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KC music

Album review: David Hasselhoff on Acid - Eudaimonia

The name David Hasselhoff on Acid grabs you. Unless you are from Germany, where he’s considered a rock god, David Hasselhoff is the dude that ran down the beach to judge “talented” people while sitting in his talking car drunkenly eating a cheeseburger off the floor mats. Wait, I got some shows mixed up there. Oh well.
The latest from the KC band David Hasselhoff on Acid Eudaimonia is a trip—a rapid-fire jazz-rock fire fight, blasting out of the blocks with “Breakfast,” a jam that must be of supernatural origin. It comes on like something The Sword would do if they spent quality hang time with Frank Zappa and Yes while expanding their imaginations to impressive heights.
Therein lies the rub. I sit listening, eating a burnt English muffin, lounging in flannel pants, needing desperately to shave. I love this record. What has happened to me? Historically, I am not a fan of long, self-important, drawn-out, seemingly improvised jams. I hate Phish, The Dead was overrated, I detest Widespread Panic, and Dave Matthews is the Antichrist.
I grew up listening to punk rock where if you could not get it done in three minutes or less, do not play it. On occasion, if the mood struck me, I would indulge a bit in progressive rock, but those times were as rare as seeing Bigfoot at a keg party.
However, DHOA has struck me differently; there is method to the madness, melody in the chaos—not just “look-what-I-can-do!” wankery. There is beauty lying in the eye of the storm.
“Tiny Bubbles” is an 8 minute, 8 second extravaganza that plays like a threesome between Primus, Metallica, and Carlos Santana. It just should not work in this or any other universe, but it does. However, it does push the limits of my ADD, so if you have similar issues, double up on the Adderall before pushing play.
“Someone Just Caught a Unicorn” is just plain cool. An interstellar trip on par with ‘70s tripout artists Captain Beyond, this is one of the most spaced-out tracks on Eudaimonia—Adrian Belew and Syd Barrett would be so very proud. Although, at over thirteen minutes, even the most dedicated Dungeons & Dragons player would reach their limit. Immediately following is “Noodly Appendages,” the 3:36 jam with Zach Legler doing his best Gene Krupa/Buddy Rich drum fill attack, bassist Erich Thomas blowing the funk out and guitarists Phil Wolf and Brandon Bamesberger alternating between subtlety and rocket blasts. This is a real gem among gems.
The closer “Sheep Led By Wolves Owned by Pigs” is straight-up weird; at times, creepy. DHOA is clearly the Mothership for some of the best musicians I’ve ever heard. Ever. Period. The players make their instruments do things that a precious few could or can do. KC, you should be glowing with city pride to have these prog champions in your borders. That said, my friends, be in the right headspace for Eudaimonia; wait until you are sufficiently lubricated to get sucked in, to get lost. Do not get in a hurry, enjoy it, and let it get under your skin, to take you away, as any good acid trip should.
Eudaimonia was recorded at Level Select Productions in Lee's Summit, and produced, mixed, and mastered by guitarist Brandon Bamesberger. It was engineered by the band: Phil Wolf, Zach Legler, Erich Thomas, and Brandon Bamesberger.

Physical copies of Eudaimonia will be released on Friday, September 6, at The Riot Room. The inside stage show kicks off at 9 with Opossum Trot, then Instant Empire (Denver), Janet the Planet, and DHOA. The patio starts at 8 with See the Elephant, Conflicts, and then TroglodyteFacebook event page. Also, check out their Kickstarter page and help them print off CDs at the link here. Only four days left!

