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Kansas City music

Album review: Schwervon! - Courage

(Photo by Lippe)

In a land of bittersweet lyrics and harmonies where your heart will soar and your soul will swoon, a place where beauty comes in forms of catchy guitar hooks and demanding drum beats you will find Schwervon!. The new album from this fabulous duo (made up of Matt Roth and Nan Turner), Courage, will take you on an emotional ride through their world.
A strong opening guitar riff kicks off this album with "Truth Teller," a dark, slightly bitter ambient tune that is perfectly balanced by soft melodic harmonies. The next track, "American Idle," will keep you hoppin' around the room to the infectious heavy-handed drum beats. The haunting sound of Turner's sweet voice singing, "Wanna destroy everything that I love," is sure to echo through your head all day.
As "Daydream Ration" starts, it feels like that song every girl wishes would have been written for her and performed bedsideRoth's vocals add an innocent quality, causing this listener to feel like a teen again. The vocal team’s playful collaboration is captured beautifully as this track dives into just the right touch of build to a climactic ending.
"Cyclone" will send you on a daydream walk. Floating from one verse to the next on a sea of lovely harmonies and guitar riffs, you’ll be mesmerized into a state of carefree bliss. Turner's solid, undeniable beats keep pounding and pounding, building momentum until they come to one jarring end.
Roth’s driven, choppy guitar riffs along with the duo’s sugary harmonies lead you through the fifth track, "Cougar Pride." Those elements come face to face with Turner's vocals and beats and find a nice melodic resting place. "Dog Got Your Cat Tongue…" still repeating, still repeating! Animalistic guitar riffs taunting your raunchy side, a rhythmic groove to grind to, and some seriously sexy vocal tracks. It’s rowdy! It’s contagious! It’s neat! We love it!
The album ends with two softer melodic tracks, "Big Pink Eraser" and "Lot’s Wife." They will make you fall in love with this powerful duo and leave your heart warmed, with Schwervon! sending us on a final emotional trek through melodic turns and smooth cadences.
Solid from start to end, Courage is a must-have addition to your record collection. Heartfelt and honest, this album will forever remain timeless. Courage will remind us: even if things start out a bit dark, there can always be a sweet ending.
Courage was recorded with Doug Easley in Memphis and mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side Music in New York. It will be released by Olive Juice Music this Friday.
Never fear! You only have to wait 2 more days to pick up your own copy of the album. Schwervon! is hosting a record release party at The Riot Room this Friday, September 28 with special guests The Conquerors, The Lucky, and Folkicide. Be sure to catch Nan and Matt in action before they embark on their tour to Europe in October and early November!

--Terra Peal

Terra is a musician who has been around the Kansas City music scene for over 22 years. She is the singer and bassist for The Quivers and holds down the low end for Drew Black and Dirty Electric. She is also the official calendar girl for The Deli Kansas City. She's a lil pep, a lil spice, and a lil Ginger.

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Photos: Federation of Horsepower 10th Anniversary Show, 9.14.12

On September 14, all current and former members of Federation of Horsepower gathered at The Brick for an hard-hitting evening of rock 'n roll. Check out our photos here:

All photos by Todd Zimmer. Please do not use without permission.


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Artists on Trial: Scott Chaffin

(Photo by Chad Cogdill)

Recently, we caught up with Scott Chaffin, the manic musical mind behind Chocolate Velvet, Vitae & the Pale Horse, and The Black Bullet Promise. He also writes and edits for another awesome local music blog called Kill Your TV KC. Here are his thoughts on one of his latest musical releases (Humans by Chocolate Velvet), a Beefheart-Beethoven marble sandwich, and mistake-free art.

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

Scott Chaffin: It's trashy bedroom pop and indie funk played by a man raised on classic rock, new wave, early hip-hop, and old-school punk.

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

Scott: Humans is my newest album which is part of a bigger work unofficially titled The Monster Trilogy. It is the final installment of the three LPs. The first two installments, Vampires and Zombies, were released this year as well. Each album was written around a concept/story and each hopefully expresses some social or existential relevance. The basic sound of the LPs revolves around a genre of music I refer to as trash pop. Trash pop, for me, is the culmination of decades of music ingested and then regurgitated through DIY standards and passion. I can use pieces of hip-hop, classical, classic rock, punk... whatever fits the song, and then remodel it as trash pop. A few close fans have expressed that The Monster Trilogy is my finest songwriting to date. It certainly is the songwriting I'm currently most proud of. A listener will hopefully experience real moments of unfiltered emotion colliding into deeply personal and weirdly one-of-a-kind songwriting.

