Archive for October, 2013

Performed October 8, 2013 at FOKL in Kansas City, Kansas

IS/IS in Low Light on a Tuesday Night, Photo By Andrew Erdrich

IS/IS in Low Light on a Tuesday Night, Photo By Andrew Erdrich

If Mondays are bad, it’s because they’re followed by Tuesdays. Monday is the initial, shocking submergence into a freezing pond that is the work week, serving to numb your senses until you reach the weekend shore. Tuesday, however, is worse than that. It is droll, incessant, and does not bring cause for celebration such as Wednesday or “Hump Day,” but resignation that the grind will persist four days more. Tuesday is so insidious that Monday has become the scapegoat for the true evil that is acquiescence.

IS/IS was the weekend manifest on a Tuesday.

This washed out, femme powered, three piece consists of Sarah Rose (guitar and vocals), Sarah Nienaber (bass), and Ronnie Lee (drums). Okay, so Ronnie is a dude. Does that hurt the image? The coven may be broken but the band held together, and they seem to be doing alright. Their stop in Kansas City was the end of a first leg of shows following a recording session in the southwest. I’m guessing many of these new, as yet to be released tracks, were played during their set because I’ve had the damnedest time identifying them. From here they’re headed back home to Minneapolis for a show and brief respite before another two months or so of national touring. I predict they’ll be around for at least another big tour, and judging by the helluva-Tuesday-night-turn-out on the 8th, I assume they’ll be returning to Kansas City as well. Bravo all.

-AWE

Listen to IS/ISs set now with the embed below (32:13)

Listen to IS/IS’s set later, with tracks already separated, by clicking the mediafire link below

http://www.mediafire.com/folder/9o28pab3vzd7a/IS_IS

Set List for IS/IS

1. Unknown 1

2. Unknown 2 (2:35)

3. Unknown 3 (6:05)

4. Shine Down (9:13)

5. Unknown 4 (13:22)

6. Gleam (16:55)

7. Unknown 5 (21:05)

8. Unknown 6 (24:52)

9. Hunter (28:43)

For More IS/IS Click the Link Below

http://is-is.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/isisisaband

This recording was made and posted with permission of the very amiable members of IS/IS. If you like their music then you should show your support by visiting their website and buying some wares so maybe they can afford gas on their cross-country tour. If you like this blog then kindly share it, subscribe to it, leave some comments, and keep reading. Also, a facebook page for Big Urges has been recently created find it here at https://www.facebook.com/bigurges, so click it for more bonus material and like the page to help spread the word!

Performed October 5, 2013 at The Middle East in Kansas City, Missouri

Torben in the red-lit basement of The Middle East, Phote by Andy Erdrich

Torben in the red-lit basement of The Middle East, Photo by Andrew Erdrich

In the short span of their existence Torben garnered high esteem within the KC underground for delivering unforgivable, riff laden, heavy metal. This three piece matriarch of death is composed of Danni Parelman on guitar, Anna St. Louis on bass, and Libby Zanders on drums. Their untimely end is a result of bassist Anna St. Louis, who also pulls double-duty in Bloodbirds, moving out of town.

Torben‘s popularity was evident when upon witnessing the sheer number of people who turned out for their their last showing at The Middle East. The double backyard was so full it made me wonder if anyone was even inside to watch the bands. All doubts were dashed once I realized the basement was too packed to accommodate another person. Torben‘s set was modest, only about 30 minutes, but the crowd urged them for an encore and were rewarded with a truncated version of Motörhead‘s “Lost Johnny.”

Among the artifacts Torben leave behind are a short five song, self-titled demo; this live recording; and perhaps another (most likely better mixed) version of the same show, courtesy of Mike Tuley. As for the future, Parelman and Zanders are still playing in Peace Warriors alongside Jordan Carr of Dark Ages, so maybe seeing them will fill the newly created Torben shaped void in your head. No guarantees.

-AWE

Listen to Torbens set now with the embed below (32:26)

Listen to Torben’s set later, with tracks already separated, by clicking the mediafire link below

http://www.mediafire.com/folder/phnsta73qnd33/Torben

Set List for Torben

1. Second Coming [Alice Cooper cover]

2. Blood (2:03)

3. Burning World (4:20)

4. Working Man’s Sabbath (6:31)

5. Mother Sludge (9:23)

6. Psyched to Die [Deep Wound cover] (12:16)

7. Runner (14:12)

8. Zone Boss (18:46)

9. Deposer (20:48)

10. Guts [Budgie] (23:58)

11. Heavy Loader (27:04)

12.Lost Johnny [Mötorhead cover] (30:51)

For More Torben click the link below

http://torben.bandcamp.com/

This recording was created with permission from the stand up members of Torben, who will be missed both as a symbols of strong independent women and for their impeccable skill in melting faces. Mothers of sludge, may your ghost live on!

If you like this blog then kindly share it, subscribe to it, leave some comments, and keep reading. Also, a facebook page for Big Urges has been recently created find it here at https://www.facebook.com/bigurges, so click it for more bonus material and like the page to help spread the word!

Performed September 28, 2013 at Front Space in Kansas City, Missouri

Calvin Johnson dancing while singing an a cappella version of a Hive Dwellers tune, Photo by Andrew Erdrich

Calvin Johnson dancing while singing an a cappella version of a The Hive Dwellers “Sitting Alone At the Movies.” Photo by Andrew Erdrich

Any review of Calvin Johnson is obliged to mention his place as the Grand-Wizard of the Northwestern underground, earned through his founding of K Records and his lead role in such influential bands as Beat Happening, Dub Narcotic Sound System, and The Halo Benders. As significant as Johnson may be, the indie underground circuit is still–cough, cough–underground. So we find our hero at the modest yet adequate Front Space, an intimate gallery located just blocks from Kansas City’s new performing arts center, plopped in the middle of the crossroads arts district. The numerous onlookers are cozied up, seated on the ground smiling while completely rapt by Johnson’s sing-song story time. Days after, the occasional lament from those who, “Would have attended had I known about it,” doesn’t surprise me in the least; legendary cult status carries no guarantees of wide distribution, street teams, or promotional reach.

