Tag: Lawrence KS

Currently comprised of Lawrence, KS-born, New York-based producer and multi-instrumentalist Dave Liang, who cut his teeth as a producer with Bad Boy Records, and multi-disciplinary artist Sun Yunfan, the Brooklyn-based electronic duo The Shanghai Restoration project was initially began as a solo recording project that received attention for organically meshing Chinese instrumentation and hip-hop — although with subsequent releases, Liang increasingly expanded upon his sound, drawing upon choral music, downtempo electronica and folk. Interestingly enough, in 2010, Liang met Shanghai-based jazz vocalist Zhang Le, with whom he released a series of contemporary interpretations of Chinese jazz standards that caught the attention of NPR’s All Songs Considered.  The following year, Liang met Sun Yunfan and the two started collaborating on music videos and live performance visuals before eventually working on songwriting and production, including Liang’s ongoing collaboration with Zhang Le, Life Elsewhere, an album, which was well-received in China and nominated for several national awards.  

The duo’s latest effort R.U.R. derives its title from a 1920’s Czech play Rossum’s Universal Robots from which the word robot originates. Self-produced and recorded in New York over the past year or so, the album, imagines a post apocalyptic world in which humans have been replaced by robots, who have been trying to understand what led to their predecessors’ extinction. Via a time capsule, the robots learn about humanity’s must noble and profound endeavors such as art, agriculture, science, philosophy and so on, as well as humanity’s worst attributes such as narcissism, materialism, greed, environmental devastation — and as they’re looking at the time capsule, they begin to wonder if the universe will ever see and experience those rather peculiar beings again.

Sonically speaking, the album is reportedly a shift in sonic direction from being whimsical towards a much more introspective approach with the duo setting to find some sort of balance within chaos, with the duo experimenting with a dissonant and polyrhythmic approach featuring atonal analog synth lines, household items being sampled, Malaysian rainforest insects, China’s omnipresent in-store marketing chants and the sounds of outer space. In fact, the album’s latest single “Spooky Party” features  breezy, Tropicalia and African-inspired polyrhythm paired with arpeggio analog synths and stuttering beats — and while being decidedly retro-futuristic, it may be the most dance floor friendly track they’ve released to date.




Featuring core members, founder and creative mastermind Isaac Flynn (vocals), who comes from a family of musicians and whose parents own Lawrence, KS‘ well-regarded guitar store, Mass Street Music; Eric Davis (keys, synths) and Garrett Childers (guitar, vocals), the Kansas City-based indie rock act Hembree received regional and national attention with the release of “Can’t Run Forever,” a shimmering and slickly produced, dance-floor friendly track that simultaneously nods at 80s New Wave, St. Lucia, and Interpol simultaneously.

Building upon the success of “Can’t Run Forever,” a track that has seen as of this post, over 500,000 Spotify and YouTube streams, the members of the Kansas City-based band went to record new material at Los Angeles-based Sunset Sound Studios with Chris Coady, who has worked with Beach House, Future Islands and Yeah Yeah Yeahs; but when Flynn returned home to Kansas City, he decided that those sessions should be tabled, and that it was time for the band to take a much different approach. “After ‘Can’t Run Forever’ came out, I was feeling the pressure to make our second single bigger and better, and found myself putting limitations on my writing,” Flynn explained in press notes.. “After being frustrated for several months, I decided to record whatever I want; just let it all pour out.” And with that mindset, Flynn, his bandmates Davis and Childers recorded their latest single “Holy Water,” with Foreign Fields’ Eric Hillman contributing additional production and Joe Visciano, who has worked with The Kills, Jamie xx and Beck mixing the proceedings.

