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This week's releases

Several KC-area bands will be releasing tracks or albums this week:
Bad Wheels / Bad Wheels (EP)
This heavy-riffin’ four-piece rock collective is releasing its debut self-titled EP tomorrow (Tuesday) through Bandcamp; you can download the 6-track album, or purchase a limited-run cassette with a download card. You can also pick up a cassette and hear some of these tunes on Saturday at Harling’s Upstairs, where the group will be performing with StrawBilly.
Shades of Jade / “That One”
Shades of Jade will be releasing a single from their forthcoming album Fingerprinted Memories: Part II Sketches of the Heart this Thursday. That evening, the eclectic jazz group will take the stage at The Blue Room. The band will also be talking with Mark Manning on Wednesday Midday Medley this week, on 90.1 FM KKFI at 10:30 a.m. Preorder the track on iTunes. Facebook event page. #thatone
HMPH! / Headrush
On Friday night, math rock duo HMPH! will be celebrating the release of its debut full-length album Headrush on Haymaker Records. The band will have vinyl copies for sale that evening at Harling’s Upstairs. Rhunes and Arc Flash will also play. Facebook event page.

Radkey / Dark Black Makeup
The wait for Radkey’s long-awaited debut LP, Dark Black Makeup (Little Man Records) will also end Friday. The boys kick off a 2-week European tour in Belgium on Thursday, but their next appearance in the area will be September 25 at The Bottleneck. The album is now available to stream via Spin. Preorder the album here.

Danielle Nicole Band is the project of former Trampled Under Foot singer/bassist Danielle Nicole Schnebelen. The group released its debut self-titled EP earlier this year, and will release Wolf Den this Saturday at Knuckleheads Saloon. Grand Marquis will open. Preorder Wolf Den here. Facebook event page.
Saturday will also mark the release of Radiant Man on UniGlobe Records. A Crooked Mile will be playing at recordBar that evening with Kristie Stremel’s Pet Project and Carswell & Hope. They will also be featured on Wednesday Midday Medley this week, at 11:00 a.m.

--Michelle Bacon 

Radkey's rapid ascent to success

A little over three years ago, Dee, Isaiah, and Solomon Radke were regular teenage brothers from St. Joseph who indulged in video games, movies, comics—stuff that most teenage boys enjoy.
Fast-forward to the not-so-distant future. Radkey has amassed a giant resume, from playing its first live show with Fishbone to recording “Cat and Mouse” (also the title of its debut album) at Adrian Grenier’s Wreckroom in Brooklyn to rocking the Download Fest in England earlier this year to recently completing its first full-scale tour to releasing its second EP Devil Fruit on Little Man Records AND undertaking a European tour this October. And… they still enjoy the same things as before.
“Quite a bit has changed,” said bassist Isaiah Radke, “but we’re still just a bunch of dorks hanging out at home whenever we’re not off doing the music thing.”
Modest, considering their rise from the St. Joe-KC music scene to international heights. But having had several off-the-record conversations with all three of the guys and their father/manager Matt Radke, a large key to their success has been in their ability to continue to hone their craft, remain humble, and stay involved in local music. Though Radkey has enjoyed accolades around the country and across the pond, it hasn’t been uncommon to see them on a KC or Lawrence stage with other local acts.
They kicked off their very first US tour to a full house at Czar with Naam last month, and played the KC Live stage with Silversun Pickups a couple weeks before that. A couple weeks ago they played Riot Fest in Chicago. This weekend, they’ll be one of the main acts at Beach Ball, alongside Cage The Elephant, AWOLNATION, Alt-J, and more. Despite all the huge bills they’ve already played on, the boys had never done a real tour before. So, why not?
Isaiah explains. “You can practice every single day—which we have done—and get pretty good, but you can only get so good. Playing lots of shows makes you a better musician and it also improves your live show. We finally hit the wall where touring is the only way to become better musicians, so we finally had the opportunity to break that wall by playing live every day.”
Since my first observation of a Radkey live show a couple of years ago, their onstage confidence has steadily grown with their musical cohesiveness and audience interactions, both crucial for success. That’s not to say they were lackluster in either department before, but at each performance, Dee’s monstrous voice becomes a bit more menacing and intimidating (in a good way); Isaiah’s banter with the crowd becomes a bit more sophisticated; Solomon’s drum patterns become a bit more complicated and precise.
“Because they are so young they will inevitably evolve and change, but there is something magical about the raw energy and earnestness of who they are right now,” said Joel Nanos, owner of Element Recording Studios.
Nanos also recorded tracks off Devil Fruit—the first single “Romance Dawn” was released in August, and “Overwhelmed” was released last week on NME. He calls the tracks fast, raw, and real. The brothers announce themselves to the world with a youthful immediacy backed by production that captures them at their purest and most formidable. Already, the songs are receiving a notable amount of attention on reputable music sources, and the album hasn’t even dropped yet.
But all for good reason. In spite of their quick strides from being three homeschooled kids to self-taught musicians with a steady local following to a buzz band getting radio play on the other side of the globe, the Radke brothers haven’t taken any of this for granted.
“I dunno; I mean, we practiced every day, and did our best to write songs that we loved. Plus, our dad was a great manager so that helped,” said Isaiah. “We pretty much worked very hard and had some percentage of luck on our side. We’re pretty thankful for that.”
They’ve also maintained support from the local music community, many of whom recognize their dedication to creating music and spreading the kick-in-your-teeth gospel of rock ‘n roll. Nanos sums it up best: “Those kids are just super cool, definitely beyond their years in maturity and knowledge; they have a great sense of self-awareness. They are the ones teaching me about cool stuff.”

