Kill Your TV brings you another exclusive track! This one comes from lo-fi, garage rockers, Vitae & The Pale Horse. A haunting, fuzz-anthem complete with disco-robot chorus dedicated to (according to the email sent to Kill Your TV KC) "Katie: The only girl who witnessed the spectacle that inspired this song."
It can be what you want it to be. The ambient goo careens itself into your ear canal like some pleasant alien noise that feeds on the first stage of plummeting sleep. You're an active listener but passively so. One who devours the *sound* & embraces it down to your spinal fluid. White Tropics delivers your fix with uncut & pure pleasure. It tosses you slowly into fuzzy cotton...into manic worlds that almost never attract bad vibes.
It's all white noise and white light. Imagine an indie representation of the calmest of Cliff Martinez-something in one of Soderbergh's more moody and lethargic early works. A film score that lives a life without regard for the film. The *viewer* becomes a *listener* thus imagining and contemplating their own headphone nirvana. It's cathartic if you want it to be. It's pulsing and humming and mad with desire but in a very restrained way. It's a closed-eye'd picture show. A visual feast made with audio equipment. Kansas City isn't likely to find a better instrumental album in 2013. Unless, of course Explorer has a full length release up their sleeve in which case-let the battle for best *chill out/lucid dream* album begin...
New age types & searchers of mellow grooves could be so lucky!
White Tropics have managed make ambient chill wave without the chill and noise rock just between the "e" in *noise* and the "r" in *rock*
In fairness and respect for this elevated and glorified work. I make an argument that "New Life" IS and SHOULD be placed alongside other great "Best of KC-2013" albums released in January.
It's white noise that simmers in your best past remembering of memories and won't let go. It's sweet and terrifying and full of hypnotic audio ecstasy. In a town with very few bands not strapped to an ADHD *wheel of cheese* White Tropics delivers the beginning and end of your next best dream.
Forbidden love, bougainvillea, sweat, red lipstick, red heels, black lace stockings unraveling to reveal muscular calves, dirty murmurs in Spanish against your neck...these are the Midwestern imaginings of Flamenco. The collective consciousness of landlocked, Protestant decency has re-imagined Flamenco guitar as hyperbolic emotion and it makes us laugh. It's Antonio Banderas as Puss in Boots. It's Mrs. Anderson's old heaving bosom as she tries to seduce Julio the gardener.
But that's not right. It's beautiful emotional love rage. It is tremendous feeling revealed with a high degree of technical skill, great control and exquisite passion. Guillen plays with dynamic technique "Flamenco," giving generously to you, the best thing about Monday. So forget that great shows of emotion make people uncomfortable and apathy is the new cool and instead, let yourself be drawn into "Flamenco" honestly and without reserve. It's a gorgeous experience.
Kill Your TV was honored that Teresa gave us permission to use her amazing paintings for our new compilation. Her work is reminiscent of outsider art in it's freedom of expression and the instant accessibility of it's characters. The dark and dangerous chaos ever lurking behind the brush stroke of a lock of raven-black hair or the silent still eyes of her stoic female faces. We sent some interview questions to Teresa via email.
I understand that you're self-taught. What brought you to art? Was there a defining moment that led you to painting?
A loveless relationship brought me to art. When I was 22 I was married with a baby and living in Arizona. Our marriage was tumultuous at best and though we are good friends now, at the time it was difficult. I wished for a life of love, beauty, peace, and serenity. I was so full of emotion and I needed a way to get those things into my life and get my feelings out from inside as well. I remember going to the art store to buy a canvas, paint and brushes, then I stopped at the library and checked out a ton of books on the masters and annotation of their works. My first painting was a girl in a field of flowers holding a butterfly up to her mouth as if she was going to eat it. Despite the fact that the paining was ugly, I learned something beautiful....I realized I was the girl and my sadness was the butterfly and I was consuming it and it was consuming me. Soon the marriage ended but my desire to continue to paint my life the way I wanted it to be didn't end. I still paint my girls the way I will always live my life.... calm, peaceful, seductive, beautiful and strong.
