Show Review: Rozwell Kid, Beach Slang, and The Hotelier

Jordan_Final The scenery in downtown Kansas City  is perfect for a late-summer  punk show. Rundown buildings,  questionable Mexican restaurants, and  shady dive bars craft a rustic Midwestern chic  that made Rozwell Kid’s  first performance in KCMO memorable.  Three up and coming indie bands from  the east coast decided to jaunt through  America’s heartland together on their  way to Denver’s Riot Fest this weekend and graced Davey’s Uptown Bar with their presence on Wednesday evening.

After a few local bands loosened the  crowd up, Rozwell Kid took the stage. I  had the opportunity to see this band last  November in Lawrence without knowing too much about them, but I fell in love. They might as well be Weezer, Jr. (in a Pinkerton/Blue Album sort of way), but their attitude on stage makes their shows some of the most entertaining in the scene at the moment. Singer Jordan Hudkins is like the Napoleon Dynamite of power-pop. He is completely unremarkable and average, which is reflected in the way his hair hides his eyes while and stoops over while strumming his Fender guitar.

While their music is overdrive-saturated power-pop, they add a bit of cheese to their shows with over-the-top soloing and some entertaining guitar stunts. They may sing songs about eating hummus or being depressed before their birthday, but it is executed so perfectly with authenticity and an obvious love for their craft.IMG_2566

“We’ve had a big year,” Hudkins said before their set. Big year is an understatement for a band who has toured the country almost nonstop  during  the last 12 months. Soon,  Rozwell Kid will be opening for The Get Up Kids. By this time next year, Rozwell Kid may be a household name. It’s a no-brainer why so many bands have recruited RK to open their tours these last twelve months, because often times they end up being the most interesting band with the tightest set.

Beach Slang turned out to be the lowest point of the evening after Rozwell Kid left the stage. Being the weakest group on a tour with two other excellent bands is never easy, and having an alcoholic in your band does not make it any better. Their fuzzy punk rock and overall attitude would come across as charming if James Snyder wouldn’t have spent the majority of their 40 minutes of allotted time telling lame jokes, and saying he was too drunk to tune his own guitar. The sound technician cut them off before they performed their fifth song. He did everyone at Davey’s Uptown Club a favor.

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When your favorite band is playing three feet in front of you, snap a quick picture then put your phone away. Enjoy the show.

Even with Rozwell Kid’s fun  performance, it’s hard to deny The  Hotelier was the highlight of the evening.  Hailing from central Massachusetts, the  emo band gained notoriety after  releasing the near-perfect Home, Like No  Place Is There in February of 2013. Their  music calls back alternative sounds from the mid-90s while also utilizing their own talent and signature blend of rough punk, emo, and tinges of emotive hardcore.

The album tells stories of domestic abuse, suicide, and gender dysphoria – most importantly, the band is able to reflect the imagery of their music in a live setting. Christian Holden’s nasally tenor has become a battle cry for fans, and the way he talks to the audience and even addresses his bandmates shows that he’s a compassionate person. The set was made up of favorites from Home Like No Place Is There along with a few songs from their first release, and I felt right at home as the room came alive while everyone belted every lyric as loud as they could.

I feel most at home in these dingy bars complete with checkerboard floors, dirty restrooms, and the smell of sweat and stale beer all overwhelming my senses. It rejuvenates my spirits when I get to see bands I enjoy so much grow. There were around 80 people at this show, and while that may pale in comparison to the people who will pour into the Sprint Center to watch Taylor Swift in a few months time, it’s a glimpse of what’s to come for Kansas City’s up-and-coming indie music scene.

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New Music Monday – August 17, 2015

“Reversal” from Gangrene

This week at KSDB there are more quality records rotating for your listening pleasure, and this week brings somewhat of a #throwback with the reissue of a fantastic album from The Reatards. Grown Up, F*cked Up was originally released in 1999, and ultimately foreshadowed Jay Reatard’s cocaine overdose in 2010. The album is a collection of scuzzy garage-punk tracks that channels influences from punk pioneers of the late 1970’s. It’s sort of like listening to your Dad’s favorite Ramones record while you’re just trying to play Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2.

The Alchemist and Oh No have had incredible success these last few years. When the two producers decide to team up, they refer to themselves as Gangrene. In 2013, they scored the soundtrack to Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V, and worked with talents such as A$AP Ferg, Killer Mike, Phantogram. This week they released their newest full length entitled Reversal. It’s an industrial rap adventure that shows off the sampling prowess of the two MCs. If they only worked together a bit more often, they could really hone their talent and have something special.

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New Music Monday – August 10, 2015

In 2015, it is a rare occurrence to find a proto-punk record as scuzzy and defiantly poised as Pain from the Australian rockers in Deaf Wish presents itself as. The latest endeavor from the veteran band thrusts them into the limelight, deaf wishputting out their most recent album on SubPop. Pain clocks in at around half an hour, and it doesn’t need to be a minute longer. It has the shrill croons and aggression of bands like The Stooges and Dead Kennedy’s while also maintaining a vibe reminiscent of Husker Du and Sonic Youth. The end result is something very dissonant and charming. It’s not your run-of-the-mill garage punk record, but if you’re in the mood for something with a little grungy flavor, this is a release you don’t want to miss out on.
Also out this week is the latest album from The Fratelli’s. Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied is the fourth full-length from the Scottish lads who have experienced both ups and downs in the world of alt-rock since the mid-2000’s. Overall, the record falls a little short in comparison to recent favorites from comparable bands like Arctic Monkeys, but individual tracks here definitely have their merit. Listen to “Baby, Don’t You Lie to Me!”, “Getting Surreal”, and “Too Much Wine” before you pour yourself a full glass of this album.
This week, KSDB made it a priority to freshen up our hip hop rotation, and it was a good week to do so between new singles from Drake, and of course the newest album from one of the best there ever was. Legendary west coast producer/rapper Dr. Dre has finally abandoned the long awaited Detox and produced a new album, coinciding with the release of the N.W.A. biopic this Friday. It’s not a half-assed cash grab. Compton is an ambitious and challenging album, and hits more than it misses. It features contributions Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Marsha Ambrosius, BJ the Chicago Kid and others.compton
YG’s My Krazy Life was a refreshingly straight forward gangster rap album. He’ll try to keep those good vibes going with a sequel album, Still Krazy, to be released later this year. The lead single, however, is quite the left turn when compared to the Mustard produced debut album. YG employs producer Terrace Martin (To Pimp a Butterfly), who brings “King Kunta” style G-Funk production to the new track. It works. YG may be proving to be more of a chameleon than we initially realized.

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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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