Halloween 2014 Covers Show – Critic’s Pick

October 28, 2014 Leave a comment

princeHalloween 2014 Covers Show
Friday, October 31, 2014
Melt
9 p.m.
free

By Jaime Lees

Halloween is all about dressing up and pretending to be something else, so fittingly, this All Hallows’ Eve will see entire bands dressing up and pretending to be completely different groups. The annual event always brings out a big crowd, and this year it will attempt to fit a large chunk of the south-city music scene (and their costumes) into Melt. The lineup features sets from So Many Dynamos as Devo, Demonlover as Prince, Trauma Harness as Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, the Humanoids as the Damned, Shaved Women as Rudimentary Peni and Mark Willey and friends as Roxy Music. The show also promises unannounced surprise performances and guest stars (including Escalade as an unknown performer). It’s a free show, but just like last year, organizers will be accepting donations for a charity cause at the door.

- link: Riverfront Times

77 Things I’d Rather Do Than Listen to a 77-Song Wilco Rarities Box Set

October 22, 2014 Leave a comment
Alpha Mike Foxtrot, the upcoming Wilco rarities collection.

Alpha Mike Foxtrot, the upcoming Wilco rarities collection.

77 Things I’d Rather Do Than Listen to a 77-Song Wilco Rarities Box Set
By Jaime Lees
Mon., Oct. 20 2014

I have an issue with Wilco. It’s a personal beef. My problem is this: Wilco is considered a Chicago band and the band members encourage this bullshit fallacy.
Wilco is from St. Louis, goddamnit.

See also: Wilco Creates Thunder at LouFest, Dedicates Song to Bob Reuter: Review, Photos and Setlist

Technically, Wilco is from Belleville, Illinois — an odd little town just on the other side of the state line. Belleville does have its own unique history and weirdo arts culture, but it is our next door neighbor. For those not familiar with the regional geography, here’s a little lesson: Belleville is about fifteen miles from St. Louis, but it is around 300 miles away from Chicago. So a Belleville band claiming allegiance to Chicago is about as ridiculous as a band from right outside Los Angeles repping Phoenix, Arizona.

That marker there right next to St. Louis? That's Belleville.

That marker there right next to St. Louis? That’s Belleville.

You could say that I suffer from a common case of St. Louis Inferiority Complex, but I prefer to think of it as a flaming, incurable infection of civic pride. And Windy City, you should know one thing: Wilco has been cheating on you with us. Wilco concerts up north are all “Via Chicago” and talking up some magical silver bean, but when the band plays here it’s all “Casino Queen” and “We used to play at Cicero’s!” and then that hobbit guy sings about the Landing in “Heavy Metal Drummer” and we cheer because, OMG, we’ve been to the Landing, too.

Now, I think Wilco is pretty okay musically. I saw Nels Cline play with Yoko Ono a couple of times and I thought he was freakin’ amazing when he was freed from the confines of dizzy alt-twangover tunes. Some might call Wilco lo-fi “dad rock” or whatever but I like dad rock. I like dads. And on occasion, dads have liked me. (Hey-o!) And I thought the sound diversity on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, in particular, was interesting, but I was in college and on pills.

It’s hard to know how to feel about the songs sometimes because the lyrics are part beautiful poetry, part nonsense. These two extremes are frequently squished together into the same song, too. For example, take “Ashes of American Flags.” The line “All my lies are always wishes” is some deep intrapersonal shit, but the song begins by explaining the design and function of an ATM before it delivers us this: “I could spend three dollars / And sixty-three cents / On diet Coca Cola / And unlit cigarettes.” What? Where? First of all, did you have coupons? Because you got a good deal, homeboy. Also, why would anybody ever buy cigarettes that had already been lit? Nonsense.

