Having trouble coming up with the words to tell a special someone how much you love them this Valentine's Day? Don't worry: La Guerre is here to play Cupid.
For $20, the Lawrence musician (real name Katlyn Conroy) will write a love song for your Valentine, whether you want to propose, tell a friend or special someone how much they mean to you, or try to woo the one who got away. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and your story (the more details the better) by Feb. 7 and La Guerre will do the rest. She'll even do cover songs and in a particular style of your choosing (though no word on if she'll write a romantic gangster rap for your sweetie).
For an additional $10, La Guerre will send you a copy of the band's latest album "Sapphires" and a hand-drawn picture of you and your Valentine.
The songs will be delivered by Feb. 11. For an example, check out a video of the song Conroy wrote for her Valentine below.
After a breakout year for Kawehi, the Lawrence-based one-woman electronic band and all-around Internet sensation will kick off 2015 with a month-long tour of the East Coast, with a hometown show thrown in for good measure.
Kawehi received national attention earlier this year from publications like Esquire and Spin for her unique covers of Nirvana's "Heart-Shaped Box" and Radiohead's "Fake Plastic Trees," as well as for the video for "Anthem" off her EP "Robot Heart." After seeing her cover of "The Way You Make Me Feel" by Michael Jackson, Diddy called her "dope," which we suppose accounts for something as well.
Coming off national and overseas tours in the summer and fall, she also launched a Kickstarter campaign for her new EP, "Evolution." The campaign was funded in one day and reached more than 10 times her original goal. Kawehi plans to release "Evolution" in early 2015.
Tickets for a Jan. 23 show at the Bottleneck, which will also feature Mouth and Wrong Kata Trio, are $10 and are available at thebottlenecklive.com. Here's the tour lineup so far, with additional dates to be added:
• Jan. 9 , Cambridge, Mass., Brighton Music Hall
• Jan. 10, Fairfield, Conn., Stage One at the Fairfield Theatre Company
• Jan. 11, New York City, Bowery Ballroom
• Jan. 14, Philadelphia, Boot & Saddle
• Jan. 15, Washington, D.C., U Street Music Hall
• Jan. 17, Raleigh, N.C., Kings Barcade
• Jan. 23, Lawrence, The Bottleneck
• Feb. 7, Decatur, Ga., Eddie’s Attic
Far be it from anyone to tell singer-songwriter and activist Tret Fure where she belongs in the music industry. Or that she doesn’t, for that matter.
With a career spanning four decades, Fure has released 13 albums, became one of the first female sound engineers in the '70s, and most notably, challenged the mainstream industry by joining forces with other women to make a brand of music by women, for women.
“When I got my first record deal, we shopped my record to companies who would all say, 'We already have a woman,'” Fure says. “It was like you could only have one on the label and yet you could have numerous male singers, male bands. We weren’t taken seriously.”
With her first record in 1973 bringing her enough success to open for Yes, Poco, and the J. Geils Band, the Iowa-born artist recorded two more albums; one was never released, and the other was acquired by a label who wanted her to drastically change her image, demanding she ditched her daily wear of T-shirts or button-ups with jeans (represented in her clothing line Tomboy Girl) for all-leather outfits.
She quickly backed out of the deal, bringing her back to square one at age 30.
“A woman at that age would not make it in LA in those days,” she says. “I was done.”
Upon discovering the burgeoning movement of women’s music, Fure left the mainstream pursuit to work as an artist, producer and sound engineer at a women-only label in the San Francisco Bay Area called Olivia Records. The release of the label’s second single by mother of women’s music Cris Williamson (who Fure became personally and professionally involved with) raked in 100,000 sales.
“That was unheard of at the time,” Fure says.
Fure’s shows were reliably bringing in 2,000 to 5,000 fans. She tampered with harder-edged rock and roll music that other women on the label strayed from, paving the way for other female punk guitarists. Together, their efforts ensured their place in a male-dominated business.
“The industry was very misogynistic, and this was a way for us to regain control of our own space,” she says.