What do you think of the local art scene?
I think differently about the local art scene at different times. Mostly I am proud of Kansas City...when I moved here 15years ago I remember walking around downtown and there was NOTHING here. I bought barrettes at a weird store across from where the public library use to be and that was all there was to do, so I got in my car and went home. The crossroads has a visible artery and the blood it pumps is oxygenated by the work of the artist community. The fact that it was built from the ground up by artists is proof that it was borne of desire. I walk First Fridays but have been known to get snarly at the crowds that aren't there to see the art, but I ‘get it’- the crowds bring in revenue. I would like to see a variety of artists and amazing unknown artists exhibiting at galleries. I like it when art shows are interactive, when a theme has produced the work in accord with what the artist is researching or “going through” at the time. If a show is about the circus, I want to see clowns and want a cotton candy and peanuts in my hands. I want engrossment…there lies the passion as far as I’m concerned. I’m also extremely grateful for the amount of opportunity I've been granted in this city, from the bookstores and churches where I started out showing my work to anyone who would look at it, to the Hilliard Gallery who graciously represents me, my work and allows me freedom for the visions for my shows.
Do you reject the label "outsider art" or is this something that you find makes your work more accessible?
Outsider Art... is that what my work is? I had to Wikipedia that and it said "raw art" and described work created outside the boundaries of official culture, by those with extreme mental states, unconventional ideas , or elaborate fantasy worlds. Ok... I like it, sounds like me. I never studied art in school besides some art history classes.. . I have a degree in nursing. When I came to a point in my life where I could afford to get a 2nd degree I chose not to consciously. I didn't want what was given to me all those years ago in AZ to be clouded by instruction. On that note I ‘get’ that art school isn’t going to teach you how to create if it isn’t in you naturally, but art school wasn’t for me. I take the greatest pride in the fact that I am self-taught. For me it has to be created by raw passion or why bother. The process of creating a painting should be like making love and should include a screaming orgasm , some become babies and some don't but the desire should always be present in that process. So, outsider art.........I accept that title. Most of the people I find who love my work are people that remind me a little bit of myself. Guess there's a lot of outsiders out there, I suppose. I would love for my art to become my sole vocation and am creating that for my life but if a psychic told me I would die in artistic obscurity, I would still do it as I am now.
What other local artists do you like?
I like a lot of local artists and have a nice collection in my home of local artists' work. I support this city and the artists who keep it awesome. I have many artist friends whom I have stalked into friendship and I couldn't possibly list them all. I think it would be easier to walk around the house and jot down the artists whose work is hanging up right now for this answer........ Suze Ford, Rick Wright, Lisa Lala, Lori Wright, Laura Nugent, Jennifer Bricker-Pugh, Jennifer Rivera, Dana Swedo, Joe Hoskins, Joseph Blake, Dean Kube.,Nicholas Naughton. (Work from Doug Schwietert and Jane Almirall are on my wish list).
Besides other artist's & their work-what inspires you to make art?
Overwhelming feelings- I recently went through another divorce. That breakup began a series of work that was inspired by Lewis Carroll’s' 'Alice in Wonderland’. My interpretation of falling down the rabbit hole and seeing who I was at the other end. At this time I’m living life happy and my next show will be all about love- what I’ve learned and what it has taught me. Travel- Have spent a good deal of time in Europe over the past 10 years, especially Italy. That culture is so different from ours; they exude beautiful, sexy, lustful wanting. Makes me crave. Last time I was there I didn't bring any art supplies and found myself painting with the petals of flowers on lined paper. That country is a muse, and she’s impossible to resist. And anything beautiful that takes my breath away- acts of selfless love, confidence, flowers, fashion, birds, perfumes, pheromones, bees, honey, lust, life.
Is selling art important? How does one sell their paintings in a sluggish economy?
