WMM’s 120 Best Recordings of 2020

WMM’s 120 Best Recordings of 2020

The 120 Best Recordings of 2020 is based on the playlists of this little ole radio show Wednesday MidDay Medley. In 2020 we’ve broadcast nearly 900 different tracks over our 100,000 watts of 90.1 FM Community Radio Airwaves. Over 500 of these tracks were from New & MidCoastal Releases. We played tracks from 112 National Releases, and 211 MidCoastal Releases. 75 of the representative tracks in our “Best of” list are from MidCoastal Releases. In 2020 we’ve conducted 131 live interviews with 156 special guests. 48 of the bands and artists in our “Best of” list have joined us as guests on Wednesday MidDay Medley.

Please accept our “Best Of” list as a celebration of the music of 2020.

  1. The Freedom Affair – Freedom is Love / Sunflower Soul Records / September 25, 2020
    [“Freedom Is Love” is the debut album from Kansas City’s newest soul juggernaut, The Freedom Affair. The album explores themes of love, heartache, empowerment, and togetherness through a varying landscape of hard-hitting funk, luscious soul, and everything in between. The Freedom Affair is a unique collective featuring 3 powerhouse female vocalists in front of a dynamic 6-piece band. On “Freedom Is Love”, each of the ladies get their time to shine individually, but the magic is on full display when all 3 come together in unison and harmony, symbolically embodying the messages that they sing about. The album was recorded and produced by Chris Hazelton, utilizing the best of vintage and new recording technologies to create an authentic experience, befitting of a soul record that would have been relevant 50 years ago as much as it will be 50 years from now. The Freedom Affair is: Misha Roberts on vocals; Paula Saunders on vocals; Seyko Groves on vocals; Cole Bales on guitar, sitar (Track 3); Branden Moser on guitar; Chris Hazelton on bass guitar, organ (Tracks 1, 2, 9, & 10), Tambourine (Track 1), Glockenspiel (Track 3), & Chimes (Track 4); Dave Brick on drums; Pete Carroll on trumpet; Brett Jackson on tenor sax, baritone sax (Tracks 1 & 5), & tambourine (Tracks 5, 6, & 8). Additional Musicians: Pat Conway on Congas (Tracks 1, 3, & 6), Alyssa Bell on viola (Tracks 3, 4, & 7), Elizabeth Codd on violin (Tracks 3 & 4), Matt Bennett on violin (Tracks 3 & 7), John Wickersham on timpani (Track 4), Pamela Baskin-Watson on piano (Track 10), Nick Howell on tambourine (Track 10), The Freedom Family Choir (Track 10): Misha Roberts, Erica Hazelton, Seyko Groves, Paula Saunders, Jordyn Saunders, Cole Bales, and Chris Hazelton. All Horn & String Arrangements by Chris Hazelton except: “Heartaches Don’t Come Easy” and “Give A Little Love” by Pete Carroll & Brett Jackson, “Don’t Shoot” by Chris Hazelton & Allyssa Bell. Produced, Recorded, & Mixed by Chris Hazelton. Assistant Produced by Dave Brick. Rhythm Section on Track 10 recorded by Chad Meise. Mastered by JJ Golden. Cover Artwork by Matthew “Mo” Manley. Front cover photograph of civil rights protesters in Kansas City, MO (April 9th, 1968). The Freedom Affair and their track “Rise Up” were selected to be part of Colemine Records 3xLP box set, “Soul Slabs Vol. 2” a Record Store Day Exclusive, released April 13, 2019. Colemine writes: “The Freedom Affair is a freight train of KC soul! Dirty, funky drums, gritty horns, and the combined vocals of Misha Roberts, Seyko Groves, and Paula Saunders to put this band over the top. Politically charged soul music for the dancefloor!” Chris Hazelton was our guest on WMM on September 16, 2020.]
  1. BLACKSTARKIDS – SURF / Bedroom Records / February 28, 2020
    [Blackstarkids are phenomenon who came out of Kansas City in 2020 became the soundtrack for the summer. Blackstarkids are a pop/R&B/hip-hop trio based in Kansas City, Missouri. Members include: TheBabeGabe, Deiondre, and TyFaizon (of the Drop Dead XX collective). The members have known each other since high school in Raytown, Missouri. Members met at Raytown South High School and formed the band in 2019. The group released its first album, Let’s Play Sports, on August 1, 2019. Blackstarkids then released their second album SURF through their own label Bedroom Records on February 28, 2020. Blackstarkids caught the attention of The 1975’s frontman Matty Healy and were then signed to The 1975’s management company and UK-based label Dirty Hit Records. They were featured in Clash Magazine. Blackstarkids then released, Surf Basement Demos on Dirty Hit Records on March 5, 2020. On October 29, 2020, Blackstarkids released Whatever, Man on Dirty Hit Records, their third album release of 2020. Gabe, of Blackstarkids recently described the KC Music community to an interviewer, “The music scene here is really nice. There are a lot of bands who are super talented and do all types of genres. The jazz music here is really great as well. Kansas City is honestly a hidden gem when it comes to music. I feel like you can meet an artist anywhere and anyplace in this city.” Deiondre added, “The music scene here is getting cool now, there’s a lot of jazz musicians that go to school for music here too but you can find people from different scenes all over if around the city.” Ty wrote, “The Kansas City scene is great, the community here is so supportive and genuine. This is a really prideful city here and I think they’re finally getting the musicians they deserve.”]
  1. Shy Boys – Talk Loud / Polyvinyl Record Co. / September 25, 2020
    [3rd album from Shy Boys. Shy Boys are brothers Collin Rausch & Kyle Rausch, Konnor Ervin, Kyle Little and Ross Brown. Collin & Kyle come from a family of musicians. Their cousin is Kasey Rausch, their father Kent Rausch is a jazz musician and was the music teacher and band director at their High School. Their mother was a choir director. Their father was from a family of 7 brothers (Greg, Terry, Brad), many who are musicians and recording artists, including their Grandfather Dean Rausch. Kyle Rausch and Konnor Ervin were band mates in The ACBs. Collin had been playing for years in the KC area including The Abracadabras, and The I’ms with Kyle. The three shared a love for 1960s era pop rock and soon started writing their own music. In 2014 they released the self-titled Shy Boys on High Dive Records. In June 2014, the band recorded and released two more singles and one of them, “Life Is Peachy,” was featured on Stereogum. Musician Kyle Little and Ross Brown (of Fullbloods) joined Shy Boys to make the band a 5-piece. On April 4th, 2018, it was announced that Shy Boys had signed to Polyvinyl Recording Co. an independent record label based in Champaign, Illinois and home to the band STRFKR, Xiu Xiu, The Get Up Kids, of Montreal, and others. Shy Boys released their Polyvinyl debut album, the autobiographical, Bell House, on August. 3, 2018. They immediately went out on an extended national tour. On February 15, 2019, Shy Boys released their singles, “Dim The Light” and “Brick By Brick” signaling new sounds from the band. Collin Rausch, Kyle Rausch and Ross Brown joined us live on WMM on November 11, 2020.]
  1. We The People – Misunderstood / Eddie Moore Music / September 25, 2020
    [Eddie Moore on piano, Rhodes, synth, keyboards, & bass; Jason Emmond – on bass; Zach Morrow on drums; Andrew Baile on guitar; Keith Rodgers; Angle Gibson on vocals “Enough”; Rane Raps- “The Truth”; Lucero on vocals “The Truth”; Andrew McGhie on tenor sax “Round Up”. “Worst Nights” Produced by Jason Emmond/ Eddie Moore. Recorded at Make Believe Studios by Keith Rodgers. Mix & Mastered by Rick Carson. Executive Producers: Eddie Moore and Amilcar “PRO” Welton. Album Art by Adrian Truth. This is for all the times we are misunderstood and mean the best for people. This is for times pain and fear were swallowed and a unique beauty emerged. The times that struggle became a culture, a new identity for the land of the free. The idea of Freedom and the celebration of individuality. Eddie Moore is the recipient of the 2016 Charlotte Street Generative Performance Award for his genre bending collaborations. Raised in Houston Texas, he began his musical journey at Texas Southern University where he later earned a Bachelors in Arts and immersed himself in the Houston music scene. Eddie relocated to Kansas City to study under Bobby Watson at the University of Missouri-Kansas City where he received a M.A in Jazz Studies. 2017’s Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art “Artist in Residence” in collaboration with Rashid Johnson. In 2018 his work with The Outer Circle was nominated for an Indie Music Award for “007”. His music has also been featured commercially for Sprint, Netflix’s “Queer Eye”, and Morgan Cooper’s short film “Room Tone”. Moore’ has shared the stage and record with distinctive artist such as Bobby Watson, Pam, Watson, Logan Richardson, Maurice Brown, Boys II Men, Brian Blade and the Fellowship, John Baptiste, Erykah Badu, Mosdef, Bilal, Ledisi, Chantae Cann, Krystal Warren, Matt Otto, Brandon Draper, Andre Hayward, Tivon Pennicott, Various Blonde, Dominique Sanders, 77 Jefferson, and the Marcus Lewis Big Band. We the People is a genre-defying quartet comprised of keyboardist Eddie Moore, bassist/producer Jason Emmond, drummer Zach Morrow, and turntablist/producer Kethro. . Eddie Moore joined us live on WMM on September 23, 2020.]
  1. Una Walkenhorst – Woman of the Year / Una Walkenhorst / April 16, 2020
    [25 year old Una Walkenhorst is a singer/songwriter from Kansas City. Una told KCUR FM that her father was one of the people who made her love music. But having a famous father can be challenging: “I knew that if I started my music career here I would have a lot of opportunities, but not all of them would be because of my music. They would be because I am someone’s daughter,” Walkenhorst says. Loading up her 97 Honda Civic, Una then spent a year traveling across North America promoting her music and connecting with listeners one-on-one. She ended up living in New Orleans. Una Walkenhorst is the youngest daughter of Bob Walkenhorst, a founding member of The Rainmakers, which had national and international hits in the 1980s and 90s, and continue to this day touring and recording new music. In January of 2018 Una Walkenhorst returned home to Kansas City from New Orleans. Over the past several years, Una and Bob had performed together at selected events, including Folk Alliance International. In 2018 the father and daughter duo decided to record an album together, where they split the difference, taking turns as songwriters for the album’s songs, written individually, and recorded together, with beautiful harmonies. Una was our guest on WMM on March 18, 2020.]
  1. Ebony Tusks – Heal Thyself / High Dive Records / November 6, 2020
    [All songs written and performed by Ebony Tusks unless otherwise noted. // All Songs engineered and mixed by George Henry Valyer IV at Rundown Studios in Topeka, Kansas and MalaMUTE Studios in East Lawrence, Kansas. Assistance provided by Nico Williams and Claire Kuner. // Conny Franko’s vocals on “You Runner” engineered by Keith Rodger and Rick Carson at Make Believe Studios in Omaha, Nebraska. // IK’s vocals on “Gang Signs” engineered by Derek Montgomery. // Stik Figa’s vocals on “Hell Above Or Here Below” engineered by Sean Patrick at Twelves Studios in Forth Worth, Texas. // Cello on “Heir Apparent” written and performed by Brail Watson. Rhodes and Moog on “Heir Apparent” written and performed by Daniel Bowersox. // All Songs mastered by Mike Nolte at Eureka Mastering in Portland, Oregon. // Album cover art by Justin Bergin. Album cover photography by Rachel Lock. Album layout by Martinez Hillard. // Album insert photography by Ailecia Ruscin and LeRoy Pristach. // Ebony Tusks is Daniel Smith on DJ & Production, Geese Giesecke on vocals & Production, and Marty Hillard on vocals & Production. Martinez Hillard told Vivid Seats: “ I began EBONY TUSKS in 2009 after a difficult period that summer. I was living in the student ghetto near the University of Kansas in Lawrence. It was an eerily calm Friday night and I didn’t have any plans after work so I crashed. I woke up shortly after 9:00 pm because my door was being kicked in. I was beaten and robbed at gunpoint. Thankfully, two of my neighbors were close friends and called the police immediately. I had nightmares for years afterward that included many symbols I’ve come to associate with various religious practices. I also began writing raps for the first time in over a decade. I was working with a couple producers and we had our first show at a house venue called Pizza Power in October 2010. Both Daniel and Geese came into the fold within a couple years of that show.” Daniel Smith lives in Lawrence, Kansas. He was born in Berkeley California. He moved to Lawrence when he was a child. Hs father is a Professor at The University of Kansas. Daniel works the United Way of Douglass County. He helps to provide after school job-training programs for under-served youth. Nathan “Geese” Giesecke grew up in Olathe but now lives and works in Kansas City, MO. He was friends with Calvin Arsenia in High School. Geese works as a producer as GEESACE. He makes beats and you can find his music at http://soundcloud.com/geesace Nathan is also a lighting designer who jumped on stage to do back up vocals for Marty and ended up being in the band. Martinez Hillard is the main vocalist and lyricist for EBONY TUSKS. He raps under the moniker Bodye, (pronounced “body”). He also produces beats. Martinez lives in the Old Town neighborhood in downtown Topeka with wife and 5 year old daughter. Martinez was part of the super group Cowboy Indian Bear. Martinez was recently elected to serve as a board member for Friends of the Library for Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library. As Marty told Johnson County Library, in a piece published April 27, 2018: “ It was a project I started with other producers back in 2010. I asked Daniel to DJ for me sometime in 2011-2012 and Geese joined not too far behind him. Daniel and I had become fast friends when I lived in Lawrence and he was the nicest, most easygoing DJ of the handful I knew. He made our shows a lot less stressful. Geese was and is a lighting technician for a number of our friends’ projects and that was how I made acquaintance with him, seeing him work for a band and asking if he’d do lights for an EBONY TUSKS concert. He eventually asked if he could be hypeman for us and he brought an new intensity.” EBONY TUSKS have been a band for over 11 years making hip hop in the Lawrence scene that includes Approach, Stik Figa, Heartfelt Anarchy, and Archetype are just a small fraction. With that said, the three of us are always having conversations about how other genres influence us personally. Post-rock, post-hardcore, industrial, indie rock, and electronic all factor in. Our tastes evolve naturally and we follow accordingly. Since the three members of EBONY TUSKS live in three separate cities: Kansas City, Lawrence and Topeka early on, they created a Dropbox folder to share demos with one another. And as they told Vivid Seat: “It also gave us a bit of language to use in building sounds independent of one another.” More info at: http://www.highdiverecords.com Members of Ebony Tusks joined us LIVE on WMM on February 19, and October 7, 2020.]
  1. Pedaljets – Twist The Lens / Electric Moth Records / February 14, 2020
    [Twist The Lens was recorded in three main sessions, produced by the Pedaljets alongside their former lead guitarist Paul Malinowski (Shiner, Season To Risk). Though the Pedaljets core trio of Mike Allmayer, bassist Matt Kesler, and drummer Rob Morrow has remained a constant throughout their tenure as a band, they’ve worked with multiple lead guitarists throughout the years, with Twist The Lens being the first record to showcase their newest addition, Cody Wyoming. Bringing in Wyoming, and working alongside Malinowski, allowed the new songs to benefit from a fresh and outside perspective, while still keeping the album within the Pedaljets family. It also lent itself to a more utilitarian process where, as Allmayer describes, “We would constantly listen back and ask ourselves, ‘Are you hearing something this song needs?’ We were really focused on pushing ourselves to make the best music we can and being extra critical.” To round out the team, the band brought in veteran producer John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., Kurt Vile) to mix the record and reunited with Archer Prewitt (The Sea and Cake) whose artwork has adorned the last three Pedaljets album covers. Matt Kesler, Mike Allmayer, and Cody Wyoming were our guests on WMM on Feb. 12, 2020.]
  1. Daniel Gum – Thirteen / Manor Records / October 30, 2020
    [Produced by Mike Crawford and Daniel Gum. All songs written, performed, and mixed by Daniel Gum. Engineered by Mike Crawford. Mastered by Mike Nolte at Eureka Mastering. Daniel Gum is a 23 year old singer-songwriter from Kansas City. Since the age of 12, he has spent the majority of his time writing and recording songs by himself in his room. His most recent project, Moon, on the other hand was recorded by someone else in another room while Daniel was by himself in yet another room. The Moon EP was released December 7, 2019. It was engineered by Mike Crawford and Daniel Gum and mixed by Daniel Gum with piano and accordion by Cole Crawford. Daniel Gun released his EP i’m not dead October 25, 2017, and his 10-song album Reorient on July 31, 2015, with all songs written, recorded and mixed by Daniel Gum who also performed all vocals guitars, drums, piano, bass. harmonica, and programming. The first single from Daniel Gum’s album, Thirteen “Ruin Your Life” was released on September 4, The second single, “In The Worst Ways” was released September 28, 2020. ] [On our July 22, 2020, WMM show we played Daniel Gum’s track, “Tired Saint” from French Exit Records – Black Lives Matter Compilation, released July 6, 2020. French Exit Records was launched two years ago as an independent music label in KCMO, founded by Brad Girard. French Exit Records has released albums for No Magic and Raymond,. BLM Compilation is 22 acts from the area, with all proceeds donated to One Struggle KC’s Liberation Fund, a Black-led coalition of KC activists seeking to connect the struggles of oppressed communities, locally & globally. Daniel Gum joined us on WMM on November 11, 2020.]
  1. Betse & Clarke – Winter EP / Betse & Clarke / June 4, 2020
    [A collection of songs and tunes, including original compositions, traditional songs and fiddle tunes, and modern songs re-envisioned. This recording was compiled during winter 2020, with a feeling of introspection. Songs under copyright were properly licensed for this digital release. Regular folks, exceptional music: This duo from the heartland (Kansas City, Missouri) has its roots in Ozark old time music, honoring traditional songs and tunes that resonate with human experience. New compositions add compelling elements to their musical tapestry. Follow up to the duo’s 2017 release, Tunes We Like released only in analog on cassette. Betse & Clarke are a traditional and future folk duo with Betse Ellis on fiddles, violins, viola & vocals and Clarke Wyatt on banjos, guitar, cello, multi-instruments. Betse & Clarke have played and toured around the world. Individually their musical roots go deep in the KC music scene. Clarke Wyatt is a founding member of Mr. Marco’s V7, and Betse Ellis is a founding member of The Wilders. Last year Betse & Clarke released ”River Still Rise,” originals and reworked traditional compositions presented “to be enjoyed as a musical adventure, much like the river exploration of the famous duo Lewis & Clark, an inspiration for the band’s name.” http://www.betseandclarke.com]
  1. Krystle Warren & The Crew – The Crew EP / Parlour Door Music / Sept. 15, 2020
    [Through isolation came unity. The Crew is Lakecia Benjamin, Matthew Silberman, Jacob Snider, Joe Blaxx, Solomon Dorsey, Zach Djanikian, Cassorla, Krystle Warren, and Ben Kane. They have recorded unique versions of classic songs with the hope of encouraging the rallying cries of The Moment: the movement of the people. // In the lockdown of their homes, they sewed together their interpretations of “Bein’ Green” (based upon Ray Charles’ rendition); “Gimme Some Truth” (a mighty John Lennon composition); “Dear Landlord” (a scathing indictment from the blistering pen of Bob Dylan); and “Rhythm of Life”, (a timeless statement originally performed by Oleta Adams). // A portion of the proceeds from The Crew. EP will be donated to the various causes and organizations. From Billboard.com: Singer-songwriter Krystle Warren has made a powerful statement about the struggle for Black equality with the help of Kermit the Frog’s iconic song “Bein’ Green” (written by Joe Raposo). // The moving five-minute clip, over which Warren sings her rendition of the 1970 song — since recorded by Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra and others — sprang from a covers EP she recorded during the pandemic with a group of musicians known as The Crew. Warren embarked on the project after her forthcoming album with her regular group, The Faculty, was put on hold due to COVID-19. The EP, which tackles themes of racial injustice in the wake of nationwide Black Lives Matter protests this summer, also includes a cover of John Lennon’s “Gimme Some Truth.” // The “Bein’ Green” video weaves in footage of this year’s Black Lives Matter protests, and also includes a heartbreaking montage of young Black children choosing white dolls over dark-skinned ones. It additionally features archival footage of such transformative Black figures as James Baldwin, Angela Davis, Malcom X, Nina Simone, Marsha P. Johnson and Al Sharpton, as well as victims of police brutality including Sandra Bland, George Floyd and Eric Garner. It ends with a clip from a speech by civil rights activist Ella Baker. // “‘Bein’ Green,’ it’s such a gorgeous song, and it says so, so much,” says Warren. “I began thinking about what I wanted it to express visually before we started [recording the song]. Essentially — it’s not easy being Black. That’s what Ray Charles was saying, and we felt it needed to be said again.” // Warren, who now resides in Paris, began performing in her native Kansas City at the age of 16 before moving to New York City, where she started busking on the streets and later formed her regular band, The Faculty. She and the group have recorded several full-length albums, including 2009’s Circles, 2012’s Love Songs and 2017’s Three the Hard Way. Her next album is slated for release this winter. // A large percentage of proceeds from sales of the EP — which is available for digital downloads via Warren’s website now and released on all streaming platforms next Friday — will be donated to the ACLU. Krystle Warren joined us live on WMM on September 23, 2020.]
  1. Bettye LaVette – Blackbirds / Verve Records / August 28, 2020
    For Bettye LaVette’s Blackbirds Steve Jordan served as producer. Blackbirds features songs primarily popularized by peers-other iconic women in music-who she respected and admired. This is the 11th studio album from Bettye LaVette, born Betty Jo Haskins, on January 29, 1946. She is an American soul singer-songwriter who made her first record at sixteen, but achieved only intermittent fame until 2005, with her album I’ve Got My Own Hell to Raise. Her eclectic musical style combines elements of soul, blues, rock and roll, funk, gospel, and country music.LaVette was born in Muskegon, Michigan, and raised in Detroit. Unlike many of her contemporaries, she did not begin singing in the church, but in her parents’ living room, singing R&B and country and western music. She was signed by Johnnie Mae Matthews, a local record producer. In 1962, aged sixteen, she recorded a single, “My Man — He’s a Lovin’ Man”, with Matthews, which became a Top Ten R&B hit after Atlantic Records bought distribution rights. This led to a tour with rhythm and blues musicians Clyde McPhatter, Ben E. King, Barbara Lynn, and then-newcomer Otis Redding. She next hit the charts with “Let Me Down Easy” on Calla Records in 1965. This led to a brief stint with The James Brown Revue. After recording several singles for local Detroit labels, LaVette signed to the Silver Fox label in 1969. She cut a handful of tracks, including two Top 40 R&B hits: “He Made A Woman Out Of Me” and “Do Your Duty”. The Memphis studio musicians on these recordings have since become known as The Dixie Flyers. In 1972, she signed once again with Atlantic/Atco. She was sent to Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Alabama to record what was to be her first full-length album. Titled Child of the Seventies, it was produced by Brad Shapiro and featured the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, now known as The Swampers, but Atco chose not to issue the album. The mid 1970s saw a brief stint and two 45s with Epic, and in 1978 she released the disco smash on West End Records “Doin’ The Best That I Can”. In 1982, she was signed by her hometown label, Motown, and sent to Nashville to record. The resulting LP (her first album actually issued), titled Tell Me A Lie, was produced by Steve Buckingham. The first single, “Right In The Middle (Of Falling In Love)” hit the R&B Top 40. She briefly gave up recording for a six-year run in the Broadway smash Bubbling Brown Sugar, appearing alongside Honi Coles and Cab Calloway. After LaVette had played her own personal mono recordings of Child of the Seventies for Gilles Petard, a French soul music collector, he sought the master recordings at Atlantic, whose personnel had previously thought they had been lost in a fire some years back. In 1999, he finally discovered the masters and then licensed the album from Atlantic and released it in 2000 as Souvenirs on his Art and Soul label. At the same time, Let Me Down Easy — Live In Concert was issued by the Dutch Munich label. Both albums sparked a renewed interest in LaVette and in 2003, A Woman Like Me (produced by Dennis Walker) was released. The CD won the 2004 W. C. Handy Award for “Comeback Blues Album of the Year”. In an interview, LaVette identified A Woman Like Me as the first album in the second phase of her career and said her 2012 autobiography was named after the album.]
  1. The Roseline – GOOD / GRIEF / Alt Country Club / April 3, 2020
    [From the 6th album of the Lawrence, KS, based alt-country, Americana, rock band, formed by Colin Halliburton with friends in 2005. The songs were born, largely, in response to the death of Halliburton’s best friend (and keyboardist in The Roseline), as well as the loss of his mother-in-law to suicide. Additionally, the album explores themes of love & marriage, the grieving process, elder millennial existential dread, politicized rage, drugs, and mortality. Beyond simply the lyrics, they have added sonic textures that have not previously been explored, thanks to the addition of guitarist Bradley McKellip, bassist Colin Jones, and keyboardist and vocalist Heidi Gluck. Drummer Jim Piller and guitarist Kris Losure have returned as solid mainstays of the band. Guest appearances from lap steel player Mike Stover, pianist Dan Loftus, and vocalist Chase Horseman widen the sonic spectrum even further. The album was recorded, engineered and produced by Joel Nanos at Element Recording Studios in KCMO. The new album follows the September 29, 2017 release “Blood,” and the June 19, 2015 album, “Townie.” The band has toured the US and Halliburton has completed two European solo tours thus far, taking him through Poland, Germany, Belgium, and The Netherlands. Colin Halliburton joined us on WMM on March 25, 2020.]