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

Scott: Seeking out the talented musicians in the area in which you live and downloading their music, going to their shows, and buying their merch. I complained and whined about the community of local musicians for a long time because I really felt that the community was either nonexistent or grossly elitist. Then I had an epiphany; if I really felt that there was no community then I should help create a community. If I really felt that the community was elitist then I had to help bring the smaller, talented projects to the forefront. So, I muscled my way into Kill Your TV and declared myself the unofficial music editor. Now, I spend my time seeking out local bands on Bandcamp and other Internet sites (I prefer Bandcamp), contacting them in an attempt to implore them to help me form a more inclusive and definable Kansas City music community. It won't hurt the more known local acts to embrace the smaller ones. We need Kansas City audiences to get even more interested in ALL KC music and really pour their support into their favorite bands and take chances seeking out new local bands.

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

Scott: Oobergeek, The ACB's, Grenadina, Ddean Cassidy, Merriweather, Kitten Tits, Dolls on Fire, Deco Auto, Elsa Rae, Man Bear, Calvary Kevlar Calvary, Let's Talk, Sports, The Quivers, Molly Picture Club... I'm sure I left someone out! After really delving into the local music scene I have found that KC could really be the next "it" town. What would it take? All of these great local musicians elevating each other! Showing the world we have a real community that values good music over precious egos.

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

Scott: Tom Waits, Guards, Hospitality, Monster Rally, Harlem, feel alright, The Roots, Beach House, Mayon, Service:Fair, Radiator Hospital, and I LOVE Karen Dalton (weeps a bit when he types her name).

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

Scott: I don't think of that to be honest. I have recently come to the realization that each and every performance is my ultimate fantasy. I put every part of myself into my music and performances. Wherever I'm playing I hope that the audience will be able to feel all the raw emotion that I feel. That the audience will experience the rush of energy and want their brains to explode into a thousand pieces exactly like my brain is exploding playing the music! If that answer doesn't suffice then I would say an all day FREE KC local music festival featuring bands hand-picked by me!

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

Scott: Recording studio. I prefer to be where music is made. The stage, IMO, is where music is interpreted and sold through performance. I love performing but I almost never see it as creating music. When music is performed, people remember the spectacle. When music is recorded, it's archived and distributed for the interpretation of the listener. Therefore, I see recording as a purer form of the ultimate message because of its portability and unfiltered construction.

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

Scott: Bob Dylan. Johnny Rotten. Captain Beefheart. Beethoven.

Each one was an innovator, a poet, and they were all most likely deeply understood. Dylan did it with words. Johnny Rotten did it with attitude. Beefheart did it with imagery. Beethoven did it with emotion.

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

: Chocolate Velvet: www.chocolatevelvet.bandcamp.com
Vitae & The Pale Horse: www.vitaeandthepalehorse.bandcamp.com
The Black Bullet Promise: www.theblackbulletpromise.bandcamp.com
And you can read my reviews/stories and listen to compilations of my favorite KC artists at www.killyourtvkc.com.

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

Scott: Buy a guitar and make your own music and post it online for free! Send it to Kill Your TV KC! Don't think about HOW it should sound! Make it sound the way you feel! There are no mistakes in art. Just be yourself and as long as you don't hurt anyone, be exactly as weird as you feel! You only have one life: use it.

Scott's a busy guy. He recently released Moan with Chocolate Velvet, an EP of unreleased songs from The Monster Trilogy. His newest project, Slum Party, will be making its debut on Saturday, December 15 at the Kill Your TV Awards show at Club 906 in Liberty.

--Zach Hodson

Zach is a lifetime Kansas City resident who plays multiple instruments and sings in Dolls on Fire and Drew Black and Dirty Electric, as well as contributing to many other Kansas City music, art, and comedy projects.  He is very fond of edamame, treats his cat Wiley better than he treats himself, and doesn't want to see pictures of your newborn child (seriously, it looks like a potato).

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Artists on Trial: The Lucky

Though The Lucky is a relatively new Kansas City band, the group is already working hard to play on larger local bills and begin recording. We sit down with the duo, Jason McKee and Camilla Camille, to find out more about who they are and what they have going.