--Danny R. Phillips

Danny R. Phillips has been reporting on music of all types and covering the St. Joseph, MO 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

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Album review: Red Kate - When The Troubles Come

I had a conversation with a friend the other night over drinks. The majority of the talk is unimportant, but the meat of it was how much we miss rock ‘n roll. I, like my musician friend, have grown weary of bearded bands trading in their amps and Telecasters for banjos, washboards, and glockenspiel. What boat did I miss here? 
Legendary folk singer Pete Seeger posed the question, “Where have all the flowers gone?”. I say, “To hell with the flowers. Where’s the riffs?”
Well, I have discovered some of the sadly endangered rock ‘n roll species on Red Kate’s When the Troubles Come. The Kansas City-based band (L. Ron Drunkard, Desmond Poirier, Brad Huhmann, and Andrew Whelan. Original guitarist Scot Squatch, who appears on a few of the album’s tracks, left Red Kate while recording Troubles) has laid down a superb LP packed with ‘70s rock aggression. The band’s one-two punch guitar work of Desmond Poirier and Brad Huhmann should make Angus Young and Marc Bolan fans very, very happy.
Red Kate indeed mines the 1970s for gold but stays clear of the cheese that marred the latter part of the decade. Red Kate plays big and aggressive but at the same time is more than capable of producing songs with great pop sensibilities (“Pink Sweater”). Have no fear, my friends; the schmaltz of bands like Boston and Foreigner are nowhere near Red Kate’s sound—thank god. Think more Stranglers and The Saints than STYX and Kansas.
Extolling the virtues of standing up for something and questioning the motives of the government, Troubles is chock full of calls to actions under the cover of rock ‘n roll. On the exceptional lead off track “Union Voice,” Drunkard cries out: “The boss is not your friend / now it’s time to make a choice / stand up and raise your voice.” In “Hypnotized,” he snarls: “I won’t pledge allegiance to the flag or company / there ain’t no way in hell you’re gonna pacify me.”
Too few bands put their beliefs out there for the entire world to see, and even fewer still are capable of doing so while kicking ass. Troubles is what rock and punk used to be before being invaded by Creed worshippers and Hot Topic. Red Kate brings a message without being heavy handed, self-important, or preachy. The band does not tell the listener to overthrow the government or become a radical anarchist. What it does is plant a seed of curiosity, of standing up for what you believe in and for being an individual.
When The Troubles Come is passionate record made by people who clearly believe in the words they’ve laid in wax. It is a record for people who believe that it is their right as humans to stand up for something, to question the beliefs put upon them by church and the state, to demand answers to their questions, and to do so while rockin’ like their heads are on fire.
When The Troubles Come was recorded and engineered at Weights and Measures Soundlab by Duane Trower. It was mixed by Trower and L. Ron Drunkard, digitally mastered by Trower, vinyl mastered at Sae Mastering (Phoenix) by Roger Seibel. Released by Replay Records.
Red Kate’s KC album release party will be at Davey’s Uptown this Friday, August 23. The Bad Ideas kick the show off at 9 pm, followed by Steady StatesThe Quivers, and topped off by Red Kate. Sure to be a loud, rowdy, boisterous evening. Facebook event page.
--Danny R. Phillips

Danny R. Phillips has been reporting on music of all types and covering the St. Joseph, MO 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

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Artists on Trial: Nikki and the Rooftop Punch

