Radkey – Dark Black Makeup

It’s not every day your average family gets to take a tour across Europe and the U.S. playing music together, but it is for the brothers Radke. St. Joseph, Missouri natives Solomon, Isaiah, and Dee Radke formed a band before any of them were even old enough to vote. With the release of two promising EPs, Radkey had gained enormous amounts of positive attention from critics and fellow musicians alike, playing with big name bands like Drenge, Titus Andronicus and The Offspring as well as playing major festivals like Afropunk, Coachella, and South by Southwest. After all of this hype, the band was still very young and without a proper debut album. As a trio of brothers with the music world’s anticipation on their backs, they discovered a way to not only avoid disappointment, but exceed expectations.radkey-dark-black-makeup

Dark Black Makeup very well could be one of the most impressive debut records of this year. Bringing influences from the 1980s punk scene, lead vocalist Dee Radke has often been compared to a young Glenn Danzig of the Misfits. Despite the uncanny similarities between the sonic qualities of these two vocalists, Radkey is not a Misfits reincarnation, but rather an entirely new and growing entity of their own. Radkey is both the future and the past, in a sonically paradoxical sort of way. Their sound is not quite garage, not quite punk, but a delightful mix of both. Rock and roll needed these brothers to bring back what seems to have taken a backseat to being hip and in-the-now: a fearless approach to the simple act of rocking. Energy, urgency, and carefree guitar riffs scream out alongside hammering bass and pummeling drums. Lyrically, Radkey explores ideas of love and the feelings of loss and despair while still incorporating plenty of “na na nas” and “oohs” and “ahs” that tend to lighten the mood of the album. However, Dark Black Makeup takes a more somber turn on “Hunger Pain.” There is a certain emotional elevation that stirs the listener to bear some of the heartbreak in Dee’s voice as he sings, “…could it be just you and I? No? I’ll just feed until I die.” After “Hunger Pain,” Radkey explores insecurities in an honest way that is almost a little funny. Perhaps funny isn’t the best word you might use to describe it, but “Song of Solomon” somehow has a way of making the listener crack a smile, if not because of its upbeat sound, but because it’s a relatable story of self awareness.

Maybe what makes this record so great is the shared experience between its young and talented musicians, having literally grown up together. Maybe it is the variety of influences either forced upon or accepted by them, having been homeschooled just up the road from here in a small pink house in St. Joseph, Missouri. Regardless, these brothers have already made a name for themselves in an over-saturated music industry, and they still have a long career ahead of them.

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Classroom Series – Arc Flash and Psychic Heat


On Thursday, September 24th, Arc Flash and Psychic Heat kicked off the first Classroom Series event of the semester in KSDB’s McCain studios. Both bands hail from Lawrence and embarked on a national tour together soon after leaving MHK. Space punk duo Arc Flash are currently filling in for the rhythm section of Psychic Heat, playing bass guitar and drums. This event was the first time the two bands had played together and the concert in Aggieville that followed the broadcast was the first official stop on the bands’ tour to New York and back. At Aggie Station, Arc Flash and Psychic Heat performed to a large and welcoming crowd, and good vibes were had by all. For more information about both bands, visit their Facebook and Bandcamp pages:

Arc Flash Facebook – Arc Flash Bandcamp – Psychic Heat Facebook – Psychic Heat Bandcamp

For more information on upcoming KSDB events, visit our events page.

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New Music Monday – August 3, 2015

homepage_large.f81f39b6In two years, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy will be turning 50 years old. With that in mind, it only makes sense that the former folkster-gone-indie rocker made one of the most delightfully discordant records of his career. It’s like a sonic mid-life crisis. Star Wars was released on July 17 on Anti- Records, and it makes its’ way to the KSDB line-up this week.

Wilco established themselves as one of the forerunners of what we now call “modern indie” in 2002 with Yankee Foxtrot Hotel. While Wilco’s previous work may seem forgettable to anyone who wasn’t a pretentious 22-year old back in 2002, Star Wars is an invigorating jolt of energy. “Random Name Generator” boasts a fuzzy guitar riff with a catchy saw tooth hook, while “The Joke Explained” feels like a 1950’s prom shuffle-beat gone awry. At times, the album can seem a bit derivative, but when you step back and consider the different influences (rockabilly and even electronica on “Pickled Ginger”) you realize that a legitimate artist put a great amount of work into this.  Slower ballad-esque cuts like “Your Satellite” and “Magnetized” are even masterfully pulled off. If you are looking for an interesting and artful record to listen to this week, you should definitely consider listening to Star Wars. It’s what the cat on the cover of the album would probably want.

