10/13

Thy Decent

Turnip Head

All Ages | 8 pm

Thy Descent
with special guests
Turniphead - Kansas

All Ages
Doors at 8
Show at 9
$5 at the door

Thy Decent

Thy Descent is a Melodic/Hardcore Djent band from Sedalia, MO. Created in spring of 2016 by guitarist Austin Cunningham and vocalist Chris MacDonald. With the addition of drummer Amber Lindsey and bassist Jordan McKee, Thy Descent was ready to take the stage. From hauntingly melodic guitar tones that creep under your skin to chaotic and heavy breakdowns to keep you wanting more, they descend onto the depths of the mind and soul to explore existence itself. Wanting nothing more than to share their music with the world they hope to bring energy and excitement to all.

Recently picked up by JPS Productions, the band is set to take 2019 by storm. They teamed up with producer Ryan Vincent (Legend, Scour, Cast the Stone) of Apollo Audio Alternative to record their brand new single “Driftwood” that is slated to release in Winter, 2018. Most recently the band released their brand new EP "Disparity in Death" and the band will be touring in support of said EP late 2019/2020. The band has shared the stage with national acts such as Mobile Death Camp and Hallow Point to name a few. Stay tuned for show announcements and “all things THY DESCENT”.

Chris MacDonald - Vocals
Austin Cunningham - Guitar
Jordan McKee - Bass
Amber Lindsey - Drums

OUR LINKS


Turnip Head

MORE INFO COMING SOON!

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10/17

Dynohunter

Recycled Funk ( Drums vs DJ)
DJ Luzir

All Ages | 8 pm

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Dynohunter

DYNOHUNTER is truly a breath of fresh air to the world of electronic dance music. With a sound embraced by fans of house and techno and a live performance fueled by the organic energy of live instrumentation, their music is undeniable on the dance floor. DYNOHUNTER's ability to blend deep electronic influences with live saxophone, bass, and drums forges a new path in the vast expanse of electronic music.

Their sound journeys from dark tribal meditations, exotic rhythms, and deep hypnotic grooves to hard hitting dance tracks, uplifting melodies, and soulful improvisations. Equally at home playing underground clubs and festival mainstages, DYNOHUNTER brings a relentless and unmatched energy to each and every set.



    Recycled Funk ( Drums vs DJ)

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      DJ Luzir

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        10/18

        Harvest of Doom Night 1

        Coven
        Mothership
        Liege
        PLUS MORE (SEE BELOW)

        All Ages | 6 pm

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        Harvest of Doom Night 1

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          Coven

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            Mothership

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              Liege

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                They Watch us from the Moon

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                  Gravehuffer

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                    10/19

                    Harvest of Doom Night 2

                    Wo Fat
                    Hyborian
                    Droids Attack!
                    PLUS MORE (SEE BELOW)

                    All Ages | 5 pm

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                    Harvest of Doom Night 2

                    MORE INFO COMING SOON!



                      Wo Fat

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                        Hyborian

                        An age of violence and magic, a world of uncertainty, a soundtrack to a time forgotten by man.

                        OUR LINKS


                        Droids Attack!

                        MORE INFO COMING SOON!



                          Horned Wolf

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                            Custom Black

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                              Grass Giant

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                                Pit Hag

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                                  10/21

                                  Brick + Mortar

                                  Dentist

                                  All Ages | 7 pm

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                                  Brick + Mortar

                                  Brick + Mortar is a two-piece indie pop outfit from Asbury Park, NJ. The duo consists of Brandon Asraf (guitars/vocals/programming) and John Tacon(drums/programming). Best described as controlled chaos, the band combines choppy rhythms, smooth bass lines, tempestuous drumming and honest lyrics, all of which culminates in something that is just as likely to show up on an indie up-and-comers list as it is to show up on a DJ’s playlist – something that is evidenced in the band’s role as a remix magnet for artists such as Baauer. Brick + Mortar is one of the few bands who can conjure up images of both carousels and cocaine, combining dancy with dark and pop with despair.
                                  Speaking in an article with VICE Magazine, Asraf says of their most recent music video for Bangs, “The story is my chance to be in [my father's] world and tell a conglomerate of a bunch of stories I’ve heard.” The result is a gripping video reflective not only of Asraf’s father’s violent past as an international fugitive, but also of the sometimes ominous and abrasive tone of the new EP.
                                  Coming off of the release of their EP, “BANGS,” Brick + Mortar is touring relentlessly, opening for Imagine Dragons, Icona Pop, and Jimmy Eat World, as well as performing in the summer festival circuit at mainstays including Made in America, Loufest, and Lollapalooza.
                                  In a time where purists patiently await the return of rock and roll, Brick + Mortar is gifted enough to combine exciting elements of each genre with their no-bullshit approach to songwriting.

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                                  Dentist

                                  MORE INFO COMING SOON!



                                    10/25

                                    Goddamn Gallows w/Scott H Biram

                                    All Ages | 8 pm

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                                    Goddamn Gallows w/Scott H Biram

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                                      10/26

                                      Rings of Saturn

                                      Enterprise Earth
                                      Angelmaker
                                      Brand of Sacrifice

                                      All Ages | 6 pm

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                                      Rings of Saturn

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                                        Enterprise Earth

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                                          Angelmaker

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                                            Brand of Sacrifice

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                                              10/31

                                              Cicadaween

                                              Linear Symmetry
                                              DJ Smoove
                                              Prismada

                                              All Ages | 8 pm

                                              Cicadaween

                                              MORE INFO COMING SOON!



                                                Linear Symmetry

                                                Linear Symmetry is a unique trio hailing from the heart of the Midwest combining forces to produce amazing organic dance music. From the first note Huma will captivate the audience with soaring vocals, stunning violin and incomparable energy. Chris Story (Keyboards) and Andy Alback (Drums) are the magical backbone to this powerhouse with the vision to send the listener on a sonic journey through their ever-expanding catalogue of original dance, trap and funk. This trio from Omaha progress to new heights with every performance and after just one experience it is clear they formed this bond for a reason.

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                                                DJ Smoove

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                                                  Prismada

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                                                    11/1

                                                    Tauk

                                                    Evanhoff

                                                    All Ages | 7:30 pm

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                                                    Tauk

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                                                      Evanhoff

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                                                        11/7

                                                        Indubious

                                                        Streetlevel Uprising

                                                        All Ages | 8 pm

                                                        The Bottleneck presents:

                                                        INDUBIOUS
                                                        with special guests
                                                        Streetlevel Uprising

                                                        All Ages
                                                        Doors at 8
                                                        Show at 9
                                                        $8

                                                        Indubious

                                                        The story of INDUBIOUS is not for the faint of heart. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, INDUBIOUS was forged in the fires of pain and destruction, only to emerge powerfully with a message of transformation. Evton and Skip, brothers and bandmates born with Cystic Fibrosis and convinced by doctors of their impending death from an early age, have emerged as a powerful force for change and the future of conscious music. Their new album BELEAF, released in stores and online worldwide August 16, 2019, is a 14-track powerhouse that promises to be their strongest, clearest, and most authentic work yet.

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                                                        Streetlevel Uprising

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                                                          11/8

                                                          Grassfed

                                                          Mark Lavengood Band

                                                          All Ages | 8 pm

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                                                          Grassfed

                                                          Grassfed is a Kansas City 5-Piece string band. Pivoting on the foundation of bluegrass, Grassfed entwines tradition with an eclectic array of influences. Forged by songwriters, and driven by instrumental conversation, the band drives a punching sound all of its own.

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                                                          Mark Lavengood Band

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                                                            11/9

                                                            John 5

                                                            with special guest
                                                            Jared James Nichols

                                                            All Ages | 7 pm

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                                                            John 5

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                                                              with special guest

                                                              MORE INFO COMING SOON!



                                                                Jared James Nichols

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                                                                  11/12

                                                                  Oliver Francis

                                                                  Smrtdeath
                                                                  Marco XO

                                                                  All Ages | 7 pm

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                                                                  Oliver Francis

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                                                                    Smrtdeath

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                                                                      Marco XO

                                                                      MORE INFO COMING SOON!



