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Lawrence music

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Album review: Forrester - Antithesis (EP)

Forrester is a band based out of Lawrence, with Brian Rogers, Joe Newman, Connor Creighton, Will Chertoff, and Steven LaCour. Its debut EP Antithesis carries us through an instrumental rock experience, one not to miss.
 
With the initial sound on the opening track, "I Was With You To The End,” the four-song EP announces that it is not just another instrumental album. The talent behind each member is evident as Antithesis journeys from note to note, emotion to emotion. It is filled with bold guitars and sultry bass lines that walk from innocence into the depths of melancholy.
 
There’s a haunting section in "Anywhere But Here" that doesn't rush its message, yet twists into a steady progression of tempo that takes us into unexpected planes. The thrill behind the drums is undeniable as the heavy-hitting track "Fishes" weaves into eclectic samples and blissful guitar. The final sound of "The Forgotten" is a solid eight-minute track with an uncanny groove and irresistible energy.  
 
Forrester has crafted a breathing work of art with Antithesis. It is that of electro rock 'n roll, dripping with mood. 
 
--Rolanda Woods
 
Ro is the general manager of Datura Records
 
 
Forrester will be performing tonight at Jackpot Music Hall as part of I Heart Local Music’s Stop Day Eve Party. Psychic Heat and Middle Twin will also be performing. Stop by and see some of the coolest acts in Lawrence. Facebook event page.

 

  

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Review: Love Garden's 24th Anniversary Show

 Love Garden Sounds celebrated its 24th anniversary this past Sunday at The Granada, with an impressive lineup of local and national acts.

 
1. Oils - Oils kicked off the anniversary party with a bang, bringing the people a composed set of upbeat and rhythmic progression, a build-up style characteristic of the crew. So it was no surprise Taryn Blake Miller of Your Friend joined in playing some extra percussion for the group. They really set a comfort zone for the rest of the evening as people started showing up for the event.
 
 
2. No Magic - No Magic's solo act followed Oils opening set, introducing the side stage where 3 other bands would later play. His crispy vocals and folky guitar tone drew the main stage crowd toward him but may not have kept their attention. Though you've got to give him kudos for playing the second slot amongst such an ambitious local lineup. 
 
 
3. CS Luxem (solo) - After a thirty-minute halftime, Chris Luxem took the main stage again with his solo act, taking control of the crowd almost immediately with his light and harmonic guitar melody. His undeniable energy and, at times, gritty and gut-wrenching vocals, ring genuine and heartfelt. He really hit the mark ending his set by looping and layering his guitar and vocals, allowing him to put down his instrument and keel over with the microphone nearly to his knees while belting out his final few verses. 
 
 
4. Psychic Heat - There's nothing really more capturing and exciting than a band comprised of a bunch of best dude friends, and this foursome rings tried and true in that department. Like a starter pistol at a footrace, Psychic Heat took off in full speed with no intention of looking back to see who they'd left in the dust. The foursome's set was made up of drum-drilling, back-to-back hits with heavy reverb on the guitar. They showed up, they played, they kind of left you wanting more and they liked it. 
 
 
5. Brooke Tuley - Brooke Tuley of Bloodbirds was the second artist to take the side stage on Sunday, celebrating the record release of her debut solo album, First Midnight. One of the only acts representing Kansas City, husband Mike Tuley accompanied Brooke as she serenaded the crowd with stripped down, lo-fi melodies and haunting, youthful vocals. First Midnight is a collection of songs she's recorded over the years, a side project she's pulled to the forefront now that Bloodbirds is on temporary hiatus. 
 
 
 
6. Your Friend - Taryn Blake Miller, better known as Your Friend, has more or less become the unofficial sweetheart of Lawrence. After signing with Domino Records last year, Miller's performance and confidence level have been on the rise, bringing in bigger and bigger audiences. Playing with her full band, Miller ended her rather quick set writhing and lashing on the floor with guitar in hand, losing her chunky black frames on the way down. She still managed to thank the crowd as the lights went up, out of breath and still not recovering her glasses. 
 
 
7. Gnarly Davidson - Gnarly Davidson could really give a shit, but in the best way. This trio took back the side stage with a vengeance, explaining to the crowd that they played "beer rock." Beer rock, motorcycle metal, whatever the case may be, they prefaced their radical set with, "We're Gnarly Davidson, and this is our last song!" The crowd either watched with dropped jaws or gave in to the madness and moshed/danced their set away. 
 
