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Kansas City music

This week's releases

Several KC-area bands will be releasing tracks or albums this week:
Bad Wheels / Bad Wheels (EP)
This heavy-riffin’ four-piece rock collective is releasing its debut self-titled EP tomorrow (Tuesday) through Bandcamp; you can download the 6-track album, or purchase a limited-run cassette with a download card. You can also pick up a cassette and hear some of these tunes on Saturday at Harling’s Upstairs, where the group will be performing with StrawBilly.
Shades of Jade / “That One”
Shades of Jade will be releasing a single from their forthcoming album Fingerprinted Memories: Part II Sketches of the Heart this Thursday. That evening, the eclectic jazz group will take the stage at The Blue Room. The band will also be talking with Mark Manning on Wednesday Midday Medley this week, on 90.1 FM KKFI at 10:30 a.m. Preorder the track on iTunes. Facebook event page. #thatone
HMPH! / Headrush
On Friday night, math rock duo HMPH! will be celebrating the release of its debut full-length album Headrush on Haymaker Records. The band will have vinyl copies for sale that evening at Harling’s Upstairs. Rhunes and Arc Flash will also play. Facebook event page.

Radkey / Dark Black Makeup
The wait for Radkey’s long-awaited debut LP, Dark Black Makeup (Little Man Records) will also end Friday. The boys kick off a 2-week European tour in Belgium on Thursday, but their next appearance in the area will be September 25 at The Bottleneck. The album is now available to stream via Spin. Preorder the album here.

Danielle Nicole Band is the project of former Trampled Under Foot singer/bassist Danielle Nicole Schnebelen. The group released its debut self-titled EP earlier this year, and will release Wolf Den this Saturday at Knuckleheads Saloon. Grand Marquis will open. Preorder Wolf Den here. Facebook event page.
Saturday will also mark the release of Radiant Man on UniGlobe Records. A Crooked Mile will be playing at recordBar that evening with Kristie Stremel’s Pet Project and Carswell & Hope. They will also be featured on Wednesday Midday Medley this week, at 11:00 a.m.

--Michelle Bacon 

The Conquerors sign with High Dive Records

Kansas City-based record label High Dive Records announced the signing of psych rockers The Conquerors earlier this week, adding to an impressive roster of artists that also includes Bummer and Rev Gusto, who have both recently released albums.
In celebration of the announcement, High Dive has released two new songs from The Conquerors, “I Don’t Know” and “I See You.” Recorded at Element Studios by guitarist Vincent Lawhon and mixed/mastered by Joel Nanos, the tracks put the psych pop group’s finest attributes on display. From a swath of percussive accents to shimmering guitar tones bathed in warm vocal layers, these songs take the listener on a euphoric, transcendental journey.
The Conquerors also plan to release a 7” single later this fall with two more new tracks, “You Must Be Dreaming” and “Maybe Someday.”
--Michelle Bacon

Michelle is editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands.