                                                                        11/14

                                                                        Yak Attack

                                                                        All Ages | 8 pm

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                                                                        Yak Attack

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                                                                          11/15

                                                                          Thank You Scientist

                                                                          Bent Knee
                                                                          Tea Club

                                                                          All Ages | 7 pm

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                                                                          Thank You Scientist

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                                                                          Bent Knee

                                                                          Bent Knee is unlike any band you’ve ever heard. Its borderless sound combines myriad influences from across the rock, pop, minimalist, and avant-garde spectrums into a seamless, thrilling whole. Its new album Land Animal—Bent Knee’s first for InsideOutMusic/Sony—takes its sound to a new level. It offers a suite of songs full of addictive hooks, lush melodies and enthralling twists and turns that capture the reality of life in the 21st Century—a reality of people and nations in the midst of tumultuous change. It also communicates a ray of hope and desire for listeners to embrace the fact that they’re not alone in their struggles.

                                                                          “The silo-smashing Bent Knee’s unique mix is equal parts ingenuity and deliciousness,” said Jim Fusilli of the Wall Street Journal in 2016 when he first heard the group. “Bent Knee breaks new stylistic and temperamental ground,” declared Steve Smith of The Boston Globe. Other media outlets worldwide have reacted with similar enthusiasm, including NPR and the BBC, which have playlisted the band.

                                                                          Bent Knee formed in 2009 as a democratic collective determined to push the boundaries of pop and rock. Lead singer and keyboardist Courtney Swain’s soaring vocals are instantly arresting. Guitarist Ben Levin is one of the most dynamic and versatile guitarists around, shifting between the raging and raucous to the sublime and meditative. Bassist Jessica Kion and drummer Gavin Wallace-Ailsworth combine into an enthralling rhythm section that’s equal parts powerhouse and nuance. Violinist Chris Baum’s kinetic violin work provides drama, grace and intrigue. World-class producer and live sound designer Vince Welch weaves it all together with a captivating, expert touch.

                                                                          The band has gone from strength to strength in recent years. Its last two albums, 2016’s Say So and 2014’s Shiny Eyed Babies, were hailed as significant art-rock achievements. The group has performed hundreds of shows across the world to date. During the fall of 2016, the band played for ecstatic audiences as an opener for the U.S. leg of The Dillinger Escape Plan's farewell tour.

                                                                          With Land Animal, Bent Knee has elevated its storytelling ambitions to create narratives that reflect and refract the currents we’re exposed to in the news every day.

                                                                          “We’re at this bizarre point in history when our species can almost actively play God,” explained Baum, when discussing the themes running through the album. “We’re getting closer and closer through communication and technology. On the flip side, we still have many primal urges that have yet to evolve. There’s a strange balance between our technology and our biology that’s tremendously difficult to find. Land Animal explores where those animalistic urges come from and how we can harness and transform them to create a better reality.”

                                                                          “The album has all kinds of songs about struggle,” added Levin. “We look at global warming, family strife, technology-mediated relationships, racism, and societal polarization. Each song is imbued with a dichotomy between who we are now as a species and where we’re going.”

                                                                          As the band hits the road in support of the album, it intends to explore the diversity of thought amongst its ever-growing audience in a world where it's increasingly easy to live inside one's echo chamber of ideologies.

                                                                          “I think our music is powerful and capable of uniting people with different perspectives,” said Kion. “They may think about things differently, but they’re there together, part of the concert. The fact that music and art can bring people together in that way is a really significant force that’s needed right now.”

                                                                          “We haven’t made a political album with Land Animal,” said Wallace-Ailsworth. “However, it’s definitely motivated by the difficult state of the world at the moment. If people are able to take some comfort in our music or create dialog through it, those are great things for us.”

                                                                          Like the band’s previous work, Land Animal is full of fresh, sophisticated arrangements and beautiful vocal harmonies, but it’s also its most direct statement to date.

                                                                          “It’s a really juicy and immediate album,” said Swain. “With our previous album Say So, I think it took people a few listens to absorb its themes. That’s not the case with Land Animal, which delivers more instant gratification.”

                                                                          “We tried to balance that with an appealing narrative arc,” said Welch. “The album starts with ‘Terror Bird,’ a song about individuals and communication issues and ends with ‘Boxes,’ a song that explores the fact that we’re all marching towards our own demise, so we better make the most of the time we have. Land Animal is an epic journey.”

                                                                          At the end of the day, the band believes strongly in music as a force for positive change and delivering ideas no other medium is capable of.

                                                                          “We believe music is the most efficient way to get a point across,” said Baum. “The only way to cut through the noise of a confused, globalized world is to create something that speaks directly to the soul, and that’s what we hope we’ve done with Land Animal.”

                                                                          --

                                                                          Land Animal releases on June 23, 2017. The album will be available in standard CD, deluxe edition digipak CD, vinyl + CD, and digital download configurations. It will also be available worldwide across every streaming platform, including Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Google Play, SoundCloud Go, and Amazon.

                                                                          OUR LINKS


                                                                          Tea Club

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                                                                            11/23

                                                                            Monolord

                                                                            Blackwater Holylight

                                                                            All Ages | 8 pm

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                                                                            Monolord

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                                                                              Blackwater Holylight

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                                                                                11/24

                                                                                Fister

                                                                                Migrator
                                                                                The Perilous Ones

                                                                                All Ages | 8 pm

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                                                                                Fister

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                                                                                  Migrator

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                                                                                    The Perilous Ones

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                                                                                      12/1

                                                                                      With Confidence

                                                                                      Seaway
                                                                                      Between You & Me
                                                                                      Doll Skin

                                                                                      All Ages | 6 pm

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                                                                                      With Confidence

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                                                                                        Seaway

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                                                                                        Between You & Me

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                                                                                          Doll Skin

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                                                                                            12/5

                                                                                            Wristmeetrazor

                                                                                            Serration

                                                                                            All Ages | 7 pm

                                                                                            Wristmeetrazor
                                                                                            Serration

                                                                                            Doors 7pm
                                                                                            Show 8pm
                                                                                            All Ages

                                                                                            $12 ADV
                                                                                            $15 DOS

                                                                                            Wristmeetrazor

                                                                                            Bore of our own necessity. Wristmeetrazor exists as a monument to the space between sanity and self-destruction. Happiness. Sadness. Life. Death.

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                                                                                            Serration

                                                                                            Alberta Hardcore

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                                                                                            12/17

                                                                                            JD McPherson

                                                                                            Joel Paterson

                                                                                            All Ages | 7 pm

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                                                                                            SOCKS: A Rock n' Roll Christmas Tour

                                                                                            JD McPherson

                                                                                            “I’ve always loved Christmas music, especially popular Christmas music from the 1940s and ‘50s,” says JD McPherson. “There’s something classic about that sound. Something that keeps you coming back, year after year.”

                                                                                            SOCKS, McPherson’s fourth album, dives headfirst into the world of original holiday music. Written, produced, and arranged by the frontman and his longtime bandmates, it’s a record rooted in the same timeless influences—from 1950s rock & roll to oldschool rhythm & blues—that inspired his breakthrough release, Signs and Signifiers, back in 2010. The result is a return to McPherson’s musical wheelhouse, mixing new songs and classic tones with his band’s sharpest performances to date.



                                                                                              Joel Paterson

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                                                                                                12/28

                                                                                                William Elliott Whitmore

                                                                                                All Ages | 8 pm

                                                                                                Eleven Productions Presents

                                                                                                William Elliott Whitmore
                                                                                                Doors at 8
                                                                                                Show at 9

                                                                                                $10

                                                                                                William Elliott Whitmore

                                                                                                Hailing from a horse farm along the banks of the mighty Mississippi River, William Elliott Whitmore has developed an intense love and spiritual understanding of the land, which he flawlessly conveys through all of his records.

