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The Deli KC

Artists on Trial: St. Dallas & the Sinners

Every now and then, you just want to hear some raucous, boisterous rock ‘n roll. Though few bands can pull it off effectively and get a crowd on its feet, St. Dallas & the Sinners can. We talk with the group and find out more about the mark they’re making on the Kansas City music scene, their influences, and their belief that the Internet is a passing thing.
The Deli: Down and dirty: 1 sentence to describe your music. What is it?

St. Dallas and the Sinners: Filthy Dirty Rock ’n Roll!
The Deli: What should we expect from a St. Dallas & the Sinners show?
St. Dallas: You can expect our live show to be a spectacle. There’s really no other word for it.
The Deli: Tell us about what you have coming up this year. What can we expect?
St. Dallas: I think for the near future we're really focused on introducing ourselves to the Kansas City scene and the region surrounding. We've also got a full-length out called Hail Mary that’s available on Spotify,  iTunes, or whatever else the kids are using nowadays. We're pushing through a bunch of new material at the same time. Not sure when we’ll lay that down though. We’re looking to bring our music and live show to as many people as we can (and party with them!).
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?

St. Dallas: It means supporting the community, and I'm not just talking about the music scene. Stop shopping at Wal-Mart, buy local. Kansas City has such an awesome palette of arts, music, food, and culture, there's no reason not to. There are always opportunities to get involved, and when you do, it opens your mind, and allows you to see and hear in a new way.
It also means getting off your ass and doing something. Learn an instrument, start a band, go to shows, buy band merch, help touring bands. I hate it when you go to a "hardcore" city or a "punk" town, where the only thing anyone wants to do is sit around and pontificate to each other about how the scene is "dead" or how so and so's band is just a bunch of posers. If you don't fit in their narrow idea of what "good music" is, you're completely ignored. The reason the scene died is because no one went to shows, and no one wanted to do the work to keep the scene alive. For any "scene" to thrive there needs to be diversity, people need to be encouraged and businesses need to be supported. I don't know about you, but I don't want to eat the same regurgitated shit every day. Luckily for us and everyone else in KC, we don't have that. We have a great community of open-minded people who are willing to step up and support each other.
The Deli: Who are your favorite local musicians right now?

St. Dallas: A.J. Gaither, Cherokee Rock Rifle, Rumblejetts.
The Deli: Who are your favorite not-so-local musicians right now?
St. Dallas: AC/DC, Ernie Locke, Jim Jones Revue, Legendary Shack Shakers.
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?

St. Dallas: St. Dallas & the Sinners, AC/DC, Chuck Berry, and Iggy Pop.
The Deli: Would you rather spend the rest of your life on stage or in the recording studio?
St. Dallas: That’s a loud unanimous STAGE from all of us.
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?
St. Dallas: Chuck Berry, Angus Young, Howlin' Wolf, Hank Williams Sr... cuz they dont give a fuck!!!
The Deli: All right, give us the rundown. Where all on this big crazy web can you be found?
St. Dallas: All over. We’re balls deep. Facebook, Youtube, Spotify, iTunes, Bandcamp. I hear the Internet is just a fad though.
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?

St. Dallas: 1,4,5…KEEP IT ALIVE!
St. Dallas & the Sinners are:
St. Dallas – harps, vocals
Manila – guitfiddle, vocals
Rabbit – bass
Nick – drums/percussion
The guys will be bringing their brand of filthy, dirty rock ‘n roll to The Brick on Saturday, June 15. They’ll be playing with Jason and the Punknecks from Nashville at 10:00. Show up for what’s sure to be a rowdy, exciting evening.
--Michelle Bacon

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Album review: Red Velvet Crush: Smoke & Mirrors (EP)