You only have one more chance to see Radkey before they head out on their month-long European tour; they’ll be on the main stage at Beach Ball this Friday, September 27 at Berkley Riverfront Park. They’ll be touring the UK with Drenge, plus Germany and Holland, and return to the US in November to tour with Black Joe Lewis. Devil Fruit will be released October 15. And here's a link to the NME exclusive of their super-cool video for "Romance Dawn."


--Michelle Bacon

Michelle is editor of The Deli Magazine - Kansas City, and also plays drums Drew Black & Dirty Electric and bass in Dolls on Fire and The Philistines. She once gave Isaiah a button from her old band and he might still wear it. She will eventually be one of those people who says, "I knew them way back when... AND gave one of them a shiny button."

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Lawrence Field Day Fest: An interview with founder Cameron Hawk

Lawrence Field Day Fest was born out of Cameron Hawk’s frustration with the attention that local and regional acts weren’t getting—to highlight their talents, to be different from other festivals that bring in national acts and sprinkle in local acts here and there.
“I honestly didn’t think people in Lawrence would care that much. It’s not like we were doing anything new.” Hawk told me. “I just wanted to show people the great talent we had in Lawrence. Plus, it was a way to fill a couple days in The Bottleneck’s calendar.” It went so well in its inaugural year that July 11, 12, and 13 this year will see the return of the fest. “I guess what people were waiting for was for someone to step up and just do it.”
Kansas City’s recent Middle of the Map Fest was incredible, with bands like Joy Formidable, Grizzly Bear and locals including Soft Reeds, Cowboy Indian Bear, Thee Water Moccasins, Hawk’s own band The Dead Girls, and others, but it just wasn’t the festival he had in mind.
“Middle of the Map, where they matched up local and regional acts was a cool idea, but I wanted to do something for the Lawrence bands and some area acts to make them feel special, to give them something that was just theirs for once,” said Hawk.
Were there ever moments of doubt? When did the calls of people wanting the fest made Hawk nervous? Did he doubt the creature he began constructing? “Oh yeah, man. I had never tried to do something like this so there were a lot of moments when I wondered if I could actually pull it off. It was kind of a Wayne’s World 2 scenario. Let’s do it. Oh shit, now we have to do it.”
Hawk, guitarist for The Dead Girls, Many Moods of Dad, and the punk thunderbolt that is Stiff Middle Fingers, and drummer for Hidden Pictures, says this year LFDF is completely local or regional acts. This is different from last year, where alt-country greats Drag the River and punk rock legend Stephen Egerton—guitarist for The Descendents—took the stage at the Jackpot.
“Having Drag the River and Stephen (Egerton) last year just kind of happened. It was awesome, but this year, I wanted to keep it to just the great bands of the area. People haven’t been going out as much, whether its money, kids, work, or just getting older. I want people to see what’s been going on, what they’re missing.” 
This year’s lineup will lean even heavier on the crop of local talent to build a roster that should pack The Bottleneck for three straight days. The ominous quake of Bloodbirds, Many Moods of Dad, Going To Hell in a Leather Jacket, the hardcore-influenced Black on Black, Radkey, Scruffy and the Janitors, sleaze warriors Pale Hearts, JOCKS, BaioWolf, Man Bear, Millions of Boys, and several others, will descend upon The Bottleneck, showing everyone that the Midwest is more than capable of cranking out great rock ‘n roll. 