Wilco live shows are long. Long and frequently awkward. Sometimes everything is rolling smoothly and we audience members are all happily singing along to cutesy pop tunes about alcoholism like “Passenger Side” and then, oh then, comes “Misunderstood.” The beginning of that song is so pretty and so sad, but halfway through you should excuse yourself to take that long-overdue potty break because Mr. Tweedy is about to scream “Nothing! Nothing! Nothing!” at you for the next twenty minutes. It’s the worst part of any Wilco show. I think it’s intended to be intense but it’s just obnoxious. Dude just keeps on barking like an annoying neighbor dog while the stage lights flash dramatically — I’m sure people have been murdered for less.

In any case, because Wilco dismisses my city, it’s my instinct to dismiss Wilco. #TeamSonVolt.

Just the other day I read that Wilco is going to release a 77-song rarities box set. Snore. That’s the kind of thing that hardcore fans can get into, but I read it and thought about how torturous it would be for me as a casual / reluctant fan to listen to that whole tedious thing. I mean, bloated box sets of demos and b-sides and half-finished songs are rarely worth it in general. Even the Beatles couldn’t pull it off. Remember those crappy anthologies with the collage covers? I feel sleepy just thinking about them.

So here’s a list of 77 mundane, slightly annoying and/or truly terrible situations and chores that I’d rather deal with than listen to than the upcoming Wilco rarities box set. There is only so much time in a day, you know? Have fun with that lake effect snow this winter, poser Chicagoans. And the sauce goes under the cheese. Learn it.

01. Pay my bills.
02. Dust my ceiling fans.
03. Apply sunscreen.
04. Go shopping on Black Friday.
05. Get a splinter.
06. Get a paper cut.
07. Have a pebble in my shoe.
08. Talk to my co-workers about their weekends.
09. Get my period.
10. Have a flat tire.
11. Forget to fill the ice cube tray.
12. Run out of toilet paper.
13. Eat Provel cheese.
14. Get pins and needles.
15. Find the end on a roll of packing tape.
16. Watch someone sneeze and then touch a door handle.
17. Not have change for the parking meter.
18. Miss my flight.
19. Go to the DMV.
20. Do my taxes.
21. Be hungover.
22. Get asked “Is Pepsi okay?”
23. Pick up dog poop.
24. Make a new spreadsheet.
25. Commute.
26. Go to church.
27. Get a mosquito bite.
28. Unload the dishwasher.
29. Get a flu shot.
30. Scrub the inside of my refrigerator.
31. Accidentally hit the FaceTime button.
32. Sit in a waiting room.
33. Drive through Kansas.
34. Have my stapler run out of staples.
35. Be on hold.
36. Drop Visine in my eyes.
37. Forget my pizza in the oven.
38. Go to the post office.
39. Mop the floor.
40. Get a pap smear.
41. Have a three-inch leech up my nose.
42. Be on house arrest.
43. Bite foil.
44. “Drink” bubble tea.
45. Hang out with spiders.
46. Receive an unsolicited dick pic.
47. Have jury duty.
48. Find a mailbox.
49. Water my plants.
50. Parallel park with an audience.
51. Get stuck at a train crossing.
52. Watch golf.
53. Get a tattoo removed.
54. Watch a full ad online without clicking “Skip This Ad.”
55. See a puppy that I can’t pet.
56. Use self check-out at the grocery store.
57. Get fitted for a bra.
58. Eat a cookie that I think is chocolate chip but is really raisin.
59. Fold a fitted sheet.
60. See a photograph of Oprah’s feet.
61. Forget my gift card at home.
62. Get a check that isn’t signed.
63. Go to Whole Foods on a Saturday afternoon.
64. Use a telephone with a twisted cord.
65. Hear someone say “for all intensive purposes.”
66. Read gratuitous hashtags.
67. Speak to an adult who reads teen vampire novels.
68. Go to City Hall.
69. Speak in public.
70. Forget someone’s name.
71. Hear the phone ring while I’m in the shower.
72. Watch Seinfeld.
73. Have a rubber band line in my hair.
74. Shave my legs.
75. Wait for my windshield defroster to work.
76. Take out the trash.
77. Listen to Wilco studio albums.

