Top Ten Local Albums of 2016

As a public radio station, we have a big responsibility to support of local music (and all things local). We do this in a few ways including giving it radio play (because it rules) and bringing attention to cool local artists any way we can.

If you’re new to local music, these artists are a wonderful place to start. Click the links. You’ll find great music and great times await you. All ten of these projects are worth every second of your time, and there is something for everyone. Many of these artists are on Spotify as well as our favorite resource for local music, Bandcamp.


The Conquerors (Kansas City) – Wyld Timea3042719468_10-400x400

“The Conquerors create a powerful sound that gives an obvious nod towards the rock sound of the 1950s and 60s still producing a modern twist. The group had previously released a pair of 7”s before now releasing what is their debut full length record, Wyld Time.

If you’re looking for a rock & roll band with a modern-day twist, The Conquerors are the band you need to listen to next. If not, try it anyway. I have a hard time imagining anyone not loving this group. Kansas City seems to be entering a golden age of local music, and it’s fun to be a part of.” – Dylan Swoyer

Read a full review here.


Mat Shoare (Kansas City) – Waking Up Is Hard To Doarticle-7383752-matshoare_wakingup2-400x400

“Mat Shoare’s album Waking Up Is Hard To Do is a fantastic piece of emotional truth getting to the core of human desire to be loved and the darkness that comes with the absence of that love.” – Brennan Flanagan

Mat was recently in our studios. Check out one of our most unique Classroom Series videos to date here.

Read a full review here.


Your Friend (Lawrence) – Gumptionupdated_your_friend-400x400

“It is difficult to find another artist quite like Your Friend. There is shoegaze to it definitely, but to pin it down as just “shoegaze” would be an injustice to the music itself. Many bands define themselves using a unique and sometimes made-up genre. Your Friend doesn’t put it in writing. She leaves it up to the listeners. As I listen through the album, I often find myself getting lost in the music. Even as I write this review, I am finding it difficult to not just stop and listen without the distraction of the task at hand. The majority of the record is extremely peaceful and soothing. “Come Back From It,” is a bit more fast-paced. Whichever track, you’ll find that Miller’s vocals and music make you explore your own emotions as we take a journey through hers.” – Dylan Swoyer

Read a full review here.


Heidi Lynne Gluck (Lawrence) – Pony Show

a0794738066_16“This was one of the most fun albums I’ve listened to all year. Heidi Lynne Gluck’s Pony Show made me remember how much I love her,  which started when she visited KSDB’s Studios earlier this year. Her lyrics are very raw and real. “The Universe Had Split” talks about the pain and effects of depression and suicidal thoughts. This emotion is aided by her siren-like voice which seems to cut through to the listener’s soul and draw them in. This album as a whole varied with different moods, starting off with a soft folk and moving to an eccentric pop and mixing in a ballad. This is why I regard this album to be one of the best albums of the year.” Brennan Flanagan


Psychic Heat (Lawrence) – Sunshower

“Sometimes you have an album that has “no skips.” These are not common. I think Psychic Heat has that here in Sua2823988220_16nshower. It can be hard to not listen to the whole album all at once if you start from the beginning. No two tracks are alike, and they are all nearly equally fun for different reasons. Tracks 5 and 6, “Des Tortion” and “In Two” may be the two most fun songs to see performed live (and listen to the recorded versions). For awhile, “In Two” would often close out Psychic Heat sets as the finale, and if you listen to it, you can really see why that is.” – Dylan Swoyer

Be on the lookout for the debut record from Arc Flash (who make up the rhythm section of Psychic Heat) this spring.

Read a full review here.


The Tambourine Club (Kansas City) – Chameleon14333761_10153934123723963_6092241695318693733_n-400x400

“In a time I’ve recently referred to as a golden age for Kansas City local music, The Tambourine Club keep that trend going. Indie pop seems to be at its best not only in the local area with bands like Shy Boys, Fullbloods, Toughies, Momma’s Boy, and others. While those others each have their own spins to the genre, The Tambourine Club is one of few in the area exploring the indie psych pop genre.” – Dylan Swoyer

Hopefully, you will be able to catch the group live over our radio waves for a spring Classroom Series. Until then, you can listen to their album on Spotify or Bandcamp.

Read a full review here.


a3423146105_16Bonzo Madrid (Kansas City) – Worry

Bonzo Madrid is the solo project of CJ Calhoun, former member of Lawrence supergroup, Cowboy Indian Bear. If you follow the link provided for the album, you can get it in its entirety from Bandcamp without paying (wow). The album contains contributions from another Lawrence legend and former member of Cowboy Indian Bear, Katlyn Conroy, otherwise known as La Guerre. (Check out her Valentine Project and get those orders in!)

It was recently announced that Worry will be jointly released on tape from Whatever Forever Tapes (Lawrence) and High Dive Records (KC) who are both home to a bunch of other cool artists.


Nicholas St. James (Lawrence) – Theatres

a1159630346_16“Nicholas St. James has a sound that you rarely hear from other artists presently. His voice is very raw and guttural, and his music is a great mix of folk and blues music. His songs have very dark themes, but this album is executed in a way that the sound fits with the lyrics, but at the same time it’s not too sad to listen to or enjoy.  St. James is one of those artists that you can only feel the real impact of his music when you listen to him live, so if you ever get the chance to see him perform, you should definitely go.” – Monica Brich

Last spring, KSDB was fortunate enough to host the legend that is Nicholas St. James. We caught up with him before he headed over to Auntie Mae’s Parlor to entertain all to no end alongside MHK local, Eddy Green. Our Classroom Series from that night is here.


a1118344653_16The Ovaries-eez (Lawrence) – I Saw You In My Dream

The Ovaries-eez offer some of the most beautiful harmonic folk music you’ll ever here. They are three women from Lawrence, three incredible voices, and typically one guitar that they pass around based on the song. The trio has a brand new record coming out the beginning of 2017, and they are as excited about it as we are. If it’s anywhere close to as great as I Saw You In My Dream, you won’t be disappointed. The release show for the album is set to be their 66th live show.

The Ovaries-eez have visited the KSDB studios before, but there is unfortunately no video to go along with that session. Stay tuned to see if and when we can bring them back to Manhattan!


rooftop-vigilantes-let-it-beRooftop Vigilantes (Lawrence) – Let It Be

We hadn’t heard a ton from the Lawrence danger pop band for about a year, but their third record, Let It Be, came out last summer, and they had some killer release shows for it around the area.

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