Selling art is important only because it is how I would like to make my living and pay my bills. I would paint if I never made money at it, as would most artistic souls. Selling art in a sluggish economy……. I’ll take suggestions, it’s not easy. Constant chronic marketing and confidence, I suppose. I was once of the mindset that ‘if they love my work they will find me, I wont hunt people down to see/buy my work’. Unfortunately if people don't see your work out there, hear about it in the community and enjoy it firsthand then they can’t fall in love with it. Get it out there, get it seen, talk about it, make it your signature and make it incredible.
Tell us a little about your current series of painting?
The show I’m working on now is about love in all facets and is appropriately called ‘LOVE IS…..”. As I mentioned earlier, I just ended a relationship, and post that… fell in love with myself, grateful for the acquiring the strength I had been seeking. The show will include work that depicts the past year as I went through that. My red and angry stage, my confusion stage, my lust for life, my passion as I fell in love with another, my gratitude for my children and people in my life, and for this life in general. It’s got a collaborative element too and I’m asking people to fill out a card and answer two questions about love. I will then include their answers in the show.
What do you want to do next? Different forms of art?
I want to make jewelry in addition to painting. For the past year I have been collecting pieces of old jewelry from estate sales and antique shops, de-assembling them and re-assembling them into something totally new but with many different stories in each piece. I will be doing more of that.
Do you listen to music when you paint? If so-what are your five favorite albums to paint to?
I’ve never been one of those people who love music at all times, I don’t own an iPod but I do respect music for its effect on humans and its role as a muse. When I paint I like to listen to Tori Amos(all albums), Jason Mraz, Keane, The Killers, 80’s music.
What local music do you like?
Local musicians… I wish I had more musician friends because my knowledge and exposure here is lacking. I like Hearts of Darkness, Janelle Monae and The Good Foot
Any words of wisdom for our readers?
Words of wisdom…ha ha ha.
*Don’t take life seriously, because life is essentially nothing. When you don’t assign meaning to your existence you leave it a blank canvas to create into anything in order to make it everything you want.
*I’m interested in living life as a choice: if something unpleasant is occurring in your life and you choose that it is what it is and isn’t what it isn’t…then you have the power to change it, after all…. what you resist just grows stronger.
You elevate and glorify the female in your work. What for you is the important overall message you hope to convey?
Obviously, I am female and I think we women are amazing creatures. I believe in equal partnership in relationships, but all must admit to the power of the female persuasion. I don’t think it was an accidental design that the Maker made man to be powerful and have physical strength. However, he is still kept in check by the fact that he can be humbled by beauty. I’m discouraged by the behavior of women who think they must occur as less than what they are or as they can be. Strength, courage, beauty, seductiveness, confidence, happiness, giving, power, to be loving….can all live in one soul. That isn’t my whole point; my stance has always been this: often women shy away from femininity. The word itself denotes images of fragile, tiny and meek. I encourage all women to harness their femininity and use it like a power tool, not to deceive but to prove that courage and confidence comes from within. And I do realize that my ladies are painted idealistically, young and beautiful, but this beauty is MY ideal of the forever essence of femininity. Essences can’t grow old and wrinkle, they are the forever part of the soul that remains beautiful …if you choose it to be.
What for you is the meaning behind the long serpentine strands of hair in your work?
Long hair ----I wish it were more complex than this. The wind is gently blowing it in most paintings, thus the strands. I love long hair (it’s on my bucket list to grow long hair before I die;) . …… though the breeze is blowing her hair she remains peaceful with an air of quiet calm …… (Painting my life the way I want it).
Any upcoming gallery shows we can direct our readers too?
I have a solo show titled “LOVE IS….” at the Hilliard Gallery 1820 McGee KCMO June 7. My work can be found there anytime or in my home studio.
This week's "Best Thing" is a blazing anthem of adoration for girls who like to...well...blaze. Or maybe it's about ladies who can't pay attention to a man who isn't holding some weed. Either way it's a smooth r&b & hip-hop crossbreed that exemplifies the best of Kansas City soul music. It's strength is in it's delivery; it's velvety groove embedded in a magnificent hook.