                                                                                                With live performances of a caliber to leave one completely stunned in silence, and albums full of songs not only from the heart but also from the heartland, William Elliott Whitmore is one of the most interesting contributions to today's diverse collection of musical ingenuity.

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                                                                                                2/8

                                                                                                Too Many Zooz

                                                                                                Birocratic

                                                                                                All Ages | 7 pm

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                                                                                                Too Many Zooz

                                                                                                Nyc born brasshouse trio



                                                                                                  Birocratic

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                                                                                                    4/30

                                                                                                    Polica

                                                                                                    Wilsen

                                                                                                    18 & Over | 8 pm

                                                                                                    Polica
                                                                                                    WILSEN

                                                                                                    +18
                                                                                                    Doors at 8
                                                                                                    Show at 9
                                                                                                    $16 ADV

                                                                                                    Polica


                                                                                                    When Poliça’s Channy Leaneagh fell off her roof while clearing ice in early 2018, she smashed her L1 vertebrae and battered her spine, leaving her in a brace with limited mobility for months. Yet Poliça’s fourth album, When We Stay Alive, is not about one debilitating accident. It’s about the redemptive power of rewriting your story in order to heal, and reclaiming your identity as a result.

                                                                                                    While recovering, Leaneagh’s doctor told her to focus not only on physical healing, but to meditate on the mental act of healing as well – working to erase the anger, regrets, and fear she felt about her fall. To do so, he suggested she rewrite the story she told herself about what happened on February 28th. Left alone with her thoughts and her back fully braced, Leaneagh would visualize herself slipping and falling not onto cement, but instead onto a cloud, landing safely before breaking into a sprint over snow melting to reveal tall blades of green grass. As she felt the positive effects of this mental exercise, she set about doing the same for other injuries and pains that she gripped onto from her past.

                                                                                                    Prior to Leaneagh’s accident, she had been setting music aside as she raised her children and worked to make ends meet as a nursing assistant. Now in the still silence of healing, she found that a multitude of feelings were becoming very loud. Leaneagh realized her self-identity had become attached to her experiences of physical and mental trauma, and she began to consider what it would be like to live without the past as a burden. “I felt there were many things I could look at and say, ‘This happened to me but I’m okay now. It’s not happening anymore and I got the care I needed for it. Now it’s time to rewrite the story I tell about myself and to myself,’" she explains.

                                                                                                    While half of When We Stay Alive was written before the fall, and half afterwards, the tracks meld together in a coherent and redemptive sonic whole. Those written before the fall relay ideas with a more heightened sense of anxiety and distress: the rousing “Forget Me Now” interrogates what makes two people bring out the worst in each other, while on the soulful “Steady,” Leaneagh struggles with the sudden pressure of becoming the head of her immediate family after her parents moved away. “TATA” was inspired by the challenge of keeping a cool head in the face of tense community meetings where anger continues to rise against Northern Metals, a north Minneapolis company under fire for pollution issues.

                                                                                                    Inspired by the power found in her healing process, on the second batch of songs Leaneagh tried a slightly different approach, working to reevaluate her past, difficult personal experiences and bring in a sense of insight, strength, and light that perhaps wasn’t there at the time. The stirring “Feel Life” captures Leaneagh’s process of recasting pain as an alarm to live and see beyond what we lack. She takes back her sense of self on the haunting “Be Again,” a song recorded as she relearned to sing while wearing a brace. “For me this song is a meditation to myself,” Leaneagh explains. “To come back from the disassociation I’ve lived with most of my life.” “Blood Moon” sees her examining how keeping this sort of guard up can prove more precariously isolating than protective. “I can look back and see how music has always been here for me to be loud, say what I feel and ask for what I need in these songs I write,” she says. “I always find my courage again on the stage – that is where I feel alive, and for that I am eternally grateful for music and the people that I make it with.”

                                                                                                    When We Stay Alive possesses a new confidence in its sound, reflected in its fierce, determined songs and anchored by the heavy synths and punctuating beats of Poliça co-founder and producer Ryan Olson. Over the last several years Olson and Leaneagh have widely collaborated with musicians from all over the world: both with Bon Iver, and Leaneagh individually with Boys Noize, Lane 8, Sasha, Leftfield, and Daniel Wohl; Olson with Swamp Dogg in addition to countless musicians from the 37d03d collective. As a result, When We Stay Alive features one of the largest musical casts of any Poliça record to date. To create the album, Olson brought his favorite collaborators into his studio for all-night sessions. He’d then send Leaneagh the files to write lyrics to while recovering at home, which she’d record alone or with engineer Alex Proctor. Drummers Drew Christopherson and Ben Ivascu colored the songs with a new approach – drastically changing the rhythmic dynamic from previous efforts by creating an indistinguishable hybrid of live and electronic instrumentation--and bassist Chris Bierden provided a melody-laden low-end as well as more layered backing vocals than ever before.

                                                                                                    On Poliça’s first three albums, Leaneagh focused on restructuring the world and her relationships within it. On When We Stay Alive, she realizes the power in restructuring her inner self. The album’s title references the idea of moving forward through life – our experiences, both good and bad – and what happens next with the strength we find. “I had been living unconsciously in past trauma,” Leaneagh says. “I don’t want to deny something happened – this is not about repression – it’s about taking the power back from the past, holding the power in the present, and creating a new story for myself.”

                                                                                                    OUR LINKS


                                                                                                    Wilsen

                                                                                                    Wilsen are Tamsin Wilson, Drew Arndt and Johnny Simon.



                                                                                                    First appearing with the Sirens mini-album and following it up a year later with the Magnolia EP, they soon found themselves on tour with the likes of Daughter, Matthew E. White, San Fermin and London Grammar. Tamsin has also lent her vocals to ‘Coastal Love’ by HONNE and a vocal line of hers has been used in a SBTRKT song.



                                                                                                    I Go Missing In My Sleep is Wilsen’s debut album and was recorded with producer Ben Baptie in upstate New York and at The Farm Studio, just outside of Philadelphia. Many of the songs were composed in Tamsin’s tiny Brooklyn apartment in the fleeting pre-dawn moments when New York City is mostly still. These beautifully crafted original pieces capture an almost impossible sense of delicate quietness, and when it came time to record them with the band, they unfurled at a nexus of hushed and heart-racing, intimate folk paired with muscular yet restrained sonic experimentation.

                                                                                                    OUR LINKS


                                                                                                    The Bottleneck Interview with Jamie Laurie of Flobots

                                                                                                    flobots1

                                                                                                    Flobots (image via http://liveloudmedia.com/flobots)

                                                                                                    Denver-based alternative hip hop band Flobots play The Bottleneck October 28th. Jamie Laurie recently discussed artists that inspired him to love hip hop, creative process and his passion to create music without boundaries.

                                                                                                    What first got you starting out in music? How’d you get going? What was your first musical memory?
                                                                                                    I remember in 5th grade people making fun of me like, “Hey, what kind of music do you like? Why don’t you listen to music?” It wasn’t in my world. I wasn’t thinking about who my favorite band was. Once I did start listening, the first tape ever, honestly, was Willie Nelson. My dad had this tape of Willie Nelson and I liked the songs on there, then I got into the stuff that was on the radio. The first hip-hop I was into was J.J. Fad and Supersonic. Just stuff on the radio that still I think holds up pretty well.
                                                                                                    I like Young MC and some of that pop stuff, but before long I got really into more They Might Be Giants and R.E.M. and some of the alternative radio stuff. I think it was really De La Soul and Native Tongues were some of the first hip hop artists I was into. Pretty soon after that, I was into more revolutionary hip hop like the Coup. They are still some of my favorite or most formative, influences for that.
                                                                                                    The early ’90’s was a pretty great time for hip hop with Hieroglyphics, Outkast, the Roots and all those groups expanding what the music could be. I fell in love with West Coast underground. Quantum, Living Legends, Soulsides, all that stuff.

