Futurebirds – Hotel Parties

“Aren’t you tired of all the voices going through your head?” is from the album Hotel Parties by the elusive Georgia-based band, Futurebirds. Their sound is considered psychedelic country, and while most of their music is upbeat and carefree, their lyrics are surprisingly deep. “And I’m turning twenty-seven soon, I never thought I’d still be shooting for the man on the moon.” Each song seems to focus on a different instrument as well, which is a great way to showcase everyones talent. Whereas the first few songs of the album have a 60s country vibe, the fourth song, “Xmas Drags”, is more modern. It also shifts to a more tropical sound at times, futurebirds-560x560-560x560with the blend of harmonies and acoustic guitar.

The sixth song on the album, “Rodeo”, changes vocalists and focuses solely on the band’s country sound. It’s satirical of the country genre with lyrics like “Lassoed my heart and give me rug burn, ’cause we’ve turned our love into a rodeo.” In contrast, the last song, “Hard as You Like”, focuses more on their psychedelic sound, with dreamy sounding vocals  powerful instrumental, and country undertones.

Hotel Parties doesn’t really experiment with any new sound, but it isn’t supposed to. It’s more focused on bringing a 60s sound back to modern music, and it does this very well. Although Futurebirds have released several albums, they are still relatively unknown, which is a shame because they are very talented, and they’ll continue to keep making great music.

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The Conquerors, CS Luxem, Arc Flash, and Shy Boys at the Eighth Street Taproom

Music as it occurs live and in person is one of the most remarkable experiences a human can be faced with. Listening to something through your headphones will never be the same as letting the music wash over your the very essence of your being and using all of your senses to interact with this entirely tangible aura. Of course, this magical state of being can be quickly soured by cellphone-clutching kids with the attention spans of goldfish. But the show on the night of November 12th at the Eighth Street Taproom in Lawrence was not going to be one of those buzz-killing experiences.

It was my first time in the Taproom and to say I was impressed would be an understatement. The concert venue portion of this quaint Lawrence bar is in the basement, down a dimly lit set of stairs with a single red light above the door. On the other side of this door is a small, even more dimly lit room awash in red light. The ceiling is hardly above the average person’s head and is painted pitch black, like the floors, the walls, and the furniture. In the center of this shadowy space was the “stage” if you could even call it that. The performers were merely elevated above their audience by the depth of a thin rug and the only thing signifying the beginning or end of the stage was the edge of the rug itself. With no physical barriers between the performers and the audience, it was surely the most intimate space I’ve ever witnessed a concert in. Behind the stage was a large, rather abstract painting flanked on either side by glimmering gold streamers. The combination of the red lights, shimmering streamers, and bizarre artwork reminded me intensely of the “bucket-of-blood” scene from Stephen King’s original Carrie.

The first band to take the stage (or more accurately, the rug) was The Conquerors, a psych-rock group from KCMO. Dressed in a turtleneck and sporting a pretty legitimate bowl cut, the lead singer’s resemblance to the Beatles was hardly coincidental and entirely hilarious, if not also rather fitting to their sound. This is not to say The Conquerors sound exactly like the Beatles, but they channel a similar, psychedelic vibe that’s appropriately supplemented with a tinge of southern blues. By the start of their set, a number of people had made their way into the basement and were beginning to move to the music.

CS Luxem was second on the bill and played a phenomenally enthralling set. Lead vocalist Christopher Luxem’s echoey voice had the audience drawn closer to the front. Dramatic ups and downs in tempo combined with furious guitar strumming and drum beating had people dancing merrily with friends and strangers alike. This was something I have rarely witnessed before; people dancing in step with the music together as if in a ballroom instead of the usual display of nonsensical gyration.

IMG_20151113_004823As the third act of the night took the stage, however, it became clear rather quickly that nonsensical gyration would most certainly not be contained. Lawrence space-punk-rock duo, Arc Flash, took the night well past the tipping point, and all hell broke loose as they furiously slung space sludge at the eager and pleasantly intoxicated crowd. Some members of this now madly moshing mob donned holographic glasses and stared off through the scarlet light, presumably enjoying the effects of some possibly potent psychedelic elixirs. It was as if the furious guitar plucking and maddening beating of the drums bottled up in this small substructure was causing a tear to form in the very fabric of space and time. Faces were dripping as the awesome heat emitted by these two space creatures was threatening to melt the flesh right off of our skulls. If you think this is hyperbole, than you’ve never properly experienced Arc Flash.