“I hope people see the whole point of this,” Hawk said. “It’s not about bringing in national acts and getting the local acts to support them. This is about the local bands playing and showing support for each other. Let’s quit worrying so much about which bill will draw the best, having the same bands playing together all the time, all the competition. There are people that work really hard and never get thrown a bone for whatever reason; maybe it’s a situation where if more people saw them they’d get a better chance. That’s all I want to do with this. Let’s just play and have some balls.”
Lawrence Field Day Fest runs from Thursday, July 11 to Saturday, July 13 at The Bottleneck. A full lineup and ticket info will be available soon at The Bottleneck’s website. Facebook event page.
--Danny R. Phillips

Danny R. Phillips has been reporting on music of all types and covering the St. Joseph, MO music scene for well over a decade. He is a regular contributor to the national circulated BLURT Magazine and his work has appeared in The Pitch, The Omaha Reader, Missouri Life, The Regular Joe, Skyscraper Magazine, Popshifter, Hybrid Magazine, the websites Vocals on Top and Tuning Fork TV, Perfect Sound Forever, The Fader and many others. 

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The Deli's Emerging Kansas City Artist of 2012: #1 - Radkey

What do you get when three teenage boys decide to start making music together? Well, you usually aren’t lucky enough to get anything like Radkey. Fortunately, the Kansas City music scene is. The three brothers—Dee (19), Isaiah (17), and Solomon Radke (15)—hail from St. Joseph and have been creating music catchy enough to be received by a broad audience and heavy enough to be affirmed by more experienced rockers and punkers alike. Though the brothers have only been playing music for 3 years, they portray a mastery of their instruments and a deep understanding of their influences, which include bands like The Misfits, The Ramones, Bad Brains, and Jimi Hendrix.

Radkey has found an unbelievable amount of success in its short amount of time as a band: the trio has performed at the Afro-Punk Festival in Brooklyn (also including the likes of Erykah Badu and Reggie Watts), recorded a video at the Wreck Room in Brooklyn (founded by Adrian Grenier of HBO’s Entourage), and will be performing an official showcase at SXSW in March, as well as others (including Kansas City’s MidCoast Takeover showcase). Congratulations to Radkey for being The Deli’s Emerging Kansas City Artist of 2012!
Radkey is:
Dee Radke – vocals, guitar
Isaiah Radke – bass, vocals
Solomon Radke – drums
Check out Radkey’s Daytrotter session, which was just released today!
Radkey has a number of performances coming up, the next of which is tomorrow, Thursday, January 31, at Eighth St. Taproom in Lawrence, with Bloodbirds and Ponyboy (the band will be recording a music video at this event). The boys will also appear at The Riot Room this Sunday, February 3, with The Growlers and UZIS. Radkey will release a 7” on Friday, March 1 at Replay Lounge with Stiff Middle Fingers. If you’re in Austin in March, the trio will be playing an official SXSW showcase as well as others (including MidCoast Takeover at Shangri-La).
(Photos by Todd Zimmer)
--Michelle Bacon 


