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October 2014
Mumblr
"Full Of Snakes
"
mp3

The major takeaway for Mumblr’s new album Full Of Snakes (Fleeting Youth Records) is that it really takes balls to write songs that truly say nothing. As counter intuitive as it may sound, there really is something admirable in using music to not really express all that much. Any jerk with a voice and a few chords can say a whole lot about how their ex is horrible; what really matters is how much of that content is actually worth hearing. And brother, Mumblr has found a way to make saying nothing profound.

On the surface, the album initially sounds like some sort of early 2000’s generic pop-punk; the first song “Got It” opens with that familiar sense of vague, safe anger. It’s very “high school” reminiscent, right off the bat, with lines like “I got it if you want it” and “I’ll invite you to my room.” But as the song closes and we drift into “Sober,” the tone very gradually starts to feel off. It starts to feel a bit weirder, with this sense of reckless abandon that you only hear in a Violent Femmes song. And it’s not that one is true, and the others is not; this album is walking a razor’s edge between the most self-aware of indie post-punk and the obliviousness of adolescent guilty pleasures.

And while that may sound like a chaotic mess, the seventeen-track full-length really is the having-and-eating of one's cake. We get the indulgence of grandiose guitar riffs and over the top shrieks, but with just enough originality in the composition to give it a sense of being slick and even avant-garde. Don’t let the outward sense of crazy abandon fool you - this thing is airtight. And a lot of that can be chalked up to Nick Morrison’s vocals; he brings a real sense of cleverness to the whole thing, in no small part to the fact that he can turn his voice on a dime.

One endlessly fascinating reoccurring theme is the use of repetition in their lyrics, with phrases like the aforementioned “I got it” and “someone’s been sitting in my chair” echoed over and over again, beyond the point of simple parody. It’s that old artistic trope of repeating something until it becomes meaninglessly applied to lyrics, and it’s interesting to hear expressions of youthful angst to become so alien and meaningless.

They take these universal touchstones of adolescences, including the use of “shock” lyrics such as “if God is a woman I’m going to hell” and gleefully drive them into the ground while enjoying the ride. It’s fun, it’s cool, and will leave you thinking more than any other post-punk album in months. And it does so while still being a genuinely fun throwback to a sort of music that you don’t really hear in earnest these days. - Daniel Ludwig


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The Deli's SXSW Issue 2014 is online!

Read it digitally here.

P.S. 10k free copies of this issue hit the street of Austin during SXSW Music week!


KKFI and Signal To Noise Present: It Came Out of the Garage

This Thursday, October 30, KKFI 90.1 FM and Signal To Noise will be presenting It Came Out of the Garage!: A Garage Rock Dance Party, at Knuckleheads Saloon.
 
The show begins at 8:00 p.m. with the intense garage-flavored songs of Til Willis & Erratic Cowboy, followed by Alan Murphy & The Frequent Flyers. Murphy was the frontman of legendary Lawrence band Ricky Dean Sinatra. The Quivers will headline the show.
 
Costumes are encouraged, dancing is mandatory.
 

Tickets are $15; all proceeds will benefit KKFI. Ticket link. Facebook event page. 


Song premiere: Ready Astronaut - "Somewhere We Exist"

In conjunction with The Temp Agency, The Deli KC is happy to premiere the first single from Ready Astronaut, “Somewhere We Exist.” Ready Astronaut is the solo project of Josh Johnson, also of The Slowdown. His debut self-titled album will be released on November 4.
 
 
 
With his solo project’s lead single “Somewhere We Exist,” Josh Johnson takes a modern folk rock stroll in the woods away from his usual work in The Slowdown. The variant, almost multiple personality approach to songwriting still exists, with plenty of unexpected turns, changes, stops and shakeups that we’ve come to expect from his regular outfit. However, the layers upon layers upon layers of distorted guitars are replaced by a varied selection of tones and timbres. Countless strings, keys, and a melodic lead guitar weave a maypole around the periphery while the track is driven by Johnson’s wispy voice, an acoustic guitar, and solid percussion work. Fans of Rogue Wave or The Dodos would really dig this.
 