  1. Fritz Hutchison – Wide Wild Acres / Center Cut Records / March 27, 2020
    [Debut album of Fritz Hutchison. Written & performed by Fritz Hutchison. Produced by Fritz Hutchison & Joel Nanos. Recorded & mixed in KC by Joel Nanos at Element Recording Studio. Mastered by Collin Jordan at The Boiler Room in Chicago. Multi-instrumentalist Fritz Hutchison was born May 27, 1991. A life-long resident of KC Since 2008 he’s been part of multiple bands playing drums with: She’s a Keeper, Freight Train Rabbit Killer, and Grand Marquis. As a guitarist he has played along side J Ashley Miller, Lauren Krum, Miki P and Calvin Arsenia. A decade of lending an ear and a hand to other musicians has left Fritz poised to launch his own solo career as a singer-songwriter.“Fortunate Flaws” features Ian Teeple on bass, and Coleen Dieker on strings. All other instruments: drums, guitar, piano and vocals are performed by Fritz Hutchison. Fritz was our guest on WMM on March 25, 2020]
  1. Miki P and The Swallowtails – Right Where We Are / Miki P / August 21, 2020
    [Rachel Lovelace on bassoon, Adee Dancy on cello & vocals, and Miki P on guitar & lead Vocals. Each member is an integral part of the Kansas City music scene, writing, arranging, performing, and collaborating original music for their own groups and several other projects in the metro. “Introspective pop music with lyric-driven folk influences, mixed with collaborative energy & an odd pairing of instruments, Miki P locked in with the Swallowtails create a moment with music written and arranged from the heart.” Miki P (Mikala Petillo) started playing guitar in middle school. She taught herself to play the drums, while listening to Mitch Mitchell, Keith Moon and Ringo Starr. As a teen she played drums for various groups including American Slim. She wrote songs for their full-length album Irreplaceable released in 2017, followed by a single “Queen of Hearts” released April 11, 2018. She also plays ukulele & piano, teaching herself how to play both the instruments, using them frequently in all projects she is involved in. She was a featured vocalist with The Band That Fell to Earth Bowie Tribute. She’s played Boulevardia, Middle of the Map Fest, Royal’s Kaufman Stadium, recordBar, Uptown Theater, Arrowhead Stadium, Nelson Atkins Museum, the Crossroads Music Festival . More info at: http://www.mikipmusic.com. Miki P was our guest on WMM on April 15, 2020.]
  1. Katy Guillen & The Drive – Dream Girl EP / Katy Guillen / March 20, 2020
    [New 7-song EP from Katy Guillen & The Drive, the latest project dedicated to Guillen’s songwriting that is founded on the creative spark and chemistry between Katy Guillen & Stephanie Williams. With Guillen on guitar & vocals and Williams on drums, the two sculpt a sound that recalls bands like Led Zeppelin, The Bangles, and Band of Skulls. In 2012, Guillen & Williams formed Katy Guillen and The Girls, and began to build a foundation of touring and recording that carried them through six years and produced three full-length albums: Katy Guillen & the Girls, Heavy Days, and Remember What You Knew Before. Between 2012 and 2018, they traveled the United States extensively, performed at the International Montreal Jazz Festival, toured Sweden, and supported major acts like The Doobie Brothers, Robin Trower, and Heartless Bastards. In these 6 years playing together, Guillen & Williams created a dynamic, sound informed by Guillen’s mesmerizing, emotive guitar style and poignant arrangements, and an equally captivating live show that showcased Williams’ technical, melodic style, resulting in a powerful on-stage chemistry. In addition to the compelling synergy formed by years of playing together, the two developed a method of working together on Guillen’s songs that only deepened their artistic connection, propelling them to forge a path to a new plateau in their music. KG & The Drive push ahead with a melodic, heavy, and soulful sound while maintaining the edge of the artist’s rock ‘n’ roll and blues roots. Katy Guillen joined us on WMM on March 18, 2020.]
  1. Fantastic Negrito – Have You Lost Your Mind Yet? / Cooking Vinyl / August 14, 2020
    [Follow up to his June 15, 2018 release, Please Don’t Be Dead on Blackball Universe – Cooking Vinyl Records that was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album. His 2016 album The Last Days of Oakland won a Grammy award for Best Contemporary Blues Album at the 59th Grammy Awards. In 2019, his album Please Don’t Be Dead won the same category for the 61st Grammy Awards.Fantastic Negrito was raised in an orthodox Muslim household. His father was a Somali-Caribbean immigrant who mostly played traditional African music. He was the eight of 15 children. When, at the age of 12, Negrito’s family moved from Massachusetts to Oakland, California. Oakland in 1970s was a million miles from Negrito’s conservative childhood. He went from Arab chants to Funkadelic in one day. By the time he was 20, Negrito had taught himself to play every instrument he could get his hands on. He was recording music, and after some difficulties on the streets he packed his bags and headed to LA, armed with a demo on cassette. Negrito signed with a million dollar deal at Interscope. The record deal was a disaster. Gangsta rap was ruling the airwaves and Negrito was in the wrong place at the wrong era. Negrito came out of the deal with a failed album and his confidence gutted. In 2000, Negrito was in a near fatal car accident that put him in a coma. For four weeks it was touch and go. Because his muscles atrophied while bedridden, he had to go through months of frustrating physical therapy to regain use of his legs. Rods were placed throughout his body. And worst of all, his playing hand was mutilated. Back in Oakland, Negrito forgot about life as a musician. He got married, he planted vegetables, raised his own chickens, and made money growing weed. He also settled into being a man, on his own, clear of the distractions of wanting to be a star. And then his son Kyu was born. He began recording without the hindrances that come with chasing trends. Negrito turned to the original DNA of all American music, the Blues. The beating life had given him primed him to channel his literal and musical forefathers: the Blues musicians of the Delta.]
  1. Aaron Alexander – The Kushlov Effect Volume 1 / Aaron Alexander /August 23, 2020
    [Follow up to Alexander’s previous release Memento Mori. Kansas City, Kansas based rapper and artist who graduated from Sumner High School and attended University of Missouri – Kansas City. Aaron Alexander recently collaborated with Google to showcase his music and Kansas City support. The collaboration with the tech giant comes eight years after Alexander, decided to pursue music professionally, cementing his mark as a national artist. Aaron told Kansascity.com: “It all kind of started off with poetry,” Alexander said of his beginnings. “I did poetry in like fifth grade. I kind of took a liking to it. Then I ended up getting a free laptop, so I started recording on Garageband, and it eventually turned into making projects and making music.” “I typically do have a theme with my music that I try to stick by, but this was, is, kind of a mood board of the last two years of my life,” Alexander said. “It’s a lot of frustration and heartbreak. It’s kind of like a roller coaster.” “Jazz is something that kind of inspires the way I do melodies,” Alexander said. “I just appreciate how loose and free-flowing it is, and I try to kind of do the same with my melodies. I mean, I grew up with it, so I think it’s pretty ingrained.” Other things Alexander uses as inspiration include anime, James Baldwin and Marvin Gaye. “I’ve been watching Marvin Gaye documentaries and listening to his music and kind of trying to cause a feeling the way he made a feeling throughout his music and his career, so I’m just trying to do the same for somebody else,” Alexander said. Brandon Williams, one of Alexander’s producers, attended Kansas City magnet school Sumner Academy of Arts and Sciences with him, which was the start of the pair working together. He said working with Alexander has helped him grow as a producer. “I like the dynamics that he brings to a song. It’s not from a monotone stance, and he tries to take different approaches with his music.” The Kuleshov effect is a film editing (montage) effect demonstrated by Soviet filmmaker Lev Kuleshov in the 1910s and 1920s. It is a mental phenomenon by which viewers derive more meaning from the interaction of two sequential shots than from a single shot in isolation. he effect has also been studied by psychologists and is well-known among modern film-makers. Alfred Hitchcock refers to the effect in his conversations with François Truffaut, using actor James Stewart as the example.]
  1. Perfume Genius – Set My Heart on Fire Immediately / Matador / May 15, 2020
    [Second single from the fifth album from Perfume Genius, the stage name for Seattle-based solo artist Mike Hadreas who was born in Des Moines, Iowa, moving to the suburbs of Seattle, Washington at the age of 7.. Hadreas studied painting in school and took piano lessons as a child. His mother was a special education teacher, and is now an assistant principal at a middle school. His parents divorced when he was a teenager. Growing up, Hadreas was the only openly gay student at his school, and he received death threats which were not addressed by the administration. He dropped out of high school during his senior year. Two years after dropping out, he was attacked by several young men in his neighborhood. He moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn and worked as a doorman for a club in the East Village. In 2005, Hadreas returned home to Seattle and began recording music. In 2008, Hadreas set up a MySpace page under the name Perfume Genius, and thus began his music career. Hadreas’s music explores topics including sexuality, his personal struggle with Crohn’s disease, domestic abuse, and the dangers faced by gay men in contemporary society. In an interview with Jia Tolentino, Mike Hadreas described the album as influenced by his work with choreographer Kate Wallich on a 2019 dance piece titled “The Sun Still Burns Here”. Hadreas composed numerous songs for the performance, with two singles, “Eye in the Wall” and “Pop Song” resulting, though neither was included on Set My Heart on Fire Immediately. Of the experience, Hadreas explained that the themes of embodiment in his prior music were complicated as dance felt “rebellious against [his] body.” He explained that dancing “blew up this separation between [his] work and the world,” resulting in changes to his songwriting, with songs now telling stories grounded in real-life settings and about real people. He cited Townes Van Zandt, Enya, and Cocteau Twins as influences on the new album.]
  1. Waxahatchee – Saint Cloud / Merge Records / March 27, 2020
    [All songs written by Katie Crutchfield. Recorded & mixed at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, TX & Long Pond in Stuyvesant, NY. Produced by Brad Cook. Engineered by Jerry Ordonez. Additional engineering by Jon Low. Mixed by Jon Low. Mastered by Brent Lambert at The Kitchen. KATIE CRUTCHFIELD on vocals, acoustic guitar, piano, keys; BRAD COOK on bass, acoustic guitar, piano, keys, synth; BOBBY COLOMBO on electric guitar, acoustic guitar, keys; BILL LENNOX on electric guitar, acoustic guitar, keys, percussion; NICK KINSEY on drums, percussion; JOSH KAUFMAN on electric guitars, piano, organ, percussion. Katie Crutchfield’s southern roots are undeniable. The name of her solo musical project Waxahatchee comes from a creek not far from her childhood home in Alabama and seems to represent both where she came from and where she’s going. More info at: http://www.waxahatchee.com.]
  1. Kevin Morby – Sundowner / Dead Oceans / October 16, 2020
    [6th release from Kevin Robert Morby born April 2, 1988. follow up to his 2019 release Oh My God. Kevin Morby released City Music in 2017. Kevin learned to play guitar when he was 10. In his teens he formed the band Creepy Aliens. 17-year-old Morby dropped out of Blue Valley Northwest High School, got his GED, and moved from his native Kansas City to Brooklyn in the mid-2000s, supporting himself by working bike delivery and café jobs. He later joined the noise-folk group Woods on bass. While living in Brooklyn, he became close friends and roommates with Cassie Ramone of the punk trio Vivian Girls, and the two formed a side project together called The Babies, who released albums in 2011 and 2012. He began a solo career in 2013 releasing his debut album Harlem River. His 2nd album Still Life was released in 2014. His album Singing Saw was in WMM’s The 116 Best Recordings of 2016. His album City Music was in WMM’s The 118 Best Recordings of 2018]
  1. Fullbloods – Soft and Virtual Touch / High Dive Records / April 3, 2020
    [3rd full-length album from, Fullbloods, a Kansas City based band. All songs written, performed, recorded, mixed by Ross Brown (℗© 2019 Bargain Hunt Music / ASCAP) in Kansas City, MO. Mastered by Mike Nolte at Eureka Mastering. Artwork by Nika Winn. Kyle Rausch played drums on 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 9, sang on 9. Bill Pollock Played drums on 3 and 5. David Seume played bass on 5. Jerad Tomasino played synth on 9 and 10, sang on 9. Jenni Kornfeld played cello on 4. Leslie Butsch played sax on 10. More information at: http://www.fullbloods.com.]
  1. Anjimile – Giver Taker / Father/Daughter Records / September 18, 2020
    [Queer & trans songmaker / boy king // On Giver Taker, the gorgeous debut album by Anjimile, death and life are always entwined, wrapping around each other in a dance of reverence, reciprocity, and, ultimately, rebirth. // Giver Taker is confident, intentional and introspective. Anjimile Chithambo (they/them, he/him) wrote much of the album while in treatment for drug and alcohol abuse, as well as while in the process of living more fully as a nonbinary trans person. Loss hovers over the album, whose songs grieve for lost friends (“Giver Taker”) and family members (“1978”) along with lost selves (“Maker,” “Baby No More,” “In Your Eyes.”) But here, grief yields an opening: a chance for new growth. “A lot of the album was written when I was literally in the process of improving my mental health, so there’s a lot of hopefulness and wonder at the fact that I was able to survive,” says Chithambo. “Not only survive but restart my life and work towards becoming the person I was meant to be.” // Each song on the album is its own micro-journey, adding up to a transformative epic cycle created in collaboration with bandmate Justine Bowe of Photocomfort and New-York based artist/producer Gabe Goodman. “1978” and “Maker” both begin as Sufjan Stevens-esque pastoral ballads with Chithambo’s mesmerizing voice. foregrounded against minimal instrumentation and swell into the realm of the majestic through the addition of warm, steady instrumentation (informed by the mix of 80’s pop and African music Chithambo’s Malawi-born parents played around the house) and harmonies by Bowe. “In Your Eyes” starts out hushed and builds to a crescendo via a mighty chorus inspired by none other than The Lion King. The allusion is fitting: each song encapsulates a heroic voyage, walked alone until accompanied by kindred souls. The choirs present throughout are equally deliberate. Chithambo grew up as a choir boy himself, and several songs (notably “Maker”) grasp not only towards reconciliation between his trans identity and his parents’ strong religious beliefs, but towards reclaiming his trans identity as an essential part of his own spirituality. (“[Less] Judeo-Christian, more ‘Colors of the Wind.’”) There is a boldness to this borrowing and shaping, a resoluteness that results from passing through hardship and emerging brighter, steadier. As a closing refrain on “To Meet You There” might sum it up: “Catalyst light of mine / now is your time.” // Giver Taker was recorded in Brooklyn, Boston, and New Hampshire by Goodman, thanks in part to the Live Arts Boston Grant by the Boston Foundation. All songs written by Anjimile Chithambo
    Produced by Gabe Goodman & Justine BoweEngineered by Gabe Goodman. Additional engineering by Will G. Radin . Mixed by Will G. Radin. Mastered by Joe Lambert.]
  1. Old Sound – Deluge / Old Sound / October 16, 2020
    [Greg Herrenbruck on bass & vocals; Grady Keller on mandolin, acoustic guitar & vocals; Chad Brothers on acoustic guitar & vocals. Recorded at Temple Sounds in Kansas City. The new album was produced by Old Sound, Brendan Moreland and Phil Wade. The album was engineered and mixed by Brendan Moreland and Mastered by Duane Trower at Weights & Measures Sound Lab. In 2014 they released their debut recording RAIN FOLLOWS THE PLOW. “Deluge” dives deep into the band’s 20-year chemistry, showcasing the band’s acoustic soundscapes and strong three-part harmony. The wide range of songwriting contains lyrics concerning life, love, self-expression, capitalism, climate change, police brutality, the demise of our country, death, and much more. Grady Keller plays guitar and mandolin, Greg Herrenbruck plays bass and Chad Brothers plays lead guitar. All sing. The three members have been creating music together in some fashion for more than 20 years. Greg Herrenbruck & Chad Brothers grew up together as friends in Winfield, Kansas. Winfield is the home of the Walnut Valley Festival. As young college students at Kansas State University they met Grady Keller. The trio has shared many years of picking, camping and performing at the Walnut Valley Festival. Old Sound, is a synthesis of the ideas, techniques, songs and stories we’ve found in those campground. The last time Grady was on WMM was on February 12, 2014 prior to the release of the band’s album Rain Follows The Plow, Recorded and produced by Phil Wade at his studio, Alluvial Fan. Producer and musician Phil Wade of The Wilders fame, returned to help with the new album. Grady Keller was our guest on WMM on November 18, 2020. More info at: http://www.oldsoundmusic.com]
  1. Fiona Apple – Fetch The Bolt Cutters / Epic – Sony / April 17, 2019
    [The fifth studio album by American singer-songwriter Fiona Apple. It is Apple’s first release since The Idler Wheel… in 2012. The album was recorded from 2015 to 2020, largely at Apple’s home in Venice Beach. It was produced and performed by Apple alongside Amy Aileen Wood, Sebastian Steinberg and Davíd Garza; recording consisted of long, often-improvised takes with unconventional percussive sounds. GarageBand was used for much of this recording, and Apple credited the album’s unedited vocals and long takes to her lack of expertise with the program. Rooted in experimentation, the highly percussive album resists genre categorization. While conventional instruments, such as pianos and drum sets, do appear, the album also features prominent use of non-musical found objects as percussion. Apple described the result as “percussion orchestras”. These industrial-like rhythms are contrasted against traditional melodies, and the upbeat songs often subvert traditional pop structures. The album explores freedom from oppression; Apple identified its core message as: “Fetch the fucking bolt cutters and get yourself out of the situation you’re in”. The title, a quote from TV series The Fall, reflects this idea. The album also discusses Apple’s complex relationships with other women and other personal experiences, including bullying and sexual assault. It has nevertheless been referred to as Apple’s most humorous album. Fetch the Bolt Cutters was released during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many critics found its exploration of confinement pertinent. Fiona Apple McAfee-Maggart (born September 13, 1977) is an American singer-songwriter, pianist and poet. Her accolades include one Grammy Award, and an additional seven Grammy Award nominations in various categories. The daughter of actor Brandon Maggart, Apple was born in New York City but was raised alternating between New York and her father’s home in Los Angeles. Classically trained on piano as a child, she began composing her own songs when she was eight years old. Her debut album, Tidal, containing songs written when she was 17, was released in 1996 and received a Grammy Award for Best Female Vocal Rock Performance for the single “Criminal”. She followed with When the Pawn… (1999), produced by Jon Brion, which was also critically and commercially successful and was certified platinum. For her third album, Extraordinary Machine (2005), Apple again collaborated with Brion, and began recording the album in 2002. However, Apple was reportedly unhappy with the production and opted not to release the record, leading fans to protest Epic Records, erroneously believing that the label was withholding its release. The album was eventually re-produced without Brion and released in October 2005. The album was certified gold, and nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album. In 2012, she released her fourth studio album, The Idler Wheel…, which received critical praise and was followed by a tour of the United States and was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album in 2013. Apple’s fifth studio album, Fetch the Bolt Cutters, was released in 2020 to widespread acclaim. She has sold over 10 million albums worldwide and has received numerous awards and nominations, including a Grammy Award, 2 MTV Video Music Awards and a Billboard Music Award.]
  1. Lava Dreams – Good Energy + Focus / Lava Dreams / June 13, 2020
    [Written by Lava Dreams and produced by Duncan Burnett. Solo artist Lava Dreams aka Julia Hamilton writes songs influenced by pop, soul, RnB, jazz, trap, house, funk, reggae, rock, and world music. Hailing from Kansas City, MO, her guitar-based music is both dreamy & electric. Lava Dreams began writing lyrics and melodies as a young child. Growing up, she learned to play her first guitar chords from her father – who played around the house and in local bars. After playing guitar and singing in several Kansas City bands as a teenager, she set out to become a solo artist in 2018. Julia Hamilton is also a film maker who received her Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Film from Avila Unversity. You can listen to Lava Dreams on Spotify, iTunes, Tidal, Deezer, Google Play, YouTube Music, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, or at Lava DreamsMusic.com. Lava Dreams aka Julia Hamilton joined us on WMM on April 22, 2020.]
  1. Dirty Projectors – Flight Tower – EP / Domino Recording Co / June 25, 2020
    [Scarcely 18 months after the release of their album, “Lamp Lit Prose,” from July 13, 2018, and three months after their live-in-studio album “Sing The Melody” from December 10, 2019, Dirty Projectors released the single “Overlord”on February 26, 2020. Then several months later the band released their 4-song EP Windows Open on March 27, followed by the 4-song EP Flight Tower on June 25, followed by the 4-song EP Super João on September 4, followed by the 4-song EP Earth Crisis on October 1, followed by the 4-song EP Ring Road on November 20, 2020. Then the band collected all 20 new songs into a double album release called 5EPs also released November 20, 2020, featuring a different band member on lead vocals Maia, Felicia, Kristin & Dave with everyone trading verses on the fifth and final installment. Lead Projector Dave Longstreth put together the new band around the Lamp Lit Prose touring in 2018/19. Guitarist Maia Friedman handles lead vocals and co-wrote the lyrics with Dave, who wrote and produced the music. Felicia Douglass and Kristin Slipp contribute additional vocals. Nat Baldwin plays upright bass; Mike Johnson is behind the kit. Mauro Refosco plays congas.]
  1. Adrianne Lenker – songs / 4AD / October 23, 2020
    [11-song follow up to her solo release abysskiss, released October 5, 2018 on Saddlecreek Records, and two Big Thief albums: U.F.O.F. May 3, 2019 on 4AD, and Two Hands October 11, 2019 on 4AD. Adrianne Lenker has been writing songs since she was 10 years old. Her “back story” has been well documented in various interviews and profiles for Big Thief over the last 3 years. Despite, or more likely because of, the constant touring and studio work, the last few years have been some of the most prolific for Lenker as a writer. Songs pop out at soundcheck. They pop out on late night drives between cities. They pop out in green rooms, hotel stairwells, gardens, and kitchens around the world. In the hands of Lenker, songwriting is not an old dead craft. It is alive. It is vital. With little regard for standard album cycle practice or the idea of resting at all, Lenker set out to make a document. Songs can be slippery and following 2+ years on the road with Big Thief, Lenker felt a growing need to document this particular time in her life in an intimate, immediate way. The result is her new album, abysskiss, out October 5th via Saddle Creek. “I want to archive the songs in their original forms every few years,” explains Lenker. “My first solo record I made was Hours Were the Birds. I had just turned 21 and moved to New York City where I was sleeping in a warehouse, working in a restaurant and photographing pigeons. Now five years later, another skin is being shed.” Following a two week road trip through the southwestern United States, Lenker headed into the studio with longtime friend Luke Temple. Temple put on his loosely fitting, bright orange, 100% wool producer hat and for one week they made music. The songs chosen for this collection were the songs that felt the most alive in the room. These are not castaways or B-sides. Some of these songs have been alive for years while some were written just days before the session. Some will appear in different future forms, some will not. The thread that connects these songs is not something that can easily be put down in words. Intuition connects these songs. They are a record of a time. With this collection, Lenker further illuminates to the listening public what those close to her already know; here we have a songwriter of the highest order, following her voice and the greater Voices that pass through her with an unflinching openness and clarity of translation.]
  1. Lianne La Havas – Lianne La Havas / Nonesuch -Warner Records UK / July 17, 2020
    [Third studio album from Lianne La Hava born Lianne Charlotte Barnes (born 23 August 23, 1989). Lianne La Havas is a British singer and songwriter. Her career began after being introduced to various musicians, including singer Paloma Faith, for whom she sang backing vocals. In 2010, La Havas signed to Warner Bros. Records, spending two years developing her songwriting, before releasing any music. La Havas’ debut studio album, Is Your Love Big Enough? (2012), was released to positive reviews from critics and earned her a nomination for the BBC’s Sound of 2012 poll and awards for the iTunes Album of The Year 2012. La Havas was born and raised in London, England, to a Greek father and Jamaican mother. She was raised in Tooting and Streatham, spending the majority of her time with her grandparents after her parents separated. La Havas began singing at seven, and cites her parents’ diverse musical tastes as having the biggest influence on her music. Her father, an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, taught her the basics of guitar and piano. Lianne wrote her first song at the age of 11, but did not learn to play the guitar until she was 18 years old. Lianne sang in her school choir. She attended Norbury Manor Business and Enterprise College for Girls in Thornton Heath where she studied art A-level, and had planned to take an art foundation course before she decided to leave college to pursue a career in music full-time. Her birth name is Lianne Barnes, and her stage name is an adaptation of her Greek father Henry Vlahavas’ surname. She lives in London.]