And although the staff at Kill Your TV KC is a pretty square group of nerdy writers/artists /musicians we can appreciate the occasional ode to mind altering substances. Since the birth of rock & roll...the sex and the drugs have walked hand in hand...no? What's our point? Whether you claim green or not---"Stoner Girl" is just a fucking great track. A jam for your 2013 summer mix... We're taking a toke (metaphorically) and passing it along to you.
The Bloodbirds "LP" is a new wave manifesto delivered to Kansas City with grinding precision. It's edgy bass lines sizzle like Pixies-era, Kim Deal...but imagine something more...like Kim Deal in a human sacrifice blood cult. These bass lines cut through the mix like sexualized brain surgery. The drums hammer confidently, simple & punishing. The guitars are searing white light. The vocals are all mystery and New Order monotone but with a soft, just-at-end growl which is all buried and skateboard cool. The entire sound of the LP gives a healthy nod to Morricone spaghetti western music, Trompe Le Monde-era Pixies, and even a few hints of John Carpenter...and then a host of other new wave geniuses...New Order...T.S.O.L....Nation of Ulysses...etc....etc... And then back again to Carpenter.
*If Snake Plisken had a favorite band...it would be Bloodbirds.*
It's groove is unrelenting and 80's Sci-fi film cool...if you can remember when Sci-fi films were more new wave than Sharper Image. It's cassette tape ambivalent cool. A shrug and a smirk in the face of your precious ego. A shrug and a smirk so slight and knowing that is dissolves you...melts you. This rings truest in a song like "Estimation Is an Important Skill" which is easily the best track on the album. It's a slow-burn...but it isn't withholding. I doubt there will be a more glorious riff written in Kansas City this year. Bloodbirds know what they have on their hands too. They worship the riff and ride it into hell with teeth-grinning wonderment. And the entire album goes this way...hypnotic, sexual, deviantly inviting. I imagine the Bloodbirds version of the old "horse & water" adage to go something like this: You can lead a horse to water...and then you can set that goddamn horse on fire. In a fit of frantic frenzy they've jumbled their own interpretation and built our glorious pyre first. It's the ultimate "live free or die" moment in Kansas City at the moment. It makes you cool just hearing it. A metamorphosis will cling on you like a Kafka-esque hipster button. Bloodbirds is the ultimate anti-hero strut. It paces it's non-chalance and doses you slowly. It delivers the promise that all of the coolest music and art delivers-if you go along for the ride you won't come back the same. You'll relent to it's weird, ultra-hip, blazing manifesto and feel the transformation like feeling the wind stream in from a half-cracked car window and hearing it whistle:
It must be something in the stars because 2013 is starting out engulfed in the blue flames of genius releases. The Yuck Ratz "YR" LP is so pristine & perfect that I can hardly find words that will justify describing it. (Silence) A souped-up heart muscle of an album. A ball of warm fuzzing bass lines...thick like triple-thick milkshakes. Rhythmic and almost tribal drumming filled with punk pleasure and at times filthier and more smooth than a sweaty, mid-summer, finger-fuck. The electric guitar feels Fugazi-esque in execution and Verlaine-ish in feeling.
It explodes with analog tape presence, commanding a glorious "fuck you"- in your honor- to everyone you ever hated. The vocals properly sway between aching heartbreak and heart-breaking, aching heartbreak. See what I did there? This thirty minute disc of pleasure is a wandering & lustful motif of exceptional songwriting. You know the kind of album where everything just comes together...aligns itself...searches for questions to answers. For the mystery behind the pain. And in a glorious moment of clarity-chants with a Tao-ist, punk rock, voodoo vibe... A moment of true, rock and roll beauty that whispers: No one has the answers but everyone gets a piece.
Let's start with me saying a few words about your rhythm section. The track "Donuts" for example...they are working their asses off! What can you tell me about your rhythm section?
That's actually me playing bass on Donuts. That was a really old song that Sam and I used to play on all the time, just me on bass and him on drums, so really it's one of the older Yuckratz songs. We've been playing music together since like 8th grade. The rest of the bass work on the album is Kyle Little, and Kyle lays down really incredible fat bass lines. Also, the guitar part in the first verse and the lyric "horrible bad" are from Brendan Dulohery, so it ends up being kind of a mix of different things. But yeah, Sam and Kyle are the backbone.