July Artist of the Month: John Keck

Congrats to our July Artist of the Month, John Keck! Keck—who partially recorded his debut album The Jack Moon Sessions at the famed Sun Studios—depicts his personal experience in thoughtful ways, with an Americana flair. His music evokes Ozark traditions and southern rock, with a visceral emotional tinge. Read more about Keck in our Q&A.
The Deli: Down and dirty: one sentence to describe your music.
Keck: I think my music is very personal, and hopefully because of that people who listen to the lyrics can find something that speaks to them, or at the minimum they can see the image I'm trying to create, the story I'm conveying.
The Deli: Give me some background on your musical career. How long have you been playing music? What made you decide to become a songwriter?
Keck: I started playing in front of people in 2008 at open mics, and started booking shows regularly in 2010, so just a short time compared to my friends. I have a lot of catch-up to do. I found songwriting to be a therapy for dealing with my emotions, I guess it’s a bit of an escape too. In 2008 I ended a marriage of 14 years and found myself feeling very raw and exposed to life in a new way. I also didn't have anyone to fight with anymore and so I guess I started fighting with myself. To me,  writing a song is a fight with yourself; it’s an argument between your fear of letting other people know how you feel and the desire to be honest in a public way.
The Deli: What inspires your music and songwriting?
KeckMy relationships and encounters with people are my primary inspirations. I don’t write much about the way the trees make me feel or something like that… It seems that even when I try to write about someone other than me, my personal experiences come out in my lyrics, so I don't really try to fight that anymore and just accept that I can’t be neutral to what I observe. I would like to be better about my work ethic and writing process, to be more diligent. I don't feel like I spend enough time on it. But I guess I don't really like to think of what I'm doing in comparison to anyone else, even my idols. So I don't keep regular hours, like some people I know, I let it come to me. Sometimes it's in waves, sometimes there are long dry spells. I try to record every thought I have, even when I know it’s bad in the moment. If I think it is good, I usually remember it and can come back to it. Usually it’s in the morning and makes me late for wherever I'm going. I'm always late, I apologize to everyone, maybe I was writing a song about you.
The Deli: What have been your greatest musical accomplishments?
Keck: Being played on the radio is surreal to me. The radio was so important growing up. I don't think people can appreciate it now. With access to the world’s known recordings on our phones, but as a kid before tapes even, anyway... it means everything to me. I think about it in terms of immortality. Those frequencies are traveling in the universe farther than I can conceive. How do you top that? I also played at the Troubadour in London, which was unreal. It’s the first place that Dylan played when he got to England (supposedly), and everyone else that you can imagine. I recorded my parts of my album at Sun Studios in Memphis, so that was kind of too good to think about—the same room Johnny Cash stood in (I sat). The radio wouldn't have happened if the album wasn't made. Honestly, every time someone tells me they like one of my songs I feel like I've accomplished something.
The Deli: Tell us about your debut album, The Jack Moon Sessions at Sun Studios and Chappy Roads. What can we expect?
Keck: I do have a debut album called The Jack Moon Sessions at Sun Studios and Chappy Roads. For the future, I've been writing and writing and have started working with other people to create a new album. I’m going to call it “Photo Booth,” and the songs that will be on it are written with a particular image in mind… does that make it a concept album? That title has many meanings to me, but an easily accessible idea is that I think of my songs like photographs that capture a moment with a certain light, like a black and white photograph. The album cover will explain more.
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?
Keck: It’s become my passion. I try to go to as many shows as I can. Sometimes I feel like a stalker. Music is my religion, so attending services regularly at our local sanctuaries is critical to enlightenment.
The Deli: Who are your favorite local musicians right now? Non-local?
Keck: I don't typically have favorites of anything, but I have to have a good goddamn reason to miss a Dynamite Defense show, if you hear and see Chris Tady play the guitar you'll understand why. Also their songs have such a classic feel to them you really don't know what decade they were written in, I like that a lot. Of course Scott Hrabko, I could listen to his music over and over again. The Silver Maggies and Potters Field: I go home after their shows and wish I could play, sing, and, write songs like them. The Philistines I think have a unique sound too, with so much intensity and drive, they have me hooked. I’m inspired by all of these groups and so many more, but I’ll blush if they read this and then we have to talk about it later. I don’t think Tady goes on the line, so we are safe there. Non-local? I've really gotten into Houndmouth in the last few weeks, both albums are strong in my opinion, I may have already burned myself out on them actually, but I have enjoyed our brief affair.
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?
Keck: I guess I should be better about dreaming big... I honestly feel like I'm living a fantasy right now, so each new thing is its own dream. I played Boulevardia last month; that was something I never considered possible before getting asked to do it. Last Saturday, I was at a dinner party with some truly talented people that I was in awe of; they took turns playing my guitar and singing their songs. We were up all night enjoying the moment. That seems like a fantasy now. But like every other person who’s ever scribbled a tune down, I would be on cloud nine opening for Neil Young, or Willie Nelson, or Scott Hrabko.
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?
Keck: Dylan, Young, Keith Richards, John Lennon (in no particular order). I think valid arguments could be made for so many others and certainly the people that influenced those four, but just shooting from the hip, these guys created a profound impact in the culture as receivers with a true talent, then as focal points of sound that came through them and out to all of us, in ways that we don’t even know about. Blah blah, lists.
The Deli: What goals do you have for 2015, and beyond?
Keck: I plan to tour this fall, a small one of the Midwest. I’ve never really done an extended journey for more than one night, and I think that’s my next step in evolving as a performing artist. Record and release the new album. Create a band. Play as many shows as “they” will let me.
The Deli: Where can we find you on the web?
Keck: Everything I’m up to is on http://www.johnlkeck.com, including videos and streaming music.
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
Keck: Listen to whatever you want to, don’t let anyone tell you a piece of music is bad or good, if it speaks to you, then it is good to you. I hear people say all the time, “that’s too poppy” or “I don’t like country,” blah blah blah, If you limit yourself to a certain taste, you create a boundary that prohibits your universe from expanding and then it’s expanding without you.
You can catch Keck tomorrow night at Davey’s Uptown at 9 pm. He’ll be sharing the stage with fellow songwriters Cody Wyoming and Nathan Corsi. Facebook event page.
--Michelle Bacon
Michelle Bacon is editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands.


