attention and the more people do to support local culture the better it gets, and there’s a threshold where once a community gets enough continuous support it becomes a hotbed for talent. All it takes is the community getting together and actually interacting and helping each other for the sake of excellence.
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite local and non-local musicians right now?
 
Williams: Psychic Heat, Paper BuffaloMajor Games, The Conquerors, The Philistines (SLAYED at MidCoast Takeover), Expo '70, D’Angelo, Flying Lotus, Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
 
The Deli: What goals does No Cave have for 2015, and beyond?
 
Williams: KANSAS CITY. That’s where we want to play. Hit us up! We will play our asses off, show up on time, and promote. Let’s book a big show with lots of people and make sure everyone leaves having had an awesome night! I think we’d like to press at least a 7” as well. We’ve got a band fund, we’ll see when we do that.
 
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
 
Williams: It’s best if the high note is a leading tone, creating tension until the resolving chord is played in a lower octave.
 
No Cave is:
Ross Williams – vox, guitar
James Thomblison – synth, vox
Nick Frederickson – drums
Joel Stratton – bass
 
No Cave’s next show will be at The Bottleneck next Friday, May 22, with Major Games and Paper Buffalo. Be sure to check them out. Facebook event page.
 
--Michelle Bacon
 
Michelle Bacon is editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands.
 

 





Show review: Deco Auto with The English Beat

(Photo by Elizabeth Garcia)
 
Friday night, I was 16 again, except for the part about needing a fake ID to get into the club. If there wasn't a good time being had by anyone and everyone in the vicinity of Knuckleheads, well, it's on them, because all the ingredients were assembled for them—all they had to do was shake.
 
Deco Auto got things rolling, and the only problem I had with their set was that it wasn't long enough. Seriously, seven songs? These guys deserve more. Steven Garcia just wails, both his vocals and his guitar; Tracy Flowers maintains the power pop beat with some of the most right-on bass playing in Kansas City, or anywhere else for that fact. The band is rounded out with Pat Tomek on drums. You know who he is. He's the unnamed drummer who not only didn't object, but probably thought it was a grand idea for Steve, Bob & Rich to change their name and become The Rainmakers.
 
But they're resourceful and made the most of what they had to work with, and played mostly new stuff from the new LP The Curse of Deco Auto (which is awesome and you should buy a copy). They closed with a crowd favorite, “The Mercy Kind.” I can only imagine the speeding tickets that song has inspired.
 
Deco Auto opening for The English Beat was like a pyromaniac gleefully setting a blaze, and then watching with smug satisfaction as the headliner fanned the flames.
 
And fan the flames they did. For two hours, they burned down the house. If you haven't gotten it by now, I'll just tell you… I had a great time. For a few hours I was as carefree as I was when they provided the soundtrack of my youth, and that was the effect they wanted to have. The Beat has a new album coming out next month, and the playlist interspersed songs from it with the songs of our youth that most of the attendees came to hear… “Tears of a Clown,” “Save it for Later,” “Hands Off…She's Mine,” “Mirror in the Bathroom,” “Twist & Crawl”… they knew what several hundred people turned out on a glorious May evening for, and they did not disappoint. For more than two hours they had the crowd on their feet, dancing and skanking (relax, it just means 'boogying' in ska-speak) and forgetting all about the babysitters that were on the clock and making more than the revelers made in their first two or three jobs combined. But no one cared, because the show they came for… they got.
 
--Tammy Booth
 

Tammy also blogs at They Gave Us A Republic and Show Me Progress.





Artist on Trial: Introducing Charlie

Introducing Charlie is one of Kansas City’s newest bands. With its debut single “Far Gone” released last month, the four-piece group stands out in the local music landscape. The single introduces a punctuated, progressive rock band with a sweeping orchestral vibe. We talk with three of the band’s four members about the project.
 
The Deli: Down and dirty: one sentence to describe your music.
 
Joel Shields: According to some, we're the love child of The Smiths and Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow.
 
Josh Wallingford: We do the musical things that get us off, together, and as hard as necessary.
 
Roshelle Pekarek: Violin players wanna rock out too.
 
The Deli: Give me some background on Introducing Charlie. How did the band come to be?
 
Joel: Josh, Eric (Carlson), and I had played together in the mid- to late aughts in a band called Ste. Simone. We stayed friends after the split, and we got together last summer to jam for fun. It clicked really well, despite our not having played together for 5 years, and it felt like we had something that wasn't there before. And the timing seemed to work with our other demands, so we decided to give it a go. A couple of months later, I enticed Roshelle to join by telling her that my dogs were talented musicians and would be playing in the band. She stayed despite this lie.
 
