Posts tagged with Kansas

MilkDrop releases new single with Approach, DJ GTRAIN

In an ever-developing revelation of his musical identity, we now bring you the next chapter in the development of MilkDrop.

The local lyricist just dropped a new single with the help of a familiar powerhouse last week. The moment "Welcome Home" fires up, you find yourself somewhere familiar with DJ GTRAIN's signature scratching. The song, produced entirely by local hip-hop mastermind Approach, features the poetic and lyrical skills of MilkDrop. If you've been paying attention to the local scene, you know that instantly recognizable synth sound Approach has become famous for. The man has a strong hold on any music he puts out, never sampling and always creating.

MilkDrop has been crafting an image as the idyllic rapper, romanticizing all his thoughts into rhymes. He's been plugging away at his craft over the last year, and the strength behind his vocals are showing on this track.

To show that this is a collaborative effort, MilkDrop eases off the gas at about two minutes in and lets GTRAIN and Approach carry him home (much like how they've been there backing him up throughout this venture). "50 dollars in my pocket isn't much to get through the week," he declares before trailing off, leaving you a solid minute of music to think on that statement before the song ends.

You can catch both Approach and MilkDrop at Josey Records in Kansas City on Saturday, Dec.19.

Note: This post originally appeared on I Heart Local Music.

— Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of I Heart Local Music. She enjoys long walks, photography and rock and roll. She does not like cats, but makes exceptions for the ones at Love Garden. For more local music coverage, visit iheartlocalmusic.com.

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Sam Billen’s annual holiday compilation a jolly good time

For the last 10 years, musician Sam Billen has rounded up musicians to help him release a compilation of holiday music.

For the last 10 years, musician Sam Billen has rounded up musicians to help him release a compilation of holiday music. by Fally Afani

You could say Sam Billen is holiday happy. The Lawrence musician is fond of festivities, and crazy about Christmas. For 10 years in a row, he has rounded up musicians to help him release a compilation of holiday music.

This year's album, "Jolly TIme!", just arrived and sports a fairly impressive roster. Billen recorded a couple of tracks, and rounded up artists from across the globe (as far as Finland and Tokyo) for the rest of the album. Andrew Connor, formerly of Ghosty, makes a delightful Beach Boys-esque appearance with "Little St. Nick." Justin Klaas, another Lawrence expat, channels his delicate harmonies for "She's Not Comin' Home For Christmas."

The album is an adorable little indie-pop smorgasbord. Additionally, in the spirit of Christmas, it's free to the public. Billen tends to this every Christmas. But, should you choose to donate some money for the download, all donations go toward water.org.

Download the album here courtesy Sam Billen and Friends and listen to some of the music below.

Note: This post originally appeared on I Heart Local Music.

— Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of I Heart Local Music. She enjoys long walks, photography and rock and roll. She does not like cats, but makes exceptions for the ones at Love Garden. For more local music coverage, visit iheartlocalmusic.com.

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One-man band Monster masters beautiful buildups

If you’ve ever been fascinated by the art of building a song, Monster’s a great place to start.

The one-man-wonder treated the Replay to one of his yearly performances on Friday night. The sole performer — armed with a set of keys, buttons, mics, guitars and a highway system of wires — is grand fun to watch. You’re there for every step as he constructs a song, starting with repeating keyboard bits and drumbeats, then eventually looping in guitar rhythms and vocal harmonies.

On this night, his dreamy synth numbers were backed by accidental yet appropriate percussion, courtesy of the bleeps and bloops of the pinball machines behind him. Monster’s music is exquisitely ethereal, so all the space noises from those pinball machines were nearly mistaken as part of the act.

Here’s a clip of one of his songs, featuring his knack for beautifully subtle buildups.

Note: This post originally appeared on I Heart Local Music.

— Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of I Heart Local Music. She enjoys long walks, photography and rock and roll. She does not like cats, but makes exceptions for the ones at Love Garden. For more local music coverage, visit iheartlocalmusic.com.