                                                                                                    Quantum is really something else. Those beats are so fresh.
                                                                                                    It’s amazing. It was an experience actually going into the industry, making the music myself. It was amazing getting a chance to meet some of those folks and have them, for a second, treat me like a peer when I’m still just looking at them like a fan.

                                                                                                    Your music, it goes beyond styles. You’re not boxed in at all. You’re doing your thing.
                                                                                                    Right. That’s one of the things I always admire. Especially about West Coast underground at the time. I always felt like people on the East Coast, because that’s where hip hop sort of lived in the ’90s. It’s like “Oh, that’s where the real hip hop is” people. In my little mind, it was like those people sound more similar, but I would listen to the range between E-40 and the Grouch. We were exploring. They’re just doing absolutely completely different things.
                                                                                                    I fell in love with the ability of artists who really find their own personal style and that became an ambition for me. When Flobots really got going, we thought, at that point there were no barriers, even musically. What do we have to sound like? What does the music have to sound like? The Roots had shown that we could be a live band and be an authentic hip hop group. I think, for us, it was like, “Look, we’re coming out of Denver, Colorado. We’re coming out of very different social conditions than many other artists. We have things to say that we could say, that are unique to us and that’s why every one of us are on this Earth is just express our own truths most fully.” So we thought, there’s no boundaries anymore. Let’s have a viola. If there’s a viola player that’s excited about this band and wants to be part of it, let’s start there. Let’s bring in live musicians. Let’s just be ourselves as fully as we can be and that’s what music’s all about.

                                                                                                    flobots2

                                                                                                    Flobots (image via http://www.facebook.com/theflobots)

                                                                                                    Don’t you feel like having a live band with you, doesn’t that push you lyrically? It gets you fired up as well.
                                                                                                    It does and it also forces you to think responsively to the music. There’s songs where it’s like, “Alright. This music’s really busy, so I need to be simple.” Or, “Hey, this one is a whole lot of space, so now I can fill it in.” It’s definitely a lot more to think about in the creative process, because it’s not just put on the beat and I’ll do a rap. it’s what is the emotional journey of this song going to be and how can I contribute to that with my lyrics.

                                                                                                    Kind of like adding to the sound or pulling away from the sound? Contrast?
                                                                                                    Right, absolutely. I think, hip hop is doing very well these days because so many people have thought about so many different things. You look at Kanye, who was a producer first for at least a decade and then starts bringing in the lyrics and it’s no surprise that his lyrics feel like they’ve been put together by a producer. Like, “Alright, where do I want to take people? How clear do I want to be? How cryptic do I want to be? What’s the crescendo of this verse?” He’s thinking about those things. I think that makes better music when people pay attention to, how does the emotional arc of the verse match the emotional arc of the music and vice versa?

                                                                                                    Taking people on a full journey with a song.
                                                                                                    Right. It challenges you to think, maybe, more in depth. I revise way more than I ever did before. I used to go, “Okay, what’s the music? Cool? I wrote a verse. Alright, I’m done.” Now it’s like, “Wait, maybe that verse isn’t everything it could be. Let’s try a new verse.” On the new album we have, I have probably written 3-4 verses for every song and I love where it ended up.

                                                                                                    Basically, you’ve gotten better at drafting ideas.
                                                                                                    Exactly. Honestly, it took me a while to not be stubborn because I’d be like, “What are you talking about? I already wrote a verse for that. It’s done. No, I can’t change that word because then I’d have to change that other word.” I’ve just learned to have more confidence in the finished product. I think of it like a sculpture where you, you know there’s something that already lives in that rock and your job is to remove the parts that are obstructing it. By the end, it’s like I’ve peeled back all the layers and revealed what the song really is. It’s taken a while, as an artist, to be humble enough to realize that the first thing I did wasn’t necessarily the work of genius that I thought it was in that moment.

                                                                                                    That’s got to be a fun challenge, looking over your past work and trying to expand all the time. You never want to stagnate.
                                                                                                    Right. Exactly. There’s lots of ways to move forward. You can move forward by just creating a whole lot of things or you can move forward by saying, “Alright, let’s keep wrestling with this song until it is so undeniably compelling that you know it’s finished.”

                                                                                                    You never want to put anything unfinished out there. You have a certain standard of what you want. How often do you find yourself writing songs? How often do you find yourself writing lyrics? Is it every day or is there a certain time of day that works for you?
                                                                                                    It’s fun to do in the morning. It’s fun to just get up and write but, honestly, it’s all over the map. There was a year, 2010, where I actually made a commitment that every day I would put a new verse up on YouTube and so I did this thing called “The Rhyme of the Day.” It basically meant I wrote a new verse every day. Sometimes, I used old ones that I’d never put out. That was really as a creative exercise. As a artist you can have this feeling, “I have all these ideas. When am I going to get to try them?” In the course of a band where a song is a big production that involves a lot of people, it was easy to think like, “I never get to write a verse that just speaks to what happened that day in the news, or whatever whim I had that day,” so it’s the little idea factory needed to be satiated. Taking a year to just indulge in that was pretty gratifying.
                                                                                                    In the process of the last two years of writing this album, it was kind of a back and forth. Someone would come with a bass line and it’s, “Alright, let me react to that bass line. Here’s a verse that reacts to that bass line. Now, based off that verse, we want to do a new bass line. Okay, cool. Let’s bring in this guitar, this. Oh, look the song has evolved and now it’s not really about what it was about. Now, it’s more about this. Alright, let’s do a new verse, let’s try that out.” I don’t know if you ever worked with a t-shirt designer or someone who’s like, “Here’s some potential logos. Here are seven ideas. I like this one, can you take that and expand it?” It kind of feels cool to be a craftsman like that too and also to reach back into that crafts place back into the soul place and see what I’m doing. Let’s go back to what I’m trying to say and what is authentic to me about the song.

                                                                                                    Everything is tied into each other, connected, like in the creative process.
                                                                                                    Exactly and songs reveal themselves. We have a song on the new album called “Carousel.” I’m trying to remember what we thought it was about in the beginning, but now it’s very clear. It’s a song about that feeling when you’re just playing with your phone, looking for something that you will never find. Whether it’s laying in bed late at night or in the early morning before you get out of bed, just being stuck in this little swirl of this pretend world of likes and follows and instant approval from other people that you’re seeking. I think it consumes so many of us. The song’s about that. The Carousel is that. It took a while to figure that out. First, it was just this chorus, this other set of ideas. It’s exciting when you listen to the song and let it reveal itself to you.

                                                                                                    Yeah sure. We should definitely talk about that too. How do you approach a live show differently than your work in the studio? How do you go about it?
                                                                                                    For us, the way we came up in Denver was because of our live show. My grandpa used to say, “Your audience is like a greased pig. If they can get away from you, they will.” We think of it from the audience perspective. If I was standing out there, what would I want? What would hold my attention? What would I actually feel good about if I paid and came to a show, brought some friends and told them to trust me, this is going to be good? What are the things that I would want to see happen? How would I want to feel? Were there elements of the show that would actually engage me?
                                                                                                    We put a lot of energy into the live show. It’s great having a live band because if you have a bad ass viola solo right before lyrics that captivate people, all of those things go a long way. We really look at our shows as almost like church for a secular world. Come here, we want you to move your ass, want you to intellectually be on board but we want to touch your soul too. We try to send people on a journey that at the end of the night they’ll be like, “Hey, I’m satisfied, I feel good.”
                                                                                                    With the election and the climate in the country, it’s really easy to sit at your computer, look at Facebook and just be like, “Hey, we all hate each other. Everyone’s a horrible person and there’s no hope for anything.” Actually, that’s not true and the best way to remind ourselves it’s not true is just to be in a community of people where we can actually celebrate just getting together. It doesn’t mean there’s not things that need desperately to be transformed, because we do. We need social movements. We need to confront hard questions about police violence or climate change. Those need to be transformed. Those systems need to be transformed to be more human things. We can do that in a way that invites everybody into the process and to the solution.