“Holy Water” is a decided change in sound, as the swaggering and propulsive track nods at Kasabian and Primal Scream as the band pairs an an arena rock and dance floor-friendly hook with a slick production featuring layers of undulating synths, twinkling keys, enormous, tweeter and woofer rocking beats with a “we’re ready to take over the world right this fucking moment” feel. Interestingly, part of the song’s anthemic nature stems from the song’s overwhelmingly positive message. As Flynn says of the song, “The song started with me making a conscious decision to stop letting the bad win. It was time to start embracing the obstacles and then doing my best to overcome them. I really just want to be true to myself and good to others, and I want the same for other people. Perhaps that’s the message from this song.” Certainly, considering how maddening and dire everything seems on a daily basis, any positive message seems desperately necessary.  Unsurprisingly, since the single’s release at the end of last year, the song has seen regular rotation on 10 Midwestern radio markets including Columbus, OH; St. Louis, MO; and the Kansas City area — and the track has seen over 250,000 Spotify steams as of this writing.



The band will be going on a run of tour dates in the Midwest, with the first show of the tour, finding the band opening for Cold War Kids. Check out the tour dates below.

3/25 Columbus, Express Live
3/27 Omaha, Reverb
3/28 Iowa City, The Mill
3/29 Des Moines, Vaudeville Mews
3/30 St. Louis, Blueberry Hill
4/24 Omaha, Reverb
4/25 Davenport IA, Raccoon Motel
4/26 Des Moines, Vaudeville Mews
4/27 St. Louis, Blueberry Hill
4/28 Kansas City, Record Bar
4/29 Columbia MO, Rose Music Hall

Formed by its founding and primary member Christopher Crisi, the Lawrence, KS-based indie rock act The Appleseed Cast has over the course of 20 years and 7 full-length efforts developed a reputation for constantly changing lineups — while subtly refining and honing the sound that won the band major acclaim in the early 2000s and onward; in fact, the band’s seminal work Low Level Owl, Vol I and Vol II received a 9.0 from Pitchfork and it was followed by the critically applauded release of Two ConversationsPeregrineIllumination Ritual and several others for a sound that at one point or another had been compared to the likes of Sunny Day Real Estate, Mineral and others as their material has meshed post-punk, emo rock, punk rock, shoegaze  with anthemic hooks, as the band’s current lineup featuring touring musicians Ben Kimball, Nick Fredrickson and several others.

Throughout October and November, the members of The Appleseed Cast will be on tour with the Beverly, MA-based sextet Caspian, who to only are making their last tour stops to support their 2015 release Dust and Disquiet; but the Beverly, MA-based band has also publicly cited Crisi and The Appleseed Cast as a major influence on their sound. And with the announcement of the tour, the Lawrence, KS-based project released their latest single “Great Lake Derelict,” a propulsive track that pairs shimmering guitar chords, played through gentle amounts of reverb, soaring synths, plaintive vocals and arena rock friendly anthemic hooks in a song that manages to possess intimate and earnest emotion while being cinematic.

As for the tour, check out the tour dates below. You’ll see that it’ll include a mid-November stop at Music Hall of Williamsburg.

Caspian + The Appleseed Cast 2016 tour dates
10.22 · Washington, DC – Rock and Roll Hotel (tickets)
10.23 · Raleigh, NC – Kings (tickets)
10.24 · Atlanta, GA – Masquerade (tickets)
10.25 · Nashville, TN – Exit/In (tickets)
10.27 · Houston, TX – Studio @ Warehouse Live (tickets)
10.28 · Austin, TX – Sidewinder (tickets)
10.30 · Phoenix, AZ – The Rebel Lounge (tickets)
11.01 · Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom (tickets)
11.02 · San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall (tickets)
11.04 · Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios (tickets)
11.05 · Seattle, WA – Neumo’s (tickets)
11.08 · Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge (tickets)
11.09 · Denver, CO – Marquis Theater (tickets)
11.11 · Omaha, NE – The Waiting Room (tickets)
11.12 · St. Louis, MO – Firebird (tickets)
11.13 · Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall (tickets)
11.14 · Grand Rapids, MI – Pyramid Scheme (tickets)
11.15 · Toronto, ON – Lee’s Palace (tickets)
11.16 · Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer (tickets)
11.17 · Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg (tickets)
11.18 · Boston, MA – Royale (tickets)
11.19 · Montreal, QC – Le Ritz (tickets)