  1. The Heliocentrics – Telemetric Sounds / Madlib Invazion / September 11, 2020
    [The Heliocentrics are an English, London-based musical collective, combining funk, jazz, psych and library influences based around drummer and producer Malcolm Catto, Bassist Jake Ferguson, Guitarist Adrian Owusu and multi-instrumentalist Jack Yglesias. // They released their debut album, Out There in 2007 on Now-Again Records, followed by collaborations with Ethiopian musician Mulatu Astatke on the album Inspiration Information (2009) which was awarded that years Gilles Peterson Worldwide Winner Album of the Year award, Lloyd Miller & The Heliocentrics (OST) (2010), and Orlando Julius. // The Heliocentrics appeared on the track “Skullfuckery” on the UK release of the DJ Shadow album The Outsider, which was released in 2006. // In 2013, they released their second full album, 13 Degrees of Reality also on Stones Throw. The album with Astatke was included in a list of ‘Five Essential Jazz Albums’ chosen by pianist Jamie Cullum in 2013. // In 2017, they released A World of Masks with vocals by Barbora Patkova, as well as The Sunshine Makers OST, the score they wrote for the 2015 British documentary The Sunshine Makers, directed by Cosmo Feilding-Mellen. Both records were released on Soundway Records.]
  1. Beverly Glenn-Copeland – Transmissions: The Music of Beverly Glenn-Copeland / Transgressive Records / Sept. 25, 2020
    [“There are three challenges in my life. The first is being black in a white culture. The second is being transgendered in a hetero-normative culture. The third is being an artist in a business culture” – Glenn-Copeland // Transmissions: The Music of Beverly Glenn-Copeland – A career retrospective release featuring music released over the last 50 years. “La Vita” was first released on Primal Prayer album under the moniker Phynix in 2004. Produced by John Herberman. Mixed by Composers Music Production. Additional vocals on La Vita by Maggie Dace Hollis. Electric Bass on This Side of Grace by Scott Alexander. Recorded at Composers Music Production studio in Toronto, ON. All tracks re-mastered by Guy Davie at Electric Mastering. Artwork of The Raven by Evelyn Wolff. Graphic design and layout by Traianos Pakioufakis. // Born into a family all of whom were very musical, essentially studied the classical piano repertoire from ‘cradlehood,’ listening to his father playing the piano four to five hours a day. He went on to study classical music and then after a few years of concertizing he suddenly felt called to write music that would weave all the different musical cultures he had come to love. // Beverly Glenn-Copeland is a singer and songwriter who was born in Philadelphia, but has spent most of his life and career in Canada. He is a trans man. Glenn-Copeland began publicly identifying as trans in 2002. // In 1961, Glenn-Copeland became one of the first black students to study at McGill University in Montreal. // Glenn-Copeland started his career as a folk singer incorporating jazz, classical, and blues elements. He also performed on albums by Ken Friesen, Bruce Cockburn, Gene Murtynec, Bob Disalle, and Kathryn Moses, and was a writer on Sesame Street. He spent twenty-five years entertaining children as a regular actor on Canadian children’s television show Mr. Dressup. // His 1986 electronic album, Keyboard Fantasies, recorded using equipment including a Yamaha DX7 and a Roland TR-707, was rediscovered and given further attention in the 2010s. Before his gender transition was made public, the album was selected as one of the 70 greatest recordings by women by The Stranger. Keyboard Fantasies: The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story, a documentary directed by Posy Dixon, was released in 2019. // Planned 2020 international tours to Australia, the United Kingdom, and other European destinations were re-scheduled to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A fundraising campaign was then started to help Glenn-Copeland and his wife after the loss of their house that resulted from these changes; the campaign raised over $90,000.00.]
  1. Black Light Animals – Playboys of The Western World / Groove King Records / July 3, 2020
    [Formed from the ashes of their last band, Instant Karma the new record contains lush pop vocals crooned over spaghetti western riffs, psychedelic synth, and hip hop drums. Playboys of the Western World is a sprawling, decadent examination of what it means to be a human being through the lens of horror movie organs, spaghetti western guitars, hip hop grooves, psychedelic sojourns, and ballads crooned to lovers in the night. Members include: Cole Bales on vocals & guitar, Cody Calhoun on guitar, Branden Moser on bass, and Zach Harris on drums. More info at: http://www.blacklightanimalsband.bandcamp.com][Black Light Animals played Lemonad(e) Park, 1628 Wyoming on Friday, August 14,, with The Fey, and The Freedom Affair.]
  1. The Republic Tigers – Mind Over Matter / The Record Machine / June 5, 2020
    [Hailing from Kansas City, MO, The Republic Tigers spike their lushly orchestrated indie rock with organic and synthetic elements. Founder Kenn Jankowski originally moved to Kansas City in 1999 and began playing guitar for The People, a band that later changed its name to The Golden Republic (Astralwerks Records). He also made fast friends with local musicians Ryan Pinkston and Adam McGill; and when The Golden Republic disbanded seven years later, he opted to launch his pop-based project with the other two multi-instrumentalists. Taking their name from Jankowski’s high school mascot, The Republic Tigers expanded their lineup with bassist Marc Pepperman and drummer Justin Tricomi. Electronic structures remained to play an important role in their music (via convenience/sensible creation-farming/forming), and the band issued a self-titled EP in late 2007 before putting the finishing touches on Keep Color, which arrived in 2008. Then there was a cool EP in 2011 titled “No Land’s Man” which featured the emo smash hit “The Infidel” and the extremely fun “Merrymake It With Me”. And then a second concept LP was concocted, “Mind Over Matter” – written from the year 2008 to the year 2011. Mixed and mastered in the year 2012. But then it was sadly shelved by the original labels. Which leads us to now, the year is 2020. Something new is going to happen. Kenn Jankowski joined us on WMM on June 3, 2020.]
  1. Monta At Odds – Zen Diagram EP / Kosmic City / May 1, 2020
    [Conceptual Kansas City art-rock combo Monta At Odds continue their experimentation in sound with an expanded line-up and a new EP, Zen Diagram. Led by Dedric Moore and fueled from 2020’s angst and uncertainty, the band adopts a darker, grittier direction that coincides with a post-punk indulgence. The result is an evocative four-song tableau, showcasing the veteran project’s drive to explore sonic territory as they lay down some mesmerizing jams. The title track opens the EP as a voyage into soundtrack dreams and sonic imagery. It’s a fully-packed production, featuring twin vocals from Mikal Shapiro and Teri Quinn, Krystof Nemeth of Emmaline Twist on epic baritone guitar, Lucas Behrens on Moog, and Delaney Moore on slide guitar. The song builds and builds over 10 minutes, introducing a bevy of interplaying elements and melodies. There’s a complexity that grooves. Monta At Odds embraces the grayer shades of these sessions with a faithful but otherworldly cover of “Movement of Fear,” the classic cut from Tones On Tail. Mikal leans into the vocals with gentle whispers as Lucas plucks the atmosphere. Meanwhile, Matthew Heinrich merges live drums with the programmed ones until he is one with the machines. The result is multi-textured and dubbed-out, exposing the bloodline of Monta’s aesthetic. “Two Lanes Two Paths” is frenetically powered by the jazzy drum drive of Alexander Thomas. Dedric’s relentless bassline, Delaney’s freeform synthesizer soloing, and Krystof’s expressive guitar tones conspire to form a congealed essence. It’s a spaced-out instrumental that could be from another time, floating defiantly into the present. Zen Diagram ends with “I Count The Steps To A New Sunrise.” The previous cut’s path takes us to a crest on a hill with a view of the damage below. The combo is locked-in, as skittering drums, cosmic synths, spacious noise guitars, and a pensive bass riff promise a way out. Dedric’s vocals are pure 2020, overcome with the zeitgeist of isolation and yearning to reach for something, anything. The diagram becomes a map, and this is how we find an escape. Dedric Moore was our guest on WMM on May 27.]
  1. Julia Othmer – Seeds (Volume 1) / Julia Othmer & James Lundie / November 13, 2020
    [Born In The USA was written by Bruce Springsteen (1984). “Seeds” is Julia Othmer’s 3rd full length album and contains 10 live songs selected from her 30-day Songs of September Project, where Julia performed a different live cover of her favorite songs and broadcast the performance throughout the streaming social media platforms to inspire people to register and vote on November 3. From those songs Julia’s fans democratically selected their favorite tracks to be released together on “Seeds.” Julia Othmer released “Sound,” on April 12, 2019, her second album, that took 3 years to complete, and was produced with James Lundie, who also married Julia in January of 2016, during the completion of the record. Julia Othmer, is a graduate of Park Hill High School. She moved to Los Angeles in 2006 to record her 1st full-length album, “Oasis Motel.” In 2018 to 2019 Julia Othmer toured with and opened for The Alarm in US show and shows in the United Kingdom. When Julia Othmer is in Kansas City she plays with Johnny Hamil on bass, Chris Tady on guitar, John Floyd Whitaker on drums. Info at http://www.juliaothmer.com. Julia Othmer joined us onWMM on Nov. 11, 2020.]
  1. Lomelda – Hannah / Double Double Whammy / September 4, 2020
    [Written by Hannah Read. Produced by Tommy Read & Hannah Read. Recorded in March 2019, July 2019 & February 2020 at Lazybones Studio in Silsbee, TX. And Mixed & mastered by Tommy Read. Performed by Hannah Read, Tommy Read, Andrew Hulett, Charlie Martin, Andrew Stevens, Zachary Daniel, Adan Carlo and Cody Green. Album artwork by T. Colantuono. Published by Double Double WhammyFollow up to 2019’s M for Empathy, released March 1, 2019. Lomelda is the stage name of musician Hannah Read. According to Read, Lomelda is a made up word that means “echo of the stars.” Hannah Read was raised in Silsbee, Texas. She began her music career playing in bands with her brother as well as her high school friends. Read’s first full-length album, Forever, was released in 2015. In 2017, Read released her second full-length album, Thx, with the independent label Double Double Whammy, co-produced with the assistance of Read’s brother, Tommy. It was primarily written over a few months while Read was sleeping in her car.]
  1. Phylshawn – Soul Heart / Nation of Love / September 25, 2020
    [Columbia, MO based Phylshawn Johnson is a singer, songwriter, drummer with the band Violet and the Undercurrents. She is also a teacher, producer, engineer, label manager for The Nation of Love Records. In 2009, Johnson started an independent label, The Nation of Love, as a way to give artists such as herself, Violet Vonder Haar, Ruth Acuff, and other songwriters a place to create freely and have the support of a musical community. With her partner Violet Vonder Haar, Phylshawn Johnson is also a cofounder of the band Violet and the Undercurrents who last year released the critically acclaimed album The Captain, on March 1, 2019. Phylshawn also previously released the EP Across The Tracks on August 9, 2014.]
  1. Calvin Arsenia & Mike Dillon – Summer in Hindsight / October 16, 2020
    [Summer in Hindsight is the soundtrack created by Calvin Arsenia and Mike Dillon for The West 18th Street Fashion Show’s 20th year as a feature-length film. COVID-19 changed everything in 2020. “We are moving it from the street to the screen,” says Peregrine Honig to inkansascitymagazine. “Mike Dillon and Calvin Arsenia will be scoring and performing in the film.” The film premiered October 16, 2020 at The Boulevard Drive-In. Honig wrote,. “We did this during a pandemic and a cultural revolution. I am not sure where else or how else this could happen at this moment in history.” Calvin Arsenia had recently been emotionally and greatly moved by the area and national Black Lives Matter Movement. His own research into his own family revealed that Calvin’s great, great, great grandmother Alice Gilliam Scott, was a former slave who lived to observe her 100th birthday as noted by a regional newspaper Calvin had written. In the summer of 2020 Calvin wrote “Revelation” an unreleased track inspired by Black Lives Matter. Calvin premiered the song on WMM on August 12, 2020. He later shared his other new songs, “Scars and Stripes” and “The Flying Monkees are Coming!” on our October 14, 2020 edition of WMM. Both of those songs ended up on Summer in Hindsight. Born in Orlando, Florida, Calvin’s creative journey really began when he moved to the KC suburb of Olathe, teaching himself the guitar, and eventually the harp. He learned his signature instrument at the age of 20 after he couldn’t find a harpist as determined as him to meld folk, rock, classical, rap and R&B into the irresistible fusion which has become his calling card in KC and beyond. His passion for stretching the boundaries of musical expression saw him transform a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland’s Fringe Festival early in his career into a life-changing music mission, with an Edinburgh church offering him a role as musical liaison between the church and the city that would change his life. Two years and 300 shows later, Calvin returned to KC reborn as a humanistic songwriter / performer whose impassioned and conceptual stage shows (regularly sold-out in Kansas City, currently catching fire on the West Coast with a diverse following across Europe), are collaborative, costumed-culture-bridging spectacles which In KC Magazine has hailed as ‘equal parts opera, symphony, musical theatre, rock show, all built around its creator: a charismatic 6-foot-6-inch harpist with a natural stage command and knack for gilding gold and painting lilies.’ Calvin’s 2018 national debut, Cantaloupe, September 15, 2018 on Center Cut Records, has been acclaimed for melding diverse textures into an alluring signature sound for the adventurous artist. On June 28, 2019 Calvin released Honeydew, an EP including a remix of three songs from Cantaloupe. On Dec. 13, 2019 Calvin released his full length Christmas album “all is calm.” Congratulations to Calvin & his fantastic team of co-conspirators & creators: Khitam Jabr, John P. Beatty, Ignacio Galarza III, Ashlee Fairchild Jones, production assistants, & crew. The Toxic music video earned its sixth set of laurels as an official selection of the L.A. Music Video Awards, where they were nominated for Best Music Video, Best Cover Song & Best Male Vocalist. More info at: http://www.calvinarsenia.com. Calvin Arsenia was our guest on WMM on August 12 and October 14, 2020.]
  1. Gregory Porter – All Rise / Blue Note Records / August 28, 2020
    [Sixth studio album from Gregory Porter, born November 4, 1971. He is an American singer, songwriter, and actor. He won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album in 2014 for Liquid Spirit and in 2017 for Take Me to the Alley. Gregory Porter was born in Sacramento, California, and was raised in Bakersfield, California, where his mother Ruth was a minister. Porter has seven siblings. His mother was a large influence on his life, having encouraged him to sing in church at an early age. His father, Rufus, was largely absent from his life. Says Porter, “Everybody had some issues with their father, even if he was in the house. He may have been emotionally absent. My father was just straight-up absent. I hung out with him just a few days in my life. And it wasn’t a long time. He just didn’t seem to be completely interested in being there. Maybe he was, I don’t know.” // A 1989 graduate of Highland High School, he received a full athletic scholarship as a football lineman to San Diego State University (SDSU Aztecs), but a shoulder injury during his junior year cut short his football career. // Porter’s mother died from cancer when he was 21 years old. From her death bed, she entreated him: “Sing, baby, sing!” // Porter moved to the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn in 2004, along with his brother Lloyd. He worked as a chef at Lloyd’s restaurant Bread-Stuy (now defunct), where he also performed. Porter performed at other neighborhood venues including Sista’s Place and Solomon’s Porch, and moved on to Harlem club St. Nick’s Pub, where he maintained a weekly residency. Out of this residency evolved what would become Porter’s touring band. // Porter released two albums on the Motéma label together with Membran Entertainment Group, 2010’s Water and 2012’s Be Good, before signing with Blue Note Records (under Universal Music Group) on May 17, 2013. His third album, Liquid Spirit, was released on September 2, 2013, in Europe and on September 17, 2013, in the US. The album was produced by Brian Bacchus. The album won the 2014 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album. // Liquid Spirit enjoyed commercial success rarely achieved by albums in the jazz genre, reaching the top 10 on the UK album charts. It was certified gold by the BPI, selling over 100,000 units in the UK. // In August 2014, Porter released “The ‘In’ Crowd” as a single. On May 9, 2015, Porter participated in VE Day 70: A Party to Remember, a televised commemorative concert from Horse Guards Parade in London, singing “As Time Goes By”. //His fourth album, Take Me to the Alley, was released on May 6, 2016. In UK’s The Guardian it was Alexis Petridis’s album of the week. // On June 26, 2016, Porter performed on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival 2016. Writing for The Daily Telegraph, Neil McCormick said, “The portly middle-aged jazzer may be the oddest pop star on the planet but he is a refreshing testament to the notion that the most important organ for musical appreciation should always be our ears. And Porter has one of the most easy-on-the-ear voices in popular music, a creamy baritone that flows thick and smooth across a rich gateaux of juicy melody. It’s a voice that makes you want to lick your lips and dive right in.” // In September 2016, Porter performed at Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park from Hyde Park, London. He would go on to perform in the annual BBC Children in Need show in November, a night dedicated to Sir Terry Wogan, who hosted it in previous years and was a fan of Porter. // In January 2017, Porter performed the song “Holding On” on BBC One’s The Graham Norton Show. In September 2017 he performed as part of the Later… with Jools Holland: Later 25 concert at the Royal Albert Hall. In October 2017, he performed the song “Mona Lisa” on BBC One’s The Graham Norton Show with Jeff Goldblum on piano. // His debut album, Water, was nominated for Best Jazz Vocal album at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards. He was also a member of the original Broadway cast of It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues. His second album, Be Good, which contains many of Porter’s compositions, garnered critical acclaim for both his distinctive singing and his compositions, such as “Be Good (Lion’s Song)”, “Real Good Hands”, and “On My Way to Harlem”. The title track was also nominated for Best Traditional R&B Performance at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards. In his review of Water, Kevin Le Gendre of the BBC wrote that “Gregory Porter has a voice and musicality to be reckoned with.” // The New York Times described Porter as “a jazz singer of thrilling presence, a booming baritone with a gift for earthy refinement and soaring uplift” in its review of Liquid Spirit. // Michael G. Nastos of AllMusic wrote a mixed review of Water, stating: “In hard bop trim, Shorter’s ‘Black Nile’ has Porter shouting out a lyric line that was done many years ago by Chicago’s Luba Raashiek, but Porter’s voice is strained and breaks up. While on every track Porter sings with great conviction, he’s more effective on lower-key compositions”, but went on to say that “he’s right up there with José James as the next big male vocal jazz star.” // Porter is married to Victoria and they have a son, Demyan. Their home is in Bakersfield, California. // For public appearances, Porter always wears a hat reminiscent of a deerstalker incorporating fabric that covers his ears and chin. In a 2012 interview with Jazzweekly.com, when asked: “What’s with the weird and wonderful hat?” Porter replied: “I’ve had some surgery on my skin, so this has been my look for a little while and will continue to be for a while longer. People recognize me by it now. It is what it is.” In an interview with The Daily Telegraph in 2016, he divulged that he received some facial scars when he was “seven or eight”, but declined to go into the specifics of how they were sustained. He said: “I just saw it one day (The hat) and said ‘I’m gonna put this on, I like it.’ It was before the music career. The cap is a Kangol Summer Spitfire]
  1. Kemet Coleman – Black Is Beautiful / Kemet Coleman / August 1, 2020
    [Crane Brewing, partnered with rap artist, urbanist and beer lover, Kemet Coleman for their latest brew, Black is Beautiful, highlighted by a musical release, also called Black is Beautiful, written and performed by Coleman. The new Imperial Stout, part of the Black Is Beautiful initiative created by Weathered Soul’s Brewing, will be released in cans and sold at liquor stores in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska starting August 1, 2020. All proceeds will be donated to G.I.F.T (Generating Income for Tomorrow), a Kansas City-based non-profit with a goal to provide grants to Black owned businesses in Kansas City, with a specific interest in businesses that operate in low income areas. Music written, composed and produced by Kemet Coleman except for COLLECTION PLATE which is produced by Sharif Thomas. Kemet Coleman is a Kansas City based musicians and is a member of the Hip-Hop duo COA (Center of Attention) and is the lead singer of the Funk/Rap/Soul band The Phantastics. Kemet is also a core element of The Marcus Lewis Big Band for Brass & Boujee. Kemet is a two time Pitch Music Award nominee for “Best Hip-Hop Act.” Kemet is known for his unprecedented collaborations with UMKC, KC Streetcar and The Kansas City Royals. He is also highly regarded for his impresario role within the Sly James for Mayor Campaign in the 2010-2011 where he created the first ever KC mayoral candidate rap song. A University of Missouri – Kansas City alumnus, Kemet, created “Gold and Blue” for UMKC’s sports teams, which has garnered thousands of plays on YouTube and has been featured on prime-time television commercials for the university. Earlier this year Coleman contributed his song, “The Virus” to the compilation, Kansas City Syzygy, music created by over 25 Kansas City-based musicians in the middle of the map of a pandemic. “The Virus” is his comment on the impact of the coronavirus, as well as the virus that is racial injustice in America that has received global attention during the past months. All proceeds donated to KC Tenants, a local nonprofit organized to ensure that everyone in KC has a safe, accessible, and truly affordable home came together. Kemet Coleman was out guest onWMM on August 26, and October 21, 2020. More info at: http://www.kemetcoleman.com]
  1. Moses Sumney – græ / Jagjaguwar / September 22, 2017
    [“Cut Me” was released as the fourth single on February 7, 2020. Sumney made his US television debut with a performance of “Cut Me” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on February 11, 2020. Græ (stylized in all lowercase) is a double album composed of Part 1 and Part 2. The first part was released digitally on February 21, 2020. The second part and the full album was released on May 15, 2020. Græ features a diverse arrangement of musical and technical contributions from Daniel Lopatin, Thundercat, James Blake, Taiye Selasi, John Congleton, Rob Moose, Ezra Miller, Michael Chabon, Adult Jazz, Matthew Otto, Ian Chang, FKJ, Nubya Garcia, Shahzad Ismaily, Jill Scott, Tom Gallo, Shabaka Hutchings, Tunde Jegede, Brandee Younger, Jamie Stewart, and Mac DeMarco. The album was preceded by the singles “Virile”, “Polly”, “Me in 20 Years”, “Cut Me”, and “Bless Me”.Second album and follow up to his debut studio full length album Aromanticism released September 22, 2017 from American singer-songwriter Moses Frimpong Sumney, born May 19, 1990 in San Bernardino, California to Ghanaian parents. He moved with his family back to Ghana at the age of 10. Sumney described his childhood as “Americanized” by this age and had difficulty adjusting to the culture of Ghana. He did not learn to play any instruments until he was older, writing a cappella music for years instead. Sumney did not perform his musical compositions publicly until he was 20. He attended the University of California, Los Angeles. He is based in Los Angeles, California. His self recorded debut EP, Mid-City Island, was released in 2014 and self recorded onto a 4-track recorder given to him by TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek. The EP was described by Pitchfork as “primarily composed of first-takes and improvisation; the music is stirring but purposefully incomplete”. Sumney has performed as an opening act for Solange, Sufjan Stevens, and Erykah Badu. Sumney released another 5-song EP in 2016, titled Lamentations which featured a guest appearance from Thundercat.]
  1. Black Lives Matter Compilation / French Exit Records / July 6, 2020
    [The Black Lives Matter Compilation captured tracks from 22 acts from the area. On WMM we featured tracks from: Blackstarkids, Daniel Gum, Crystal Rose, UpKeep, Bream, Heavy Surface, Palace Intrigue, Self Harmony, and Sam Wells. All proceeds donated to One Struggle KC’s Liberation Fund, a Black-led coalition of KC activists seeking to connect the struggles of oppressed communities, locally & globally. French Exit Records launched two years ago and is an independent music label based out of Kansas City, Missouri founded by Brad Girard. French Exit Records has released albums for No Magic and Raymond, and has organized live events. The Black Lives Matter Compilation is available on French Exit Record’s Bandcamp page: http://www.frenchexitrecords.bandcamp.com.]
  1. Radkey – Green Room / Little Man Records / November 27, 2020
    [On Green Room the band serve as their own producers. On April 7, 2020 Radkey released a 2 minute cover of “Ain’t No Sunshine” written by Bill Withers who died in 2020. The band released singles “Underground” on November 27, and “Seize” on November 29, 2020. Isaiah, Dee, and Solomon Radke of the critically acclaimed rock trio Radkey joined us live in our 90.1 FM studios on September 5, 2018. Radkey was formed in 2010 in St. Joseph, where the brothers were raised. The family moved to Kansas City. The band has released two full-length recordings — “Dark Black Makeup” in 2015 and “Delicious Rock Noise” in 2016 — plus multiple EPs and singles, and were part of a MasterCard advertising campaign on digital billboards in NYC along with a national television commercial that aired during the 2018 Grammy Awards that brought the band to the attention of Jack White who asked the band to tour with him. In 2018 the band went back on the road with The Damned throughout the United States. In December they went back into the studio to record with producer Bill Stevenson of the California punk rock group Descendents. In early 2019 they played shows in Amsterdam and Stockholm. In 2018 the band released “Basement,” “St. Elwood,” “Rock & Roll Homeschool,” as well as several other singles. On February 22, 2019, Radkey released “No Strange Cats…P.A.W.” a 7-song EP is essentially a collection of the band’s most recent singles. It comes after the January 11, 2019 release of No Strange cats…Spiders – EP a 6 song EP of several new songs mixed with several singles from late 2018.]
