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What's the worst part about being "indie"? "The talent scouts banging down your door every day. But seriously, being filed under any genre inevitably lumps you in with some other music that has nothing to do with what you do. ... But I can think of worse things to be called." — Andrew Connor, lead singer and guitarist
The Republic Tigers
Sound: "The never-before-attempted combination of acoustic and electric. Kind of like rap and rock, or rock T-shirts on country singers, or jalapeños and ice cream. Wet trousers of all kinds for all ages." Origin: Kansas City, Missouri, 2006
What have you done for us lately? Released debut full-length Keep Color, toured with Travis, played The Late Show With David Letterman, scored a radio hit with "Buildings and Mountains."
What's the worst part about being "indie"? Not knowing exactly what that word means. — Kenn Jankowski, lead singer
Fourth of July
Sound: Celebratory folk-pop
Origin: Lawrence, 2001
What have you done for us lately? Recorded a new album, then rerecorded it to make it sound better; made some delightful videos; cultivated short shorts and facial hair.
What's the worst part about being "indie"? Having Pitchfork Media write that your band "isn't as good as the Weakerthans."
The Sailor Sequence
Sound: Digital post-rock, melodic
Origin: Olathe and Lawrence, 2006
What have you done for us lately? Released a new EP called 5, opened for Coalesce's CD-release show, appeared on a poster in an episode of One Tree Hill
What's the worst part about being "indie"? "Being stereotyped as a certain sound. We've always tried to develop our own unique sound, pulling ideas from lots of different places." — David Noffsinger, singer and keyboardist
The People's Liberation Big Band
Sound: 1930s swing with modern-day zing
Origin: Kansas City, Missouri, 2006
What have you done for us lately? Composed an original score to Sergei Eisenstein's classic Battleship Potemkin for International Workers' Day (May 1, 2009).
What's the glue that holds you together? "Boulevard Beer" — Brad Cox, founder and chief composer
The Jazz Disciples
Sound: Modern jazz with a Pendergast-era flair
Origin: Kansas City, Missouri, 1994
What have you done for us lately? Free jam every Monday night at the Blue Room
What's the glue that holds you together? "The music: modern swing, cool, bebop, avant-garde and post-hop." — Gerald Dunn, co-founder, saxophonist
Sound: Brain-tickling freak jazz
Origin: Kansas City, Missouri, 2003
What have you done for us lately? Released a new album featuring a ditty called "13 men, two women, one crying baby and nine tracks of pure improv."
What's the glue that holds you together? "A deep appreciation of experimental and improvisational music" — Mark Southerland, band leader and saxophonist
Sound: Feel-good party music for people aged 1 to 101
Origin: Kansas City, Missouri, 2007
What have you done for us lately? Each of the shows is a spontaneous interplay among instruments, samplers and crowd preference.
What's the glue that holds you together? "John Brewer and I had worked for many years as sidemen in jazz, hip-hop, world, and funk bands as well as leading our own groups. We share a similar vision and diverse background that led us to experimenting as a duo covering all of the instruments." — Brandon Draper, drummer and composer
The McFadden Brothers
Sound: Tapdance-y contemporary jazz with a dash of old-school New Orleans
Origin: Kansas City, Missouri, 1980s
What have you done for us lately? Brothers Lonnie and Ronald starred in Sons of a Hoofer, a documentary about what it means to be kin to tapdancing legend Jimmy McFadden.