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Kansas City music

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Artist on Trial: Introducing Charlie

Introducing Charlie is one of Kansas City’s newest bands. With its debut single “Far Gone” released last month, the four-piece group stands out in the local music landscape. The single introduces a punctuated, progressive rock band with a sweeping orchestral vibe. We talk with three of the band’s four members about the project.
 
The Deli: Down and dirty: one sentence to describe your music.
 
Joel Shields: According to some, we're the love child of The Smiths and Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow.
 
Josh Wallingford: We do the musical things that get us off, together, and as hard as necessary.
 
Roshelle Pekarek: Violin players wanna rock out too.
 
The Deli: Give me some background on Introducing Charlie. How did the band come to be?
 
Joel: Josh, Eric (Carlson), and I had played together in the mid- to late aughts in a band called Ste. Simone. We stayed friends after the split, and we got together last summer to jam for fun. It clicked really well, despite our not having played together for 5 years, and it felt like we had something that wasn't there before. And the timing seemed to work with our other demands, so we decided to give it a go. A couple of months later, I enticed Roshelle to join by telling her that my dogs were talented musicians and would be playing in the band. She stayed despite this lie.
 
Roshelle: I was misinformed, but then I discovered Josh keeps a keg in the practice space...shrug. Seriously though, this band has been the outlet that has kept me ticking in the midst of a lot of wrong turns. I'm kind of amazed one cute Facebook photo by an acquaintance connected me with a stellar group of guys.
 
The Deli: Did your time together in Ste. Simone influence your writing at all for this band?
 
Joel: There are probably subtle similarities because of the people involved, but the two bands have very different vocalists (I played guitar and rarely sang in Ste. Simone). Ste. Simone was definitely darker and heavier than Introducing Charlie. And Roshelle's viola and violin definitely add a unique element to the latter's sound.
 
Josh: Beyond the members and occasional discussions of what songs we kinda remember, it’s all new. This is a slowly moving amalgamation of our loved and escaped influences.
 
The Deli: What inspires your music and songwriting?
 
Joel: Tacos and beer, mostly. We're all avid fans of many kinds of music, so we absorb things from all over the place, which I'm sure comes through in our material. Nerd in, nerd out.
 
Josh: Tacos and beer and each other. We play well off one another and freely swap and discuss melody and rhythm to make the songs right.
 
Roshelle: I come from a classical background, so a rock band is a beautiful new animal. The guys set up the feel of the song, and I love the challenge of finding the right fit.
 
The Deli: You recently released your debut single. Are you working on recording anything else?
 
Joel: We've recorded a handful of live-tracked songs that are in various states of completion. "Far Gone," the single, is a relatively straightforward rock song for us, so the next couple will probably be a bit more eclectic. One that's nearly done is kind of a lounge lizardy, jazzy jam. Another is a pretty, swaying, 6/8 deal.
 
The Deli: Where’d the name come from?
 
Joel: Eric came up with that one. He had been playing this trivia game called You Don't Know Jack and told us that "introducing Charlie" was a Victorian-era euphemism for sex. And since sexual euphemisms are kind of a time-honored tradition in rock music, we instantly knew it had to be our name.
 
Josh: Crashing the Custard Truck was too long.
 
Roshelle: I've been glad my mom hasn't asked what it means, knock on wood.
 
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?
 
Joel: Pretty basic stuff. Buy the records and attend the shows. Give to Midwest Music Foundation. Throw some bones toward a Kickstarter here or there. KC has been doing much better the last few years at these things, I think.
 
Josh: People should come see us, buy us a drink and a song or two… Never mind, what Joel said.
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite local and non-local musicians right now?
 
Joel: I couldn't possibly come up with a comprehensive list—there are too many—but lately I've been obsessed with the new Mikal Shapiro record (The Musical) and Beauty Pill's new one (Beauty Pill Describes Things As They Are). Beauty Pill is a great DC band made up of Dischord veterans, most of whom are accomplished multi-instrumentalists and sound manipulators. It's total headphone bliss.
 
Josh: Zero 7 and their many collaborators (Sia, Jose) are permanently lodged in my earholes. Elbow and Radiohead haven’t stopped amazing me yet either. Local folks: Steve Tulipana, Dave Gaumé, Billy Smith’s gang, Mr. Marco’s V7 crowd (Kent Burnham, Johnny Hamil, Marco Pascolini, etc). But there are a lot of impressive musical minds in the KC mix right now (Bacon, Gavin Mac, Anna Cole, Mama Bear).
 