- link: Riverfront Times

J Mascis – Critic’s Pick

September 29, 2014 Leave a comment
J Mascis

J Mascis

J Mascis
Sunday, October 5
w/ Luluc
@ Off Broadway
8 p.m. | $20-$23
By Jaime Lees

Touring in support of his new solo album Tied to a Star, Dinosaur Jr frontman J. Mascis steps away from the crushing volume of his main gig to embrace a softer, gentler sound. His new songs are lo-fi — but not quite simple — mostly acoustic adventures with just a few guitar solo slips. Infused with both sweetness and sadness, these songs bring to mind other classics like Big Star’s beloved “Thirteen.” Mascis has always written about love and heartbreak, but the message is usually buried in in the overwhelming sensory explosion that is Dinosaur Jr. Here, his compositions are unadorned, bare for the world to see. They’re raw and heavyhearted, but in the best way.

- link: Riverfront Times

Premiere: Finn’s Motel Releases New Music Video Made by Blip Blap

September 18, 2014 Leave a comment
Video still from Finn's Motel's "Recurring Dream with Halo's Glow"

Video still from Finn’s Motel’s “Recurring Dream with Halo’s Glow”

Premiere: Finn’s Motel Releases New Music Video Made by Blip Blap
By Jaime Lees
Thu., Sep. 18 2014

RFT Music is proud to premiere the new music video for Finn’s Motel‘s “Recurring Dream with Halo’s Glow,” a bright, warm track off of the bands upcoming album Into the Realm of Jupiter Rex.

With nearly every scene soaked in steep, slanting sun, the video perfectly captures the fading end of summer. The use of light and the clarity of the scenes are representative of the kind of magnetic quality that we’ve come to expect from local production company Blip Blap Video.

This is a family and community affair from top to bottom– everything here is locally sourced:

  • Finn’s Motel is staffed by St. Louis music scene lifers: [in order of appearance] Joe Thebeau (vocals, guitar), Patrick Hawley (drums), Chris Grabau (vocals, guitar), Steve Scariano (bass guitar), Toby Weiss (vocals) and Matt Meyer (lead guitar).
  • Location scenes were shot all around the metro area, including Affton High School and Cahokia Mounds– places that effortlessly echo the lyrics of the song. (“With the light around your face” / “a thousand years of history”)
  • Finn’s Motel songwriter Joe Thebeau’s son, Alex Thebeau, is the featured actor– a little fact that lends an extra bit of sweetness to the story presented in the video.
  • The performance scenes were filmed at the Thebeau family home and proudly feature four-legged cutie “Murphy the Incidental Dog.” The house also has many works by local artists on display. Thebeau offers: “While watching the video, play the game everyone is soon to be playing: trying to identify the St. Louis artists’ work we are fortunate to hang on our walls.”

Check out the new video and song details below:

“Recurring Dream with Halo’s Glow” (Thebeau)
Ⓒ Ⓟ Victory Over Gravity Music 2014
Recorded at Incidental Dog Studio, Affton, Missouri
Mixed by Matt Meyer at IBC Shadows Music, Desoto, Missouri
Video by Blip Blap! Video
Featuring Alex Thebeau (and Murphy the Incidental Dog)
Directed by Brian McClelland
Production assistance by Mary Whiteside

- link: Riverfront Times

Pü Fest Kickoff Party – Critic’s Pick

September 5, 2014 Leave a comment

PuFest
Pü Fest Kickoff Party
w/ Tone Rodent, Jack Grelle, Pizza Boys, Black Panties
by Jaime Lees

9:00 p.m. September 5
Melt
2712 Cherokee Street St. Louis, MO
314-771-6358
Price: free

