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2015 Year End Polls For Emerging Artists: Results Scene by Scene





Album review: The Shameless Pursuit - Fail It Forward

Several months old now, Fail It Forward has held true to its early praises of being a solid rock album, and remains as fresh in the ears as it did upon release. Kansas City trio The Shameless Pursuit debuted Fail it Forward at the end of October of last year, the first release from the collective of Jeffrey Means, Richard Newell, and Jon Eusey. The six-track EP, recorded and mastered at Clockwork Audio by Mike McDonough, showcases the band hitting the ground running before finding a solid pace through the duration of the album. For a debut album from a still-green band, Fail It Forward gives listeners a deep understanding of who The Shameless Pursuit are as a band and what they work to convey.
 
Lead singer and songwriter Means describes the album as an autobiography. “We have all been, or are currently in that spot where you are faced with the choice: courage or comfort? And what if courage means you will absolutely not succeed? You can only hope your failure has purpose, paying it forward so you or someone else can benefit.” A charming play on the concept of paying it forward, with a dash of reality and some reservations. Means continues: “It took us some time to decide on a title for the EP. The songs in this album were written over the last several years—the oldest one being from as far back as 2009, and the newest being written in the studio. When we put it together, we saw the progression of a very prominent theme in my writings.”
 
As mentioned, the band hits the ground running with their opening track, which is appropriately dubbed “The Opener.” Riffy guitar, insanely groovy bass lines, peppy drums, and soft-spoken vocals all meld together to declare, “I believe.” The song ramps up quickly as guitars become more prominent, the vocals get louder, and the trio turns everything up. Quickly you realize you’re in the midst of a sure-fire rock anthem.
 
The album enters an intense melodic chapter with the following tracks. “Captains and Kings,” “Fight and Flight,” and “Pt. II - No Hiding Places” (tracks 2, 3, and 4, respectively) start softly before evolving into larger, demanding tracks. While the songs carry their own themes, they are all masterfully orchestrated. The tracks do not follow a typical song structure, rather they swivel and swell and undulate and toss to and fro into lively symphonic pieces. “Doubt” brings us back to feeling that rock vibe we entered with, plenty of opportunity to shake it out and bob your head. The album finishes with a soulful, acoustic track, “Sing Louder To Me.”
 
For a band straight out of the gates, The Shameless Pursuit seems to be doing everything right. Though the album appears a bit eclectic—a jumbled mix of music that draws character from a cavalcade of influences—it really is showcasing the individual talents of the trio. Clear connections to Brand New, Death Cab For Cutie, and maybe even the New Amsterdams can be drawn if you listen closely. And though these influences are present, the band crafts their own unique sound.
 
 
Check out The Shameless Pursuit on Facebook, Twitter, and Bandcamp, and catch them this Sunday at The Riot Room.
 
--Steven Ervay
Steven lives the agency life by day, and hustles music by night at The Record Machine. If he's not going to your show, he's probably playing frisbee with his dog or is elbow-deep in some chicken wings.
 

 





Issue #45 (Winter 2016) of The Deli NYC is online!

Lurvely Deli Readers,

We are proud to introduce you to our Winter 2016 issue of The Deli NYC, featuring on the cover Brooklyn songwriter, producer and multimedia artist Brittany Campbell, portrayed by NYC comix artist Lale Westwind. Inside the issue - besides dozens of talented emerging NYC bands and artists - you'll also find a feature about the undiscovered genius of Captain Baby and the ongoing saga of Manhattan DIY art space and venue ABC No Rio

READ IT ONLINE HERE! It will be out in print around January 15.





The Deli KC's Best of 2015

Michelle Bacon, editor
 
Albums:
You probably won’t get a chance to see Madisen and Ruth Ward perform in a small room anytime soon, but if you’ve had the privilege to do so, you know how special it is. Sharp songwriting accompanies the intimacy, warmth, and the sheer velocity of their voices, all of which shine on the duo’s debut LP with Glassnote Records.
 
2. The Grisly Hand - Flesh & Gold
Since its acclaimed LP Country Singles came out in 2013, fans have been chomping at the bit for another collection of songs from The Grisly Hand. Flesh & Gold showcases a band that is fully realizing its natural chemistry—the compositions reach new heights on this album, with musicians that play to their strengths, in all the right places.
 