IMG_20151113_010302533As the final echoes faded into the infinite abyss of space, reality was haphazardly stitched back together as concert goers tried to gather themselves for the final act of the night. It was past 1:00 in the morning on a weeknight, but no one was about to leave. A rather hodgepodge group of humans took the stage for the final set of the night. This fantastic three piece of paradoxical people was Kansas City’s very own Shy Boys. For such tall people who should have presumably deep voices, their vocals reached up and out of the basement. Their no-coast crooning harmonies and simple surf-rock strummings brought everyone in attendance to head bobbing bliss. As the ocean’s waves rise and fall, so did the sonic aura of that night. The sweet sounds of the Beach Boys-esque “Notion” washed over the crowd and crashed down in climactic fashion as Shy Boys took the basement down another notch. As the surreal sounds of the evening drew near their despairingly inevitable end, the crowd was treated to the steady thumpings of “Is This Who You Are.” Harmonious serenades and foot-tapping melodies left the crowd drunkenly dizzy in the most delightful way. As Shy Boys concluded the night with an effervescent encore, I couldn’t help but think to myself how spectacular would it be if Manhattan could play host to a bill as perfectly filled with talent as this one? Then again, who’s to say it can’t?

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KSDB Staff Spotlight: Lindsay Rhoades

LindsayName: Lindsay Rhoades
Twitter: @riversnrhoades
Position at KSDB: Promotions Assistant
Year in School: 5th Year Senior
Major / Minor: JMC (Digital Media)
Hometown: Newton, KS

How’d you get involved with KSDB?
I was new to JMC as a junior and one thing that made me especially happy at the time was finding new artists/albums and blogging about them. I started looking for ways I could do that with others who were also passionate about new music. I found KSDB (The Wildcat at the time) and became a live DJ and specialty DJ for a international music show for the next two years. It was just this last Spring 2015 semester that I decided that KSDB and I could mutually benefit from me applying for an exec position and here we are!

What exactly does your job entail?
My position as Promotions Assistant at 91.9 KSDB is to assist in the promotions of our station in terms of events and social media. My specific responsibilities, however, fall under ticket giveaways and concert promotions. I try to create and maintain relationships with venues throughout our area, in Lawrence and KC for example, and promote their shows in exchange for tickets to be given away either on-air, in-person, or on our social media. So if you follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and you could win a chance to see you favorite artist!

Favorite part about your position? Or the station?
My favorite part about the station is the diversity we have in terms of DJs, music, and listeners!

What’s your biggest goal for the semester?
My biggest goal for the station this semester is to create new and nurture existing contacts and partnerships with popular venues in Kansas, while my personal goal for the semester is to push myself outside my comfort zone to learn skills that will benefit me in my career and also in my personal life.

Give us 3 albums or artists you’ve been vibing with lately.

1. Saint Raymond (particularly his older Young Blood EP released in 2013)
2. Youth Lagoon (mostly his new song, Highway Patrol Stun Gun. WATCH THE MUSIC VIDEO, IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE)
3. Chance The Rapper – Surf (DUH)

And, a guilty pleasure?
One Direction *before Zayn split* (I don’t want to hear it)

In her free time, Lindsay enjoys rapping to Gin & Juice religiously and playing her ukulele, sometimes concurrently (or at least we hope.) She also serves as a full-time Karaoke and Open Mic enthusiast and can be found participating in either literally any night it’s offered in the Ville.

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The Milk Carton Kids at The Sheldon Concert Hall

There are only a handful of bands that I would drive 12 hours round trip on a Wednesday for, knowing full well that I wouldn’t get any sleep or work done in that day. The Milk Carton Kids are one of those bands, and they happened to be playing in St. Loius last Wednesday at The Sheldon Concert Hall. In the midst of a hectic and restless semester, the reckless 20 year old in me decided that this trip was due.

If you’ve never listened to The Milk Carton Kids, just think Simon and Garfunkel meets the Lumineers. They have that somewhat trendy folk sound, but with more genuineness to it.That being said, the majority of their songs are rather melancholy. Anyone in the crowd could easily become gloomy quickly, if it weren’t for the excess of jokes which the duo, Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale cracked between songs. In all honesty, I think that these two tell the amount of jokes that they do at their shows in order to keep the audience in good spirits considering the slow, sad songs that they typically play. And this tactic works, if it’s even a tactic at all.

All jokes aside, these guys are the real deal. I’m not sure just quite what it is about them that intruiges me so much. It may be the sweet and soft harmonies between the two, or the incredible guitar solos on Pattengale’s part, or maybe just the distinct lyrics of their songs. Regardless of what it is about them, I had a lovely time to listening to them play.

All in all, it was a show to remember. Their performance was on my mind for a good part of the trip home, and their songs were in my head as I watched the sun rise while pulling into my driveway. Despite the lack of sleep, I wouldn’t take anything about this experience back.

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