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The Deli KC

Album review: The Sluts - Loser (EP)

(Photo by Todd Zimmer)
Lawrence, Kansas (affectionately to be referred to henceforth as LFK) continues to be a source of the kinds of music that I want to hear more of and know more about. One band in particular has really caught my ear of late with a sound that’s raw, dirty, energetic, and undeniably attention-grabbing: The Sluts, a bare-bones twosome consisting of Kristoffer Dover on drums and Ryan Wise on guitar and vocals. Two musicians, no more, no less … but as the sounds you’ll hear on their new EP Loser will demonstrate, two musicians is plenty when it comes to making a substantial sonic statement.
Their mix of garage, punk, and grunge kicks things off with the opener, “Let Me Go,” as The Sluts tear things up with a grimy bounce firmly entrenched in 4/4 time. “Loser” starts with a tip of the cap to upbeat new wavey rhythms, but 25 seconds into the track, the boys re-establish the power presence that is their raison d’etre (how’s THAT for some damn NPR-speak, kids?). “Green” and “Linger” wrap up the four-track, barely-more-than-ten-minute EP with the sound that I’ve most commonly described as “Nirvana without Krist Novoselic,” as Wise’s sneering vocals and snarling guitar combined with Dover’s relentlessly on-point percussion give the music just a bit of Bleach-era homage while sounding very much of the present day.
I had the honor of introducing The Sluts during this year’s Midcoast Takeover at SXSW; they were on the roster of the I Heart Local Music / Whatever Forever day-party that featured more examples of LFK’s finest (Black on Black, Shy Boys, Josh Berwanger Band, and Oils/CS Luxem). After a couple long days of music and food truck fare and drinking, the abrasive grind of The Sluts was a much-needed Brillo pad to the brain. Give Loser a listen, and keep an eye out for this band.
Love me some dirty, filthy, nasty The Sluts. Awwww yeahhhhhh.
-Michael Byars

Michael can use the phrase “raison d’etre” in the same review as the phrase “awwww yeahhhhh,” because that’s how he rolls. 




Editor’s note: Loser was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Joel Nanos at Element Recording. Photos taken at Element by Todd Zimmer.

Catch The Sluts this Friday at Liberty Hall; they’ll be playing #ASSJAMZ: Bands That Will Make You Dance, along with Approach, Paper Buffalo, and Spencer Brown. Show starts at 8 pm. Facebook event page. If you’re in KC, see them this Sunday at Vandals. They’ll be joined by fellow LFKers Mr. and the Mrs., Mannequin Pussy (NYC), and KC’s Anson the Ornery. Facebook event page. 

