It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
All day and into the night tomorrow, music lovers will gallivant around St. Louis, visiting record stores, drinking beer, listening to live music, laughing with buddies, and snatching up glorious, special edition pieces of wax from record stores the city over for this once-a-year springtime event called Record Store Day.
Our music community comes alive on Record Store Day. There are quite literally parties on the sidewalk and in the streets. People sing and dance. They bring their cameras and their wallets. It’s magical.
Being a live music-focused blog, and with lots of local and several touring acts setting up to get down on RSD, we developed a handy printable guide to help you plan your day. Below, you’ll find performance schedules for events at Vintage Vinyl, Euclid Records, Dead Wax, Apop Records, and even Slackers! Print out one or several of these and share them with your pals. We’ll see ya out there!
One of STL’s most dance-able, resident electro-piano pop outfits, Kid Scientist, landed the supporting spot for this evening. And they are pumped up, as evidenced by this cute-as-hell, sitcom-style promo video that we think you all need to see.
Tickets are still available for the show and KidSci kicks off the evening at 8pm (doors at 7). Until then, you can listen and download the band’s EP on Bandcamp.
Have you ever met someone who cheated death? I had an aunt who claimed she’d almost died one time in a freak high-tension power line accident and her near-death experience made her a total badass for years. She gave no fucks, and would just throw herself into everything she did, never wasting a minute of her extra gift-life doing mundane shit like paying her electric bill or applying for credit cards with her own social security number.
Desert Noises are like that, but music. One day they quit, skipped out on missions and door knocking and what all in Utah, hopped in a van and became a band. Their music is melodic and powerful, tinged with the feeling that their freedom is finite and it might all disappear tomorrow.
Friday night, they’re coming to the Blueberry Hill Duck Room to make you feel happy to be young and alive, and if you’ll RT or leave us a comment, you’ll be entered for one of two pairs of tickets to the show. It could change your life!
Blueberry Hill Duck Room
$10 in advance, $12 at the door
Doors at 8, show at 9.
One of the good things about living and listening in St. Louis right now is that there’s always one (okay, many) quality local acts that you’ve yet to discover. Recently, Brian McClelland of Blip Blap Video — and Middle Class Fashion…and Tight Pants Syndrome…and Whoa Thunder…and more… — bent my ear about a project he worked on with Rulers, the name given to Brian Wiegert’s solo psych rock outfit.
IWTAS is proud to premier Rulers’ video for “The Perks”, a sprightly little jammer off Wiegert’s upcoming double album release, Rulers II. The concept is sunny and a little silly, perfect for the spring weather we’re surely going to fall into soon.
The impetus for the creation of Rulers II was organic enough. When Brian and his wife found out they were pregnant with a wee Wiegert in early 2012, he wanted to record as many of the song he had written and had ready to go as a part of the family’s preparations, knowing that free time to play music would be limited once the baby arrived.
The double album, additionally titled Rulers in Paradise/Rulers in Blood, doesn’t shy away from almost any genre. Fans will hear everything from piano pop to speed metal, says Wiegert.
Rulers’ fearlessness should certainly make for a dynamic and worthwhile release show, which Wiegert is putting on at Plush this Saturday, April 16th. Support is being provided by Kevin Buckley’s always excellent Grace Basement and Patrick Eagan of Royal Smokestacks and our beloved, semi-defunct Monads. Show details for the Plush release are as follows:
Double Album Release Party/One-time Only Live Performance by RULERS
Pat Eagan: 9p
Grace Basement: 10p
$7, Ages 18+
Here in St. Louis, cool weekend club shows are special, since nationally-touring acts generally pass through town during the week. Not to go all adulting on you, but there are few moments more powerful than the promise of a catharsis at the end of a more-trying-than-usual workweek/lifeweek. For many of us, Friday night’s show at the Firebird was the fresh light at the end of a kinda shitty tunnel.
