Summer Sound Waves

Download these promising debut albums from three of KC’s hottest bands on the rise.

Beautiful Bodies


Epitaph Records

   With credentials such as performing at New York Fashion Week and, more recently, the Vans Warped Tour under their belts, Alicia Solombrino, Thomas Becker and Luis Arana, aka Beautiful Bodies have kept fans worldwide awaiting the release of their debut album. At just 39 minutes, Battles is electric — meshing body-swaying guitar riffs with unapologetically honest lyrics. The result is a hypnotizing effort that keeps heads bobbing. Aptly named, the album enthralls with a wild ride of emotions that come from various forms of battles — from the well-known inner battle discussed in “Invincible” (“You ever have one of those days where you’re so fed up you might not make it through? Oh, but you do,”) to the interpersonal in “War Inside Your Heart.” An ode to seizing the moment, “She’s A Blast” is a burst of energy. Short and sweet — like a moment — the track engulfs, incorporating Solombrino’s trademark screech (slightly reminiscent of Paramore) and lyrics to fuel any night out. Electronic-driven, the album’s lead single “Capture & Release” pulses and builds, evoking the push-and-pull dynamic between lovers. An album where every song is an anthemic chant-a-long, prepare to be utterly obsessed — and without a voice — this summer.

   Battles is available at




Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear

Skeleton Crew

Glassnote Records

   Featuring a collection of revisited songs from their 2013 EP, We Burned the Cane Field, as well as new tracks written after being signed to Glassnote Records in October, Skeleton Crew is an acoustic Midwestern lullaby by the Independence, Missouri-based duo comprised of Madisen Ward and his mother, Ruth Ward. Filled with observational tales of Missouri living and modern simplicities, the debut release is a folk masterpiece. It’s instantly relatable in its humble lyrics that are as refreshing as “a sip of cherry cola and pie” (“Live By the Water”). On the uplifting, toe-tapping “Silent Movies,” Madisen’s rich, larger-than-life vocals are jovial and gospel-like, enlisting the help of a chorus as he sings to his lover, not caring what others think. Mama Bear (aka Ruth) shines in “Down in Mississippi,” one of her few lead vocals on the album. Backed by the comforting croaks and chirps of frogs and crickets, her calm, soprano voice soothes as she coos about days in the southern state.

   Catch Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear live on Aug. 20 at the Midland Theatre. Skeleton Crew is available at




Pink Royal


Silly Goose Records

   Lawrence-based experimental groove-pop quintet Pink Royal declares summer in full swing with its breezy, sexy and infectious debut from Silly Goose Records, Taps. It packs all that summer brings — from late nights to new love — into 12 bright, groove-worthy, entrancing tracks. The crowd-funded effort transcends music genres to create a beach-fueled escape where anything is possible and the cold shoulder of fall is far behind. Standout tracks are the harmonious funk-laced “I Know You Know,” and “Please, Please, Please.” A stolen dance with a newfound love on a balmy summer night, “Please Please Please” is irresistible with its warm horn section and sultry delivery. When lead singer Dylan James Guthrie begs in his soulful voice reminiscent of Incubus’ Brandon Boyd not to wait until we’re older, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an excuse to not abandon all care and take to the dance floor.

   Catch Pink Royal live on Aug. 29 at The Bottleneck. Taps is available at