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Deco Auto

Album review: Deco Auto - Past Mistakes and Hauntings EP

Past Mistakes and Hauntings, the debut release from pop-punk trio Deco Auto, rips out of the garage with a mission to go, and it never looks back. From the first note of the album opener, “The Mercy Kind,” you assume you’re going to be in for a fist-pumping, air guitar-playing joyride. And you’d be right in that assumption. Wound tightly like a fist, this collection of catchy, energetic songs strikes a blow to anyone who might have thought power-punk trios were ruined by the likes of Green Day.

The hook-centric guitar work of vocalist/guitarist Steven Garcia is prevalent throughout the four-song EP, as well as his ability to find vocal lines that are accessible and rooted in pop music. The guitar tone is spot on for Deco Auto’s roaring renditions and is complimented by quality sound engineering. This extends beyond the guitar to bass and drums, as well, giving the album an energy that’s hard to capture for a lot of bands.

Bassist Tracy Flowers and drummer Michelle Bacon’s presence on these tracks is undeniable, keeping the band locked in and moving forward with each thump of the bass drum. “Pointless Fight” is a perfect example of what a solid drummer can do for a band: tight stops and starts, all the while keeping the attention and focus on the song. “I Shouldn’t Know,” which lends the lyric for the EP title, has Flowers center stage while she delivers a vocal melody that you’ll be humming the rest of the day. It’s this combination of aggression and sweetness that makes Deco Auto a worthwhile listen.

My only complaint about this release is that it’s only four songs. After listening to it, I definitely wanted it to keep going. After all, my air guitar was just getting warmed up.

Deco Auto celebrates its EP release tonight, July 6, with a special party at the Midwestern Musical Co. with local power pop legends The Pedaljets. The trio is throwing a second party next Friday, July 13, with an in-store performance at Vinyl Renaissance on 39th St. alongside Kelley Deal (The Breeders) and Mike Montgomery's (Ampline) project R. Ring

--Mike Tipton

Mike is a KC native that enjoys new music and playing with his band, Molly Picture Club. He also enjoys people watching and documentaries by Ken Burns.


Show review: Deco Auto/Gas Pump Talent/The Empty Spaces at recordBar 6.9.12

Deco Auto -- This fun-lovin’ 3-piece, whose songs all have a heartbeat to their rhythm, laid down the ground rules for the evening in 4/4 time; making it impossible not to wag your head to, while incessantly checking for loose floorboards under your shoe. With a nostalgic power-pop rock jingle, their dulcet vocal harmonies transformed you into a suburban kid on an adventure in a sugary coming-of-age summer movie. Their sound is reminiscent of earlier Soul Asylum and The Replacements, had those bands cut their teeth jamming with Dave Clark Five. Lead singer/guitarist Steven Garcia’s crunchy Les Paul guitar riffs bounced along in anthem to the purist backbeat stamped out tightly by Kansas City drum darling, Michelle Bacon. Wrapping a sexy vine around the triplet’s delight was the carefully melodic bassist/backing vocalist, Tracy Flowers – a perfect last name, when considering her sixties-styled vocal harmonies with Garcia. Blending well into their set were covers of “Needles & Pins” (Nitzsche/Bono, 1963), and “Time Won’t Let Me” (The Outsiders, 1966).

Next up, Gas Pump Talent from Springfield, MO – who describe their own sound as “stomp and holler” – showed they’ve learned to cunningly mash-up more acoustic genres than can be listed – and well. Sadly, I was out of eyesight of the stage throughout their relatively short set. Fortunately, I heard them just fine – recordBar’s sound guys consistently set a high bar. Gas Pump Talent showcased musically captivating, campfire, Ozark-styled country-crunk that had DNA speckles of Dylan, Springsteen and Waits sprinkled throughout. Their performance was infectious, often lending to an Irish folk vibe that beckoned you to order a whiskey drink, pull a chair up front, and sing along with any reoccurring stanza you heard. I recall debating their genre with some friends as we listened…this was much in vein, which always makes me happy. The Midwest consistently cultivates great bands that are hard to paint into a corner. ¡Viva Springfield!

Closing the night down for the evening was another 3-piece from Kansas City – The Empty Spaces. Their rock n’ roll blend of (dare I say) country, rockabilly and surf beach party made for attention-grabbing jams, which featured a squirrely Mat Shoare dancing about, yelping Femmes-esque vocals into the mic, while playing hooky rhythms on his guitar. Widening out their sound was the ever-busy, hard-hitting drum licks of Ross Brown, and jovial out-of-the-box bass man about town, William Brent Wright – who was stripped down to his under tank top by the night’s end. The guys looked like they were having a good ol’ time up on stage, which added to the decent-sized audience looking loose and ready to party – and that they did.

It was a fun, energetic night, with three bands that stylistically are different from one another, but together on a bill – made for a great Saturday night at the recordBar.

--Christian Anders Liljequist

Christian is a freelance writer. He will graduate from UMKC in the spring of 2013 with a BA in Communication Studies (Journalism & Mass Communication).

Kill Your TV local music compilation



A new KC music compilation has been released by Kill Your TV, a new local music and art blog. Features artists including The ACBs, Deco Auto, Molly Picture Club, Dolls on Fire, and Vitae and the Pale Horse. Check it out here!


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