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The Deli KC

A sampling of some of KC's 2014 emerging artists

Here are some blurbs we wrote in 2014 on ten of our favorite emerging KC artists of the year:
Madisen Ward & the Mama Bear
Madisen Ward can write tunes that sound more seasoned than someone of his age should be able to do. Along with it, his vocal styling demands attention, ranging from serenely soulful to ardent and impassioned. Ruth Ward plays guitar effortlessly, as though it’s an extension of herself, and sings each note from deep within. The connection they share—both musically and as mother and son—comes through with the genuine delivery of each song.
Special congrats to them for their appearance this evening on The Late Show with David Letterman!

The duo was signed to Glassnote Records in 2014, and just released its newest single “Silent Movies.” It is now available on iTunes.

The Project H
Most people know that Kansas City is steeped in a rich jazz heritage that continues to this day. One of the groups that has helped carry on the city’s vibrant jazz scene is The Project H, who has taken the music’s tradition to a modern level. Though still tasteful to listeners of jazz standards, the band incorporates a range of influences and abilities, creating music that is relevant and colorful.
The Project H released its third studio album We Live Among the Lines in September 2014. It is available on Bandcamp.
Katy Guillen & the Girls
Katy Guillen & the Girls' style is rooted in the blues but draws heavily from rock, flamenco, and jazz elements, performed by three musicians at the top of their craft. The group—led by Guillen's masterfully intricate guitar work and earnest songwriting—is propelled by the rhythm section of Claire Adams and Stephanie Williams, who adds crucial melodic accents to its signature style.
Katy and the Girls advanced to the finals of the International Blues Challenge in early 2014, and released its debut self-titled LP in September 2014. It is available on Bandcamp.
Jorge Arana Trio
There’s something both soothing and jarring when you hear Jorge Arana, Jason Nash, and Josh Enyart share a stage together. They conjure up these wickedly rich, complicated rhythms and melodies that almost make you uneasy. It’s like when you snuck out of your parents’ house as a teenager to smoke cigarettes with your friends or make out with your crush—an innocent enough gesture, coupled with the exhilarating rush of rebellion and intensity. And every time the trio takes the stage, it seems like the perfect setting, be it in a dingy basement or a big venue.
The trio released its EP Oso on Haymaker Records in July 2014. It is available on Bandcamp.

The Blackbird Revue
The Blackbird Revue is a collaboration of Danielle Prestidge’s upbeat pop influences with husband Jacob Prestidge’s sincere folk approach, resulting in compositions that are simultaneously sweeping, delicate, and intriguing. The duo’s latest offerings have incorporated a multi-instrument approach, adding a momentous layer to its already purposeful music.

Danielle and Jacob released the music video for their latest single “Blueprints” in late 2014, and are currently working on a studio album.
Your Friend
(Photo by Lindsey Kennedy)
Taryn Miller’s project Your Friend was signed to Domino Records earlier this year. Her intelligent songwriting and entrancing music is making its way around, and for good reason. With her debut album Jekyll/Hyde, Miller constructs a simultaneously comforting and haunting atmosphere, fashioned around somber but colorful vocals.
Miller was signed to Domino Records in early 2014 and released the Jekyll/Hyde EP in February. It is available through Domino Records.
Miry Wild
(Photo by Zach Bauman)
Only a month after forming its full lineup, Miry Wild recorded its debut self-titled EP, a concise spiritual sojourn dotted with enchanting instrumentation and alluring vocal harmonies. The band’s natural chemistry and charm is apparent even from a cursory listen to the album. With this fairly new lineup and only a handful of shows under its belt, Miry Wild is finding its identity as a collective. Fortunately for the rest of us, they’re finding it through cohesive, tasteful songwriting.
Miry Wild released its debut self-titled EP in March 2014. It is available on Bandcamp.
The Thunderclaps
Though the two have been making music for a number of years, Bryce Jones and Colin Blunt formed The Thunderclaps just at the beginning of 2014. A grimy garage rock guitar/drums duo influenced by the surf leanings of The Gories and the psychedelic offerings of Thee Oh Sees, the band delivers an undeniable lo-fi rock ‘n roll edge.
The duo released a self-titled EP in August 2014. It is available on Bandcamp.
Admiral of the Red
In its short time together, Admiral of the Red has quickly evolved from a blues-based garage rock duo into a fully realized, dynamic rock band. The raw roots rock approach of guitarist Matt Hurst and drummer Tom Hudson, coupled with MB Hurst’s visceral vocals and a low-end punch from bassist Meredith McGrade creates the band’s primal, driving sound, reminiscent of The Dead Weather and Queens of the Stone Age.
Admiral recently released its single “Footbeats.” It is available on Bandcamp.
Hembree is picking up where Quiet Corral left off, but with a renewed vigor and sensibility. The group—who makes up five of the six members of now-defunct Quiet Corral—retains much of its former identity of compelling, captivating Americana, but with a pop appeal.
Hembree released its debut EP New Oasis last month. It is available on Bandcamp.
--Michelle Bacon

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

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Artist on Trial: Sara Swenson