3. Bloodbirds - MXVIII
Aggressive, dark, psychedelic sounds make up the aural landscape of Bloodbirds’ latest effort, an impressive full-length from an authoritative power trio. These songs are intense and emotional, but laden with enough hooks and punch to keep the listener yearning for more.
 
4. Mat Shoare - Right As Rain
Whether he’s delivering a subtle lyric over a somnolent keyboard tone or an angsty vitriol over an edgy guitar riff, Mat Shoare is pulling us into his world with each track on Right As Rain. Shoare has a knack for creating classic pop hooks, finding instrumentation that suits each mood, and pulling off introspective lyrics with an unmistakable sincerity.
 
5. Major Games - Major Games
Major Games’ self-titled release is one of the richest and most sonically dense offerings of 2015. It soars above the conventions of shoegaze, psychedelic, and noise rock, with sweeping dynamic shifts and intriguing swells of sound.
 
6. HMPH! - Headrush
The debut LP from HMPH! is one of the most masterful examples of musicianship on any KC release in recent history. This instrumental math rock/jazz fusion album is built on angular guitar riffs and rhythmic countermelodies from two musicians who know their craft and challenge it in an interesting, entertaining set of songs.
 
7. Thunderclaps - Cookin Up A Good Time (EP)
This guitar-and-drums duo stands out with 3 short tracks that remind us of the classic backbone of rock ‘n roll with a modern vigor. Thunderclaps’ debut EP is well worth a mere 9 minutes of your time; and if you aren’t shaking your hips by the end of it, you weren’t paying enough attention.
 
8. Mikal Shapiro - The Musical
Mikal Shapiro is no stranger to the KC music scene, having lent her talents to several projects, but The Musical is her first full-length in 5 years. With her core band of musical masterminds, Shapiro has assembled one of the year’s strongest efforts. She blends pop, jazz, folk, and blues to create something far more hip.
 
9. Berwanger - Demonios (EP)
Josh Berwanger knows how to write a great pop gem, and make it rock. With elements of power pop, glam rock, psych, and sugary ‘60s pop, there’s something in a Berwanger song that can appeal to anybody. His latest release, on High Dive Records, will take you on an astral journey while you’re simultaneously banging your head.
 
10. She’s A Keeper - Westside Royal (EP)
Westside Royal signifies a fresh new musical direction for She’s A Keeper, a band that has grown into its sound in the best possible way. This 5-track EP is full of infectious grooves coupled with warm vocal melodies, making for a solid indie pop record.
 
Singles:
1. Admiral of the Red - “Footbeats” (1.5.15)
2. The Conquerors - “I Don’t Know” (8.11.15 High Dive Records)
3. Claire and the Classical Revolution - “Enough” (12.12.15)
4. Bonzo Madrid - “Balance” (8.10.15)
5. Spirit is the Spirit - “Televangelist” (4.13.15 The Record Machine)
6. The Uncouth - “KC United” (5.15.15 Too Much Rock)
7. Yes You Are - “World Without End” (6.1.15)
8. Katy Guillen and the Girls - “If You Were Gone” (11/24/15)
9. Mat Shoare - “One of My Songs” (11.6.15)
10. The Good Hearts - “Bad Production” (12.8.15)  
 
Shows:
3. Glen Hansard at Uptown Theater, 11.17.15
4. Diane Coffee and Of Montreal at recordBar, 10.27.15
5. Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear at recordBar, 12.22.15
6. Heartless Bastards and Craig Finn at recordBar, 7.1.15
8. Jason Isbell and Rayland Baxter at Uptown Theater, 12.9.15
10. Shiner and The String and Return at recordBar, 7.17.15
 
Moments:
Unless you have a heart condition or are prone to seizures, you should experience Peelander-Z at least once. It is less recommended to go on stage with them and try to play their bass when they just want you to do calisthenics.
 
Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear at Good Danny’s in Austin, TX, 3.18.15
It turns out that the best respite from the chaos of SXSW was a beautiful midday serenade in a comfy, air-conditioned house. Here, a lucky roomful of 15-20 people got a chance to see the Wards tape their Daytrotter session.
 
