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Kansas City music

New video: "Ocean" by The ACB's

"Ocean" is the newest release from The ACB's off its upcoming release Little Leaves. Director Danny Joe Gibson creates a playful and entrancing stop-motion video, achieving the same effect as the music. The ACB's have been able to inject a cerebral atmosphere with their music, while at the same time keeping it melodically sweet for a general audience. The success of their 2010 album Stona Rosa challenges the band to up the ante, but if "Ocean" is any indication, the new album could see the band take off in greater directions than before.

--Michelle Bacon

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Album review: Cher UK - Little Blue Soldier (EP)

Cher UK has had more lives and iterations than the Saw, Halloween, and Friday the 13th movies combined. It’s the band that won’t die, and we’re all better for it. The recipient of Entertainment Weekly’s Band Name of the Week title for the week of Oct. 1, 1993, Cher UK has been around a couple of decades. 

It is high time the band provide the music-hungry masses with more music to stick on their iPods and phones given the band’s last recording, Berdella, was released about 15 years ago. Thus, Cher UK frontman Mike McCoy and bandmate/bassist Mark Reynolds make good on a promise and bless us with four tracks on the EP Little Blue Soldier. This iteration of Cher UK also includes Bernie Dugan on drums and Michael Stover on lead guitar, with a few special guests along the way.
Kicking off the EP is a song by the same name: "Little Blue Soldier." The song quickly reminds the listener of Mike McCoy’s witty songwriting. Take a portion of the chorus: "Must have been a brain lapse, maybe a collapse of your basic synapse. Hey, maybe you’re crazy. You’re tired of thinking and your thinking’s getting lazy," McCoy croons in a peppy tone. Rounding out the song is a bit of brass courtesy of Kyle Dahlquist on trombone and trumpet.
Dahlquist also makes a turn on "Peace, Love and Fun in the Sun." This song sounds like the band bought stock in some odd Beach Boys. However, it works out in Cher UK’s favor as the song provides a great beat for dancing and some of the most pleasant musical earworms you’ll ever encounter. "Reagan Versus NoLa" is largely instrumental and written by Reynolds. I imagine that a race car driven by guitars sounds like this song. It’s kept at a solid tempo by the drums. In short, it’s a rush of skilled playing.
Cher UK ends the EP with "Denny's After Closing." Serenaded by Betse Ellis’ haunting violin playing, the song evokes memories of legendary nights out in Kansas City and makes you ache for another epic night in in the City of Fountains. People who have experienced a crazy evening in KC should be able to somehow relate this song and if they don't, then they either aren't human or have never really had fun.
I recommend getting your hands on the EP and relishing in its sound, wit, and earworms. As a whole, Little Blue Soldier is a little bit pop, a little bit country, and a little bit rock & roll, but nothing like Marie and Donny Osmond—testify! 
Cher UK will be releasing a limited-edition copy of Little Blue Soldier at Davey's Uptown this Saturday, October 20. They'll share the stage with Hotdog Skeletons and The Pedaljets. Facebook event here.

--Alicia Houston

Alicia Houston eats toast, drinks coffee and drives a car. Her view on the Oxford comma continually is up for debate. When she’s had a few beers, Alicia impersonates Katherine Hepburn. She has been writing since she was five and listening to music since she was born. She has a tattoo of a gray unicorn. The unicorn gives her advice and daily affirmations.

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Album review: Elyria - What Makes Us Who We Are (EP)

Ripping into your ear holes with a righteous guitar scream right off the bat really catches your attention. Subtle synth sounds carry the high-pitched plucks into a full-fledged rock intro. The song (and the EP’s namesake) "What Makes Us Who We Are" is the first thing we hear on Elyria’s first album. Lead singer Kyle Ward tears in with the line “I can’t believe that it has been this long. But it’s safe to say that all your waiting is finally done.”

