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Kansas City music

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Artists on Trial: Captiva

Though they’ve only been a band for under a year, Captiva is already playing shows at larger venues and getting attention for its cool indie funk/folk approach. We talk with the guys to find out more about them and what they have in the works.
The Deli: Down and dirty: 1 sentence to describe your music. What is it?
Captiva: Our music is phunky fresh yet lavish indie rock.
The Deli: Give us some background on the band.
Captiva: Captiva has been together for about 9 months now. Pat McQuaid and Jackson Ries met while in high school, and began writing some soft, "poppy" kind of tunes. Once we had begun the process of producing our first album, we discovered Hank Wiedel, who brought us into the music scene and has been booking/co-managing the band ever since.
The Deli: What have been your biggest accomplishments as a band?
Captiva: Our greatest accomplishments so far include landing a show with co-headlining The Granada, performing on live TV/radio, releasing our first album, planning our first tour, and finding what exactly makes us who we are as musicians and friends. We've experienced a lot of success since our arrival in the music scene, and it's all been pretty quick, but we're most pleased with how true we have stayed to ourselves. Through all of the traveling, performing, recording, and promotion, Captiva has managed to stay a strong family.
The Deli: You recently released your debut album. What can people expect from it?
Captiva: We just released Basement Creations this summer. We are back in the studio, and plan on releasing a series of singles, including “Floatin' on Sound,” “Mid-Wild West.”
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?
Captiva: Supporting local music is everything to us. It's a blessing to be surrounded by a music scene that is so talented and professional. It's not hard to find an act that is, first and foremost, true to their music, unlike half of the top artists today.
The Deli: Who are your favorite local musicians right now?
Captiva: Our favorite local musicians right now include La Guerre, She's A Keeper, Katy Guillen & The Girls, Rev Gusto, and Not A Planet. All of these bands are so kick-ass. We've gotten to perform with La Guerre recently, and she completely blew us away.
The Deli: Who are your favorite not-so-local musicians right now?
Captiva: We truly love The Lonely Biscuits, AER, New Madrid, and Twenty One Pilots. We really dig Dirty Heads... They've got a unique sound that is super easy to listen to.
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?
Captiva: Twenty One Pilots, AER, The Lonely Biscuits, and us.
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why? 
Captiva: Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots is a huge influence on our live performance. Gene Simmons... I mean he's from KISS. Shouldn't that be enough? Jimmy Page is without a doubt one of the best names to ever be associated with the word guitar, and Grady Wenrich of The Lonely Biscuits knows how to keep it gravy. We like that. We like that a lot.
The Deli: What other goals does Captiva have for 2014?
Captiva: Our main focus is to establish a strong, diverse fan base in Kansas City and in Lawrence. Also, we're hoping to release a new EP sometime before the new year!
The Deli: Where can we find you on the web?
Captiva: You can find us literally everywhere.
Twitter: @CaptivaTweets
Instagram: Captivamusic
Snapchat (Why not?): Snap-tiva
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
Captiva: Make sure to see us at The Granada with Matt Easton on September 10! It's our biggest show yet, we'll be playing a lot of new music and making some pretty big announcements, and the tickets are going fast! And, lastly, ~Stay Buzzed~
Captiva is:
Pat McQuaid: guitar
Jackson Ries: vocals
Hank Wiedel: drums

You can catch Captiva at Czar Bar next Wednesday, August 27, with Acidic. They’ll also be back at The Granada on September 10 with Matt Easton. Facebook event page.

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Album review: Riot! Riot! Riot! - Dispenser (single)

Just as the sounds of popular music go through various phases and trends, so too do band names. One such example is the combination of repetitive words and exclamation points, a standard with many examples: the New Zealand noise-pop of Die! Die! Die! … the noisy Italian rawness of Tiger! Shit! Tiger! Tiger! (a personal favorite of Chris Haghirian’s) … the California dance-punk of !!! … and many others. We now have a new entry into this field: Riot! Riot! Riot!, featuring members and ex-members of such noted KC soundcrafters as Dolls on Fire, The Hillary Watts Riot, and Drew Black and Dirty Electric. The band’s debut is a two-song effort that shares the same energy and aggression as its exclamation-pointed kin. The production is raw and DIY, which serves its three-chords-and-turn-it-up-loud mission statement perfectly.
“Dispenser” features Zach Hodson’s abrasive guitar and emotive vocals, supported by a thunderous drum-and-bass combo of Sergio Moreno and Mark Johnson, treading the line between hard rock and punk. “So Lost In Love, My Love” starts out as a jaunty little number (yes, a band with exclamation points in its name can do jaunty) that ultimately descends into muddy, grimy depths.
Will Riot! Riot! Riot! be worthy of all those exclamation points? I’d like to think so, but ultimately it’s a question Mark, Sergio, and Zach will have to answer. Period.
And you can “quote” me.
--Michael Byars
Michael is sparing with his usage of exclamation points, but when he does, he means it! OMGRLY!