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Artists on Trial: Captiva

Though they’ve only been a band for under a year, Captiva is already playing shows at larger venues and getting attention for its cool indie funk/folk approach. We talk with the guys to find out more about them and what they have in the works.
The Deli: Down and dirty: 1 sentence to describe your music. What is it?
Captiva: Our music is phunky fresh yet lavish indie rock.
The Deli: Give us some background on the band.
Captiva: Captiva has been together for about 9 months now. Pat McQuaid and Jackson Ries met while in high school, and began writing some soft, "poppy" kind of tunes. Once we had begun the process of producing our first album, we discovered Hank Wiedel, who brought us into the music scene and has been booking/co-managing the band ever since.
The Deli: What have been your biggest accomplishments as a band?
Captiva: Our greatest accomplishments so far include landing a show with co-headlining The Granada, performing on live TV/radio, releasing our first album, planning our first tour, and finding what exactly makes us who we are as musicians and friends. We've experienced a lot of success since our arrival in the music scene, and it's all been pretty quick, but we're most pleased with how true we have stayed to ourselves. Through all of the traveling, performing, recording, and promotion, Captiva has managed to stay a strong family.
The Deli: You recently released your debut album. What can people expect from it?
Captiva: We just released Basement Creations this summer. We are back in the studio, and plan on releasing a series of singles, including “Floatin' on Sound,” “Mid-Wild West.”
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?
Captiva: Supporting local music is everything to us. It's a blessing to be surrounded by a music scene that is so talented and professional. It's not hard to find an act that is, first and foremost, true to their music, unlike half of the top artists today.
The Deli: Who are your favorite local musicians right now?
Captiva: Our favorite local musicians right now include La Guerre, She's A Keeper, Katy Guillen & The Girls, Rev Gusto, and Not A Planet. All of these bands are so kick-ass. We've gotten to perform with La Guerre recently, and she completely blew us away.
The Deli: Who are your favorite not-so-local musicians right now?
Captiva: We truly love The Lonely Biscuits, AER, New Madrid, and Twenty One Pilots. We really dig Dirty Heads... They've got a unique sound that is super easy to listen to.
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?
Captiva: Twenty One Pilots, AER, The Lonely Biscuits, and us.
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why? 
Captiva: Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots is a huge influence on our live performance. Gene Simmons... I mean he's from KISS. Shouldn't that be enough? Jimmy Page is without a doubt one of the best names to ever be associated with the word guitar, and Grady Wenrich of The Lonely Biscuits knows how to keep it gravy. We like that. We like that a lot.
The Deli: What other goals does Captiva have for 2014?
Captiva: Our main focus is to establish a strong, diverse fan base in Kansas City and in Lawrence. Also, we're hoping to release a new EP sometime before the new year!
The Deli: Where can we find you on the web?
Captiva: You can find us literally everywhere.
Twitter: @CaptivaTweets
Instagram: Captivamusic
Snapchat (Why not?): Snap-tiva
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
Captiva: Make sure to see us at The Granada with Matt Easton on September 10! It's our biggest show yet, we'll be playing a lot of new music and making some pretty big announcements, and the tickets are going fast! And, lastly, ~Stay Buzzed~
Captiva is:
Pat McQuaid: guitar
Jackson Ries: vocals
Hank Wiedel: drums

You can catch Captiva at Czar Bar next Wednesday, August 27, with Acidic. They’ll also be back at The Granada on September 10 with Matt Easton. Facebook event page.

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Artists on Trial: Morningglories