  1. KeiyaA – Forever, Ya Girl / Forever Recordings / March 27, 2020
    [The debut album from KeiyaA originally from Chicago, now based in NYC. Written and produced by keiyaA, featuring additional production from dj blackpower & dj cowriiie. Mixed & mastered by BSTFRND.]
  1. Koney – Koney / High Dive Records / October 9, 2020
    [Konnor Ervin is part of the Shy Boys who’ve released three full-length albums and multiple singles. Before Shy Boys, Konnor was the founder of the critically acclaimed band The ACBs who released their self titled debut album in 2007, followed by Stona Rosa in 2011, and Little Leaves in 2013. Konnor’s work on what might have been The ACBs fourth full-length album, got held up, but now five years later it’s seeing the light of day under the name Koney, Konnor’s nickname from Shy Boy’s band mates. From Lucas Wetzel’s Pitch Feature: “To bring the songs to life, Konnor enlisted brothers Collin and Kyle Rausch, his roommates in their ramshackle West Plaza house/practice space and his bandmates in chamber pop group Shy Boys. Ross Brown (of Fullbloods) played synthesizer and helped run sound, and multi-instrumentalist Kyle Little contributed on guitar. Fritz Hutchison and Andrew Connor also contributed on several tracks. Recording engineer Mike Nolte flew in from Portland to run the controls at Westend Recordings, and the group set up camp in the studio over a long snowy weekend.” Konnor Ervin was our guest on WMM on June 3, 2020.]
  1. Miss Boating – The Vhargon Sidestep / Miss Boating / January 1, 2020
    [From the ashes of their former band The Sleazebeats, Charles Colborne & Bill Belzer faced a difficult 2019 when combined with the death of Charlie’s own beloved mother, their friend & bassist Evan Vhargon died. The band wrote that they “were lost when Evan passed.” Through the tough times Bill & Charlie kept playing and wrote that they “were blown away when Phil Dickey wanted to jam with us. The jamming turned into something more and we were going again. We couldn’t be more thankful and humbled.” Phil is part of the bands Dragon Inn 3, and Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. Miss Boating is: Charlie Colborne on keyboards, guitar, vocals; Bill Belzer: drums, vocals; Phil Dickey on bass; Aaron Jones on trombone; Tim Gillespie on saxophone. Ross Brown covered engineering & mixing for The Vhargon Sidestep. Mike Nolte handled all of the mastering. Charles Colborne & Bill Belzer were our guests on WMM on April 1, 2020.]
  1. Kadesh Flow – Motivated EP / Ryan Davis / January 31, 2020
    [Executive Produced by Kadesh Flow. Mixed by Kadesh Flow. Mastered by Bill Beats. Kadesh calls this EP a “collection of tracks that I made to motivate myself. Hopefully they get you fired up as well.” Kadesh Flow is Ryan Davis is a rapper with an MBA. He is an emcee, producer, & trombonist. At age 11, he began rapping and playing trombone within two weeks of one another. His music has been featured on network television in multiple countries and territories across Southeast Asia. Kadesh performs as a solo hip hop artist and with his band the Deshtet. He also plays with The Tiki Brawlers, Jessica Paige, Krystle warren and Owen Cox Dance Group, the KC funk juggernaut The Phantastics, and Marcus Lewis Big Band for the Brass and Boujee concerts and recordings. Along with the EP, Motivated released on January 31. Kadesh Flow also released: the single “Now” with They Call Me Sauce, on January 16, the single “I’m A Hero (Bone Bars) on April 9, JoJo’s Jazz-hop 1 (2-Pack) on April 23, the 6-song EP I Hold Onto Heat For Too Long on May 1, “Free People” on June 5, Bleach Anime Lofi Pack 1 on October 8, and “Forget About Me” on December 3. More info at http://www.kadeshflow.com Kadesh Flow was our guest on WMM on March 11 and on October 21, 2020]
  1. The Sluts – Enjoy The Show / The Sluts / May 7, 2020
    [Follow up to last year’s 6-song EP Break Their Heart. The Lawrence based band The Sluts were formed by Ryan Wise & Kristoffer Dover in 2011. Produced recorded, mixed, and mastered by Joel Nanos at Element Recording and Mastering Studios, KCMO. The Sluts released their debut EP Virile on November 14, 2013. The Sluts released The Loser EP on July 8, 2014. They released their 11-song full length album The Sluts on June 17, 2015. The Sluts released their EP Only One on May 25, 2017. Info at http://www.thesluts.bandcamp.com]
  1. Shiner – Schadenfreude / Two Black Eyes / May 8, 2020
    [Shiner is an American post-hardcore band from Kansas City, Missouri that was active from 1992 to 2003. Since 2012 Shiner has been playing several shows a year. The band’s new record “Schadenfreude.”The group formed in 1992, and quickly found wide exposure, releasing a vinyl EP in 1993 and touring with acts such as Sunny Day Real Estate, Chore, Jawbox, Season to Risk, The Jesus Lizard, and Girls Against Boys. The group released their first LP, Splay (recorded at Steve Albini’s Chicago studio) in 1996, and a second album, Lula Divinia the next year. Sub Pop took notice, and released a 7” single of the group’s songs “Sleep it Off” and “Half Empty”. Following this the band toured with Hum in 1998. A third full-length, Starless, was released on a label run by members of Descendents, Owned and Operated, in 2000. A fourth LP, The Egg, would follow before the group broke up in 2002. This was recorded and produced at Matt Talbott’s recording studio, Great Western Record Recorders in Tolono IL. Guitarist Josh Newton is the guitar/synth player/mastermind for Sie Lieben Maschinen, Jason Gerken on drums plays in multiple projects, Paul Malinowski on bass. also produces music at Massive Sound Studio, lead singer songwriter Allen Epley is also in The Life and Times. Jason Gerkin was our guest on WMM, May 20, 2020. Paul Malinowski was our guest on WMM, May 27, 2020.]
  1. jordana – Something To Say EP / Grand Jury Music / July 31, 2020
    [Jordana is a girl who makes music in her living room in Kansas. Produced by MELVV & Jordana. Mixed by James Dring and mastered by Dave Trumfio. Follow up to her recent single “I’ll Take It Boring” released May 12, 2020 and her full length album release, Classical Notions of Happiness, March 27, 2020 with all songs written and produced by Jordan except “Crunch” was co written and produced by Jordana and Jeff Melvin aka “Melvv” and “Sway” was written by Jordana and co produced by Jordana and Sage Baptiste.]
  1. Bill Fay – Countless Branches / Dead Oceans / January 17, 2020
    [William Fay was born 1943. He is an English singer, pianist and songwriter whose early releases were made on the Deram label in 1967. Following the release of his second album in 1971, Fay was dropped by the label. His work enjoyed a growing cult status in the 1990s, and his older works were re-issued in 1998 and 2004/2005. Fay’s 2012 album, Life Is People, was his first album of all-new material since 1971. His most recent album, Countless Branches, was released on January 17, 2020.]
  1. Nick Siegel – For You, Dear, Anything: Act Two EP / Darling Dear Records / November 27, 2020
    [Nick Siegel, is a KC piano rocker with influences such as Ben Folds, Death Cab for Cutie and the Mars Volta. Nick writes aggressive piano rock music. He grew up playing music in Chicago and moved to Kansas City in 2010 when he joined The Casket Lottery. Now on my own as solo artist, Nick has released his debut solo album, “Awake from the Golden State,” on Aug. 25, 2017. His 8-song EP, “For You Dear, Anything,” was released April 10, 2020. It is the first act, of three-act series, he plans to release. Act One, is a modern take on the vibe of the 1920s. Nick released For You, Dear, Anything: Act Two on November 27, 2020]. The fiorst single from this EP was “No Love of Mine” was released November 13, 2020.]
  1. Jo MacKenzie – let me give you what i wish i had EP / Jo MacKenzie / October 3, 2020
    [One of several new singles from 16 year old, Kansas City based singer songwriter, Jo MacKenzie released this year that were collected together in a 5 -song EP, written, performed and produced by Jo MacKenzie. Mixed by Harper James. Jo MacKenzie released her debut EP, Proud on November 17, 2018. Jo Mackenzie released the single “Just Like Rain” on August 18, 2018; “I Should Come with a Warning Sign” on September 28, 2019; and “Alaska” on November 23, 2019 and the single “Suicide Season” on February 1, 2020, and the single “Lose My Face” on April 24, 2020. More info at http://www.jomackenzie.com]
  1. Molly Hammer – I’m Feeling Mellow / Molly Hammer / October 27, 2020
    [Molly’s new album is a collaboration between Molly on vocals, Rod Fleeman on guitar and Gerald Spaits on bass. Produced by Jane Monheit who writes: “Please check out this beautiful new album by my beloved friend, Molly Hammer, available on all digital platforms!! A gorgeously sung collection of standards paying tribute to the great Julie London.” Molly Hammer has been performing in the Kansas City area since 2005. With an eclectic vocal background, she has found her home in the world of jazz and blues, drawing inspiration from the likes of Peggy Lee, Dinah Washington, Sara Vaughn, and many others. She has had the privilege of performing with some of the finest jazz musicians in the Kansas City area. You can hear her regularly at The Green Lady Lounge. She can also be seen and heard at one of the many Unity Churches in the area nearly every Sunday. Molly is a graduate of the Artist INC program and has also had the honor of singing the National Anthem for both The Royals and The Chiefs. In 2018 Molly wrote about her cancer diagnosis. “MY STORY IS NOT OVER – It was the fall of 2007 and I happened to brush my hand across my right breast and feel a strange lump. I didn’t just immediately think cancer, I was only thirty-four and it didn’t seem likely to me. I did have my mom and sisters feel it and I remember my sister saying, “That’s too big to be cancer. It wouldn’t have grown that fast.” She had no idea and was certainly trying to comfort me. // Fast forward to February of 2008. I had finally remembered to book myself a mammogram on my lunch break from my day job. I never made it back to work that day. After hours of waiting, three mammograms and a sonogram, a radiologist came in and told me that what they saw was of “dire concern.” To say I was terrified would be an understatement. The next few weeks were almost a blur of appointments. My entire life had changed in the blink of an eye. I had stage 3B Estrogen positive invasive breast cancer. I had one lymph node affected, so chemo and radiation were recommended along with a mastectomy. My oncologist and surgeon recommended a partial mastectomy but I was insistent they take both breasts. The next year and a half was all about cancer. I worked as much as I could and I had a pretty great support in my family and a few friends. I had a boyfriend that I lived with at the time who was good to me but I knew in my heart of hearts that if I didn’t have cancer we wouldn’t be together. I mean, who wants to be that guy that breaks up with their girlfriend while they’re
    going through chemo? // Well I made it through that crazy intense year and a half of treatments and surgeries. That boyfriend broke up with me and I did my best to move on. I quit that day job because I hated it anyway and life is short. I felt a renewed sense of purpose. I wanted to be a jazz singer and I was going to make it happen. You see, I had been a professional actress for fifteen years already and had always secretly wanted to go my own way. Well over the next eight years I made that happen. I worked hard, got a mentor, listened to everything I could, learned what felt like a million songs, and became successful in my own right. In that time I met a man named Jeremy and we got married. I also had a hysterectomy at the recommendation of my oncologist so I’d never give birth. Jeremy has two children so he didn’t mind and I grew to feel okay about it. I have nieces, nephews, godchildren, and girls I nanny and they all know I love them. It’s enough. // My older sister Ann tragically passed away on Christmas Day in 2014. We were extremely close, so 2015 was a blur of grief for me. Grief is a strange animal and it can make you stop caring about your own well being. I didn’t go in to see my oncologist at all that year and at the beginning of 2016 I knew something was off. My chest was tight and I was having weird pains around my hip and pelvis. I was scared to go in but I knew I had to. I’d been cancer free for eight years and at that point it all felt like a lifetime ago. Well, my worst fears had been confirmed. The cancer was back and it was in my left lung, and several spots in my bones. Stage Four. Those two words used to terrify me….Stage Four. // Life had been turned on its head yet again for me but this time it felt different. I felt more settled, more “me” I guess. I had a husband who cared for me, my amazing family and friends, and this time, a whole community of people who came out of the woodwork to lend their support to me. I felt truly loved and lifted up by this and I felt my heart grow even more. I had a great two years on a brand new drug used for women with exactly my kind of breast cancer. It was a form of hormone therapy that allowed me to continue singing, which I did. I had always wanted to travel and I made sure that happened. I went to Paris, Florence, Rome, Mexico, San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Southern California, and I’m not done. Not by a long shot. I recorded my first CD, which was an absolutely amazing experience and I can’t wait to record more. // My career has blossomed and grown. I’ve won some awards, played some great jazz festivals, I sang in New York in the Village, and I continue to sing nearly every weekend in Kansas City. I am blessed beyond measure. My cancer became resistant to that drug three months ago now and I’ve had to start chemotherapy again. It was a big adjustment but I feel supported completely by my husband, who is a saint by the way, and my community here in Kansas City. I’m singing as much as my body will allow. It’s good for my soul. I feel transformed by all this. I think many people who’ve faced their immortality, especially at a young age can relate to this. I have no idea what my future holds. Really, who does? I do know that I’m not afraid. I have my moments but I never stay there. I know that I am loved and I return that love tenfold. I live everyday with an open heart and I know that I can handle whatever comes. There’s a peace in that. My story is not over. (This was written on November 2018). (Updated 2020) Molly requested that proceeds from her music sales go to Midwest Music Foundation. to provide grants to musicians with healthcare needs. Molly has announced she has entered hospice and will be transitioning from this worldly place to the next at home with her family and her beloved husband Jeremy. As transitions go, this one will occur far too soon and will leave behind a multitude of broken hearts. http://www.midwestmusicfoundation.org. Molly Hammer passed away on Nov. 24, 2020. More info at: http://www.mollyhammer.com.]
  1. Lido Pimienta – Miss Colombia / Anti / April 17, 2020
    [Lido Pimienta was born in 1986. Originally from Barranquilla, Colombia, she later immigrated to Canada, settling in London, Ontario, before moving to Toronto, where she is currently based. Her father died when she was six years old. She rose to prominence after her 2016 album, La Papessa, won the $50,000 2017 Polaris Music Prize. Her music incorporates a variety of styles and influences, including traditional indigenous and Afro-Colombian musical styles, as well as contemporary synthpop and electronic music. Pimienta released her debut album, Color, in 2010. The album was produced by Michael Ramey, Pimienta’s husband at the time, and was released by Los Angeles based music label KUDETA. After Pimienta and Ramey separated, Pimienta took time to pursue a degree in art criticism, in addition to learning more about music production, before releasing her second album, La Papessa, in 2016. That year, she also collaborated with A Tribe Called Red on several tracks for their 2016 album We Are the Halluci Nation. Following the release of her experimental album La Papessa, which was self-produced by Pimienta, she was awarded the $50,000 2017 Polaris Music Prize, which is considered Canada’s top juried music award. The Globe and Mail called her “the future of Canadian rock and roll”, and dubbed her the “artist of the year”. During her performance at the Halifax Pop Explosion music festival on October 19, 2017, Pimienta, as she often does during her concerts, invited the “brown girls [in the audience] to [come] the front”. According to a statement that was subsequently released by the festival, “the incident involved a white volunteer photographer and several white audience members who reacted negatively” to Pimienta’s request. When the photographer refused to move after ten separate requests, Pimienta said, “you’re cutting into my set time and you’re disrespecting these women, and I don’t have time for this”. The volunteer was removed from the show and the festival organizers later apologized to Pimienta, and said they would increase “anti-oppression and anti-racism training”. In addition to working as a musician, Pimienta is also a visual artist & curator, and her work has been described as exploring “the politics of gender, race, motherhood, identity and the construct of the Canadian landscape in the Latin American”; her work was exhibited in the group exhibition FEMINISTRY IS HERE at Mercer Union gallery in Toronto. Pimienta identifies as queer. She is of mixed Afro-Colombian & Wayuu descent. She is a single mother.]
  1. Indigo Girls – Look Long / Rounder Records – Concord / April 24, 2020
    [15th studio album by American folk rock duo Indigo Girls. The Indigo Girls recorded the album with previous collaborator John Reynolds. Tour dates were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States but the duo performed a series of weekly live-streamed concerts online to raise money for charity as well as promote this release. These events were accompanied by a question and answer session and audience requests for performances. They also performed at a virtual festival of musicians raising money for the United Nations Foundation on Mother’s Day, 2020. Indigo Girls are an American folk rock music duo from Atlanta, Georgia, consisting of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers. The two met in elementary school and began performing together as high school students in Decatur, Georgia, part of the Atlanta metropolitan area. They started performing with the name Indigo Girls as students at Emory University, performing weekly at The Dugout, a bar in Emory Village. They released a self-produced, full-length record album entitled Strange Fire in 1987, and contracted with a major record company in 1988. After releasing nine albums with major record labels from 1987 through 2007, they have now resumed self-producing albums with their own IG Recordings company. Outside of working on Indigo Girls–related projects, Ray has released solo albums and founded a non-profit organization that promotes independent musicians, while Saliers is an entrepreneur in the restaurant industry as well as a professional author; she also collaborates with her father, Don Saliers, in performing for special groups and causes. Saliers & Ray are both lesbians and active in political and environmental causes.]
  1. Bill Callahan – Gold Record / Drag City Records / September 4, 2020
    [22nd album release from Bill Callahan or Smog. Follow up to his 2019 release, Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest. Bill Callahan (born June 3, 1966) is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist who has also recorded and performed under the band name Smog. Callahan began working in the lo-fi genre of underground rock, with home-made tape-albums recorded on four track tape recorders. Later he began releasing albums with the label Drag City, to which he remains signed today. Callahan started out as a highly experimental artist, using substandard instruments and recording equipment. His early songs often nearly lacked melodic structure and were clumsily played on poorly tuned guitars, resulting in the dissonant sounds on his self-released cassettes and debut album Sewn to the Sky. Much of his early output was instrumental, a stark contrast to the lyrical focus of his later work. Apparently, he used lo-fi techniques not primarily because of an aesthetic preference but because he didn’t have any other possibility to make music. Once he signed a contract with Drag City, he started to use recording studios and a greater variety of instruments for his records. From 1993 to 2000, Callahan’s recordings grew more and more “professional” sounding, with more instruments, and a higher sound quality. In this period he recorded two albums with the influential producer Jim O’Rourke and Tortoise’s John McEntire, and collaborated with Neil Hagerty. Callahan also worked closely with his then-girlfriend Cynthia Dall in his early career, and they contributed vocals to each other’s albums. After 2000’s Dongs of Sevotion, Callahan began moving back to a slightly simpler instrumentation and recording style, while retaining the more consistent songwriting style he had developed over the years. This shift is apparent in albums such as Rain on Lens, Supper, and A River Ain’t Too Much to Love. Smog’s songs are often based on simple, repetitive structures, consisting of a simple chord progression repeated for the duration of the entire song. His singing is characterized by his baritone voice. Melodically and lyrically he tends to eschew the verse-chorus approach favoured by many contemporary songwriters, preferring instead a more free-form approach relying less on melodic and lyrical repetition. Themes in Callahan’s lyrics include relationships, animals, relocation, nature, and more recently, politics. On the subject of voice in his albums, Callahan has said, “It’s usually one character per record. So, the character appears in all or most of the songs on one record and then is gone. Though it makes me feel weird to talk about. Because I don’t really think in clear terms of characters. My albums as a whole could be seen as one character with many voices.” His generally dispassionate delivery of lyrics and dark irony often obfuscate complex emotional and lyrical twists and turns. Critics have generally characterized his music as depressing and intensely introverted, with one critic describing it as “a peep-show view into an insular world of alienation.” Cat Power (Chan Marshall) recorded Callahan’s song “Bathysphere” on her 1996 album What Would the Community Think and also covered another Callahan song, “Red Apples”, on her Covers Record, released in 2000. In 2007, Callahan released Woke on a Whaleheart, his first solo album released under his own name, Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle followed in April, 2009. Both recordings were released through Drag City, worldwide. In 2009, Callahan contributed cover songs on four separate tribute albums to Judee Sill, Kath Bloom, Chris Knox, and Merge Records. In 2010, he released his first live album Rough Travel for a Rare Thing, which was recorded in 2007 at The Toff in Melbourne, Australia. Apocalypse, was released in April 2011 to favorable reviews. Critic Sasha Frere-Jones called it “my favorite of Callahan’s albums, not because it has better songs—those are scattered among at least five others — but because it does exactly what he wants it to do: it conveys an album’s coherence.” A tour film chronicling Callahan’s 2011 Apocalypse tour was released in 2012.][Bill Callahan plays the Lawrence Public Library Lawn, Friday, July 5, at 7:00 PM at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont St, Lawrence, KS with special guest Heidi Lynne Gluck.]
  1. Charlotte Dos Santos – Harvest Time EP / Because Music / March 13, 2020
    [Charlotte Hall Dos Santos was born in 1990, in Oslo, Norway. She is a Brazilian-Norwegian jazz singer, composer, and arranger, currently based in Berlin. Dos Santos grew up in Bærum with a Norwegian mother and Brazilian father. She attended jazz studies at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts (2013–16), where she earned a Bachelor of Music in Contemporary Writing and Production, and Vocal Jazz Performance. Her music mixes “South-American traditions, jazz, neo soul, and tasty beats, with music history samples in a colorful way“. Dos Santos released her solo EP Cleo in 2017 on the label Fresh Selects. The EP was received positively in Norwegian media. Whilst Dos Santos spent her life in four different countries over three years, her debut project ‘Cleo’ EP took shape ending up functioning as a diary for the Brazilian-Norwegian composer, producer and vocalist. The metamorphosis of womanhood, falling in and out of love, betrayal, self realization and the passion for uplifting female musicians of color are all ideologies behind the restless musician’s 10 track EP. The character Cleo was created whilst Dos Santos studied Flamenco and Mediterranean music in Valencia, Spain. Cleo is a medieval deity, a moorish goddess that represents all women inspiring from Dos Santos lineage of strong women. She represents courage, independence, femininity, royalty and power only settling for success. She’s received recognition from Outkast’s Big Boi, Gilles Peterson, Pitchfork and Bandcamp. NyMag and The Cut, and was a nominee of the Norwegian Grammy Awards “Spellemannsprisen” in 2018.]
  1. The War and Treaty – Hearts Town / Rounder Records / September 25, 2020
    [The second full length release and their first on Rounder Records. The War and treaty played Folk Alliance International in Kansas City in February 2018. The War and Treaty released their full length debut album, Healing Tide on August 10, 2018. Prior to that they released their first 7-song EP Down to the Rivder on July 21, 2017. Michael Trotter Jr & Tanya Blount-Trotter are from Albion, Michigan. For Michael Trotter Jr., the journey began in 2004, when he arrived in Iraq, an untested soldier stricken by fear and self-doubt. His captain made it his personal mission to see to Trotter’s survival. The unit was encamped in one of Saddam Hussein’s private palaces, and in a forgotten corner in its basement, they found a black upright piano that once belonged to the dictator himself. When Trotter shared the fact he could sing, he was encouraged to teach himself to play piano on that confiscated keyboard. “I wrote my first song after that captain was killed,” Trotter recalls. “I sang it for his memorial in Iraq.” Soon after it became his mission to sing at the memorial services for those that had fallen. For the next three years, he sang songs that brought solace and comfort to the members of his unit. His efforts eventually garnered wider recognition as well. He came in first place in “Military Idol,” the army’s version of “American Idol,” during a competition held in Baumholder, Germany. Following his discharge, he was featured on the Hope Channel program “My Story, My Song.” Then he met Tanya Blount. Blount’s musically influences include Mahalia Jackson, Sister Odette and Aretha Franklin. The two fell in love, got married and used the experiences they had gained to create a new musical collaboration. The couple then secured the services of musicians whose skills add a distinctive sound to The War and Treaty’s blend of roots music, blue grass, folk, gospel and soul. Their 2017 EP Down to the River was released July 21, 2017. Recorded in Albion, Michigan, Down to the River boasts a sound that’s both stirring and sensual, driven by joy, determination and an unceasing upward gaze. The music is visceral but never morose, flush with emotion but void of despair… a style that touches on a variety of genres, but never finds itself confined to anyone. The arrangements are uncluttered– harmonies, basslines, guitar and mandolin licks, settle drum patterns and keyboards create an immensely moving soundscape — but the sentiments and emotions are fully realized and soar with a steady, chilling assurance. “The recording process wasn’t like anything I ever experienced,” Tanya recalls. “This EP has allowed me to breathe musically. I feel like all I have wanted to express for the past ten years has come forth with what we’ve done. The combination of heart, soul and the overwhelming amount of love that Michael and I have for one another comes across in this record.“ “I was sitting on the banks of the Euphrates River in Baghdad dreaming about one day being able to play and sing professionally for people all around the world,” Michael reflects. “As we recorded our music, I constantly had flashbacks of those desert dreams. I thought to myself that this is actually the perfect ending to usher in a new beginning in my life.” ] [WMM First Played The War and Treaty on February 7, 2018.]
