THE BEST KANSAS CITY MUSIC RELEASES WE HEARD IN 2015 [21-30]

We’re going to ease our picks on you this year. Every December, Demencha writers compile their favorite local music of the past 12 months culminating in what is now, our Top 30 local music release chart concentrated on Kansas City musicians, bands and recording artists. This is the first round of our Top 30 picks. We would like to thank the Kansas City music scene as a whole for making 2015 a busy year across the board, and across genre lanes. Note: these charts were compiled by Chris Mills, James P. McNamara and Alex Ellis exclusively for Demencha Magazine. Let’s get into it.

LOCALS BEFORE LEGENDS™

#30 D/WILL – DAMN GINA [BELIEVE.CREATE]
Creatively speaking, it’s been a good year for D/Will. His two stellar solo rap projects with Stik Figa and Barrel Maker are sure to be on everyone’s charts this year. And both deservedly so. However, his production record Damn Gina is wonderful. A soulful tribute to a friend lost too early, it runs a wide range of emotional space. Though it clocks in at a crisp 21 minutes in play time, it takes the listener through a long journey. Understated, honest, and weighted with doses of warm humor, Damn Gina is a beautiful ode to lost loved ones. -JPM

#29 HEMBREE – CAN’T RUN FOREVER + NEW OASIS [INDEPENDENT RELEASE]
Folks were bummed when Quiet Corral called it a day. But out of every shitty situation comes a great one and in this instance, Hembree was formed in which we saw a few members stay and a few members go. At the end of 2014, Hembree released their two song EP New Oasis showcasing a really interesting blend of Americana-influenced dance music (if you can wrap your brain around that…if you can’t, their YouTube page can help you out). These are the types of songs that when first heard, you aren’t really sure what to think. Once you dive in further, you find yourself hitting the ‘Repeat All’ button on your music player of choice. Their new single “Can’t Run Forever”, which dropped late this year, shows the group exploring more of the dancier aspect of “New Oasis”. – AE

#28 INFO GATES – A KANSAS CITY STORY EP [INDEPENDENT RELEASE]
Kansas City rap artist and producer, Info Gates, just dropped a new EP fresh for Christmas Eve 2015. A Kansas City Story features production from Leonard DStroy, Conductor Williams (AKA D/Will), S.G., Rick Maun, with one beat credited to Info. Info went off on this EP. All of the songs on this record stem from Info’s own unique experience in Kansas City. The first track is produced by Info himself (“Westport”), and absolutely nails his life’s highlights and lowlights in one of Kansas City’s most unpredictable and intoxicated areas in song form. These are some of the strongest flows we’ve heard from him yet, and a lot of experienced, veteran producers add up to one thrilling listening session. From late nights to early mornings, this record paints the Kansas City experience like The Popper painted areas to the South of Westport. If you’re from Kansas City and you like rap music, you’ll find this EP wildly entertaining. – CM

#27 OSIRIS-1 – XII GATES [Datura Records/Intelligent Sound]
We still aren’t entirely sure what to think of this record. Osiris-1’s The XII Gates was extremely weird. A lot of his music is that way, and while this record might not have much replay value (even in the beat maker niche market), it wins as an overall left-field album of beats. Everything you will hear on The XII Gates seems to come out of nowhere. It is unpredictable. Sometimes it’s difficult to absorb. However, there are some really hot beats here (otherwise we would not put this on our chart), and that is what Osiris-1 aka Rick Maun is best known for. Largely produced with an unruly knack for the SP-404 machine, The XII Gates’ best songs are the easiest ones to digest. “Mistress of Continuity” with Emily Cohen, the instrumental “Swine Flu” and “Gleaming One”, and trunk-rattler, “Super Osiris”, are all the work of one of Kansas City’s most thrilling beat-maker artists. If you can dive into this album and listen to it all the way through, it might have a polarizing effect on you, leaving you in a confused mental state of “What the fuck did I just listen to?” – CM

#26 S.T.R.A.P. – FUTURISTIC PAST [INDEPENDENT RELEASE]
Sounds That Roars African Pride: the Ugandan born emcee, now Wichita, Kansas resident has launched his debut. Futuristic Past, hops all over the map; with styles, techniques, and motifs. S.T.R.A.P. wants you to know he can do anything musically he sets his mind to, and at the end of a front to back listen it’s hard to disagree. The unfortunately named, but infectious “Friend Zone” is pure hip hop/r&b silk. “The Next Level” leaves the listener wishing S.T.R.A.P. would commit to an entire dancehall rap record. The touching “The Homecoming’ is both an official introduction to the artists as a man and a tender exploration on human fragility. Keep an eye out for S.T.R.A.P., but you might not have to look that hard in the future. – JPM