Tonight, July 30, you can catch the Riot! Riot! Riot! boys at—where else?—The Riot Room. They’ll be playing with The Summit and Trapdoor Social (LA). Show starts at 9 p.m. Facebook event page. 

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Album review: Claire and the Crowded Stage - Kamikaze

Sometimes a gimmick can trample upon the art. We have all seen it. Some band who may or may not be creating something special, only to let it take a firm back seat to a schtick. Perhaps it is an elaborate super shiny multimedia extravaganza. It might come in the form of a five-person, multi-tuned cowbell section and/or audio samples from Dr. Strangelove. These are the kinds of bands that leave the soundman sorely exclaiming, “How many mics and DIs do you need again?” before sulking off and muttering under his breath a filthy slew of words only known to the hardiest of sailors.
With a live set up that features up to double-digit members playing various strings, percussion and woodwinds, it would be easy for Claire and the Crowded Stage to suffer this pitfall. Thankfully, on the new album Kamikaze, the band shows masterful control of how to question the integrity of a stage’s weight limit in a way that is truly synergistic to a great whole.
The range of tones and sounds featured throughout make it almost unclassifiable, a truly wonderful sideshow of pop music. Kudos to the arranger (and sound engineer) for creating a roadmap and space for each part to shine in just the right way. The instrumentation is woven with a delicate and deft touch. At any given time, the listener can focus upon any of the various elements and clearly decipher what dish it brings to the dinner table. It is a symphony of rock music, like a progressive new high school band teacher fresh out of grad school choosing to close his first spring concert with a version of “Helter Skelter.”
At times, it is almost a rock music bait-and-switch. During the proggy break in “Songbird,” the usual scathing guitar takes a back seat in the rhythm section to let the clarinet champion the solo with splitting vigor. The single reed’s moment in the spotlight works especially well in tandem when it returns to its more traditional floaty place on the following “Night Owls,” whose side-to-side head bob groove sounds like the perfect sound track for a Tootsie Roll pop commercial. Extra points for the delightfully arbitrary reprise outro.
Other strong moments include the Avett Brothers-go-to-Disneyland sounds of “Tower of Babel” and the prohibition jazz speakeasy slice of noir in “Technicolor.” “I Saw it All” is perhaps the best use of the symphony style arrangement on the record, growing from simple ukulele to full orchestra pit and back again. “The Nightside of Day” finishes off the record as a delightful denouement with joyful-sounding, yet stormily-themed sock hop flair.
Fronting this well-oiled juggernaut is the powerfully voiced Claire Adams. Her affected vocal stylings pierce the ear in a beautiful misfit manner, ranging from a very airy and playful Regina Spektor to the soulful belt of Neko Case. Much like the success shown by the orchestra beneath her, she shows great discretion on when to play the sweet little skipping girl with cartoon hearts in her eyes and when to let fly the tortured, broken soul inside. The often-paired harmony vocals add a further power and intrigue in all the right spots.
As if it needed yet even another cylinder to fire upon, the lyrics are often nothing short of poetry. Lines such as:
Oh, I’m a boat of awkward, sinking in the shifting waters of our chemistry (from “Kamikaze”)
It's been a long grey time, rhymes in red, blue and yellow fighting to flash well, nobody's talking trash just pass the hat 'til someone steps up to bat sayin' I know something you don't know  (from “Technicolor”)
I watched the sun it rose, standing on my tiptoes to catch the moment when the day broke in halves as people live straining to love and give, it's just another tower of babel falling (from “Tower of Babel”)
… are just a few examples of the impactful wordsmithing flexed throughout.
All put together, it ends up being one damn fine record that should definitely be added to your collection. Having been fortunate enough to catch Claire and the Crowded Stage a few times in various haunts, the live show is equally as impressive. Make sure you check it out and get your own copy of Kamikaze.
--Zach Hodson
Zach Hodson is a monster. He once stole a grilled cheese sandwich from a 4-year-old girl at her birthday party. He will only juggle if you pay him. I hear he punched Slimer right in his fat, green face. He knows the secrets to free energy, but refuses to release them until Saved by the Bell: Fortysomethings begins production. He is also in Dolls on Fire,Drew Black & Dirty Electric, and Riot Riot Riot, as well as contributing to various other Kansas City-based music, comedy, and art projects.
Claire and the Crowded Stage will be commandeering the recordBar stage this Saturday, July 26, to celebrate the release of Kamikaze. Ali Holder & Christy Hays and Bearing Torches will open the show at 10 pm. Facebook event page.

