Record Store Day is a music lover’s Major Religious Holiday. In St. Louis, we worship at the churches of Apop, Vintage, and Euclid, this year on the 20th of April. Schlafly, PBR, New Belgium, and Urban Chestnut will lead us beside hop-infused waters. Live, street-side performances by our favorite local bands will restore our souls. Once again, IWTAS brings you the highlights…
VV is St. Louis’ musical house on a hill, and Jim Utz is its master. This RSD, Vintage brings us a Goliath of a Saturday, including DJ sets by STL scenesters and featuring showcases for Tower Groove Records at 11am and FarFetched Records at 3pm, buttressed by performances from Bruiser Queen and the Incurables – and oh yeah – Josh freaking Ritter (solo acoustic) in between said showcases. Schlafly and Monster Energy along with Heavy Riff Brewing provide the beverages; you bring your money and spend it on wax.
10:30am – The Chainsaw Gentleman
11am – Tower Groove Records Showcase w/ Kisser, Beth Bombara, and Accelerando
12pm – Bruiser Queen
1pm – Josh Ritter
2pm – The Incurables
3pm – FarFetched Records Showcase w/ Mathias & The Pirates, Scripts N Screwz, Thelonious Kryptonite, Adult Fur, and CaveOfSwords
4pm – Brothers Lazaroff
5pm – Black Spade
5:30pm – Beat Street feat. Da Fly D-Ex, G-Wiz, DJ Alejan, DJ Needles, and DJ B-Money
Euclid’s using RSD 2013 to celebrate its last year at 601 E. Lockwood before moving to a different street in Webster, 19 N. Gore. And celebrate they will, with a crazy good, 3-day live performance schedule. Highlights include all of Friday night, starting with a happy hour Troubadour Dali set (5pm), then an early Bo and the Locomotive performance (noon on Saturday) followed by a one-two Sleepy Kitty (6pm) and Bottle Rockets (7pm) punch. Euclid will wind down its RSD live performances with a loooud Sunday evening featuring Yowie at 5pm. Oh and PBR’s the brand gettin’ you drunk there this weekend.
Friday, April 19th
5pm – Troubadour Dali
6pm – The Vanilla Beans
7pm – Black James
8pm – Adult Fur
Saturday, April 20th
11am – The Jungle Fire
12pm – Bo and The Locomotive
1pm – Fumer
2pm – née
3pm – Cotton Mather
4pm – The Love Experts
5pm – The Jans Project
6pm – Sleepy Kitty
7pm – The Bottle Rockets
Sunday, April 21st
12pm – The Deciders
1pm – Superhero Killer
2pm – CaveofswordS
3pm – Dibiase
4pm – Karate Bikini
5pm – Yowie
Cherokee darling Apop Records is advertising their RSD celebration as “RAW, wild, and completely unstoppable”. Will it live up to its name? Last year, it was a party in the street for real though – brick throwing (not sure about that choice), dancing, merrymaking, and a bunch of orange construction fencing to keep the bands somewhat in the right place (a challenge indeed). The backyard was this weird, wonderful oasis of beer and grass and extended, beer-lubricated conversations with friends and strangers. Apop’s live performance line-up is noisy and raucous and ambient and *different*. Check out The Brainstems especially, and might we suggest attending the 7:30 Black James set as the sun goes down. Show up for the experience, stay for the New Belgium, PBR, Schlafly, and [new sponsor!] Urban Chestnut.
12pm – Wax Fruit
12:40pm – NRML PPL
1:20pm – Broken Prayer
2:00pm – Bad Dates
2:40pm – Grand Inquisitor
3:20pm – Redemer
4pm – Trauma Harness
4:40pm – Brainstems
5:20pm – Union Electric
6pm – Ou Où
6:40pm – Lumpy and the Dumpers
7:20pm – Black James
8:00pm – Shaved Women
Wondering what to do *after* gallivanting about the Metro area all day? Thirsty for more music and camaraderie? IWTAS has two great options for post-RSD daytime activities:
First up, Off Broadway is hosting a show (and an outdoor, ‘local booths selling local wares’ thing) for Extension Chord Records, a new St. Louis label that’s debuting itself with the release of two 7″ singles (streaming below) and the promotion of three more local 7″s (these are on Rankoutsider, though). Over half a dozen bands – The Union Electric, Beth Bombara, Town Cars, my new favorite 3 of 5, The May Day Orchestra, Tenement Ruth, Red Squad, Jeremy Joyce, AND The Chainsaw Gentlemen – will entertain you for 5 bucks.