There is a real feeling of death as a motif in YR...am I barking up the wrong tree? Looking at the cover and then listening to songs like "Horns" I get the feeling that this album is an interpretation of the dying process. Can you tell us what the theme of the album is?
The theme for me isn't so much about death as it is about terror and panic. Spit is about not being able to speak, like in a dream when your mouth is like butter and there is some unknown force threatening you. That thing on the cover is kind of the unknown force. Hausu too has that unknown menace sort of feeling. I'm glad you saw death as a motif though! Whatever you feel is correct.
Tell us a little bit about your recording process. The album has a real warm feel to it. I could swear it was recorded on analog equipment. Am I right?
Aha! The trick of the trade! It's 100 percent digital. The drums and guitar were tracked on Audacity using this mackie mixer, and the bass vocals and mixing were done in Cubase. Recording this was also something I put a lot of thought into, just learning how to engineer sound and stuff. I listened to a lot of records just studying guitar and drum sounds I really liked. The whole process was really ghetto and trying. And then Ashley Miller did the mastering so maybe that's why it sounds warm and analogy.
Tell us a little bit about Yuck Ratz? How long have you been a band? Is this your first release?
Yuck Ratz has been around for about two or three years. All of these songs on this album were written about a year or two ago. It was just Sam and I for a long time, and then Kyle joined to play bass and we tightened the songs up. This is our first album, and it's been really interesting taking it around and stuff, trying to get people to listen to it.
The guitar & vocal work on YR are brilliant & frantic. I thought about the bandTelevision and also some DC stuff like Make Up and Fugazi... Tell me a few of your influences.
Television and Fugazi are huge to me. Especially Fugazi. A couple years ago my friend Thomas showed me Instrument and it was the most incredible raw thing I had ever seen. Guy and Ian's guitar work was so shocking, and their whole thing on stage was just staggering to see. The album Modern Dance by Pere Ubu was big big big for me too, I would just play it top to bottom over and over again. I'm also super heavy into the Talking Heads. Stop Making Sense is totally bonkers- all those dances they do are so cool. Also the album You're Living All Over Me by Dinosaur Jr. is one of the best albums ever recorded. There are a ton more I could drop, but I think those were the big ones for when we were writing this stuff. Hausu was hugely influenced by the movie Hausu, which is about a house that eats Japanese girls. It's an incredible movie from the 70s and has this amazing fusion soundtrack.
What KC artists do you enjoy?
My friend Wiley writes stuff as Wanin' Peppa, and his music is some of my absolute favorite around. Ashley Miller's Metatone/Jametatone stuff is really amazing. Conquerors rule, Sucked Dry, Dark Ages, No Master, Der Todesking and Dirty Work all rule.
Yuck Ratz playing live? How well does the album translate?
The album actually sounds pretty much the same live. Donuts was the only one that we had to make sure it sounded like the album, but mostly we play the songs just like they are on record. We tried to make it as accurate of a document as possible.
Any plans for a physical release of YR?
We actually just had a CD release show at FOKL, which is this cool venue in KCK, and that was really cathartic. FOKL is like home to us, the people who run it are really sweet kind people. We're going to play at the Replay Lounge on friday, so we'll have cds there too. I'm still learning like... how exactly to put an album out. Haha.
What's next for Yuck Ratz?
Oh man! Straight to the future. We spent like way too much time making this record, so we want to move on to these new songs we're writing. We're trying to tour this spring too. We are also in another band called Palace Neapolitan that plays really cool pop candy jazz stuff, so we're hard at work on that too. Very busy!
Any words of wisdom you wanna leave our readers with?
Fill it with good... and it will be good 2 the brim.
Nature Boys. A little punk rock gem for the ring on your finger. Play it in your car loud & repeat until you pull your four-wheeled, steel beast into the parking lot of your soul-crushing job...or school...or anything that isn't as amazing as this song.
