Above image: Emmaline Twist | Photo: Mike Alexander
The Bridge’s national music writer Michael Atchison periodically prepares a list of new music you may have missed. This week, we’re focusing in on local releases.
In the Kansas City area alone, at least 135 LPs, EPs or seven-inch singles have been released in 2017 — and that’s just on my personal list. Chances are I’ve missed several, and chances are even greater that you’ve missed a few as well. If you haven’t dipped into these songs yet, it’s time.
Berwanger — “The Star Invaders”
There’s a reason why you already know who Josh Berwanger is. The name takes a minute to digest, but the music immediately thrills. The man knows how to write a hook, and he always takes interesting, often nostalgic approaches to get to them. Berwanger’s third and latest LP was released on Halloween, and includes musicians who have worked with The Mars Volta, Broncho and The Flaming Lips, among others. Speaking of nostalgia — check out the music video for “Horror Show,” which Berwanger created with Mario Paint on his Super Nintendo.
Emmaline Twist — “Dissimulation 1”
Since making its debut in mid-2016, Emmaline Twist has allured Kansas City audiences with its pensive post-punk charms. With members from The Latenight Callers, Knife Crime and The Silver Maggies, there’s a dark undercurrent that pervades the songs, paired with a pulsating groove. Recorded, mixed and produced by Paul Malinowski, “Dissimulation 1” is the band’s first proper release, and it captures the most essential pieces of Emmaline Twist’s sound. Krysztof Nemeth’s baritone guitar sets a pace that shifts between trenchant and transcendent, sitting atop a steadfast rhythm section and augmenting Meredith McGrade’s intoxicating vocals.
Rachel Mallin and the Wild Type — ”Teenage Bodies”
The band’s “Degenerate Matters” EP was a personal favorite of 2016, but Rachel Mallin and the Wild Type’s latest single features a polished, evolving pop group coming into its own identity. Effervescent and youthful in its presentation, “Teenage Bodies” will get you on the dance floor — the track was recorded and produced by Isaac Flynn of Hembree — but it’s also introspective and poignant.
Victor & Penny — “She Says She Knows”
Seeing as though this seven-inch record came out just yesterday and it’s not available to stream yet, you probably haven’t heard it (unless you listened to Eight One Sixty on Tuesday). While you may be familiar with Victor & Penny’s antique pop stylings, their first foray into the world of wax adds a new dynamic. Recorded by Duane Trower, the two new songs feature drummer Brian Steever, who adds a layer of jazz and pizzazz to the duo’s magnetic sound. It’s also the first vinyl release on the newly named Eat.Hear.Records, headed up by Steve Tulipana and recordBar. Until the song is available on digital platforms, enjoy part of their 909 Session at The Bridge a couple years back. Can’t wait that long? Order a copy of the record.
Joon Moon — ”Moonshine Corner”
Picture a ’50s or ’60s-era movie starlet, and you’ve got the basic workings behind Joon Moon. The group isn’t based in Kansas City or even the United States, but it’s propelled by the soulful, encapsulating voice of KC native Krystle Warren. Contrived in a studio in Paris, producer/songwriter Julien Decoret teamed up with drummer Raphaël Chassin and engineer Sébastien Trouvé to create retromodern songs. Warren’s soulful voice fits snugly in the band’s mixture of vintage textures, jazz grooves, trip-hop and ’60s pop. “Moonshine Corner” is Joon Moon’s first full-length effort, and it’s worth a few spins.
Chase the Horseman – “RIPchord”
Chase Horseman was a driving force behind the tapestry-laden atmosphere of Clairaudients, and he’s since lent his talents as a multi-instrumentalist to a number of KC acts and compositions. Now he’s releasing his first single under the moniker Chase the Horseman. “RIPchord” is an extravagant effort, executed to great effect. With the help of Fritz Hutchinson on drums and Heidi Lynne Gluck on bass, Horseman has cultivated a dramatic pop song reminiscent of Fleet Foxes, mixed with a wash of Beatles-era psychedelia.
—Michelle Bacon writes about music for 90.9 The Bridge and plays bass and drums in bands. Follow her @michelleobacon on Twitter or Instagram.