--Zach Hodson
 
Zach Hodson is a monster. He once stole a grilled cheese sandwich from a 4-year-old girl at her birthday party. He will only juggle if you pay him. I hear he punched Slimer right in his fat, green face. He knows the secrets to free energy, but refuses to release them until Saved by the Bell: Fortysomethings begins production. He is also in Dolls on FireDrew Black & Dirty Electric, and Riot Riot Riot, as well as contributing to various other Kansas City-based music, comedy, and art projects.
 
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Album review: The B'Dinas - Fruitcakes

(Photo by Brandon Forrest Frederick)
 
The B’Dinas’ Fruitcakes is a creative juggernaut of hopeful turmoil; heavy groove and sexy vocal driven filled longing. It is an instant local classic. 
 
“Fated,” the opening track, is an up-tempo rocker with a blazing guitar. It has a retro psychedelic keyboard reminiscent of the ‘60s San Francisco scene—a great way to kick off a record.
 
“Pretty Neat (Candy Store)” is the album’s second track, with some of my favorite lyrics on the entire collection. I love profanity in rock ‘n’ roll but it’s very rarely done with power and grace. Roger Waters may be the best at it, and while there are other singers with clever filthy mouths, The B’dinas has one for the books with the line, “All your promises don’t mean shit if I can’t hold the value in my hand.” True enough, it seems to be. I’ve been walking around for days singing this line. It’s tough but tender because it’s delivered by Katelyn Jamison’s forgiving voice.
 
“Nuts and Bolts” is one of the shortest tracks on the record. This is a tough tune that makes me want to walk down the street with a switchblade in one hand and a flower in another.
 
The tune “Crystal Ball” opens with lovers in the sack. The heroine is just lying there when she turns over to glare out the window at a blackbird. The song is a mid-tempo funky thing with an Edgar Allen Poe twist. This song moves from blues to ‘50s vocal pop into a light prog rock ending.
 
“Two Doves” is a gem, a mix of Little Feat and Marshall Tucker. It’s almost jam band in a retro Van Morrison way. The B’Dinas have two doves in their mind so it must be very peaceful there. They sing of doing “it” all night and everyone loves that idea… everyone! The guitar is terrific and the solo is so sleepy, soulful, and cold-blooded I’ve had to rewind it several times. The B’Dinas should shop this tune to Widespread Panic. It’s an absolute classic.
 
“Bread and Butter” conjures up a 90’s SoCal vibe mixed with a little Go-Gos meets Carole King. This one has a serious groove and great drums. “Can’t Shake It” has serious saxophone hooks and dark lyrics. Katy Guillen sings of wearing gray and having an unbearable burden baring down upon her chest she cannot shake. This one hints a bit of the Neville Brothers Yellow Moon era.
 
Goddamned” is another beautiful example how to use profanity the right way. “I see you got your eyes wide… you better hold on to your hi-fi,” and “I’ll be goddamned.” This one is going straight to the top of the list of songs to play and sing when things aren’t going my way.
 
The records closing track, “Answer Me,” is a dark soul tune with a guitar solo that probably peeled paint off the walls of the studio. It is the perfect way to say goodbye. 
 
The B’dinas Fruitcakes is worth it. It is obvious they have expended a tremendous amount of effort, musicianship, and creative songwriting talent into these eleven tracks. It has an intensely serious musical vibe with lighthearted narrative. It’s fun and it grooves. My only criticism so far of this record is I’m not listening to it on vinyl.
 
The B’Dinas are:
Katy Guillen – guitars/vocals/harmonica
Katelyn Jamison – keys/vocals/bass
Peter Lawless – bass/vocals/saxophone
Tess Jehle-Ray – drums/vocals
 
Fruitcakes was recorded by Jerod Rivers at Sangha Studios, and mastered by Bruce Barkelew at Mansion Studio.
 
-AJ Rider
 
AJ Rider was born in in the town where Jesse James died to a soldier and playboy bunny. His mother has let it slip on many drunken nights that he was conceived at the Sky River Rock Festival and Lighter Than Air Fair 1. He is a child of the sixties, has seen the grateful dead 126 times, and has a soft spot for the schoolteacher type.
 
