Eleven 8.4: April 2012 Issue
Volume 8, Issue 4 of Eleven Magazine, St. Louis, MO.
4 Apr. ’12 MUSIC, COMMUNITY, AND CULTURE FEATURE WHITE RABBITS Missouri rockers get hypnotic with Milk Famous EXCLUSIVE LOUFEST Shabazz palaces · Hidden lakes · Hawthorne headhunters Ta ki The official lineup released! p on age po n g ga r t he ro ad ELEVEN PICKS 2011 — WHAT ROCKED THIS YEAR — 8 4 Complimentary Balearic Productions and HT Communications Group Present April 28 1000 CLARK AVENUE DOOR @ 6:30PM SHOW @ 8:00PM • designers from the region • cocktails and fashion show • local and international community networking • support of up-and-coming fashion designers, business leaders and entrepreneurs. G E N E R A L A N D V I P T I C K E T S AV A I L A B L E A T W W W . P R O N T O FA S H I O N S H O W . C O M $2 - ANHEUSER BUSCH BOTTLES - MON $2 - PERENNIAL DRAFT - TUES $2 - GUINNESS PINTS - WED ¢.50 - PBR DRAFT HAPPY HOUR 4 PM -8 PM - THURS LUNCH AVAILABLE ENJOY MAMA GUSTO’S 314 or DAVIS STREET MARKET DELI MON - SAT: 11 AM - 1:30AM 7900 MICHIGAN STL, MO contents DEPT. OF PERIODICAL LITERATURE ST. LOUIS, MO issue no. 8, volume 4 the usual 3 Letter from the Editor 4 Eleven in Action Features 5 LouFest 2012 ELEVEN has it first: the LouFest 2012 Lineup! See who will be rocking Forest Park, August 25-26, and what they told ELEVEN. 7 Eleven at SXSW The ELEVEN team caught all the next big things in Austin, Tx, over 10 days of SxSW Interactive and Music. q+a 8 Bill Streeter 9 Hanni El Khatib 10 Shabazz Palaces neW MusiC 11 Short List 11 hidden lakes 11 lantern lights 11 illPhoniCs 12 damon davis 12 Farout & Jbomb 12 hawthorne headhunters april 2012 live MusiC Musicalendar 13 Review Spotlight 15 Upcoming Shows 15 Features Mikal Cronin 17 Gearing up to kick off KWUR Week's 20th anniversary, Mikal tells ELEVEN how touring, analog gear, and local scenes are shaping his next project. White Rabbits 19 Frontman and STL native Stephen Patterson describes the band's Columbia, MO, origins and the wild sound White Rabbits take on with Milk Famous. loCal Good Old St. Louis 23 archway sound studios Neighborhood of the Month 25 Lafayette Square boasts buildings, beers, burgers, and (gooey) buttercake. Take it all in with ELEVEN's route along Park Avenue! Neighborhood Watch 26 Our favorite local establishments in St. Louis. ELEVEN searches for original bars, restaurants, and everything in-between in order to uncover the best in our city. More online @ elevenmusicmag.com the usual Hello, St. Louis! You may have picked up our issue at the LouFest 2012 Lineup Release Party. If so, turn to page 5 for the official lineup announcement, and bask in its glory. Okay, to bring back the focus to April: We’re well into spring, and as the leaves come back and the flowers bud, we’re looking for how we ourselves can create something new. We’re in St. Louis, so let’s think about creating something new out of something old. We can find some inspiration at the newly opened Perennial on South Broadway, which repurposes found furniture and diverts it from landfills. Or perhaps, it’s nextSTL’s Open/Closed conference on vacant property that holds the answer, April 18-23. Certainly, the Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis will know how to turn old into new again, restaging The Tempest in the context of modern day Cherokee Street for Shakespeare in the Streets, April 27-29. I myself am most excited to attend the Rust Belt to Artist Belt Conference, April 12-14, which chose St. Louis as its host Staff Credits Publisher Hugh Scott Managing Editor Tara Pham Design Matthew Ström Cover Photo Alex Uhrich Contributing Writers Matthew Flores, Annie-Rose Fondaw, Brittney French, Nelda Kerr, Cassie Kohler, Tara Mahadevan, Tara Pham, Ryan Reed, Devin Schwent, Hugh Scott, Matthew Ström, Scott Trausch Photographers David Belisle, Ryan Dornfeld, Jonathan Fritz, Alex Kendall, Guy Lowndes, Tara Pham, Leif Podhajsky, Bobby Schindel, Hugh Scott, Nick Simonite, Paul Sobota, Jason Stoff, Matthew Ström Online Contributors: Tara Pham, Devin Schwent, Hugh Scott, Matthew Ström city this year. The conference draws attendees from around Interns Alex Kendall, Bobby Schindel, Devin Schwent Distribution and Consultation Jesse Gernigin, Ali Sehizadeh Advisory Board: Barbara Brinkman, Lee Crockett, Jill Gubin, Clifford Holekamp, David Strom, Frans VanOudenallen Founded in 2006 by a group including Jonathan Fritz, Josh Petersel, and Matthew Ström. Eleven Magazine 3407 S. Jefferson Ave. St. Louis, MO 63118 Interested in advertising? firstname.lastname@example.org Want to get involved? email@example.com Have A question for us? firstname.lastname@example.org ONLINE twitter.com/elevenmag facebook.com/ElevenMagazine elevenmusicmag.com COPYRIGHT 2012 Scotty Scott Media, LLC 3 | ELEVEN | elevenmusicmag.com