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Sugar Britches to boast new lineup at fundraiser tonight

Some midweek merriment is in store for Lawrence.

Our favorite foul-mouthed songsters, Sugar Britches, will be playing a benefit show on Wednesday for the Lawrence Community Photo Studio. The studio has had a tight relationship with the band, and even hosted them for a popular Final Fridays event over the summer. In return, Sugar Britches will be helping raise funds for the studio with a performance there.

The band will come armed with a new lineup. Previously, they performed as a four-piece, but have now added some percussion via Kimberly Simonetti. They've told us this is a permanent fixture.

The studio currently acts as a space for up-and-coming photographers, darkroom classes, gallery shows, equipment workshops and more. But it also has served as a strong ally to the musicians. "The folks at Lawrence Community Photo Studio are good friends of ours, and they have helped us out in the past," says Sugar Britches' Monica Greenwood, who also admitted the band "jumped" at the opportunity to return the favor. "We really liked the idea of giving back to the Lawrence community that has given us an overwhelming amount of support this year."

You can catch the benefit show this Wednesday at the studio, 720 E. 9th St., Suite 6.

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Pickin’ and picklin’: MAW to celebrate new album with show at Frank’s

Lawrence loves a good MAW show, and it's been a while since we've seen one. But this weekend, the musical matrons with a flair for old-timey tunes will be celebrating with a CD release party for their latest album, "Bought the Farm."

Everything about MAW is undoubtedly agreeable, which makes sense when you consider their origins. These harmonizing women are also the wives of the Midday Ramblers, and decided the boys wouldn't be having all the fun when they came together to form the beloved Americana band. Since then, they've pleased audiences with their matter-of-fact folk numbers full of cheeky, dark humor (they've been known to keep a death count of casualties in their songs).

This playful attitude continues on the new album, as evidenced by the songs they posted online ahead of the show. We're particularly fond of "Picklin' Man." With lyrics like, "I like a little pickle and I like a little ticklin', too," it's hard not to blush (you can listen to that song here). MAW tends to have audiences wrapped around their banjo-pickin' fingers, and we imagine that'll still be the sentiment this weekend.

You can catch MAW at their CD release show, where they've promised murder ballad bingo, from 6-8 p.m. Friday at Frank's North Star Tavern.

Note: This post originally appeared on I Heart Local Music.

— Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of I Heart Local Music. She enjoys long walks, photography and rock and roll. She does not like cats, but makes exceptions for the ones at Love Garden. For more local music coverage, visit iheartlocalmusic.com.

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Beach Slang bringing raw, nostalgic rock sound to the Jackpot

The Jackpot is one of those places to see bands right before they take off, and we have a feeling Wednesday's show will follow the pattern.

That's where Beach Slang, a rapidly rising band out of Philadelphia, is set to draw out anyone who loves guitar rock and wears nostalgia on their sleeve. The current rock scene is littered with punk bands bands trying to pander to everyone's nostalgic woes, but most of kind of blow it (oof). Beach Slang is not one of those bands.

James Snyder and his bandmates are propelled by an authentic, raw and emotional fuel that appeals to both their mature and younger listeners. If you come to the Jackpot on Wednesday, there's a good chance there will be a few KU students thrashing at the front of the stage, while the older folk find that familiar "sweet spot" at the venue that allows them to take in all of the perfectly resonating and explosive guitars saturated with '90s wistfulness.

Beach Slang's appeal to a wide audience is a blessing because it could be the band that puts the final nail in the coffin on poorly constructed pop punk. It's allowing listeners to let their guard down and replant their rock roots into something organic and authentic.

Photo courtesy: Craig Scheihing

— Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of I Heart Local Music. She enjoys long walks, photography and rock and roll. She does not like cats, but makes exceptions for the ones at Love Garden. For more local music coverage, visit iheartlocalmusic.com.

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Something and the Whatevers loves local bands, will cover their songs at upcoming show

We know what it's like to "heart local music," but Something and the Whatevers may have outdone us this time.