                                                                                                    Music, live especially, is the catalyst for positive change.
                                                                                                    Yeah, I think it definitely can be. It can be a lot of things, it can be catharsis, it can rally, be a place to pour out our anger, pour out our pain but the over all effect of doing that in a group of people is that we remember that we are not alone. I think that’s the problem where you sit at your computer and you have all these feelings, but you have them by yourself. There’s no affirmation of ultimately moving towards something because there’s other people that feel the same way and we can do something about it. The concert is a shortcut to that feeling. That’s why it was important for us to go out on a show where we’re doing this, really, because we just looked at the situation right now and we need to be out there talking to people.

                                                                                                    Making something happen.
                                                                                                    It reminds us that we’re not alone, you know?

                                                                                                    Yeah, of course. It benefits everybody.
                                                                                                    Right, exactly. Anyway, thank you to whomever is reading this. If you’re not sure about coming to the show, come to the show. We promise you it’ll be a good time. Even if you never listen to our music or think you don’t agree with our politics or something, come to the show. We want to see everybody there.

                                                                                                    The Bottleneck Interview with Evan Hawkins of Through the Roots

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                                                                                                    Through the Roots (image via http://www.throughtheroots.com/ )

                                                                                                    Through the Roots is a California-based band. They are playing The Bottleneck October 27th. Lead singer and guitarist Evan Hawkins recently discussed how he became interested in reggae, his songwriting approach and the beginnings of Through the Roots.

                                                                                                    Did you come from a musical family? Were your parents musical?

                                                                                                    I did come from a musical family, my father was a musician, he played guitar and bass for ?Marvin Gaye and other Motown acts in his day. My brother was a singer, so I guess I just found my abilities naturally.

                                                                                                    What was your earliest musical memory?

                                                                                                    My earliest musical memory was spending countless hours at my best friend’s house playing all of the instruments that his father had collected. I think that is really where I found my obsession with playing them.

                                                                                                    What was the first album you bought?

                                                                                                    I honestly can’t remember, but it was probably Hanson or Offspring Americana or something. 

                                                                                                    What first got you interested in reggae?

                                                                                                    My mom used to play reggae for me around the house when I was very young. At that young age I really found a love for the grooves and easy listening.

                                                                                                    What do you remember most about your first time onstage?

                                                                                                    I just knew that was where I belonged. I never felt insanely nervous or anything. The stage is my comfort zone.

                                                                                                    How did Through ?the Roots first get started?

                                                                                                    Started writing songs in my first and second year of college. I had a close friend that influenced me who passed away, and I wrote a song for him, “man down.” Once I found that people were digging the music, I got some guys together and we started putting more music together and playing shows. 

                                                                                                    How does your creative process work when songwriting?

                                                                                                    Normally I just like to be in a quiet place with a good vibe. I normally make the music first and then find something to write about that fits the mood.

                                                                                                    How did “Bear With Me” come together?

                                                                                                    Eric Rachmany and I came up with the riddim for the song in 2013 on the “Give Thanks” tour. The song sat untouched and was revisited when I first toured solo with them on the “Count Me In Tour.” Eric came down to San Diego and we finished it in the studio together. 

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                                                                                                    Through the Roots (image via http://www.throughtheroots.com/ )

                                                                                                    What have been the biggest obstacles you’ve had to overcome in your career?

                                                                                                    I would say every day is a new obstacle, none bigger than the other. In this industry you have to learn to adapt, while maintaining the grind. We’ve had our bus burn down, switch our members, tour for countless years not making a dime. Starting a band is no joke. However, it is one of the most rewarding things I have ever been a part of. We are very fortunate to have this outlet. 

                                                                                                    What advice would you give to musicians just starting out?

                                                                                                    Never give up, even when it seems impossible. You’re hardest day, might make someone’s greatest day. 

                                                                                                    The Bottleneck Interview with Max Doucette of Skydyed

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                                                                                                    Skydyed (Image via https://www.facebook.com/Skydyed/ )

                                                                                                    Skydyed is a Colorado-based band. They play The Bottleneck September 28th. Guitarist and keyboardist Max Doucette recently discussed how he became passionate about music, the evolution of Skydyed’s sound and their creative process.

                                                                                                    Did you come from a musical family? Were your parents musical?

                                                                                                    To a certain extent yes. My dad is also a guitar player and though he never took it to a fully professional level, he was certainly the one who first got me started as musician. My guitar that I tour with was actually handed down to me from him from his musician days which I’m very grateful for. My great-uncle was also a big influence on me guitar-wise and many other members of my family have sung or played piano as a hobby. Shane’s family had no musical background before him, but they supported him from a very early age giving him the resources he needed to grow. Andrew’s dad on the other hand made a lifelong career as a professional musician and was a huge influence on him too.

                                                                                                    What was your earliest musical memory?

                                                                                                    Honestly it’s probably from the old VHS tapes my parents have of me as a little kid dancing to various children’s songs, although I don’t actually have the memory. Earliest memory I can remember would probably be the first time I tried playing my dad’s guitar just whacking on the strings having no idea what I was doing, but being absolutely mesmerized by it.

                                                                                                    How did Skydyed first come together?

                                                                                                    Skydyed really started as a reggae-rock band between a couple friends and myself in high school. Andrew and I were already friends then and it was around the time he joined that we both started dabbling in electronic music that he joined the group. After we moved to Colorado post-graduation our original lineup kind of fell apart and it was there we met Shane who eventually joined us once we started developing our new sound.

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                                                                                                    Skydyed (Image via https://www.facebook.com/Skydyed/ )

                                                                                                    How does your creative process work when writing a song?

                                                                                                    It often starts out as one of us just making a simple demo in Ableton and then if everyone likes it we’ll start building upon that as we go, but sometimes two of us or everyone will sit down and start something together. For example, Andrew and I will often both leave the drums open for Shane, or I’ll leave a lot of the bass parts and arrangement open for Andrew, or Andrew will give a lot of room in his compositions for Shane and I to add on to. It’s really just writing on the fly between the three of us so that we can end up with something we all like and think others will like as well.

                                                                                                    Your songs have a really great flow to them. Do you try and record tracks as live as possible?

                                                                                                    Not necessarily, we do a lot of the writing within Ableton itself but we try to approach it in a way that we can replicate live after the fact. Every now and then an idea will be something someone comes up with on the spot, but usually we spend a lot of time tinkering with various sounds and trying new things out to see what sticks. Something Andrew really brought to the table is putting an emphasis on making sure our arrangements are really solid and not too repetitive feeling, so I think he deserves a lot of credit for that. Shane is also quick to change up the beat a lot which gives everything a lot of movement I think.

                                                                                                    How do you go about writing a setlist?

                                                                                                    We usually first consider the tempo and key changes first as we try to be as fluid as possible and not spend to much time in silence on stage. We’ll also consider what kind of instruments begin and end each song. Something I’ve started dabbling in is figuring out what songs blend together well so we can mix things up live a bit more a like a full on jam band would per say. Even though we often extend out songs out live in improv/solo sections we have yet to really dial in those kind of changes that you often see in the big names of the scene, something I personally look forward to seeing us develop with our sound.

                                                                                                    Do you have a favorite quote or motto that you live by?

                                                                                                    I can’t think of anything that the whole band together would say, but I’ve always been a big fan of the phrase from the philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti that is, “Truth is a pathless land” which I often look at from an abstract point of view not just the literal meaning.

                                                                                                    What advice would you give to musicians just starting out?

                                                                                                    There is no final plateau as a musician, so always look to improve your craft. Never become arrogant no matter how far you get. Always show respect and appreciation to your fans and musical peers. Also, be sure to remember professional music is not just an art, it is also a business whether you like it or not. Most importantly of all never forget that music is beyond ourselves and to never lose sight of the the underlying importance it has to this world and the people in it.