I am a sucker for a good rock song and a catchy hook. Those seem to be top priorities for Red Velvet Crush on its new EP Smoke and Mirrors. The band spent the first part of 2013 traveling back and forth to Austin to record at yellowDOGstudios with resident producer Dave Percefull, whose credits include such recognizable names as Green Day, Bowling for Soup and KC area Idol David Cook. All songwriting duties were split between lead singer Jillian Riscoe and guitarist Daniel Mendala on this four-song introduction to the rock pop outfit. 
Riscoe reminds me a little of one of my favorite female rock vocalists, Eleanor Whitledge, of the punk band The Goops. Riscoe and Mendala recorded all the vocals, guitar, and bass tracks with studio drummer Josh Center. Percefull took care of some of the drums as well as the key and synth tracks.
The opening track starts with a hard electronic feel and a 1/16th-note driving bass line that pushes the verses. Chugging muted guitars give way to Riscoe’s declaration of the chorus, “You Didn't Lose.” Hard-hitting rock with pop sensibilities continues into track two, "Contents: Under Pressure.” It’s a slow and steady emotional one that keeps the vocals in the forefront—that one stayed in my head for awhile. The penultimate track begins with a soft voice and haunting piano riff, then kicks in quick with a tale of being "in love with a monster, devil in disguise... hiding behind blue eyes.” This rocker pulsates through 3 minutes and you don't want it to end. Smoke and Mirrors closes with the positive, uptempo message of grrrl power with "Girls Rock TOO" that will have your head bobbing and your feet stomping. 
Red Velvet Crush has been honored with accolades from the 2013 Project Backstage Midwest Rock Awards, including Female Vocalist of the Year and Best Acoustic Performance of the Year. The vocalist award doesn't surprise me, Riscoe has got pipes and knows how to control them. And there are plenty of YouTube videos of Red Velvet Crush online to back up the best acoustic award.

You can get your copy of Smoke & Mirrors this Saturday, June 15, at Czar. Doors at 5:30, show at 6:00. Red Velvet Crush will be playing with I Am Nation, Fight The Quiet (Nashville), The Amends (Colorado), and Root & Stem. Presale tickets are $5 for general admission and $10 at the door. You can also order a $15 presale ticket, which comes with a limited edition autographed copy of the new EP and a vinyl sticker. Order tickets here. Facebook event page. 

--Gavin Mac

Gavin Mac is a local musician, avid consumer of whiskey, and has a penchant for mischief. He may be lured to dark alleys with grape soda and has a plethora of socks.

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Album review: Betse Ellis - High Moon Order

(Photo by Paul Andrews)
High Moon Order slips on like an old flannel shirt or a broken in pair of jeans. If comfort food were thirteen tracks of down-home musical cooking, it would sound a lot like this. The introduction to Betse Ellis’s solo album is “The Traveler.” I was surprised by the lush pop writing elements. It is a warm handshake with earthy acoustic instruments. This is a departure from the feel of Ellis’s band The Wilders. There are also some obscure fiddle songs that round out the album.
“The Golden Road” delivers what I expect from Ellis: a solid mix of bluegrass, folk, and country elements. The lap steel playing is űber tasty. Next is “Long Time To Get There.” Bluegrass enthusiasts will genuinely love this track. Her playing is exquisite. Fans will rejoice that there are five instrumentals in total. “Dry and Dusty” is a front porch bottled up in a little digital cocktail. The musicianship on this track is outstanding. It’s simplicity in arrangement and construction will pull the listener in for two minutes and fifty-one seconds of daydream immersion.
“Straight To Hell” is a cover of a Clash song and easily won as my favorite song. The vocals are mesmerizing. The drums sound reminiscent to something you would hear from Florence and the Machine. The chorus left me singing for hours after my first listen. I enjoyed the bigger production and effects. After the third instrumental “Elk River Blues” and its fantastic melody line comes “Twilight is Stealing.” A more traditional song, the voices of Ellis and Roy Andrade (who also plays banjo on the album) meld magically together. Traditionalists of American bluegrass and roots music will appreciate Ellis’s attention to detail in song delivery.
The eighth track is “The Complainer.” Versatility, delivered. This track reminded me of a mesh of Public Image Ltd (PiL), The Clash and about 40 tons of Hillbilly Riot. Even though I love the tradition songs, this ended up being my second favorite. Any rock band would love to have it in its portfolio. The record settles in with “When Sorrow Encompass Me ‘Round” and “The Collector,” both being solid additions. The last two instrumentals “Stamper” and “Queen of the Earth and Child of the Skies” are a continuation of the stellar performance standard. At this point, I should acknowledge the engineering, mixing and mastering work on the album. There is great consistency across the recordings. Overall, the album art and production are splendid.
Lastly, there is a big embracing hug to say, “…so long friend until next time” in the song “Question to Lay Your Burden Down.” Here again, are the pop kisses added to cement the fact that you will anxiously awaiting this founding member of The Wilders next solo effort. High Moon Order is a fantastic choice for your summer 2013 music additions.
Editor’s Note: High Moon Order is being released on Free Dirt Records and was produced and engineered by Mike West. The accompanying musicians on the album were Roy Andrade (banjo, guitar, vox), Jason Beers (bass), J.J. “Yukon Jimijon” Hanson (upright bass), Mike Horan (guitar), Jonathan Kraft (drums), Josh Mobley (keys), Mark Smeltzer (vox), Michael Stover (electric/acoustic/steel guitar), Mike West (percussion, vox), and Phil Wade (vox).
Tonight’s the night! Ellis and friends will celebrate the release of High Moon Order at The Brick. Music starts at 9:00 with an acoustic set, featuring Ellis playing solo, with combinations of others, and with a special string segment. Adam Lee and the Dead Horse Sound Company will play around 10:15. The full band from High Moon Order will perform around 11:30 with other special guests. Local artist Héctor Casanova will be doing live art in response to the performances. Facebook event page.
--William Saunders 