Something and the Whatevers has never kept their love for local bands a secret. The band's guitarist even hosts KJHK's local music show "Plow the Fields" on 90.7 FM. But this Thursday, they're putting that local love in the spotlight with a set consisting entirely of songs by other local bands.

Their set is part of a covers show at the Replay. Me Like Bees will cover The White Stripes, which makes perfect sense seeing as how the frontman's voice is a dead ringer for Jack White's. The show will be headlined by an LCD Soundsystem Tribute featuring members of The Noise FM, Bonzo Madrid, and Blane Fonda.

But it's Something and the Whatevers' set that grabbed our attention. Songs by beloved Lawrence and Kansas City bands — including Major Games, Your Friend, and The ACBs — will make an appearance. They've covered local bands before, including The Sluts, Dean Monkey and the Dropouts, and La Guerre. Their La Guerre cover was particularly impressive because it required one of the singers' voice to reach heights only attainable by Katlyn Conroy.

That's something folks tend to forget about Something and the Whatevers. They may seem like a silly, loud band on the surface. But underneath is some highly impressive musical skill. Instead of hearing obnoxious shouting from the keyboard player, look down at his hands and see how swiftly they fly up and down the keys while messing with settings on the laptop. He also had to program "Tiny G," the robot they tout at all their shows now. The guitarist should also grab your attention. Look past the comical lyrics and you'll see a proficient guitarist with pitch perfect vocals.

You can watch these accomplished musicians in action when they play songs written by other Lawrence bands starting at 9 p.m. Thursday at the Replay

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Girls Rock! campers keep on rocking, will celebrate CD release this weekend

Girls Rock! campers are celebrating a release of their new CD this Saturday at the Cider Gallery.

Girls Rock! campers are celebrating a release of their new CD this Saturday at the Cider Gallery. by Fally Afani

It seems I can't go two weeks without hearing from someone about the positive, lingering effects of Girls Rock! Camp. Now, once again, young women in Lawrence will have their voices heard.

The Girls Rock! campers are getting together for a celebration, this time for their CD release party. Over the summer, young women in Lawrence attended the camp to learn about empowerment through music. At the end of the week, they were performing in rock bands on the Bottleneck stage. It was a high point of the summer for many Lawrence music lovers and scenesters because even if you weren't involved with the camp, you likely knew someone who was.

During that time, the girls recorded songs that they wrote at the Lawrence Public Library in the Sound + Vision Studio. This weekend, they'll finally be celebrating the release at Cider Gallery, 810 Pennsylvania St. The celebration takes place at 6 p.m. Saturday, and will feature a screening of footage from the camp and showcase, recorded by Women of Lawrence Film (WOLF). Afterward, DJ Kimbarely Legal will get the dance party started. You can hear a sample of what the girls have been working on below.

Local musicians, including members of Youngest Children, La Guerre, The Ovaries-eez, and Heidi Gluck, had a big role in the camp. They volunteered several hours of their time to teach the girls how to play music and how to use those skills to empower themselves.

"I want them to see what we worked on this year. I want to show how life-changing this weeklong camp was for many girls," Gluck says. "It was beyond music, it was beyond rock and roll. It was all about feeling confident by the end of the week, and we heard that from a lot of parents. Not only did their girls learn how to play instruments, but they grew into themselves as human beings."

This is a free event and all ages are invited to attend. If you purchase merch (or the CD) at the event, the proceeds go toward making sure the event can happen again in the future. Considering the overwhelming turnout for the camp's first year this summer, that's likely to happen.

Note: This post originally appeared on I Heart Local Music.

— Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of I Heart Local Music. She enjoys long walks, photography and rock and roll. She does not like cats, but makes exceptions for the ones at Love Garden. For more local music coverage, visit iheartlocalmusic.com.

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Toughies to celebrate EP release with show at Replay Lounge

It’s hard not to think of Toughies as an adorable box of kittens. The relatively new band full of young musicians tend to make eyes at each other and smile or giggle when their mouths aren’t busy at the mic. But they're finally beginning to shake that image thanks to their new EP. They'll celebrate the release Friday at the Replay, and you have every reason to go.