Roshelle: I was misinformed, but then I discovered Josh keeps a keg in the practice space...shrug. Seriously though, this band has been the outlet that has kept me ticking in the midst of a lot of wrong turns. I'm kind of amazed one cute Facebook photo by an acquaintance connected me with a stellar group of guys.
 
The Deli: Did your time together in Ste. Simone influence your writing at all for this band?
 
Joel: There are probably subtle similarities because of the people involved, but the two bands have very different vocalists (I played guitar and rarely sang in Ste. Simone). Ste. Simone was definitely darker and heavier than Introducing Charlie. And Roshelle's viola and violin definitely add a unique element to the latter's sound.
 
Josh: Beyond the members and occasional discussions of what songs we kinda remember, it’s all new. This is a slowly moving amalgamation of our loved and escaped influences.
 
The Deli: What inspires your music and songwriting?
 
Joel: Tacos and beer, mostly. We're all avid fans of many kinds of music, so we absorb things from all over the place, which I'm sure comes through in our material. Nerd in, nerd out.
 
Josh: Tacos and beer and each other. We play well off one another and freely swap and discuss melody and rhythm to make the songs right.
 
Roshelle: I come from a classical background, so a rock band is a beautiful new animal. The guys set up the feel of the song, and I love the challenge of finding the right fit.
 
The Deli: You recently released your debut single. Are you working on recording anything else?
 
Joel: We've recorded a handful of live-tracked songs that are in various states of completion. "Far Gone," the single, is a relatively straightforward rock song for us, so the next couple will probably be a bit more eclectic. One that's nearly done is kind of a lounge lizardy, jazzy jam. Another is a pretty, swaying, 6/8 deal.
 
The Deli: Where’d the name come from?
 
Joel: Eric came up with that one. He had been playing this trivia game called You Don't Know Jack and told us that "introducing Charlie" was a Victorian-era euphemism for sex. And since sexual euphemisms are kind of a time-honored tradition in rock music, we instantly knew it had to be our name.
 
Josh: Crashing the Custard Truck was too long.
 
Roshelle: I've been glad my mom hasn't asked what it means, knock on wood.
 
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?
 
Joel: Pretty basic stuff. Buy the records and attend the shows. Give to Midwest Music Foundation. Throw some bones toward a Kickstarter here or there. KC has been doing much better the last few years at these things, I think.
 
Josh: People should come see us, buy us a drink and a song or two… Never mind, what Joel said.
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite local and non-local musicians right now?
 
Joel: I couldn't possibly come up with a comprehensive list—there are too many—but lately I've been obsessed with the new Mikal Shapiro record (The Musical) and Beauty Pill's new one (Beauty Pill Describes Things As They Are). Beauty Pill is a great DC band made up of Dischord veterans, most of whom are accomplished multi-instrumentalists and sound manipulators. It's total headphone bliss.
 
Josh: Zero 7 and their many collaborators (Sia, Jose) are permanently lodged in my earholes. Elbow and Radiohead haven’t stopped amazing me yet either. Local folks: Steve Tulipana, Dave Gaumé, Billy Smith’s gang, Mr. Marco’s V7 crowd (Kent Burnham, Johnny Hamil, Marco Pascolini, etc). But there are a lot of impressive musical minds in the KC mix right now (Bacon, Gavin Mac, Anna Cole, Mama Bear).
 
Roshelle: The Conquerors, Drugs and Attics, Josh Berwanger Band. I also play a bit with Nicole Springer (The Clementines), who is working on her first solo album; I'm blown away by her voice and her writing, and I regularly find her songs stuck in my head. I'm digging the catchy new track ("Stepbrother City") from Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin and looking forward to a new album from them in a few weeks. My favorite band and go-to artist is Spoon; last year's They Want My Soul is still in my rotation.
 
The Deli: What goals does Introducing Charlie have for 2015, and beyond?
 
Joel: Probably the same as anyone: play shows, put out some music, eat and drink too much. We're all about the simple pleasures.
 
Josh: Yep. Have fun making music together, both temporal and permanent.
 
Roshelle: I bought a vocal effects pedalboard that Josh spotted online. It has so many bells and whistles that it makes my acoustic-thinking mind spin. I need to figure out how to make and replicate cool sounds.
 
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
 
Joel: I was standing on a sidewalk at a rest stop on I-70 when an elderly gentleman walked by and told me, “When you're my age, you never pass a rest stop, waste an erection, or trust a fart.” So I have that creepy bit of wisdom. And now you do too.
 
Josh: My spirit animal is Ron Swanson. Wherever you go, there you are.
 
Introducing Charlie is:
Eric Carlson – drums
Roshelle Pekarek – violin, viola
Joel Shields – vocals, guitar
Josh Wallingford – bass
 
Introducing Charlie will be playing at recordBar this Saturday, May 2, opening for My Goodness. Facebook event page.
 
--Michelle Bacon
 
Michelle Bacon is editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands.
 