Touring in support of their latest album, Atlas [WHICH IS GORGEOUS, GO BUY IT], Real Estate loaded onto the stage like a band with 3 hit records. They played beautifully, the lead guitar just as melodic and important as the lead vocals and every song possessed an intense heart that swelled and ached. Had I not been listening to Atlas obsessively since its release, I would have been shocked at the tone change from chill suburban house-party band to subdued rumination steeped in wisdom, slightly wistful introspection on the rapid passage of time.
Stage dressing was deceptively simple: six panels of white mounted as backdrop to the band picked up washes of color specific to each song, and fans blew white smoke across them like fast-moving clouds. The dreamy psychedelic visuals weren’t escapist, they were grounding, and sadly, had it been a weeknight, I think the crowd would have been more into listening than chatting with their friends.
An aside: between songs, Real Estates’ perfunctory stage banter sounded bored and forced, and maybe just don’t? Indie rock has a proud tradition of not bothering with banter, and I don’t know why Real Estate felt the need to buck that, because they clearly weren’t enjoying the effort, and the audience felt real awkward answering questions like, “Do you like breakfast?”
P.S. Dear Pure X: What the hell, man? Your record is AWESOME. Don’t hide that shit. The midwest can handle the real you, I promise. Come back and show us, okay? And I’m not saying it was bad at all, but we were expecting a wicked juxtaposition between you and Real Estate, and instead, we kinda got two sets of Real Estate. We ain’t mad atcha, but do come back.
Super special thanks for photographer badass Jess Luther. Check out all her Friday night pictures at IWTAS’s Flickr:
It’s 2014. Is carbon fiber more bad-ass than metal? Asking for a friend.
Austin’s UME achieved high honors on a Sunday night at The Firebird: audience members threw devil horns! Granted, my show going trends toward mellow/sad bastard/chamber pop, but I’ve been to some loud shows and yet, I’ve never before noticed anyone spontaneously, unironically and enthusiastically throwing horns at a club show. I know, sucks to be me, but at least I have this one.
Ume barreled through the first few songs, drawing heavily from their new album, Monuments, whirling and thrashing, but then they slooooowed it way down. When the first strains of “Hurricane” ( from 2005′s debut album, Urgent Sea) started, a couple who’d been sitting on a bench hooted, jumped up and ran toward the stage. The Karen O-ey shoe-gaze-y goodness was raw and bloody. And the lyrics!
like a hurricane
please stay safe in my eye
when I pull you like the tides
closer and then far far out
oh I proclaim
hurts the same
Oof! The first pair of devil horns were thrown, and the dude throwin’ didn’t stop drinking his beer as his hand went up.
This is Ume’s third pass through St. Louis (first two times for LouFest in 2011 and then a show at the Firebird three months later, unfortunately during the world series) [CORRECTION: UME has also played Cicero's, Euclid Records, Firebird in 2013 with ...Trail of the Dead, Pops with Foals and Cage the Elephant, and Vintage Vinyl in store on this Sunday afternoon. Wow, when I'm wrong, I'm really wrong! Thanks to Jim Utz in the comments!]. In its pop rockier moments, they are way more Cardigans or Metric than Evanescence, and when they are crawling through the trenches of hard rock and soft metal, it is singular bliss.
Ume performed a Sunday night baptism of lady-fronted cock rock: guitar wailing, hair banging heavy metal moves, and a completely bitchin’ drummer. Their short, no-encore set was timed just right to wrap up by 10:30 so revelers would still be fresh for Monday morning’s grind.
Local openers This City of Takers took the stage promptly at eight and set the tone for the night with their jangly indie rock (and some light metal moves of their own). Do yourself a solid and download their Bandcamp album, because they are entirely worthy. I’d never heard (of) them before last night, but I look forward to catching them again.
Aside: I had a little bit of nervousness about this show going into it. After watching Marnie Stern get all kinds of weird catcalling and inappropriate comments, I was steeling myself for more of the same. Between the opener and Ume, three of the seven people on stage last night were women. Maybe it was because of the small crowd (harder to blame your creepiness on someone else that way), but no objectifying weirdness happened at all. It was refreshing and restorative and I’m not taking it for granted.
