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While KC native Moe Shinola’s new album Radio Caroline is only available by ordering it online (at firstname.lastname@example.org), it’s more than worth the effort. In fact, if the only place to get this music was inside a cage guarded by a rabid lion, it would still be worth it. That is, only if you like the idea of listening to ten of the best and most original alt/folk/country tunes this city has to offer…
First, a little bit of a disclosure here: Moe has played many times in person at a small midtown used bookstore, and this writer has had the pleasure of being there to enjoy his abilities several times (and that’s hardly enough, frankly…).
The first time this unassuming, home-spun looking fellow pulled out his guitar and began to sing, the entire room was simply blown away. His startlingly clear and intricate vocals were the yin to the classically perfect guitar-yang his strummed out effortlessly (and in doing so making more than a few of the other guitar-playing folk in the room suffer from a sudden inferiority complex).
While several of the tracks are funky folk/blues hybrids (“Mojo Street”, “Wines to Cain”), there’s more than a few songs here that express Moe’s political sensibilities as well (“Let’s Go Play Soldier” and the best of all, “Hey Supervisor,” which you should never listen too right before you go talk to your boss). The album’s title itself is a reference to KC’s own mojo queen Caroline O’Brien, who’s been behind more than a few left-leaning midtown fundraisers and events for those in need.
So if you’ve got the time in between waiting for Britney to make her big comeback and the next season of American Idol to start, you might want to look up Mr. Shinola on the old magical inter-web, and buy this sucker, cause if he sells enough, why then he’ll have to make another excellent album, and that’s worth a few bucks, ain’t it?
Shine on, Mr. Shinola, shine on indeed. — Brandon Whitehead (posted 09/28/07)
The five-piece (or six, or seven, depending on which song their playing…) indie-pop guys called Oliver Future (and yes, it did take a while to realize that wasn’t an actual person) have a lot going for them, not to even mention that their Myspace page says that one of their likes is “angry music critics,” which is awesome.
pax futura starts off right from the very beginning with the catchy hook-filled “The Many Things I am Aware Of” that really evokes The Killers at their (apparently lost…) best, with a good touch of Flaming Lips and Franz Ferdinand thrown in.
Led by Noah and Josh Lit on vocals and a bunch of programmable techno stuff, Oliver Future (remember: not a person!) has put out a fine 12-track album of upbeat pop, and if they bump into the right music industry people they have a good chance of, um, well…ok, if the music industry people get a hold of these guys they’re screwed, but looking at their online bookings they tour a lot, and it would certainly be interesting to see how they pull of such a layered sound on stage. Not to mention the funky lyrics here, such as this line from “Drowning Parade”:
“Seriously, we’re going to have to invent a brand new curse word for you!”
Now, just to get more hits off Google, here are the rest of the band members: Jesse Ingals (bass), Sam Raver (lead guitar), Jordan Richardson (drums), Gabriel Lit (piano), Steven Clothier (sax-a-ma-phone), Tom Luer (another sax-a-ma-phone), and Adam Lasus (more guitar). Good luck with the music people guy — just remember to keep one hand on the instruments and the other on your wallets! — Brandon Whitehead (posted 09/14/07)
The Austin three-piece punk confection band known as IKillCars is the newest in a resurgence of the ever dying, ever-buried, ever-dug up (again) punk scene. The five-piece LP or EP or whatever it’s called (note to self: should really start doing some minimal research when writing…) hardly gets you started thinking about anarchy and chaos before it ends, which is a shame because these guys are flat-out fun to listen too.
Led by Johnny Law on vocals (pretty good, but then punk vocal aren’t really supposed to be good anyway…), Lanyo Bourgeous on bass (really good) and someone called “The Gigi” on drums (excellent, whatever you are); this trio defiantly has something going on.
The first track “Gemini Dancer” starts off with a weird but cool distortion that flings itself easily into a pretty freakin’ tight punk sound and the recording is surprisingly clean for punksters, given that generally most of their equipment has been doused repeatedly with PBR. The forth song “Donuts Make Great Girlfriends” may sound like a Warren Zevon title, but it’s just a fun upbeat punk number, and the last track “OK” is pretty good…and then the album ends! What up with that! You’re makin’ this review really short! Just kidding, even just five songs like these are worth listening too…
There is one complaint though: the name (in reality it’s supposed to be something like “iKiLLcARs”). While many bands seem to think that it’s cool to put umlauts over every vowel or use that Russian letter that looks like an x with a line through the middle, that often only makes said reviewer and others to go a little postal trying to get Word to swallow that mangled…word, and that ain’t exactly helpin’ yourselves, guys. Try and stick close to the good ol’ King’s English, it works just fine.
Anyway, go catch ‘em Sept. 15 at Davey’s Uptown and stuffed in that corner under the stairs at Fred P. Otts on the 17th (hopefully with more than five songs) and if your lucky, you might just get to find out what a “Gigi” looks like. Maybe. — Brandon Whitehead (posted 09/07/07)
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