(Photo by Michael Price)
Described as having a “uniquely Midwestern softness and heartfelt authenticity,” Sara Swenson delivers that sentiment with catchy, thoughtful songwriting that hooks audiences in. In the week before she performs at the annual Folk Alliance International conference in Kansas City, we talk with Swenson about her music and what’s next for her.
The Deli: Down and dirty: one sentence to describe your music.
Swenson: A vocal hybrid of Feist, Sharon Van Etten, and Sarah McLachlan, employing a varied and interesting soundscape that accompanies songs of my stories (which also happen to be some of your stories, too).
The Deli: What inspires your music and songwriting?
Swenson: My experiences and emotions + the experiences I observe from those around me + whatever is sonically floating my boat at the time + how pieces of those songs can fit with said experiences to create a sound that represents the feelings I want to convey. Make sense?
The Deli: What have been your greatest accomplishments as a musician?
Swenson: I think just staying in the game. It can be a hard slog sometimes, but it can also be a personally satisfying one. I’m proud that I’m four albums in, and I feel like I’ve just put out my best work yet. But having a song on a big TV show once was pretty great, too. :)
The Deli: Tell us about your most recent album, Runway Lights. What can we expect from it? You wrote it while living in the UK. How did that experience inform the album and shape your music overall?
Swenson: My experience abroad was the basis of Runway Lights—they’re songs I wrote in transition, in love, thinking back to home, etc. The sounds and production on the record are a real hybrid of things I love… folk/acoustic, atmospheric/electronic, soul/horns. There’s plenty going on, but also plenty of space to let the songs expand as they need to.
The Deli: Now that you're back in the KC area after living in the UK for awhile, do you think the music scene here has changed at all? If so, how?
Swenson: I think the most noticeable difference is the amount of attention the KC music scene is getting now. It’s amazing to have things like the Folk Alliance conference here. 90.9 The Bridge has made a tremendous impact. There are more and more notable festivals going on. It’s wonderful to see all of the excitement and support for some truly remarkable talent coming from this area.
The Deli: Do you typically perform as a solo artist, or do you have others collaborating with you?
Swenson: These days I’ve been performing solo, although I’ve performed in about every possible configuration in the past… who knows for the future!
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?
Swenson: Going to shows. Buying the music and merch. Being on the same team and cheering each other on!
The Deli: Who are your favorite local and non-local musicians right now?
Swenson: Local: Mark Lowrey. Hembree. Akkilles. Non-local: Ciaran Lavery. Sons of Caliber. Gregory Alan Isakov. Brandi Carlile. Patty Griffin.
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?
Swenson: So tough! So many people I’d love to play with. Can I just sing duets with Ryan Adams, Justin Vernon, and Willie Nelson?
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?
Swenson: Patty Griffin: She’s inspiring, top to bottom … songwriting, performance, stage of life, etc.
Justin Vernon: The man has a rare gift for using syllables and sound for emotional purposes. I don’t entirely understand it, but I really wish I did.
King’s College Choir of Cambridge (can I do that?): Cathedral choirs embody peace and hope and beauty to me.
Michael Jackson: He’s made me want to shake it from a very early age. Again, a gift for a dancey, poppy tune that lasts.
The Deli: What goals do you have for 2015?
Swenson: I did pick up an accordion at an estate sale, and I’m determined to master it well enough to at least play a few songs on it. Beyond that… like I said earlier, just continuing to write and perform music I’m proud of. We’ll be expecting our first child in the spring, which is obviously a game changer, but I’ll keep at the music as best as I can. Maybe a baby pack on back and a guitar on front?
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?
Swenson: Love to you all. Thank you for listening and investing your time into local music. You help keep us going!
--Michelle Bacon
Michelle Bacon is editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands.
Sara will be performing at the Folk Alliance International conference next week three different times: Wednesday, February 18 at 8 p.m. in Westin showcase room 640; Friday, February 20 at 11:30 p.m. in Westin private showcase room 644; and Saturday, February 21 at 7 p.m. in Music Fair (Sheraton) Chouteau Room.

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Video premiere: "Android Dreams" by Monta At Odds

(Photo by Todd Zimmer)
The Deli KC is proud to premiere the new music video from Monta At Odds, “Android Dreams.”


“Android Dreams” appears on Monta’s latest album Robots of Munich, a concept album inspired by the storyline of Blade Runner / Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.
A robotic synthesizer introduces the song, followed by a steady mechanical backbeat. The video—directed by Barry Anderson—follows this rhythmic pattern, expressed through a series of panned images of a young girl. This, along with the melodic interplay between Delaney Moore’s synths and Mika Tanaya’s vocals, gives the images and video an eerie, apparitional quality.
Check out the video and pick up a copy of Robots of Munich online or at a local record store.
--Michelle Bacon
Join Monta At Odds this Saturday for a psychedelic Valentine’s Day show. They will be opening up for The Philistines at The Ship. DJ Thundercutz will be spinning records throughout the evening. Facebook event page.

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KCPT features editor Michelle Bacon

We want to express our gratitude to KCPT and videographer/producer John McGrath for airing a segment of our editor Michelle Bacon on their weekly show Arts Upload. It prominently features our website, along with Michelle’s bands The Philistines, Dolls on Fire, and Drew Black & Dirty Electric. Tune in to Arts Upload every Thursday night on KCPT! You can watch Michelle’s segment below.

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Find out more about Kangaroo Knife Fight, our 2014 Readers' Choice artist!

Check out our interview with Kangaroo Knife Fight, The Deli KC Readers’ Choice for 2014 Emerging Artist! See them this Saturday at the MidCoast Takeover fundraiser at recordBar too! Here’s the link.


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