(Photo by Roshelle Hudson)
Morningglories is one of the newest bands in Kansas City. A four-piece with talented, experienced players, the group is evolving as a garage punk/pop force with thunderous grooves. The band’s primary songwriter, Alex Dunsford, talks to us a bit about what Morningglories has up its sleeve.
The Deli: Down and dirty: 1 sentence to describe your music. What is it?
Alex Dunsford: Punk rock garage pop—kicking out the jams.
The Deli: Give us some background on the band.
Dunsford: Morningglories is me, Alex Dunsford, Tom Hudson playing the drums, Meredith McGrade also playing guitar and singing, and Steve Gardels playing bass. It's fun to have Steve back on bass and out from behind the kit; it's been a long time since we've played together guitar/bass. The last time was probably the short lived but profound jam sessions of Methamphetaminefield.
The band is about groove-centered rock ‘n roll. The rhythm section does all the work, and Meredith and I layer over those rhythmic hooks with harmonies and sounds. But we all like to play with some speed and intensity, so it takes the outward form of garage punk. I want to make music that has a lot of physical drive and makes people feel like moving around and having a good time. I want to distill pure enjoyment down to a distorted waveform and wash people over with it.
The Deli: You recently released your three-song EP debut, Wilderness Songs, in June. What should people expect from it?
Dunsford: You can expect the songs and style that define this first stage of the band's existence. I love this record because we made it immediately upon forming, before we even played our first show. Working on recorded music is one of my favorite parts of being in a band, and I think it really shaped the way we play together to start on this type of project from the very beginning; even when we were still writing the songs, we were planning them out to be recorded.
We captured a really raw and exciting moment in our time together—the irresponsible and irrational exuberance of a new project, before any serious obstacles can make it too real. I think that mindset of optimism and rock n roll magic comes through on the record. We had so much fun making it. Johnhenry Grothaus actually plays bass on the recording, before he moved and Steve became the final piece of the puzzle.
We owe a lot of that experience to Duane Trower at Weights & Measures Soundlab, who not only is a brilliant recording and mastering engineer, but has created one of my favorite environments to work in. The space seems to have a natural bristling of energy that makes it very satisfying to make music there. Lots of YJ's coffee may also contribute to that.
The Deli: What shows do you have coming up?
Dunsford: We play next at Vandals Summer Kamp Fest, which is looking to be one of the coolest parties for punk and independent music that we've had in a long time. They're hosting 19 out of town bands, from different states all over the region. I'm incredibly impressed and very happy about all the effort that so many people in so many different music styles are putting out to make Kansas City a music hub and destination spot. It couldn't happen without the strength of the local music community, though, to keep the lights on when the touring bands are away.
After that, on October 17, we'll be playing at Coda with The B'Dinas, who just released their first full-length album, Fruitcakes. It's probably too much of a pun to describe it as “delicious,” but it contains some tunes that should be a part of your life. The B'Dinas have some of the best musicians in KC right now, and if you've never seen them, you'll be impressed.
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?
Dunsford: Supporting local music is not only about attending shows but about the personal relationships you form with the other people who are involved. The scene needs to exist 365 days a year, not just during the festivals and events, so encouraging and being helpful and positive to each other is how we sustain ourselves day to day, so that we have the strength and inspiration to make things happen.
The Deli: Who are your favorite local musicians right now?
Dunsford: Katy Guillen, Claire Adams, and Stephanie Williams of Katy Guillen & the Girls; Ryan Shank of Outsides (everybody in that band, really, they're all good); Josh Berwanger of his namesake band, Steve Tulipana of everything ever, and Britt Adair, Caitlin Curry, Breaka Dawn, and George Magers from The Bad Ideas. There's no way to list everyone who's making great music right now. It's a good problem to have.
The Deli: Who are your favorite not-so-local musicians right now?
Dunsford: James Kelly (WIFE, Altar of Plagues), St. Vincent, Josh Homme, the one and only Valient Himself, Josh Freese, Steve Earle, Brent Hinds and Brann Dailor, Carrie Brownstein, everyone in Fucked Up, Laura Pleasants.
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?
Dunsford: Hot Snakes, Valient Thorr, Queens of the Stone Age.
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why? 
Dunsford: Steve: Ozzy, George Harrison, Joe Strummer, Keith Moon.
Alex: Kirk Hammett, Thurston Moore, David Gilmour, John Fogerty.
Meredith: Joan Jett, Jimmy Page, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith.
Tom: Thom Yorke, John Bonham, David Bowie, Dave Grohl.
We couldn't come to a consensus, so we're going to have to use more than one mountain to put all these faces up.
The Deli: What other goals do Morningglories have for 2014?
Dunsford: Our goals for 2014 are to write and rehearse new songs. Our set at Summer Kamp will have new material, and at Coda we'll have even more. I never want to play the same show twice. We'll also be planning some out of town gigs in the region, and starting to lay the foundation for more recording next year.
The Deli: Where can we find you on the web?
Dunsford: Obviously the Facebook page, the workhorse of the web crew. What's more interesting is our Bandcamp page, where the EP Wilderness Songs is available for pay what you want download. I'd love to see more people on the page with the music on it than liking a facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/mglories
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
Dunsford: Fender guitar saddles aren't all the same size. Make sure you measure the screw spacing before you buy new ones.
Morningglories is:
Alex Dunsford: guitar, vocals
Steve Gardels: bass
Tom Hudson: drums
Meredith McGrade: guitar, vocals

Morningglories will be at Vandals for the Summer Kamp Fest this Sunday on the indoor stage at 9:45 pm. You can see them and 30 other bands for only $10 each night. Facebook event page.