Artist on Trial: Bad Wheels

If you desperately seek more rock ‘n roll in your life, Bad Wheels provides an unapologetic, unrelenting dose of it. With members of notable KC groups ranging from Abracadabras to Cretin 66 to Tenderloin to Circle of Trust, Bad Wheels was created out of their mutual love of classic rock. Accented by the impassioned wail of frontman Bobby Topaz, the band unleashes a roaring two-pronged guitar attack and a mighty low end. Topaz tells us about what the guys have coming up.
The Deli: Down and dirty: one sentence to describe your music.
Bobby Topaz: Classic and loud freedom Rock and Roll!
The Deli: Give me some background on Bad Wheels. How did the band come to be?
Topaz: Bad Wheels came about a few years ago when I moved back into the area from St. Louis. Paul and Ryan Marchman were two guys I'd previously played with in a band called Crazy Talk and we decided to get together and jam and see what was there. Thankfully, we still had great chemistry and decided to make it an actual band. Brock Ginther happened to live in the space we were practicing in, and liked what we were doing and decided to come on board full-time as bass player. So, that was pretty much how it all started.
Since then, Chip Sage has taken over for Ryan on drums, but the overall sound/vision for the group really hasn't changed. That's what I've always loved about this group is that we have very diverse backgrounds...I was in Abracadabras and Antennas Up, Chip was in Cretin 66, Paul was in Circle of Trust and The Shaker Hoods...and Brock was in Tenderloin and the Homestead Greys. So, we all come from different styles but we all have one thing in common, and that is our love of classic rock and roll. So, that's what we play!
The Deli: What inspires your music and songwriting? What’s up with the Subway song?
Topaz:When it comes to songwriting, we like to keep it pretty simple, honestly. We will write about anything and everything. I'll usually come in with a riff or maybe a finished chorus and not much else, and the guys will tell me if they like it or not. If they do, we flesh it out over some Miller Lite tallboys and find out where the song is. We just want people to see us, rock out a bit, and have some fun.
The infamous “Subway” song is I think something that shows we love what we do, but don't take it super seriously. When our drummer was trying to learn the songs we sent him, he thought I was actually saying… “Gimmie Some Subway”...which I wasn't. But, we all thought it was hilarious and decided just to keep it.
However, in light of the recent allegations, we obviously don't think it's that funny anymore. We can't be associated with all that mess. Thankfully, we recorded the original as well because we didn't know if we were even going to release the other one. So, the Subway song is never going to be played again and we now are forever Goodcents men.
The Deli: What have been your greatest accomplishments as a band?
Topaz: So far I'd say just staying true to our sound, even though it's not a sound everyone always likes to listen to. Now, after almost 4 years we're finally starting to get some traction and it feels pretty great!
The Deli: What can we expect from your upcoming EP?
Topaz: The new EP will be a 7-song rock and roll record. We're doing a cassette tape release, which I know can be divisive, but it's cost effective and there will be download cards in the tapes for people to get the records from.
Also, Jud Kite from Killer Kite Productions designed us an absolutely killer logo and I'm just so stoked for everyone to see it. So, I think it will be pretty rad! Also, we'd been talking to a small label out of San Francisco called Ripple Music and they’d agreed to distribute and review our little EP. At this time, we've not heard back on the masters we delivered to them, so we don't really have a timetable for anything yet. Hopefully, we will hear back soon. If not... Well... We'll just keep doing what we've always done: enjoying freedom.
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?
Topaz: I think it's super important. I try whenever I can to support my local brothers and sisters! I know that people might think that's not true since I'm not always seen out and about. But, with two little kiddos at home and a full-time job...sometimes it's hard to get out to everyone I want to see. But I always support locals when I can. KC has some great bands right now too!
The Deli: Who are your favorite local musicians right now? Non-local?
Topaz: Favorite local musicians? Well, this is just me speaking but I'll list a few of my favorites right now: Doby Watson, JAENKI, Death Valley Wolfriders, Federation of Horsepower, ElectroPossum, Ha Ha Tonka, Circle of Trust, Hössferatu, Drew Black & Dirty Electric, basically the whole High Dive Records roster and I'm also a fan of your band The Philistines.
Non-local: I'm super into The Darkness right now, and I really love Royal Blood. As a group, we love Saxon!
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?
Topaz: Oh man... for me, it would be us and Queen, circa 1985.
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?
Topaz: Basically the four faces of Bad Wheels members because I just couldn't pick four other musicians I love that much since my mood is always changing. But, I would love for someone to capture my current hairstyle in stone forever.
The Deli: What goals do Bad Wheels have for 2015, and beyond?
Topaz: Our goals haven't changed that much and probably never will. Keep writing music that's true to the sound we want, have plenty of Miller Lite tallboys available at all times, and keep carrying the torch of freedom!!!
The Deli: Where can we find you on the web?
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
Topaz: Don't listen take advice from anyone named "Tad", listen to plenty of loud rock music, always have a tall boy handy, and juat because you can play the accordion, doesn't mean you should.
Bad Wheels is:
Bobby Topaz: vocals, guitar
Paul Marchman: guitar
Brock Ginther: bass
Chip Sage: drums
Head over to The All Star Rock Bar this Saturday, July 11 to see Bad Wheels, along with Federation of Horsepower and The Devil’s Marmalade. Facebook event page.
--Michelle Bacon

