Chastity Belt – Time To Go Home

Chastity Belt“He was just another man, tryn’a teach me something.”

“Drone,” the first track on Time To Go Home, a surprisingly thoughtful record from a band who arose from a frat party in Walla Walla, Washington, or so the legend goes. Chastity Belt’s lead singer Julia Shapiro’s vocal work is distant, echoey, almost dismissive at times, but the messages are all pretty clear. She swoons and strings out these messages over the course of the record in a way that seems almost casual, but the lyrics stroll over very important, complex themes involving the image of a woman’s sexuality, independence, and equality.

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METZ – II

Toronto punk trio METZ probably didn’t find a lot of fans outside of the harecore punk world with their self titled debut album released in 2012. Tempos were jarring, guitar melodies were lost in waves of noise, and Alex Edkins’s lead Metzvocals work was closer to shrieking than singing. Indoctrinated punks who stuck it out were rewarded with an album that can only be described as ferocious. Their sophomore effort is more accessible, but is just as impactful. II is as reckless, belligerent, and liberating as its predecessor, but stays within the confines of more traditional song structures.

Like many of his peers (Dylan Baldi, Brian King, and Patrick Stickles all come to mind), Edkins has improved as a singer. The vocal work is treated to a heavy dose of reverb in production and blends nicely with bassist Chris Slorach’s and drummer Hayden Menzies’s rhythm section work. But the most impressive thing about II is how seamlessly the band’s intensity translates through studio work. It’s the rare punk album that is able to capture the urgency and tenacity of a live performance. It’s a real achievement.

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Middle of the Map Fest 2015

The Sluts performing during their set at the Riot Room.
The Sluts performing during their set at the Riot Room.

There aren’t many places in Manhattan where you can find men in their 60s wearing Beatles t-shirts, high school kids with gel-slicked hairdos and denim jackets, and everyone in between, all trying to be cool in the same place at the same time. But in Kansas City’s very own Westport community, a hodgepodge of cool kids/elderly people take to the streets for a very special weekend known as Middle of the Map Fest. This once a year event draws a diverse crowd of Kansas City dwellers and all sorts of strange and interesting folks from the surrounding area to a plethora of venues sprinkled throughout Westport, including Record Bar, Riot Room, the Uptown Theatre, and more. Over 100 bands come from various parts of the midwest and beyond to perform over four days during this festival.

Many of whom were local bands that are played on KSDB’s local music show, The Garage. Our Production Director and fellow Garage host, Willy Evans, and I marched up and down Westport Road on Friday and Saturday of this festival to bring you some of the highlights from our favorite bands, local and beyond.On Friday night, Bass Drum of Death played a ferocious set at Ernie Biggs, while Atmosphere dug up some classics from previous albums for a special show at the Uptown. Saturday was the biggest day for local musicians. Arc Flash from Lawrence, Kansas got things rolling at Riot Room with an intense show. The lead singer was dressed in what looked to be a cross between a dress and a turtleneck made out of blue wool, while the bassist wore a pair of overalls, sans shirt, and a ski mask. Despite these wardrobe oddities, they had no problem shredding through a pretty fun set. Up next, we saw Spirit is the Spirit, another Lawrence band, playing at the outdoor stage. After power-walking up to Record Bar to catch La Guerre play a few tracks, we hurried back to the outdoor stage to catch our friends and Classroom Series participants, Westerners, who had just played a show at Aggie Central Station the night before.

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