#25 INDYGROUND ENTERTAINMENT – EYEDENTITY COMPILATION [INDYGROUND]
Some might say a label compilation is a pretty cheap entry, but those people probably haven’t listened to DJ Mahf’s solo scratch track “Ain’t Finished.” And I don’t know if this could be considered a label compilation, because it has more of a throwback crew tape vibe. It comes with a crew cypher and rowdy bangers like “5 On The Floor.” If you’re unfamiliar with Indyground or you just haven’t picked this up, you’re missing out on the beginning of a movement. Some say Steddy P is trying to build an empire, I think it’s more likely he’s building an permanent hip hop infrastructure and the Eyedentity tape is going to be one of its artistic pillars. – JPM
LISTEN HERE ON ITUNES

#24 RACHEL MALLIN & THE WILD TYPE – PERSISTENCE OF VISION [INDEPENDENT RELEASE]
It wouldn’t be a surprise if a majority of the songs on this EP turned out to be heavily inspired by Lorde’s “Pure Heroine”. Mallin recorded, mixed, mastered and produced this EP complete with drum samples, synths, multiple layers of effects and cleverly stacked vocals. It’s got a dark and laid-back vibe, with the exception being the song “Sleep Easy” which finds Mallin exploring with more live instrumentation, distorted vocals and a lil’ rock and roll. – AE

#23 VICTOR & PENNY – LIVE AT THE LIVING ROOM THEATRE [INDEPENDENT RELEASE]
Victor and Penny are quirky, have an extremely unique style, are great at storytelling and are a ton of fun. Most folks can fully appreciate the amazing artistry that is Victor & Penny. This album was recorded live at the Living Room (which is an amazing place to experience live music) with their Loose Change Orchestra and one can only imagine how much fun this would have been to see live, as this is one of the few artists in the area who are GREAT at storytelling. Their songs are written like short films, with the instrumentation providing the perfect score. – AE

#22 HIPSHOT KILLERS – THEY WILL TRY TO KILL US ALL [INDEPENDENT RELEASE]
For those of you who long for the days of So-Cal punk and the mid to late 90s Warped Tour lineups, Hipshot Killers are here to save us all. They Will Try to Kill Us All is the first album released since the three piece’s 2011 self-titled full length. Has the music changed drastically? Nope. Is that a bad thing? Nope. When you find a sound that works for you, stick with it. Heavy distortion, power chords, punk beats, energetic vocals and palm mutes are all on display here. For all of the 30 somethings who still pull out those Strung Out, Bad Religion, No Use For a Name or Lagwagon albums from time to time, then you should not wait another minute to check out this album. For all of the younger pups, just trust that this is heavy pop-punk at it’s finest. – AE

#21 DOM CHRONICLES – FREE FOOD EP [INDYGROUND ENTERTAINMENT]
Indyground Ent’s perpetual charisma machine, Dom Chronicles, struck gold with this playful and charming EP. While the Kid Cudi-esque “Supernova” features a show-stealing verse from Farout, it shows a tilt toward content expansion, and Chronicles fits best in carefree cruisers like “Peer Pressure” and “West Coast Tendencies.” The Kansas native, completely inhabits his smirking, golden boy persona, making the very real progress that Free Food punctuates seem effortless. But that’s the trick, isn’t it? – JPM

To be continued. Stay tuned to Demencha com for picks 1-20…

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Chris Mills
Chris Mills
Editor-in-Chief at Demencha Magazine LLC and Demencha.com. Send music and event submissions to chris@demencha.com. LOCALS BEFORE LEGENDS.

2 Comments

  1. chuck says:

    You guys should have Atlas Conscious on here forsure his song smokers only is a classic
    https://soundcloud.com/codenameatlas/atlas-conscious-smokers-only-puff

  2. RF2775 says:

    Since you included that new Info Gates joint which only dropped last week, you should definitely check out the Tryf Bindope album which came out Xmas day. Already one of the best joints I heard in 2015, definitely from a KC perspective.

    http://tryfbindoperapgamesbabydaddy.bandcamp.com/album/cereal-in-the-stereo

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