Music

Iris Dement

Iris Dement
"The Trackless Woods"

Iris Dement’s new album is both right in line with all the music she’s ever made and unlike anything else she’s accomplished in an already iconoclastic career.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR

Growing up, Amanda Fish used to lock herself in her room to sing. So, her younger sister Samantha Fish would lock herself in her room and play guitar.

"We were independent experiencers," Amanda says.

"She calls it a loner thing, I call it a leader thing," Samantha adds.

Fast-forward through the days of wailing with Tom Waits and rocking out to Nine-Inch Nails, and these two musicians are, sure enough, leading their own blues bands around Kansas City and across the country.

Charlie Parker's birthday is coming up, and Kansas City is all a-twitter. Hear a visiting jazz scholar's take on the history of Bebop, and Kansas City-born Charlie Parker's place in it. Bonus: a recording of a jam session where you can hear the Bird talking.

Guest:

Two sisters, both Blues singers, talk about being creative siblings, and what drives them to make music.

Guests:

  • Samantha Fish, musician, new album: Wild Heart
  • Amanda Fish, musician, new album: Down in the Dirt

Samantha Fish’s billing at the Spirit of KC Fest reflects her elite status in Kansas City’s music community. The blues-rock artist headlines over five other noteworthy locally-based acts.

This week's Local Listen features “Highway’s Holding Me Now,” a blistering song from Fish’s new “Wild Heart” album.

The Spirit of KC festival is at Crossroads KC on Saturday, August 22. 

Ten years ago this month, Hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans and upended the lives of people who called the city home.

Mike and Katie West lived in the Lower Ninth Ward, and in the time since the hurricane, they have relocated to Lawrence, Kansas.

Radkey

Radkey
Dark Black Makeup (Little Man Records)

Glenn Danzig, the rock veteran often characterized as the Evil Elvis, performed in Kansas City last month. The New Jersey native founded the influential horror-punk band the Misfits in the 1970s, but Danzig ceased being cool years ago. Radkey shamelessly recreates Danzig’s sound, but there’s little about this band from St. Joseph that isn’t extremely cool.

Wondaland Records

Kansas City, Kansas, native Janelle Monae on Thursday released a new single that's an anguished litany of black men and women who've been killed by police and other injustices.

Jeremy Thompson / Flickr-CC

One local music venue is in a narrow storefront and it doesn’t have a stage. The other is in the East Bottoms.

You’d think these locations wouldn’t work, but the Green Lady Lounge and Knuckleheads Saloon have succeeded in carving out a niche in Kansas City’s music scene — even to the point where Knuckleheads has opened the Garage, a mid-sized venue, next door.

 

One of the best parties in Kansas City occurs every Friday afternoon at the Phoenix as the vocalist, trumpeter and tap dancer Lonnie McFadden eases celebrants into the weekend.  An old-school entertainer in the tradition of Sammy Davis Jr., McFadden is one of Kansas City’s most beloved personalities.  

This week's Local Listen features McFadden’s jovial invocation “Let’s Party.”

McFadden performs at the Phoenix every Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Jenny Wheat Photography

Mikal Shapiro
The Musical

On her third solo album, Mikal Shapiro essentially divides the songs into two sides. And it's tempting to line up "Act One" and "Act Two" as songs of innocence answered, track for track, by songs of experience.

As the summer winds down, are you looking for some music to rev you up? Our critics here at Up to Date have scoured the best of local, national and international music released this year to give you a wide selection.

Chris Haghirian

Local picks:

The Sluts, "Let Me Go" from The Sluts

  • "It's a nice, loud ruckus-y garage band sound. It looks like he's protecting himself with his drumsticks."

Hipshot Killer, "Give Me Something Better"

Chris Haghirian

Whether you're working out at the gym or drifting to sleep, it's nice to have some music to keep you company and Kansas City has plenty of great artists to add to your playlist. 

Kansas City music critic Chris Haghirian has compiled his favorite albums of 2015 — so far. 

Haghirian writes about music, organizes the Middle of the Map Fest and you can hear him on his local music show Eight One Sixty every Tuesday evening on 90.9 FM The Bridge.  

Anyone with a laptop computer can act as a one-man band in 2015, but A.J. Gaither goes about it the old-fashioned way as he simultaneously howls, flails at a guitar and pounds on drums during his frequent performances in Kansas City’s barrooms.

This week’s Local Listen is Gaither’s typically-unhinged song “Natural Habitat.”  

Gaither performs at the Westport Saloon August 8 at midnight.

iheartlocalmusic.com

Bummer
Spank (High Dive Records)

On first listen, it’s easy to dismiss Spank, the new EP by the Olathe, Kansas three-piece appropriately named Bummer, as a generic angry punk record. But as of the second listen, it’s more than just raging noise.