LouFest has been gaining a reputation as a solid destination festival, but this year it has also accidentally inspired a rival underground music concert with a tounge-in-cheek name: Pü Fest. The organizers aren’t billing it as an anti-LouFest party, but as a DIY alternative to the mega-mainstream acts that LouFest offers. Pü Fest also will run throughout the weekend, hosting tons of local talent and crowd-favorite touring bands. The kickoff party is this Friday at Melt, and features Tone Rodent, Jack Grelle, Pizza Boys and Black Panties. The event is free and is your last chance to buy a discounted weekend pass before the festival starts.

link: Riverfront Times
link: Pü Fest

The Breeders – Critic’s Pick

September 4, 2014 Leave a comment

BreedersPool
The Breeders
by Jaime Lees

8:00 p.m. September 2
Off Broadway
3509 Lemp Ave. St. Louis, MO
Price: $22-$25
w/ The Funs

The ’90s revival is upon us. Chunky-heeled boots and daisy-print dresses are back in fashion, but the most welcome — and maybe unexpected — thing to cycle back into favor is the Breeders. Known for its 1993 radio hit “Cannonball,” the Dayton, Ohio band has recently been awash in productivity and acclaim. Last year it released a twentieth anniversary version of beloved album Last Splash and the influential group has been getting props all over world, with invitations to play at massive international music festivals. The band is passing on the love, too: Midwest/St. Louis art-punker act the Funs is scheduled to open for the Breeders on a five-day stretch of its current tour.

link: Riverfront Times

The Funs Kick Off Tour with the Breeders Tonight at Off Broadway

September 4, 2014 Leave a comment
The Funs, photo by John Birkner

The Funs, photo by John Birkner

The Funs Kick Off Tour with the Breeders Tonight at Off Broadway
By Jaime Lees
Tue., Sep. 2 2014

Local artsy/DIY duo the Funs has pulled off the unthinkable: a slot opening for its very favorite band, the Breeders. The Funs will play the first five dates of the tour starting tonight at Off Broadway and ending September 8 in Garden City, Idaho.

Alt-rock band the Breeders has a long history with St. Louis — nearly always scheduling a tour date in the area to accommodate its huge fan base here. This allegiance was most pronounced when the band chose the Lou as a place to film a music video, borrowing our Arch Rival Roller Girls to use as its stars.

The two members of the Funs, Philip Jerome Lesicko and Jessee Rose Crane, have made a name for themselves as an uncompromising, inventive team. Last year, Riverfront Times writer Mabel Suen described the appeal of the Funs like this: “The resulting racket… blasts its way out through a tower of amps, a fuzzy, buzzy wall disjointed by sharp drumming. The two rotate roles between drums and guitar, both crooning through a reverb-drenched haze, floating flawed and fraught with inescapable feelings through outer space.”

We contacted the members of the Funs and had a mutual Breeders gushy-love-session where they praised their new tour mates, expressed their excitement and explained their plans for the future.

Kelley Deal supports St. Louis (and women's rights) in 2012, photo by Jaime Lees

Kelley Deal of the Breeders supports St. Louis (and women’s rights) in 2012, photo by Jaime Lees

Jaime Lees: Tell me how you got the opening slot for the Breeders on this Midwest section of the tour.

Crane: Frank Sharp (Mr. Big) from Sharp Records contacted us from his limo and asked us to play.

Lesicko: I sent an email to an address that I thought might reach Kim [Deal, Breeders vocalist]. The Breeders are our favorite band in so many ways. I sent the email because we care about the Breeders, not because we want to open for a big band. They are one of the few bands that keep it real. And I respect them so much for that. When I received a response I felt… I don’t think there is a word for it. I cannot explain how much it means to us to be able to tour with the Breeders.

Crane: No, really, Philip sent her a video; can you believe that? I can’t. I never would have because I can’t believe that this could happen. Kim reaches out to a lot of smaller bands; it’s one of the billion reasons she’s amazing. We don’t have a booking agent or manager or a big label backing us. We done this all ourselves. We told her we could send more music if she wanted and she said no the live stuff is what matters and it’s really good.

