Sunday (12/6) Bryan McPherson will be in Kansas City and he’s super rad. His fiery acoustic tunes have taken him around the world, including long runs with The Dropkick Murphys. His new album, Wedgewood, was inspired in party by Occupy and got him banned from Disney. He’s just the right kind of nice guy rabble–rouser. The show will be at Records With Merritt, which is an amazing record store and one of the best places to see all-ages music in Kansas City. I’ll be playing, along with other locals Dead Ven (2 piece version) and Slow Motion Commotion. More info about all the bands are below.
Bryan McPherson is originally from Boston but we met years ago on the West Coast. His humble, passionate honest songwriting is contagious and I’m excited he’s coming back to Kansas City.
Traveling troubadour Nate Allen is better known as one-half of the uplifting, neon-hued folk punk duo Destroy Nate Allen. Backed by his sometimes-band The Pac-Away Dots, Take out the Trash is his first solo effort since 2006. Its ten stripped-down tracks marry his authenticity-over-polish musical sensibility with introspective, socially aware lyrics that pack an emotional wallop without sacrificing his trademark sense of fun. Tracks like “Hunger Pains” and “We Don’t Even Know” challenge listeners to reevaluate their privilege and preconceptions while boasting gang vocals and chord progressions reminiscent of the “kids songs for adults” vibe made famous by Destroy Nate Allen. With plenty of raucous barnburners (“More Money”), quiet and evocative soul-searching (“Photograph”), and even some uncharacteristic darkness (“Goodbye Letter”), Take out the Trash is an eclectic and cathartic must-have. – Kelley O’ Death / Razorcake
Nate’s thoughts on Take Out The Trash:
I had planned to take 2013 off from touring. I was burnt-out, unemployed, and living in my parents’ spare bedroom. I had finished yet another tour with just enough gas money to get home.
Something needed to change. I needed to slow down and apologize for the nonstop pace I had dragged my wife/bandmate, Tessa, through. Staying constantly busy (including going back to college, recording MANY albums and playing over 800 shows since 2007) had earned me press quotes like this: “The stats on local folk-punk duo Destroy Nate Allen are daunting and damn near exhausting even to contemplate” – Willamette Week.
Tessa told me to start a solo project so she could have a break. I listened to her, and in short time wrote an entire album in stark contrast to our bubbly Destroy Nate Allen persona. “Open To Everything” begins the collection of songs with the lines “hating myself for what I have done…” Like much of the album, it’s a song that balances optimism and frailty. “I want to be open to everything, but I don’t want to be broken.” Apparently I have limits.
During this writing season we attended a small, multiracial community group where stories of people’s pain and privilege hit me in new ways. As my friends told me their stories, these songs were my response. I grew up as a 3rd generation timber worker in a very white, working class, West Coast small town. In much the same way that living in San Francisco and reading Shane Claiborne’s The Irresistible Revolution had opened my eyes to homelessness and poverty, I was now becoming aware of how cultural biases and skin color affect people’s experiences in ways I would never have imagined on my own.
On “Social Equality” I contrast my experiences with those of my friends as we share the same streets. “Blinded by innocence, not fearing anyone, walking with great confidence. Chosen by providence, raised with such ignorance, vindication I do seek.” The upbeat “We Don’t Even Know” contains realizations such as “if climbing the ladder defines success, I know I have stepped on someone.” These songs sit next to reflective and mournful tracks about life, death and friendship like Death Is Overrated and Goodbye Letter.
Underneath the bummer is a ribbon of silliness. “More Money” is a goofy blues number mixing real life need with frivolous desire. “Wanted to buy a satellite TV, wanted to buy a VCR, wanted to buy an ice cream sandwich, but no money doesn’t go far!” Throughout the album, when the lyrics take you down, the music is quick to bring you back up again.
As I focused intensely on looking for work, Portland doors kept shutting but Kansas City seemed to open up. There was work to be found, a cheap place to live and an unknown land. We took the jump. Before moving, I dived into recording with a full band, wanting to document what the songs had become. This was a Portland record, and I had no idea how relevant it would be to my new home, or to the rest of the country for that matter.
Other Points of Note:
Take Out The Trash was funded via Kickstarter pre-orders.
