Temp Tats
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Temp Tats

Kansas City, MO | Established. Jan 01, 2014

Kansas City, MO
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Alternative Jazz


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"New Music Monday: Temp Tats, at RecordBar tonight, debut their album Ions"

In September, during an interview, the members of Temp Tats tried to put their music into words, calling it "prog-soul" and "spastic R&B." Listening to the foursome's debut release, Ions, out today, I'd say their descriptions were accurate.

Recorded by Jorge Arana (of the similarly experimental Jorge Arana Trio), Ions plays out like a Ritalin-abusing kid's hyperactive fusion of sounds. Smooth jazz drumming spirals into keyboard notes that sound soft and build into something riotous. Lead singer Eric Schuman has a tenor that floats above the chords, mostly chill except for the occasional metal-like scream ("Cinnamon Spices"). It makes for a listen that is usually groovy and constantly surprising.

You can stream the whole album here or download it for yourself on the band's BandCamp. - Natalie Gallagher

"Introducing the weird and wonderful Temp Tats, whose music doesn't fit any one box"

The members of the year-old Temp Tats are not used to talking about their band. They sit side by side, the four of them crammed onto 27-year-old bassist Chris Paul's couch in his Shawnee home, sipping beers and occasionally eyeing the TV. The game has been switched off, but Paul's eyes dart toward it now and then as he wonders when he can resume watching the Royals beat the Twins. It's a Tuesday night, the band's weekly practice and hang time, and though I'm welcome, it's clear that my presence is a puzzlement to these four young men.

This is in stark contrast to a few moments ago, when I was eavesdropping on run-throughs of "Astroid Rage" and "Piercing Tongues." In the tiny room, the four Temp Tats delivered a confident, idiosyncratic sonic experience. Guitarist and lead singer Eric Schuman, 25, spun his usual webs of complicated guitar chords. His brother, keyboardist Joel Schuman, 28, echoed his precision with vibrant, jazz-rooted scales. (He also plays with the Waldo Jazz Collective.) Drummer Luke Waye, 26, was constantly in motion, building bridges from one sound to another as the band melded math rock, jazz and R&B.

"I called it spastic R&B at one point, and we liked that," Joel tells me. "Or, like, prog soul."

"We never really talked about what kind of stuff we wanted to play at all," Eric says. "I don't even think we really heard it until we went to record everything and were able to kind of sit back and listen to it."

He's referring to Temp Tats' debut, Ions, which the band plans to release in November. Jorge Arana — of the similarly experimental prog-jazz group Jorge Arana Trio — handled that recording in his studio.

"They were super-easy to work with, well-rehearsed — it went really fast," Arana says. "I feel like they're the closest that we have here to, like, art songs for rock bands. I feel like here's a bit of a cross-inspiring going on right now between them, us and [prog-rock band] Riala. We're the closest bands to each other, though we all sound different and have a different vibe. Temp Tats has a really good sense of melodies and rhythms. They have the most pop sensibility, but they do it in a way that's very unexpected. Eric — I think he's probably my favorite songwriter in town at the moment."

Eric explains that, while the guitar parts and lyrics are his, he considers every song a collaborative effort.

"I generally write songs and then just bring my parts to the band," Eric says. "I don't really tell anybody what to do or give them much direction. Everybody is completely involved with their own part — they're not playing a part that someone else wrote for them or something like that, so they can kind of expand it however they want."

When I suggest that this style of songwriting could lead very easily to a tone-deaf mess, Eric laughs. "We don't avoid cacophony," he tells me. "There's a lot of confusion."

While his bandmates snicker at his word choice, I consider Eric's position. The three songs on the demo tape that he has passed to me — a preview, he says, of Ions — indeed suggest four members with varying positions and backgrounds, but the results aren't really befuddling. There are a few purposely discordant notes — impulses left over from Waye and Eric's previous band, a prog-punk act called Ambulants — and songs push well past the four-minute mark most of the time ("Slackjaw" stretches past seven), but these elements add up to sophistication. This is a band that could fit as easily in a jazz club as it does in a rock venue.

The secret weapon here is Eric's voice, a smooth tenor with just enough power to muscle through the layers of other sounds. His moody, introspective lyrics — though not the centerpiece of any song, they aren't throwaways — are delivered with the assured nonchalance of a singer who has been at this awhile. This is what Arana means, and what elevates Temp Tats above an instrumental outfit with a nominal singer.

"Kansas City has a lot of really great talent, but as far as originality, it's hard to match those guys," Arana says. "Especially because they do it in a way that makes their music very approachable. They have really nice melodies and very kind-of-catchy grooves. It's one thing to make really weird music that pushes people away, but it's another to make weird music that's hard not to enjoy." - Natalie Gallagher

"Album review: Temp Tats - Ions"

Temp Tats describe themselves as “somewhat spastic R&B.” I don’t think a better description of this sound could possibly be put into words. Their debut release, Ions, was released on December 14. In my own words, this album is confusing, poetic, psychedelic R&B. As soon as you get into the groove of any given track, it spins you around leaving you to wonder how you got there. You just sit and groove and try to find the root of the song you were just so into. WHOA. WHAT JUST HAPPENED?

The opening track to Ions is “Laser Lites.” Luke Waye’s sweet and smooth spirals are our anchor as we swoon over Eric Schuman’s vocals. “In the most perfect worst way” is the lyric that takes us out of the track over Chris Paul’s psychedelic guitar. Chris nails this sound, not overpowering. It sucks you in and leaves you tipsy. This track, while very good and currently stuck in my head, is not indicative of Ions.

The most interesting track, in my humble fan’s opinion, is “Cinnamon Spices.” This track was recorded by the locally famed Jorge Arana. If there is a genre for this sound, he might be the king of it. The track opens gently: Joel Schuman tickles the keys, you prepare for some sweet R&B. Luke layers cymbals underneath. Chris drops out and gives Eric some space for his smooth stylings. Eric takes you away with one poetic, run-on, beatnik sentences that you completely agree with. About halfway through the track, closing the second verse, something happens that changes everything. Wait for it, “no. NO. NO. AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!” Eric lets out a metal wail. What? And that introduces the second half of this track that just turns into a guitar and keyboard explosion. It left me dazed, wobbly, and out of control.

My favorite track on Ions is “Slackjaw.” Let me be honest here, because it’s sexy and it makes me feel things. The fusion of every rule they break is so good. I’m exhausted listening to Luke. This track is nothing without his intensity. Joel’s keys seem to be placed just perfectly, they mellow out the magic chaos Luke and Chris are creating. The part that makes me feel things, Eric’s tenor and his lyrics on this track. His I-don’t-care, but-my-heart-is-broken, but “I am counting down the days until the next jailbreak” confidence. Gets me.

Fun Fact about Temp Tats: two of the members—Luke Waye and Eric Schuman—were the founding fathers of a little band called Ambulants. Self-described as grunge/jazz, they shared a few shows and a split 7” with the Jorge Arana Trio. That sound still resonates a bit, breaking rules and leaving me a little shaky, but in a much better way. Well done. I cannot wait to catch this party live. I’ll double up on my Ritalin dose when I get home. - Jessica Barrett

"Which of these acts was your favorite KC post-rock act of 2015?"


3% 13 votes

14% 59 votes
Temp Tats

29% 123 votes
Via Luna

41% 175 votes
Walking Oceans

2% 10 votes
The Widows Ride

9% 39 votes
This poll will end on February 13, 2016

Insulting other bands in the poll is very uncool - and will jinx your chances of rock stardom.

P.S. Cheaters are Losers! - The Deli KC


-Ions (Released November 2015)