Let us know forget, however, that The Heavy Anchor bar and venue is turning 2 years old, and they’re celebrating with a metal/doom/hardcore/generally awesome/totally free show on Saturday. WILL THERE BE NO END TO THE FUN WE CAN HAVE THIS WEEKEND?!!! The line-up for Heavy Anchor’s bee-day show includes Jack Buck, Fister, Everything Went Black, and The Lion’s Daughter. Basically, if loud and wild and dark is your bag, this a stacked show and you shouldn’t miss it.
If you’re still reading this, I thank and applaud you. My eyes are tired now. We’ll see y’all Saturday.
On the upcoming Grace Basement album, Wheel within a Wheel, virtuoso fiddler Kevin Buckley hones in less on opulent instrumentation and more on arrangements and songwriting through the eyes of a Midwesterner (a craft in which Buckley is more than well-versed). The couple tracks from the record that I’ve heard are affecting, deliberate, judicious. Wheel within a Wheel features some new originals and a smattering of carefully curated familiar tunes. The concept was simple enough: Buckley, searching for a way to organize his creative process, sat down and wrote a song a day for 3 weeks. Some of those songs made their way to the new record, and Buckley enlisted the help of a talented cast of St. Louis musicians: longtime collaborator Ian Walsh and guitar behemoth David Anderson, along with Bob Briedenbach, Eileen Gannon, Alan Murray, Greg Lamb, Dan Lowery, Jill Aboussie, Chris Weddle, and Theresa Hermann. Preview two tracks from Wheel within a Wheel below, and check out my interview with Kevin Buckley after the jump.
[Note: Grace Basement has a mere $600 bucks left to reach their Kickstarter goal. I'm not trying to sell y'all anything, but there will be just 300 pieces of vinyl made of this album, and wouldn't it be neat to own a square in the ever-expanding quilt that is modern St. Louis music history? Think about it.]
You’ve traveled all over the world playing music. I was wondering if you’d tell us a bit about a particularly interesting person or people you’ve encountered along the way, and how they affected you in the short or long term as an artist.
I’ve come across some amazing people over the years in a variety of seemingly odd situations; a really skilled country blues singer/guitarist in the French Alps who could barely speak English; a hotel roommate-Buddhist-priest-claw-hammer-open-tuned-guitarist. House concerts put on by hard-drinking medieval Catholic sects. A blind guy in Winnepeg made me a sandwich at 4 in the morning once. We played a Grace Basement gig in Shreveport a while ago and Chloe Sevigny was there for some reason, definitely not to see us I can tell you. I crashed at a house where I’m pretty sure they were breeding and training pit bulls to kill people, like traveling musicians. I could go on and on.
Bringing it back home, how much or how little does St. Louis – culturally, structurally, etc. – influence your songwriting?
I find myself more and more looking to the city and region for inspiration. There’s a deep and rich musical history here, not all of it may be what people want to accept or view as trendy, but I’m digging my heels in and embracing the wonderful things that St. Louis represents. This is a blues, country, jazz, and classic rock town with a good dose of bluegrass, Irish, and old time. Can’t forget our hip hop…I remember seeing a bad-ass Nelly video in Ireland and being like, “Yeah, I’m from there.” They could tell I was from the streets. We also have a wonderful symphony orchestra. With all the Bosnian and Mexican immigrants, I’m very interested to see what happens in the next generation. Anyway, add in some 60s British Invasion and that’s where I’m coming from, though not in that particular order. The next record will delve into the sound of St. Louis even more…
You have a longstanding weekly gig at McGurk’s in Soulard (my neighborhood, as it happens). That lovely and traditional Irish pub brings in all types of folks. Got any stories of note from your time there?
In terms of playing in bars, I’ve seen it all, except for homicide. Although I’ve had homicidal urges from time to time towards annoying drunks, you realize these are places where people are supposed to cut loose and act crazy. It’s cathartic and releases many people’s inner exhibitionist [tendencies]. Maybe they don’t like their job or life kinda sucks, but they can drink a few beers, dance around and mingle. McGurk’s is a fantastic place to play and see music, although it may be perceived as more of a weekend hot spot. My weekly Monday night gig with Ian Walsh and early week days are quiet and you can really enjoy the music in a very intimate setting. Weekends are fun because you have to put on the entertainer hat and draw an audience in, sell some beer and make people happy.