Roshelle: The Conquerors, Drugs and Attics, Josh Berwanger Band. I also play a bit with Nicole Springer (The Clementines), who is working on her first solo album; I'm blown away by her voice and her writing, and I regularly find her songs stuck in my head. I'm digging the catchy new track ("Stepbrother City") from Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin and looking forward to a new album from them in a few weeks. My favorite band and go-to artist is Spoon; last year's They Want My Soul is still in my rotation.
 
The Deli: What goals does Introducing Charlie have for 2015, and beyond?
 
Joel: Probably the same as anyone: play shows, put out some music, eat and drink too much. We're all about the simple pleasures.
 
Josh: Yep. Have fun making music together, both temporal and permanent.
 
Roshelle: I bought a vocal effects pedalboard that Josh spotted online. It has so many bells and whistles that it makes my acoustic-thinking mind spin. I need to figure out how to make and replicate cool sounds.
 
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
 
Joel: I was standing on a sidewalk at a rest stop on I-70 when an elderly gentleman walked by and told me, “When you're my age, you never pass a rest stop, waste an erection, or trust a fart.” So I have that creepy bit of wisdom. And now you do too.
 
Josh: My spirit animal is Ron Swanson. Wherever you go, there you are.
 
Introducing Charlie is:
Eric Carlson – drums
Roshelle Pekarek – violin, viola
Joel Shields – vocals, guitar
Josh Wallingford – bass
 
Introducing Charlie will be playing at recordBar this Saturday, May 2, opening for My Goodness. Facebook event page.
 
--Michelle Bacon
 
Michelle Bacon is editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands.
 
 
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Interview: (the) medicine theory

The Medicine Theory is an experimental rock music trio comprised of baritone guitarist Jeff Irvine, percussionist/vocalist Tyson Schroeder, and cellist Barbara Anndrea Arriaga-Delaney. The two-piece version, drums and guitar—formed in 2007—played a set at Harling's Upstairs a couple weeks ago and chatted with me afterward.
 
Schroeder and Irvine met in various performing and visual arts classes during high school and soon began playing in punk/metal bands. A few years later, the two were playing in KC speed metal/punk band Methods of Man (1994-1997). After a few years, Schroeder decided to take a break from music. Soon after, Irvine moved to Philadelphia then Washington DC to pursue his degree. By 2000, Schroeder moved to Cape Cod to focus on painting while working and living at the newly opened museum estate of artist and author Edward Gorey.
 
“At that time,” said Schroeder, “I was done playing in bands. I was going to play, but only if I was having fun with it like I did when I was 18.” Then he visited Irvine in DC and fun ensued. “It was pretty much, let’s drink absinthe and make noises and record them,” said Schroeder. Irvine recalls, “We did that… quietly,” with his girlfriend, now wife, asleep in the next room.
 
The two had fun, stayed up all night and a few months later met again in Cape Cod. They set up a mini recording studio in one of the estates, Barns (no absinthe this time, just volume), and set about recording “everything we could,” said Irvine. “It was pretty much the beginning of this band,” recalls Schroeder. And it became the template for how the two would write music.
 
“We wanted to write like we did when we first started,” said Schroeder, “when we didn't know what the fuck we were doing… anything goes.” After so many years playing off of each other, Irvine mentioned, “There's a lot of instinct. Things just happen.” In late 2014 the two-piece became a trio thanks to cellist Arriaga-Delaney.
 
Schroeder’s percussion is deliberate and big. At times his style and sound somehow lean towards jazz-punk, all the while maintaining an unwavering weight and drive. His vocals expand and retract from the hushed tones of a madman mid-conversation to a shouting lunatic, depending on the story he's telling or the character being brought to life. Schroeder and Irvine are both visual artists as well as musicians, and this lends nicely to the characters and stories created in their songwriting. Barreling through, over and around all of this is Irvine’s sonic-laced baritone. At times jagged and driving, at others melodic, almost adrift, it is evident he knows how to simply let a song—a story, unfold. Irvine played bass for a long time before picking up guitar and this can be heard in the reserve with which he attacks songs, holding down steady rhythms and flourishes as well as succinct leads.
 