the world who are dying to know how post-industrial cities like St. Louis are harnessing the arts for urban renewal. Even if you’re not a conference-goer, you can be a part of the finale event: a streetwide bash on Cherokeet Street with live music, art, and more, in the storefronts and venues, starting at 6pm on April 14th. I’ve helped coordinate the street’s music for the night – and I can tell you, there’s a lot of it! You can read our interview with Bill Streeter on page 8 to hear more about that "maturing" music scene and our coverage of Lo-Fi Cherokee. After 846 people turned out to the GOOD Magazine Ideas for Cities event at the Contemporary Art Museum; after Arch Grants received 420 applications for $50,000 startup grants; after Paste Magazine names six out of its top 10 bands to know from Missouri as St. Louisans – it’s a good month to call St. Louis home. Thanks for reading. Now get out there, St. Louis. – Tara Pham, Managing Editor the usual eLeVen in aCtion Joel and Andrew of it! pose for a close-up at their March 8th show with The Pass, Née, and Bear Hive, presented by Eleven. » photo by Bobby Schindel Home-Style Food Over 90 Canned Libations $2 Beers All Day, Every Day. NFL Sunday Ticket, games, etc. Stuff that is done by both stores?? Help. The men of the band Point Reyes enjoy Benton Park Cafe; they return to the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center on April 14th. » photo by Alex Kendall 3157 Morganford Road LIVE MUSIC FRIDAY, SATURDAY & SUNDAY TRIVIA WEDNESDAYS 1909 Locust Avenue LIVE MUSIC SATURDAY IMPROV SHOP 1ST AND 3RD THURSDAY POKER WEDNESDAYS, TRIVIA THURSDAYS Sleepy Kitty played KDHx 88.1FM's Twangfest showcase at SxSW Music in Austin, Tx, March 13-18. » photo by Matthew Ström elevenmusicmag.com | ELEVEN | 4 E H T IT, O T R I P S ' DS E R HE BOUN IND, . UN EN M EAR OP NGRY HU Eleven Lo LK A T L R. J R I G AU R TS + IPS I N O S + CUL D A L G +D ES I E N IN N I W A M M + D A C YELTS O R E A A L F O G R OLT + H RIS ERS + M E TH A N T SON V R I E OU BOF B ROT H Y P H DOG + B A RLOVESP ER N I KO F . 6 2 + 25 DR T L E STILL K I T T Y + L I T EONE+ S L E E PY M SO G KIN F TU F K R T A S P U G T AU ES IN R OU TY GE 5 | ELEVEN | elevenmusicmag.com FOR TI C K ETS LO U .CO T FES M features Exclusive: oufest Lineup Released! This year, St. Louis’ favorite end-of-summer music festival returns for its third year and unveils a stellar lineup. On August 25-26, 2012, LouFest welcomes some old Eleven friends. What the bands told Eleven: “I think it mostly stems from the freedom that 'Fuck, we should do whatever we like and not worry about what everyone else is doing'… We play very loud, we have lots of bright lights, we have videos playing behind, I have laser beams shooting out of my hands—I’m try to obliterate anything that may stop you from just focusing on us… We want to really communicate these things that can really only be expressed with music… Music unlocks all these dimensions of the way you think.” - Wayne Coyne, lead singer of The Flaming Lips (interviewed by Jonathon Fritz, Eleven November 2010; pictured above) “When I get up there, I just can’t wait to unleash. Whatever the size of the show, I also get nervous, so I’m anxious to get out there. It’s a chance to get out there and truly lose my mind.” - Gregg Gillis, also known as Girl Talk (interviewed by AnnieRose Fondaw, Eleven February 2011; pictured bottom right) “We always give our best… It's just awesome what a really good show feels like. On the one hand, it's just so free, and what defines a good show as a really good show, for me [is when] I felt like a child, in a play-land, [with] just unabashed enthusiasm for things and no fear of detriment, no fear of harm, nothing can go wrong.” - Scott McKicken, lead guitarist and co-vocalist of Dr. Dog (interviewed by Richard Lime, Eleven PDX February 2012; pictured bottom left) Sure, the crowds were massive, and the lines were long. But at least everyone was well-dressed. » photo by Tara Pham ELEVEN goes to SXSW This year aT sXsW, eLeven went hard. It's impossible to count how many great bands we saw and how many cool people we met (maybe it was the heat, or maybe it was the free beer). Whether it was moshing to The Men in the thick fog-machine haze of a packed-to-the-gills Elysium, or boogying in earnest to Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds' surf-beat rock at Lovejoys, we saw enough great music to last us a few lifetimes. Having bravely subsisted on Lone Star and food truck tacos for a week, Eleven's SXSW team managed to make it back to St. Louis with hours of interviews and thousands of photos. … But SXSW isn't all about music. In recent years, the festival has featured sections dedicated to film and technology. This year was the first that Eleven made it to the