Sometimes success arises when you least expect it.
That’s what Tim Ellis discovered after releasing “Million,” the inaugural recording by his band Outsides.
“I was a bit surprised at the attention it got,” he said, “and definitely didn’t expect it to get picked up by radio.”
“Million” was released in June. Ellis said it was put together with some haste so he’d have music to sell online and at shows.
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“I basically had a batch of demos and about 12 or 14 of them picked for an album,” he said. “We ended up deciding to put an EP out while we worked on the LP and wanted to use songs that weren’t on the album.
“I basically just took my demos and cleaned them up, had them mastered and released just to have something to put out. It was sort of under the radar at first and then kind of started hitting with radio.”
That radio attention includes stations near and far.
“The Buzz (local station KRBZ) and specifically (program director) Lazlo have been playing our single ‘Just Curious,’” Ellis said. “And so has John Richards at KEXP in Seattle and at WLUW in Chicago.”
To keep the irons hot, Outsides released videos for “Just Curious” and “It’s Gonna Be Alright” that include only lyrics. The band just finished an official video for “Just Curious,” shot and directed by Turner Biaetto, who runs Little Leo Productions in Kansas City. That video is to be released soon.
“Turner recently released the film ‘The Field,’ which I loved,” Ellis said. “Our keyboardist, Bronson (Kistler), did the soundtrack for that film, and that’s sort of how we made the connection.”
“Just Curious” and “It’s Gonna Be Alright” are both dreamy ballads bathed in synthesizers, buttered with harmonies and girded with dance beats — the kind of traits that get a band compared to acts like Passion Pit, M83, Toro Y Moi and Phoenix.
To enhance its sound, Outsides recently added a fourth member, bassist Ian Shea, who joins drummer Ryan Shank in the rhythm section.
“Ian sings, too, so we’ve been incorporating three-part harmonies live to add a bit more texture to our live shows,” Ellis said.
They will have plenty of opportunities to show off those harmonies and textures, starting Saturday night, when the band headlines a show at the RecordBar, 1020 Westport Road, presented by the Buzz, an honor usually bestowed on national touring bands.
“We’ll be touring a bit in October, to New York and back for CMJ (College Media Journal’s annual festival), though we don’t have an official showcase there,” Ellis said, “and then down to Austin around Halloween weekend.”
All this momentum hasn’t altered his perspective or expectations, said Ellis, who flirted with big success with his previous band, Skybox.
“It really hasn’t changed much,” Ellis said. “The things that were important to me still are: never getting comfortable, constantly working, making personal connections with people.
“In some ways it’s just affirmed what I always thought: If people really connect with what you do and what you have to say, it can transcend the sort of mire of expectation and fear and success or failure and everything, really.”
In April 2013, when it marked its 25th anniversary, Mudhoney released “Vanishing Point,” its ninth studio album and first in five years. Not much changed over that quarter of a century: Mudhoney remains as steadfastly disinterested in fashions and trends, and is as committed to pessimism and contrarianism as it was when it burst forth amid the grunge revolution. From the Pitchfork review of the album: “‘Vanishing Point’ is a righteous rallying cry in favor of cynicism, irony, anti-mainstream posturing and all of those other antiquated concepts that have been deconstructed and discredited in these new, pop-obsessed times.”
Saturday night, Mudhoney headlines a show at the Riot Room, 4048 Broadway. The bill also includes two Kansas City bands who like to raise a subversive ruckus: Bummer and Folkicide. Doors open at 8 p.m. Admission to the 21-and-older show is $20.
Tuesday is halfway to Mardi Gras, so it’s time for the annual Kansas City Blues Society Skinny Tuesday Pub Crawl. Six venues and seven bands will participate in the event from 7 to 11 p.m. Tickets are $20 and are available at all venues: the Well, 7421 Broadway; 75th Street Brewery, 520 W. 75th St.; Westport Saloon, 4112 Pennsylvania Ave.; Danny’s Big Easy, 1601 E. 18th St.; BB’s Lawnside BBQ, 1205 E. 85th St.; and Knuckleheads, 2715 Rochester. Performers: Linda Shell and the Blues Thang; Crosseyed Cat; Coyote Bill’s Boogie Band; the Barrio; Ernest James Zydeco; and the Bel-Airs with the Amanda Fish Circus. Buses will be available to ferry pub crawlers from one venue to the next. For more information, go to KCBluesSociety.org.
Outsides performs Saturday night at the RecordBar, 1020 Westport Road. Is Paris Burning and Admiral of the Red are also on the bill. Show time is 9 p.m. Tickets to the 18-and-older show are $9.65.