Deadly themes rise out of dismal drones and pounding thuds fill this 20 minutes of what the band describes as "Neanderthal rock," which ends in a fiery feedback fuzzblanket that might unleash repressed tears or a fit of cathartic wall-punching.

Jeff Widgren / Courtesy Jeff Widgren

Kansas City jazz lovers are agonizing over the news that Take Five Coffee + Bar will close on Aug. 15.

“We are very sad to have to make this announcement, but Take Five is going to be taking an indefinite ‘set break,’” owners Lori and Doug Chandler wrote on the venue’s Facebook page on July 31.

Since then, an outpouring of sentiment on social media has “made a very difficult situation for us much easier to bear,” says Lori Chandler.

  Six accomplished members of Kansas City’s indie-rock scene have joined forces as The Philistines to create what they characterize as “interstellar psychedelic rock 'n roll.”  Twitch of the Death Nerve, the lead single from the band’s forthcoming debut album, is this week’s Local Listen.

The Philistines perform Friday, July 31, at the Tank Room

Jerry Moran / Native Orleanian Fine Photography

Samantha Fish
Wild Heart (Ruf Records)

“Turn it up!”

Samantha Fish’s demand to crank the volume during a song of the same name on her new album “Wild Heart” reflects her general orientation. Although she’s invariably classified as a blues artist, “Wild Heart” reveals that Fish is actually a first-rate rock-and-roller.

Be/Non / Facebook

Brody Rush has alternately delighted and confounded Kansas City’s rock community for 20 years. As the primary visionary behind his band, Be/Non, Rush has crafted a compelling catalog of psychedelic rock.

This week’s edition of Local Listen features Spark 22, a typically adventurous track from Be/Non’s 2009 concept album “A Mountain of Yeses.”

Wikipedia--CC

The 1974 Ozark Music Festival lives on in infamy.

It drew as many as 350,000 people to the small, family-oriented town of Sedalia.

Traffic ground to a halt. Temperatures were in the triple-digits. Nudity ran rampant and the cost of ice skyrocketed.

Residents came home to festival-goers camped out on their lawns, using garden hoses for "baths." People sent their children out of town for safety. Hungry, drug-addled music fans stole a cow. And it only gets crazier from there.

Guest:

Courtesy the Hillbenders

The HillBenders
'Tommy: A Bluegrass Opera
'

The HillBenders’ bluegrass version of "Tommy" has no real precedent. Other acts have done new versions of classic albums; the Flaming Lips’ recording of "Dark Side of the Moon" springs to mind. But the Hillbenders, an acoustic five-piece from Springfield, Missouri, aren’t attempting to reinvent the Who’s classic album in the way the Lips did Pink Floyd’s classic.

Michael Wilson / jeffblack.com

Singer-songwriter Jeff Black emerged from the same Kansas City open mic scene that produced Iris Dement in the 1990s. The subject of this week’s Local Listen continues to craft sturdy songs from his base in Nashville.

Members of the rock band Wilco accompanied Black on the title track of his 1998 debut album, "Birmingham Road," a gritty song that evokes the industrial thoroughfare in North Kansas City.

Jeff Black performs at Knuckleheads at 8 p.m. on Friday, July 17.

Tech N9ne
“Special Effects” (Strange Music)

Cultural, racial and musical barriers crumbled when the Kansas City rapper Tech N9ne performed for tens of thousands of hard rock fans at Rockfest on May 30.

Danny Clinch Sacks And Co.

Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear
Skeleton Crew (Glassnote)

The AM Trio / Facebook

The young pianist, songwriter and bandleader Alyssa Murray is another noteworthy alumnus of Bobby Watson’s Jazz Studies program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She and her band, The AM Trio, have a stated mission of "combining jazz with the narrative elements of contemporary folk."

This week’s edition of Local Listen features “In the Evening,” a track from The AM Trio’s new EP “As of Now.”

The AM Trio will perform at 8 p.m. Friday, July 3, at Take Five Coffee + Bar.  The Blue Room will host the ensemble at 7 p.m. Monday, July 6.

Courtesy Dominique Sanders

Dominique Sanders
"A True Story Based On..." (Innate Sounds, 2015)

The people who hear Dominique Sanders perform tasteful jazz at venues throughout Kansas City have little reason to suspect the bassist is an active participant in a sonic revolution. But Sanders’ audaciously ambitious new album, “A True Story Based On…” reveals that mainstream jazz is merely a portion of his musical interests. The sprawling project includes cosmic funk, freaky jazz fusion, sultry neo-soul, hip-hop beats and jarring bursts of ambient noise.

Local Listen: Sara Morgan

Jun 19, 2015
saramorganmusic.com

The June release of her six-song EP “Easy to Dream” is likely to make Sara Morgan one of Kansas City’s most popular singer-songwriters. This week’s edition of Local Listen features the country-tinged title track of “Easy to Dream.”

Sara Morgan opens the main stage of the Boulevardia festival in the West Bottoms at 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 21.

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