The advent of Austin-based cellist Arriaga-Delaney started as an experiment on a few songs in 2014. By March 2015 the band had played a few shows together and were set to play the MidCoast Takeover stage at SXSW. “She wanted to just do 2 or 3 songs, like she'd done previously,” says Irvine. Schroeder notes, “But we both really liked what she was bringing to the table.” Irvine let Arriaga-Delaney in on a secret. “We're going to do a full set with you.” The cellist agreed. “She showed to us that she really wanted to be a part of this.”
 
There were a few obstacles, though. Less than a week before the showcase, she had injured her hand and didn't know the whole set list. But she toughed it out. “Six days in a row,” says Irvine. Schroeder recalls 4- to 6-hour rehearsals.
 
Arriaga-Delaney is a busy cellist. She played in a band calle And The Furies Say, as well as Reverend Glasseye, a Boston-based band that transplanted to Austin, where she got hooked up with them.” According to Schroeder, “She tours around a lot playing solo things, playing with other people. She's definitely a free spirit—a gypsy lady.” Recently, she worked on a score for a film in real time. “She was out in the desert with them while they were filming it, just coming up with a soundtrack. They put her in the film but they were also recording her live.”
 
The effect of Arriaga-Delaney’s cello on The Medicine Theory’s sound is as subtle yet decisive. The arrangements haven't changed but have grown. The mood and tone of songs has shifted. The modicum of levity in Schroeder’s vocal attack has decreased with the infusion of the cello, while the stark melancholy has increased. “Covered Bridge” shifts from dark yet driven to stoic, moody, and downright estranged. The song “Timmy,” a twisted fun house take on a very dark subject matter, maintains a sense of levity. But as Irvine and Schroeder romp through the song, Arriaga-Delaney casually creates a sense of foreboding that wasn't there before. Like smoke slowly filling a room.
 
Putting a finger on the sound this trio is creating is maddening, impossible, and unnecessary. Comparisons to other groups don't quite fit. The sound is uniquely their own, and that is the intention.
 
--Chris Nielsen
 
 
The Medicine Theory plays at The Riot Room on Sunday, April 26, with Ides of Gemini, Sedlec Ossuary, and The Last Glacier. Facebook event page.
  
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Pink Royal releases Taps this weekend

I had the privilege to catch up with one of my favorite local bands, Pink Royal. Guitarist and songwriter Steven LaCour, vocalist Dylan Guthrie, and drummer Alex Hartmann invited me out while they were mixing tracks for their upcoming debut record Taps. Bassist Nick Carswell and guitarist John Dorrell were unable to make it due to prior engagements.

LaCour has been working on his baby Pink Royal for some time and originally recorded everything himself. Now, with the collaborative writing efforts of the band and recording a debut full-length with producer/Hembree drummer James Barnes, the project can be fully realized.
 
It has taken some time but the core of the band has now been playing shows and writing together for about 2-and-a-half years. You can really feel the chemistry during live shows with the way it feels improvised and raw, yet incredibly intricate. To describe what these guys sound like is pretty hard to do. They draw comparisons from Minus the Bear and As Tall As Lions, but as Guthrie points out, they are creating something completely unique. This is mostly due to their different musical backgrounds. "What's interesting about our musical creation or our synergy, if you will, is what we listen to by ourselves is completely different. Where as I am soul—Gary Clark Jr. and Allen Stone—Steve came from a background of progressive math rock. The synergy of that, I think, gives us a very unique sound.” LaCour continued, “It really feels like we're creating something different that people haven't heard before.”
 
Just by listening to the mixes and the subtle tweaks to get it just right, you can tell this is a well crafted work by some seriously talented musicians. For all its intricacies, it’s very groovy and poppy, which is usually hard to get out of technical acts. “From Steve's musical background, we have elements of math but we’re more groovy than anything, which makes it more palatable than most math rock is,” explained Guthrie.
 
Hartman said, “Palatable is the term I always use, because we want the songs first and foremost to appeal to everybody.”

The vulnerability of lyrics and sheer sexiness of the groove gives Pink Royal something truly special, and I personally can't wait till the world can hear it. The guys recently released the single “Give Me Something Real,” a very nice teaser until the record drops.
 
--Chris Mowry
 
 
Pink Royal will be releasing Taps tonight at The Granada in Lawrence, with special guests Sharp 9, Toy Cartel, and Spencer Mackenzie Brown. It’s a free, all-ages show presented by KJHK 90.7 FM and starts at 8 p.m. If you want to catch them in KC, you can see them at Middle of the Map Fest on Saturday, April 25, at The Riot Room at 3 p.m. for I Heart Local Music’s day party. Facebook event page.
 