tech portion, SXSW Interactive. In March every year, the greatest minds in the world descend on Austin to discuss what the future holds for all types of innovators: engineers, designers, developers, and entrepreneurs alike. Eleven got a sneak peak at some of the most exciting music technology, snagging an exclusive interview with Jason Anderson, one of the creators of Facebook's biggest music app, BandPage. Our pages couldn't hold quite all our adventures… For Eleven's complete coverage of SXSW, check out www.elevenmusicmag.com/SXSW2012 q+a Q+a: BiLL Streeter on apriL 7Th, Lo-fi sainT Louis and Tower Groove Records team up to film Lo-fi Cherokee, a series of live music videos along Cherokee Street. The South City-based Tower Groove Records is the collective effort of nearly two dozen local bands, and Lo-Fi Saint Louis recently entered its eighth year producing local music and culture videos. Lo-Fi’s creator – and director of the St. Louis architectural sleeper hit Brick by Chance and Fortune, among other things – Bill Streeter sat down with Eleven at FOAM Coffee & Beer to discuss Lo-Fi Cherokee, St. Louis’ evolving music scene, and more. » story and photo by Tara Pham Eleven: You’re working with Tower Groove Records to film a bunch of St. Louis bands along in and around Cherokee Street storefronts. What’s your plan for the project? Bill Streeter: We’re going to do it on April 7th, and basically it’s going to be a live music video [shoot] in multiple locations on Cherokee Street, and it’s going to be all in one day. The idea sort of evolved from doing a few here and there on different days to “Why don’t we try to get them all done in one day?” 11: You’re from the Chicago area. What inspired you to start Lo-Fi Saint Louis? BS: First of all, when I lived in Chicago, there were a lot of things that hadn’t happened yet, technologically. The web was still pretty young when [my wife and I] moved here [in 2001], and nobody was doing video on the web then… I knew that stuff was probably going to happen eventually, but I was sort of just waiting for it to happen. When I moved here, I discovered just from talking to people going back to the ‘70s and ‘80s, there’s always been some kind of music scene here, of one sort or another, and it’s just constantly evolved over time… I was blown away by all the music that was here. Even [compared to] 10 years ago, it’s amazing that just in the last 5 years or so, the music scene has, I think, really matured. It’s probably more dynamic than it even was when I first moved here. I’m not sure why that is. it seemed like, all at once, and everyone was [saying], “Oh, this is horrible for the music scene locally.” But really, I think the music scene has thrived in spite of all that. 11: What’s next then? What’s a good trajectory for the scene, overall, to take? BS: It’s kind of funny, because it’s kind of multiple scenes going. It’s not really one thing – but that’s good, it’s great… I think if this scene progresses, you’ll start to see more and more acts break nationally. You’ve seen that already with a few acts that have started to get a little bit of national attention… y’know, Pokey Lafarge, who I’ve worked with quite a bit. A funny thing, though, is that a lot of it isn’t how talented you are or how good of a band you are or anything. It’s just a matter of how hard you work at it. A lot of Pokey’s success comes because he’s worked harder than any other local act that I’ve known. He knew what he wanted, and he went for it, and he did all the things he could do… He went out and got a manager, he tours his ass off, and he’s developed an audience… I mean, if it were just based on talent, there are lots of acts here that could be really big break-out acts—Sleepy Kitty or the Blind Eyes or… There’s a lot of them have a really great pop sensibility that could totally be national acts. "I mean, if it were just based on talent, there are lots of acts here that could be really big break-out acts." 11: What are the indicators to you that it’s matured? BS: You just hear a lot more buzz. First of all, there’s a lot more people doing stuff like Lo-Fi Saint Louis now that you wouldn’t have seen before, necessarily. I mean, I was sort of the first person to do that locally, so of course nobody was really doing it before anyway (laughs) because video just wasn’t happening… It seems like the younger group of bands that are coming up are a lot more savvy about promoting themselves, and this whole culture that’s grown up around Cherokee Street is pretty new. That’s a really good indicator of things. I remember when Mississippi Nights closed, and everybody was thinking that was a terrible blow to the local scene. Creepy Crawl closed, and a bunch of other clubs closed, 11: With the event on April 7th, what can we