(Photo by Bittersweet Symphony Productions)
It seems like everyone wants to start a side project at some point. When a frontperson does it, the music usually sounds a whole lot like his/her band. Which is great, if you want to hear more of that. But every once in awhile, a combination of creativity erupts into a completely different style. Nikki and the Rooftop Punch—the brand-new duo of Nicole Springer and Tim Jenkins of The Clementines—is plain and simple stripped-down garage rock, in the best possible way. Jenkins electrifies his guitar sound with catchy, bluesy riffs, while Springer pulls a Phil Collins move, only with intense, raw, shattering vocals. We talk with Springer about the band’s imminent debut show (tonight!) and what’s to come.
The Deli: Down and dirty: 1 sentence to describe your music. What is it?
Nicole Springer: It's loud, raw, high-energy garage rock with a blues edge and a whole lot of attitude.
The Deli: Why did you decide to do this project and how does it differ from The Clementines?
Nicole: Rooftop was an accident waiting to happen. Due to increased boredom, we both decided to form a fake garage band, with Tim on electric and myself playing the most disastrous drum kit of all time. We ended up enjoying it and upon playing it for a few people, realized it was something others could enjoy too. It's way different than The Clementines. It's more in your face, less emotional, more aggressive. It's just an entirely different side of both of us, especially me.
The Deli: Nikki and The Rooftop Punch is an interesting band name. What's the story behind that?
Nicole: Long story short, Tim punched me in the face once (supposedly an accident) and we happen to enjoy rooftops. Weird combo. But it works.
The Deli: You haven’t even played your first show yet and you’ve already recorded a few songs. Tell us about that.
Nicole: We have three songs recorded that we aren't sure just what to do with yet. I think we might hold off on releasing anything until we see how far our songwriting goes, meaning if we write enough material for a full length. If not, we will release an EP. We shall see.
The Deli: Nicole, you play drums in this project and sing all the vocals. Not a lot of drummers do that. Is it a challenge for you?
Nicole: Singin' and drummin'. It is definitely a challenge. I've been playing drums for a few months and for some stupid reason, I've written my vocal parts to be very difficult. I guess I like stressing myself out. Really though, It's a whole new musical experience for me, but I really love it… especially the challenge aspect of it.
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?
Nicole: Supporting local music means going to see shows, encouraging musicians in general. It means everything to a small-city band to have the support from others, fellow musicians, or otherwise. I know we wouldn't be here without the support we've received. It's crucial and we love giving it back to other bands as well.
The Deli: Who are your favorite local musicians right now?
Nicole: I enjoyed the live set I saw of The Quivers. So good. Trampled Under Foot is incredible. Cadillac Flambe and Grand Marquis are always amazing. Tim really digs Gentleman Savage. We've seen so many good bands though. We could go on forever.
The Deli: Who are your favorite not-so-local musicians right now?
Nicole: I really dig the band Haim, the most recent Tegan and Sara album, and then just basically the same stuff I've loved for years. Ben Folds Five, Feist, System of a Down, Radiohead, Rilo Kiley. Tim loves him some Jethro Tull. It's an obsession.
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?
Nicole: One where we're headlining? Ha. I think we'd be a good fit to open for The Black Keys or White Stripes. That'd be pretty freaking incredible. Fantasy, indeed.
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?
Nicole: Tim and I will split this one. Tim would have Ian Anderson and David Gilmour, and I would have Janis Joplin and Judy Garland. Can't deny my love for Judy.
The Deli: All right, give us the rundown. Where all on this big crazy web can you be found?
Nicole: We can be heard/found at Reverb Nation or on Facebook. Our two available tunes can be found on Reverb.
The Deli: What other goals does Nikki & The Rooftop Punch have for 2013?
Nicole: First goal is to get through our first ever show in one piece. After that, we just want to spread the music, rock as many venues as we can, maybe take this gig out on the road for a few shows. We think this band is pretty fun and might be worth us exploring further.
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?

Nicole: Just keep on supporting local music! Also, take chances with the music you want to create, even if it seems ridiculous initially (like being an inexperienced singing drummer). Do what you love and do it shamelessly! 

If you’re curious (and you should be), check out Nikki and the Rooftop Punch’s debut show tonight at Coda. Tim and Nicole play at 9, followed by The Heavy Figs and The Monarchs. Facebook event page. You’ll also have a chance to see them at The Bay in Warrensburg on August 31 and The Riot Room on September 18. What are you waiting for?


--Michelle Bacon

Michelle is editor of The Deli Magazine - Kansas City, and also holds down half the rhythm section in Drew Black & Dirty Electric and Dolls on FireShe thinks you should listen to “Throw It Down” by Nikki and the Rooftop Punch cuz there’s some preeeettty sweet tambourine on it. Oh, and the rest of the song is totally not awful.