 
8. Quilt - Quilt from Boston was the first touring band to see the stage that evening. Their light and harmonic tone with a tinge of psychedelia hinted at some definite Fleetwood Mac influences. The lead singer told the crowd that she and the drummer had officially visited all 50 states now that they were in Lawrence. "We saved the best for last," she said. In hindsight, the band could have been lined up behind Woods rather than squeezed between Gnarly Davidson and Blood On The Wall to give them a better transition. 
 
 
9. Blood On The Wall - It was pretty clear who showed up for Blood On The Wall reunion, even more so where their best friends were in the crowd based on the amount of head banging, hollering and beer cheers-ing in air. The drummer of Gnarly Davidson could be found behind the stage, hugging a friend and fist pumping through the entirety of the set. It truly was one of those Lawrence throwback shows, like a high school reunion. Brad and Courtney Shanks took the crowd by storm with shrieking vocals and a commanding stage presence. 
 
 
10. Woods - Based out of New York and Vermont, Woods headlined the show as the big wig touring band, but they honestly had some work cut out for them, considering the local theme of the evening. Kevin Morby's name was being dropped and overheard all over the venue but was a surprising no-show as Woods took the stage, seeing that he would be the Kansas City connection to the show. Morby or no Morby, the band performed a pretty solid set but were ultimately a little somber toward the crowd. 
 
 
--Leslie Kinsman 
 
Leslie is a freelance writer and blogger. A founding member of the music venue FOKL Center, Kinsman also runs her own blog wunderhub, where she features local fashion, music, and art pieces. Keep your eye out for wunderhub Radio, a weekly collaborated playlist released for free by Rory Cameron of The Conquerors.
 

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April 2014
Middle Twin
"City of Gold EP
"
mp3

Middle Twin calls its music peculiar art pop. Perhaps peculiar is in the eye of the beholder, because their new EP, City of Gold, is some of the most accessible local music I've heard lately. 

 
Well, sure, they're kind of unusual. In the guitar-dominated world of local music, City of Gold consists of seven keyboard-driven pop songs, propelled by live drums and electronic percussion. Sure, in their live shows, Joel Martin plays a small percussion pad with one hand and a keyboard with the other. And, oddly enough, vocalist Demi Renault has training as an opera singer and has never really played in a band before. But to me, the peculiar thing about Middle Twin is what a polished, professional EP it has produced in its short time as a band. 
 
Middle Twin includes two former members of the late lamented Quiet Corral, guitarist Eric Davis and drummer Isaac Flynn. The latter recorded City of Gold in his home studio. A third ex-Quiet Corral member, Jim Barnes, helped with production and mixed the project. The group is rounded out by Jonny Fitzgerald on bass and vocals, who also sings with another Lawrence band, Paper Buffalo.
 
The guitar generally stays in a supportive role rather than dominating the multiple keyboard lines in Middle Twin’s music. Rather than sounding noodly or nerdy, though, there's lots of ear candy here. The EP is a treat on headphones, with swirling stereo effects and interesting percussion samples galore. Somehow there is an organic quality to all these electronics, the arrangements carefully orchestrated to form an expansive, lush environment in which to place Renault's expressive vocals. 
 
It may be an encouraging sign of the times that Middle Twin was able to produce such a professional product on a shoestring budget. As Davis said in an email, "We were really just trying to make everything sound unique... We don't have thousands of dollars worth of analogue synthesizers, so making electronic music that doesn't sound cheap is a very big challenge." 
 
The most encouraging thing may be a sense that Middle Twin is just getting started. I have a feeling we haven't heard the last of them, and that's a very good thing.
--Pat Tomek
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Album review: Middle Twin - City of Gold EP

Middle Twin calls its music peculiar art pop. Perhaps peculiar is in the eye of the beholder, because their new EP, City of Gold, is some of the most accessible local music I've heard lately. 
 
Well, sure, they're kind of unusual. In the guitar-dominated world of local music, City of Gold consists of seven keyboard-driven pop songs, propelled by live drums and electronic percussion. Sure, in their live shows, Joel Martin plays a small percussion pad with one hand and a keyboard with the other. And, oddly enough, vocalist Demi Renault has training as an opera singer and has never really played in a band before. But to me, the peculiar thing about Middle Twin is what a polished, professional EP it has produced in its short time as a band. 
 
Middle Twin includes two former members of the late lamented Quiet Corral, guitarist Eric Davis and drummer Isaac Flynn. The latter recorded City of Gold in his home studio. A third ex-Quiet Corral member, Jim Barnes, helped with production and mixed the project. The group is rounded out by Jonny Fitzgerald on bass and vocals, who also sings with another Lawrence band, Paper Buffalo.
 