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

The Lucky: Indie-garage-punk-pop-riot revival with a beat you can dance to.

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

The Lucky: Jason McKee: We’re playing with The Sexy Accident at the recordBar this Friday and with Drew Black and Dirty Electric at Coda on Saturday. We’ve added some new songs to our set.

Camilla Camille: We have a Kickstarter campaign starting this Friday and we are going to record a CD with Pat Tomek. And we have a show with Schwervon! on September 28 at The Riot Room; it’s their record release party. They just moved here from New York. And you can expect lots of fun music, laughter, theatrics, maybe some stage drama, some choreography, perhaps, some hoofing, and an all-around good time.

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

The Lucky: Camilla Camille: It means going out to shows and buying local bands’ CDs and t-shirts. Generally banging your head in the audience, screaming "yay!" and "woohoo!" while they’re playing. And talking to them afterwards telling them what you liked about their show.

Jason: Going to shows is important, and a worthwhile investment if you’re a music lover, but I also think if a band puts on a good show, it’s important to tell them afterward that I liked it and what I liked about it. And when I see a band I really like, I try to tell other people about it so they can experience it, too.

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

The Lucky: Jason: Jonathan Thatch, our Friday night drummer. Brian Jewell, our Saturday night drummer. Pat Tomek, who’s sitting in on drums for the September 28 show at The Riot Room. I love the show The Beautiful Bodies always put on. Cherokee Rock Rifle. Deco Auto. Drew Black and Dirty Electric. The Cave Girls. The Bad Ideas. Schwervon!.

Camilla Camille: You, Michelle Bacon. And The Cave Girls. Robin Powell Campbell. And The Bad Ideas. And The Beautiful Bodies. And Deco Auto. And Drew Black and Dirty Electric. And The Quivers.

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

The Lucky: Camilla Camille: Right now I have been listening to Devo, Bad Religion, Spank Rock, The Black Keys, The Cramps, and The Dollyrots.

Jason: I listen to a lot of The Libertines and Babyshambles. The Black Keys, Jack White’s various projects. Lately, I’ve been getting into The Germs. I listen to The Clash a lot, too.

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

The Lucky: Jason: Us with Cream, The Sex Pistols, the Libertines. Or, since this is fantasy, maybe letting Mozart, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones open for us.

Camilla Camille: Well that would require that we time travel because I would really like to open up for The Cramps, but since Lux is dead, that’s impossible. Otherwise, The Lucky could open up for the Black Keys or go on tour with Jack White, either The Raconteurs or The Dead Weather, or his solo project, or a reunion with Meg White for a White Stripes tour. But it would be kind of cool to time travel.

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

The Lucky: Camilla Camille: I would say I would like to spend the rest of my life on stage. However, it would be really neat to sleep in a recording studio, like if my bedroom was a recording studio. I would have a bed in there, a dresser, and a desk, but it would also have a stage area. I could combine both of them and have a stage in the recording studio and just live in there. That would be great. And of course there would be videos of the stage performances in the recording studio, which would be my bedroom.

Jason: It would definitely be on stage because performing for people and interacting with them gives me a rush I don’t get anywhere else. Plus, I have little patience for hearing playback of myself over and over.

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

The Lucky: Jason: John Lennon because he’s John Lennon.
Eric Clapton: "Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs" made me want to be a guitar player.
Lou Reed for having his own vocal and lyrical style and breaking away from what everyone else was doing.
Kurt Cobain for bringing soul and meaning back to rock music after it had been overtaken by cheesy hair bands.

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

The Lucky
: Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Lucky/301095373319237?ref=hl
Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/CamillaCamille
Bandcamp: http://thelucky.bandcamp.com/

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

The Lucky: Camilla Camille: Face your fears, stand up for yourself, look at the colors, embrace nature, write poetry, eat your vegetables, be grateful what you have, and tell your boyfriend how much you love him.

Jason: As the Butthole Surfers said, "It’s better to regret something you have done than to regret something that you haven’t done." And tell your girlfriend how much you love her.

You'll have plenty of opportunities to catch The Lucky in the next two weeks. Tonight, the band will be at recordBar with The Sexy Accident, Crush, and John Harrison and The Harrisonics (FB event page). Tomorrow, it's Coda with Drew Black and Dirty Electric (FB event page). Next Friday, The Lucky will be at The Riot Room for Schwervon!'s record release party with them, Folkicide, and The Conquerors (FB event page). Now you have no excuse but to make it to a show.