expect? BS: It will be like Lo-Fi Sessions, except it will be on Cherokee Street … and the public can come and watch, or be a part of it or whatever. I like serendipity; that’s why I always liked the idea of Lo-Fi Sessions… I like the idea of rolling the camera and letting things happen… let it happen naturally and just capture it, rather than trying to force something to happen. Like serendipity. » Eleven, Lo-Fi Saint Louis, and Tower Groove Records present Lo-Fi Cherokee, filming along Cherokee Street in the Benton Park West neighborhood on April 7th. Follow elevenmusicmag.com for the extended interview, exclusive release of updates, videos, and more. elevenmusicmag.com | ELEVEN | 8 Hanni El Khatib’s Will the Guns Come Out?, released last fall, has hooked listeners with a fusion of blues, ‘60s-inspired rock ‘n’ roll, and catchy choruses through both the garagey distortion of electric guitars and the romance of edgier acoustic ballads. From Filipino and Palestinian immigrant parents and previously the creative director for skate streetwear company HUF, Hanni comes from a background as mixed and creative as his tunes. Eleven sat down with Hanni El Khatib during his stint in Austin for SXSW. See his foot-stomping live set in St. Louis with Sundelles and Via Dove at the Old Rock House on April 17th. Q+A: Hanni El Khatib by Tara Pham, photo by Guy Lowndes Eleven: We’re nearing the end of SXSW. Are you exhausted? Hanni El Khatib: If you’re doing any more than five shows, then you’re turned into this weird show robot. In a lot of clubs, you’re sharing gear and you don’t know what’s what. And you never can find the person you want to find. 11: You played SXSW last year too, right? It seems like you’ve been playing a lot since. You’re playing St. Louis for the second time within a year. HEK: I went to St. Louis on tour with Florence + the Machine last [July]. It was cool. We played at the Pageant. It’s such a nice place… I watched Flo from the audience for a little bit, and it didn’t seem like there’s a bad seat… We’ve pretty much been on the road — well, definitely more away than home. I think the longest time I’ve stayed at home was three weeks. I spent a lot of time in Europe this year. It was good; I went over there maybe five times this past year. 11: And home is Los Angeles? But you’re from San Francisco. HEK: Yeah, [L.A. is] definitely a different place. You can’t just walk out of the house and jump on a bike and go anywhere. It’s not really conducive to foot travel, and public transit sucks… I’m, like, commuting and shit all the time. I tinted my windows because of the heat. Stupid stuff like that happens when you move to L.A. (laughs) 11: So did you then start making music more seriously down there? HEK: No, it all sort of happened at the same time. Right when I moved there, I started getting offers for touring. And there comes 9 | ELEVEN | elevenmusicmag.com a certain point when you can only leave your job for so long. So, three weeks becomes a burden on everybody. So I just made the decision to say, “Fuck it, I’ll try doing this.” I haven’t looked back since. 11: But do you take your skateboard on tour with you? HEK: I do in the U.S., definitely. Not in Europe, but in the U.S., it just goes in the back of the van. Whenever we’re at a rest stop or a gas station, we’ll be skating. 11: Have you worked on anything new since being on tour, or have you had any of that experience influencing your songs now? HEK: Just traveling in general and touring and as much as we play, we just get better at what we’re doing. The record was recorded so long ago for me now that I’ve evolved because of being on tour. So I’m working on a new record now, writing, and I kind of feel it coming out—it’s definitely taking a different, more focused direction… I’m just concentrating on really trying to figure out the tones and the songwriting that I want to do. The first record seemed more kind of like experimentation with everything. 11: Your music reflects a lot of midwestern and southern Americana; you’ve covered Louis Armstrong, Elvis Presley, Funkadelic, among others. When you leave California and play in areas where blues, jazz, funk, etc., really began, do you find that the response is different? HEK: It’s hard for me to judge that. But in certain areas, I do know there will be more, say, old school blues guys [in the audience]. People like that will come out of the woodwork for a show, which is kind of cool because I know they’ve been ingrained in that kind of music forever. So to see them come to shows and appreciate it is pretty cool. » q+a Q+A: Shabazz Palaces by Devin Schwent, photo by David Belisle and Leif Podhajsky Becoming what many argued to be Sub Pop Records’ only hip hop group in September 2010 threw Shabazz Palaces into a Seattle-indie