William is a local record producer, singer/songwriter, and guitarist/singer for The Walltalkers. He is also the head monkey at Saunders Street Records and still likes movies with giant robots.

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Artists on Trial: Red Velvet Crush

If you seek hooky, strong rock anthems, look no further than KC’s own Red Velvet Crush. Fronted by veteran vocalist Jillian Riscoe, the young band has already received recognition around town (Riscoe won female vocalist of the year and the group won best acoustic performance of the year in the 2013 Project Backstage Midwest Rock Awards). Now, the five-piece group is getting ready to debut its EP Smoke & Mirrors. We talk with Riscoe and guitarist Daniel Mendala about the album and what they have coming down the line.
The Deli: Down and dirty: 1 sentence to describe your music. What is it?

Red Velvet Crush: Pop/rock with hints of punk, dance, electronic and hard rock mixed with what we do.
The Deli: Tell us about your upcoming EP Smoke & Mirrors. What can we expect?
RVC: Chapters of what we've been writing over the last year while putting the band together. We (Riscoe and Mendala) wrote and recorded the whole EP at yellowDOGstudios in Austin, TX with producer Dave Percefull and studio drummer Josh Center. Smoke and Mirrors is the just the first of what's to come.
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?

RVC: Creating genuine support and networks of music loving people. Going out to shows and supporting bands that are working to get to the next level.
The Deli: Who are your favorite local musicians right now?

RVC: Nick Marshall and the Evalyn Awake crew, Beautiful Bodies, Rocker Lips, Jonathan Theobald, just to name a few.
The Deli: Who are your favorite not-so-local musicians right now?
RVC: Jillian: In This Moment, Deftones, Lana del Rey.
Daniel: Eskimo Callboy, Young Guns, Our Lady Peace.
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?

RVC: Jillian: Christina Aguilera.
Daniel: Our Lady Peace.
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?
RVC: Jillian: Christina Aguilera, Axl Rose, Steven Tyler, Katy Perry.
Daniel: Axl Rose, Raine Maida, Duff McKagan and Lisa Loeb.

The Deli: All right, give us the rundown. Where all on this big crazy web can you be found?
The Deli: What other goals does Red Velvet Crush have for this year?
RVC: To promote Smoke and Mirrors, finish building our stage show, tour in the fall, and step back in the studio at the end of the year. Plus, Daniel and I are doing a lot of writing for Red Velvet Crush and for other artists.

The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?