Now Philip can get away with anything for the rest of our lives because if we ever get in a fight, he can just say, “Remember when we went on tour with the Breeders?” and I’ll shut up. It’s un-fucking-real. Most people can’t understand what a big deal this is to me. Unless you could go back in time and see me as kid falling in love with them and talking about them ad nauseum. I’m obsessed. Philip told me and I cried. We were recording at Public House Sound Recordings in Chicago when we got the call and I started to cry. I was just screaming and crying and it was raining and I went out in the rain in my sock feet and was screaming. I thought I was having a heart attack. I had a total meltdown in front of this recording guy, Dave, who I barely knew and he started tearing up I think. He’s really the sweetest guy so it was cool. Really there are no words.

What are some of your favorite Breeders songs and why?

Crane: Well, for whatever reason, “Little Fury,” the first song on Title TK always got me. The breakdown when she sings “Hold what you’ve got.” I love that part, and it just starts so fucking raw. It’s amazing. We actually covered that song once at a Halloween show in Chicago; we did a Breeders set. So that’s on the internet somewhere. I’m dressed like a nun. “Off You” is one of the greatest songs ever written, hands down. The lyrics “I am the autumn in the scarlet / I am the makeup on your eyes.” What? Too good. “I’ve never seen a starlet / Or a riot or the violence of you.” Too fucking good. They just put “Off You” in that new movie Her and I heard it and was, like, woah that’s weird. I would listen that song over and over and over.

Can I just say “Cannonball” is not even close to one of my favorites? And I’m not saying that to go against the grain, but it does annoy me that people are like “Oh, the Breeders? They have that song ‘Cannonball’ right?” And I’m like, “Yeah, and dozens of other songs that are amazing.” All their albums are good. You should listen to them all. Oh yeah, back to the question: I love the song “Doh!” Because it’s weird and oddly beautiful. She is seriously underrated as a songwriter and vocalist. Like, Kim is Bob Dylan and Billie Holiday. Name your biggest names. I don’t care who they are, she is that.

Who do you consider your influences?

Lesicko: Honest, hardworking people in life, art and everything else.

Crane: Well, I think you know, maybe. The Breeders. They are really the only one I can count. Kim has always just been herself and stayed true to herself and who she is and what she does. She really cares about the music and recordings and I feel the same way. She has been a great inspiration to just keep doing what we do.

How do you describe your sound?

Lesicko: It is very intense, in a way that hopefully engages the audience in a positive way. We make music that is natural to us. We care about it. We don’t try to do one thing or the other. Its an extension of who we are and what we are. It’s not for everyone. But I think when people connect they really connect. If you are interested, we can easily be found.

Crane: It’s hard, you know. People have told me more than once that we play emotion. That our songs sound like feelings more than musicians. I can agree with that. I don’t consider myself a musician, for some reason. I would say I’m an artist though. It’s innate, for sure, and all that “whatever” comes out. I don’t think about it or analyze it. Our music is Philip and I’s brains transformed into sound waves. That is what we sound like: fucking crazy brain waves.

Aside from playing live, what are some of your other projects?

Lesicko: We run a label called Manic Static. I put everything into that. We are rehabbing our home called Rose Raft in rural Illinois. It will become a residency for working artists and musicians in the not-too-distant future.

Crane: I make hats out of tin foil and glue and costume jewelry. You want one? I spend a lot of time with tin foil. I sculpt flowers out of plastic bags. I draw cats. I sew little dolls out of socks I call Peekers and sell them at shows, because I’m broke and am bad at money. And yes, I am turning my home into an artist residency. Rose Raft.

What are your plans for the future, band-wise?

Lesicko: The band will never end. We will always write songs together and record them. And I know that people out there dig them, and that is so amazing to me. We will be recording a new record this winter. We hope to have it out in the spring. Followed by non-stop touring.

Crane: I plan to keep making music until my life functions cease. So, lets say an album a year ’til that happens. I’ve been doing that a while now, and you are asking me these questions. We are going on tour with Breeders. As far as I am concerned, I don’t need to do anything else with my life.

link: Riverfront Times

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