buzz of anticipation for their summer 2011 full-length album, Black Up. Helmed by Ishmael Butler (of ’90s jazz-hip hop fusion group Digable Planets fame) and multi-instrumentalist Tendai “Baba” Maraire, the collaborative effort of Shabazz Palaces shrouds itself in distorted imagery, harmonic bass beats, and innovative looped rhythms. Here, Eleven talks to Ish before the duo’s unparalleled sound reverberates throughout the Luminary Center for the Arts on April 24th. Eleven: How did Shabazz Palaces get started in 2009, and how did you get picked up by Sub Pop? Ishmael Butler: We had studios at the house, and we just started making music. Before that, we were just working part-time jobs… We had been doing our thing since 2009 with the EPs [Shabazz Palaces and Of Light] and doing shows, and we were on [Sub Pop’s] radar. They wanted to be involved with us, so we saw that as something beneficial and good. It all happened over the course of a year or so. 11: It seems like a lot of your album artwork and videos revolve around sort of abstracted or indirect imagery. What's your inspiration? IB: Well, we just go with our instincts. That’s our thing. And when artistic thoughts come to you and you’re not sure where they’re from, you have to go with them, because they’re given to you. 11: Your musical style has been classified as “hip hop collective.” Would you say that’s accurate? IB: I wouldn’t classify it as anything. I mean, it is what it is. People classify music into different genres just to be able to sell it and to associate it with lifestyle choices in the name they’ve attached to it. But I wouldn’t call our music anything. It’s hip hop and rap, but other than that, I don’t think there can be much more classification. 11: How would you compare your new album, Black Up, to your first two EPs? IB: I would have to figure out why I was comparing them. It would be like comparing what you wore to a party when you were in the 12th grade to something you wore last year. I don’t know, it’s just different now. 11: Hip hop is defined by culture – in elements like break dancing and graff. What then is the Shabazz Palaces culture? IB: Well, I’m Black American, so that’s the foundation of our culture. The most predominant culture that we subscribe to and are a part of is the hip hop culture, so I think that’s the closest I can get. 11: Who are your musical inspirations? IB: Miles Davis and James Brown. 11. What's next for Shabazz Palaces? Any future plans? IB: Not really, I mean we’re just going to keep making music and if opportunities arise we can figure out if we want to try to take advantage of them or not. It’s an ongoing process. Every musician’s future is the same in the sense that you have to keep making music and see where the music takes you. » elevenmusicmag.com | ELEVEN | 10 reviews NEW MUSIC (After sifting through recent and upcoming album releases, we bring you reviews of our favorite new material.) Hidden Lakes Model Airplanes Self-Released This Month’s best R Reissue Local release Short List The Chemical Brothers Don't Think Amadou & Mariam Folila Madonna MDNA Bob Reuter's Alley Ghost Born There Oberhofer Time Capsules II Dandy Warhols This Macline White Rabbits Milk Famous Suckers Candy Salad Arthur and the Librarian Reverend Whitepigeon... M. Ward A Wasteland Companion Bear in Heaven I Love You, It's Cool Buy it Borrow it “Model Airplanes” is the perfect title for Hidden Lakes’ debut album. Its 14 tracks are individual figurines, painted meticulously in varying colors and styles. In this way, the album moves through various genres, channeling Broken Social Scene on one track, Cut Copy on the next. These quick cuts across soundscapes are a credit iLLPHONiCS Reality: Check EP Illphonics Sound Toss it check out ELEVENMUSICMAG.COM for more new music! 11 | ELEVEN | elevenmusicmag.com iLLPHONiCS’ EP Reality: Check begins on a rock ‘n’ roll note in the song “One Life to Live.” Though the song title borders cliché, the group evades triteness as strong vocals (rapping and singing) and instrumentation (drums, guitar, keys, and bass) litter their musical landscape. Refreshing, too, is iLLPHONiCS’ subject matter. The EP’s second song, “Arrogant Mannequins,” confronts Generation Y’s obsession with materialism - commenting on hip hop’s focus on avarice and the need to be on top. iLLPHONiCS retells an age-old tale in “Attack of the Groupies”: rock ‘n’ roll’s number one “problem.” While frontman Fallout Morris is clearly an emphatic lyricist, the balance of full-band instrumentation and hip-hop vocals is a path less taken by many musicians. As executed by iLLPHONiCS, the pairing has a powerful effect. Reality: Check closes with this notion, of having an original sound that no one else has. Ironically, there is a slight echo of the need