The Deli KC

Artists on Trial: Heartfelt Anarchy

Emcee Les Izmore and producer D/WILL make up the electrifying hip-hop duo Heartfelt Anarchy. The two artists blend their respective talents together in this project to create a vital, prolific musical collective for the Kansas City scene to enjoy. We talk with them about their upcoming appearance at Middle of the Map Fest.

 
The Deli: Down and dirty: 1 sentence to describe your music. What is it?

D/WILL: Alan Parsons Project x DJ premier instrumentals with Izmore raps on top.
 
Les Izmore: Middle of The Map Music.
 
The Deli: What other artists are you looking forward to seeing at MotM?
 
D/WILL: Ebony Tusks, Stik Figa, and all the amazing DJs.
 
 
The Deli: Let’s talk about the self-titled album you just released, What can we expect?
 
Heartfelt Anarchy: An experience.
 
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?

Heartfelt Anarchy: Community.
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite local musicians right now?

D/WILL: Stik Figa, Gee Watts, Sir Adams, Milk Drop.
 
Les: Cowboy Indian Bear, The Abnorm, Diverse, and The Conquerors.
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite not-so-local musicians right now?

D/WILL: Binary Star, WLAK, Lecrae, Yellawolf, Kendrick Lamar, The Black Keys, Ces Cru.
 
Les: Antibalas, Ka, Animal Collective, Kendrick Lamar, and Danny Brown.
 
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?

D/WILL: I have been blessed to rock with a lot of national acts, so that's a tough one... Madlib and J.Roc, maybe.
 
Les: James Brown and The JBs, Exuma, Outkast, Rage Against The Machine, and Fela Kuti.
 
The Deli: Would you rather spend the rest of your life on stage or in the recording studio?
 
D/WILL: In the recording studio.
 
Les: Stage.
 
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?
 
D/WILL: James Brown—he's the godfather of soul, and was the hardest working man in show biz.
Marvin Gaye—super soul!! So talented... an amazing musician/producer and his voice is like heaven.
J Dilla—King. He changed the way my ears hear music.
 
Les: James Brown, Sun Ra, Fela Kuti, Bo Diddley.

The Deli: All right, give us the rundown. Where all on this big crazy web can you be found?


The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?

D/WILL: Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
 
Les: Each crew Teach Two. And check out live shows. And put down ya phones and engage.
 
Heartfelt Anarchy is:
D-WILL
Les Izmore
 
Check out Heartfelt Anarchy at Middle of the Map Fest Friday, April 5, where they will play at The Conspiracy Room inside The Uptown Theater at 10:00 pm. They will play right after The Last Bison and right before Kids These Days.
 
You can check out their other projects at Middle of the Map too—Les will be featured with The Hearts of Darkness on Saturday at 2:00 pm on The Outdoor Stage (outside of Buzzard Beach). D/WILL performs with Stik Figa at The Riot Room on Saturday at 11:30 pm.
 
 
 
--Michelle Bacon

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Artists on Trial: Shadow Paint

Though you may not be terribly familiar with them, Shadow Paint has been around Kansas City for the past year. Since vocalist Angela Schroder-Dill moved to Boston last summer, the rest of the band has played as Rooms Without Windows, but will reunite to play at this year’s Middle of the Map Fest. We talk with the band about its plans and its upcoming performance.
 
The Deli: Down and dirty: 1 sentence to describe your music. What is it?

Shadow Paint: For those who follow the life philosophy of “Game On.”
 
The Deli: What other artists are you looking forward to seeing at MotM?
 
 
The Deli: Tell us a little about Shadow Paint and the projects you are all in now.
 
Shadow Paint: We started in January 2012. We last played October 27 at a loft in Kansas City. Corey, Hanna, Chris B, and Chris T are in local band Rooms Without Windows and Angela moved to Boston and has joined an electronic project called Citrusphere. Angela and Corey have partnered up for LowGrumbles, sending tracks back and forth via email.
 
The Deli: Let’s talk about something you have coming up this year. What can we expect?
 
Shadow Paint: We have two songs available to download for free on our Soundcloud. With our members being split between Boston and KC, we don't currently have any other shows lined up, but this is NOT the last of Shadow Paint!!! To hold you over, check out our other projects!
 
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?

Shadow Paint: Going to local shows and dancing your heart out. Having a good time with the talented people in your community.
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite local musicians right now?

Shadow Paint: Hard to say, too many favorites, but one newish band we're loving right now is Is Paris Burning.
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite not-so-local musicians right now?

Shadow Paint: Again, too many favorites, but if we had to name some: Wild Nothing, Cloud Nothings, The XX.
 
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?

Shadow Paint: Björk, Paul McCartney, Radiohead, Joy Division, and David Bowie.
 
The Deli: Would you rather spend the rest of your life on stage or in the recording studio?
 
Shadow Paint: On stage.
 
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?
 