                                                                                                    Lawrence Locals The Dear Misses Rock The Bottleneck Stage for Lawrence Field Day Fest on Friday, July 15th

                                                                                                    The Dear Misses

                                                                                                    Todd Anderson/Vocals and Rhythm guitar, Cody Stapleton/Lead guitar and Backup Vocals, Bret Collins/Drums, Shane Berggren Bass/Backup Vocals

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    If you love vocal hooks and thick rhythm, then you’ll love alternative, indie-rock band The Dear Misses. This Lawrence-based band rocks The Bottleneck stage for Lawrence Field Day Fest on Friday, July 15th. Catch them live at 8:15PM.

                                                                                                    How did you pick your band name? When did you form The Dear Misses?

                                                                                                    The band name started as Dear Misses and it was designed to be an acoustic project whose songs were geared toward love, lust and all of that mushy stuff. Dear Misses is like Dear Mrs. but leaving the last name open-ended. Love songs to my future someone.

                                                                                                    After Cody and Todd made the decision to plug in the electric guitars and make a full band project it eventually turned into THE Dear Misses which then created a sort of double meaning.

                                                                                                    All the musicians in this band have been plugging away for the better part of a decade and a half trying to “make it” in this business and all of the opportunities that we missed along the way lead us to this. So you could say that those misses are dear to us.

                                                                                                    How would you describe your musical style?

                                                                                                    Our musical style is hard to pin point to one genre as most musical endeavors are these days.  There are some tones of the early 2000 emo movement, some colors of progressive alternative, and some throw back elements of 90’s alt deriving from British and American groups alike, harnessing open standard chords with some dirt on the top with lead lines that sow them together. All of the songs try and grab you by the vocal hooks and thick rhythm section.

                                                                                                    Where do you usually gather songwriting inspiration? What is your usual songwriting process? Are there any reoccurring themes in your songs?

                                                                                                    Inspiration comes at you at all different times of day no matter where you are. Most of us carry around cell phones with recording capabilities so we can record any melody or any riff that comes to mind as we go. Most riffs are put together on our own time and brought to the practice space to be given a test run. The overall song inspiration comes from the feeling that we get from the music that we love. We try and convey that in our riffs and vocals alike. Our mission is to really hook the listener. We really want these songs to stick in our listeners head and make them feel inspired themselves to do something great in their own lives. We are trying to create something beyond ourselves. As far as themes go We have touched on subjects about love, passion, and anxiety.

                                                                                                    What’s your music making process?  

                                                                                                    Making music starts at home in our respective home studios. We put together riffs when they come to our heads and if they stick, we end up shaping the song and putting into a form that we can bring to the practice space.  If they vibe well, we will finalize the song as best we can. Vocal melodies come first and the words to the lyrics usually come last. Songs can derive from a vocal melody all the way to a drum beat. The beautiful thing about this is that our songs are coming from every which way which is allowing us to grow at a speedier pace.

                                                                                                    Has your music evolved since you first started playing music together?

                                                                                                    Our music has very much evolved. We have the same spirit we started with in that we just want to create. Any success that comes from that will make that much more pure of an experience. The music has always been rock based but we have explored all ends of the rock music that is in our hearts whether that be clean guitars and poppy melodies all the way to distorted low tuned guitars with gritty and loud vocals.

                                                                                                    What’s your favorite thing about the music scene in Lawrence?

                                                                                                    Our favorite thing about the Lawrence music scene is how eclectic and open minded musicians and music fans are alike. It’s such a family vibe that a show could consist of 4 or 5 bands all with different styles and everyone would have the same amount of fun no matter who is playing

                                                                                                    dear misses2What other bands inspires your band musically?

                                                                                                    Each member has a slightly different music taste, but for the most part we all meet in the middle. If you were to have us throw different bands into a hat you might find, Thrice, Manchester Orchestra, Brand New, Jimmy Eat World, Ben Folds, Early Radiohead and Say Anything.

                                                                                                    Does The Dear Misses have any rituals/traditions you do before/after performances?

                                                                                                    As far as a pre-show ritual, we just try to stay loose not drink too much before we get on stage. We are usually as social as we can be, which leads to drink drink drink. So to answer your question. Stay sober. (just kidding) We try and stretch, get into a huddle and say a few positive things before we start the rock.

                                                                                                    Besides music, what do you guys like to do in your spare time? 

                                                                                                    Todd likes to golf, Bret likes to work out, Shane like to play Frisbee golf, and Cody likes to play music and take selfies.

                                                                                                    What have been the biggest challenges you’ve guys had to overcome in your career?

                                                                                                    The biggest challenge we are running into is honing into a very specific style. right now we are still very broad in what our style actually is. We could take this project in any different direction and have personal success with it, but are wanting to make this band count as much as we can, so picking the right direction to go is very delicate at this moment.

                                                                                                    Any advice to other bands starting out on the music scene?13606500_898471793594724_4363945182159391034_n

                                                                                                    Stay true to yourself and never make it about business. Make sure you are happy in your personal life because all of your shit will follow you into the band which should be a positive and healthy experience for anyone that tries it.

                                                                                                    What’s in store for the future of The Dear Misses? Anything you would like share, from new merch to upcoming shows/tours or songs/albums?

                                                                                                    We have a run of shows starting in July 1st and 2nd in our hometown, Hutchinson, KS, coming back to play Lawrence Field Day Fest the 15th and playing The Riot Room in KC on July17th and ending in late August as well as promoting our as of yet untitled E.P. Our main focus in the spaces between are to write as special of music as we can so we can hopefully get into the studio and on to the radio. We want to be heard more than we want to be seen.

                                                                                                    What are you look forward to most playing at the Lawrence Field Day Fest at The Bottleneck?

                                                                                                    Lawrence Field Day is a huge opportunity to get to know and enjoy our musical peers as well as show them what we are about so we can hopefully develop new and awesome relationships with the bands that are playing and The Bottleneck alike.


                                                                                                    For more info on The Dear Misses, have a listen on their website.

                                                                                                    Looking for tickets to the show? Get yours today!

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    Coral Creek Hits The Bottleneck July 2nd

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                                                                                                    Coral Creek (Image via http://www.coralcreek.net)

                                                                                                    Coral Creek is a Colorado-based band. Vocalist Chris Thompson recently discussed how he became interested in bluegrass, the beginnings of Coral Creek and advice to musicians just starting out.

                                                                                                    What first got you interested in bluegrass?

                                                                                                    Like many Deadheads, I found bluegrass music through Jerry Garcia and Old & In the Way during high school (this was in the late 80’s, I should add). My interest in bluegrass first peaked in college. I bought a banjo, got some lessons and starting copying every Flatt & Scruggs album I could find at my local library. I mostly just liked the fast banjo tunes. I wasn’t really into the county singing and all that when I was young. I just wanted to hear that banjo played real fast! So, I guess you could say “the banjo” got me interested in bluegrass. These days I’m more of a dobro junkie though and the pickin’ parties at the festivals keep me coming back.

                                                                                                    How did Coral Creek get started?

                                                                                                    The current configuration of Coral Creek got started at the end of 2014 as a collaboration between Bill McKay and me.  We were both playing a lot around Colorado and we crossed paths a few times, so after my wife Susannah (who’s a terrific singer/songwriter and co-founder of the band) decided to step down, I was looking for a new collaborator. We gathered up Rob Garland and Jack Watson and launched Coral Creek 2.0 at the UllrGrass Music Festival in Golden in January of 2015, where we were joined by Luke Bulla as a guest on the fiddle. Luke was a great fit, so we’ve been touring and recording with Luke as much as possible ever since.

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                                                                                                    Coral Creek (Image via http://www.coralcreek.net)

                                                                                                    How does your creative approach work when songwriting?

                                                                                                    For our first album, we did not do a lot of collaborative songwriting as a band. Bill and I are the primary contributing songwriters and for the most part we bring completed works to the band. The song arrangements may get tweaked a bit, but not a lot.

                                                                                                    For myself, I tend to draw inspiration and content from people, places and life experiences. My life is hectic and I’m a bit ADD, so my approach is to grab good ideas, musical or lyrical, when the pop into my head and try to keep track them in notebooks and voice memos until I can find some time to sit down and complete a song. It’s a bit haphazard, but time can be a pretty good filter. When I listen back, there is plenty of garbage that seemed clever in the moment, but doesn’t hold up to sober scrutiny. But then there are the little nuggets that make for great lyrical content, musical motifs or even concepts for an entire song. Every so often I’ll steal a few days of isolation and complete the songs working from my notes.

