The Record Machine Keeps Dreaming

The Record Machine is a force. The Kansas City label has boasted some of the biggest bands to come from the area. Not only that, the label has always been committed to keeping their music styles diverse–from hip hop fusion, to alt-country, to pop rock, to electronica, and everything in between. In any estimation, The Record Machine is a dream home for any band.

And their latest sampler, How To Keep Dreaming Vol. 1, reinforces this by showing the wide breadth of talent already signed as well as giving a hint at bands that may join the ranks of The Record Machine. I could talk about each of the sampler’s 21 tracks, but that would mostly consist of me geeking out about how amazing each track is. Instead I’ll focus on four of my favorite tracks.

Starting with the fourth track, iLLPHONiCS‘ “Brown Frequency” blends a Boscoe-like funk and drivingly infectious pop reminiscent of Kelly Clarkson’s “Miss Independent” to create a song that is a siren song that starts heavy and doesn’t let up. “Brown Frequency” increases its tension from start to finish, resulting in a song that begins at a boil and moves to flash evaporation. That said, even in the song’s heat, its hooks never stray far from the surface. Even at its most epic, “Brown Frequency” stays catchy.

Valley Hush‘s “Children” has a completely different vibe. The Detroit duo builds the song from blinking layers of electronic detritus, making “Children” a sort of Rubik’s cube of pop angularities. The result is an insanely fun four and a half minute romp. Free-wheeling despite the short riffings, “Children” is one of those songs that feels like a summer morning in the middle of fall. It has a melancholy center wrapped in saccharine pop.

I can’t get enough of Dreamgirl. Their EP has stayed on heavy rotation since I found it, so I was elated to see a new song by them on the sampler. “Mythos” has a slinky Miami Vice feel to it. It’s neon vocal melodies and spectral keys keep the song bright while the lyrics detail sadder events. The juxtaposition between these two feels gives the song a nice tension that surprises more than once as the song unfurls. And maybe, just maybe, Dreamgirl will play this song tomorrow at miniBar. The song is track 9 on the sampler.

Crystal Baller‘s track, “Crash,” gives off an We Are Scientist vibe. Whereas We Are Scientist favored a mellower vibe, Crystal Baller has a denser collection of energy. “Crash” weaves together disjointed lead riffs with vocals that could be confused for the best of Tears for Fears. Combining these threads with driving pop percussion, Crystal Baller has made an undeniably blistering anthem. Each part to “Crash” builds into a crescendo as heavy as it is bright.

The sampler is available on The Record Machine’s bandcamp. How To Keep Dreaming Vol. 1 is on sale for a “name your price option,” and all proceeds will go to the Midwest Music Foundation. So not only will you be getting 21 great songs, you will be supporting an organization that helps musicians get the healthcare they might not otherwise be able to afford. While the above songs are my personal favorites, there are plenty more. How To Keep Dreaming Vol. 1 also features wonderful work by: Pink Royal, Heidi Gluck, Lot Walks, Rachel Mallin and The Wild Type, Second Hand King, ATLAS, Bears and Company, Captiva, The Shameless Pursuit, the author and the illustrator, Scruffy and the Janitors, Light Music, Spirit is the Spirit, Westeners, Barrel Maker, Straight White Teeth, and The Philistines.

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