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Album review: The Oldfield Victory - A Thousand Doors (EP)

Once upon a time, as many a story begins, there was a legendary beast that trod upon this great land. Across mountains and over rivers (wait, across rivers and over mountains; yeah, that’s it), all bowed before its grandeur and omnipresence … particularly human males between the ages of 18 and 34. What was the name of this benevolent and decadent entity, you ask?

Rock and roll.
Back in the ‘70s, when FM radio was becoming more of a force and big rock bands were strewn all across the dial, there was a particular guitar sound that dominated the airwaves: monstrous chord structures and tight riffs that had that the perfect combination of strum and crunch and buzz. There’s probably a better way to describe them, or even to explain how they were created, but you’d probably have to be a guitar player to do so—and since I am not, I must use words like “strum” and “crunch” and “buzz” to get my point across. An even better way to understand said point, however, would be to listen to the music of The Oldfield Victory, a newly-minted band that has recently released its newly-minted EP debut, A Thousand Doors.
This formidable foursome (Jon Freeman - vocals and guitar; Paul Hagedorn - lead guitar; Dave Tanner - bass and backing vocals; and Casey Wallace - drums) wastes no time getting down to business; “Wrecking Ball” is fast, loud, and has a nasty snarl, as all good rock ‘n roll should be. The EP’s title track is an instant audio time machine that takes the listener back to 1976, when The Oldfield Victory could easily have shared the Kemper Arena stage with Sammy Hagar, Triumph, Judas Priest, Spinal Tap, or any of the other legends of the day. The rest of A Thousand Doors, particularly “Built for Speed” and “She Disappears,” continues down that path, filled with the big drums, fat-bottom bass, razor-sharp guitar leads, and raucous vocal blends that made music fans from back in the day gas up their Camaros* and head to Sandstone or Arrowhead Stadium to KY102’s latest SummerJam.
Sometimes music does more than simply entertain—sometimes it just makes you feel like things are right in the world. This six-track EP hearkens to a time when rock was king, with willing subjects from coast to coast. Count me in as one of them, then and now. Long live The Oldfield Victory.
*author’s note: I did not have a Camaro back in those days. I had a Pinto. Not exactly the same thing … especially to the ladies. Awwww nooooooo.
--Michael Byars
Michael is fooling you—he probably had the coolest Pinto on the block. And $240 worth of pudding. Awwww yeah.

The Oldfield Victory has a big rock show planned this Friday, July 25, at The Scene KC Rock Bar in Independence, with Federation of Horsepower, The Heroine (San Antonio), and Bad Wheels. Check it out, and bring earplugs. Facebook event page. 

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Album review: Attic Wolves - Volume and Boldness (EP)

An introduction made by a banjo at one point in time may have thrown listeners off. But with the recent revival of the rootsy instruments in mainstream music, the banjo has become just as welcome as the drum kit. Kansas City’s Attic Wolves have taken all of the soul from roots music and molded it into their own brand of powerful and emotional folk. Attic Wolves hold the title of The Pitch’s Best Local Album of 2012 (their debut EP, Carry Us On) and now, Volume and Boldness is every bit as good.
Channeling all that soul that is carried in folk tunes, Attic Wolves hit the listener with “Here’s To Looking Back.” A catchy guitar ditty and smooth, mellow vocals serenade the listener. A story of sorts about two people growing close, then falling apart. The song explores how people change and how life is never constant. Though the message is a bit melancholy, the song finishes strong with a positive spin; the old mantra “so it goes” is in full effect.
Volume and Boldness is comprised of five tracks that completely blow you away not only in the sense of the musical composition, but the lyrical heaviness as well; an album to help heal the hurt heart. “Safe and Sound” explores unconditional love. “It’s Not Over” deals with the things in life that are out of human hands. “Leave Me Be” is a heartbreak and a half of a song. The outro song, “I Know Who You Love,” looks into unwanted love from one party to the next, and again, the songs hints that everything will be okay.
The album title is taken from the band’s personal traits, explained in its bio: “[It] reflects what we believe is required of us as a band in order to succeed. Volume and Boldness is our way of doing business.” That statement is ever so true. All the listener has to do is dissect the lyrics to understand.
--Steven Ervay
Steven is an all-around awesome dude who works tirelessly for the KC music community.
Editor’s note: Volume & Boldness was recorded at Mammoth Cave Recording Studio in Denver, produced by Tim Gerak.

Attic Wolves will celebrate the release of Volume and Boldness with a party at Czar Bar this Monday, July 21. Akkilles and The Papers (Chicago) will also be playing. Tickets are $5 presale or $7 at the door, 21+. Ticket link. Facebook event page. 


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