--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 played piano for about 8 years straight and can't seem to remember much of it now. Ho hum.

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Spotlight: Midwestern Audio - A Local Compilation CD Release Party

This Sunday, Midwest Music Foundation will be presenting a local compilation CD release party at the recordBar, featuring a sampling of Kansas City's hottest bands.

We sat down with MMF's Brenton Cook, who compiled the CDs, to find out more about the compilation and the bands he's excited to highlight in it.

The DeliWhat gave you the idea for making a compilation?

Brenton: I have always appreciated listening to and receiving compilations and mixtapes, particularly if there is a great theme to it or it is targeted to a certain area's music scene. I always enjoyed getting a really great free local compilation, I can think of a handful of them that have been put out on CD documenting the Kansas City music scene the last decade or so. Some of the KJHK samplers come to mind, as well as the Dandercroft 'zine CDs, a Kansas City/Cleveland Pabst Blue Ribbon compilation, and earlier Midwest Music Foundation SXSW previews. It had been awhile since anything like this had been put out for free and in CD form and distributed around the city. So many artists are recording or putting out records right now and it seems that the momentum of music in Kansas City is greater than it has ever been.  I wanted to catch a snapshot of this place in time in the Kansas City music scene and present it freely so that everyone could enjoy. I proposed the idea to Midwest Music Foundation and was met with positive feedback about the idea of the project.

The Deli: Were there any bands you thought of immediately when thinking about putting this together?

Brenton: Certainly. Some of Kansas City's staple bands like Hearts of Darkness, The Grisly Hand, The Beautiful Bodies, Cowboy Indian Bear, Soft Reeds, and The ACBs were no-brainers. I wanted to reach out to the Golden Sound Records and The Record Machine labels because I appreciated a lot of the things that they are doing in this city right now. Basically, I just wanted to get some of the heaviest hitters that I could get that would best represent the quality and diversity of music in Kansas City that would be willing to contribute a track for the compilation and put together the best thing that I could. The response was so overwhelming that it ended up having to become a double CD.

The Deli: Any surprises in here? Bands/songs that we might not be familiar with? Any unreleased material?

Brenton: Part of the idea of this project was to get some material that couldn't be found anywhere else. I got brand new tracks that have yet to be released by The Blackbird Revue, Diverse, Hammerlord, Expo '70, Dollar Fox, and Cadillac Flambe. Tiny Horse recorded a new track in studio just for the compilation and The Conquerors submitted a practice space recording.  Monta at Odds and Be/Non submitted unreleased tracks that were recorded years ago and now have a home. I have a demo version of a new Cowboy Indian Bear track that will appear on their next album.  Perhaps my favorite track on the compilation is a reworked version of Hidden Pictures' "Something to Eat," that was released on their first album, but this version has whole new accompaniment. I'm really hyping up this band Eyelit.  I stumbled on them from Noisetrade and was surprised to see they were from St. Joseph. Anyway, I really like their Swell Season-like sound and hope they can play more in Kansas City. I had a great experience catching the more experimental acts at the KC Psych Fest this year and wanted to incorporate a few of those bands (Monta at Odds, Expo '70, Gemini Revolution, Be/Non,The Conquerors, Umberto, Mr. Marco's V7. These may be a bit off of the radar and I thought this material needed to be shared with those unfamiliar with them.

The Deli: What new local bands are you most excited about?

Brenton: Quiet Corral, Antennas Up, and Schwervon! are all a great listen. Quite a few of the acts on this compilation got me an advanced copy of their latest single or album and I'm very much looking forward to seeing some of these recordings performed live. I like a lot of the stuff that Golden Sound Records is putting out. I'm excited to see what Reach has in store for everybody at the record release show.
For more info and a complete track listing, please click on the link here.

The show begins at 7:00 pm at the recordBar this Sunday, September 23. $10 will get you in the door and you'll be able to take home a free double CD. Gemini Revolution takes the stage first, followed by Reach (with Diverse), then Grand Marquis, Antennas Up, and Everyday/Everynight. 18+. Facebook event page here.

Also sponsored by Ink Magazine.

--Michelle Bacon

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