Middle of The Map @ Mills Record Company

Record Store Day has come and gone, and while there are still some exclusives gracing the racks of your favorite local record joint, the Kansas City music train will not stop. Jumping from wax to stage, the next event on the horizon is Middle of the Map. The festival announced its line up almost two months ago and teased us with all the great acts that will be turning the entire city into a giant music smorgasbord. For those uninitiated into Middle of the Map, the three day festival start on May 4th and conclude on May 6th and will feature music that ranges from stoner rock to conscious hip hop, from indie pop to folk. In other words, the festival is not only one of the best festivals in Kansas City but in the midwest, nay the nation.¬†And Mills Record Company will join in the fray. Featuring a variety of styles over the course of Middle of The Map’s three days, your favorite record joint will also be your favorite venue.

Kicking off the festival, Eems guarantees a great time. The pop singer loops and twists his ukulele’s sounds to create danceable and lush arrangements. Straddling the line between slicked over productions and acoustic pop, Eems is a hidden gem at Middle of The Map. Whether the singer songwriter is belting out ballads about missing loved ones or trying to transcend his situations, Eems injects such energy to his catchy as all get vocal melodies. Usually with one person acts with such layering, I wondering how the artist will pull it off live. Not so with Eems. The musician’s live videos shows the man’s acumen not only at penning great songs but also performing them.

Continuing Middle of The Map into Friday, Momma’s Boy will turn out Mills Record Company with their surfy jams. Well in the same vein as Tame Impala, Temples, and Twin Peaks, the indie pop quartet writes jams that are catchy and full of technical precision. Momma’s Boy has been constantly pushing their sound to new heights, from their first single “Cool Heat” to their latest KJHK performance. The band’s sound can ride a bass groove or shake out a fiery solo, and no matter where on that spectrum their songs take them, Momma’s Boy is able to keep the reins firmly in grasp. Backing their recordings with performances full of energy, the band is not one to be missed.

 

Performing on the final day of the festival, Chloe Jacobson writes smarter than average whisper pop. Combining emotional resonant narratives and linguistic fireworks, the singer-songwriter sounds like no thing else out there. Of course one can dig and find traces of Grouper, Angel Olsen, Bon Iver, and others in this genre, but none of these acts can quite hold a candle to Jacobson’s ability to pen a tune. The singer’s use of muted verses and dynamic choruses gives her songs a push and pull feel of much more orchestrated acts. Seriously, if you haven’t listened to Chloe Jacobson yet, Middle of The Map at Mills Record Company will be the perfect time to catch your new favorite act.

Of course there will be more acts to see and hear at Mills Record Company and other venues around town. Middle of The Map always guarantees a great line up, and this year is particularly great. Featuring more genres, more powerful acts, and more venues, Middle of The Map 2017 might be the best line up yet.

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