to be on top, or to be “someone,” that iLLPHONiCS so proudly sang against earlier in the EP; but overall the common thread of rock ‘n’ roll successfully pieces together the EP, one song easily flowing into the next » - Tara Mahadevan to songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kory Kunze. Reverb-laden electric guitars are lightened when he switches to banjo or lap steel. Synths and Kaossilators take over on “Carthage Flying Club” and “Aspect Ratio.” The trumpet on “Arrival” and “All the Files and the Paperwork” is so clean, it lifts these songs with it. Each instrumental contribution is enhanced by exceptional postproduction from Saff Mastering (Chicago). This album is tied together with simple melodies and lyrics. It is tight, direct, and unapologetic. Still, it can be sporadic, constantly drawing one’s mind across a map of influences. Hidden Lakes attempt to strip their music limits. This makes it hard for the listener to cling to a sense of identity for the album or the band. At times Model Airplanes feels like a time capsule attempting to collect special selections from the canon of indie music. The album art, created by Sleepy Kitty, captures the spirit well: a flight through a classical landscape turned on its side. >> - Nelda Kerr Lantern Lights Lantern Lights Self-Released Some things in life are worth waiting for. Lantern Lights’ self-titled debut is proving that theory to be true. Written over the course of four years, local husband-andwife duo Gareth Schumacher and Kari Wasoba’s recent LP is ironic. Lantern Lights, a four-piece ensemble that also features Ryan Wasoba (Kari’s brother) and Dan Meehan (Gareth’s longtime friend), released its first album in late February at the band’s farewell show in St. Louis, before relocating to Los Angeles, CA. Drawing inspiration from ‘70s pop, earthly neo folk, and early ‘90s hits, this modern-day Sonny & Cher trade off on lead vocals and play a variety of instruments throughout the record. The catchy indie group has exuberant boy-girl harmonies, subtle Sleater-Kinneyesque vocals when Wasoba’s behind the mic, creative instrumentation, and offbeat song structures that quickly shift sounds in tunes like “I Couldn’t Leave” and “Red Leaf.” With a mix of both heavenly and jazzy vibes and appearances by the flute and xylophone in “Lantern Lights,” the whole album gives listeners an angelic yet quirky feeling that channels a calm, gentle mood. » - Brittney French reviews Damon Davis 20,000 Years from Tomorrow FarFetched Records With a wastebasket full of sci-fi sound bits, the roars of rockets blasting off, and even some punchy JFK thrown in for good measure, Damon Davis, one half of the East St. Louis hip hop duo Scripts ‘N Screwz, gives us a beeping glimpse into the future with his dark, instrumental release 20,000 Years from Tomorrow. Dig the murky, underwater porno that is “Cosmic Sex,” an interstellar gropefest complete with the requisite heavy breathing and groovy synths. “Love Gun” features an incredibly boppy and danceable backbeat, but the distorted, nebulous vocals drift the focus too far away from the song’s rhythm. Davis assembles a handful of tracks that rest firmly on intriguing samples that let the spiraling synth pieces expand without being anchored too firmly. “Vibration” in particular is a fantastic collage of some smooth organ and saxophone samples underlying a pulse as round and bouncy as any playground kickball. “Way 2 Long” is as simple as it comes: a simple piano chord progression with some galactic chorus floating above. In this case, the future is a pared-down electronic vibe. 20,000 Years may not be a prerequisite desert-planet, lost-in-space disk, but it is certainly stimulating for what it is: a collage of celestial sounds and beats that will, if nothing else, get your ears perked up and your gravity soaring. This album absolutely deserves a terrestrial spin or two. » - Matthew Flores Farout & JBomb Brett Gretzky Mixtape Indyground Entertainment MCs JBomb and Farout come together as Brett Gretzky to wrap soulful, velvet flows over dreamy acid-jazz and downtempo tracks on their debut, self-titled mixtape. With backing on the 1’s and 2’s by master technician DJ Mahf, the duo delivers a lesson in atmospheric sciences - conjuring a thick fog of samples, lofty organs and hissing hi-hats that cloud your senses to the outside world and immerse you in theirs. Setting a pleasantly lethargic pace, opening tracks “Back to Back” and “Elevated” introduce listeners to the duo’s penchant for syrupy, pop culture laden word play, as they drop references of varying obscurity to the Gorillaz, 7-11, Ice-T (who reappears with wife Coco later on the album) and N64, to name a few. The tape’s highlight comes half way through, however, with “Topic of Discussion,” a