 




Interview: (the) medicine theory

The Medicine Theory is an experimental rock music trio comprised of baritone guitarist Jeff Irvine, percussionist/vocalist Tyson Schroeder, and cellist Barbara Anndrea Arriaga-Delaney. The two-piece version, drums and guitar—formed in 2007—played a set at Harling's Upstairs a couple weeks ago and chatted with me afterward.
 
Schroeder and Irvine met in various performing and visual arts classes during high school and soon began playing in punk/metal bands. A few years later, the two were playing in KC speed metal/punk band Methods of Man (1994-1997). After a few years, Schroeder decided to take a break from music. Soon after, Irvine moved to Philadelphia then Washington DC to pursue his degree. By 2000, Schroeder moved to Cape Cod to focus on painting while working and living at the newly opened museum estate of artist and author Edward Gorey.
 
“At that time,” said Schroeder, “I was done playing in bands. I was going to play, but only if I was having fun with it like I did when I was 18.” Then he visited Irvine in DC and fun ensued. “It was pretty much, let’s drink absinthe and make noises and record them,” said Schroeder. Irvine recalls, “We did that… quietly,” with his girlfriend, now wife, asleep in the next room.
 
The two had fun, stayed up all night and a few months later met again in Cape Cod. They set up a mini recording studio in one of the estates, Barns (no absinthe this time, just volume), and set about recording “everything we could,” said Irvine. “It was pretty much the beginning of this band,” recalls Schroeder. And it became the template for how the two would write music.
 
“We wanted to write like we did when we first started,” said Schroeder, “when we didn't know what the fuck we were doing… anything goes.” After so many years playing off of each other, Irvine mentioned, “There's a lot of instinct. Things just happen.” In late 2014 the two-piece became a trio thanks to cellist Arriaga-Delaney.
 
Schroeder’s percussion is deliberate and big. At times his style and sound somehow lean towards jazz-punk, all the while maintaining an unwavering weight and drive. His vocals expand and retract from the hushed tones of a madman mid-conversation to a shouting lunatic, depending on the story he's telling or the character being brought to life. Schroeder and Irvine are both visual artists as well as musicians, and this lends nicely to the characters and stories created in their songwriting. Barreling through, over and around all of this is Irvine’s sonic-laced baritone. At times jagged and driving, at others melodic, almost adrift, it is evident he knows how to simply let a song—a story, unfold. Irvine played bass for a long time before picking up guitar and this can be heard in the reserve with which he attacks songs, holding down steady rhythms and flourishes as well as succinct leads.
 
The advent of Austin-based cellist Arriaga-Delaney started as an experiment on a few songs in 2014. By March 2015 the band had played a few shows together and were set to play the MidCoast Takeover stage at SXSW. “She wanted to just do 2 or 3 songs, like she'd done previously,” says Irvine. Schroeder notes, “But we both really liked what she was bringing to the table.” Irvine let Arriaga-Delaney in on a secret. “We're going to do a full set with you.” The cellist agreed. “She showed to us that she really wanted to be a part of this.”
 
There were a few obstacles, though. Less than a week before the showcase, she had injured her hand and didn't know the whole set list. But she toughed it out. “Six days in a row,” says Irvine. Schroeder recalls 4- to 6-hour rehearsals.
 
Arriaga-Delaney is a busy cellist. She played in a band calle And The Furies Say, as well as Reverend Glasseye, a Boston-based band that transplanted to Austin, where she got hooked up with them.” According to Schroeder, “She tours around a lot playing solo things, playing with other people. She's definitely a free spirit—a gypsy lady.” Recently, she worked on a score for a film in real time. “She was out in the desert with them while they were filming it, just coming up with a soundtrack. They put her in the film but they were also recording her live.”
 
The effect of Arriaga-Delaney’s cello on The Medicine Theory’s sound is as subtle yet decisive. The arrangements haven't changed but have grown. The mood and tone of songs has shifted. The modicum of levity in Schroeder’s vocal attack has decreased with the infusion of the cello, while the stark melancholy has increased. “Covered Bridge” shifts from dark yet driven to stoic, moody, and downright estranged. The song “Timmy,” a twisted fun house take on a very dark subject matter, maintains a sense of levity. But as Irvine and Schroeder romp through the song, Arriaga-Delaney casually creates a sense of foreboding that wasn't there before. Like smoke slowly filling a room.
 
Putting a finger on the sound this trio is creating is maddening, impossible, and unnecessary. Comparisons to other groups don't quite fit. The sound is uniquely their own, and that is the intention.
 
--Chris Nielsen
 
 
The Medicine Theory plays at The Riot Room on Sunday, April 26, with Ides of Gemini, Sedlec Ossuary, and The Last Glacier. Facebook event page.
  
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