  1. Sudan Archives – Athena / Stones Throw Records / November 1, 2019
    [LA based violinist Sudan Archives, combines elements of the modern and ancient. The 23 year-old self-taught violinist draws inspiration from Sudanese fiddlers, R&B, West African rhythms, and experimental electronic music. Building records around rhythms and melodies from the strings of her violin and raw vocals, Sudan effortlessly draws the link between traditional African music and contemporary electronic production.]
  1. Sylan Esso – Free Love / Loma Vista – Concord / September 25, 2020
    [3rd studio album by indie pop duo Sylvan Esso, from Durham, North Carolina, formed in 2013. The band consists of singer Amelia Meath and producer Nick Sanborn. They made their debut with the single “Hey Mami” and released their eponymous debut album on Partisan Records on May 12, 2014, which reached No. 39 on the Billboard 200. They released their second album What Now with Loma Vista Recordings on April 28, 2017, which was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Dance/Electronic Album. Lead singer Amelia Meath, who was at the time involved with her trio, Mountain Man, created the vocals to the song called “Play It Right”. She later met electronic music producer Nick Sanborn (who played bass in Megafaun) in Milwaukee at the Cactus Club, performing at the time solo as Made of Oak, and asked him to make a rendering of her single, Play It Right, in his own way. From 2012 to 2013, the band slowly formed. Meath returned from a year-and-a-half tour w/ Feist and was looking for an affordable place to live, landing in Durham with Sanborn and began making their album, with all of their songs being recorded in Sanborn’s apartment bedroom.]
  1. Ondist – No Coincidence / Bikiniwax Records / June 12, 2020
    [So far, this year, Ondist has released three full length albums, No Coincidence on June 12, and Electricity on August 14, and Mise en Place on November 13 totaling 41 songs, plus a 26 track Acapellas & Instrumentals Release on July 3, plus a 4-song EP entitled Resound on February 28, plus 9 singles. Ondist is Corbin Dooley, Nick Poortman, and Maya Coppola are Ondist. With divergent backgrounds rooted in Arkansas, New Zealand, and New York, the trio connected in Los Angeles. Recording in Malibu, Dallas, Kansas City, and Las Vegas brought environmental influences to the center of the Ondist sound, which is united by its cinematic vision of hope. Several of the tracks for all three albums were recorded at Weights & Measures with Duane Trower with Sam Platt on drums, Eddie Moore on keyboards, DeAndre Manning on bass, Jamie Anderson on guitar, Claire Adams on vocals, and Jillian Riscoe on vocals. Corbin Dooley signed Nine Inch nails to TVT Records in 1990. He managed Blur, and Tekronic. We interviewed Maya Coppola on the Oct. 7, 2020 on WMM.]
  1. Page 7 – Rise Up EP / Page 7 / October 6, 2020
    [Page 7. The band was formed in 2014. They are a Lawrence, Kansas based reggae, ska, soul rocksteady band with Joe Sears on lead vocals; Ryan “Rhyno” Hensley on drums; Anthony Case on bass, and backing vocals; Mike MacFarland on guitar & backing vocals; Brad Eldridge on keyboards; Chris Leopold on trumpet, and backing vocals; Dan Pem on saxophone, and backing vocals; and Mike Walker on trombone, and backing vocals. Earlier this year the band released their 7-song EP The Call, on May 26, and the single “Connectivity,” on April 10. Info at: https://page7reggae.wixsite.com Joe Sears was our guest on WMM Oct. 7, 2020.]
  1. Saint Sé – Spectra EP / Benjiman Lucas Music / July 31, 2020
    [Debut EP from Saint Sé. This song was released as a single on May 22, 2020. Written by: Lucas Carpenter & Allison Gliesman. Vocals by: Allison Gliesman. Music Produced by: Lucas Carpenter. Additional Production by: Zach Thomas. Mixed/Mastered by: Mark Francis Buergler. Visualizer created by Andy Thies. Allison Gliesman (with the band Mess) released Learning How To Talk last year on March 29, 2019 and has previously releases several singes with Mess including their debut EP, heartswithholes in 2017.]
  1. Mike Dillon – Rosewood / Royal Potato Family / July 17, 2020
    [Rosewood was one of three solo albums Mike Dillon released in 2020. After his Kharma Burns 16-song release of December 6, 2019, Mike released Rosewood in July, the 10-track Shoot The Moon with Punkadelic on October 2, 2020, the 9-track Suitcase Man recorded to 2-inch analog tape by Chad Meise, the 11-track 1919 which was is third and final release of albums recorded during quarantine lockdown of 2020. With Calvin Arsenia, Mike Dillon also released the 16-track Summer in Hindsight on October 16, 2020 as a soundtrack to the film produced by Peregrine Honig for the West 18th Street Fashion Show. Mike Dillon also released the single, “Rhumba for Peregrine” on October 16, 2020. Mike Dillon’s latest album ‘Rosewood’ musically signifies transition and transformation. The 13-track collection was written and recorded during a period of profound change. Dillon found himself relocating from his fourteen year base in New Orleans to his current residence in Kansas City. This coincided with the beginning a new relationship that would result in marriage. Recorded intermittently between January 2018 and September 2019, its 13 majestic tracks swirl with the tangled and bittersweet emotions of one chapter ending as another began. Dillon created the album solely with vibraphone and percussion instruments and titled the record ‘Rosewood’ after the type of lumber used to make marimba bars. // “I started spending time in Kansas City in August 2017, where I’d previously lived in 1997,” explains Dillon. “My friend of twenty years, Peregrine Honig, invited me to see her beautiful art studio converted from an old church building called Greenwood Social Hall. By December, I brought my marimba there and would play for hours. The songs on this record wrote themselves in that sonically sacred space.” // Furthering this metamorphosis, ’Rosewood’ also finds Dillon, who’s been hailed “a punk jazz provocateur,” shifting from the freewheeling, anything goes aesthetic that informed his primary touring unit, The Mike Dillon Band, to a more conceptual and compositional approach. He’d hinted at this side of his musical personality with the 2016 album release ‘Functioning Broke,’ as well as, three performances with his 23-piece New Orleans Punk Rock Percussion Consortium at The Music Box Village. The introspective ‘Functioning Broke,’ however, relied heavily on outside material, including songs by Elliott Smith, Neil Young and Martin Denny, while the latter performance experiment required the massive energy generated by two dozen musicians on percussion and mallet instruments. On ‘Rosewood,’ Dillon boils down the essence of those two projects into a focused auditory journey, drawing almost exclusively on his own compositions with exception of two additional Elliott Smith songs, “Talking To Mary” and “Can’t Make A Sound,” along with the ghostly take on Johnny Cash arrangement of the classic Trent Reznor / Nine Inch Nails’ song “Hurt.” Dillon performed all of the parts himself with exception of contributions by drummer and frequent collaborator Earl Harvin and the guiding hand of Dillon’s old friend, recording engineer Chad Meise. // “When I decided to record in Kansas City, I immediately recruited Chad. He and I made several Malachy Papers’ records, the Go Go Jungle album ‘Battery Acid’ and the Mike Dillon Band record ‘Urn.’ Our chemistry in the middle of a really bittersweet time for me simplified the process. We layered the songs on 24-track, 2-inch tape. Some songs I would start on the vibes, other times I put on a marimba first before fleshing out the rest. My old pal, the incredible drummer Earl Harvin, visited KC from his home in Berlin during the summer of 2018 and played drum kit on several of the tracks. By recording to tape, we captured the warm relationship of the percussion/mallet family.” // All of the sounds on ‘Rosewood’ are from Dillon’s collection of mallet instruments ranging from the rare Deagan Electric Bass Marimba to the Deagan Electro Vibes, a 1942 Leedy Marimba to his primary touring instrument, the Majestic Electric Vibraphone, running through a collection of analog peddles. The only non-percussion sound was a synth on “Bonobo” that was triggered by a MalletKat. The crescendo of timpani and tabla pulsate beneath the Sonic Youth-like layers of vibes on “Drone” set against the Kraut rock drumming of Harvin. The ambient Steve Reich-inspired pulsations of marimbas on “Vibes at the End of the World” capture the feeling of being in New Orleans when the Hurricane Gustav evacuation order was given to Dillon back in 2007. There are also several moments of joyful percussive optimism with tracks like “Rumba for Peregrine” and “Beignet’s Bounce.” “Sober on Mardi Gras” was composed in New Orleans on Mardi Gras Day 2019 before Dillon marched behind Big Chief Monk Boudreaux alongside Stanton Moore and Joe Gellini. “Tiki Bird Whistle” and “Earl’s Bolero” were also composed in New Orleans in an apartment that was home for many NOLA musicians, including Brian Blade, Doug Belote and John Ellis. // Much of the feeling of this record is dealing with the sadness of moving out of a great city like New Orleans, but with the optimism of a fresh start in Kansas City,” explains Dillon. “To this day it’s hard for me not to say I live in New Orleans. However, in reality, prior to the pandemic, I lived a nomadic lifestyle in my Chevy van going wherever the next gig leads me. And yet now, in the age of Covid-19, we’re faced with change again. It is the only constant.” // Mike Dillon has been an integral member of bands including Garage A Trois, Dead Kenny Gs and Critters Buggin. He’s served as a key sideman to artists like Rickie Lee Jones, Les Claypool and Ani DiFranco. He’s amassed an extensive catalog of genre-defying recordings. He’s taken to the road relentlessly, building one of the most loyal underground fanbases on the contemporary music scene, while being invited to share bills with bands including Clutch, Dean Ween Group and Umphrey’s McGhee. For nearly three decades, Dillon has played exclusively by his own rules. With his latest work, ‘Rosewood,’ he once again embraces the philosophy of change and evolution.]
  1. Sam Prekop – Comma / Thrill Jockey Records / September 11, 2020
    [From his Bandcamp page: Sam Prekop’s boundless imagination is guided by his strong sense of melody. For more than 25 years, as a solo artist or as part of The Sea and Cake, Prekop creates a singular sound inventive and warm. His distinctive vocals, guitar playing and work on modular analog synthesizers are inventive, delicate, and always bear his signature sense of melody. Comma finds Sam Prekop for the first time working extensively with beat programming, focusing his enveloping synthesizer pieces around a newfound rhythmic pulse. // Prekop’s creative process is a combination of preparation and improvisation. Writing sessions for Comma began with an open-ended exploration of sounds and textures from which the first fragments of songs would reveal themselves. The introduction of drum machines and additional synthesizer units to his modular setup shifted things in surprising new directions as he worked to bend them into more traditional pop song structures. Drum tracks and emergent rhythms provided the frameworks and narrative sketches to be fleshed out with lustrous widescreen synth pads and ribboning melodies. In approaching his writing with a completely open mind and letting himself be guided by the music, Prekop maintains a delicate balance between composition and chance, control and spontaneity. Comma embraces the analogue synthesizer’s often unpredictable nature, imbuing the record with a decidedly organic feel even while working within the relative rigidity of beat architectures. // Prekop’s wide-eyed sense of discovery guides his exploration of beat-driven music, pushing him to use rhythm as a narrative tool and to embrace electronic music’s romantic and emotional qualities. “Park Line” and “Circle Line” evoke the relentless forward motion of public transit and commuter routine, one propelled by juddering machine-drums, the other illuminated in glistening neon. “Summer Places” and title track “Comma” are utterly transportive in their intoxicating tropical futurism, aqueous electronic loops cascading over melodic percussion. “September Remember” is notable precisely for its lack of drum track, opening up the field of sound and obliterating all but the faintest after-echoes of skittering percussion in its astral melancholy. “Approaching” achieves an incredible depth of sound and feeling using minimal constituent parts, interlocking synth-lines revealing surprising new sonorities with every repetition. With Comma, Prekop compiles an incredible breadth of ideas into a surprisingly coherent sound-world. // Comma is Prekop’s modern minimal pop album that taps into the experimental heritage of the synthesizer. The album places Sam Prekop’s work squarely in the tradition of electronic music pioneers like Brian Eno and Yellow Magic Orchestra who brought together the unrestrained ambition of the avant-garde with the immediacy and accessibility of pop music. ]
  1. This Is The Kit – Off Off On / Rough Trade / October 23, 2020
    [Off Off On is the fifth studio album by British band This Is the Kit. It was released through Rough Trade Records, making it the second band’s album for the label. Recording sessions took place at Real World Studios in Wiltshire. Production was handled by Josh Kaufman. // This Is the Kit is the alias of Paris-based British musician Kate Stables, as well as the band she fronts. This Is The Kit were a long-time favourite among various BBC Radio 6 Music DJs, which is where the musician and presenter Guy Garvey discovered them, playing their music frequently. Fellow 6 Music DJs Lauren Laverne, Radcliffe & Maconie, Cerys Matthews, and Mary Anne Hobbs have also been major supporters; DJ Marc Riley has hosted the band for three BBC live sessions to date. BBC Radio 1 has offered the band spot plays via DJs Huw Stephens, Jen & Ally, and Phil Taggart. // As the band prepared to release their third album Bashed Out in late 2014 and early 2015, they began to receive more attention from online and print critics. Uncut, Drowned in Sound, The Line of Best Fit and The 405 awarded the album 8/10 ratings. The Mancunion rated a live show a 9/10. Finally, the American blog Stereogum wrote that “Kate Stables has been recording music as This Is The Kit for years now, but this is probably one of the first times you’re reading about her. “Bashed Out” will be her third full-length album, and…it will also likely be her breakout.” // The band received a boost in attention in August 2015 when BBC iPlayer debuted an episode of the documentary series Music Box devoted to This Is The Kit’s music and influences.[5] The show was hosted by Garvey, who argued that their second album, Wriggle Out the Restless, deserved a Mercury Prize nomination. // The band also appeared in the BBC One television series Wanderlust, playing in a night club that Toni Colette’s character Joy attended.]
  1. Nubya Garcia – SOURCE / Concord Jazz / August 21, 2020
    [Nubya Nyasha Garcia was born in 1991. She is a British jazz musician, saxophonist, flautist, composer and bandleader. Garcia is the youngest of four siblings born in Camden Town, London to a Guyanese mother, a former civil servant, and a British Trinidadian film maker father. Garcia followed her older siblings to the local Saturday music centre at the age of 5, where she first learned the violin and later played the viola in the London Schools Symphony Orchestra (LSSO). Garcia has said her home life with her stepdad, a brass player with a vast collection of instruments, and her mother a keen collector of all genres of music from reggae and Latin to classical and soul, coupled with the music activities at school, Camden School for Girls, meant she was saturated with music of all genres. Garcia began learning the saxophone at the age of 10, with Vicky Wright until attaining ABRSM G8 distinction. She very early became a member of the Camden Jazz Band, directed by jazz pianist Nikki Yeoh, before joining the junior jazz program at the Royal Academy of Music. She also attended the workshops of Tomorrow’s Warriors under the direction of Gary Crosby. While still in High School, she received a scholarship for a five-week summer program at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. During her Gap Year she studied with former Jazz Messengers member, Jean Toussaint. In 2016 she graduated with Honours from the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, in Jazz Performance. In 2017, Garcia released her debut album Nubya’s 5ive via the label Jazz re:freshed. That year, her Nubya Garcia Band was an opening act at Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Festival in Sète; the following year she played at the NYC Winter Jazz Festival and the Jazzfest Berlin.In her 2018 EP When We Are, Garcia explored how electronics can be used in a live jazz environment; the EP was created as a result of the Steve Reid Innovation Award. She is also a member of the Nérija, a collective, and the band Maisha led by drummer Jake Long. In addition, she is a collaborator on albums by Makaya McCraven, Theon Cross, Moses Boyd, the Toshio Matsuura Group and Sons of Kemet to Shabaka Hutchings; contributions from her can be found on five tracks of Brownswoods We Out Here, a sampler album from the modern London jazz scene. Garcia tours internationally, in Europe, India, Australia, and North America. She regularly performs at Greenfield festivals in the UK including Love Supreme Jazz Festival. She has headlined sell-out shows at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club London. Garcia also has a burgeoning reputation as a DJ, with a hit monthly radio residency on NTS Radio since November 2017. Garcia was supposed to perform at the Glastonbury Festival, but the festival had to be cancelled due to the increasing concerns over the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic.]
  1. Hermon Mehari – A Change For The Dreamlike / Hermon Mehari / June 5, 2020
    [Hermon writes: “I spent “le confinement” creating this album in a barn in the French countryside. Like many people during this period, I wasn’t able to think much about the future, only the present and the past. These songs are therefore personal journal entries, versions and visions of my wishes, fantasies and memories. Together they create a kind of modern mixtape of dreams, in every sense of the word, in which my trumpet, all alone in that barn, is a vulnerable presence, virtually and masterly supported by some of my closest musical collaborators around the world.” Follow up to his debut solo release Bleu, from 2017. Hermon Mehari grew up in Jefferson City, Missouri, home of Lincoln University. He is a 2010 graduate of the University of Missouri – Kansas City Music Conservatory. In 2015 he finished first, at the prestigious Carmine Carusa International Jazz Trumpet Competition at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville Texas. Hermon was a semifinalist in the 2014 Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition. In 2014 he released the CD “Our Journey” with Diverse, which was recorded in Paris featuring Logan Richardson on alto saxophone. Hermon was also the winner of the 2008 National Trumpet Competiton and placed second in the International Trumpet Guild competition in Sydney, Australia. He splits his time between touring and playing all over the world and creative projects in Kansas City. Hermon has collaborated with Cat Mahari on BAM! the Workshop, he is also a founding member of Diverse Jazz, Diverse Trio, and The Buhs. He has played with Peter Schlamb, Making Movies, John Velghe & the Prodigal Sons, Mikal Shapiro, Krystle Warren. Hermon was featured on the world-renowned saxophonist Bobby Watson’s 2013 release, “Check Cashing Day”. More information at: http://www.hermonmehari.com ]
  1. Scott Hrabko & The Rabbits – Last Dance EP / Scott Hrabko / August 7, 2020
    [Scott Hrabko calls this new EP release a “bit of a departure …” Scott writes on his bandcamp page: “For some time now, ideas for dance/experimental rhythms have been knocking (in syncopation!) on the doors of my dreams, with a growing sense of urgency. Eventually I had no choice but to heed the call, so I got busy and recorded this EP. In this time of social distancing I played all of the Rabbit parts except as noted below, with my friends, Chris Tady (in person, pre-pandemic) and Jason Beers (via remote). My son, Sam Hrabko created the beautiful image on the cover. Chris Tady on lead guitar on “45 Spiders,” Jason Beers on slide guitar on “Last Dance,” all other sounds and utterances by Scott Hrabko. Produced by Scott Hrabko. Mastered by Mike Nolte at Eureka Mastering – Portland, OR. Earlier this year Scott Hrabko released the singles “Free” on August 7, and “Dog In The Backyard” on April 3, 2020. These singles followed the single “Pretty Good Day,” released November 2, 2019. Scott Hrabko released the EP Smash Hits From A Parallel Universe, on February 14, 2019, with Scott Hrabko on lead vocals, backing vocals, acoustic 6 and 12 string guitar, electric guitar, keyboards, & percussion; Jason Beers on bass guitar; Tim Higgins on drums, Marco Pascolini on junior electric guitar. Scott called this release: 4 songs for the new age of anxiety. Scott Hrabko & The Rabbits released the albums: “Summer,” in 2017, and “Biscuits and Gravity” in 2015. Scott Hrabko’s 2013 critically acclaimed solo release, “Gone Places” was said to be 30 years in the making. Singer-songwriter Scott Hrabko has played with KC’s oldest garage band The Original Sinners, as well as various incarnations of the 1980s bands: The Splinters, and The Andersons. In the early 1990s Scott performed as a solo artist in coffee houses with Iris Dement and Howard Eisberg. More info at: http://www.scotthrabko.com]
  1. Howard Iceberg & The Titanics – Kansas City Songs Vol. 3 / Howard Iceberg & The Titanics / June 10, 2020
    [More songs certified to have been written, performed, and recorded in Kansas City by Howard Iceberg. All words and music by Howard Iceberg. Recorded and mixed by Brendan Moreland at Temple Sounds Studio; except “Natalie,” recorded and mixed by Pat Tomek at Largely Studios. Players: Howard Iceberg on lead vocals (except as noted), guitar; Chad Brothers on lead vocal (By Your Side), harmony vocal, guitar; Betse Ellis on lead vocal (Bottle of Rye), fiddle, harmony vox ; Clarke Wyatt on banjo, guitar, keyboards; Andrew Mojo Morris on lead vocal (Promises To Keep), harmony vocals, guitar, mandolin, banjo; Julie Bates-Motel on fiddle, harmony vocals; Chris DeVictor on bass; Phil Wade on dobro; Brendan Moreland on electric guitar; Brett Hodges on lead vocal and guitar (Natalie); Roger Eilts on guitar and harmony vocal (Natalie); Leo Eilts – bass and harmony vocal (Natalie); Erin Corriveau on harmony vocals. In additon to these 12 new songs, Howard also released “Welcome Aboard! Vol. 8 on November 25, 2020 which contains 12 more songs from his collaborations from the last decade that was originally released in June of 2011 as a 7 CD set of 15 songs each containing 105 new songs. AND Howard also released “Absentee Ballads” on Novenber 25, 2020, containing 15 new songs as recorded by the Hermanos Brothers which are: Howard Iceberg, Chad Brothers, Julie Bates, and Andrew Morris. Kansas City’s most prolific singer songwriter Howard Iceberg releases a total of 39 new songs to add to his catalog of hundreds and hundreds.]
  1. The Magnetic Fields – Quickies / Nonesuch Records / May 15, 2020
    [The Magnetic Fields’ Quickies vinyl box set is five 7” EPs comprising twenty-eight new short songs by Stephin Merritt, ranging in length from thirteen seconds to two minutes and thirty-five seconds, performed by Merritt and band members Sam Davol, Claudia Gonson, Shirley Simms, and John Woo, along with longtime friends and collaborators Chris Ewen, Daniel Handler, and Pinky Weitzman. he Magnetic Fields (named after the André Breton/Philippe Soupault novel Les Champs Magnétiques) are an American band founded and led by Stephin Merritt. Merritt is the group’s primary songwriter, producer, and vocalist, as well as frequent multi-instrumentalist. The Magnetic Fields is essentially a vehicle for Merritt’s songwriting, as are various side-projects including The 6ths, Future Bible Heroes, and The Gothic Archies. Merritt’s recognizable lyrics are often about love and with atypical or neutral gender roles, and are by turns ironic, tongue-in-cheek, bitter, and humorous. The band released their debut single “100,000 Fireflies” in 1991. The single was typical of the band’s earlier career, characterized by synthesized instrumentation by Merritt, with lead vocals provided by Susan Anway (and then by Stephin Merritt himself from The House of Tomorrow (EP) onwards). A more traditional band later materialized; it is now composed of Merritt, Claudia Gonson, Sam Davol, and John Woo, with occasional guest vocals by Shirley Simms. The band’s best-known work is the 1999 three-volume concept album 69 Love Songs. It was followed in the succeeding years by a “no-synth” trilogy: i (2004), Distortion (2008), and Realism (2010). The band’s most recent album, 50 Song Memoir, was released in March 2017. The band began as Merritt’s studio project under the name Buffalo Rome. With the help of friend Claudia Gonson, who had played in Merritt’s band The Zinnias during high school, a live band was assembled in Boston, where Merritt and Gonson lived, to play Merritt’s compositions. The band’s first live performance was at T.T. the Bear’s Place in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1991 where they played to a sparse audience that was expecting to see the Galaxie 500 spin-off, Magnetophone. The 1999 triple album 69 Love Songs showcased Merritt’s songwriting abilities and the group’s musicianship, demonstrated by the use of such varied instruments as the ukulele, banjo, accordion, cello, mandolin, flute, xylophone, and the Marxophone, in addition to their usual setting of synthesizers, guitars, and effects. The album features vocalists Shirley Simms, Dudley Klute, L.D. Beghtol, and Gonson, each of whom sings lead on six songs as well as various backing vocals, plus Daniel Handler (who has written under the pseudonym Lemony Snicket) on accordion, and longtime collaborator Christopher Ewen (of Future Bible Heroes) as guest arranger/synthesist. Violinist Ida Pearle makes a brief cameo on “Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side”. The band’s albums, i (2004) and Distortion (2008), both followed the album theme structure of 69 Love Songs: The song titles on i begin with the letter (or, in the case of half the songs’ titles, the pronoun) “I”, whilst Distortion was an experiment in combining noise music with their typically unconventional musical approach. The liner notes claim the album was made without synthesizers. According to an article: “To celebrate the release of Distortion, Merritt and The Magnetic Fields played mini-residencies in cities around the country, culminating with six shows at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music.” Realism was released in January 2010, concluding what Merritt termed the “no-synth” trilogy (following i and Distortion). The next album produced would feature synthesisers “almost exclusively”. In 2010, the documentary film Strange Powers: Stephen Merritt and the Magnetic Fields made its debut in film festivals around the world. It was directed by Kerthy Fix and Gail O’Hara. Shot over a period of 10 years, it discusses the formation of the band, Stephin’s friendship with Claudia Gonson, the production of various albums, and Stephin’s move to California from New York. It won the Outfest 2010 Grand Jury Prize for Feature Documentary. The band was chosen by Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel to perform a rare festival performance at the All Tomorrow’s Parties event that he curated in March 2012 in Minehead, England. The band released its tenth full-length album, Love at the Bottom of the Sea, on March 6, 2012 to critical acclaim. This album, sometimes compared to 69 Love Songs, brought back the use of a synthesizer. Merritt told fans on his website, “I was very happy to be using synthesizers in ways that I had not done before. Most of the synthesizers on the record didn’t exist when we were last using synthesizers.” The song “Andrew in Drag” has garnered much attention, receiving play from entities such as CBS News and NPR’s All Songs Considered. In 2012, the Magnetic Fields celebrated its new album by launching a North American and European tour. It began on March 6, the release date of Love at the Bottom of the Sea, and continued for two months. In 2016 it was announced that the band’s eleventh studio album, 50 Song Memoir would contain fifty songs, akin to the 69 Love Songs concept, one to commemorate each year since Stephin Merritt was born. It was released in March 2017. On May 15th 2020, the band will release the album Quickies – twenty-eight songs under three minutes long through Nonesuch Records. The first single “The Day The Politicians Died” was released on February 25th, followed by “Kraftwerk In A Blackout” on April 1st and “I Want To Join A Biker Gang” on April 16th.]