 

 

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KCPT features editor Michelle Bacon

We want to express our gratitude to KCPT and videographer/producer John McGrath for airing a segment of our editor Michelle Bacon on their weekly show Arts Upload. It prominently features our website, along with Michelle’s bands The Philistines, Dolls on Fire, and Drew Black & Dirty Electric. Tune in to Arts Upload every Thursday night on KCPT! You can watch Michelle’s segment below.
 
 

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Artist on Trial: Redder Moon

One of the newest projects in KC music is Redder Moon, our Artist on Trial today. The band, essentially a dual collaboration between Jeremiah James Gonzales and Matthew Naquin (they also recently added Jon VanSickle as a live drummer), blurs the lines of electronic, avant garde, and psychedelic shoegaze sounds. We talked with Gonzales a bit about Redder Moon and what they have planned for 2015.
 
The Deli: Down and dirty: one sentence to describe your music.
 
Gonzales: Sounds like the soundtrack to a post apocalyptic film that has not yet been made. 
 
The Deli: Who writes the music?
 
Gonzales: I come up with the big picture of the songs for the most part, and then Matt helps translate the idea into digital ear candy. At times, he adds some of the most essential elements that cap off the big picture and make it better.
 
The Deli: What inspires your songwriting?
 
Gonzales: I am mostly inspired by movie soundtracks and the feeling I get when I’m in engulfed in a great film, alongside being influenced by the need to express ourselves, as are most creative people. I also cite pizza (the food) as an influence.
 
The Deli: What have been your greatest accomplishments as a band?
 
Gonzales: The day we finished production of the first record, a small EDM outfit from Canada called Upstairs Recordings wanted to put out or EP digitally, so that was pretty cool. Also, Matt Hill of UMBERTO has made a few remixes of some songs and as a result, a pretty cool label Not Not Fun Records (LA) will possibly be putting something out for us sometime in 2015.
 
The Deli: Do you have any plans to record a new album anytime soon?
 
Gonzales: I’m currently compiling/accumulating songs for the possible NNF release. However, we are always open to releasing digital tracks/albums intermittently and physically with the right pairing of record label.
 
The Deli: You've been making music in Kansas City for a long time. What's your goal with Redder Moon compared with bands you've been with in the past?
 
Gonzales: Over the years I've had the pleasure and experience to be in some very great bands with some very talented people. I would say that I'm very lucky to have been able to be a part of the music scene over the years. But with playing in traditional bands comes all the traditional woes and throes of juggling multiple schedules/tastes/personalities. I never really set out to do anything specific with Redder Moon. In fact, I was somewhat satisfied with a musical hibernation, so to speak, when Matt convinced my return from slumber. We have also found that playing in a duo breeds less stress on the overall quality of our creative lives.
 
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?
 
Gonzales: I try my best to support local music in as much of a non-biased opinion as possibly allowed. Meaning, I can ALWAYS appreciate the guts that it takes to put original music out into the world, be it live or on a recording. I am constantly battling with myself on whether I think our stuff is good enough to put in front of people or if I will only scar the listeners’ ears forever. That said, I know exactly what it means to put together a band/project and the vulnerability one must go through to do it. So I do my best to find the good in everyone's unique take on their art and have learned to grow from constructive criticism toward my own. 
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite local musicians right now?
 
Gonzales: I have also been in somewhat of a slumber in the local music scene that I’ve been reawakened to as of late, so I have yet to experience some of the newer acts emerging in the KC scene. Some of the few I have kept up with are Organized Crimes, Scammers, ISAM, Expo 70, Mat Shoare Band, and C.S. Luxem. I know there are plenty of local bands that I have yet to hear or older bands that have released new material and I can only look forward to experiencing the sounds to find out for myself.
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite non-local musicians right now?
 
Gonzales:Steve Moore, megafortress, Lansing/Drieden, gayngs, Xander Harris.
 
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?
 
Gonzales: Bernard Sumner, Robert Smith, Gonzales Hetfield (early years of course) and Klaus Schulze.
 
The Deli: Where can we find you on the web?
 
 
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
 
Gonzales: Recycle plastic and always get your pet spayed or neutered. Also, may all your ups and downs in life be between the sheets.
 
Get down to Replay Lounge this Friday, January 30. Redder Moon will be performing on a psychedelic bill with CS Luxem and No Cave. Facebook event page.
 
--Michelle Bacon
 
Michelle Bacon is editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands.
 
 

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