The guitar generally stays in a supportive role rather than dominating the multiple keyboard lines in Middle Twin’s music. Rather than sounding noodly or nerdy, though, there's lots of ear candy here. The EP is a treat on headphones, with swirling stereo effects and interesting percussion samples galore. Somehow there is an organic quality to all these electronics, the arrangements carefully orchestrated to form an expansive, lush environment in which to place Renault's expressive vocals. 
 
It may be an encouraging sign of the times that Middle Twin was able to produce such a professional product on a shoestring budget. As Davis said in an email, "We were really just trying to make everything sound unique... We don't have thousands of dollars worth of analogue synthesizers, so making electronic music that doesn't sound cheap is a very big challenge." 
 
The most encouraging thing may be a sense that Middle Twin is just getting started. I have a feeling we haven't heard the last of them, and that's a very good thing.
 
 
 
Middle Twin will be opening for Fitz & the Tantrums next Friday, May 3, at KC Live in Power & Light. If you’re in Lawrence, you can catch the band on Thursday, May 8, at Jackpot Music Hall for I Heart Local Music’s Stop Day Eve Party with Psychic Heat and Forrester. Facebook event page.
 
--Pat Tomek
 

Pat plays drums in The Rainmakers, Howard Iceberg & the Titanics, and Deco Auto, and records bands at Largely Studios. 

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Album review: Something & the Whatevers - We Sold Our Souls For Wicked Lulz

I have two very early memories of music that shaped me into the sonic appreciator I am today.

Sure, I had a lot more music exposure than that, but two moments have always specifically stuck out to me as influential. One is being forced to go into another room and shut my ears whenever Weird Al’s “Nature Trail to Hell” would come on. I can’t remember whether it was because it scared me or I was still young enough that hell in that context was a bad word, but whenever “Theme from Rocky VIII: the Rye or the Kaiser” finished up, it was exile time for me. The other is rug burning the crap out of my ass falling down a flight of stairs from spastically dancing to TMBG’s “Birdhouse in Your Soul”. Regardless of how awkward those two events may sound (and my fictional therapist might agree with you), like any well-adjusted human, I find asylum in the memories of the music that molded me as a child. Less than thirty seconds into We Sold Our Souls for Wicked Lulz, the new album from Lawrence’s three-and-a-half-piece robot nerd rock outfit Something and the Whatevers, I am taken to that happy place.

 
Listen, hipsters. If you are the kind of person that judges someone solely by the inches of beard they wear, regularly wears overalls but is not a farmer, thinks you “totally get” where Vonnegut or Bukowski were coming from, or proudly proclaim you were the first person to ever discover Arcade Fire or the National, you are going to hate this record. And for that (and probably many other things), you are stupid.
 
This is a deliciously odd collection of engaging and humorous songs. Definitely more R-rated than the previously mentioned Yankovic or band of Johns, it tows a very interesting line of profoundness and absurdity. At times the songs coo with frivolous innocence a la Jonathan Coulton, other times they skank their way across a thesaurus of adult themes and curse words like a Green Jelly b-side.
 
Any number of joke bands come to mind across the twelve tracks (Bowling for Soup, The Bloodhound Gang, Tenacious D, etc), but in contrast there seems to be a wrinkle of irony that thematically creeps out of the funny farm. Whether breaking down every popular song ever written in the album opener “We’re Not Even Trying” or still trying to figure out what this whole life thing is about in the Dropkick Murphy’s-sounding emo cutter anthem “Slacker Blues,” S&tW manage to remain ridiculous and poignant throughout, exhibiting great balance of style and substance. “Note to Self” is a Devo-meets-System of a Down tryst, with synths that practically scream 1983 repeatedly mashed against trigger-happy double bass drum and scream-sung vocals.
 
This album gives hope to rock ‘n roll misfits like myself. To anyone that has spent too much time watching Megaman speed runs on Youtube, to anyone who knows who Stan Freberg and Tom Lehrer are, to anyone that still remembers how to calculate THACO, to anyone that is upset that Google Translate does not offer a Klingon option, to anyone that spent many a morning at school in a daze due to staying up until 2 am the night before listening to the Dr. Demento show. Nerds unite, in the form a solid and thoroughly entertaining forty minutes of music.
 
Make sure you catch Something & the Whatevers at Davey’s Uptown on Saturday night, April 26, with The Lusty Flowers, The House of Gray, Mr. and the Mrs., and 88er. $6, 21+. Facebook event page.
 
--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 and Drew Black & Dirty Electric, as well as contributing to various other Kansas City-based music, comedy, and art projects.
 

 

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