Fure will be channeling her folk acoustic roots, however, this Saturday at the Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence, 1263 North 1100 Road, sharing intimate stories through song of her family and conditions of the heart. Her 2013 record “A Piece of the Sky” will be at the center of her selection.
Outside of music, Fure's latest adventures include pet portrait commissions and acting as the president of Local 1000, an organization that helps traveling musicians negotiate a pension, among other benefits, in a career with no guarantees of a paycheck.
“Every folk musician I know dies penniless,” she says. “And we never stop working. This is our day job; this is not a hobby. And we should be guaranteed a full wage.”
Free Salsa Night
As part of the Hispanic Heritage Month Festival in Lawrence, musicians from the Kansas City jazz and Latin scene are offering up three hours of salsa music to make you move at Five Bar and Tables. Juego Estandar is the featured band, so even if you’re too shy to leave the confines of your chair, it’s likely the dynamic rhythm sections courtesy of Miguel "Mambo" Deleon, Pat Conway and Bill McKemy will have you grooving in your seat, if not wooed to the dance floor. Bring a partner, or find one when you arrive. Guaranteed, your hips won’t lie. If they leave you wanting more, head to The Eldridge on Friday night for free tango lessons. 7 p.m. Thursday at Five Bar and Tables, 947 Massachusetts St.
Harry and the Potters
If you love Harry Potter and you love punk rock, you’re going to want to check out this band on Final Friday. Playing at Wonder Fair’s newly renovated patio, Harry and the Potters will sing about the trials and tribulations of growing up a wizard orphan world-savior. In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, the duo, Paul and Joe DeGeorge, who pioneered the “wizard rock” music genre write music about the Harry Potter books.
Hailing from Massachusetts, they’ve released three albums to date, their second beautifully entitled “Voldemort Can’t Stop the Rock.” The brothers also co-founded the Harry Potter Alliance, which is an organization that uses the Harry Potter books as a platform for inspiring real-world activism. À la Poupée and the Chine-Collés will join the Potters, celebrating the release of their first full-length album. 7 p.m. Friday at Wonder Fair, 803 Massachusetts St., free.
Twelve years after Interpol’s breakthrough album “Turn On the Bright Lights,” the moody New York rock group earlier this month released a highly anticipated fifth album, “El Pintor.” Anyone concerned with the loss of bassist Carlos Dengler and the recent four-year hiatus of Interpol can rest easy; they haven’t let these setbacks show. The now three-piece channeled its original sound with more polished, gloomy, post-punk guitar lines than ever before. It seems the members just needed to revisit the basics and reconnect with their roots to remind themselves that it’s their brood-punk sound that put them on the map in the first place. 8 p.m. Monday at Granada, 1020 Massachusetts St., $25.
Tegan and Sara
The Quin twins Tegan and Sara are coming to Liberty Hall on Wednesday for their “Let’s Make Things Physical” tour.
Originally bursting into the Canadian music scene in 1998, this month marks the 10-year anniversary of their commercial breakthrough album “So Jealous,” the moody new wave record with gems “Walking with the Ghost” and “Where Does the Good Go.” Fans who jumped on board because of their recent electro-pop hit “Closer” and emo faithfuls from the band's early acoustic days have a reason to come together on this night. (This rarely happens.) 8 p.m. Wednesday at Liberty Hall, 644 Massachusetts St., $35.
Other live shows of note:
• Mike Watt & Il Sogno del Marinaio with Gnarly Davidson: 9 p.m. Friday, the Bottleneck, 737 New Hampshire, $15.
• Lazy (KC) tour kick off with CS Luxem, Arc Flash: 10 p.m. Saturday, Replay Lounge, 946 Massachusetts St., $3.
• Hearts of Darkness: 10 p.m. Saturday, Jazzhaus, 926 1/2 Massachusetts St., $4.
No words can describe Hembree’s comeback in the local music scene better than the title for its latest single, “New Oasis.”