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Album review: Riot! Riot! Riot! - Dispenser (single)

Just as the sounds of popular music go through various phases and trends, so too do band names. One such example is the combination of repetitive words and exclamation points, a standard with many examples: the New Zealand noise-pop of Die! Die! Die! … the noisy Italian rawness of Tiger! Shit! Tiger! Tiger! (a personal favorite of Chris Haghirian’s) … the California dance-punk of !!! … and many others. We now have a new entry into this field: Riot! Riot! Riot!, featuring members and ex-members of such noted KC soundcrafters as Dolls on Fire, The Hillary Watts Riot, and Drew Black and Dirty Electric. The band’s debut is a two-song effort that shares the same energy and aggression as its exclamation-pointed kin. The production is raw and DIY, which serves its three-chords-and-turn-it-up-loud mission statement perfectly.
“Dispenser” features Zach Hodson’s abrasive guitar and emotive vocals, supported by a thunderous drum-and-bass combo of Sergio Moreno and Mark Johnson, treading the line between hard rock and punk. “So Lost In Love, My Love” starts out as a jaunty little number (yes, a band with exclamation points in its name can do jaunty) that ultimately descends into muddy, grimy depths.
Will Riot! Riot! Riot! be worthy of all those exclamation points? I’d like to think so, but ultimately it’s a question Mark, Sergio, and Zach will have to answer. Period.
And you can “quote” me.
--Michael Byars
Michael is sparing with his usage of exclamation points, but when he does, he means it! OMGRLY!

Tonight, July 30, you can catch the Riot! Riot! Riot! boys at—where else?—The Riot Room. They’ll be playing with The Summit and Trapdoor Social (LA). Show starts at 9 p.m. Facebook event page. 

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Album review: Mr. and the Mrs. - A Tale of Two Eyes (EP)

At times, I think rock is a beast destined for extinction, killed mercilessly by indie bands with strong ‘80s dance pop fetishes and singers with somewhat misguided longings for Adam Sandler character vocalizations. There are a few Kansas City/Lawrence area bands that are putting in their due diligence to bring rock back to the surface. To draw it away from the dark corners of the basement, free from the shackles that fickle fans have thrown upon them, to let it roam among the living, ready to regain its rightful place upon the throne. Black on Black, The Sluts, and All Blood are putting all of themselves into the fire, trying to resurrect rock and it seems, for the time being, to be working.
One of the most interesting bands in the mix is Mr. and the Mrs. Their latest release, A Tale of Two Eyes, shows a band fully capable of kicking down the garage door with the tried and true guitarist/drummer 1-2-combo knockout punch. They stand as a band truly giving no shits about what people think, making the racket they want to make and at a ridiculous volume.
There is no pretense with A Tale of Two Eyes. They clearly do not care to be the coolest band in the land, have no interest in recycling Misfits’ riffs or snagging all the groupies. Mr. and the Mrs. released a four-song EP, cut to a limited vinyl run of 20 discs on a 1940s record lathe, not because it’s cool but because that’s what they wanted to do. Period.
A popular local spectacle, Mr. and the Mrs. have successful reproduced their live sound on Eyes. Coming on with the sound quality of a live show recorded to an Emerson boom box at a punk club in 1980, the tunes on Eyessound like The Cramps, Nirvana, Minor Threat and a garbage disposal having sex; a wild and reckless noise that shouldn’t, in theory, sound so good but it does. “Pink Eye” has a vaguely Detroit Cobras ass shakin’ vibe while “Dead Eye” sounds like a totally stoned out Sid Vicious manhandling the mic while covering The Vaselines’ “Molly’s Lips.”
Mr. and the Mrs. have taken the minimalist approach (guitar and drums) and stripped punk/alternative music down to molecular level, in the process touching on something that most certainly isn’t for everyone. However, for those of us who “get it”, it will be the saving grace, a music free of the “cool,” free of self-consciousness and a need to be accepted, replacing it with power and sincerity.
--Danny R. Phillips
Danny has been reporting on music of all types and covering the St. Joseph music scene for well over a decade. He is a regular contributor to the nationally circulated BLURT Magazine and his work has appeared in The Pitch, The Omaha Reader, Missouri Life, The Regular Joe, Skyscraper Magazine, Popshifter, Hybrid Magazine, the websites Vocals on Top and Tuning Fork TV, Perfect Sound Forever, The Fader, and many others.

Mr. and the Mrs. will be playing tonight, July 30 at The Bottleneck, along with Ex-Bombers and Something & the Whatevers. Show starts at 9 p.m.

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