This is a preview of the new Deli charts - we are working on finalizing them by the end of 2013.

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barry lee

Too Much Rock Singles Series Vol 3: Josh Berwanger Band - Oh Bis!

Josh Berwanger Band gets us ready for summer with a new single release as part of the Too Much Rock Single Series. The series—curated by Sid Sowder—has local bands doing one side with an original song and one side with a cover song chosen by the band. Berwanger's single is the third volume in the series (the first two by Schwervon! and Rev Gusto).
The A-side is a Berwanger song called "Oh Bis!" to which he helpfully adds a spoken word postscript explaining the origin of the song. The song itself hearkens back to ‘80s power pop and chugs along with some subtle changes in the rhythm. It's a classic "Woe is me" teen angst song and sounds great in the car with the windows down. The B-side is a cover of an obscure 1979 single by The Jags, which sounds like a great lost early Elvis Costello rocker. Its infectious chorus of "I've got your number / written on the back of my hand" complete with handclaps is impossible not to like.
I'm a fan of their recent album Strange Stains. To my ears, this is the best local pure power pop band out there now. Get 'em while you can. These 45s are limited editions. 
--Barry Lee
Barry is host of Signal To Noise, which airs on KKFI 90.1 FM every Sunday at 8 pm. He spends his weekdays being station manager of KKFI.

You can see Josh Berwanger Band this weekend at Boulevardia, in the West Bottoms. They play at 6:15 p.m. on the Chipotle Homegrown stage. Facebook event page. They’ll also be playing Lawrence Field Day Fest on June 28 at The Bottleneck at 11:00 p.m. Also, watch for Too Much Rock’s fourth volume of the Single Series to come soon!

Here’s a video of an in-studio performance for 90.9 The Bridge of the song “Mary,” recorded at Weights & Measures Soundlab.



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Album review: Carswell & Hope - A Hunger

(Photo by Taffyfoto)
OK. I've got to admit this up front. I'm not terribly fond of piano-dominated albums. Sure, I like Randy Newman, I like Jimmy Webb when he was recording for Reprise Records, yeah, I'm a sucker for Mose Allison, and I guiltily admit to loving Elton John's first five albums. But you have to understand; I'm a guitar guy. I cut my teeth and grew up with the sounds of electric guitars. I will say this: ever since Burt Bacharach left town, there haven't been many folks around here writing sophisticated pop songs like those he wrote with Hal David. The new Carswell & Hope album, A Hunger, is a lovely return to the sound and feel of those sort of compositions.
Impeccably produced and well played by Dan Hines on bass, Jason Sloat on drums, Nick Carswell on guitar and vocals, and Austin Quick on keyboards, this is not some wimpy piano/crooner stuff; the music here has muscle. The opening song, “Before,” sets the tone. It starts out sounding like a Swell Season outtake: voice and piano only, and then moves into different musical terrain as the song unwinds. No verse/chorus/verse thing here; the song moves spinning through moods, tempos, and lyrics in a way reminiscent of a pop overture.
What especially caught my ear as the album flows on is the care taken with each song to make the music just as interesting as the lyrics. Little touches like the understated solo piece three-fourths of the way through the jaunty “Drinking At Crossroads” where the music and mood go somewhere else, (much like The Beatles did with “Fool On The Hill,”) throw the listener a nice little curve. One would expect a long guitar solo at that spot, but the song begs to differ. In their bio the band doesn't cite Jimmy Webb as an influence, but I hear him in these cool little melodic inventions that are part of these songs.
Listen to how the album's centerpiece “The Owning” starts out hard and fast then just after the verses end with an “oh well oh well oh well, ” the band takes over and guitar and piano duel for several bars as Quick explodes piano notes around Carswell's guitar lines and the bass and drums lock in on a galloping groove. The song ends with an extended coda, once again changing the mood and tempo, with three stop-time parts and a vocal coda by Carswell to put the song to bed.
I'm a sucker for songs that flow organically and go places you don't expect. These songs are full of invention. The album was funded by a successful Indiegogo fundraiser campaign and released on the band's own label, Silly Goose Records. A Hunger is one of those albums you can listen to after a hard day's work, sitting out on the screened porch in the early evening with a libation of your choice chilling your hand as this music plays out. Carswell is a native of Ireland. I hope he sticks around these parts for awhile. This band needs to make more music. This is an audacious debut.

--Barry Lee

Barry is host of Signal To Noise, which airs on KKFI 90.1 FM every Sunday at 8 pm. He spends his weekdays being station manager of KKFI.

If you’re in Lawrence tonight, head out to Jackpot Music Hall to see Carswell & Hope. Vik G. Trio and Heidi Lynne Gluck will be opening. Gluck is featured on Carswell & Hope’s album, on additional vocals for “Hunger.” Facebook event page. 



