Above image (L to R): Yanna, photo by Chase Smith // Serene Fiend, photo submitted by artist // Sara Morgan, photo submitted by artist
Still can’t decide on a reasonable New Year’s resolution? Well, if you live in the Kansas City area, it might be a good time to starting digging into local music. Here are a few new and forthcoming releases from KC-based artists.
Dreamgirl – “Dreamgirl”
Release date: Jan. 1
Dreamgirl drifted into 2018 with a brand-new album. The five-piece group — which spent 2017 touring the region and opening for acts like K.Flay and Tennis — dropped its debut full-length on the first of the year. While its earlier material underscores Lacey Hopkins’ hypnotic crooning to gorgeous effect (refer to “Teenage Blue,” a 2015 tune that gained more than 1 million Spotify streams), the new album joins that with chic synth-pop. It’s tender but pulsating, somnolent but direct. “Dreamgirl” is available on Bandcamp and other digital platforms.
Yanna – “Supa Flowa”
Release date: Jan. 1
Yanna began making waves through Kansas City with an exuberant live show and freely flowing rhymes. As evidenced in the new music video for “Supa Flowa” — a song produced by Duncan Burnett and Dom Chronicles — the up-and-coming rapper knows how to stir up a good party. But beyond that, they look to cultivate a colorful movement that transcends genre and gender, and use their artistry as a positive force in the community. Yanna plans to drop the “Supa Flowa” EP in early 2018. Check out the single, which Chris Haghirian played on this week’s Eight One Sixty.
Dylan Guthrie & The Good Time Guys – “Dreaming of Love”
Release date: Jan. 2
After being expelled from a city in China for playing music at a bar without the proper visa, Dylan Guthrie and Olie Bowden returned home to Kansas City. Formerly the lead vocalist of Pink Royal, Guthrie found himself without a musical project, so he teamed up with Bowden, Lucas Parker, Cody Stuber and Pink Royal members Alex Hartman and Vik Govindarajan to form The Good Time Guys. The group’s debut single “Dreaming of Love” is a throwback to big band soul revues, with a youthful pop vitality synonymous with Guthrie’s spirited energy. The band celebrates the release this Saturday, Jan. 13 at the Jazzhaus in Lawrence, Kansas.
Mazinaw – “Ghosts in the Room”
Release Date: Jan. 8
2018 welcomes the inaugural single from Mazinaw, a collaboration of three KC songwriters from equally potent musical backgrounds — Christopher Tolle of The Belles and Olympic Size, J.D. Warnock of power-pop groups Creature Comforts (with Tolle) and Ultimate Fakebook, and Bill Latas of heavy alt-rock outfit Outhouse. “Ghosts in the Room” is a fitting tune for any melancholy Midwestern winter day — a blanket of twinkling piano and acoustic guitar melodies interwoven with lush vocal harmonies and cogent grooves (provided in part by drummer Billy Brimblecom Jr.). Mazinaw is slated to release its first EP, “Bon Echo,” in February.
Serene Fiend – “Give Fiend A Chance”
Release date: Jan. 20
When we first caught wind of Joel Bonner’s music, it was packaged in the form of a sprightly rockabilly trio — Joel Bonner and the Boot Stompers. A few months ago, Bonner announced his next endeavor, Serene Fiend, which would signal a major shift from the country and blues guitar-oriented Boot Stompers. More dependent on dense, voracious synths and oblique guitar riffs, the industrial/electronic rock project shows an artist who isn’t afraid to traverse uncharted territory. Bonner celebrates the release of the “Give Fiend A Chance” EP at the Replay Lounge in Lawrence next Saturday, Jan. 20.
Sara Morgan – “Average Jane”
Release date: Jan. 26
Sara Morgan’s songs have a definitive contemporary country flair, with dazzling pedal steel swells and a high-spirited honky-tonk twang. But what sets her work apart is her acumen as a songwriter, evident on the upcoming release “Average Jane.” A project almost two years in the making, Morgan’s debut full-length (the follow up to her 2015 EP “Easy To Dream”) accentuates her capabilities as a vocalist and her penchant to create thoughtful arrangements and attractive melodies. Get a preview of “Average Jane” next Friday, Jan. 19 at Knuckleheads Gospel Lounge.
—Michelle Bacon writes about #kcmusic for 90.9 The Bridge, and plays bass and drums in bands. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter at @michelleobacon.