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Show review: David Burchfield and The Great Stop's Farewell Show at recordBar, 8.10.13

In the early evening hours of August 10, a crowd of well-wishers gathered at recordBar to witness a somewhat unusual event: a band celebrating the release of its first full-length CD … and doing so by performing for the last time. The term “bittersweet” seems tailor-made for just such an evening, but David Burchfield and The Great Stop seemed intent on ensuring that the sweet far surpassed the bitter on this night—and it did.
Burchfield will soon be leaving us, swapping the plains of the Midwest for the mountains of Colorado where he will be working toward earning his Ph.D. in Environmental Studies; in his words, “studying ways that disenfranchised communities can be better included in land-use planning and conservation decision-making.” His commitment to his future is commendable, as was his dedication to completing Perseids, a ten-track cornucopia of gentle, rustic charm and swirling, harmonic grace with roots that can be traced back five years to the penning of its oldest track. To label the album as “Americana” is far too broad a brushstroke; Perseids is 33 minutes of comfort food for the ears and the soul.
Full disclosure: Chris Haghirian of Ink magazine and I used to host a weekly podcast called The Mailbox (to which Deli editor-in-chief Michelle Bacon lent her expertise in making it ready for online presentation). For a show dedicated to the Chevy Local Music Showcase, Chris reached out to area bands and asked them for some new songs to play. Upon receiving this request, Burchfield decided to go one better: he got everyone together and wrote and recorded a brand-new song just for The Mailbox. That song became “Rite Two,” which is the sixth track on Perseids. So yeah, you might say that Chris and Michelle and I are fans. Check out that episode of The Mailbox at the link.
The Great Stop has gone through a few lineup changes since its inception in the spring of 2010, and is now predominantly a five-piece as opposed to the quartet that recorded the album. Only one other original member remains: bassist Seth Jenkins. The rest of the troupe of troubadours on stage (Camry Ivory on keys and vocals, Neil Ginther on banjo, kick drum, and vocals, Scott Shaw on fiddle, and guest bassist Matt Cathlina) were lock-step with Burchfield as he led those in attendance on a forty-five-minute show of gratitude for allowing him and the Great Stop to have their moment in the sun. That appreciation was clearly mutual, with several sustained rounds of applause throughout their set.
Keeping things light and loose seemed to be the intent throughout (from an impromptu “let’s hold this note impossibly long and see what happens” moment during the title track to asking if anyone in the crowd would be able to video their performance of a new song, “By the Coast,” so he could send it to Leslie Hammer, a friend and former member of the band), and I wondered if this might have been by design to keep the mood from getting too nostalgic and sorrowful. According to Burchfield, that didn’t seem to be the case: “The show was a culmination of a lifetime of hard work and passion for the music. I felt a great sense of satisfaction and completion—just great contentment to get to play these songs with so many people that I loved for so many MORE people that I loved! I just felt glad.”
The band closed with, appropriately, “The Great Stop,” which strikes me as the thoughts of a man realizing that there is far more in his world than he is aware, and because of that realization he may be aspiring for something—more meaning, more purpose perhaps. It could be interpreted as relating to Burchfield’s desire to set foot on a new path that may not always be comfortable, but one which he feels sure he must follow. As he prepares to close this chapter of his life and put pen to paper on the next one, these lyrics seemed to speak to this:
“Though there be unquestionable danger
In things not understood
In some you find the feeling
That this indeed is something good”
Cheers, David – here’s to The Great Stop giving yield to a greater start.
Here's a video of David and The Great Stop on the Chevy Music Showcase. They're being interviewed by KC band The Silver Maggies.
--Michael Byars

Michael Byars has an infatuation with cider, which we all think comes from his internal Britishness, but he works cheap and spells most of his words correctly, so we let him hang around. And Michelle still likes to punch him every once in a while. Executive privilege and all that, jolly good, pip pip, cheerio.