Johnson’s set was mostly acoustic, with intermittent a cappella pieces, all combined with free form dancing (pictured above). In fact, if you listen closely to the recording, you can here subtle variations in the sounds of his voice and guitar coinciding with a sudden twirl or a moment of turning his back on the audience. It’s all part of the show, which of course can sometimes fail to be adequately captured via recording (aural or visual). Years ago when Johnson’s first solo album “dropped” reviewer William Bowers was aggravated by the lack of drums and overbearing presence of vocal-only-tunes. He may not have taken into account Johnson’s at-the-time-newly-realized path of (what he calls in track 14) a traveling, wayfaring, troubadour. As such, Johnson’s true value as a performer may be bound to the “You had to have been there” qualities of the troubadours, where record is a wanting replacement for in-person experience.

-AWE

Listen to Calvin Johnson’s set now with the embed below (1:07:00)

Listen to Calvin Johnson’s set later, with tracks already separated, by clicking the mediafire link below

http://www.mediafire.com/folder/qd7mktwsr32fz/Calvin_Johnson

Set List for Calvin Johnson

1. Ambulance Driver Blues [Amelia, Peter, Scott + Calvin]

2. Love Will Come Back Again (3:08)

3. Unknown [Lazy Mondays*] (7:06)

4. Unknown [Gallow’s Wine*] (10:57)

5. Sitting Alone At the Movies [The Hive Dwellers] (13:42)

6. Pine Shaped Box [The Hive Dwellers](18:16)

7. Can We Kiss? (22:30)

8. Apple To The Core** (26:53)

9. Farmer’s Market Interlude (30:30)

10. Kick These Boots** (33:13)

11. When You Are Mine (36:58)

12. Unknown [Every Woman*] (43:52)

13. Somebody’s Phone Is Ringing [The Hive Dwellers] (46:18)

14. Recycled Sounds Interlude (48:56)

15. Shake-A-Puddin’ [Dub Narcotic Sound System] (50:41)

16. Diamonds Are Forever [Shirley Bassey] (54:40)

17. Platinum Slumbers [The Halo Benders, Unreleased] (57:48)

18. Get In [The Hive Dwellers] (1:02:01)

For More Calvin Johnson, K Records, or other affiliated acts click the link below

http://shop.krecs.com/

I’m also including a link to my favorite Beat Happening track out of sheer self-indulgence. Enjoy!

When I asked Calvin Johnson if I could make this recording he replied, “Do whatever you want,” which I always do anyway, but thanks to Calvin for that affirmation. Show your affirmation for him and his efforts by supporting K Records and the litany of bands on their roster. If you like this blog then kindly share it, subscribe to it, leave some comments, and keep reading. Thanks much!

*These are my working titles for these songs as I was unable to find a precedent for them somewhere else

**This song has been titled and credited in other places but I am unable to find it on a specific recording anywhere

Performed September 26, 2013 at The Brick in Kansas City, Missouri

Keith Rankin, a.k.a. Giant Claw, performing. Photo by Andrew Erdrich

Keith Rankin, a.k.a. Giant Claw, performing. Photo by Andrew Erdrich

Electronic night at The Brick opened with the premier of Kansas City’s Human Traffic, who managed to smuggle in their underage member Anthony, but weren’t able to keep the lid on it. Funny to me, but not the bar staff. Closing the evening was local DIY favorite Scammers who wasted no time harassing the audience and the sound man. Combine the two acts and you’ve antagonized everyone on either side of the bar.

Sandwiched between the locals acts was the socially passive Giant Claw from Ohio. The sole member of Giant Claw, Keith Rankin, performed several lengthy, improvisational pieces. While at times meandering, Rankin shied away from extended soloing in favor of reiteration of melodic phrases and arpeggios. By avoiding self-indulgence and emphasizing repetition, the music remained meditative and introverted, even when it had groove.

During the performance the bar was rife with chatter from the crowd whose limited participation relegated Giant Claw’s performance to background music for a conversation. However, Rankin didn’t seem to mind and he kept the sounds flowing. This apparent laid back demeanor may belie his prolific output and eye to detail. Case in point; he sound-checked his microphone only to briefly introduce himself and make a plug for his suitcase full of tapes and vinyl, all of which happen to be distributed from his own label Orange Milk.

-AWE

Listen to Giant Claw’s set now with the embed below (32:27)

Listen to Giant Claw’s set later, with tracks already separated, by clicking the mediafire link below*

http://www.mediafire.com/folder/qf9jah3494j8a/Giant_Claw

Set list for Giant Claw*

1. Untitled

2. Untitled II (14:43)

3. Untitled III (27:26)

For More Giant Claw click the links below

http://giantclaw.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Giant-Claw/191804144175430

This recording was made and posted with permission of Kieth Rankin, who’s not just a musician, but a really nice guy. Help a nice guy eat by visiting his webpages and purchasing some wares. If you like post/blog then leave a comment, share with your friends, and subscribe. Bye now!

*Editor’s Note: Since these songs are improvisational, they are untitled and transition from one into without pause. As it’s not overtly evident where one song ends and the other begins, I’ve separated tracks in a way that seemed to make the most sense to me.