Show review: The Growlers/Radkey/UZIS at Riot Room, 2.3.13

While sports fans gathered together over watered down brews and chicken wing cupcakes, The Riot Room celebrated Super Bowl Sunday by opening its doors to a menagerie of leather-clad locals in support of Costa Mesa band, The Growlers. While The Growlers certainly captivated Midtown with their upbeat surf-psych melodies and Brooks Nielsen’s listless shimmying, the band was framed by a full-bodied lineup, including Kansas City bands, Radkey and UZIS.

A newer band made up of familiar faces, UZIS started off the night during the death rattle of Sunday’s game. Mitch Clark and Jessie Brown vocalize well together, their harmonies serving to complement the simple, upbeat energy of their set. Backed by Chris Farmer on drums, the trio executed a neatly compact set of melody-driven, lighthearted punk rock. By starting off the show with “Spider” and “Black and Blue”(a particularly well-written track), UZIS set the tone for the remainder of their performance. What the band lacks in self-indulgent guitar solos, they make up for in accomplished simplicity, reminiscent of a time the term “pop-punk” was not a musical death sentence. Their cover of La Peste’s “Don’t Wanna Die (In My Sleep)” paid tribute to the late ‘70s melodic punk reincarnated by their set. “Shut Your Mouth” evoked a sneering swagger from Clark, which accentuated the mood of UZIS performance with the perfect hint of irreverence.
UZIS, of course, were not the only band to celebrate a throwback to puritanical punk rock during Sundays show. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Radkey took the stage after a sobering break provided by Jessica Hernandez and her band, The Deltas. While their set was well executed and soulful, their placement in the lineup created a break in the pace of Sunday’s show, although I am doubtful that this was the fault of Hernandez. However, whatever energy had waned since the UZIS set was quickly rekindled by the three brothers that have recently turned so many heads in Kansas City.
After being named The Deli’s Emerging Kansas City Artist of 2012, Dee, Isaiah, and Solomon Radke have been stealing the spotlight in Kansas City, and Sunday’s show was another for the boys to add to their ever impressive resume of performances. What blows me away every time that I have been fortunate enough to see Radkey is the stunning depth of sound that they accomplish through their intelligent and well-placed guitar solos (a particularly well-placed solo during the track “Little Man” was a brilliant punctuation to their set), which are simultaneously brief and complex, as well as Dee’s deep and resonating vocals. Most press that the band has received has harped relentlessly on how incredibly young the members of Radkey are, which is understandable. But after the year that the boys have had, they have made it clear that they are not relying on any cheap gimmicks, including their own youth, to draw a crowd to their shows.  Bursting out of the gate with “Where Do You Stand,” the brothers set a fast pace….and kept up with it. The track “Cat & Mouse” seems to remain a crowd favorite every set the boys have played, and Sunday’s show was no exception, the solid thumping rhythm of the song commanding attention from the steadily growing audience.
The Growlers, and their touring partners Jaill, wrapped up Sunday’s show with a notably lighter collection of tunes, culminating in the much anticipated set by The Growlers, whose current tour will culminate in their appearance at Austin’s annual PsychFest, hosted by The Black Angels this April.
Radkey will be opening for Illinois duet Local H next Wednesday, February 13 at recordBar. UZIS will be playing at recordBar as well, on Saturday, March 30, with local heroes The Architects.

--Stephanie Bloss
Stephanie Bloss is an artist and writer living in Kansas City, Missouri. She is currently in residency at The Roost Gallery in the West Bottoms and has been active in the KC music community since 2010.



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