bouncing, bassline driven showcase of Mahf’s scratch science. Laced with perfectly placed breakin’s and break-down’s, the track induces a head-nodic state punctuated with brief moments of clarity that fade as quickly as they come on. Overall, the density of spoken and rhythmic allusions give the album not only a sense of humor, but also a sense of participation and an incredibly high replay value. Combine that with expertly produced beats and captivating soundscapes, and Brett Gretzky drops a solid debut. » - Scott Trausch Hawthorne Headhunters Myriad of Now Plug Research Records Since partnering as Hawthorne Headhunters in 2009, St. Louis rhythmic masterminds singer-percussionist Coultrain and rapperproducer Black Spade have been a power-duo in the local scenes of hip hop, funk, neo-soul, electronic, and more. Their first full-length, Myriad of Now, as described by their Los Angeles-based label Plug Research, “[carries] on the rich lineage of Black music.” The album is undeniably derivative, opening with “Some People Don’t Change,” a track rooted in anthemic group harmonies and call-and-response that evoke Parliament. The subsequent 14 tracks progress with moments reminiscent of Rick James, The Meters, 1999-era Prince, A Tribe Called Quest, and Erykah Badu, sometimes capturing more recent mainstream styles akin to John Legend’s timbre and Kanye West’s production. While slower jams like “Ghostfields” are well calculated to coax a night of intimacy, other tracks like “Drunk Revolver” clap to incite a dance party marathon. The song “Fairweather” resonates as a standout R&B culmination of the album’s larger trends. In Myriad, Headhunters demonstrate a true aptitude for songwriting and production – formulaically, though: Every track layers soulful vocals over funk synth riffs, with curt percussion chopping dirty bass lines and jazzy instrumental interludes. The payoff after many listens, however, is a relaxed familiarity with a repertoire of Black American music that could not exist without St. Louis – its musical past, present, and future. Hawthorne Headhunters release Myriad of Now on April 13th at the Gramophone, with J-Live and DJ Needles. » - Bennett Pry elevenmusicmag.com | ELEVEN | 12 live Want to have your show listed? E-mail email@example.com! A CICERO’S B BLUEBERRY HILL LO W BL VD 6691 delmar Boulevard, 63130 aPr 11 Mike Mangione & the Union 27 The Highway Companion GO O DF EL PAG E AV E 6504 delmar Boulevard, 63130 N aPr 12 Marquis Knox 21 The English Beat 28 The Lumineers D 6238 Alexander drive, 63105 LVD A B FOREST C THE GRAMOPHONE BLVD ST PA 40 E aPr 14 Bearacuda St. 16 Crowbar 17 Continental 13 | ELEVEN | elevenmusicmag.com D RK AV E F, G VE STER A HE MANC ND A VE 44 VE ST A WE MCC AUS LA TH SOU CHIPPEW A ST NFORD RD IGHWAY BLVD N AVE ARSENAL ST MORGA 3108 Locust Street, 63103 BLV LVD FORE KINGSH FUBAR ING CENTRAL WEST END HAMPTO I RK LM AR 4140 Manchester Avenue, 63110 3224 Locust, 63103 LU T DE WY FOREST PARK 4127-29 Manchester Avenue, 63110 aPr 3 LouFest Lineup Release 5 White Rabbits 11 Mr. Gnome, Volcanoes, Bear Hive 21 Funky Butt Brass Band 27 Various Hands, LucaBrasi 28 Magic City, Old Lights TIN ELL B SKINKE aPr 6 Moon Taxi, Danger Muffin 8 Branco 11 The Steepwater Band, The Dirty 30's 13 Hawthorne Headhunters, J-Live 18 The Cave Singers 20 Creerider, The Feed PARK PK MA R HE LIND R BLVD 4243 Manchester Avenue, 63110 F HANDLEBAR G THE FOxHOLE H PLUSH DELMAR THE LOOP aPr 17 Willie Nelson 29 Portugal. The Man, Lonely Forest E D THE PAGEANT 6161 delmar Boulevard, 63112 DR UNION BLVD C OLIVE B THE CHAPEL 2 TOWER GROVE SOUTH S live FIREBIRD 2706 olive Street, 63103 J aPr 4 Mission of Burma 6 Reptar, Quite Hoove, Née 7 White Denim, Bo & The Locomotive Hood Internet 21 NA TU RA LB THE SHELDON RID GE 3648 Washington Boulevard, 63108 RO AD K aPr 4 18 Guster - Acoustic Cowboy Junkies D NT aPr AVE ND N JEFF NG ERSON RA AVE NV AN L 7 Miles Bonny, Reggie B 21 Big Brother Thunder, Master Blasters NT DE BLV VE LVD SSA GB I LOR ER NF AV E LOLA 500 N. 14th Street, 63103 M PEABODY OPERA HOUSE N THAxTON SPEAKEASY 70 1009 olive Street, 63101 H 1400 Market Street, 63103 J MAR KE MIDTOWN CHOU AVE ND BL VD TEAU NEIGHBORHOOD OF THE MONTH T ST N L AVE K aPr Florence & The Machine 29 CKER DELM AR BL VD WASH INGT O N BLV OLIVE D ST N TU I S GRA O Emily Wallace Mom's Kitchen, Eric Lysaght Aaron Kamm & The One Drops The Trip Daddies aPr 4 5 12 14 DOWNTOWN O,P,Q LAFAYETTE SQUARE 736 South Broadway, 63102 BROADWAY OYSTER BAR M P BEALE ON BROADWAY R 701 South Broadway, 63102 aPr U T S VE IS A V 55 BB'S JAZZ AND SOUPS 700 S Broadway, 63102 D O AV BLV GR 6 Cee Cee James Johnny Fox 15 Matt Hill 20 W, X CHEROK Y, Z aPr Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials 26 Dave Herrero 28 3 EE ST Y WA AD RO SB 4 S JEFFE RSON A VE 7TH 1 