 
Join The B’Dinas tonight at Coda, where they will be sharing the stage with Morningglories. Doors at 9:00 p.m. Facebook event page.
 
 

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Spotlight on KC PsychFest artist: El Rey-Tones

(Photo by Todd Zimmer)
 
This week, we’ll be highlighting some of the artists playing KC PsychFest from Thursday through Saturday nights at recordBar.
 
Recently changing their name from The Ray-Tones and forming a new lineup, El Rey-Tones has a surfy garage rock influence, dipped in a warm psychedelic groove. We talk with songwriter Bryan Koehler about the band and what we can look forward to from them.
 
The Deli: Down and dirty: 1 sentence to describe your music.
 
Koehler: Imagine it like riding a wave through a tunnel of reverb, while all your best friends create a whirlpool of a constant rotation of joints circling past you in a conga line, while at the same time you're making out with your number one crush on the beach watching the blood orange sun sink into the ocean. #runonsentences
 
The Deli: Give us some background on El Rey-Tones. What’s the lineup? You also recently changed your name. What’s up with that?
 
Koehler: El Rey-Tones started as a few dudes trying to make some surfy garage jams in my converted dining room jam space in the spring of 2013. I think there were four of us in the beginning and we called ourselves The Buh-Ohls (phonetic spelling of the British pronunciation of "buttholes.") After about a month of realizing that just Johnny Mitchell (ex-Not A Planet/Soft Reeds) and I were the only ones getting together consistently, we quit extending the invitation and focused on writing between the two of us. We jammed and wrote together for the next 9 months in my make shift music space, calling ourselves The Ray-Tones (we both grew up in Raytown). We made a bunch of rough recordings, kept it under wraps for the most part, and then, with a little help from a friend, recorded 6 songs in Nashville with Konrad Snyder (The Brown Owl Studio) during the first week of March of this year. We brought the tracks back to KC. Austin Turney hit us up wanting to play some shows (he jammed with us a few times before). Not having a band yet, we declined, but we shared the tracks with Austin, who showed a bunch of other people, and then a few days later we had him on bass, Drew Little on drums, Jake Masters on guitar, Johnny on guitar/vox, and me on vox/percussion. Fast forward a few months and Johnny moved to Brooklyn with his wife (something he'd been planning on since we met and started this thing), David Bennett (Akkilles) stepped in to fill Johnny's spot, and we added Cortland Gibson (Organized Crimes) on keys/percussion/whatever. We got a cease and desist from a bunch of cartoon rhino fucks, and then changed the name to El Rey-Tones.
 
The Deli: What inspires your music?
 
Koehler: ‘50s and ‘60s rhythm and blues, psychedelic R&B, surf, garage, northern soul, etc. From day one we set out to write music that makes us feel good, music that we want to listen to, nostalgic sounds that remind of us of what it would be like to live near a beach, or some place far from the 21st century Midwest. I like songs that groove, syncopated circular rhythms, pretty melodies...
 
The Deli: What have been your greatest accomplishments as a band?
 
Koehler: I'd say getting to play with Allah-Las in June and having them put us on Reverberation Radio mix tape #115. Not only was that one of Johnny and my favorite bands/biggest modern influences, getting on that playlist has gotten us fans from all over the world (and probably what led to the cease and desist.) It was truly a dream come true to share the stage with a band we looked up to so quickly in our life as a band. If you haven't checked out Reverberation Radio yet, you should probably do that like yesterday.
 
The Deli: Do you currently have any albums out? You’re working on an EP now. What can we expect?
 
Koehler: We don't… we have a tape we made for our in-store at Mills Record Co. The A-side is our studio roughs plus 2 live tracks from practice and the B-side is a collection of our favorite voice memos and GarageBand demos. As far as getting our studio stuff out, we'll be trying to get a six-song EP out as soon as possible. You can expect to hear really awesome recordings of the songs you hear us play live.
 
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?
 
