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Midwest Music Foundation

Show review: Midwestern Audio Compilation Release Party, 9.23.12

(Photo of Everyday/Everynight)

More often than not, a bill of diverse acts just doesn’t work. When you're a show promoter, you typically don't set up a group of guylined cock rockers with a charming folk duo. 

Fortunately, sometimes it runs smoothly and flows naturally. The Midwestern Audio, Vol. 1 double CD compilation from Midwest Music Foundation glides smoothly along, just as its release party did on September 23, featuring six acts featured on the compilation.
Gemini Revolution, opened up the night with an avant-garde, psychedelic, chilling performance. The trio returned only days before from performing POP Montreal, and left the trickling-in crowd wanting more. Dedric Moore, Delaney Moore, and Mika Tanaya are also part of the experimental and somewhat more accessible Monta At Odds, and brought an otherworldly, intergalactic vibe to their music. Whether this form of free jazz infused with electronic pop is your cup of tea or not, there was no doubt that Gemini Revolution played music on its own terms, and brought an eerie, nail-biting soundtrack to get the evening started.
While Gemini Revolution set up the scene for the evening’s festivities, the next act took it to an exhilarating apex. Reach brought a compelling performance with help from the Diverse jazz trio. Witnessing each act on its own is a spectacle of musicianship, ingenious lyrics and astounding rhythms, but the combination of the two put the audience in awe of its splendor. While Hermon Mehari supplied smooth, poignant trumpet melodies, the rhythm section added a compelling, vital component that the audience couldn’t take its eyes off of. And then there’s Reach, who has proved in his years of being an emcee in Kansas City that he has true starpower and talent, with the rare ability to keep a crowd energized while depicting real life in brilliant rhyme schemes.
The natural progression of a psychedelic trio to a jazz/rap collective to jazz/blues swing group may seem like an odd mashup, but Grand Marquis provided a refreshing backdrop to a lineup that continued to build in dynamics and potency. This five-piece group—who recently recorded a session at the historic Sun Studio in Memphis—made sure the mostly indie pop/rock audience would take notice and spring to its feet. Dressed to the nines, Grand Marquis helped transform the recordBar into a speakeasy for about 45 minutes. The group played a mix of big band standards and originals with a swinging New Orleans jazz flair. Like Diverse, Grand Marquis reminded us of the vibrant history of Kansas City music, but also showed us how the sound remains relevant today.
The last two bands of the night provided the crowd with the heaviest dose of indie pop and rock. Antennas Up highlighted the show with its signature dancey, mind-melding synth pop power. Complete with The Ryantist’s Space Invaders drum kit, the energetic four-piece took us on a stellar ride through the universe, but not in the same way as Gemini Revolution. As the night’s opener astonished the audience with its finesse of taking unstructured music and making it accessible, Antennas Up blasted the crowd into space with clear vocal harmonies and plenty of boops and beeps to keep listeners intent on their aural surroundings.
Everyday/Everynight wrapped up the evening in true form to any headlining act. Shimmering guitars, echoing vocals, and enormous atmospheric noises made the group’s music simultaneously beautiful and excitingly aggressive. Frontman Jerad Tomasino took a moment to acknowledge Midwest Music Foundation for putting together a free local compilation, which includes 41 tracks from some of the most talented musical acts in the area.
You can find tracks from all of these acts on the Midwestern Audio, Vol. 1 compilation. It's available for FREE at Love Garden Sounds in Lawrence and other stores around the Kansas City. Brenton Cook, who compiled the CD, will be handing out copies this Saturday at Earwaxx Records during an in-store event with featured bands Be/Non and Appropriate Grammar. It's also available for download at the Bandcamp link below.

--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 flosses daily. Do you?

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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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