A couple of us from IWTAS meandered down to Cherokee street on a brisk Sunday evening as the sun was going down and landed at Dead Wax Records. It’s a warm and inviting little record store brought to you by Casey and Jeremy Miller, Mud House owners, artists, and denizens of most things cool and local in these parts.
Big thanks to Nate Burrell for organizing a perfect end-of-the-weekend show.
You might not know this, but in the mid-to-late nineties, there was an explosion of singer/songwriter ladies who got widespread attention.
Sarah McLachlan, Natalie Merchant, Sheryl Crow, Paula Cole, Tracy Chapman, Fiona Apple, and India Arie were all household names, even in dirt towns of southeastern Missouri, where Korn was king. While I listened to Jewel obsessively, gals like Garrison Starr, Melissa Ferrick, and Catie Curtis were playing house shows and the Village stage at Lilith Fair, staying under the radar, but slowly planting seeds that budded modestly by the time I moved to the big city.
In 2014, when you go to club shows for the b-side ladies of Lilith Fair, you get to see a reunion of sorts. You know Catie Curtis fans by their sensible shoes and signature sassy gray pixie cuts, all the more affecting in a line waiting for entry in the Duck Room on a Friday night. Acoustic singer/songwriter types trend to the authentic (at least the good ones do), thereby incorporating life stages into their music as they go. The last time I saw Catie Curtis play the Duck Room, she and her partner had just adopted their second baby, but she was still wearing leather pants and a baby-doll t-shirt. This time, family banter was all about 9 year olds texting and looking forward to torturing their teenagers and embracing the bittersweet freedom gained when too-cool kids don’t want anything to do with their parents.
I’ve gone to a lot of acoustic shows, and I’ve seen plenty where a member of the band opens for the headliner. Instead of delineating the two as separate acts, though, Jenna Lindbo sang and played banjo for Catie Curtis for awhile, then Catie sat to the side and had a glass of wine while Lindbo sang her own songs. It was very house show, and I dug it.
Be it stories of throwing a flower into the back of someone’s head on stage at Lilith, or flubbing through a high school arrangement of Proud Mary when forced to stall for a tardy Queen Latifah at Barack Obama’s Inaugural Ball, Catie Curtis is still the master of making sincerity seem cool. Her disarming charm and engaging stage presence will break the dourest cynic in minutes. Add in Jenna Lindbo, whose incandescent earnestness one swears can be seen from space, and you’re in for a wicked face-ache from a big dopey smile. Percussionist (sitting on her cajón), Louisiana’s Liz Barnet brought a warm centering calm that glued the trio together.
Sixty some-odd ladies (and a few guys here and there) gathered to glean some of Catie Curtis’ life lessons, and walked away with two big ones: adversity can’t be bigger than the character that adversity creates, and the implicit permission to celebrate the beat of a different drum.
Last Thursday, the Lonely Wild and the Apache Relay co-headlined Old Rock House. It was a nice night; the cold weather had broken and snow was melting all over the patio and the moon was out, clear and bright.
I showed up excited to see the Apache Relay. The title track of their 2011 album has been swimming around in my head for weeks. Late into the evening the guys delivered a warm and relaxed performance to a mostly empty room, which was my/your/our fault and not theirs. If their set was any indication, the new record the band is putting out in late April (available for preorder now) is going to be pretty wonderful. Photo evidence below:
The Lonely Wild just blew me away. I highly recommend listening to their recorded work, which is subtle and smart and pretty. I insist, though, that you go see the group live next time they’re here. These folks went from a quiet, thoughtful folk band to hard rockers and everywhere in between during their 45 minutes. There were harmonies, there was ragin’, there were moments of utter catharsis. Again, DO go see the Lonely Wild live; you won’t regret it. Pictures:
A couple weeks back, Beth Bombara, along with Kit Hamon, Karl Eggers, JJ Hamon, and Corey Woodruff, headlined Off Broadway on a Wednesday night. Nashville crooner Samantha Harlow provided the honky tonk element for the evening and St. Louis up-and-comers Jenny and the Late Nite started the evening off proper.
Full photo set available here.