  1. Special Interest – The Passion Of / Thrilling Living / June 19, 2020
    [“But would you bat an eye waiting for war machines to pass you by? But aren’t we going out tonight? Aren’t we going out? “ Special Interest have returned with their sophomore LP. A dual release from Night School (EU) and Thrilling Living (US). The Passion Of… combines elements of glam rock and no wave pushed through a mangled filter of contemporary electronic forms. Special Interest present a precise and deranged vision of punk, an apocalyptic celebration, a step forward into a perverse and uncertain landscape. Recorded & mixed by James Whitten. Mastered by Rashad Becker. Cover painting by Tamara Santibañez. Special Interest is baed in New Orleans and is made up with: Alli Logout on vocals & lyrics, Nathan Cassiani on bass, Maria Elena on guitar, and Ruth Mascelli on electronics. Front and center are Alli Logout’s commanding vocals and razor sharp lyrics moving from high camp satire to insightful political imperatives often within the course of one song. Special Interest initially formed in 2015 to play one show in a basement. Originally a two-piece with Alli Logout and Maria Elena playing guitars and power tools over the beat of a 70’s Univox drum machine. Soon after they ditched the power tools and were joined by Ruth Mascelli on electronics and Nathan Cassiani on bass. Special Interest quickly gained a reputation for their intense and energetic live shows. A dense wall of sound oscillating from aggressive and noisy to joyous and danceable punctuated by the no holds barred on stage persona of their vocalist. Special Interest have embarked on several short tours of the southeast and have traveled to play festivals such as Suoni Per Popolo, Slut Island, and Not Dead Yet. Their debut album Spiraling w as recorded in New Orleans in 2017 by organist, inventor, and fixture of the local underground music scene Quintron. The first new release on Brice Nice’s Raw Sugar label since 2011, Spiraling is perhaps the sum of its members influences. Which is, to say, everything. They are currently working on a follow up LP to be released in the US on Thrilling Living and in the UK/Europe on Night School Records.]
  1. Gemini Revolution – Supernova Remnant / Kosmic City Records / August 6, 2020
    [Dedric Moore on synthesizer, bass, drum programming, dub guitar; Delaney Moore on synthesizer, Krystof Nemeth on baritone guitar on 4, 5, and 6; Mikal Shapiro on lead vocal on 6; Teri Quinn on backing vocal on 6; Alexander Thomas on drums on 6. An alternate timeline side of Monta at Odds. Gemini Revolution explores the dark ambient side of sonic space exploration digging deep into sounds from beyond slowly enveloping everything it comes into contact. Gemini Revolution finds brothers Dedric and Delaney veering from their duties in Monta At Odds and into the uncharted star-field. Their album Supernova Remnant yields expansive results — kosmiche tones and analog textures blending into an intense brand of ambient extraction. Throughout Supernova Remnant, Gemini Revolution masterfully execute a push/pull effect with layers of sound, planting a feeling of time’s motion stuck in place. The opening “Slow Stars” sets up the project, inspired by a challenge from fellow 8Di’er San Mateo and morphing into a blossoming 17 minutes that surround in a sonically colorful haze. From there, Supernova Remnant tours the sizzling remains of celestial objects, with Dedric and Delaney’s intertwined instrumentation guiding the way. Krystof Nemeth, of darkwave band Emmaline Twist, supplies his remote ‘baritone guitar’ on a few key tracks. And drummer Alexander Thomas and vocalists Mikal Shapiro and Teri Quinn appear for the epic finale, “Children of Collisions.” Together the six tracks complete Gemini Revolution’s orbit, floating through the darkness as a cosmic whole. Listen as Supernova Remnant traces the distance of imagination. More info at http://www.kosmiccity.com]
  1. Til Willis & Erratic Cowboy – Dirtflowers / Til Willis / December 6, 2019
    [Til Willis on guitars, vocals, percussion, Rhodes, Bass, and more; Eric Binkley on bass, Austin Sinkler on drums. With Troy Thill on saxophone, Dave Flomberg on trombone, and Paul Maley on trumpet. Plus, Jeff Jackson on pedal steel for “Blood Moon Song” and Jake Staab on keyboards for “Outlast The Moon” Til Willis was born in the heat of 1980, and has been making music for a long time. On March 19, 2020 Til Willis & Erratic Cowboy released the 5-song EP Confidential Bedroom. On June 5, 2020, Til Willis released Live at KVPH, a 13-song release recorded live at Kaw Valley Public House in Lawrence, Kansas on January 25, 2020. On October 30, 2020 Til Willis released Small Guarantees his 6-track EP collaboration with experimental music-maker Selvedge aka Chance Dibben.]
  1. Julianna Barwick – Healing Is A Miracle / Ninja Tune / July 10, 2020
    [From her BandCamp page: “Healing Is A Miracle” is a record built on improvisation and a close affinity to a couple of trusted items of gear, from which she spins engrossing, expansive universes. Additionally, Barwick draws on the input of three collaborators with whom she has nurtured deep friendships with over the years: Jónsi (Sigur Rós), Nosaj Thing and Mary Lattimore; who each gently nudge out at the edges of her organically-evolved sound. // Recorded in the wake of a seismic shift in her life following a move from New York—where she had lived for 16 years—to L.A. where she is now based, the title of the record came to her after thinking about how the human body heals itself, of the miraculous processes we pay little attention to: “You cut your hand, it looks pretty bad, and two weeks later it looks like it never happened… That’s kind of amazing, you know?” It’s a sentiment that feels particularly apt for the moment. From there, she conceived of the record’s simple statement title, ran it past a couple of friends, and it was settled. Like with the record itself, and all of her work, it’s about following her gut, and seeing where it takes her. // “Healing Is A Miracle” began life in spring of last year, when Barwick sat down with her vocal looping set-up and began sketching out some ideas for new solo material. “It had been so long since I had done that,” she recalls, “making something for myself, just for the love of it… it was emotional, because I was recording music that was just from the heart, that wasn’t for an ‘assignment’ or project… it brought me to tears a little”. // Part of the joy also came from a small but significant switch up to her recording process: the addition of some studio monitors—a birthday gift from Jónsi and Alex (Somers)—having previously recorded all of her music on headphones. “The first song I remember making with those was the first song on the album, Inspirit.” she explains, “When I added the bass I really felt it in my body, you know, in a way you just wouldn’t with headphones… it was kind of euphoric and fun. I got really excited about making the record in that moment, and I think that really had an impact on the sounds I ended up making.” // Excitement too came from the chance to work with three dream collaborators. Her connection to Jónsi began via producer Alex Somers, when Barwick flew to Reykjavík to record some sessions with him for her 2013 record “Nepenthe”, a trip which would begin a long-standing affinity with Iceland and the people she connected with there. “I think he has the best voice in the world,” she says, “and hearing my voice with Jonsi’s is one of the joys of my life.” Nosaj Thing—the highly respected electronic producer and stalwart of the LA scene who has worked with the likes of Kendric Lamar—had gotten in touch to express his affection for her 2011 album “The Magic Place”, and they’d since been trying to find a way to work together. Barwick and Lattimore had struck up a friendship over many years performing live together, and had moved to LA around the same time. Finding herself in the same city as all three for the first time, it felt natural to include them in her process, and added to the feeling of newness, support and friendship she had while producing the record. // Beyond her records, Barwick’s impressive live shows have gained incredible praise over the years from the likes of The Guardian—who described her performance as “exquisite in its eloquence, reflection and compassion” —The New York Times, NPR, and more. She has also supported and performed with Bon Iver, Grouper, Explosions in the Sky, Sigur Rós, Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen, Perfume Genius, Mas Ysa, and Nat Baldwin. // Barwick has additionally been involved in some head-turning collaborations over the years. In 2015 she took part in The Flaming Lips’s Carnegie Hall show, performing music from their reimagining of “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, alongside Phillip Glass, Debbie Harry, Laurie Anderson and Patti Smith. That same year she was invited to play two shows with Yoko Ono, one at MoMA (“my favorite thing ever”) and one in Central Park. In 2012 she released a collaborative album with Helado Negro as OMBRE, and has also released a collaborative single with Rafael Anton Isarri, on the super-limited Thesis label, and most recently, the “Command Synthesis” EP, on RVNG Intl. sub-label Commend There, which employed AI to build five tracks that responded to the airborne environment outside a hotel room. In 2019 she teamed up with Doug Aitken on his nomadic art project, and created stunning performances in the Massachusett wilderness. // The album’s artwork was shot in Iceland by Joel Kazuo Knoernschild and is taken from a series of aerial films shot by drone above the country’s breathtaking coastline, which also make up the video for ‘Inspirit’.]
  1. Kristie Stremel – Sky Crew / Stemeltone Records / November 13, 2020
    [This is Kristie Stremel’s 11th full length release. “I Love You” was written by Kristie Stremel (Stremeltone Songs ASCAP). Recorded at Stremeltone Studio, Kansas. Mixed by John Hobson. Mastered by Paul Malinowski. Kristie Stremel on vocals & guitar, Lance Gilchrist on drums, Jason Hammond on bass, Ryan McCall on keyboards, and John Hobson on guitar & vocals. Described as “Joan Jett & Tom Petty’s love child,” and armed with her guitar, fueled by coffee, and over 85 published songs, singer, songwriter, producer, rock & roll mom, Kristie Stremel has 11 full-length releases in her musical career of over 20 years. She has recorded as a solo artists and also on the bands Frogpond, and The 159ers. In October, 2013 Kristie and her partner, Lori Isabell, welcomed their adopted baby son, Charlie, into their family. In April 2014 Kristie released her 6th solo record, and the 9th full-length release of her musical career of over 20 years. SONGWRITER was released on her own label, Stremeltone, it was Kristie’s first self-produced album. Stremeltone Records, was created in her home in Lawrence. The last track, “It’s Enough” was released early, as a video, featuring photos of couples in partnerships, relationships, marriages, unions, families. The video was Kristie’s response the the KS House of Representatives passing HD 2453 allowing businesses the right to refuse service to LGBT customers. In 2015 Kristie released, WILDFLOWERS, her children’s book of song and poems with accompanying CD recording with contributions from Victor & Penny, Kelley Hunt, Ron Megee, Kasey Rausch and more. In 2016 Kristie released the single “Orlando (Keep Dancing).” The song was written by: Kristie Stremel in response to the Pulse Nightclub massacre on June 12, 2016, when Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old security guard, killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a hate crime inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Pulse was hosting Latin Night and most of the victims were Latino. About 320 people were inside the club, which was serving last call drinks at around 2:00 a.m. After arriving at the club by van, Omar Mateen approached the building on foot, armed with a SIG Sauer MCX semi-automatic rifle and a 9mm Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol and bypassed security and began shooting and taking hostages. After a three-hour standoff, he was shot and killed by Orlando Police Department officers. It was both the deadliest mass shooting by a single shooter and the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in United States history. It was also the deadliest terrorist attack in the US since the 9 /11 attacks in 2001. “Keep Dancing” was included in the new release SKY CREW. More info at: http://www.kristiestremel.com]
  1. Kris Delmhorst – Long Day In The Milky Way / Kris Delmhorst / August 14, 2020
    [Kris Delmhorst is originally from Brooklyn, New York,, she now lives in Western Massachusetts, is an active member of the Boston folk scene, and tours internationally. She has released 9 full-length solo albums and two EPs on Signature Sounds Recordings. Delmhorst released Appetite, her first album, in 1998, the same year she was involved in producing the Respond compilation, a fundraiser for domestic violence groups. It included her song Weatherman. In 1999, she released a live album with The Vinal Avenue String Band, consisting of herself, Sean Staples, and Ry Cavanaugh. Her second solo album, Five Stories, was released in 2001 and was well received. In 2005, Delmhorst, Jeffrey Foucault, and Peter Mulvey released an album entitled Redbird. The trio released a live album in 2011. In 2006, Delmhorst took the words of poems by writers such as Lord Byron, George Eliot and Edna St. Vincent Millay, and set them to original music. Delmhorst released Shotgun Singer in 2008, a collection of original recordings noted for its artistic vibe, instrumentation and alternative aesthetic, compared to previous recordings that focused more heavily on vocals and lyrics. In 2011, Delmhorst gathered instrumentalists and singers from across the Boston/Cambridge music scene, including The Cars’ keyboardist Greg Hawkes, to record a covers album dedicated to music by the new wave band The Cars. Delmhorst’s seventh album, Blood Test was released on Signature Sounds on May 13, 2014. It is her first of original music since her 2008 album Shotgun Singer. Delmhorst has recorded vocals, fiddle and cello on over 50 albums from artists such as Peter Wolf, Mary Gauthier, Chris Smither and Lori McKenna. Delmhorst is married to fellow singer/songwriter Jeffrey Foucault, with whom she had a daughter in 2008.]
  1. Thighmaster – Between The Knees And Squeeze / High Dive Records / Jan. 10, 2020
    [Thighmaster is a Lawrence, Kansas based band formed by Maxfield Yoder (formerly of the bands: Dean Monkey & the Dropouts, Plains) on guitar & vocals, Max Lock on vocals, Max Smith on tambourine & vocals, Esteban Gomez –on bass, Jennifer Graham on drums, and Jake Little on guitar.Thighmaster recently signed with KC based label High Dive Records. The band is resurrecting the song-writing demons that have long haunted Mayfield Yoder. Thighmaster truly is garage pop for cool grandparents. Now you too can have shapely thighs in minutes a day. Tracked, Mixed and Mastered by Ross Williams and written by Thighmaster.]
  1. LK Ultra – You’re Not Gonna Like This EP / LK Ultra / October 2, 2020
    [TLK Ultra released “Pussy Hat” as a single on July 7, 2020 and now included n the band’s second 4-song EP release that was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Griffin Nelson. Lawrence, Kansas based 4-piece indigenous-fronted, queer music, straight from the birthplace of emo. Formed by Lily Pryor, Inez Robinson, Aoife Conway, and August Hyde. The band is now a 3-piece, Their debut EP “Demos for Bangal was released on March 19, 2019 and was mixed and recorded by Mitchell Hewlett in The Coop.]
  1. Ondara – Folk n’ Roll Vol. 1: Tales Of Isolation / Verve Forecast / May 29, 2020
    [J.S. Ondara, professionally known as Ondara, is a Grammy-nominated Kenyan singer-songwriter whose debut album, Tales of America, was released on February 15, 2019 via Verve Forecast. The critical success of the debut led to a follow-up deluxe edition, Tales of America: The Second Coming, in September 2019 featuring the original lineup plus five bonus tracks. // Ondara was born in August 1992 in Nairobi, Kenya. As a child, he wrote poems and stories as well as songs despite not having an instrument to play them on because his family couldn’t afford one. He was inspired by Radiohead, Nirvana, Death Cab For Cutie, Jeff Buckley, Pearl Jam, Guns N’ Roses, and Bob Dylan. // Ondara grew up listening to rock songs on his older sisters’ battery-powered radio. Having discovered The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan following a dispute with a friend over whether “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” was a Guns N’ Roses song, Ondara resolved to travel to the United States to pursue a career in music. // In February 2013, after winning in the green card lottery, Ondara moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota at the age of 20. He taught himself to play guitar and perform during open mic nights. Eventually, he decided to study music therapy in college, but dropped out of school to return to playing small shows at coffee houses after attending a concert. // After moving to Minnesota, Ondara tried his hand at making music and performing in small venues. His big break came when Minneapolis radio station KCMP 89.3 The Current played one of his songs on air by pulling audio from his YouTube channel, where he had been uploading covers of his favorite songs. // Ondara’s debut album, Tales of America, was released in February 2019 by Verve Label Group. Despite only 11 tracks making the final tracklist, Ondara wrote more than 100 songs for the album, all based on an immigrant’s life in America. The album was produced by Mike Viola of the Candy Butchers. In support of the album, Ondara embarked on his first headlining tour in March 2019. After the release of the album, Ondara debuted on Billboard’s Emerging Artist chart at No. 37 in March 2019. The album also landed on the Billboard Heatseekers Album, Americana/Folk Album Sales, and Rock Album Sales charts. He was nominated for Best Emerging Act at the 2019 Americana Music Honors & Awards. // Ondara cites Bob Dylan as his musical hero, which is why he chose to live in Minnesota and why he wears his signature fedora. // He has toured with the Milk Carton Kids, Lindsey Buckingham and in 2019, he opened for select dates on tour with Neil Young. In early 2020, he opened for The Lumineers on their III world tour. // Ondara was nominated for Best Americana Album at the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards for his album, Tales of America.]
  1. Scabb – Nada EP / Manor Records / November 6, 2020
    [Nada is the debut 6-song EP solo release from Scabb, aka Sammy Hernandez. From this EP “Honey Dew” released as a single on Oct. 29, and “Champagne Chutney” was released as a single Oct. 15. Scabb, is a KCK native and multi faceted artist seasoned heavily in soul and experimental samples. His love/hate relationship with himself and society with the mix of his obsession with word choice and mood switch add range to his malleable style bringing you back for a second listen. Scabbs nostalgic melodies, raw lyricism and self centered banter will you keep you feeling engaged and refreshed. Earlier this year Scabb released the single “Mount” on Manor Records on May 25, 2020. Scabb & Strings is Sammy Hernandez (Scabb) and Shaun Crowley (Strings). Sammy Hernandez is the younger brother of Quinn Hernandez of the band Momma’s Boy. Shaun Crowley is the lead guitarist for Momma’s Boy and founder of Manor records and the Manor Fest. Produced & engineered by Scabb. ]
  1. X – ALPHABETLAND / Fat Possum Records / April 22, 2020
    [Billy Zoom on guitar, saxophone & piano; DJ Bonebrake on drums & percussion; Exene Cervenka on vocals; John Doe on bass & vocals. Produced by Rob Schnapf and engineered by Rob Schnapf & Matt Schuessler. Mastered by Mark Chalecki @ Little Red Book Mastering. Additional guitar on All The Time In The World: Robby Krieger, Rob Schnapf, additional guitar. Recorded at Sunset Sound, in Hollywood, CA & Mant Sound in Glassel Park, CA in 2019 & 2020. While everyone is social distancing, closing ranks and donning masks while they shop, life can seem somewhat surreal to the senses. Yet, through all of the chaos, one thing is constant, music brings us together. Now, on the 40th Anniversary of the landmark, Los Angeles, and 35 years since the original band have released an album – X, one of the greatest Punk Rock bands in music history, releases ALPHABETLAND today via Bandcamp. The original foursome – Exene Cervenka, John Doe, Billy Zoom, and DJ Bonebrake have now made the album available for fans to purchase and by adapting to this moment, X continues to embody the same spirit they did when they began in 1977. “When your heart is broken you think every song is about that. These songs were written in the last 18 months & it blows my mind how timely they are,” explained John Doe. “We all want our family, friends & fans to hear our records as soon as it’s finished. This time we could do that. Thanks to Fat Possum & our audience.” The bands record label, Fat Possum, listened and agreed. Plans were quickly set in motion to release the new music via Bandcamp and have said they’re working to get the record available elsewhere as quickly as possible.]
  1. Eems – Sweet Dreems / Eems / January 10, 2020
    [Eems started 2020 with the 8-track release “Sweet Dreams on January 10. Eems also released four new singles in 2020 including: the two song release “Spacelord” on February 29, 2020, “Middle” on May 4, 2020, and “Unbreakable” on October 11, 2020. Eems is Phillip Jackson, a KC based ukulele loop artist, singer songwriter, rapper, pianist, drummer, The resonance of his bright musical sounds, and lyrical calls, are woven through genres of folk, hip hop, pop, and dance influences. He has shared the stage with notable hop hop artists, and KC Folk Music Fest, Middle of The Map Fest. For Eems, a ukulele is a jumping off point that leads to an uncharted and often unpredictable world of sound and inspiration. Blending it with loops and effects to achieve a captivating blend of R&B and pop music, Eems has used his unique sounds, voice and sense of humor to reach crowds across the country. Eems has opened up for” Slick Rick The Ruler and GLC form Kanye West’s G.O.O.D music label. Eems released his EP Dreems on June 26, 2018. Eems released Rocket Shop EP on August 11, 2017. Eems released IIID on June 17, 2016.]
  1. Deerhoof – Future Teenage Cave Artists / Joyful Noise / May 29, 2020
    [Pitchfork went so far as to label Deerhoof as “the best band in the world.” From their humble beginnings as an obscure San Francisco noise act, they’ve become one of indie music’s most influential bands with their ecstatic and unruly take on pop. Formed in San Francisco in 1994. Deerhoof currently consists of founding drummer Greg Saunier, bassist and singer Satomi Matsuzaki, and guitarists John Dieterich and Ed Rodriguez. Initially performing improvised noise punk, Deerhoof became widely renowned and influential in the 2000s through prodigious and self-produced creative output combining “noise, sugary [pop] melodies, and an experimental spirit into utterly distinctive music”. They have released 15 studio albums since 1997. Their live shows are characterized by minimal gear, maximal volume, and surrealist banter.]
  1. Lyra Pramuk – Fountain / Bedroom Community / March 20, 2020
    [Lyra Pramuk’s debut explores a post-human, non-binary understanding of life. Lyra fuses classical training, pop sensibilities, performance practices and contemporary club culture in what may best be described as futurist folk music. The American opera-trained vocalist and electronic musician releases her album via Iceland’s Bedroom Community label. Created entirely from her own voice, although often shaped and structured by electronics, Fountain is an emotional, sensual, and devotional journey. The title is derived from her family name, Pramuk, which translates from Czech as ‘well spring’ or ‘fountain.’ Often wordless, these songs evoke a new wholeness sustained by the ritual force of drowning, immersion, cleansing, and bathing – also referred to in the album artwork by acclaimed visual artist Donna Huanca. Fountain plays with the perception of music, rhythms, speech, body, and the relation between technology and humanity, exploring a post-human, non-binary understanding of life and the fragile ecosystems it depends on. The work documents a healing that is still in process, and a full circle-moment that reunited Lyra with her sound engineer twin brother, Ben, for the final mix, which they completed in tandem. As a vocal activist and member of the queer community, Lyra moved to Berlin in 2013, following her degree at the Eastman School of Music in New York. Since then, she has also been awarded residencies at Elektronmusikstudion EMS Stockholm, Open Port Club Residency in Tokyo and Sapporo, and Future Music Lab of the Atlantic Music Festival in Maine. Her interests also encompass writing, poetry, and fashion, where she is sometimes called upon as a model. As a performance artist, she has collaborated extensively with Donna Huanca and at events such as Glasgow International and the Rochester Fringe Festival. Music composed and produced by Lyra Pramuk. Vocals recorded by Lyra Pramuk and Ben Pramuk in Berlin and at EMS Elektronmusikstudion in Stockholm. Mixed by Ben Pramuk in Berlin. Mastered by Valgeir Sigurðsson and Francesco Fabris at Greenhouse Studios.]