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The Deli KC's Best of 2013

(Photo above of The Grisly Hand, by Todd Zimmer)
Some of us here at The Deli KC (and a few other local music experts) have compiled our best of 2013 local lists. Here are a few of our picks…
Michelle Bacon, The Deli KC editor-in-chief
Top 10 albums of 2013
Ha Ha TonkaLessons
The Grisly HandCountry Singles
Tiny HorseDarkly Sparkly
The Latenight CallersSongs For Stolen Moments
Not A PlanetThe Few, The Proud, The Strange
ClairaudientsI’m A Loudmouth, You’re A Puppet
The Silver MaggiesMy Pale Horse
The Dead GirlsFade In/Fade Out
Freight Train Rabbit KillerFreight Train Rabbit Killer
Katy Guillen & the Girls…And Then There Were Three
Zach Hodson, The Deli KC contributor
Top 13 of 2013
The Grisly Hand – Country Singles
The Electric LungsSimplified and Civilized
Tiny Horse – Darkly Sparkly
The ACBsLittle Leaves
The Dead Girls – Fade In/Fade Out
Not a Planet – The Few, The Proud, The Strange
Mime GameDo Your Work
The Latenight Callers – Songs for Stolen Moments
The JinxedThe Loon
Erik VoeksFinulu
More Like GeorgiaMove On
The Octopuss MenMusic to Make Her Change Her Mind
Honorable mentions
BloodbirdsPsychic Surgery
SundiverThe Pull
Slum PartyFlood
Msg CtrlRolling Like a Stone
La GuerreViolent
Vi Tran BandAmerican Heroine
Man BearPower Slop
Crossed WiresCrossed Wires
Barry Lee, The Deli KC contributor / Signal To Noise on KKFI 90.1 FM
2013 list of homegrown specialties
Tiny Horse – “Ride” from Darkly Sparkly
The Dead Girls – “Love You To" / Signal To Noise’s Tribute To The Beatles at Knuckleheads, June 1
Cowboy Indian Bear – “Let It Down” from Live Old, Die Young
Ricky Dean Sinatra – “Werewolf” / Reunion show at Jazzhaus, July 20
Scott Hrabko – “Blue, Period” from Gone Places
Lonnie Fisher – “Ghosts Driving in My Van” from Ghosts and Dreams
Erik Voeks – “Hester A. Fish” from Finulu
The Quivers – “He Had It Coming” from Gots To Have It!
Betse Ellis – “Straight To Hell” / Wednesday MidDay Medley’s (KKFI) 500th show, November 20
Radkey – “Out Here in My Head” from Cat & Mouse
Danny R. Phillips, Deli KC contributor
Best album: Many Moods of DadThe Consequence of Trying
Best EP: Black on BlackGet On With It
Best song: Scruffy & the Janitors – “Shake It Off”
Other best albums
Pale HeartsHollowtown
Bloodbirds – Psychic Surgery
Missouri HomegrownYou Asked For It
Red KateWhen the Troubles Come
The PedaljetsWhat’s in Between
Stiff Middle FingersAt the Scene of the Crime
DsoedeanContinue to Move
The Grisly Hand – Country Singles
Best shows
Bob Mould / The Pedaljets at The Bottleneck, August 16
Lawrence Field Day Fest at The Bottleneck, July 11-13
Cupcake / Scruffy & the Janitors / Universe Contest at The Rendezvous (St. Joseph), March 22
Top 10 albums of 2013
The Grisly Hand Country Singles
Tech N9neSomething Else
Mark LowreyTangos for 18th Street
The ArchitectsBorder Wars: Episode I
Eddie Moore and the Outer CircleThe Freedom of Expression
Reggie BDNA
Cowboy Indian Bear – Live Old, Die Young
Dutch NewmanSchorre's Son
AkkillesSomething You'd Say
Steven Tulipana, co–owner of recordBar / miniBar
Favorite recordBar moments of 2013
Kishi Bashi / Plume Giant, February 17
Sonic Spectrum’s Tribute to Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground, May 26
Bob Log III, July 23
Richard Buckner, October 30
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion / Kid Congo, October 7
Found A Job performs The Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense, November 29

Thanks for all your support this year! We look forward to hearing more excellent music in 2014.

Also, don't forget to visit www.voteformmf.com! We have tonight and tomorrow to vote for Midwest Music Foundation, so cast your vote now!
The Deli KC staff

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Spotlight on Tim Finn, music writer at The Kansas City Star

Tim Finn has covered the local and national music scene for The Kansas City Star for over two decades. In that time, he's seen hundreds of concerts and interviewed hundreds of musicians. Barry Lee, host of KKFI's Signal To Noise, felt it was time someone interviewed Tim.

The Deli: When you first started your career as music writer for The Kansas City Star, what ground rules did you set for yourself for writing concert reviews?

Tim Finn: Foremost: don't use a live review as a format for critiquing (or disparaging) the music. A review of a live show is different from a review of an album. The music itself isn't the primary focus, the performance is. No one attends a rock concert like they do a movie or a restaurant. You buy a ticket to a rock show because you've already decided you like/love the music. Likewise, no one goes to a movie knowing they hate the genre, or a to restaurant knowing they hate the cuisine. So, even if I must go to a show to see a band I don't like or whose music I don't like, I don't trash the music itself. Instead, I do some consumer advocacy: was it long enough? Did they do most of their hits? How did the crowd react? How was the sound? And in the middle of that, I may lay down a context that may illuminate my opinion of the music: "they're a mainstream hybrid/derivative mix of Band X and Band Y..." and leave it at that.