Shadow Paint: All four members of the Beatles, because their music continues to amaze and inspire.

The Deli: All right, give us the rundown. Where all on this big crazy web can you be found?


The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?

Shadow Paint: Just keep on laughing, loving, and living, and you'll be okay.
 
Shadow Paint is:
Chris Brower – drums
Angela Schroder-Dill – vocals
Hanna Smith – keys, vocals
Chris Turner – bass
Corey Vitt – guitar
 
 
Check out Shadow Paint at Middle of the Map Fest next Thursday, April 4. They will be playing that evening at 7:00 pm.
 
 

--Michelle Bacon 

   

Artists on Trial: Dead Ven

As one of the artists of Kansas City’s Money Wolf Music collective, Dead Ven brings a rough-edged, socially conscious folk approach to the local music scene. We talked with frontman Ven Smith about what the band has in store for the year, including its upcoming appearances at Middle of the Map Fest and Center of the City Fest.
 
The Deli: Down and dirty: 1 sentence to describe your music. What is it?

Dead Ven: Street-folk, positive anthems of discontent for the working class. Woody Guthrie meets OI! a la Angelic Upstarts…? Damn. It all sounds so pretentious.
 
The Deli: What other artists are you looking forward to seeing at MotM?
 
Dead Ven: Besides all my Money Wolf Music family and all the great KC bands I see all the time? The Whigs—I'm a sucker for '90's, ‘00's alternative, stoked to see White Lung and a lot of other bands I haven't gotten to experience yet!
 
The Deli: Let’s talk about something you have coming up this year. What can we expect?
 
Dead Ven: Dead Ven has an ultra-limited 7" pre-order coming out in the next month or so on Money Wolf Music with punk legend Kevin Seconds of 7seconds. It's a dream for me, growing up listening to 7seconds and all the the great hardcore-punk of that era—plus he's a great guy and his singer-songwriter stuff is incredibly passionate and well-written.
 
The Deli: So, you guys are playing Center of the City Fest too? Busy!
 
Dead Ven: Wow, you noticed. Yeah, I think we're the only band playing the "fest" and the "anti-fest,” haha. Dead Ven was asked back to return to Center of the City after playing the inaugural fest last year and prior to Money Wolf Music being given a stage at Middle of the Map. There's a lot of backstory in there, but we're happy as hell to be participating in anything and everything that supports Kansas City and all the music and arts contained therein. I think in the end, that's what everyone involved in both is really going for: growing the scene.
 
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?

Dead Ven: Go to shows. Buy the records. Eat/drink Boulevard at the bar. Tell people about shows and bands you like. Make something cool happen. Be excellent to each other.
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite local musicians right now?

Dead Ven: Wow, so many. Of course all my (obligatory self-promotion) Money Wolf Music labelmates— there's so much talent there, but recent discoveries? I just saw The Electric Lungs and they put on a hell of a show, The New Riddim made me "skank" for the first time in a decade, love Bent Left, Smash the State and The Rackatees (Lawrence) bros and their ethic about making stuff happen. I also just had a chance to play a stripped down set with Gregg Todt; that dude is so intensely good.
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite not-so-local musicians right now?

Dead Ven: Bob Fucking Mould put out a new record this year. Bruce Springsteen put out a new one last year. Also, I could list about a hundred more punk bands that are currently slaying. I would be remiss if I didn't mention how much I still love Tim Armstrong and Chuck Ragan and Hot Water Music.
 
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?

Dead Ven: The one where all my best friends spend part of the show in the crowd and part on stage and we all sing along with each other's songs. Also, if I could play claves for The Foo Fighters.
 
The Deli: Would you rather spend the rest of your life on stage or in the recording studio?
 
Dead Ven: Stage, all stage. I’ll never be a “recording artist.” That's not my jam; I'm in it for the community, the experience of sharing with good people. I greatly prefer hearing the noise of a show over myself in some earphones, plus I get tired of my songs really easily.
 
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?
 
Dead Ven: Neil Young, Ian MacKaye, Bruce Springsteen. No explanation, but god that makes me feel old. And… Fred Durst. Yeah, Fred Durst for sure.

The Deli: All right, give us the rundown. Where all on this big crazy web can you be found?


The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?

Dead Ven: RISE ABOVE. STAY WILD. FOREVER TRY.
 
Dead Ven is:
Ven Smith
Nathan Long
Ethan Taylor
Justin Penney
Dennis Hinaris
 
 
Check out Dead Ven at Middle of the Map Fest next Friday, April 5. They will be playing the Money Wolf stage at 8:00 pm at Westport Coffeehouse, followed by Dollar Fox, The Latenight Callers, and The Hillary Watts Riot. They will also be playing at Center of City Fest at The Black & Gold Tavern (formerly The Newsroom) on Saturday evening at 9:15 pm. 