Other albums we’re listening to this week:

HEALTH - Death MagicHEALTH released their first album in six years, titled Death Magic. The noise-rock group’s latest album serves up 12 dense avant-garde tracks that incorporate a variety of sounds and styles including synthpop and even R&B elements. Listen for “Dark Enough” and “Life” on KSDB.

La Luz      Will Seattle ever stop being the epicenter of all things bright and beautiful? Probably not. This  week,  we’re vibing a few albums from Emerald City. La Luz is a vibrant surf-rock band, and their latest  effort, Weirdo  Shrine, was graced by the production genius of the garage rock king Ty Segall.   Seapony’s Falling is the perfect  album for a sun-kissed, late summer adventure. Be sure to look for it this  summer from Hardly Art records.

Mac DeMarco released over half of the tracks to his upcoming Another One. At the end of the album, Mac DeMarco gives away the address to his home in Queens. So far, he says about 30 people have taken him up on his offer to make them coffee. For a cool track-by-track from the Canadian himself, check out his interview on NPR’s All Songs Considered.

Last but not least from the Great North, Slim Twig lets all stops loose on Thank You For Sticking With Slim Twig. It’s a Moog-laden analog adventure accompanied by fat bass and dry drumming. It falls somewhere between the psychedelic jam band sounds of the ’70s and Digital Ash In A Digital Urn. 

To get an idea of what the buzz has been lately, make sure you check out the weekly Spotify playlist:

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KSDB’s Top Albums of 2015 (So Far)

It’s been a great year in music thus far. Our exec staff weighs in on their favorite albums through the first half of 2015 (Spoiler alert: a lot of us like the Kendrick record).


Willy Evans – Production Director

5. Courtney Barnett- Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit

I could have easily put Sleater Kinney, Drake, Sufjan, Young Thug, or even Shamir in this slot, but I decided to go with Courtney Barnett’s debut full length album. This album is the kind of post-grunge music that we here at KSDB pound back like an overweight tourist at an all you can eat oyster bar, but this oyster had just enough pearls in that I was forced to hack it back up and examine it more closely. Featuring some of my favorite tracks of the year, Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit is a wonderful album.

4. Vince Staples- Summertime ’06
Vince Staples’ followup to last year’s Hell Can Wait- EP is an hour long 20 track behemoth of an album, and its final track cuts Vince off mid-sentence. From start to finish this album is packed to the gills and it hits far more than it misses. I’ve had less than 2 weeks to listen to this album, and I’m sure it’s only going to improve with repetition.
3. Earl Sweatshirt- I Don’t Like S**t, I Don’t Go Outside
I Don’t Like S**t, I Don’t Go Outside is a completely different animal from 2013’s Doris. It’s almost like Earl is trapped in slow motion. By far the darkest album on my list, Earl is like the weird squid creature in The Fellowship of the Ring who is going to grab you by the ankles and drag you down into the depths. You can fight it all you want, but giving in is so much better. After all, if Inside Out taught me anything, it’s that it’s okay to be sad sometimes.
2. Bully- Feels Likebully
The first time I heard Bully was during their performance at Brooklyn’s Northside festival. They opened for bands like Alvvays, Built to Spill, and Best Coast and for me they were on par with (and occasionally better than) all three. Their debut album Feels Like feels like it was taken from 1990 and magically transported here. Frustrated and self depreciative while simultaneously remaining catchy and upbeat, Feels Like is a modern call back to what made 90s rock great. (Also not to brag, but Alicia Bognanno and I touched the same copy of Surfer Rosa nbd)
1. Kendrick Lamar- To Pimp A Butterfly
The moment the beat kicks in on the first track to Kendrick’s third album feels like sinking into a warm bath. The fluidity of the album consumes you and transports you to Kendrick’s wonderland. It’s a murky world of injustice and outrage, but there is also hope, love, and pride there as well. It’s a hyper-reality, but it never dips into fantasy because it’s always grounded in the real world. To Pimp A Butterfly is easily the album I’ve listen to the most this year. This album is so consistent from top to bottom that 11 of the album’s 16 songs are vying for my favorite track (on the album and of the year).


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