                                                                                                    What inspires you lyrically?

                                                                                                    I draw inspiration from people, places, current events and random life experiences.

                                                                                                    Do you have a quote or motto that you live by?

                                                                                                    Not really, but I am a fan of the Golden Rule. That one serves us all well.

                                                                                                    What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome in your career?

                                                                                                    We’re making music here, so life is good. The challenge for all aspiring musicians is figuring out how to get the music out to where people can hear and appreciate it. There is so much great music in the world, that’s always going to be a challenge, but how you measure success is relative, so I’m not sure if we’ve overcome that one or not. The new album’s getting pretty good radio play, but I don’t think we’re there yet.

                                                                                                    What advice would you give to musicians just starting out?

                                                                                                    My advice would be to concentrate on the music/product and the promotion/business in equal parts. In rare cases, an artist can be successful with one and not the other. But most will need to build both to have success.

                                                                                                    Frogleg Brings Their Jams to The Bottleneck July 13th

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                                                                                                    Frogleg (Image via Frogleg’s Facebook page)

                                                                                                    Frogleg skillfully blends funk, reggae and bluegrass to create their sound. Guitarist and vocalist Joe Dunn recently discussed how Micro Jammers began his musical obsession, how Frogleg got started and the band’s songwriting approach. Frogleg plays The Bottleneck July 13th.

                                                                                                    What was your earliest musical memory?

                                                                                                    My first musical memory would have been these mini guitar toys called Micro Jammers with different buttons that played short songs when I was a young tot. I was obsessed with them. That was probably the first thing that got my eyes set on becoming a guitar player.

                                                                                                    How did Frogleg first come together?

                                                                                                    It first started out as an acoustic trio with Demitri and Will Effertz, who is no longer in the group. Toward the end of the summer, in 2012, Demitri got a call to put a band together and be the Thursday night house band at Bunkers Bar and Grill in Minneapolis. We went for it! Almost 4 years later, we’re still holding down Thursday’s and having a blast.

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                                                                                                    Frogleg (Image via Frogleg’s Facebook page)

                                                                                                    You incorporate so many different styles of music to create your sound. What is your creative process when songwriting?

                                                                                                    Originally it went where Demitri and I would write songs outside of the group and would bring them to the rest of the band and we’d work them out. Recently Demitri, Elliott, Sam, Jimmy and I have been getting together at a practice space and doing collaborative writing sessions. It’s been working out really well having more brains to give input. We’re excited about the new music.

                                                                                                    How often do you find yourself writing songs?

                                                                                                    I varies between the members of the band but we’ve been trying to get together at least once a week whether it’s writing lyrics or just piecing the music together for something to write to later.

                                                                                                    What advice would you give to musicians just starting out?

                                                                                                    Not only try to get out and play as much as you can, but also go out to shows and support and meet other musicians and artists. Networking with your peers is key when first creating your musical brand.

                                                                                                    After Funk Funks Up The Bottleneck June 29th.

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                                                                                                    After Funk (Image via http://wwwafterfunk.ca)

                                                                                                    After Funk is a Toronto, Canada-based funk band. They are playing The Bottleneck June 29th. Bassist Justin Bontje recently discussed the beginnings of After Funk, his lyrical inspiration and the band’s musical creative process.

                                                                                                    Did you come from a musical family? Were your parents musical?

                                                                                                    My parents were never musicians, but always had music in their lives. They grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, a great time for music that is directly linked to the kind of music After Funk creates.

                                                                                                    How did After Funk first come together?

                                                                                                    After Funk came together at a university in southwestern Ontario, Jaime and Justin were randomly paired up as room mates where they were free to construct a beat laboratory for all to come and collaborate. That’s where Yanick came into the picture, he came to jam with them on keys. After winning multiple battle of the bands they decided to keep on making music!

                                                                                                    It really just kind of happened. Justin and Jaime were paired as room mates at university where they met Yanick. After a couple jams we decided to enter a battle of the bands just for kicks. We needed a name to enter the contest and thus After Funk was born.

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                                                                                                    After Funk (Image via http://wwwafterfunk.ca)

                                                                                                    What is your creative approach when writing a song?

                                                                                                    ?We try a mixture of approaches. A big one is listening before we play?. Because writing can be such a delicate process, we find it helpful to visualize before we make a bunch of noise with our instruments.

                                                                                                    What inspires you lyrically?

                                                                                                    ?Stories! People are interesting and awesome, and everyone has something great worth sharing. I also like to put a fantastical twist on things because I find the imagery evocative and imaginative.

                                                                                                    Do you have a favorite quote or motto that you live by?

                                                                                                    ?Chuffy. It means anything you want it to.

                                                                                                    What advice would you give to musicians just starting out?

                                                                                                    ?When the ground starts to get steep, you know you’ve reached the base of the mountain. Work hard and keep chuffin it.

                                                                                                    Rolling Foliage Rolls Into The Bottleneck June 18th

                                                                                                    RF1

                                                                                                    Rolling Foliage (Image via https://www.facebook.com/RollingFoliage )

                                                                                                    Rolling Foliage is a Lawrence-based band. Guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Leaf recently discussed how he became passionate about bluegrass, his love of the Lawrence music scene. Rolling Foliage plays The Bottleneck with the Ragbirds June 18th.

                                                                                                    What was your earliest musical memory?

                                                                                                    My earliest memory musically is old Motown playing while momma cleaned house. She was always dancing around and my dad would say “easy momma, you’re gonna throw a hip out.” As far as live music, it was Cain Robberson and Joel Brummett playing guitar and washtub bass on Mass street. Cain with his eyes closed, on his knees, singing his heart out while Joel thumped that weed eater line. It was moving and inspiring for me.  

                                                                                                    What got you interested in bluegrass?

                                                                                                    Split Lip Rayfield got me into bluegrass. I used to live across from The Bottleneck and would always go in for free pool early in the day and get to watch the bands warm up and discuss band stuff. New Years every year was SLR and had never seen acoustic instruments played with such power and passion. You follow Split Lip and end up meeting all the die hard Winfield Bluegrass crew.  

                                                                                                    RF2

                                                                                                    Rolling Foliage (Image via https://www.facebook.com/RollingFoliage )

                                                                                                    How did Rolling Foliage get started?

                                                                                                    Rolling Foliage started a few Junes ago. I had been building stages and throwing a festival called Festy Fest and the production took up all my time. I used to tour with Deadman Flats all across the country and Europe and used to open up as a solo/loop act. Decided I wanted a band to play with and ended up with Sonny and Paul, two friends that have played in all sorts of bands (primarily bluegrass) and my music seemed to be a way that both of them could stretch out a bit and not be bound to standard bluegrass rhythms and chord transitions. We actually have a hard time classifying our sound and try not to be stuck in a single genre.

                                                                                                    What do you enjoy most about the music scene in Lawrence? 

                                                                                                    The music scene is amazing. I remember listening to “The Band That Saved The World” CD and thinking they are my favorite band for three years and found out they were local! Let alone, I knew a couple of the members. The amount of musicians is staggering and the quality and variety of bands is impressive. I love being able to go out any night of the week and catch a band. I thought it was primarily a bluegrass scene and I was happily mistaken.  

                                                                                                    What is your creative approach when writing tracks?

                                                                                                    My creative approach is probably all the other monotonous work I do. When I’m welding I like to listen to music that’s around 100 bpm and get a steady groove going. I listen to the words and generally find my own groove and topic. When I sit and pick alone I generally find a simple lick and kinda freestyle the topic I’ve been thinking of while working. I figure most of the rhymes and melody at work. Paul and Sonny especially can jump in with ease once they hear it a time or two. I’ll sit and try to write a song sometimes and end up writing a completely different one. Your mood also has a lot of impact. It’s really tough to pinpoint when you can be inspired by so many different things.  