The five musicians — Isaac Flynn, Jim Barnes, Garrett Childers, Matt Green and Zach Mehl — who originally performed under the name Quiet Corral have regrouped since the devastating blow of losing lead singer Jesse Roberts shortly after dropping their first full-length “Ancestors” in September last year.
It’s completely new territory for these men.
Hembree — the last name of a friend who continuously encouraged their return — is noticeably changed. At first listen of “New Oasis,” you hear a new poppy vocalist surrounded by folky harmonies, with smooth transitions into rock-out sections vibing loosely on their Americana days.
That unfamiliar voice is none other than guitarist Flynn, who’s played in bands since grade school, but never once as the lead singer.
“I wanted to sing out of desperation,” Flynn says. “I really wanted to play music, I knew that I could sing, but I just didn’t know what my style would be or if I had a style.”
Holed up in the studio, Flynn started making demos following Quiet Corral’s ending. Hesitant to share his songs, he sent a couple of tracks to drummer and sound engineer Jim Barnes, without revealing himself as the vocalist.
“He wrote me back and said, ‘Who’s singing? What is this?’” Flynn recalls. “I was like, ‘It’s me! Do you like it?’
“Jim ended up being really supportive and encouraging me to write more songs. I went from being really pessimistic about music to really optimistic over the course of two weeks,” he says laughing.
Musically, Flynn channels “shameless” top-40 songs, and pop icons like Prince, Michael Jackson and Daryl Hall and John Oates, and combines them with elements of Americana and roots rock.
As chief songwriter, Flynn thoughtfully documents the human experience as he describes the obstacles that have been thrown his way, including his mom’s battle with cancer in 2012-13.
“When someone that close to you goes through something that difficult, it just really rattled me,” he says. “She didn’t really let it defeat her and that made me realize how many things were important to me, and music became such a gift.”
Quiet Corral had a reputation for its tenacity, its youngest members leaving school for a life of touring for almost no money, and plenty to gain. The locals landed a spot in the 2012 Austin City Limits Festival, and gained attention from bloggers across the nation.
They knew what they wanted, and always went barreling toward it. All of their hard work was on its way to paying off if they were all willing to saddle down and put in the necessary time.
That’s when they discovered that level of investment wasn’t the plan the whole team had in mind.
“It looked like some sort of label situation was going to happen,” Flynn says. “Our manager called and said we’d have to do 150 tour dates next year, and the rest of us were like, 'This is everything we’ve ever wanted.' [Roberts] just had other priorities.”
“Truthfully I was devastated when he left because we had just put so much in it.”
Flynn wasn’t the only member feeling deflated by the news. He says it felt like they had used up their one real shot.
“We felt like we had failed but we didn’t actually fail,” Flynn says. “Everything was going perfectly and basically someone pulled the cord.”
But it was probably for the best, Flynn adds. The alt-country, Americana wave Quiet Corral had been riding (think the height of Mumford and Sons) was coming to an end, and he feels their following might have lost interest had they continued down that path.
Now they have a fresh start, taking their faithful fans in a new direction. And they still have the incredible influence and support of lyrical songwriter Roberts.
“He helped me grow into a better songwriter, a better musician and a better lyricist, so I really owe him a lot,” Flynn says.
Now Hembree is playing live for the first time at a free Plaza Art Fair concert at 7 p.m. Friday, and a six-song EP is scheduled to release in late November.
Expect more keyboards, electronics and vocal effects this time around, Flynn says.
“We were so serious about everything in Quiet Corral, and I want to take the music seriously, but I also just want to enjoy making music and having fun with my friends,” Flynn says. “Hopefully good things will come from trying to be as creative as possible.”
Vigil and Thieves
Vigil and Thieves is a local indie-alternative rock band made up of Sarah Storm, Steph Castor and Andrew Flaherty. The three-piece band will be releasing its first EP Thursday night, and then fleeing Lawrence for the band’s first-ever North American tour.