Elyria has been a passionate project for Ward for almost a year and a half now, and that first hook clarifies everything the band has worked up to. The fast-paced thrasher will keep your energy up throughout the entire album. Obvious pop-punk guitar riffs and almost metal drumming keeps your attention on the music. Masterful production keeps Ward’s lyrics loud and clear and guitarist Caleb Lumby’s work pertinent to smoothing out the song.
The songs selected for this EP carry a heavy, positive message for all who listen to it. The band focuses on their personal hardships on their walk through life. The lyrics explain how these are overcome and how they helped the two men grow as people.
It’s hard to imagine, while listening to this album, that Elyria is not a full band. One singer and one guitarist are all that it took to complete this project. Currently, Elyria is auditioning for an additional guitar, bass, and drums. If interested, contact the band directly on its Facebook page.

--Steven Ervay

Steven is the intern of Midwest Music Foundation and The Deli - Kansas City. He can't go to 21+ shows yet and that bums him out.  

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Apocalypse Meow 5 - November 2 and 3

 Here's the official poster for Apocalypse Meow 5! More details soon... For now, visit http://www.apocalypsemeow.net for a full lineup and http://midwestmusicfound.org for more information on the event.

Artists on Trial: The Empty Spaces

(Photo by Emily Hunt)

Our Artists on Trial series will be featuring bands that will be playing Apocalypse Meow, Midwest Music Foundation's big annual benefit for musician health care. We will be featuring more on Apocalypse Meow in the weeks before the show, which is November 3 at The Beaumont Club. The Empty Spaces will be one of the bands playing the event.

The Deli: Gun to your head, 1 sentence to describe your music. What is it?

The Empty Spaces: Missouri River serf rock.

The Deli
: Let’s talk about what you have coming up or have released lately. What can we expect?

TES: Our music video for "Holidays Are Nice And Warm" just came out and has gotten a lot of positive attention. We will be playing Apocalypse Meow at The Beaumont Club on Nov 3. We are also opening up for Broncho on Nov 30 at Czar. At the same time we are getting new songs put together and will be starting to record our third studio album at the start of 2013.

The Deli: What does "supporting local music" mean to you?

TES: Our favorite way to support local music is by making local music. We are also very proud to be a part of Golden Sound Records. It also helps to go out to local shows and sometimes even pay to get into them!

The Deli: Who are your favorite "local" musicians right now?

TES: Mat: Shy Boys.
Ross: The ACB's.
Will: The Architects.

The Deli: What bands are you most excited to see at Meow?

TES: We are very excited to see the great crowd supporting MMF. They are an amazing organization for Kansas City. We're also very excited to be playing with bands like Deco Auto and The Architects.

The Deli: Who are your favorite not-so-local musicians right now?

TES: Mat: Ty Segall.
Ross: Django Django.
Will: The new Murder By Death album kicks ass.

The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?

TES: Roger Miller opens up. Followed by The Ventures. Then us, of course. Fela Kuti closes the night.

The Deli: Would you rather spend the rest of your life on stage or in the recording studio?

TES: Mat: Studio.
Ross: I don't know, man.
Will: Stage.

The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?

TES: Joe Strummer, Neil Young because he's Canadian, Harry Nilsson, and let's keep George Washington up there so they don't have to do so much renovation.

The Deli: All right, give us the rundown. Where all on this big crazy web can you be found?

: theemptyspaces.com
Twitter: @tesband
Instagram!: TheEmptySpaces

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

TES: Party! And don't drink the cheap stuff.

The Empty Spaces are:
Mat Shoare: guitar, lead vox
William Brent Wright: bass
Ross Brown: drums

The Empty Spaces seem to keep themselves pretty busy. As mentioned, they will be playing Apocalypse Meow on Saturday, November 3 at Beaumont, taking the stage around 9 pm. Don't miss them!

--Michelle Bacon

Michelle is editor-in-chief of The Deli - Kansas City. She also has a weekly column with The Kansas City Star and reviews music for Ink. She plays with Deco AutoDrew Black and Dirty Electric, and Dolls on Fire. She was voted by readers of The Pitch as Kansas City's "Best Sexy Musician." That's not even a joke, but she feels it should be. 

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