Straight White Teeth, Merit Badge, Rev Gusto & Mem Cave @ miniBar
This Friday, The Record Machine and miniBar will help the night be a little poppier. The show will be the first time How To Keep Dreaming Vol. 1 contributor Straight White Teeth will play in Kansas City. Joined by Rev Gusto and Merit Badge, the Denver/East Coast duo will put on a great show. After the bands play, Mem Cave will DJ. If indie pop and beachy vibes are your jams, then this show will be the place to be on Friday.
Merit Badge makes lush instrumental pop. Smooth as Explosions in The Sky and as jittering as Jorge Arana Trio, Merit Badge’s coalescing riffs and rhythms work to create a space for their listeners to inhabit. The band’s three song EP, Skills & Activities, starts as an ambient texture before expanding to a complete atmosphere. By the end of its first song, the EP absolutely envelopes any listener. But more than amorphous post-rock textures, Merit Bage’s music has all the rigging that makes for catchy pop. On the one hand, their sound is large, and on the other, it is controlled and deliberate. Merit Badge’s ability to pull you into their aural swirls and constantly building layers all but guarantees a great live show.
Rev Gusto writes garage pop that has the type of fun that borders on melancholy. The band’s music shimmers with fuzzed guitars and sharp vocal hooks. With a sound that could raise The Ramones from the grave, Rev Gusto mixes deceptively simple melodies with complex emotional resonances. Each song on their High Dive debut, Burnt Out Friends, works to build an album that can be listened to either as a collage or a traditional narrative. Despite the band’s foundation in early 80s pop punk, Rev Gusto has a sound that looks forward–playing and experimenting with sound and song structure to create songs that are surprising at every turn.
Straight White Teeth sets asides guitars for synthesizers and sequencers. The band builds their songs by layering rhythms and melodies. The duo’s songs, rather than progress to a singular point, corkscrew around their subjects and sounds. The result is an aesthetic that can seemingly be tightened ad infinitum. Straight White Teeth offsets this tension with a smooth and slick 80s electro-pop sound. Despite the band’s music being mired in synthetic textures, their sound is organic and sincere. Straight White Teeth successfully finds, song after song, the magical space between 8-bit beats and heartfelt lyricism. If you haven’t listened to this band yet, you need to.
The show begins at 9pm and is 21+. Featuring Kansas City bands Rev Gusto and Merit Badge with friends of The Record Machine, Straight White Teeth, the show is sure to have something for any fan of indie pop (and all of its manifestations). Complete with a DJ set afterward by Mem Cave, miniBar will start November off right.