Koehler: To me, it’s like when someone asks me if I like U2…not really? But I respect what they're doing, it’s just not what my ears want to hear most of the time…I kinda see local music like that. There's bands out there that I wouldn't necessarily choose to listen to, bands that I may not get into, but it’s important to support them, go to a show, talk to each other, share each other's work. I ask myself, would I want them to buy my record? Yes. I find it pretty amazing to go to a show, whether it’s a local music show, or just a local opener, and look in the crowd and see members from a bunch of other local bands in attendance. It means that people in this city care, and we got each other's backs. I think in past times KC has been sort of cutthroat or has had a me vs. the world attitude, but I feel like recently there are a lot of cats trying to make some pretty cool stuff and share it with each other. KC doesn't see many bands find large commercial success, but you don't see that curbing anyone's enthusiasm. People are making music because they love making music. That's the kind of scene I want to be in.
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite local musicians right now?
 
Koehler: TheConquerors have been a huge fave since I saw them on the back patio of Riot Room at the first Middle of the Map. Rory [Cameron] is a fucking rad songwriter and a rad dude (see local music comment above). Organized Crimes blows my mind; I think I'm their biggest fanboy. The dudes from The Slowdown/Wonderfuzz/Ready Astronaut are insanely talented and every time I see one of their bands I'm reminded as to how far I have to go as a musician to become a professional.
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite non-local musicians right now?
 
Koehler: Allah-Las, Nick Waterhouse, Holy Wave, La Luz, Mac DeMarco, Temples, Cosmonauts…you get the idea…that and whatever vinyl I'm listening to.
 
The Deli: Who are you looking forward to seeing at PsychFest?
 
Koehler: I've honestly never seen White Mystery, so that'll be dope. Thee Water Moccasins never plays so that'll be a treat. Also, never seen David's band Akkilles play, so that'll be cool too.
 
The Deli: Besides PsychFest, what other shows do you have coming up?
 
Koehler: We're playing with this rad Brazilian psychedelic space rock band Wannabe Jalva at Riot Room Nov. 3 and opening for The Wytches from the UK at Riot Nov. 15. Both shows should absolutely shred.
 
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?
 
Koehler: We've been fortunate enough to play with mostly bands we're really into so far…but it would be way rad to play at Austin Psych Fest one day, or like Desert Daze or really any of those cool psych fests… actually since you said fantasy, it would be extra wild to share the stage with The Ray-Tones (those cartoon rhino dick heads) and have a Death To Smootchie-esque freak out Battle Royale where we, El Rey-Tones would ultimately reign supreme (I'm clearly a little bitter still…).
 
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?
 
Koehler: In no particular order, or no particular place to go: Chuck Berry, Brian Wilson, Donovan, Link Wray?
Berry: completed that pun for me there, father of rock ‘n roll, and the motherfucker is still performing!!
Brian: Duh.
Donovan: The most non-groovy looking groovy dude ever.
Link Wray: I mean, yeah… those tones though.
 
The Deli: What other goals do El Rey-Tones have for 2014, and beyond?
 
Koehler: We'd like to make it through the end of the year with a clear vision of what the lineup and writing process will be. We'd like to get the EP out digitally and on wax, but a vinyl will probably be the new year. If we can get some help from licensing or something, I'd love to do some regional tours and obviously write hella music and release hella music. We'll see. It’s still pretty early…but definitely definitely get these 6 songs out to you people!
 
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
 
Koehler: Thanks for reading and checking us out. Please stay tuned for upcoming releases. You can follow us at http://www.facebook.com/theraydashtones, soundcloud.com/theraydashtones, and instagram @koehlab. We love staying positive, playing groovy jams, and having a good time. We really like what we're doing and we hope you do too. We're also really friendly, so please, come see us and say hello. We love to make new friends. Thanks for reading. Weed is tight.
 
 
You can catch El Rey-Tones in just a couple hours! They’re opening up KC Psych Fest at recordBar this evening at 6:00 p.m.
 
--Michelle Bacon
 
Michelle Bacon is editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands.
 
 

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