Folks come down, not necessarily for a specific band, but knowing there’s live music and good times. There’s no pretense of a concert, so people just walk up to you while you’re playing, request songs or just want to say hi. They really don’t care who you are and that anonymity can be very freeing. By the end of a good night, every one is very appreciative and that is sweet. It’s instant gratification in many ways, playing bar gigs, but it also requires lots of patience and a thick skin. I’ve played in bars all over the world and it’s always frustrating to see a really great performance ignored by a noisy crowd. It is suffice to say that songwriters and musicians all strive to play rooms where they have the audience’s undivided attention, so stage concerts are definitely the pinnacle.
You’re a multi-instrumentalist who has single-handedly recorded full albums on your own in the past. What are the advantages of adding more musician friends into the mix for this upcoming record?
Well, I can do a handful of things well enough to get by in the studio, but it’s nice to make the instrumental pallet bigger. Every musician has a unique voice and style and I am fortunate enough to know a lot of players, so I can get the right person for the job. I played much of the music on this record, but almost each song features another musician or instrument under a little spotlight; I didn’t play any solos on this record (except for some fiddle on “The Almoner”). Instead, I focused my efforts on singing, playing acoustic guitar, and arranging. For instance, “Water Flowing over a Mountain” prominently features Chris Weddle’s bodhran (Irish drum) and “An Apple Will Do” has Bob Briedenbach and David Anderson trading some licks. I should also note that this is the first time I’ve had other people singing – Jill Aboussie, Theresa Hermann (my cousin), Alan Murray, and Dan Lowery. I play with Murray and Lowery at Mcgurk’s and in Las Vegas as the Bronx Boys and/or Capt. Rock.
Tell us an origin story about the creation of one of the tracks on Wheel within a Wheel.
“The Way to Be” was the first song written in a 21-day songwriting project with fellow musician Joe Kile; 21 songs in 21 days each…that sort of thing. After floundering around for a couple years, I didn’t really have any idea what I wanted to do next, but this one got me back on track. It came together very quickly, written on bass guitar and [it] introduced the simple sound I was looking for. It’s one of my favorite songs to sing as well.
Speaking of the record, you’re running a Kickstarter to fund its release. Update us on progress of the campaign and some of the rewards fans can expect if they support the album this way.
From the beginning, this album was crafted to spin on a record a player, and I thought it would be cool to only make 300 and move on. It’s just more special and unique. However, even a short run of 300 is really expensive, so I decided to try this Kickstarter thing out.
I have no idea what to expect and it’s quite stressful to put yourself out there in such a way. Currently halfway through the campaign, I’ve got about 77% of the funds raised. My goal is quite modest considering all the costs that have incurred. I’m basically funding the material portion of the release….the actual records and CDs, that way backers can actually get something real for their money. So, there’s the album in a variety of formats, but I’ve also included some other goodies: a b-side called “Glass”, which didn’t make it on the album but does not lack in quality; a little CD of three covers by Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Tom Waits……a few popular numbers people might like to hear new versions of. I’m also throwing in the Broke Up Man 7” from a previous Record Store Day – there’s only a few of those left in the world. I have some other limited items – test pressings, unreleased recordings, original artwork (those are all gone now), house concerts, recording time at my studio, Avonmore, and a deal on music lessons. In other words, anything you could possibly want or need.
We’re a live music-focused blog. What should our readers expect at the May 3rd Record Release at Off Broadway?
This will be the biggest Grace Basement ensemble ever. I’ve usually gone lean and mean, which resulted in very straight ahead rock shows. I’m hoping to emphasize more sonic variety and take advantage of the pool of talent. We’ll play the new record and several songs from the upcoming record as well as a few little surprises. It should range from solo acoustic numbers to a string band sound to loud rock and roll. Cassie Morgan and the Lonely Pine open.
Lineup for the Grace Basement Release:
– Ian Walsh – fiddle and mandolin
– David Anderson – guitar and pedal steel
– Greg Lamb – bass, vocals
– Jill Aboussie – drums, vocals
– Kaleb Kirby – drums
– Maureen Sullivan – vocals, piano
– Jesse Irwin – vocals, guitar
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Futurebirds twice in St. Louis as the Athens, GA band found their footing with their debut full-length Hampton’s Lullaby. At Cicero’s a couple years back, they played to a crowd full of folks there almost exclusively to see our hometown dudes and lady, The Dive Poets. And damn it if those shaggy Southerners didn’t line up across the front of the stage (one of them in a pair of 90s-style Umbros) and get us moving. You’ll love Futurebirds if you like earnestness, fun, and rock n’ roll. The best part? The band is releasing their second album this month, Baba Yaga.
