2012 was a big year for St. Louis music; by many accounts the local scene is more vital and vibrant than it has been in years. Optimism and back-patting can feel foreign to St. Louisans, with our notorious proclivity toward self-deprecation, but lately our music scene deserves it and then some. In keeping, here are seven St. Louis bands and artists that deserve your attention in 2013.
Demonlover: Demonlover feels like an experiment that has grown bigger than its creators. When the band first started out it was more like a loose collective with many different in-and-out members, but when people this talented come together things just start to happen. What the group has settled into now is a reflection of all that is good in St. Louis, culminating in an experimental rock band with big beats and country and jazz leanings. Demonlover is unique in that it manages to be ragingly psychedelic while still venturing into the world of sturdy alt-twang. Whatever the formula, audiences are responding, and the band seems to gain multitudes of fans with every performance, always providing something new. It might be a new song or an interesting cover or even just a silly costume or two, but don’t confuse the group with a gimmick band: Sam Meyer, JJ Hamon and Andy Lashier are real musicians making real music. They just happen to be funny, too. This is the real deal, and though the Demonlover guys might not take themselves very seriously, we certainly do. — Jaime Lees
Syna So Pro: Syrhea Conaway advertises herself as a “one-woman musical enigma,” and that description couldn’t be more accurate. Though technically a one-person band, Conaway’s methods of looping and echoing make her feel more like a ten-person show. Her primary weapon is her voice, and she puts her greatest instrument through a series of modifications that layer the lyrics and make her songs feel robust. Stringed instruments and numerous electronic devices allow Conaway’s songs to build and peak, resulting in a wide, lush performance. The lack of any other distracting musicians on the stage gives this sound artist full command of the audience’s attention. Syna So Pro is experimental, but not so experimental that it is hard to follow. Her songs are structurally interesting and, well, just plain pretty, and her live shows are always passionate and captivating. —Jaime Lees
– five others here