This is Nate’s first non-Destroy Nate Allen since 2006.
The Pac-Away Dots are Nate’s backing band when he has one.
Nate will be touring the album starting in October around the US.
Initial Release Information:
Vinyl: 300 (100 Black / 100 Clear / 100 Multicolor)
My Pizza My World is coming to Kansas City for the first time. This is Whitney from Days N’ Daze new side-project so come hang and and enjoy the tunes. Robber’s Roost is also on tour from Washington State. If you are in the mood for a rad folk punk, thrashgrass, or ragtime show this one’s for you. The show is all-ages at El Torreon and all-are-welcome.
Days N’ Daze are returning to KC. This will be one rad house show. DND are one of the best diy, thrash grass, folk punk bands around. I’m stoked to play our Nate Allen & The Pac-Away Dots, bluesy rock n’ roll / folk punk with them. Bring some money to throw in their gas tank and bring your friends. Let’s get sweaty together.
The Maiden Name is two parts hip hop, one part post-rock, with a dash of indie pop thrown in. At times I was reminded of Why?, a bit of Astronautalis, and a dash of Furthermore, Gorillaz and Mewithoutyou. But seriously, I’m being blown away as I listen! This is the kind of rap a therapist makes in his basement, and it’s amazingly accessible. Within the first song, “Mixtape,” you are able to go from tapping your toes to putting yourself down for a nap. These songs have a great cadence with clever phrasing and are the right pace to win me over in historic ways.
As 2014 is winding down, I think it’s safe to look forward to 2015 and the release of the first official The Maiden Name record and the awesomeness that it will bring with it.
Here’s a bit of Destroy Nate Allen trivia for you: Krispin Mayfield, the man behind The Maiden Name, wrote a little song years ago called “White Flag” that inspired my song of the same name. It’s been a very long time since he’s released an album and I assure you it was worth the wait!
Lauryn Peacock’s piano pop is compelling and unconventional. Her East Coast, fast paced roots spill out of her music in colorful and interesting ways. As I listen to her album Keep It Simple Let The Sun Come Out (co-produced by Daniel Smith of Danielson), I picture a Wes Anderson movie with actors dancing in the sunrise after a crazy night they somehow just survived. There is much to digest within her songs and they’re just top notch. If Joni Mitchell were young and making music today it might sound a little bit like Lauryn Peacock.
Lauryn is going on a short tour starting this Friday. If she comes through your town be sure to check it out. She might even have her own Zany Zine of poetry and art to share with you. Show details are at the bottom of this blog.
Doby Watson knows where he fits best. He enjoys playing quiet rooms that welcome his sad, sparse songs. To really take in Doby’s music (perfect for fans of Leonard Cohen or Jason Molina) you need some space to digest his confessions. Doby, who first performed as “Boo Hiss”, has been touring the Midwest for several years gently perfecting his craft.
I moved to Kansas City, Missouri from Portland, Oregon with some hesitancy. I’d never lived in the Midwest before, we didn’t know many people and our shows here over the years had rarely been amazing. But a chance to have our own apartment and enjoy a change of pace helped motivate us to pack our vans and head east. After about 10 months Kansas City has grown on me in surprising ways.
Here is my list of 5 Things I Love About Kansas City.
1. This is sports town. I get to go to Kansas City Royals games for a reasonable price. I can’t think of a better way to relax after a long day than watching a baseball game. I hope I can make opening day 2014.
2. The art scene is very vibrant here, more than I ever imagined. There is a lot of fine art (world class ceramics, free museums – the Nelson Atkins Museum) and the music scene is small enough that is easy to get to know people.
3. Our friends in Bent Left said this is a town you can make things happen in and I agree. If you want to build something in Kansas City you totally can.
6. It’s centrally located for easy weekend tours and travel like this one:
I am doing a full band tour as Nate Allen & The Pac-Away Dots. The set will consist of mostly non-Destroy Nate Allen songs. I’ve never done this before. It’s exciting and scary. The songs I’ll be playing can be described in part as bluesy, folk-punk with a heavy dose of honesty, introspection, and accessibility. They have more of a straight ahead rock n’ roll feel than anything I’ve played in a long time.