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electric hullabaloo

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Album review: Midwestern Audio, Vol. 2 - Electric Hullabaloo


(Photos by Todd Zimmer)
 
Love letters are funny things. The communique between two besotted people is such a private thing. Midwest Music Foundation has taken to writing very public love letters the last few years. The most recent being the release of Midwestern Audio: Volume 2: Electric Hullabaloo. The sampling of Kansas City music covers many genres and shares the talent and passion of Kansas City area musicians with fans and the uninitiated alike. Electric Hullabaloo kicks off with the catchy pop of Rev Gusto’s (pictured below) “Boys Are at it Again” and moves slowly into more straight forward rock and roll via Sons of Great Dane’s “Approximately 18th St.” The first three songs are rounded out by all-out-bare-knuckles-rock-and-roll with Cherokee Rock Rifle’s “Six to Midnight.” The initial offering is finished off by the fourth track, “Divorce Sea,” from Lawrence-based distorted punk-laced garage rock band Bloodbirds.
 
 
Lest the listener think pop and rock are the extent of the musical offerings in Kansas City, Electric Hullabaloo gives you musical whiplash by offering the sonic stylings of “Animate” by Middle Twin. The electronic indie band flawlessly flows into Heartscape Landbreak’s “God Money Problems’” fuzzy guitars, melodic lyrics, and speech sampling. Victor & Penny’s early twentieth-century rock and roll pulls you into each punctuated note on “Rickshaw Chase” and segues into the next chapter of the record.
 
This love letter has something for everyone, no matter your “type.” Dead Voices carry on the tradition of sad songs in happy keys as they bounce along through “Trust of a Fool.” Olassa delivers “Podner” with a deceptively slow start and then hits their indie folk groove with staccato guitar and subdued harmony. The mood mellows with The Silver Maggies’ “Slow Poke” and its smoky, gravel-laden vocals and keening harmonica.
 
Midwestern Audio’s compiler and mastermind, Brenton Cook, picks up the pace with Betse Ellis’s fiery fiddle in “Long Time to Get There.” The happy vibe of Metatone’s “Dark Empress” pulses with African-influenced beats and a nearly monotone lead vocal that clashes in the best way with the peppy popsplosion pulsing behind it. Spirit is the Spirit (pictured at top of article) follows with a throbbing beat, the distorted remnants of 60’s television science reporting, and angelic moaning in “I Believe That We Will Win.”
 
Margo May appears next as a counterpoint to the multi-faceted Metatone and Spirit is the Spirit tracks. Chanelling Lisa Loeb’s Firecracker, May offers a simple acoustic guitar and a broken heart’s lament. “Close the Door” spills into “Broken Wing” by Sam Billen, maintaining a similar tone and emotional state. Billen’s is a song you would like to put on at the end of the day to ease your transition home. Like a sonic bucket of water thrown on your sleeping ears, Drew Black & Dirty Electric pounce on you with “Love & A Riot.” The driving rock and roll beat and theatrical saucy spoken word “I love you. Let’s riot,” is reminiscent of Rocky Horror Picture show. Six Percent’s “Live Out Loud” is evocative of early Green Day, if Green Day had a horn section. Pounding drums and slamming vocals urge listeners to stand up and listen.
 
Heartfelt Anarchy’s “Funk” opens with horns in a dramatically different sound from the way Six Percent blasted them. Undulating horns flow under Les Izmore’s lyrics and the song exits on shimmering tambourine and harmonica. The experimental music of Various Blonde’s “Blind Samurai” sounds, oddly enough, like The Kinky Wizards in High Fidelity (which is really Royal Trux “The Inside Game”). You just can’t stop listening to the guitar riffs and space sounds twisted all around a manic beat. Furthering your trip down the rabbit hole of experimental music, David Hasselhoff on Acid rides into your eardrums on a wave of weedling guitars and in-your-face drums. Bowing in and out of the speed and thrust of loud and high sounds and the simplicity of drums and guitar, “Breakfast” will either make you lose yours or ask for seconds. The farewell of this love letter from Kansas CIty music is Jorge Arana Trio (pictured below). The experimental noise-rock of “Catching Bullets with Your Teeth” dodges in and out of instrumental traffic to express a frantic conversation.
 
 
To us, from the Midwest Music Foundation and the musicians of Kansas City, this love letter expresses the passion of expression that must be released lest the heart of the musician explode. Enjoy.

 --Angela Lupton 

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