Vigil and Thieves' debut album, “[defective] book one,” is full of raw storytelling, described as expressing anything from hostility and heartbreak to equality and self-acceptance. Makes sense that they have a heavy emphasis on lyricism with Castor, a local poet and founder of the LFK Poetry Slam, in the band. They will be joined by Now Now Sleepyhead, Bruiser Queen, I am Nation and Blood Relative.
7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Granada, 1020 Massachusetts St., $8.
Ernest Greene, aka Washed Out, is a singer-songwriter/producer from Georgia who makes dreamy bedroom synthpop, his latest record being last year’s “Paracosm,” which Greene has described as “daytime psychedelia.”
More organic than previous releases, Greene experiments with an eclectic range of textures, lying down a reggae beat in one song, just to introduce bird chirping, laughter audio and bongos in another. His earliest releases were categorized as chillwave, as he put out drowsy, dance-pop influenced tracks. In 2011, “Feel it All Around” became the theme song for TV show “Portlandia,” and is his biggest hit to date. Small Black will serve as the opener. 9:30 p.m. Friday at the Granada, 1020 Massachusetts St., $15.
Other events of note
Joyce Maynor: 10 p.m. Thursday, Jackpot Music Hall, 943 Massachusetts St., $4.
Mountain Sprout: 9 p.m. Friday, The Bottleneck, 737 New Hampshire St., $9.
Red Kate: 10 p.m. Saturday, The Replay, 946 Massachusetts St., $3.
Live music acts at Busker Fest
The Lawrence Busker Festival has many live music offerings lined up this weekend no matter what your feel may be:
The African Drum Ensemble at Kansas University, or ADEKU, will be stationed in front of the US Bank, 900 Massachusetts St., playing traditional music of West Africa, from the areas of Guinea and Ghana. Become a part of the act by jumping up and dancing along to the rhythms. 5:45-6:30 p.m. Friday, US Bank
Probably the most famous Lawrence busker and folk singer Tyler Gregory will follow ADEKU on the US Bank stage at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Check the full schedule for additional sets throughout the weekend.
An acoustic music stage will be set up in front of the Granada in conjunction with the Fiddling and Picking Championships (more below) from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday.
Sleepy Kitty is a glitter art-punk duo from St. Louis made up of singer, guitarist and pianist Paige Brubeck and drummer Evan Sult. With Brubeck’s soaring vocals, they capture the dreamy pop sound of Best Coast and combine it with thumping ‘90s grunge instrumentation. Their 2004 album “Projection Room” alludes to the visual side of the duo’s project. The two started as a band and screenprinting collaboration at the same time, which then led to an inky screenprint animation video of latest single “Don’t You Start.” Both Brubeck and Sult use the screen-printing technique in their studio space so they decided to show the process in a video to capture the two sides of Sleepy Kitty. 10 p.m. Saturday, Replay Lounge, 946 Massachusetts St., $3.
Fiddling and Picking Championships
The 34th annual Fiddling and Picking Championships will be held at noon this Sunday at South Park. Competitions include fingerstyle and flatpick guitar, open fiddle, youth fiddle, banjo, mandolin, miscellaneous acoustic instruments, and ensemble folk singing. The number of awards given out depends on the number of contestants. One contestant under the age of 16 will receive the Youth Award, an award that encourages young musicians to pursue traditional music. Scheduled performers include Betse Ellis, Kasey Rausch, Kelly Werts and The Matchsellers. Enjoy local food and drink vendors, as well as arts and crafts booths featuring handmade items. Starts at noon Sunday, South Park, free.
For its first 7-inch record release, OILS has a unique piece of art in store for consumers.
The sleeve itself, designed by local artist Jason Barr, is a rainbow-colored moon illustration with a hand-scripted “Oils” slapped on top of it.
“It kind of reminds me of a dripping cheesy pizza too,” says OILS frontman and guitarist Andrew Frederick.
The record itself mirrors the sleeve with swirls of every color found in the cover art. Replay Records had given OILS the option of using scraps from past color record projects to create the cover, and considering how harmonious it made the entire package, the band jumped at the chance.