--Michelle Bacon 

   

Album review: Claire and the Crowded Stage - Technicolor (EP)

Technicolor opens with the quirky and cleverly written “Tower of Babel,” which sets an intriguing backdrop for the EP. And two things are immediately made clear about Claire and the Crowded Stage. First, the band’s handler, Claire Adams, does not need a crowded stage to capture an audience’s attention—her voice alone will do the job. And, second, nothing about this band is superficial. Its music is a unique combination of raw emotion and refined sound. The nine-piece, coupled with Adams’s knack for songwriting and compelling vocals, radiates with talent and versatility.  

Adams’ vocals haunt the heart-wrenching “Tower of Babel” [and “Tower of Babel (minimal mix)”] as she sings: “I never lost you / You were never mine.” The strong piano, clarinet, and accordion parts make the ballad memorable and unique. The album’s title track, “Technicolor,” is perhaps the most danceable track on the EP. It carries a rolling-‘20s-esque feel—breaking out into the jitterbug certainly wouldn’t be inappropriate. “Songbird” starts slow and instrumental with an exotic sound unlike any other on the EP. About halfway through the track, however, the tempo, chords and mood change completely and the song becomes very upbeat. It’s another example of the group’s ambidextrous abilities.

Claire and the Crowded Stage is full of enduring talent that will only get better with time. This isn’t just a group of musician friends who are aimlessly plucking away on guitars or noodling around on a piano. Their sound is purposeful and polished. They weren’t thrown together by accident; this crowd was brought about to give local music a good name.
 
Technicolor, the group’s second EP, was released January 5. Claire and her crowded stage comprises: Claire Adams (vocals, ukulele and guitar), Katelyn Boone (bass and keys), Pete Lawless (accordion and saxaphone), Meredith McGrade (electric guitar), Katy Guillen (electric guitar), Stephanie Williams (drums), Jerod Rivers (drums), Brent Jamison (keys) and Teri Quinn (clarinet and guitar). As is par for the course of being a musician in Kansas City, several of these band members can be found hopscotching from lineup to lineup and venue to venue across the city. 
 
You'll be able to listen to Claire and the Crowded Stage on 90.1 KKFI next Wednesday, March 27 at 11:15 a.m. Members will be performing live on Mark Manning's weekly show, Wednesday MidDay Medley. The group will next be crowding the Coda stage on Friday, March 29 with Rev Gusto. Facebook event page here.
 
Here's a video from the title track, "Technicolor":
 
 
 
--Alex Peak
 

Alex Peak is a magazine designer by day and a music listener by night. To her, stumbling across great new music is even better than finding a $10 bill floating around in the laundry.

 

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Album review: Pilot For A Day - Better AIr

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve heard an album with this much pop sensibility come out of Kansas City. Maybe I’m just not in sync with what’s actually going on, or maybe this really is the new generation pioneer for KC pop-punk music. Either way, Pilot For A Day’s debut full-length album, Better Air, is quite the refreshing listen.

 
Better Air is a record, that, in its entirety, emits positive vibes. Songs of hopeless romanticism, adolescent angst, girls, and life ambitions in general compose the 10-track, 40-minute album. And no matter how melancholy the lyrics become, the overall essence of every song leaves you feeling good.
 
Pilot for a Day hits hard on the home opener of Better Air, “Take This Chance.” Synthy siren sounds pop into your audible field first and foremost. The poppy and upbeat diddy that follows instantly lifts your mood. It is a defined precursor to the remainder of the album. “Take This Chance” presents itself with bold lyrics and positive energy, much like the remainder of the album.
 
Possibly the best track on this album is number three, “Extraordinary Life.” This four-minute anthem features the vocal work of close-to-legendary St. Louis rocker Andrew Volpe of Ludo fame. Pilot’s singer Nolan Smith’s chilling, low-toned voice on “Extraordinary Life” is extraordinarily complemented (see what I did there?) by Volpe’s voice on the chorus. The two have a great vocal chemistry that sounds like something you want to hear more of. The bad news: you don’t hear more of it on Better Air; the good news: the rest of the album is just as incredible.
 
Consistently keeping the upbeat tempo, there is no clear shift in motifs through Better Air. It is really quite refreshing to know that you don’t have to power through that slow song stuck in the middle of the album just to reach the more poppy ones. The first eight tracks are all equally as dancy and synth motivated as the rest. One thing you can count on is the shift in the last two tracks “From Somewhere to Here” and “Midwestern Kings.” These last two tracks form an appropriate outro.
 
“From Somewhere to Here” takes the cake for most somber song on the album. Accompanied by the perfect ballad chords of a piano, Smith takes on his haunting tone yet again, setting more of depressing tone. The song does pick up, but maintains that ballad persona. As the song progresses, it picks up more and more throughout the rest of the song.
 
The final track, “Midwestern Kings,” has the brilliant theme of starting a new life. This is probably the best way to end Better Air. As if saying throughout everything in life, there is always a chance to start again. 
 
--Steven Ervay 

Steven Ervay is super rad.