Michelle Bacon is editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands. She likes Planet Sub. 

Boulevardia hosts touring bands and showcases local talent

In only its second year, Boulevardia has experienced exponential growth as a music, food, and beer festival, curated by Boulevard Brewing Company and located in the historic West Bottoms district. Though its first year boasted a musical lineup of touring acts like The BoDeans and Catfish & the Bottlemen, this year exceeded expectations with J. Roddy Walston & the Business, Mayer Hawthorne, Atlas Genius, and more.
The festival also highlighted a bevy of local musicians on two stages, curated by Ink and 90.9 The Bridge. Among several others, the Greenville Acoustic Stage featured a Delta blues/gospel-inspired set from Kris and Havilah Bruders, one-man folk troubadour Nicholas St. James, and newly formed trio Lovelorn. Meanwhile, the Chipotle Homegrown Stage presented a diverse swath of artists, many of whom—such as The Architects, Hembree, and Making Movies—performed to a large, eager crowd singing along to their music.
Local groups also dotted the Boulevard Main Stage throughout the weekend. Outsides kicked off Boulevardia on Friday with a danceworthy set that warmed up the audience for In the Valley Below, MS MR, and The Mowglis. On Saturday, Captiva, Chris Meck & the Guilty Birds, and The Clementines endured strong sets in the sweltering heat before the evening’s headlining acts, which welcomed Boulevardia’s first sold-out day of 20,000 patrons. On Sunday, Sara Morgan and Hearts of Darkness warmed up a Father’s Day crowd for The Grisly Hand—who brought in a horn section to augment an already fully formed country sound—and Big Head Todd & the Monsters.
--Michelle Bacon
Here are some photos of the festival from Jaime Russell of Anthem Photography. To see more of Jaime’s shots from Boulevardia, visit her Flickr page.
The Architects
Making Movies

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