Critique: Kid Runner’s Wake Up Now

Kid Runner (@kidrunnerband) sent out a wake-up call to the music world, so to speak, in the form of their second EP Wake Up Now. Dropped this past October, the unsigned Columbus, OH quintet have delivered a series of tracks that stand up in quality to anything from Passion Pit, OK Go, Walk The Moon, and Fun., who perform a similar routine. If they had the same resources available to them those bands have, Kid Runner would hold their own on late night TV shows as well as the Alternative and Top 40 charts.

The opening track, which happens to be the title track, is disappointing in that it is relatively short but is a nice instrumental intro nonetheless in the same vein of The xx. ‘Thinking Out Loud’ is a would-be hit with fans of Sheppard with strong male and female vocals on display. According to their Soundcloud page, it is the EP’s second most clicked track behind ‘Move’. Speaking of which, ‘Move’ is the track that has earned the group local success as a winner of Radio U’s daily ‘Battle of the Buzz’ competition. Furthermore, the song is also licensed for use on MLB Network. The band also released a video for ‘Move’ that is equally as relevant as major label artists’ videos using a fraction of those groups’ budgets. These two tunes on their own ought to be enough to garner Kid Runner the industry-wide attention they are due.

Wake Up Now has three more tracks that have their own flavor and showcase the five-piece’s creativity and talent. ‘Breaking Away’ is a tune in which the lyrics imply it is a song about destorying figurative shackles and escaping a toxic situation and/or person. It is the EP’s most serious song and one that proves Kid Runner’s wide songwriting range. Even hair metal bands churned out the occasional ballad and life commentary with favorable results. ‘Killin’ Me Now’ is pop brilliance from start to finish with the incorporation of keyboardist Frances Literski’s backing vocals to compliment the strong drum and keyboard work. Litterski’s dove-like vocals are also included in “Higher”, the record’s most dance club-friendly tune.

Alt-pop music lovers willing to take approximately 30 minutes to check out Wake Up Now will experience proof Kid Runner is going places figuratively. Literally, the group is expanding their horizons outside of their local confines opening for Civil Twilight in Pittsburgh on May 28 and playing at Cincinnati’s Burnbury Music Festival on June 5. Those gigs are followed by a return to Columbus on September 5 for the Fashion Meets Music Festival. Alternative and indie music’s true believers and supporters must not miss out on a chance to hear Wake Up Now in addition to their self-titled EP. If this band has the success they have demonstrated they deserve, the alternative and pop rock genres are in great shape for years and years to come.

*Photo courtesy of the band’s Facebook page

Artist To Watch: The Last City

@thelastcityband  is an American pop duo who now call Hiroshima, Japan home. Musical and life partners Adam and Lizbet Palmer began their pairings in Columbia, South Carolina, USA. Columbia is also the origin of legendary quartet Hootie & The Blowfish. The Palmers are fluent with multiple instruments and take pride in the DIY-approach to their music videos and their original tunes. If they continue to crank out quality sounds, The Last City will not be without some kind of record deal for too much longer.

The group formed two years ago and consider their brand of music to be a fusion of pop, jazz, and rock. The uplifting and catchy “Erasing the Ending” (included above) is an example of this brilliance. Although not radio friendly in length (clocking in at 5:30), The Last City are the type of band to do their own thing and not worry about the haters. If people like what they hear from them, then that is great for their brand. If it is not someone’s cup of tea, that is not going to deter the duo from writing, composing, and performing songs on their terms.

The Last City shows just how talented they are with the wide range of tunes they perform. They have their own thing going strong, however, they have quite the array of covers available at their official YouTube page. Some tracks given a new flair by the pair include “Love Runs Out”, a OneRepublic hit, and Marc Cohn’s smash “Walking In Memphis”. From the videos, it is easy to tell the Adam and Lizbet are having a great time breathing new life into these songs.

The Last City’s main goal is to drop a proper EP in the near future. Once that occurs, the sky is the limit for the band. They already have marketable music and can clearly put their own tremendous spin on established hit tracks. It’s only a matter of time before The Last City have a hit on their own, either through movie/commercial licensing or radio airplay once that well-deserved recording contract comes.

Stripped Down Indie Rock Done Right

Columbus, OH-based One Forty Three (@OHonefortythree) is a group that has been plugging away for seven years, but are on the verge of a breakthrough. Per the group’s Facebook page, they have done gigs featuring highly regarded groups A Day To Remember and Permanent Me. Their YouTube videos give raw versions of their tracks that stand on their own as brilliant works. The video version of “Tune In” has TV and movie soundtrack written all over it. The EP version, featured on the current release titled O’ You Evil, could also be a single heard on Alternative radio stations. Speaking of which, if WWCD 102.5, the hometown’s premier independently-owned Alternative station, should be playing this track as this fits right in with the tunes currently in rotation.

O’ You Evil EP is actually the quintet’s second release this year, following the album ‘This ‘Reaction, released in June. That is a very bold move, however, the group is clearly optimistic regarding putting out so much new music in a short span. There can never be too much high quality music, though.

In addition to a big year in terms of recorded music, the group has a full plate of local one-off live events planned for the next few months. For their next show, they will play at the famous Tree Bar (formerly Andyman’s) on Friday, November 15. Avid indie music lovers should take a look at the video and check out their music on Bandcamp to make an informed decision to come see what One Forty Three brings to the stage.