  1. Black Stacey – Lose The Peace EP / Sharaden Staten / June 2, 2020
    [“Lose the Peace” is the second release for Soul/Rock trio Black Stacey. Co-produced/Mixed/Mastered by Joel Nanos at Element Recording Studios, the album features performances by Julia Hail, Christine Grossman, Michael Raehpour, and Grant Morgan. The album tells the story of Joe “Slim” Portero, a petty hustler, and his daughter Jessica park. Wrapping up with the title track, “Lose the Peace,” provides insight into the tense relationship and a tragic end. With themes of drug use, race relations, and depression, this album is a deep dive into the creative expression of songwriter/Guitarist Sharaden. Black Stacey is Sharaden Staten, a Missouri native, who release his album “Electric Church” in 2017. Part of WMM’s The 117 Best Recordings of 2017. Sharaden, a 25-year-old, having grown up in the back woods of central Missouri, and couch surfed his way into the KC metro, pairs subtle notes of R&B, funk, soul, and rock; dramatically blending it into a raw eclectic mix. In 2015 Sharaden began writing, recording and producing Black Stacey’s debut, “Electric Chariot”. A project that has given him a solid foundation in the KC music scene, gaining him spots on local radio and the opportunity to work with producer Joel Nanos. More info at: http://www.blackstacey.com.]
  1. Eliza Gilkyson – 2020 / Red House Records /April 3, 2020
    [20th album from Eliza Gilkyson who was our guest on WMM on Aug. 26, 2020. Gilkyson was born August 24, 1950, in Hollywood, California. She is an Austin, Texas-based folk musician. Gilkyson is a two-time Grammy Award nominee, receiving a nomination for Best Contemporary Folk Album in 2004 and Best Folk Album in 2014. Eliza Gilkyson is a politically minded, poetically gifted singer-songwriter who has become one of the most respected musicians in folk & Americana music. She is the daughter of songwriter and folk musician Terry Gilkyson and his wife, Jane. Eliza first recorded as a teenager as a vocalist on demos and soundtracks produced by her father, who wrote several hits in the 1950s and early 1960s and is also known as a singer-composer for 1960s Disney films and an Academy Award nominee for “The Bare Necessities” from the 1967 animated film The Jungle Book. Since then she Eliza has released 20 recordings of her own, and her songs have been covered by Joan Baez, Bob Geldof, Tom Rush and Rosanne Cash. 2020 was produced by Cisco Ryder Gilliland (Eliza’s son) with Eliza Gilkyson on acoustic guitar, national steel guitar, electric guitar, harmonica; Cisco Ryder Gilliand on drums, percussion, harmony vocals; Mike Hardwick on electric & acoustic guitars, slide guitar, pedal steel, dobro, 12-string; Chris Maresh on bass; Bukka Allen on Wurlitzer, Hammond Organ, Nord, Piano; Warren Hood on mandolin; Betty Soo on harmony vocals. Recorded in Austin, TX Dedicated to Eliza’s grandkids: Riley, Bellarosa, Santi, Rex, Benito. She released Eliza ’69, her first album, in 1969 while raising a family in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and did not come out with her second, Love from the Heart, until ten years later. She moved to Austin, Texas in 1981 and released the commercial album Pilgrims before moving to Los Angeles in 1987. After a brief stint in Los Angeles, she returned to New Mexico in the early 1990s, releasing several albums of original material. In 1993 she collaborated with New Age artist Andreas Vollenweider on his recording, Eolian Minstrel. She has been with Red House Records since 2000, although she also worked on three albums independently, recording on her own label, Realiza Records. In 2003 she was inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame. Land of Milk and Honey, 2004 release on Red House Records, was Grammy nominated. In 2005, she released Paradise Hotel with the song “Requiem” about the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami in December 2004. Coinciding with Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of the Gulf Coast region in August 2005, this song found its way to listeners as a song of prayer and comfort. The same year she was recognized with 3 Austin Music Awards and 4 Folk Alliance Music Awards, one of which was for her song “Man of God” about the Bush administration. In 2008, her album Beautiful World came out, again on Red House Records. The songs vary from pop to folk and points in-between, with songs ranging from intimate ballads to rallying cries against the imperialist machine. She recently collaborated on a new album entitled Red Horse with tRed House Records label-mates John Gorka & Lucy Kaplansky. In 2011, she came out with Roses at the End of Time, and in 2014 released The Nocturne Diaries which was Grammy nominated for best Folk Album. Both CDs were recorded at her home with her son and co-producer Cisco Ryder. She tours about 150 dates per year in the US and overseas, and hosts annual songwriting workshops in Taos, New Mexico.]
  1. Rae Fitzgerald – Lonely Listener EP / Rae Fitzgerald / August 28, 2020
    [Lonely Listener was written & arranged by Rae Fitzgerald who is based in Columba, MO. Produced by Rae Fitzgerald & Wil Reeves. Recorded at home & at Centro Cellar Studio in CoMO. Mixed & mastered by Will Reeves. Last time Rae was in our Countdown for her album Popular Songs For Wholesome Families released June 3, 2016 Recorded at Centro Cellar Studio in Columbia, MO, and Good Danny’s in Austin, TX, between October 2014 and September 2015. Rae Fitzgerald joined us on WMM on February 3, 2016.]
  1. Les Amazones d’Afrique – Amazones Power / Real World Records / January 24, 2020
    [2nd album from Les Amazones d’Afrique, a contemporary world music supergroup formed in Mali in 2015 featuring Kandia Kouyaté, Angélique Kidjo, Mamani Keita, Rokia Koné, Mariam Doumbia (of Amadou & Mariam), Nneka, Mariam Koné, Massan Coulibaly, Madina N’Diaye, Madiaré Dramé, Mouneissa Tandina and Pamela Badjogo. The name of the refers to the Dahomey Amazons, which was a female elephant hunting group and a military regiment from the 17th century thru 19th century in what is now Benin. Les Amazones d’Afrique performed their first concert at Fiesta des Suds in Marseilles in October 2015. The 1st track they released was “I Play The Kora,” a track that goes well beyond the often-reductive term of “world music”. Its message is to encourage women coming together to sing about why they should “rise up and fight injustice because we’re all equal,” and profits from the sale of the track are be donated to The Panzi Foundation, led by Doctor Mukwege in Bukavu (DRC), which has provided healing support to more than 80,000 women, nearly 50,000 of whom are victims of sexualized violence and female genital mutilation. The kora, a harp-like instrument native to West Africa, works as a metaphor: playing the kora was denied to women for years; only men were allowed the prestige. Following their first UK performance at WOMAD Charlton Park in July 2016, Les Amazones d’Afrique were signed to Real World Records for the release of their 1st album, Republique Amazone (2017). Real World Records is a British record label specializing in world music. It was founded in 1989 by English musician Peter Gabriel and original members of WOMAD. In 1999, the label had sold over 3 million records worldwide & released 90 albums. In 2015, it had reached the mark of over 200 albums.]
  1. Free Nationals – Free Nationals / OBE, LLC – Empire / December 13, 2019
    [Free Nationals are best known as Anderson . Paak’s live band, until now. Band members include: Kelsey Gonzalez on bass, Ron “Tnava” Avant on keyboards & vocoder, Callum Connor on drums, and José Rios on guitar. Free Nationals have graced the stage at Coachella, opened for Beyoncé and completed World Tours alongside J. For this track Free Nationals ecorded with Sydney Loren Bennett was born April 23, 1992. Known professionally as Syd (formerly Syd tha Kyd), Syd is an American singer and songwriter from Los Angeles, California. She is a founding member of the band The Internet, and was a member of the alternative hip hop collective Odd Future.]
  1. The MGDs – Midtown / The MGDs / March 26, 2020
    [Midtown is the MGDs fourth full length release following, Somos Como Somos, from November 4, 2017. The band includes: Matt Davis on drums, percussion & vocals; Greg Bush on bass; Damon Parker on keyboards & vocals; Scott “Snoof” Middleton on guitar; Rudy Vasquez on saxophones; and Eric Martens on trumpet. This Kansas City based 6-piece band that mixes piano and brass with a dynamic rhythm section that adds a unique flavor to the iconic Kansas City music culture, blending of funk and blues with soulful stylings. In what started as a 3-piece between longtime friends Matt, Greg and Damon in 2008, the MGDs have evolved into a potent powerhouse, high-energy ensemble with regular monthly appearances at the Phoenix, and appearances at the Sunset Music Fest, the City Market Crawfish Fest, the 6th annual Phoenix Fest, Crossroads Music Fest, Middle of The Map Fest, Boulevardia, The Plaza Art Fair, Kauffman Stadium before two Kansas City Royals games. In 2016 the band released, “Wake Up” their 2nd full length studio album.]
  1. Kansas City Syzygy / Kansas City Syzygy / July 17, 2020
    [Kansas City Syzygy is a glimpse into the music created in the middle of the map in the middle of a pandemic. Mastered by J Ashley Miller, designed by JC Franco, with compilation direction by Robert Castillo. Over 25 Kansas City-based musicians came together to create “Kansas City Syzygy,” a compilation of music created during the shutdown of the world in April of 2020. From this amazing compilation on WMM we played 8 brand new original songs created in home studios during the quarantine from: Miki P, Trevor Turla, Kemet Coleman, Calvin Arsenia, We The People, Rob Rice & The Devil’s Threesome, Johnny Hamil & Jeff Harshbarger – GAV7D Project, and Mikal Shapiro with Chad Brothers, and Matt The Musical. The album can be purchased from Bandcamp. All proceeds will be donated to KC Tenants, a local nonprofit organized to ensure that everyone in KC has a safe, accessible, and truly affordable home.]
  1. Flutienastiness – This Is Me / Flutienastiness Entertainment / October 28, 2020
    [Flutienastiness is the music and educational project of Amber Underwood who works as a band director in KC Public Schools and is a private flute instructor at REW Band & Instruments. Her style falls on the R&B, Pop, and Soul side of jazz, Amber Underwood is a vivid performer. Amber studied Education at Pittsburgh State University from 2010 to 2012. Amber lives in Shawnee, KS. The album was produced, mixed, & mastered by Desmond “D. Professor” Mason for Out D. Park Productions. All flutes by Amber Underwood. All tracks were composed collaboratively between Amber & Desmond. Amber writes: “This is album is a touch of all my feelings, life journeys and a inside look into Amber ‘Flutienastiness’ Underwood as a person beyond the stage. This album is for all the female artists & musicians who have been criticized or not excepted when it comes to their work, art or music and felt like they didn’t belong. ‘This Is Me’ is my testimony that all things are possible and not be scared to create your OWN lane.” More info at:www.flutienastiness.com.]
  1. The Multiverse – Songs Of Latter Days / The Multiverse / November 1, 2020
    [The Multiverse is Chris Hudson & Julie Bennett Hume who have been playing and creating songs for decades in the KC – Lawrence area. Prolific songwriters with a love of poetry and prose, their music is an eclectic mix of folk, blues and country. For this recording of 13 songs Chris wrote 6 and Julie wrote 6 and they wrote one song together. They play on all songs together with help from the Kansas City acclaimed alternative string duo The Wires with Laurel Morgan parks on violin and Sascha Groschang on cello. Also contributing to the recording was Jason Beers. Chris Hudson also plays solo and with the bands “Gullywasher” and “The Bard Owls”. Julie Bennett Hume plays in the folk duo “The Stray Grays” with Leslie Giggler. Julie and Chris also perform in the group “Lost Cowgirl Revue”. Chris and Julie joined us live on WMM on November 4, 2020. More info at: http://www.themultiverse.com]
  1. The Innocence Mission – See You Tomorrow / Thérèse Records / January 17, 2020
    [12th studio album from The Innocence Mission, an indie folk band with: Karen Peris (née McCullough), her husband (and fellow guitarist) Don Peris, and Mike Bitts (on bass guitar). The band was formed in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, when the members met during a Catholic school production of Godspell. Although all members of the band have contributed to their music, Karen Peris is their main writer. Before being signed to a record label, the band originally played local clubs, events and at Lancaster Catholic High School (the alma mater of the band members).Their self-titled debut album was released in 1989 on A&M Records and was produced by Larry Klein, then-husband of Joni Mitchell. Recorded in Mitchell’s Los Angeles studio, the album spent 10 weeks on the Billboard charts, peaking at #167 in 1990. Klein also produced their 1991 follow up, Umbrella. Their third A&M album, Glow (1995), was produced by Dennis Herring, who had previously produced two records for Camper Van Beethoven. This album is a departure from Klein’s heavier production style. Herring’s lighter touch gave more emphasis to the group’s guitar work and to Karen’s vocals and lyrics. Glow contains songs that appear on the soundtracks of the films Empire Records and Dream for an Insomniac, as well as the television series Party of Five. The album’s second track, “Bright as Yellow,” peaked at #33 on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks. After the band completed the recording of a follow-up album to Glow, A&M Records was bought by Universal Music Group. The group decided to mutually part ways with the label, shortly before it was merged with other companies to form Interscope-Geffen-A&M. 1999’s Birds of My Neighborhood inaugurated The Innocence Mission as they are today, following three albums as a quartet that drew comparisons to The Sundays and 10,000 Maniacs. When drummer Steve Brown left to become a chef, Karen Peris (guitars, piano, pump organ, accordion, voice), Don Peris (guitars, drums, voice) and Mike Bitts (upright bass) forged ahead with an orchestral and sometimes cinematic folk-pop sound, which they felt was truer to their real nature – in any case, a sound rich in atmosphere, innately sad, but ultimately hopeful. The album was followed by the release of The Lakes of Canada EP, which contains a remix of “Snow” by Icelandic electronic group GusGus, the band’s only remix thus far. The 2000 release, Christ Is My Hope, featuring folk songs and hymns that had inspired them over the years, was independently distributed by their own label, LAMP, with all proceeds from sales of the record being donated to hunger relief charities. An exclusive one-album deal signed with independent label WhatAreRecords? saw Small Planes following a year later. Their first album on Badman Records in the US and Agenda in Europe, Befriended, was released in 2003 and was followed a year later by a collection of lullabies, standards, traditional and classical songs called Now the Day Is Over. Recorded over two weeks in Aug. 2004, the album contained their well-known cover of Henry Mancini’s “Moon River.” Badman Records acquired license to re-master and re-issue the then-out-of-print Birds of My Neighborhood album in 2006. We Walked in Song was released in 2007 and included the song “Brotherhood of Man”, which appeared in two acclaimed films: the documentary The Human Experience and the short film Weathered, starring Tony Hale and Nicole Parker, which also featured a new version of the song “Our Harry”. Also on this album are “Happy Birthday” and closing song “Over the Moon”, both of which are featured in the Julia Roberts film Fireflies in the Garden. On June 6, 2008, “Bright as Yellow” was played as the official NASA wake-up call for the crew of Space Shuttle mission STS-124 on flight day 7. Street Map was released in December 2008 and was the second record to be distributed independently on their own LAMP label, while their eighth studio album, My Room in the Trees, was released on July 13, 2010. Their ninth studio album, Hello I Feel the Same, was released on October 17, 2015, followed by Sun on the Square in 2018. Their next studio album, See You Tomorrow, is due for release on January 17, 2020. Don Peris has recorded four solo albums: Ten Silver Slide Trombones (2001), the mostly instrumental Go When the Morning Shineth (2006), which features a vocal contribution from Karen Peris on “North Atlantic Sand”, and an instrumental solo guitar album, Brighter Visions Beam Afar (2007), which raised money for local food banks. His fourth studio album, The Old Century, was released on May 7, 2013. Karen Peris released her first solo album, Violet, on Dec. 3, 2012. The 10-song album was performed mainly on piano, and features six instrumental compositions. Don Peris appears as guitarist on two songs, while the couple’s two children performed violin and viola on a further two songs. A version of the album containing two bonus tracks, “First Days in the City” and “Getting Here”, was released in Japan through P-Vine Records on May 15, 2013. Sufjan Stevens calls The Innocence Mission “moving and profound”, adding, “What makes Karen Peris’ lyrics so remarkable is the economy of words, sensory language, concrete nouns – everyday objects take on tremendous meaning.]
  1. Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher / Dead Oceans / June 18, 2020
    [Second album from Phoebe Bridgers who was born August 17, 1994, and is from Los Angeles, California. Bridgers released her major label debut 7″ on Ryan Adams record label, PAX AM. In early 2016, Bridgers supported Julien Baker on her 2016 East Coast tour. On September 22, 2017 Bridgers released her debut album, Stranger in the Alps. Followed by last year’s self titled, Better Oblivion Community Center, her musical project with Conor Oberst who made a cameo appearance for her Kansas City show at recordBar. Bridgers is a graduate of Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. In 2014 she was featured in a commercial for the Apple iPhone singing a cover of “Gigantic” by the Pixies. In June 2017, Phoebe Bridgers signed to Dead Oceans. The Alps was produced by Tony Berg and Ethan Gruska.]
  1. Various Blonde – 3s 1 EP / The Record Machine / January 10, 2020
    [New three song release from Various Blonde. Kansas City based experimental, rock, pop, and funk band originally formed in 2008 and currently served by founder Joshua Allen on guitar, synthesizers, and vocals; and Mark Lomas on drums. The band has been described by Mills Record Company as, “Having all the sex appeal of The Weeknd and all the grit of Rage Against the Machine–the combination makes for a performance that is explosive.”]
  1. Misha Roberts – Exposed EP / Misha Roberts / January 2020 (Unreleased)
    [Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Misha Roberts has worked extensively in Kansas City as a vocalist for over 10 years. Misha is currently in the studio working on her solo album. She recently released this song as a you Tube Video. Misha plays with the band The Freedom Affair.]
  1. Bright Eyes – Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was / Dead Oceans / August 21, 2020
    [After being on a hiatus since their last performance on November 21, 2011 in Honolulu, Hawaii, Bright Eyes is back! Bright Eyes is an American indie rock band founded by singer-songwriter and guitarist Conor Oberst. It consists of Oberst, multi-instrumentalist and producer Mike Mogis, arranger, composer and trumpet and piano player Nate Walcott, and a rotating line-up of collaborators drawn primarily from Omaha’s indie music scene. Between 1998 and 2011, the band’s albums were released through Saddle Creek Records, a Nebraska-based label founded by Justin Oberst (Conor’s brother) and Mogis. In January 2020, the band announced their return, having signed with Dead Oceans. In January 2020, Bright Eyes launched an Instagram page and teased a 2020 return. As of January 21, 2020 Bright Eyes have signed with Dead Oceans and are working on a new studio album. They released their first new song in 9 years – “Persona Non Grata” – on March 24. NME’s Luke Morgan Britton wrote of the track: “[A] dual sense of societal dystopia and inner turmoil collide and intertwine on the quietly poignant ‘Persona Non Grata’… [It] sees the band maintain the sage-like, cryptic feel of their latter-day records. Yet it also returns to the intimacy and immediacy of their early material.]
  1. Jake Wells – Sunday Morning EP / Jake Wells Music / February 29, 2020
    [Second EP from Kansas City based indie folk singer songwriter. Jake Wells was born in Florida grew up in Colorado. Jake studied Music Composition at University of Northern Colorado. “Jake’s sound evokes an emotionality and maturity much deeper than his age of 22 would imply.” He was named one of Spotify’s top 20. He has performed on stages since he was a teenager. His single releases are currently gaining radio play in the Midwest on several FM stations. In 2018 he was featured on the nationally televised NBC reality – competition program The Voice.]
  1. Silver Girl – silver girl EP / Silver Girl / August 14, 2020
    [“ceremony” is one of three singles released from Silver Girl’s self titled debut 7-song EP. Silver Girl is the collaboration between producer and musician Jared Logan and singer songwriter Chloe Jacobson. ]
  1. Timbers – Wasting Time EP / Timbers / May 2, 2020
    [Aaron Mitchum on vocals & guitars, Devon Teran on guitar & pedal steel, Riley Taylor on bass & BGV, Nathan Lewis on drums, cover art, Jilliann De Jong on vocals. All songs written by Timbers. Engineering, Mixing, Mastering by Joel Nanos. Recorded at Element Studio in Kansas City, MO. Timbers was formed in 2013, their uplifting music is blend of rock and roll, country and soul. Follow up to the band’s self titled 2018 EP Timbers.]
  1. Parade – Mend Melodies / Parade / March 1, 2020
    [Parade calls their music “genre fluid.” The band is based in KC, with Seth Props on guitar, Claire Monroe on guitar, and Patrick Sanders on bass guitar. Seth who writes and produces most of their music also plays in the band Stary with Adam Stary and Marisa Tejeda. Parade released (Solo Demos) on August 20, 2019. Parade released the 13-song, self titled Parade on, September 2, 2019. Parade released the 13-track Mend Melodies on March 1, 2020. Just as we were getting into Mend Melodies we were amazed to discover that through the quarantine and pandemic Seth has released an additonal nine albums in 2020, totaling 110 songs. After Mend Melodies in March, Seth followed with the 13-track release Quarantine Demos on March 31, the 7-song release You Know I Care on April 12, the 12-song release Automatic Envelopes on May 5, the 7-song release Strawberry Legs on May 30. the 10-song album Spraint on June 10, the 15-song album Greenvalley on June 25, the 12-song Upward on September 17, the 12-song album Make Your Brain Your Home on October 12, and the 9-song Cicada released November 25. More information at: http://www.paradekc.bandcamp.com]
  1. Blanky – No Summertime / Manor Records / October 9, 2020
    [Anthony Cunard of Blanky joined us on the show on November 4 to talk about Blanky his band that has moved for North Carolina, to KCK, and then to Lawrence Kansas where they are based. Blanky embodies the languor left of a perfect day gone past. The always evolving musical project has thus far successfully mirrored the tumultuous transition of an agnostic adolescence to a freeing acceptance of life’s unapologetic inhumanity. The result is a dark happiness; simultaneously baffling and enticing. Incubated in a Black Mountain basement and left in the fields ’til full maturity. Blanky has settled in Lawrence, KS by way of Asheville, North Carolina. Southern origins and midwestern sentimentality are bound together in the timeless mindscape provoked by the broad assortment of compositions and styles performed and produced by the band. The ongoing experimentations of Blanky are a testament to their commitment to combining the culture of sharing and adaptation of 60’s folk and the do-it-yourself ethos of contemporary underground music. Blanky’s poignantly devitalized interpretations of rock’n’roll sound both new and familiar. The sense of desolation induced by their work is all so appropriate for an era marked by post-fact disenfranchisement. Recorded in 2019 at El Rancho Morbido in Black Mountain, NC, and Lakehouse Sudios in Asbury Park, NJ. Engineered by Nick Semanchik & Anthony Cunard. Mixed by Anthony Cunard and Kevin Drew. Anthony Cunard on guitar & vocals, Santo Rizzolo on drums, Joseph Makoviecki on bass, Edward Madill on pedal steel.]
  1. Soultru – The Truth: An Acoustic EP / The Record Machine / October 10, 2020
    [This song was first released as part of several singles Soultru has released this year.. Vocals by Terrance Banks. Singer, songwriter, poet and emcee Terrance A Banks aka Soultru is a native of Davenport, Iowa and is currently based out of the Quad Cities area of NW Illinois/NE Iowa. Combining his poetic and lyrical talents with a soulful voice, Soultru has forged his own unique sound. Soultru credits a wide range of influences, including Gavin Degraw, John Legend, Yelawolf and Son Little. More info at: http://www.soultrumusic.com]
  1. Stephonne Singleton – SIS: Side A EP/ Stephonne Singleton / August 7, 2020
    [Co-produced by, Justin Mantooth, and recorded at Westend Recording Studios. Johnny Hamil on bass, Ben Byard on guitar and Adam McKee on drums. Stephonne grew up in KCK. He released his debut album, “Caged Bird Sings Songs About Red Beard.” The album was one of WMM’s 118 Best Recordings of 2018. Stephonne was born and raised in Wyandotte County, Kansas. He has performed in multiple shows for Late Night Theatre. Stephonne told John Long of Camp Magazine “I was surrounded by records, and my parents always had music on.” A special video for “Want Me” was released in 2020. Stephonne joined us on WMM on July 15, 2020 just before his show at Lemonade Park August 7 with Lava Dreams.]