                                                                                                    What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome in your career?

                                                                                                    The biggest challenges have collaborating schedules. I work a lot and love to build and try to accommodate music with my projects while the other guys have other bands they play with and work as well. As much as we all would like our band to pay our bills, it’s just not doable unless you’re always on the road. I think I am ready to start putting more time into the band and am eager to write new material. It’s just hard to feel it when you’re overworked.  

                                                                                                    What advice would you give to musicians just starting out?

                                                                                                    The advice I’d give to musicians would be to prioritize your moves. Get good at your material. You shouldn’t have to think about what chord you’re playing next or how the lyric melody should go. It should be natural and each word/note should be deliberate. When you half-ass play a song it gets awkward and people don’t feel it. Play a song enough times where you nail it every time and play it like its the first time anyone has heard it and have fun. Even if you’re not that good, but are having fun doing it, people will like you. Bring the energy.

                                                                                                    Vela Brings Their Indie Rock to The Bottleneck June 17th

                                                                                                    Vela at The Bottleneck

                                                                                                    Vela (Image via http://www.velakc.com)

                                                                                                    Vela is a hard-hitting, Kansas City-based indie rock band. The band features Jonas Birkel on guitar and vocals and Sean Cedillo on drums. Birkel first became interested in music when his parents got him involved with playing classical music. “As far as being moved by music, I was about 4. Our family had a cassette tape called Peter and the Wolf and listening to that was mind altering. I would sit on my bed and blast it. I loved the dynamics between the heavy tones of the brass and the light woodwinds and strings. It still today is a huge influence for me,” he says.
                                                                                                    The members of Vela first met in 5th grade. “Sean and I had always talked about starting a project and we tried it with a bunch of different people. But it never really worked out until we started playing as just a two piece,” Birkel says. Staying true to their vision, the band produces all of their own music.

                                                                                                    Vela at The Bottleneck

                                                                                                    Vela (Image via https://velakc.bandcamp.com/

                                                                                                    Striving to create quality music keeps Vela focused. “Everything always ever and forever in music is a challenge. That’s why I feel that every musician carries a blessing and a curse. I see many people solely try to make money off of music or show how great they are at it. But I think that if just playing music isn’t enough fulfillment then don’t do it because the gratification will never inversely relate to the amount of time and effort you put in,” Birkel says about being a musician. Vela plays The Bottleneck June 17th with Fallopian Fire, Good Ole Fashion and Trauma Parlor.

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    The Ragbirds Take Flight at The Bottleneck June 18th

                                                                                                    The Ragbirds at The Bottleneck

                                                                                                    The Ragbirds (Image via http://www.theragbirds.com)

                                                                                                    Catch The Ragbirds at The Bottleneck

                                                                                                    The Ragbirds combine world music, bluegrass and more to create their sound. Their latest release is the album The Threshold & The Hearth. The Michigan-based band’s music has been described as infectious global groove. Vocalist and violinist Erin Zindle recently discussed the band’s beginnings, her personal mantra and advice for musicians just starting out. The Ragbirds play The Bottleneck with Rolling Foliage June 18th.

                                                                                                    How did you become interested in music?

                                                                                                    My early experiences with music start with my family and the church we grew up in. My mother always sang with my brothers and I as we went about our day – at meals, in the tub, as we played, etc. My parents also sang in the choir at the Baptist church we attended.  The church used hymnals so I grew up following along in the music from a very early age which helped me be an early reader and my dad always sang the tenor parts so I grew accustomed to hearing the harmony. At Christmastime my dad’s 8 brothers and sisters would gather and sing carols in harmony with guitars. I think it is because of this climate that It was always very natural for me to sing. I started violin lessons at the age of 9 and piano a few years later.  

                                                                                                    How did the Ragbirds first get started?

                                                                                                    In 2005, I had written more than an album’s worth of songs that were tugging at my sleeves so I decided to record them. I asked my boyfriend, percussionist Randall Moore (who is now my husband) to record the rhythm tracks. The early songs were very much centered around the world rhythms that Randall and I laid out. We found a guitarist and bassist to record those parts and we cut the record before we even played a single show together, then we hit the ground running and haven’t stopped since. We’ve had a few lineup changes over the years, but my brother TJ Zindle joined the band in 2008 and our current drummer Jon Brown and bassist Dan Jones joined a little over 2 years ago.

                                                                                                    What is your creative approach to songwriting?

                                                                                                    I am a lifelong student of the songwriting process and I could talk about it for days, so I’ll try to answer this as concisely as I can. I try to approach songwriting from many different angles to keep the process fresh and to challenge myself, but my most natural way of writing is to sit down in a quiet place with a pen and paper. For me, the words are at the center of my songs and I put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into the words before they are ever even sung. It is like a puzzle and once the words are “just right” they practically sing themselves. This is the greatest thrill and in these moments when a song lifts off the page into my throat I feel more alive and complete than ever. I usually rush to record the melody at this point and quickly find an instrument to sketch out the harmonic structure, experimenting and editing as I shape the song into being.

                                                                                                    What inspires you lyrically?

                                                                                                    Working through struggles. One of the lyrics on our new album is “I’m a self-improvement junkie” (from the song “Sometimes Honestly”) and it’s so true. I’m always striving for self-awareness through my songwriting, and seeking out the message of wisdom that the song wants to teach me. I’m trying to express my trials and sorrows by finding my way through them into hope and joy.  Songwriting is the best tool in the world to help me do that. My greatest hope is that other people who hear the songs when they are in a dark place can find their way out too.

                                                                                                    The Ragbirds at The Bottleneck

                                                                                                    Erin Zindle, of the Ragbirds (Image via http://www.theragbirds.com)

                                                                                                    How did the song “Six Wheels” come together?

                                                                                                    Oh, gosh. I wrote that song about 6 years ago I think. We were in the middle of one of our busiest touring years and we were constantly on the road. Touring can be exhausting and the lifestyle tends to be dominated by masculine energy. So, I was on the road with 5 boys (4 band members + our merch guy) in a van and trailer (that’s the 6 wheels) and was writing songs about our experiences which eventually were recorded for our 2011 album Travelin’ Machine. “Who’s got sugar who’s got spice?” was something I wrote in my journal one evening as I was reflecting on my need for femininity. It’s easy to lose touch with yourself in a sense when you are surrounded 24/7 by people who are very different from you.  I was so grateful on the road every time I’d get a little “girl time” – like if we’d stay with a friend, or even just the little hospitable touches that women would bring to the show experience – like home-cooked meals in a clean green room, etc. Those little moments were so refreshing and those human connections mean the world to all of us who live a traveling lifestyle.

                                                                                                    Do you have a favorite quote or motto that you live by?

                                                                                                    I have a mantra that I repeat each morning.  It’s an acronym for the word EMBRACE, which reminds me to embrace each day.

                                                                                                    E – Enjoy the day

                                                                                                    M – Magnify the positive

                                                                                                    B – Be the strongest version of yourself

                                                                                                    R – Rise above the petty stuff

                                                                                                    A – Accept responsibility (+ apologize effortlessly)

                                                                                                    C – Control your tongue

                                                                                                    E – Empathize with others

                                                                                                    What advice would you give to musicians just starting out?

                                                                                                    This new music business is full of many possibilities so it’s important to go into it knowing your own personal definition of success. If you are genuine (both vulnerable and humbly aware of what makes you unique) and always striving to learn and improve then you will succeed. It’s just that success doesn’t look anything like the old model – and it usually is not the same as fortune and fame. Know yourself and plan for the long game. If there’s anything else you can see yourself just as happily doing then do that thing, because this way, this business is a hard way to go. It’s also worth every bit of the hard work and disappointment. It’s the only job I’ve ever had. I’ve been touring in bands for almost 20 years! I always remind myself how lucky I am though, because what else could I be doing with my life that would make so many people happy? I know that this is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing, and if you know that about yourself too, then the sky is the limit.

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