RVC: Dreams to realities.
Red Velvet Crush is:
Jillian Riscoe – vocals, guitar, keys
Daniel Mendala – guitar
Kelsey Cook – drums/percussion
Josh Colburn – keys, synth, guitar
Bill Wald – bass
Make sure you hit up the release of Smoke & Mirrors this Saturday, June 15, at Czar. Doors at 5:30, show at 6:00. Red Velvet Crush will be playing with I Am Nation, Fight The Quiet (Nashville), The Amends (Colorado), and Root & Stem. Presale tickets are $5 for general admission and $10 at the door. You can also order a $15 presale ticket, which comes with a limited edition autographed copy of the new EP and a vinyl sticker. Order tickets here. Facebook event page.
--Michelle Bacon
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June 2013
The Clementines
"The Clementines
The Kansas City music community continues to thrive and expand, something The Deli KC is happy to support and report on, and this trend continues to build momentum with each passing year and each new album release. And by no means is this a boys-only club, of course; over the past several years there has been no shortage of great female singers in many genres: Abigail Henderson, Lauren Krum, Alicia Solombrino, Julia Haile, Danielle Schnebelen, and Shay Estes, just to name a half-dozen. These ladies can not only rock the mic—they do so fearlessly and effortlessly, providing a presence that is both captivating and unforgettable, and all are members of bands that bring great things to the stage whenever they’re on. There’s another name and another band vying for a place in your record collections, one that has been working the circuit, playing bars and clubs from Lawrence to Columbia and all points in between, and with the release of their full-length self-titled debut,The Clementines are ready for their well-earned time in the spotlight.
The Clementines started as a duo in 2011 with founding members Nicole Springer and Tim Jenkins each playing acoustic guitars and using their time to hone their singing and songwriting chops. They added the rhythm section of Stephanie Williams and Travis Earnshaw the next year, a move that gave heft and [if I may use a technical term here] oomph to support the power of Springer’s mighty pipes. And while they may have a lead singer whose voice can turn walls into rubble at any given moment, Springer doesn’t simply lean on her internal volume control switch in an effort to overpower her listeners. In The Clementines you’ll hear a great deal of control and command, as the music calls for presentation that runs from pensive to melancholy to victorious to daring to outright sassy. She’s got all the tools, and like any good carpenter or mechanic, she knows which tools to use and when to use them. No song features a delivery that seems out of place, and no mood is falsely presented.
Any band with such a commanding presence at the front runs the risk of being overshadowed by that voice, or of being seen as “hangers-on” who are only along for the ride because of the talent of the lead singer, not because of their own abilities. There is no such worry with The Clementines, as this is truly a band with quality at all positions. Jenkins has adapted and enhanced his guitar playing to accommodate both duo and quartet arrangements; his skills have progressed greatly since I first saw the two-piece version of the band on the recordBar stage a couple years ago. Earnshaw lends a stalwart bass presence, never pushing his way into the spotlight, but never fully conceding to the twin-mostly-acoustic-guitar sounds which he augments in fine fashion. His ability to set a warm, comfortable foundation to the proceedings is crucial to the cohesiveness of the music. And Williams is simply described in the band’s bio as “bad-ass drummer”; that’s about as spot-on as it gets. The Clementines features a wide array of genres and influences—rock, soul, jazz, Americana, gospel, blues—and their rhythmic timekeeper doesn’t miss a beat (literally and figuratively) throughout, keeping lock-step with her bandmates at every turn. If playing music with such a dominant frontwoman is a challenge, then Jenkins, Earnshaw, and Williams are more than up to the task throughout the album’s fourteen-track playlist.
A few CliffsNotes-sized looks at some of those tracks:
“Rough Times” – The first single released by the band; Americana-rock sounds with an underlying jazz snarl. To say that acoustic bands can’t groove is ridiculous, and this track serves as Exhibit A of that argument.
“Soul, Mind, Role, Survive” – The one electrified song on the album, with an added punch that gives it a ‘90s alt-rock vibe. A great change of pace.
“Could Have Been” – A menacing slice of backwoods swamp-pop swathed in Southern-fried goodness. Undeniably catchy and hooky.
“Say” – The most intricate playing by all four members, showing off the instrumental skill sets that make this band a quadruple threat.
“Responsibility” – This may be my favorite track on the album; Springer’s delivery goes from delicately soft to passionately earnest without breaking stride.
“Sightless” – Acoustic rock doesn’t get any better than this, pure and simple. Maybe *this* is my favorite track?
“Should I” – A delicate arrangement that made me think Western madrigal, which I can’t explain but it just sounds like it fits. If you’re a fan of Calexico (and you should be), this is a track for you.
“Moved” – A textbook closing track musically and one of the most lyrically powerful, an expression of longing and love lost; a very courageous move on the part of the band to close with a song that does not offer the listener the prototypical “happily ever after” ending. Okay, THIS might be my favorite track.
We all like to see friends and neighbors succeed, and when they’re willing to bust their asses to make good things happen for themselves, it’s all the more rewarding. Bands like Making Movies, She's A Keeper, and The Latenight Callers are proof that constant work, abundant publicity, and outright ability will get your music heard. The Clementines fit that bill, with an increasing number of shows over the past few months which have led to their self-titled album being a reality—and a reality which you should tune in to. As Springer sings in “Bayou”, the album’s opening track: “I leave it up to you when we're at the bayou / to renew my existence, to sanctify my consciousness.”
Existence renewed, consciousness sanctified—and efforts very much appreciated.

--Michael Byars

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