“Jason was like, ‘Oh yeah that makes total sense with the art; it would look beautiful and it wouldn’t look silly,’” Frederick says. “And so fingers crossed, they came, and it didn’t look silly. They look really good.”
In true OILS fashion, the band is putting out something unpredictable and experimental.
“It feels like each one is unique,” Frederick says. “Because they are.”
OILS is having a release party at 10 p.m. Friday at The Replay Lounge, with Drakkar Sauna, This is My Condition, and Cool Guy Nice (featuring Evan Herd of Psychic Heat) on the bill.
The two tracks on the record are day and night, chosen to represent two disparate sides of their overall sound.
On the A-side, “Waves We Feel” is a softer song with structure — a beginning, middle and end. Frederick delivers an emotional story with poppy vocals, the feelings of being pulled back and forth throughout. Writing a straightforward track that listeners can familiarize themselves with is important to Frederick, but not always at the forefront of his songwriting process.
The B-side, “Super Moon Music,” is an OILS/ CS Luxem collaboration recorded in Front Space Gallery in Kansas City. It’s the freer, improvisational sound fans expect to hear from Frederick, Mark Rockwell, Chris Luxem and Taryn Miller during their live sets. They are known for bringing a loose idea of a set to stage and work as a band from each other’s instincts to fill in the blanks from there.
Side by side, they achieve a balance: perfect night with OILS at The Replay.
What’s next for OILS? Frederick is hoping more vinyl and more songs to groove out to.
“I want to make joyful music,” Frederick says.
Attention all Kawehi fans: I just got word that the one-woman band who stole our hearts and received national attention for her cover of Nirvana's "Heart-Shaped Box" will be playing Aug. 30 at The Bottleneck. Finally, a Lawrence appearance!
The expert loop pedal artist based in Lawrence also just released a new video for a track on her latest EP “Robot.” The artist tweeted out the video for “Anthem” this morning and made a point to warn viewers first: “If you don't like chicks who dance like a robot, my new vid is not for you yo.”
In the video, Kawehi sits at a table and places a box over her head for every new vocal sound she makes. Then she takes the box still containing the sound — and her head — and puts it on the table, layering the track with each new sound until it's just her singing along with her heads. “Anthem,” which was made using only vocals, is a song with a positive message about our potential, as human beings, to make a difference.
Get tickets for the Aug. 30 show here. Quick, before it sells out.
If you’re looking for a confusingly good time, this might just be your chance. Foxy Shazam is a genre-melding poppy, theatrical rock outfit from Cincinnati that writes over-the-top lyrics to go along with their theatrics. Think Queen or Meatloaf over-the-top, which is the closest comparisons to other bands. For Foxy, which is touting its fifth studio album “Gonzo” on this tour, this is a stripped down side of them compared with the excessively layered vocal harmonies and guitar tracks on other albums in their repertoire. Not that they haven’t managed to maintain their eccentricity; frontman Eric Nally’s usual stage antics include eating lit cigarettes and other nonsensical activity. Let the insanity rain down on all of us this Friday. Middle Twin will serves as dance-electronic opener. This night’s going to get you moving and grooving, folks. 8 p.m. Friday, at the Granada, 1020 Massachusetts St., $15 in advance.
GaDuGi Benefit Concert
This is a sick lineup of local gems and in support of an incredible local cause. GaDuGi SafeCenter is a rape crisis center that serves Douglas, Franklin, and Jefferson counties. In addition to providing community educational programming and awareness, it provides a 24-hour crisis hotline, advocacy for survivors of sexual assault, and free counseling for survivors and their loved ones. Donate $8 upon entrance, and spend the night listening to the diverse musical stylings of La Guerre, Oils, Narkalark and Sharp 9 (my band), not in any particular order. That’s a lot of bang for your buck, plus the added bonus of feeling good for supporting a powerful center in our town that aims to keep everyone safe. 8 p.m. Saturday, at Jackpot Music Hall, 943 Massachusetts St., $8.