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Album review: Akkilles - Something You'd Say

(Photo by Mollie Hull, Seen Imagery)
As one who has been a self-professed music junkie for pretty much my entire life, I’m constantly in awe of those who go onstage, no matter how large the stage or the venue or the crowd, and make music. As one who doesn’t possess a lot of musical talent, the chances of me experiencing that feeling are pretty slim, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking about the art in its various forms. When a solo artist writes music, and when it’s the kind of music that requires more than just the one musician to be performed live, does he/she worry about finding the right people to bring that music to life, or are the songs written because they simply have to be written, and there’s an intrinsic faith that they will eventually be heard as the author hears them? In the case of David Bennett, the man behind the loosely-knit group Akkilles, it seems to be mostly the latter.
When asked about the process involved in creating Akkilles’ first full-length album, Something You’d Say, Bennett speaks of having a clear vision to go with his musical voice, and he also was able to assemble a supporting cast of accomplished musicians that he respected and was fully comfortable with, even though they had never actually played together before. Additionally, the making of Something You’d Say involved having all five players in a recording studio (Nick Pick, Rachel Pollock, Jeff Larison, Isaac Anderson, and Mike Crawford, who also engineered the recording), as opposed to his first effort, Demo Treasures—recorded at Bennett’s home, and on which he was the sole musician and vocalist.
A bit about Demo Treasures: released in April of 2013, this five-track EP serves as a natural lead-in to the full-length recording. It contains a very Freelance Whales vibe at times, but there are instances when Bennett takes more risks with the music—as if he’s experimenting with his own potential, trying to test the boundaries of his work, perhaps seeing the bigger picture of the future ten-track album. It would be a wise investment to listen to this as a primer; it would also be a low-cost investment, as Akkilles is only asking for a couple bucks for the download on their Bandcamp page. (psst … there’s no rule against paying a little more, either. Any band worth supporting—not just Akkilles, but any and every band—is a band worth kicking in a buck a song for an EP purchase. Just sayin’.)
Listening to “Your Only One,” the opening track of Something You’d Say,put me in mind of being in a kicked-back state at the end of the work week, sitting on the beach, cold beverage in hand (make mine a cider, please), and watching the sun go down over the ocean. “She’s My Girl” offers nine-plus minutes of more gently trippy sounds, and the deeper you explore the album, the deeper your state of relaxation will be. Getting into the swirling psychedelia of the third track, “Country Boy Deluxe,” I started hearing a few more subtle resemblances and possible influences: a touch of yacht rock, maybe a little Minden, and (for me, anyway) the pensive reflection of Beck’s Sea Change album. Bennett masterfully tells his stories at their own pace, without the need of studio-born tricks or gimmicks to keep the listener’s attention. It’s also very clear that his band of musical hired guns is in complete lockstep with him, and the result is a seamlessly pure and effortless 51-minute mental massage.
Akkilles is not without its sneaky side, though: “Chic City” presents the listener with a relatively alt-country song as compared to the rest of Something. If the Flaming Lips had decided to bring Wilco into the recording studio … and, perhaps, maybe, oh, I don’t know, enjoyed a puff or two of some agricultural mood-enhancing materials, just speculating here … this might have been the result. It’s the closest to a “road song” that the album comes to—but it’s still a relaxed road even so.
Something You’d Say is more than the sum of its parts, as any worthwhile collaboration aspires to be. For those of us who look forward to summer every year only for the purpose of finding that special “summer song” or “summer album,” you can’t go wrong with making this your choice for 2013.
Of the roster of musicians that make up Akkilles, Bennett says this: “My current band is more of a collective than anything else. Everyone would be making music with or without me, but we all knew each other and they really wanted to be a part of what I was doing, and I love getting to work with such talented people. It's a pretty dynamic group.” If you have the opportunity to see this group as they support the new album, be ready to have your mind bathed in the serenity of gentle ambience and warm, finely-tuned summer pop.
At least, that’s something I’d say.

Join Akkilles with special guests Roo & The Howl (Colorado) and La Guerre at recordBar on Thursday, August 29. It’s an 18+ show, $7 cover. Facebook event page. 
--Michael Byars

Michael Byars has an infatuation with cider, which we all think comes from his internal Britishness, but he works cheap and spells most of his words correctly, so we let him hang around. And Michelle still likes to punch him every once in a while. Executive privilege and all that, jolly good, pip pip, cheerio.


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