Toughies is really just a few months old. The very first time they played a show, the community got hyped up and came out by the dozens to watch them play the Replay (on a weeknight, if you can believe it). Half of the band had plenty of live experience with their previous stint in Haunt Ananta, yet they all still took the stage doe-eyed and a little nervous. On that Wednesday night in April, they nailed every song they performed. Turns out, the hype was real and the audience was thrilled.

Since then, Toughies have been a great summer escape thanks to their breezy, swaying numbers. "What Are Hands For?" is a particularly lovely song full of harmonies and choruses that will happily make themselves at home in your memory. This also holds true for their other tunes, including the ever-upbeat "Horsefeather." That song is brimming with cool thanks to the wailing guitar bits breaking up all the "Uh huh"s and "all right"s. The song made a lasting impression at Toughies' last show (below).

That last show is moving Toughies away from the "box of kittens" image and portraying them as a band with songs that are quickly and professionally developing. In fact, much of their music is taking a turn, exploring into other genres. Toughies can be poppy, bluesy, or even romantic… but they're always in style.

Right now, this town loves Toughies. You can see what the hype is all about when they play the Replay at 10 p.m. Friday with Dream Girl and Maybe Not.

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A drummer’s diligence: Why Mark Osman could be the busiest drummer in Lawrence

Never has there been a more admired drummer in the current local music scene than Mark Osman. All the drummers here are top notch, but this is the one that’s been known to dive into a band and get them to positively channel their energy to operate at full gallop.

On Sunday night, Mark tested his own limits when he played with not one, but THREE bands on the lineup at the Replay. This wasn’t some sort of stunt, and it wasn’t the first time he’s done something like this. Mark is legitimately in all three of these bands at the moment.

He started off with Arc Flash, a band that is fairly physically challenging for all involved (even the fans, who always show up with their dancing shoes on). This was actually Arc Flash’s third set of the week (which means guitarist James Thomblison also pushed his limits with live performances this week). They had opened for The Coathangers on Tuesday, then headlined the Replay on Thursday. Right after that Thursday set, Mark hit the road and played with Baby Birds Don’t Drink Milk in Denver. Upon returning to Lawrence, he headed to the Replay once again for this lineup.

After Arc Flash’s fast and furious tempos, he stepped in to play with CS Luxem (possibly his longest running musical project here). Luxem’s songs are intricate and complicated. It’s no easy task playing with a musical mastermind like this, and Mark keeps it interesting. Sometimes, he even plays standing up.

During the set, his stool broke and he substituted it with a bucket. Because he’s surrounded by such a loving community, different musicians in the audience occasionally stepped in to help out (removing his stool, adjusting mics when they fell over while he was playing).

Mark is the only drummer in town that we know of who positions his kit at the front of the stage. He’s constantly thinking about his setup and how it affects the band. He might stay in the traditional setup when he plays with Oils, move it to the side for Arc Flash, and play at the front of the stage with his back to the audience for Luxem.

But when Baby Birds Don’t Drink Milk came on, they had their own interesting setup (one guitarist plays with his back to the audience), and Mark’s drums headed to the back of the stage. That’s a lot of moving around for one show. Additionally, Mark only recently started playing with Baby Birds Don’t Drink Milk. These songs could very well be a little new to him, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by the way he mastered them so gracefully.

We could go on, but by now you should have gotten the point. Mark is nothing short of a titan, with strength that rivals that of Hercules and Arnold Schwarzenegger, but with the speed of Usain Bolt. But most importantly (and this is key when it comes to joining and revitalizing bands), Mark has the overly positive attitude of Andrew W.K. Offstage, he’s chill and more level-headed than his peers. But onstage, he’s an animal in it for the fun. Party hard, Mark.

Note: This post originally appeared on I Heart Local Music.

— Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of I Heart Local Music. She enjoys long walks, photography and rock and roll. She does not like cats, but makes exceptions for the ones at Love Garden. For more local music coverage, visit iheartlocalmusic.com.

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