Futurebirds are back in St. Louis on Friday, this time with the equally formidable Whigs, and the fine guys of The Firebird gave us a pair of tickets, which we want to give to a lucky IWTAS fan. All you need to do is leave us a comment here or on the corresponding Facebook post by Friday at noon for a chance to win.
Event details here. Good luck, y’all!
So you’ve been to The Demo by now, right? Raised stage, great sound system, room to dance, and you can see the stage from anywhere in the place. If you’ve not yet experienced its awesome, Monday night will be an excellent point to do so. Chicago/Minneapolis dream pop act On An On is playing, along with Royal Canoe (they start opening for Fol Chen in Chicago the next day) and local sweethearts Dots Not Feathers.
What once was Scattered Trees has morphed into the music equivalent of a giant pink Peep, and it’s definitely that time of the year. Go getcha some. Tickets $10, $3 minor surcharge. IWTAS has a pair of tickets plus two signed posters to give away, so leave a comment or give us a retweet, chickies. Random winners will be picked on Saturday at 2 pm.
Last Wednesday, Off Broadway hosted Milwaukee’s Field Report with Cleveland’s Shivering Timbers. The small crowd was treated to quite possibly the most adorable thing we’ll see on that stage all year – Jayson and Sarah Benn of Shivering Timbers’ daughter seated on stage playing toy piano and percussion alongside her parents with a kiddie cocktail in one hand and a small bag of Skittles in the other. Warm was the feeling that predominated the evening, beginning with ST’s sweeping, gorgeous and occasionally dark folk rock.
Christopher Porterfield’s Field Report wove a moving live set from their self-titled debut. At one point Porterfield ditched any of the half dozen or so guitars set up on stage and told us he was taking us to church, and then went full gospel preacher with a stunning, stripped down rendition of “Fergus Falls” (or was it “I Am Not Waiting Anymore”…that hole in my memory is both embarrassing and puzzling and can be explained by an extended happy hour leading up to the concert). As a performer, Porterfield switches between the persona of an old pro and a guy who can’t believe anyone showed up to see him. Either way, his sincerity legitimizes the depth of feeling wrought from the record. Field Report is a serious and calculated band, and one whose time is right now. Photos from the night below.
2011 gifted us with a breakout year for artists like St. Vincent, tUnE-yArDs, and other “nontraditional” female musicians who delighted and confounded even the most discerning 25 year-old male music critic. 2012 brought the heat, as Japandroids reclaimed rock n roll for the dudes and made our ears ring. So 2013 might very well turn out to be a hybrid of the two prior years, with brilliant, strong-yet-sensitive types who excel in precision, lyricism, and restraint. Highlights include baby genius Night Beds, an already acclaimed new record from Josh Ritter, and now, a year of touring for Field Report behind their late 2012 self-titled full length (Partisan), who take to the Off Broadway stage tomorrow night.
Don’t make the mistake of shelving Christopher Portfield’s project in your Sad Guy in a Cabin Music Section (though to be fair, Portfield played alongside Justin Verson and some of the Megafaun dudes way back in that one band that everyone talks about now because it preceded Bon Iver). Field Report’s hocking some seriously lucid storytelling here, and the album twists and turns in both tempo and subject matter masterfully.
Also of note: Cleveland, OH duo (sometimes trio) Shivering Timbers opens the show. I’ve seen these fine folks play in their hometown as part of a music and design conference; hat tip to STL photographer Nate Burrell for the introduction.
Learn more and RSVP to tomorrow’s Field Report w/ Shivering Timbers concert here. We’ll be back later with a full review + pics. Don’t sleep on this one, pals.
The second installment of our new TWOFER feature spotlights a couple fully local shows that might not be on your radar yet: Dinofight!’s CD Release Party at Off Broadway and Horsey Drawers/Fussy Balloon/Picture Day at Mangia.
The Dinofight! show is going to rule for a myriad of reasons, starting with the stellar supporting line-up for the evening – ten bucks will get you not only a wild and nutty Dinofight! performance and a copy of their new album…you will also be treating yoself to Bruiser Queen, TOK, and Bass Amp and Dano. It’s going to be so loud and so weird and so very South City. Dinofight! tunes can be found on their FB page, and while you’re at it, sample some sweet and saucy BQ tunes below:
Next up we have the Mangia show feat. Horsey Drawers (a Matt Harnish
joint as far as I know-endorsed musical outfit), a one-night only duo called Fussy Balloon, and Picture Day, a pop band I discovered a year back thanks to Bandcamp (tag yo shit with “St Louis”, St. Louis musicians!) and a single promo email. While I haven’t gotten the chance to see these dudes out yet, have a taste below. I think you’ll be into it if you like pop, rock, guitars, and/or fun:
Also, Mangia is open forever; if you’re torn between which slew of locals to clap for, do what we do at IWTAS: get accidentally drunk enough at the first show to skip down to the second one (safely, with a designated driver or on foot or via public transit).
