It’s been nearly a year since my last post, so I guess you can consider this a second coming. Or third … or fourth. I lost count long ago.
Since my last post, there’s been a sea change of bands come and go, many artists have moved away for college and/or adulthood, well-respected musicians have been lost, various live music fundraisers have occurred, up-and-coming area music festivals have been executed, another music festival was unceremoniously canceled, a few old crows found some success in getting the band back together, a trio of young brothers have found their own success across the pond, and a great new record store has opened just a few drunken stumbles from the center of the music nightlife in Westport. In addition to that, a fucking slew of incredible releases have come out on one format or another from the hard-working and talented folks who call Kansas City and Lawrence their home. I’ll get to those in another post.
Unlike the artists who left us in their rear-view mirrors, Schwervon! packed up and made the move from New York City to KC on April 5 of last year. The date is important because they played their inaugural local show as the first band at that year’s Middle of the Map Fest the very same day. Prior to jumping time zones, Matt Roth and Nan Turner had been recording and releasing their stripped down drums and guitar weirdo pop for over a decade, often self-releasing the tunes through Matt’s Olive Juice Music collective. Brief nerd moment: Matt is originally from the area, and was in the band Dracomagnet back in the early ’90s with Darren Welch (The Hearers and In the Pines).
Local music critic Sid Sowder is even more peripatetic than the band, having lived in Indianapolis, Boston, Chicago, and Kansas City over the last 20 years while not only documenting the local music culture through his website Too Much Rock, but at times participating himself by heading up Urinine Records. The label would go on to release nearly two dozen titles, including music from The Hillary Step, The Believe It or Nots, The Capsules, and Namelessnumberheadman. I fondly recall the days from my youth as an (even more) awkward high schooler in the early ’00s, just discovering local music. I would spend hours reading through and gawking at his immense list of show recounts dating back to 1997. By proxy, he is at least partly responsible for my love of the Kansas City and Lawrence music scenes, and possibly the reason this very blog even exists. Credit where credit is due, brother.
Using the TMR moniker as a label name, Sid has decided to inject himself back into the cycle of perpetually losing money by formulating an idea whereby he presses 500 limited edition singles for a band and gives every single copy to them for disposal at their will. The details are this:
1) Sid chooses local act. Band picks A-side (original), Sid picks B-side (cover)
2) Label covers licensing and manufacturing for 500 copies of a 45rpm single
4) No profit. All copies go to the band. Repeat.
The first single in the series is from Schwervon!, and features their song “Landlocked” on the A-side, and a cover the The Raincoats’ “Off Duty Trip” on the B-side. “Landlocked” is the first song the band recorded after moving to the area, and a fitting submission with which to kick off the series. “Off Duty Trip” captures a similar minimalist, post-punk feel that the 1979 original had, with a little anti-folk spin. You can stream the A-side here, but you’ll have to wait to hear the B-side until the single gets released this Tuesday, Nov. 12.
The band is scheduled to play an in-store release show at Mills Record Company once they return from their Euro tour late this month. Keep an eye out for the next two singles in the series, coming early next year and on Record Store Day. Each single will be a one time press, so once they’re gone … they’re gone for good.