With a name like Soccer Mommy, you’d expect a much older front woman than Sophie Allison. Instead, a fresh-faced, wide-eyed 20-year old took the stage with her band on Sunday in downtown Kansas City to get the crowd ready for Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks. The 35-minute set is further proof that Soccer Mommy intelligently taps into the current trend of directness in indie rock. Their debut album Clean dropped back in March, and it’s full of Elliot Smith-level mournfulness that translated to the live setting well.
It’s about half 9 on a Saturday night in Shipley and it looks like my friend is about to be indoctrinated into a cult. Tribal rhythms and shadowy figures work their way through the crowd and it feels like I’ve inadvertently stumbled into the middle of a horror film; the closing scenes to Ben Wheatley’s disconcerting Kill List perhaps? Well, let’s hope things don’t go that way. Of course all this makes sense when I remember that I’m actually at The Golden Cabinet, West Yorkshire’s finest night for all things experimental.
When Kevin Shields spoke earlier this year that new material from his iconic shoegaze project My Bloody Valentine would be released in 2018, I knew right away that they’d be touring the U.S., and more specifically that the closest they’d be playing would be St. Paul. Back in 2013 on the mbv tour, they played Denver and St. Paul. I had every intention then to see them, but plans fell through. MBV has been my number one bucket list band to see for years, and missing that show was a gut punch. I thought I’d never get the opportunity again.
Sometime in the last five years, Melbourne’s Courtney Barnett became a certified rock star. Touring behind her sophomore album Tell Me How You Really Feel, Barnett and her band swung by Kansas City’s The Truman, on their way to the Pitchfork Music Festival this weekend in Chicago. The last time Barnett visited the area was in 2015, supporting her debut album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, and opening for Belle & Sebastian at the Uptown Theater. Despite that brief set, Kansas City has embraced Barnett’s punk-meets-alt rock style.
When Beck (finally) released Colors last year…I didn’t hate it, I hated what it represented…or might have represented; I had some pretty weird thoughts in my review…but one thing was undeniable: it was colorful. And not the standard spectrum of colors we’re used to seeing as humans, this motherfucker INVENTED colors for this album. Then he called down lightning from some other planet’s sky to supercharge the damn thing before unleashing it upon the masses.