The Pitch Music Awards Preview: Singer-Songwriter

The singer-songwriter category of The Pitch Music Awards brims with the offshoots of well established Kansas City bands as well as independent musicians focusing on their own sound. If there is a unifying trend among these musicians, it’s that they all create dense and unique sounds.

Akkilles hazes his acoustic guitar based dreampop with ambient textures and reverbed vocals. His songs ache under their swells and driving melodies. Mostly down-tempo, Akkilles is almost impossible not to rock along to. Starting with a slow chord progression that layers and blurs as it repeats, Akkilles builds songs that steadily march toward a crescendo.

John Velghe‘s honky-tonk twang jangles with loose acoustic chords. Behind the first layers of vocals and guitar, a rhythm section drives the songs past the standard Americana groove. Not quite country, not quite indie, John Velghe blends disparate influences into an eclectic and unforgettable sound.

La Guerre‘s crystalline synth driven soundscapes break with the hitherto established acoustic-based singer-songwriter trope. Her songs unfurl from a Nord synth with an elegant minimalism. Her breathy voice augments the cathingly simple electric piano leads with its honest lyrics and register slides.

Mat Shoare‘s bouncing self-deprecating smart-pop has a lovely honesty about it. His songs stay wrapped around the strings of his acoustic guitar while electric flourishes peek and disappear under his lyrics. Mat Shoare writes songs that can be devastating and devastatingly hilarious (often at the same time). This complex tonality extends to his music: pop-riffs evolve into rock grooves and back again.

Your Friend grooves with bass lines and delayed guitar work. Add a gossamer of vocals and the songs build into a mire of a soundscape. You Friend gathers sounds into a muddy structure of affected tones and cycled-through riffs. More spacious than Grouper and less melancholy than Bon Iver, Your Friend spins a fantastic web of sound around hints of melody and swirling textures.

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