Spoon at The Continental Club in Austin, TX, 3.22.15
Alejandro Escovedo is a pioneer of Austin’s music scene, and held his last post-SXSW party, with Spoon as the secret guest. Seeing one of my favorite bands in a 300-cap room with dozens of other influential Austin musicians and natives was a special treat.
 
GAV7D, Katy Guillen and the Girls, and Chris Meck and the Guilty Birds at recordBar, 10.23.15
Late October and early November were arguably the most stressful months in Kansas City history. Game 6 of the ALCS was another nail-biter, plagued by a rain delay. Meanwhile, Chris Meck and the Guilty Birds opened up a show at recordBar, with a crowd that was waiting on pins and needles to celebrate, erupting in a Royal triumph at the last few notes of our set. The festivities continued with a red-hot set from Katy Guillen and the Girls, and a delightful denouement from Johnny Hamil’s GAV7D project.
 
The Philistines at Maria’s Taco Xpress in Austin, TX, 3.21.15
More famously known as the day Bill Murray saw my band play and offered me a bite of his food.
 
Zach Hodson (Dolls on Fire)
 
My 10 favorite Kansas City or ties-to-Kansas-City recordings of 2015(in no particular ranking or order):
The Electric Lungs - Don’t Be Ashamed of the Way You Were Made
The Electric Lungs’ sophomore full-length does not disappoint. Complete with a bombastic rhythm section, emphatic vocal performances, and just the right amount of synthy icing, this pop rock/punk quartet continues to put out some of the best high-energy rock music in town these days.
 
The Grisly Hand - Flesh & Gold
Whereas this album didn’t originally catch me near as much as their 2013 release Country Singles (which I consider to be one of my favorite KC releases of all time), Flesh & Gold falls more in the sneaky good category. The usual hallmarks of The Grisly Hand sound are certainly present throughout, but they continue to show a maturation and evolution of sound, allowing the sonic spectrum to freelance into other genres a bit more.  
 
Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear - Skeleton Crew
Yeah. It’s damn good, just a fantastic sonic experience from beginning to end. Everything is spot-on: the songs, the unique vocal stylings, the tasteful flares of accompanying instrumentation, the production value. Whereas roots music can often fall prey to overproduction, this breakthrough record from the Kansas City based son-mom duo shows the true power of knowing which levers to pull and which to leave the hell alone.
 
Christian Hankel - Silver (Music from the Noir Ballet)
No one can ever call out Christian Hankel for being unambitious. Over the years, he has treated Kansas City with over-the-top art projects while others stay slaves to what is trendy. Silver is just the latest example of this. Featuring a who’s who of Kansas City players, this soundtrack to a modern retelling of The Odyssey via an 8-piece jazz ensemble is a well-composed and dynamic slice of mid-20th century jazz dolled up with just enough modern influence.
 
The Bad Ideas - Leave Me Alone
And now for something completely different. Eleven scuzzy, socially-conscious, punk-as-fuck brain-beating tracks that somehow keep some identity from each other during the onslaught. This full-length tape captures the live energy for which The Bad Ideas have become known.
 
Sterling Witt - Satyagraha
Another Kansas City area artist with a strict devotion to the art above all else, Sterling Witt’s recent release is a thick and icky ride recorded by Steve Albini (and yes, it certainly sounds like it was). I’ve seen Sterling perform in just about every way possible over the years (and probably still have some baby powder, glitter, or a paper airplane laying around to prove it). This grungy batch of alternative tunes is certainly less folk than I remember him at times, but still has the same earworms, sharp songwriting, and sly lyric play that I’ve come to very much enjoy of his work.
 
The Hillbenders - Tommy: A Bluegrass Odyssey
Whereas the Hillbenders in general are not “from” Kansas City, this record has plenty of ties to our neck of the woods that make it applicable here. It is an ambitious thing. Take one of the most beloved rock operas of all time, a record laden with synthesizers, squealing guitars, and one of the most adventurous drummers in rock n’ roll history. Now, reproduce it with traditional bluegrass instruments. And, oh yeah, no drums and no keyboards.
Somehow, The Hillbenders not only pull it off, but really push the material beyond its original limits in many ways. By creatively channeling the constraints of their instrumentation into ridiculously well-put-together orchestrations, the listener is never found wanting for the missing elements. It is beautifully new and familiar all at the same time.
 