  1. Crystal Rose – Arena EP / Crystal Rose / September 18, 2020
    [Crystal Rose is a singer song-writer based in heart of Kansas City. Last year she was featured on the nationally televised NBC reality – competition program The Voice. At a young age she was Influenced by powerhouse vocals like Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and Christina Aguilera. She has since drawn much inspiration from blusey and folk centered artist like James Bay, James Vincent Mcmorrow and Johnnyswim. Crystal Rose released her debut single “Come Alive” on May 6, 2016. Earlier this year Crystal released the single “Not Leaving (Stripped)” on January 30, 2020.Crystal is a Kansas City based singer songwriter and UMKC journalism student who has played solo and also with Paige Turner on guitar. To listen to more Crystal Rose please visit: http://www.crystalro.se]
  1. Ingrid Ingram – Worried / Ingrid Ingram / March 8, 2020
    [Ingrid Ingram joined us live on our March 18, 2020 WMM. Ingrid Ingram is a trans-femme musician who uses samples and traditional instruments to create erratic and dreamy soundscapes. On March 8, 2020 Ingrid released her debut full length album, “Worried,” where she explores glam-punk, touching on themes of paranoia, addiction, narcissism and commodified identity in a capitalist society. Ingrid Ingram also plays bass in the KC based band The Creepy Jingles. Prior to “Worried,” 26 year old Ingrid Ingram released three singles from “Worried,” plus her EP “Inside Outside” from January 2017, and “Noises And People” from February 2016. Many of the sounds used in these earlier two releases were recorded on a phone during a two-year period of travel around the United States and stitched together on friends laptops. Our first question to Ingrid was, are you worried? She immediately, and bravely identified herself as having BDP, Borderline Personality Disorder. About 1.6% of people have BPD in a given year, with some estimates as high as 6%. Women are diagnosed about three times as often as men. It appears to become less common among older people. Up to half of people improve over a ten-year period. There is an ongoing debate about the naming of the disorder, especially the suitability of the word borderline. The disorder is often stigmatized in both the media and the psychiatric field. When we asked Ingrid Ingram about her musical influences and she told us about Micachu and the Shapes. The UK band was formed by Mica Levi, born February 2, 1987, also known by her stage name Micachu. She is an English singer, songwriter, composer and producer. Micachu and the Shapes includes Raisa Khan on keyboards and Marc Pell on drums. The band signed to Accidental Records. With the Shapes, Levi’s focus has been on experimental pop music. Most of this music prominently features an acoustic half-guitar with various non-standard tunings, extensive distortion, and use of noise and found-object elements, as well as occasionally unusual time signatures. Despite these experimental leanings, the artist categorizes her output with the Shapes as pop music. Ingrid Ingram met Jocelyn Olivia Nixin of The Creepy Jingles when she was working at Succotash, Beth Barden’s restaurant at 2601 Holmes, in KCMO. Ingrid told us about jumping into an already established band that have been playing together for several years and that is was especially fun because Ingrid was a big fan. On WMM, over the past 7 years, we’ve been watching the growing number of brave trans-artists opening us and coming out in the collective Kansas City music communities. Ivory Blue, Eve Sheldon, Ada Brumback, The Creepy Jingles, Mazzy Mann, Cuee, HellKat, True Lions, Chase The Horseman, are many of the artists we’ve had as guests on Wednesday MidDay Medley and have featured their recordings. Ingrid said that she has found acceptance in the KC music community, especially in early DIY spaces, that we can’t mention on the radio. Ingrid grew up in Raytown, Missouri and was home-schooled. She talked about the irony of being home-schooled in relationship to her current job, as the “lunch lady” at an elementary school in Gladstone. Ingrid Ingram is a trans-femme musician who uses samples and traditional instruments to create erratic and dreamy soundscapes. On”Worried,” she explores glam-punk, touching on themes of paranoia, addiction, narcissism and commodified identity in a capitalist society.]
  1. Lucinda Williams – Good Souls Better Angels / Highway 20 records – Thirty Tigers / April 24, 2020
    [15th album sin 1979 from Lucinda Williams. The release of this album was preceded by the track “Man Without a Soul”, a critique of Donald Trump. Lucinda Gayle Williams (born January 26, 1953) is an American rock, folk and country music singer, songwriter and musician. She recorded her first albums in 1978 and 1980 in a traditional country and blues style and received very little attention from radio, the media, or the public. In 1988, she released her self-titled album, Lucinda Williams. This release featured “Passionate Kisses,” a song later recorded by Mary Chapin Carpenter, which garnered Williams her first Grammy Award for Best Country Song in 1994. Known for working slowly, Williams recorded and released only one other album in the next several years, Sweet Old World, in 1992. Her commercial breakthrough came in 1998 with Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, an album presenting a broader scope of songs that fused rock, blues, country and Americana into a distinctive style that remained consistent and commercial in sound. Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, which includes the Grammy nominated track “Can’t Let Go”, became Williams’ greatest commercial success to date. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA and earned Williams a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album, while being universally acclaimed by critics. Williams released the critically acclaimed Essence three years later, and the album also became a commercial success. One of the album’s tracks, “Get Right with God,” earned Williams the Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance in 2002. Williams has released a string of albums since that have earned her more critical acclaim and commercial success. She has won three Grammy Awards, from 15 nominations, and received two Americana Awards, from 12 nominations. Additionally, Williams ranked No. 97 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Women in Rock & Roll in 1998, she was named “America’s best songwriter” by Time magazine in 2002, and was chosen by Rolling Stone as the 79th greatest songwriter of all time. Williams was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, the daughter of poet and literature professor Miller Williams and an amateur pianist, Lucille Fern Day. Her parents divorced in the mid-1960s. Williams’s father gained custody of her and her younger brother, Robert Miller, and sister, Karyn Elizabeth. Like her father, she has spina bifida. Her father worked as a visiting professor in Mexico and different parts of the United States, including Baton Rouge; New Orleans; Jackson, Mississippi; and Utah before settling at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Williams never graduated from high school but was accepted into the University of Arkansas. Williams started writing when she was 6 years old. She showed an affinity for music at an early age, and was playing guitar at 12. Williams’s first live performance was in Mexico City at 17, as part of a duo with her friend, a banjo player named Clark Jones.]
  1. Chuck Prophet – The Land That Time Forgot / Yep Roc / August 21, 2020
    [Charles William “Chuck” Prophet is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer. A Californian, Prophet first achieved notice in the American psychedelic/desert rock group Green on Red, with whom he toured and recorded in the 1980s. He has also recorded a number of solo records, and gained prominence as a musician and songwriter. Chuck Prophet was born in Whittier, California, United States and calls San Francisco home. After recording one E.P. and eight albums with rock group Green on Red, he released his first solo record Brother Aldo on Fire Records in 1990. It was not released in the U.S. until 1997. He records and tours with his wife Stephanie Finch, who is a singer, keyboardist and guitarist. Prophet was signed to New West Records by Peter Jesperson in 2002. He made two records for New West: No Other Love and Age of Miracles. After years of mostly European and UK success, 2002’s No Other Love was a breakthrough record for Prophet stateside due to the success of the summer single “Summertime Thing” and endorsements from Lucinda Williams, who gave him the opening slot for her summer tour. Prophet was signed to Yep Roc Records in 2007. Since 1990 he has released 15 solo albums.]
  1. X.WILSON – Troost Story / Intelligent Sound / June 19, 2020
    [X.Wilson is a non-binary composer, producer, DJ, and story teller. Troost Story was mastered by JPINO of Intelligent Sound. Troost Story is available at http://www.xwilson.bandcamp.com. 100% of the proceeds from the sales of this recording are being donated to NAACP legal defense fund.]
  1. Shamir – Shamir / Shamir / October 2, 2020
    [Second full length release from Shamir this year with Shamir Bailey on vocals, bass, Guitar, Synth; Kyle Pully on production, mixing, bass, synth; Grant Pavol on production; Matty Beatson production; Justin Tailor on mixing; Zack Hanni on engineering; Danny Murillo on drums, production; Mike Brenner on Lap Steel; Molly Germer on violin, Viola, string arrangement; and Ryan Schwabe on mastering. // Shamir Bailey, born November 7, 1994, known by his stage name Shamir, a singer and songwriter from Las Vegas, Nevada, released his debut EP, Northtown, on June 2014 to positive reviews. In October 2014 Shamir signed to XL Recordings and released the single “On the Regular.” and his debut full length album, Ratchet on XL records on May 19, 2015. On April 17, 2017, Shamir released his second album, Hope. He revealed he was dropped from XL Recordings and self-released the album. // After Hope was released, Shamir broke with his management team and again considered quitting his music career. After a psychotic episode, he spent time in a psychiatric hospital, where he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He returned to Las Vegas, where he wrote and recorded most of his third album, Revelations, in two weeks. Noting that the style of the album differed significantly from his previous work, he told a journalist: “A lot of people think I’m crazy. I guess I kind of am. But I also know what’s best for me, and that’s more important than fame and money”. Revelations was released November 3, 2017.// Shamir was featured on Wussy Magazine’s “Sex Issue” in 2018. On March 9, 2018, Shamir released his fourth album, Resolution on March 9, 2018 without any prior announcement. Resolution marks a continuation of Shamir’s indie rock style, similar to Hope and Revelations. // On April 19, 2019 Shamir released his fifth album, Be the Yee, Here Comes the Haw, with all songs written, recorded, and performed by Shamir. // On March 18, 2020 Shamoore released his sixth album, Cataclysm, containing nine spongs written, performed and produced by Shamir Bailey. // Shamir is known for his androgynous countertenor voice. Radio.com wrote that his singing voice, “like Joplin’s, stops you in your tracks.” Shamir has said that he does not mind having his voice described as androgynous, but notes that “countertenor” is the correct term: “It’s not feminine, it’s not masculine. It’s a happy medium … I feel like if the world was more like that, our problems would be gone.” We saw Shamir play The Tank Room, in Kansas City on Oct 5, 2015.]
  1. Remy Styrk – Of My Own Design EP / Remy Sryrk / May 4, 2020
    [21-year old musician and film composer Remy Styrk joined us live on the phone on May 27, 2020 to share details about “Of My Own Design” his 9-minute interactive album structured like an “Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.” Remy created pieces of music that all fit together to tell a story both musically and visually. He asked listeners, to imagine and create the visual story. Scene descriptions can be between 2 sentences and 2 paragraphs. More info at: http://www.remystyrk.com/interactive. 21 year old Remy Stryk lives in Leawood Kansas, originally from Newark, New Jersey. This multi instrumentalist has been writing & recording music for several years. Remy Styrk is a scifi and thriller film composer composer living in KC. His work is informed by his life experiences, and his life experiences have been a tragic journey on a compact timeframe.Styrk was born in Newark, NJ to a homeless heroin addict in February 1999. He doesn’t really know who his parents were, because he wound up in a semi-closed adoption. After birth, he was in the hospital for three weeks, clinging to life. At the age of 14 months, he was adopted by a couple, the husband, a fashion photographer and wife, a creative director, Tom & Deborah. When 9/11 happened and the family wanted to get away from the East Coast. Styrk’s adopted father Tom got a job at Hallmark in Kansas City, Misouri and the family relocated here. Sadly, not long after making the move, Remy’s adopted mother Deborah passed away from a sudden brain aneurysm. Tom quit his job at Hallmark to come home and take care of his kids in this terrible time. Remy’s father was pursuing a photography gig full time during this period, and that set the tone for his kids. Push through everything. Never give up. Dedicate yourself to what you love and work towards it each and every day. Remy began pursuing music. His family that supported his goals. At an early age they got him a guitar, and by age six he was already learning the drums. Remy found folk music, thanks to the relocation into KC. Folk music was new to Remy, and based entirely in storytelling. Remy leaned into that hard, because the storytelling allowed him to process his mother’s death, and the series of other traumas in his life. Remy told Brock Wilbur of The Pitch Kansas City, “I grew up black in a predominately white school system,” Styrk says. “I felt like an outcast but it didn’t make me want to give up on who I was. It pushed me to work harder on being who I want to be. I won’t change for anyone.” Styrk started playing with local bands. He moved from the DIY scene into rock and indie, but then found the famous KC blues scene– and his place within it. This series of genre dabbles prepared him perfectly to start scoring for film. In 2019 Remy release “Winter/Summer” In 2018 Remy released “In Too Deep” one of 5 singles Remy has released in the last 2 years. Remy Styrk released the EP Sunday, on Jan 25, 2018 a follow up to the Aug 12, 2015 full length album, Telling Stories Through The Basement Door. Remy also released the single “Boy” on November 5, 2020]
  1. Thanya Iyer – Kind / Topshelf Records / July 31, 2020
    [KIND explores an expansive universe where Iyer and her band examine interpersonal relationships, ideas of home and destination, and our collective responsibilities to one another. To aid in this journey of big, difficult questions, Iyer enlists the help of a huge cast of musicians, with guest features ranging from brass trios, vocal sextets, flautists, and harpists. Underscoring its explorative nature, the constant movement of KIND melds the sounds of experimental pop and improv into a magical amalgam that teems with flashes of jazz and nuanced electronics. Iyer’s rhythm section pulsates with genre-defying palettes of blips and skitters that twist elegantly into the melodic voices of interlocking synth, strings, and piano, all led by Iyer’s enrapturing lilt. The rhythmic direction of bassist Alexander Kasirer-Smibert and percussionist Daniel Gélinas clears a navigable path in an otherwise unnavigable setting, built on the pair’s understated yet intriguing expertise. The most succinct distillation of the album’s themes is perhaps found in KIND’s tracklist. “Please Don’t Hold Me Hostage for Who I Am, Who I Was” and “Bring Back That Which is Kind to You” inspire philosophies of self-care and emergent reconfigurations of justice, calling on listeners to self-reflect and detach from our preconceptions of ourselves and our identity. At the end of its course, KIND arrives at the conclusion of acceptance and resolve: acceptance of our collective circumstance, and the resolve to make the choice to do better. Thanya Iyer on voice, synth, violin, piano; Alex Kasirer-Smibert on Bass, percussion, synth, voice; Daniel Gélinas on Drums, Drum machine, percussion, voice; Shaina Hayes on vocals (tracks 4,5; Simon Millerd on Trumpet; Mawmz Plus Choir [Shelby Cohen, Corey Gulkin, Emilie Kahn, Brigitte Naggar, Sarah Rossy, Tamara Sandor] (tracks 7,9); Emilie Kahn on Harp, Frédérique Roy on Accordion; Devin Brahja Waldman on Saxophone; Felix Del Tredici on Trombone; Anh Phung: on Flute; Scott Bevins on Trumpet + electronics. All songs by Thanya Iyer. Produced by Daniel Gélinas, Alexander Kasirer-Smibert & Thanya Iyer. Recorded and Mixed by Daniel Gélinas at Studio Chocolat Chaud (Ogden, QC), St George’s Anglican Church (Montréal, QC) and Resonance Café (Montréal, QC). Mastered by Elton Chueng at Classick Studios (Chicago, IL) ]
  1. Okkyung Lee – Yeo-Neun / Shelter Press / May 8, 2020
    [Yeo-Neun is the eighth studio album by South Korean artist Okkyung Lee. Maeve Gilchrist on harp, Okkyung Lee on cello, Eivind Opsvik on bass and Jacob Sacks on piano. Written by Okkyung Lee (born 1975 in Daejeon, South Korea) is a South Korean cellist, improviser, and composer. Lee moved to Boston in 1993, where she received a dual bachelor’s degree in Contemporary Writing and Production and Film Scoring (Berklee College of Music), and a master’s degree in Contemporary Improvisation (New England Conservatory of Music). In 2000, Lee moved to New York and immersed herself in the city’s downtown music scene. Since then, she has collaborated with a wide range of musicians and artists, including Laurie Anderson, Arca, David Behrman, Mark Fell, Douglas Gordon, Jenny Hval, Vijay Iyer, Christian Marclay, Lasse Marhaug, Haroon Mirza, Thurston Moore, Ikue Mori, Stephen O’Malley, Lawrence D “Butch” Morris, Jim O’Rourke, Evan Parker, Marina Rosenfeld, Wadada Leo Smith, Swans, Cecil Taylor, C. Spencer Yeh and John Zorn. In 2013, Lee curated the Music Unlimited festival in Wels, Austria, giving it the title “The most beautiful noise on earth”. Lee received a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant in 2010. and a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award in 2015. She lives in New York City.]
  1. Dylan Pyles – Evil Music for an Ugly World / Manor Records / February 21, 2020
    [Dylan Pyles, joined us on WMM on March 18, 2020 on the day before we shut down and went into quarantine. Kansas City based musician, singer, songwriter, Dylan Pyles joined us to play live in our 90.1 FM Studios. Dylan Pyles is a music scholar, record buyer at Mills Record Company, and manager of Wise Blood KC a bookstore in Westport. Dylan Pyles released his 15-track album, “Evil Music for an Ugly World” on February 21, 2020. This is the follow-up to his 20-track album, “Popular Songs for the Heart,” released September 20, 2019. Dylan also released the 6-song EP, “Solo Acoustic Guitar Vol. 1,” on September 20, 2019. In December 2018 Dylan Pyles released the 19-track, experimental release, “You Have a Problem but You Are Not a Problem.” More info at: http://www.dylanpyles.bandcamp.com.]
  1. Holy Fuck – Deleter / Ef Records / January 17, 2020
    [Holy Fuck is an electronica band from Toronto. They were a part of Dependent Music, a music label & artist collective that began in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in 2004 until its closing. They were then a part of the Young Turks label. In 2016 they signed with Innovative Leisure. The band uses live instrumentation & miscellaneous instruments and non-instruments, including a 35 mm film synchronizer, toy keyboards & toy phaser guns, to achieve electronic-sounding effects without the use of laptops or programmed backing tracks. According to Pitchfork Media, “The band formed with the intent of creating the equivalent of modern electronic music without actually using the techniques, looping, splicing, programming and the like, of that music.]
  1. Yves Tumor – Heaven To a Tortured Mind / Warp Records / April 2, 2020
    [4th album from Sean Bowie, best known by the recording alias Yves Tumor, is an American producer of experimental electronic music, born in Miami, Florida and currently based in Turin, Italy. Raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, Tumor started making music at age 17 as an outlet away from “dull, conservative surroundings.” They taught themself to play drums, bass, guitar, and keyboards. Describing their experience growing up in Tennessee as unpleasant, they moved at age 20 to San Diego, and after college to Los Angeles, where they met Mykki Blanco in 2012, with whom they later toured for two and a half years throughout Europe and Asia.In the early 2010s, Tumor recorded as Teams, and made music which AllMusic described as “post-chillwave”. They debuted their Yves Tumor project in 2015 with an EP for Berlin’s experimental club label Janus, and another one for Blanco’s label, Dogfood MG. That same year, they self-released their first album, When Man Fails You (which would later be re-released by Apothecary Compositions on April 29, 2016). In September 2016, Tumor signed with PAN Records and released its label debut, Serpent Music. They had worked on the album for three years after moving to Leipzig, Germany. The album was recorded between Miami, Leipzig, Los Angeles and Berlin. In Pitchfork’s review of the album, critic Andy Beta compared Tumor’s musical style to James Ferraro and Dean Blunt, and noted their use of “unsettling percussive loops and field recordings to create a mood as if lost in a strange urban landscape”. In September 2017, Tumor released a compilation album titled Experiencing the Deposit of Faith for free. Later that week, it was revealed through a tour announcement that Tumor had signed to Warp Records. Following the announcement, they embarked on a tour with a new audiovisual show. In September 2018, Tumor released their Warp debut, Safe in the Hands of Love, with no prior announcement. It was preceded by the singles “Noid” on July 24, “Licking an Orchid” featuring James K on August 29, and “Lifetime” on September 3. The album received universal acclaim from music critics. Pitchfork’s Jayson Greene stated in their review that the album “dwarfs everything the artist has released by several orders of magnitude. The leap is so audacious it’s disorienting.” Tumor’s fourth album, Heaven to a Tortured Mind, was released on April 3, 2020, preceded on March 3 by the single “Kerosene” featuring Diana Gordon. Alexis Petridis, reviewing the album for The Guardian, awarded it Album of the Week, describing it as “extraordinary: experimental, capable of any genre, with an internal logic powering its shifts in mood. Tumor has cited Throbbing Gristle as a major influence, saying: “There’s something about their music, like the hypnotic trance vibes, that really influenced me.]
  1. Róisín Murphy – Róisín Machine / BMG / October 2, 2020
    [Róisín Machine is the 5th solo studio album from Róisín Murphy, an Irish singer-songwriter and record producer, born July 5, 1973. She became known in the 1990s as one-half of the UK-Irish trip hop duo Moloko with her partner Mark Brydon. After the breakup of Moloko, Murphy embarked on a solo career, releasing her debut solo album, Ruby Blue, written & produced with experimental musician Matthew Herbert, to critical praise in 2005. Her 2nd solo album, Overpowered, was released in 2007. After an 8-year hiatus (which nonetheless included several singles, vocal features, and side projects), her 3rd album Hairless Toys was released in 2015; and was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and Ireland’s Choice Music Prize. The following year, she released her 4th album Take Her Up to Monto (2016). In 2018, she released four 12″ releases in collaboration with producer Maurice Fulton to critical praise. In June 2019, Murphy released the disco-inspired single “Incapable”, which although denied at the time, marked the beginning of a new album cycle. Three additional singles were released up until she announced her fifth solo album, Róisín Machine. The album includes previously released singles dating from 2012 until 2020 as well as new material.]
  1. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – Just Dropped In To See What Condition My Rendition Was In / Daptone / Oct. 23, 2020
    [Often, in an effort to save the expense of licensing an original master from a major label, a music supervisor may request a song be re-created as closely as possible. Such was the case when a well-known bank asked the band to cut Stevie Wonder’s classic, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” for a TV commercial, or when Hank Shockley asked for a perfect replay of Bad Medicine’s funky instrumental, “Trespasser” for the American Gangster soundtrack. // Both “Rescue Me” and “In the Bush” were among the outtakes on the cutting room floor of The Wolf of Wall Street motion picture soundtrack, for which the band recorded several unused sides. “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” was not just a remake of the Kenny Rogers’ First Edition hit, but more specifically a near re-play of Bettye Lavette’s 1968 version, and was notably the very first recording done at the Daptone House of Soul studio in 2002. Likewise, the band’s replay of Gladys Knight’s “Giving Up” was specifically requested but unused by a producer who was confident he needed it to sample for a beat on a Dr. Dre album. // “Little by Little,” “Inspiration Information,” “Here I Am Baby,” and “Take Me with U” were cut for tribute projects to Dusty Springfield, Shuggie Otis, The Marvelettes, and Prince, respectively. The latter of which is a perfect example of the way the band was able to take a familiar tune and completely flip it on it’s head. // Of course, there were also many non-contracted covers over the years that the band cut of their own volition, starting with the complete re-invention of Janet Jackson’s “What Have You Done for Me Lately” on the their 2001 debut LP, Dap-Dippin’ with…, which convinced more than a few fans that Sharon’s version was in fact the original after a counterfeit news article surfaced claiming that Jones was suing Jackson for copyright infringement. Sharon’s heart-wrenching take on Bob Marley’s early Wailers ballad “It Hurts to be Alone” is a tender nod to the soul that Jamaica borrowed from the States in the early sixties. // Though the band has mostly built their career on a prolific catalog of originals, these forays into other artists’ compositions lay bare their gift for arrangement and the unmatched studio prowess that earned them their reputation as The Baddest Band in the Land. // In November 2016, Sharon Jones suffered a stroke while watching the 2016 United States presidential election results and another the following day. Jones remained alert and lucid during the initial period of her hospital stay, jokingly claiming that the news of Donald Trump’s victory was responsible for her stroke. She died on November 18, 2016, in Cooperstown, New York, aged 60. Sharon Lafaye Jones was born May 4, 1956 and died this year on November 18, 2016. She was an American soul and funk singer. Although she collaborated with Lou Reed, David Byrne and others, she is best known as lead singer of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, a soul and funk band based in Brooklyn, New York. Jones experienced breakthrough success relatively late in life, releasing her first record when she was 40 years old. In 2014, Jones was nominated for her first Grammy, in the category Best R&B Album, for Give the People What They Want. Jones was born in Augusta, Georgia, the daughter of Ella Mae Price Jones and Charlie Jones, living in adjacent North Augusta, South Carolina. Jones was the youngest of six children; her siblings are Dora, Charles, Ike, Willa and Henry. Jones’s mother raised her deceased sister’s four children as well as her own. She moved the family to New York City when Sharon was a young child. As children, she and her brothers would often imitate the singing and dancing of James Brown. Her mother happened to know Brown, who was also from Augusta.Jones grew up in the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. In 1975, she graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn. She attended Brooklyn College. A regular gospel singer in church, Jones often entered talent shows backed by local funk bands in the early 1970s. Session work then continued with backing vocals, often credited to Lafaye Jones, but in the absence of any recording contract as a solo singer, she spent many years working as a corrections officer at Rikers Island and as an armored car guard for Wells Fargo, until receiving a mid-life career break in 1996 after she appeared on a session backing the soul and deep funk legend Lee Fields. Sharon Jones was part of the very beginning of Daptone Records Daptone Records’ first release was a full-length album by Sharon Jones. A new band, the Dap-Kings, was formed from the former members of the Soul Providers and the Mighty Imperials. Some of the musicians went on to record for Lehman’s Soul Fire label, while some formed the Budos Band, an Afro-beat band. From the original Soul Providers, Roth (also known as Bosco Mann) on bass, guitarist and emcee Binky Griptite, percussionist Fernando Velez, trumpet player Anda Szilagyi and organist Earl Maxton were joined by original Mighty Imperials saxophonist Leon Michels and drummer Homer Steinweiss, plus Neal Sugarman from Sugarman 3, to form The Dap-Kings. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, the released the album Dap Dippin’ with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings in May of 2002, , for which they received immediate attention and acclaim from enthusiasts, DJs and collectors. Next they released, Naturally (2005), 100 Days, 100 Nights (2007) and I Learned the Hard Way (2010). They are seen by many as the spearhead of a revival of soul and funk.]

Our playlist text is a “cut and paste” of information from: artist’s websites, bios, bandcamp notes, wikipedia.org, and WMM interviews.

Wednesday MidDay Medley in on the web:


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