Archive for February, 2016

The Tedeschi Trucks Band Returns to KC April 20th at the Midland.

February 26, 2016
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The Tedeschi Trucks Band (Photo credit: Mark Seliger)

The Tedeschi Trucks Band returns to Kansas City April 20th, 2016. Their soulful music will fill the Midland Theatre. The 11-piece group mixes rock, funk, soul, R&B, world music, jazz and more styles to form their distinct sound. Their album Let Me Get By is one of the year’s best releases.

The Tedeschi Trucks Band was co-founded by guitarist Derek Trucks and his wife, guitarist and vocalist Susan Tedeschi. Live, the soul really comes through on the songs and the band can really dig deep.

Derek Trucks is one of the world’s best guitarists. I had the great honor of interviewing Derek last year. The passion for music runs in his family. He is the nephew of Allman Brothers Band drummer Butch Trucks. Derek officially joined the Allman Brothers Band in 1999 and played with the band until their final shows in 2014.

Derek’s love of music knows no bounds. Trucks discussed how he was mentored heavily by another of my past interview subjects, Col. Bruce Hampton, “The Colonel was amazing about turning me on to the right record at the right time and just exposed me to different types of music, whether it was Delta blues or Wayne Shorter, John Coltrane, Sun Ra or Indian classical music. It was just the right introduction to the right music at the right time.”

This open minded approach to creating music keeps the Tedeschi Trucks Band pushing forward. They can melt minds live. This will be one of the best shows in Kansas City this year.

Past Interview Subject Quintron Featured in Popular Science.

February 25, 2016
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Quintron (image via Consequence of Sound)

I was thrilled to see past interview subject Quintron featured in a recent article in Popular Science. The article focuses on his creation of the Weather Warlock, a synthesizer controlled by the weather.

Quintron is someone that is truly ahead of his time. He puts out raucous  music with his puppeteer partner-in-crime, Miss Pussycat. It’s fascinating to see how Quintron uses his inventions to enhance and inspire his music. I also love that he respects and was influenced by so many classic NOLA musicians, even as he forges in the future. When I interviewed him in 2011, Quintron told me a story about New Orleans R&B legend Ernie K-Doe, “K-Doe was the Sun Ra of New Orleans RnB. He was my mentor…him and Antoinette. Best thing he ever said was during this one rehearsal the drummer stopped…and he looks over at her and asked why she stopped. “I made a mistake,” she says. Then Ernie looks at everyone and goes, “THERE ARE NO MISTAKES IN MUSIC!! NOW PLAY!!!!” He was the absolute best. I don’t think he sang a false note in any recording he ever made either. God he was the best. Him and Johnny Adams had such amazing voices! Where are those guys now?”

The quality and the wonderful strangeness of his music is on a whole different level. A lot of people try too hard to be quirky, Quintron is real. Maybe one day we will catch up to him, but probably not.

Here’s a video an early prototype for the Weather Warlock, the Singing House:

 

An Epic Playlist of New Orleans Indie Rock.

February 24, 2016
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Andrew Hartsock, Big Rock Candy Mountain (January 15, 2010)

I recently started digging back through some of my favorite playlists on Spotify. A college friend of mine, Chicago-based pianist Lucy Gossett, has crafted an excellent New Orleans Indie Music playlist. The playlist features over 200 songs and dives deep into the world of NOLA indie music. It features EPs and full albums. Gossett knows her NOLA indie rock. She was the keyboardist for New Orleans-based indie rock band the City Life. She is also a solo artist and a very soulful vocalist. I keep telling her she needs to record her own EP.

NOLA indie shows are often rowdy, sweaty dance parties. Before I moved to NOLA for college, I didn’t really see people dance at indie shows. In Kansas City, you’d go see the Strokes and the crowd would be too hip to move. People would be staring at their feet, trying hard to look unimpressed. At shows in NOLA, these dance pits would open up and people would get down. Regardless of genre or musical style, NOLA bands have to be able to smash it live. You have to bring the heat. This epic playlist showcases the wide range and music diversity of the NOLA indie music scene.

Here’s one of my favorite NOLA indie tracks, “Rocketship,” by Big Rock Candy Mountain. They really put the ROCK in indie rock with this song.

 

McClain Approved: Blair “Wolfboy.”

February 24, 2016
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Blair (image via pastemagazine.com)

McClain Approved is a column where I give you the rundown on an artist you need to know and share a track from them.

Blair is an artist that is a compelling songwriter and a glorious vocalist. I know her from my time in New Orleans. She is my favorite indie artist to have come out of NOLA. I first saw her live on my 18th birthday. Several years ago, she walked out of SXSW with a record deal from prestigious indie label Autumn Tone. The New Orleans-born musician is currently based in Massachusetts. She is also a member of Future of What and Maxi’s World. I’m throwing it back to a older Blair song. Here is an early version of “Wolfboy.” Everything just meshes together so well on this track.

Here is a bonus track. I also love this trippy ballad about NOLA dive bar the Half Moon:

 

McClain Approved: Larry Keel “Ripchord.”

February 22, 2016
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Larry Keel (image via larrykeel.com)

McClain Approved is a new column where I give you the rundown on an artist you need to know and share a track from them.

Larry Keel is an accomplished guitarist and flatpicking champion. The Virgina-based guitarist is one of my past interview subjects. Larry Keel is a master of progressive bluegrass, but also incorporates many other styles into his sound. His music is filled with so much joy and passion.

Keel’s 15th solo album, Experienced, will be released on February 26th, 2016. A highlight of the album is the dazzling instrumental work of “Ripchord.” The track features mandolin player Sam Bush and was composed by banjo player Will Lee. “Ripchord” really showcases the band’s interplay and is a lively, uptempo song. So much beasting and energy in this tune. 100% McClain approved.

Hands Free Phone.

February 20, 2016

The other day in the grocery store, I saw a man with a cellphone stuck into his neck brace. It brought a whole new meaning to the hands free phone. He was really putting his neck out there. Nice work multitasking.

A Hairy Situation: Portrait of a Man Bun in KC.

February 20, 2016

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A photo portrait of a man bun in KC. Shot with Lomo Lens. #whitepeople

Self Portrait 2/19/16.

February 20, 2016

Self Portrait

“Guns Don’t Kill People. People From Texas Kill People.”

February 20, 2016

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If you want the perfect “ironic” shirt for SXSW, it appears Des Moines and Kansas City-based stores Raygun have you covered. When you need a shirt that says, “Look at me! Please pay attention to me! I’m ironic, pompous and judgmental.”

Sonic Exploration at YJs: Falling into the Minimalism Void.

February 19, 2016

As I sat in YJs the other afternoon, a minimal soundscape floated through the snack bar. I asked a barista friend of mine what was being played. “It’s this Japanese composer, Ryoji Ikeda. These are all micro sounds, subsonic sounds,” he clarified. The music was shifting, weird and oddly soothing. It was new to me and melted my mind. In a CD booklet, Ikeda once said about his approach to sound, “A high frequency sound is used that the listener becomes aware of only upon its disappearance.”

I went through a brief minimal music phase in my life. I love the minimal electronica of Plastikman.

However, I often feel pretentious when the subject of minimalism comes up. It can often make for strange conversation, “Sounds you can totally hear are so mainstream. I prefer mostly subsonic sounds. I like my music like the amount in my bank account, micro.” “Does he ever play live? It sounds like he plays on the moon or underwater,” I asked my friend. “It seems like he mostly plays art galleries and really hip places,” he said. “Underwater would be the place to see him. I saw him before he was dry. I saw him before he formed land legs.”