We typically stick to the large shows, the ones that attract big crowds (and more readers). Occasionally, we will review a local show. But I'd rather preview local bands/shows and mention the high quality of the music and the live shows and hope the exposure gets more people to those shows.

The Deli: During those first years covering the local music scene, which bands or artists caught your attention as being the most interesting?

Finn: Those were the years of Outhouse, Season To Risk, Shiner, Molly McGuire, Tenderloin, Frogpond, Grither, The Gadjits, Mike Ireland, Iris DeMent.

The Deli: What role, if any, did local record stores play in KC's music community?

Finn: Well, Anne Winter had a profound influence on me on my role as a writer and reporter, then as a friend. She either introduced me to people or bands, or advised me to get in touch with them. Recycled Sounds was the nerve center of the local scene for so many years. For awhile, I was going in two or three times a week, not just to buy music, but to hear about what was going on. Or see an in-store.

The Deli: Historically, local artists often felt that it was necessary to leave Kansas City if they wanted to be successful and make a living playing music. Do you think that's still true today?

Finn: There's evidence to support that. Janelle Monáe being one example. And it was sad to see Miles Bonny move away. But I don't think it's necessary, especially today. I think you can certainly start lots of momentum here and then generate it elsewhere. Look at Radkey. Or Making Movies. Or Beautiful Bodies. Or The Architects. The Republic Tigers. The Elders. The Wilders. Tech N9ne still lives here.

The Deli: What's your assessment of the current state of our local music scene?

Finn: I listen to more local bands just recreationally now than I ever have. Too many to name. So, there are more good bands these days, in every genre, I feel safe saying, whether it's indie-rock/pop, singer-songwriter, hip-hop, hard rock, country... There is more variety, too. And what I like most of all: way more collaborations, whether they are side projects or tribute shows. There has always been a strain of jealousy (or envy) within this music community. But I think this has subsided and there seems to be way more collaboration and internal support than there used to be, especially across genres. I love it when, say, Hermon Mehari, a jazz trumpeter, jumps in on a set with a rock band.

The Deli: Are there any local bands or artists that are not yet well know that should be?

Finn: So many local bands have been given the big label opportunity over the past 15 years, and many have come so close. But very few have cashed in on it, mostly because you have to be as lucky as you are good, it seems. Or maybe luckier. Music isn't sports, where the spoils go to the most skilled.

If I had to name one that I think has the sound, the recordings, and the live show to be a successful touring band I'd say The Grisly Hand. And I've always thought Mikal Shapiro was a good a songwriter and performer as many I've seen.

The Deli: You've been to every kind of venue to see and hear music, from Sprint Center on down to house concerts. What do you consider to be your optimum place to experience music?

Finn: It depends on the show. I've been to shows at the Uptown Theater when it's full, and it's as intimate or satisfying as a house concert (Sigur Rós and The Swell Season come to mind). Starlight Theatre can be the perfect venue. As long as the crowd is attentive and engaged and the sound is good, any venue can work for me.

The Deli: If you could assemble an all-star band using KC and Lawrence musicians, who'd be in that band?

Finn: That's too hard to answer. I'd start with Ernie Locke, though.

The Deli: What's the best local concert you've seen so far this year?

Finn: I have to list a few. The performance of Beck's "Song Reader" by Project H (Mark Lowrey, Jeff Harshbarger, Shay Estes, and many others) was brilliant. The recordBar was pretty much full that night, and everyone was hearing every song for the first time. Yet, for the most part, everyone gave the band and the music full attention that night.

Awhile back, I saw The Grisly Hand at Knuckleheads and for part of the show they brought up a three-piece horn section and created this country/soul sound that was delicious.

At this year’s Warped Tour, the Beautiful Bodies and Mac Lethal were performing at the same time at contiguous stages. I bounced back and forth between both. Each drew a big, rowdy crowd. Both are so much fun to watch, the way they engage their fans.

And The Pedaljets album release show was great. They are such a good live band. And the more I see Ghosty live, the more they impress me.

And I have to plug Middle of the Map, which showcases the breadth and depth of local music in this town.

The Deli: What advice would you give to an aspiring area band who are just getting started in the music world?

Finn: Don't do it for the money, glory or fame. Do it because you love it. And do it with the people you love.
--Barry Lee

Tune in to KKFI 90.1 FM on Sundays at 8:00 p.m. and listen to Barry’s show Signal To Noise, a two-hour free-form radio program dedicated to the proposition that all good music transcends its genre. 

Also, you can check The Star's music blog Back To Rockville, which Tim writes for, and you can often see him out at many local and national shows. He'll be the tall guy. 

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