Sundiver - Caravelle and Discoverer
Proving that verdant noise rock is still very much alive and relevant, Sundiver dropped a fantastic duo of songs this year with Caravelle and Discoverer. Call it post-hardcore, call it shoegaze, call it even a bit math rock at times, the pair of songs repeatedly build and crash, powdering the listener with something equally galvanic and celestial. Dreamy, driving, provoking soundscapes.
 
The Sluts - The Sluts
The modern war against the bass guitar (or perhaps better said, against those that typically play the bass guitar [yeah, I said it. Deal with it, bass players]) continues with this Lawrence two-piece. The Sluts’ debut LP suffers not from the four-string exclusion. The guitars rumble with lush distortion, the drums pound, the vocals screech through the wooly mix. Just enough smart songwriting keeps this from being an 11-song one-trick pony. It is a ride worth taking time and time again.
 
Mikal Shapiro - The Musical
Jazz, blues, Americana, country, good old rock ‘n roll: it’s all here. Being Shapiro’s first full-length release since 2010, she really sheds some skin with this batch of gracefully arranged songs. Every effort is a new adventure, kept on the like tracks by her silky, often doubled and harmonized vocals. The all-star Core Four (amongst other guest musicians) utilized throughout elevates her material to a new place.
 
Brad Scott (The Clementines)
 
Albums:
1. The Grisly Hand - Flesh & Gold
2. Mikal Shapiro - The Musical
3. Paper Buffalo - White on White (EP)
4. The AM Trio - As of Now
5. The Old No. 5s - Steam
 
Tracks:
1. The Grisly Hand - “Regina” (from Flesh & Gold)
2. Paper Buffalo - “The Archive” (from White on White)
3. Hembree - “Can't Run Forever”
4. Mikal Shapiro - “Daniel” (from The Musical)
5. The Old No. 5s - “Barn Party” (from Steam)
 
 
Albums, in no particular order:
The Electric Lungs - Don’t be Ashamed of the Way You Were Made
Definitely a punk rock album that brings me back to my high school years.  I wish I had this album to help me through those wonder years.
 
Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear - Skeleton Crew
This is such a warm album to listen to.  I always picture myself outside by a creek on a summer afternoon as I contemplate about life.  
 
Jessica Paige - Sweet Nothings
Imagine yourself laying down on a wooden floor of your living room with your significant other on a cool autumn morning.  It helps you make you appreciate every single bit of life, good and bad.
 
The Clementines - “The Journey Begins” (single)
The single is very raw and straight to the point. You can hear raw emotion and heart from a band that can tug at your heart.
 
This album definitely captures the energy of their live performance. I always blare it in my car, headbanging on my way to work.
 
From all of us at The Deli KC, thank you for your support in 2015, and here's to more great music in 2016!

 





David Hasselhoff on Acid's last scheduled show this Saturday

David Hasselhoff on Acid makes the type of music you might expect from a band called David Hasselhoff on Acid: a cataclysmic, tantalizing musical mindmeld of hardcore, funk, and progressive instrumental rock. After nearly 10 years as a band—releasing 2 full-length albums, playing Wakarusa, opening for a number of known touring acts—the four-piece is taking a break.
 
“The future is uncertain, but we still plan on writing music,” says guitarist Phil Wolf, who founded the band with bassist Erich Thomas in 2006. The band solidified its lineup long ago, with drummer Zach Legler 7 years ago and guitarist Brandon Bamesberger 5 years ago. With Legler’s recent move to Los Angeles, the band has decided to only play live when he is in town. Tomorrow, DHOA will play its final gig for the foreseeable future, alongside a hefty lineup that includes At the Left Hand of God, Jorge Arana Trio, Janet the Planet, and Odd Fox. The band promises an unforgettable show for old fans and new; Wolf mentions that DHOA will play songs it hasn’t played in years and have an impressive light show to boot.
 
“DHOA is special because anything goes,” says Wolf. “Nothing is too weird—actually, the weirder, the better. We welcome all genres but still make sure it sounds like DHOA.”
 
 
--Michelle Bacon
 
 

Saturday’s show will be your last chance to catch David Hasselhoff on Acid for quite awhile, so don’t miss it. The Riot Room show starts at 8:00 p.m. Facebook event page. 

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