If you’re asking us, May has been a phenomenal month for music. Coming in from all angles are talented new acts, incredible new singles, and visuals for miles that will make you want to get out with your camera this spring too! We’ve started compiling our favorite new releases of the month, but will continue to add in as we see new things through our inbox. Check back for more all month! And let us know your favorites in the comments on Facebook!
On Tuesday, May 14th, Elle King gave an incredible and unforgettable performance at The Truman, in the Crossroads District of Kansas City. Barns Courtney opened the show with phenomenal energy, and they were absolutely chomping at the bit by the time this legendary vocalist took the stage. While her male cohorts on stage all matched, she wore a striking and unique suit outfit. But it was her vulnerability that she wore best on stage, as she tore through song after song to a crowd of what had to be some of her biggest fans. Peer into the scene below!
On Friday, May 10th, the legendary Neko Case made a fiery appearance at The Uptown Theater in Kansas City, MO. Taking the stage very casually, she wore pants with a skeleton frame on them and slowly introduced us to her set with “Pitch or Honey”. She then launched into “Bad Luck”, which had the majority of the lower level seated section on their feet for a good portion of the track. The lights glowed warmly behind Case, making it look as though she had a true halo around her head. Her on stage cohorts – all basked in a warm glow – seemed to be no less than thrilled to be performing with her, and we can’t say we’re surprised.
After experiencing Case for the first time at 2018’s Sasquatch Music Festival – I know, where have I been? -, I was concerned that the performance might not ignite the level of magic that seemed to seep up from the canyon at the venue in Washington last year. But Case has an aura about her that far exceeds the surrounding environment. And – in any case (no pun intended, truly) – The Uptown Theater provides an ambiance that feels unique to Case’s brand of performance style. It was a night made in heaven.
Our hearts melted the moment the first chords of seventh song of the evening – “Maybe Sparrow” – hit the air. That song and the accompanying level of shaken you feel after experiencing it live truly attest to Case’s magnetic nature. And, of course, nothing left the room more energized than when she pulled “Train From Kansas City” out of her back pocket as the second of three encore tracks. If nothing else, this city is known for its appreciation of the wealth of music and culture it inspires and is mentioned in. Forever, we will appreciate her for that nod to what was once a flyover city.
Case’s sound can only be categorized as the perfect blend of nature and otherworldly, enigmatic energy. To have the pleasure of enjoying it live will leave a mark on your soul, no matter the night of the week. Though it DOES help that it was a Friday night experience, as we had the remainder of the weekend to really digest it all.
Keep up with Neko Case here.
On May 8th, The Unlikely Candidates performed to a wild crowd at recordBar in Kansas City, MO. Photographer Michael Porter landed an in-person interview with access to the show, which we are so excited to see soon. To tie us over, here are some highlight photos from the event!
Keep up with The Unlikely Candidates here.
Ohio-based band The Shootouts’ debut album Quick Draw is the ultimate throwback to the age of honky-tonk in America. Every detail, from the lyrics to the vocals to the instruments to the album cover art, hearkens back to the good old days of classic country music. The band, consisting of Ryan Humbert (lead vocals, acoustic guitar), Brian Poston (electric & acoustic guitar), Ryan McDermott (bass), Dylan Gomez (drums, percussion) and Emily Bates (harmony vocals), create a wholesome album with heart that is sure to make their listeners feel as if they have travelled back to a much simpler time.
With the first track, “Cleaning House” jumps right in with a toe-tapping ditty that’s as fun as it is metaphorical. Other tracks like “Who Needs Rock & Roll” and “Reckless Abandon” have the same carefree, catchy vibe that almost guarantees its ability to get stuck in your head. They’re short, sweet, and incredibly charming. Even a song called “Alimony” is full of charm and humorous lyrics:
Alimony, oh alimony,
I thought I bought steak and it was old bologna.
Me oh my, oh goodness sake,
I’m paying for my mistake.
There’s a fair share of the album’s softer side with songs such as “California to Ohio,” “If We Quit Now, “Lonely Never Lets Me Down,” and “Losing Faith in Being Faithful.” These songs are pretty and emotional, bringing us back to traditional country ballads that are often hard to find in the current age of pop-country.
At first glance, Quick Draw may seem like just another country album, but it is entirely its own entity. The lyrics are sharp and well-written, the instrumentals are skillful, and even if this isn’t your kind of music, it’s quite an enjoyable listening experience.
Be sure to check out Quick Draw, which is out now, and keep up with The Shootouts here.
Indie-folk duo Cricket Blue are storytellers in ever sense of the phrase, and their new album Serotinalia is packed full of them. With pristine harmonies and scaling acoustic guitars, Cricket Blue is able to cause the listener to drift off into another conscious zone, full of hope, but also darkness.
Members Laura and Taylor are a vocal match made in heaven. As you listen to each song/story, you feel you are at a concert, with Cricket Blue performing just for you. This concert is not at a large venue. It is simply in a small room, with just the sound of Cricket Blues voices and strings enveloping the confined space. The darkness in every song prompts contemplation of self, allowing the listener to be full immersed in the art. I cannot stress enough how talented these two musicians are, and how their chemistry creates an album containing the purest form of the indie-folk genre.
Serotinalia is out now, and you can keep up with Cricket Blue at http://cricketbluemusic.com/. You should keep up with Cricket Blue.