The Electric Lungs have raised the bar impressively high in Kansas City for 2013. "Simplified & Civilized" chugs forth with it's rockabilly stomp spitting smooth, grinding, grooves and punk rock choruses & becomes an unrelenting beast of perpetual Clash-esque strutting. It pays homage to "Combat Rock" era Strummer but it also echoes early 90's (gasp) alternative. There are ever so settle hints of early They Might Be Giants (before they became a novelty) & even some Jellyfish. Does anyone fucking remember Jellyfish? I even feel I should mention early Elvis Costello because there is also a nice buzzing undercurrent of dance new-wave here too...but there's also a gritty foundation that mixes the ska shake of Rancid and alterna-sneer of Presidents of the United States of America...
Enough comparisons. Blargh! On with the imagery!
"Simplified & Civilized" is the exact last moment of hope before the dam broke and the music business lost all it's mojo. It's got pop music machismo in spades. The Electric Lungs churn out power pop hooks like they have a warehouse full of the surplus. The hooks are fast, playfully powerful, and blazingly unrelenting. The guitar is beautiful compressed Boss pedal distortion wonderland and the drummer may have been happily raised by a family of sharks who convinced him if he stopped drumming he would die...I imagine he is *still* in the studio...beating the holy hell out of his kit.
The true salesman is the Lung's singer...his vocals alternating between a spiraling, ska, serpentine flow and Pixies-esque screeching. He was most surely the only kid in high school to have an affair with the young and hot computer teacher & then later be expelled from art school for being "too complicated". Yes dear readers that is a high compliment. The whole, weirdly, too-damn-close to-perfect package is wrapped up solidly with frolicking jazz keys and driving & dark deep bass guitar. The Lungs black cauldron of wizard hooks and smooth criminal commercial angst is so expertly brewed that one wonders not IF but WHEN they'll be doing interviews from tour buses or Keith Moon'ing hotel toilets. It's commercial power pop with post-punk, alternative tendencies primed like a roaring engine to infiltrate America's youth and remind them that not so long ago you had to actually get your hands dirty and work for them sweet hooks and then like Nero...play the fiddle while the whole empire burned.
"Simplified & Civilized" hits the streets running in February.
Power comes in post-punk organized sleaze. It's heaving and deadly but in the small smirk; the tiny gesture. It reminds you that nothing ever means less than what it is. A golgotha bent with sweet joy----dripping with honey, leaky ink pens and melted lizard-cult candles.
Now that the holiday season is coming to a close and winter's wicked skeleton finger is poking at all of our feelings for the sheer fucking pleasure of torturing every last one of us...we offer, for your consideration your January guardian angel: Jed Baird.
"Tapes" is so raw and emotionally devastating that by the time you get to "Triggers" your eyes will be burning with half-started tears. Jed Baird feels the years like a poetry writing truck driver. The notes come slow & painful...the vocals seer with half-drunken malady...begging to be let go from that cold skeleton grasp. It's outlaw country delivered with Leonard Cohen feeling. The phrasing creeps out lugubrious and wet with cheap whiskey labored breaths. The grinding groan of gargantuan sighing over and over and over again...
It's impossible to overstate the importance and mythic treasure that this EP exudes. Few musicians in Kansas City can even hope to affect the sincere devastation of Jed Baird's "Tapes"
It's emotional but never forced or put on. It's mere existence serves as a testament to pure, beautiful, agony and also as a destroyer of all things "emo"
You won't listen to supposed folk peddlers quite the same after hearing it. It's superiority is heaved out in each shuddered note. It changes you just a little and makes you again believe in music as an absolving art form again. So...give me a half-drunk Jed Baird for a guardian angel. Give me some really real this time. Give me blood and guts and ever-lasting tears and goddamn...
Give me tapes.
When we say "Best of KC" we are emphatically sincere. Our compilations feature *in our opinion* the highest echelon of talent that our fair city has to offer. To say we love and respect these musicians is somewhat of an understatement. Their work is the reason for our being. Their commitment to their craft is our bread & butter. As Two Zero One Three begins we would like to offer this compilation-the third installment of our "Best of" series-a shining example of Kansas City's artistic community.