So on Thursday, give your city a big sloppy hug by supporting the people making music and art in it. Stay up late enough to make new friends. We’ll see ya out there.
This Friday, Joplin, MO’s Me Likes Bees will share the cute little stage at Foam with IWTAS favorite HUMDRUM. If you’re like me and have missed the last [couple] HUMDRUM performance[s]…SHAME ON US. Foam’s a perfectly intimate venue for a snowy, Friday night show. There’s usually a party (music playing) in the front room and business (friends chatting) in the back room.
So I’m listening to Me Like Bees right now and rarely do I sample a wholly unfamiliar band and get way into it. Folks, I am waaaaay into it. They have an EP out and it’s pretty awesome – Modest Mouse with a few less feelings and a bit more rocking.
My favorite track I’ve heard so far, though, can be found here, and it’s called “The Fifteenth Day”.
I caught up with Mic from HUMDRUM about Friday:
What’s the band been up to lately?
Since Gareth moved to LA almost a year ago and founding member Phil Strangmen left the band due to baby making–his son Gabrial was born Feb. 9th–we’ve added two new band members, Andy Benn from the Potomac Accord and Syrhea Conway (AKA Syna So Pro). Syrhea is holding down the bass now, which has freed Dan up to play guitar (his first instrument). Andy is doing a fine job managing some tough keyboard parts in Phil’s absence. The new line-up has reenergized the band. The old songs feel fresh and new again, and the new songs are being filled out with 5-piece arrangements that more closely resemble the recordings we did with Albini last Spring.
We also just recorded a video for the single “All We Need” from the forthcoming 10″ vinyl EP, We Are Electricity.
How’d you end up on this show with Me Like Bees?
Me Like Bees is a band we met our second time playing at the Black Thorn in Joplin. They invited us to come back to Joplin to play with them in September of 2012 and we had a blast! They are a tight band and they’ve been touring a lot lately. For fans of Modest Mouse, MGMT, and well, fun….
Okay then what should be our first drink on Friday, that special cocktail we request just before the music begins?
I would recommend coffee and booze combos for this show so you’ll have energy to party all night.
More info on the Me Like Bees + HUMDRUM concert can be found here. I don’t know if there’s a cover (probably a wee one), but bring cash anyway.
Oh what a night. Samantha Crain and her band of musical dynamos put on a hell of a show last night at Gramophone.
Let’s invite them back soon.
Full photo set here.
Tomorrow night, bring eight dollars at eight o’clock to The Gramophone in the Grove and see Oklahoman folk rock star Samantha Crain release her new album, Kid Face. When I say new, I mean that this album is fresh as hell; Crain’s official release date is Tuesday, February 19th, so she’s spending that special day with her friends and fans in St. Louis. We’re honored.
Kid Face reveals the introspective, mature songwriting capacity that Crain has honed in the limited years since she picked up a guitar at 18. If 2010′s You (Understood) was her foray into rock, then the autobiographical Kid Face is a return to her roots, her home, and herself. The record is at one moment a lilting standard suitable for a Midwestern square dance at the town hall (“Never Going Back”), and a wrenching soundtrack to accompany everyone’s existential crisis the next (“Paint”). On Kid Face, Crain’s message might not be delivered as loud or as fast as it was 2+ years ago, but it’s there for those paying attention, and it’s undoubtedly beautiful.
As a fan who has seen Samantha perform multiple times in St. Louis, expect a show of varying tempo with substantial laughter and a bunch of familiar nods from the crowd. Crain has strong ties to St. Louis and the shows, regardless of venue, boast a “living room” kind of feeling. Don’t expect, however, for her to go easy on that stout little Orange set-up. Girl can rock.
Joe Andert-led Indian Blanket (STL) opens the show. Many of you might remember IB from the sold-out First Aid Kit concert at Firebird last year. Expect sad, pretty things out of these guys and gal, and enjoy Andert’s warm stage presence…he’s a musician who seems to make folks glad they showed up. Word on the Internet is that they’ll be a Crain/Andert duet during IB’s set, so if you love bein’ late as hell to shows, make an exception tomorrow. You can sample a bit of Indian Blanket’s work on Bandcamp. I’m hoping there will be more recordings to share in the near future.
Show details and the chance to RSVP here.