Q elevenmusicmag.com | ELEVEN | 14 live R Old Rockhouse 1200 7th Boulevard, 63104 APR 4 Beats Antique, Monsieur Gaston 14 Euforquestra, Mikey Wehling 16 Jars of Clay, Leagues 17 Hanni el Katib, Sundelles, Via Dove 22 Band of Heathens S LUMINARY Arts Center 4900 Reber Place, 63139 APR 5 Van Dyke Parks 24 Shabazz Palaces 27 Oberhofer, Young Man 30 Lotus Plaza, Kid Counselor T Jefferson Warehouse 2501 S Jefferson Ave, 63104 APR 7 Media Ghost, Ashley Batiste U BLUES CITY DELI 2438 McNair Avenue, 63104 APR 7 Brad Vickars 14 Davina & The Vagabonds 21 Soulard Blues Band 28 Matt Walsh V Venice Cafe El LeÑador W 3124 Cherokee Street, 63118 APOP Records 2831 Cherokee Street, 63118 Pig Slop Studios 2831 Cherokee Street, 63118 APR 7 TOPS, Kid Counselor, The Mhurs 21 Chain & the Gang, Little Big Bangs 26 Scammers Z RadioHead @ Scottrade Center March 9th, 2012 Arching over the heads of fifteen thousand fans, Thom Yorke’s voice swelled into a surging, siren-song falsetto—“Don’t, don’t blow your mind with why.” The sold-out Scottrade concert captured the band’s otherworldliness, demanding that the audience surrender to the spectacle. Giant LCD squares bobbed above the stage, descending over the band like a dense canopy only to rise upwards, transforming into live, projected portraits of the band. Spritely and lithe, Yorke flitted around the stage, rippling with live-wire energy. And after the final chords of “Idioteque” faded away, the audience was left enraptured in Radiohead’s wake, basking in the afterlight. » - Annie-Rose Fondaw, photo by Jason Stoff 4900 Reber Place, 63139 APR 20 Bottoms Up Blues Gang X Y REVIEW 2720 Cherokee 2720 Cherokee Street, 63118 APR 13 Soul Track Mind, DJ Hal Greens 14 Rust Belt to Artist Belt Afterparty 20 Aeroplane, Stephan Jacobs, Bommer 21 Cornmeal, Hot Buttered Rum 15 | ELEVEN | elevenmusicmag.com PREVIEW PREVIEW April 11 – $8 (18+) April 30 – $8/10 (All Ages) The husband-wife duo of Mr. Gnome from Cleveland, OH, keeps getting bigger and bigger. Read just about any music media outlet, and you’ll hear praises for singerguitarist Nicole Barille’s heady, sultry vocals and thrashing electric chords, while giant drummer-pianist Sam Meister machines through driving rhythms. Imagine Sleepy Kitty if they were raised on a little more Black Sabbath. The result is a haunting and jarring explosion that tiptoes a line between Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The White Stripes. Barille’s initially wispy vocals shift quickly to powerful wailing, as if to warmly invite the listener in for a smooth ride and then instead taking them along for a drag race. Get on board early, for openers noisy bass-drum duo Volcanoes and catchy dance-punk trio Bear Hive. » - Bennett Pry As Bradford Cox has solo project Atlas Sound outside of Deerhunter, so Deerhunter guitarist Lockett Pundt has Lotus Plaza. Using, imaginably, the same skills and gear he picked up for Deerhunter, Pundt continues to fabricate an ambiguous mesh of analog and digital sound. Lotus Plaza’s The Floodlight Collective (2009) effectively recreated the sensation of basking in a floodlight – projecting a broad, warm, ethereal sound across big empty, echo-y scapes. On April 2nd, he’ll release a long awaited sophomore album, Spooky Action at a Distance. The Luminary’s modular convent-turned-gallery space will provide a brilliant backdrop for Lotus Plaza, with supporting acts Mirror Mode and Kid Counselor. » - Caleb Wen Mr. Gnome - Plush Lotus Plaza - Luminary live REVIEW Vijay Iyer Trio @ Jazz at the Bistro March 16, 2012 Pianist Vijay Iyer, bassist Stephen Crump, and drummer Marcus Gilmore charged through a mix of original works and owned older jazz standards. Through his short but well-considered set, Iyer proved his status as one of the most exciting and interesting jazz musicians of today. » - review and photo by Hugh Scott Control, Segmentation Fault Ned Evett, Ian Lubar Point Reyes, Nini Julia Bang Anodes, Strangers Now APR 7 12 14 15 The Heavy Anchor PREVIEW PREVIEW Point Reyes - The Lemp Chain & the Gang Pig Slop Asa Horvitz, Kyle Farrell, Bryan West, and Jack Randall make up Point Reyes, a Brooklyn-based band made up of close friends musically united by a 2010 Fulbright grant awarded to Horvitz for an ethnomusicology study in Poland called "Into the Sound." Into the sound did Horvitz indeed go, eventually pulling his bandmates with him to Warsaw to play concerts and record a full-length debut album, WARSZAWA, in the basement of the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music. Point Reyes' recordings are accessible, orchestral pop blending guitar, cello, vibraphone, drums, and layered vocals. Though produced overseas, the tunes emanate an American indie sound bordering twee; the band is roped in from being too sweet by quirky lyrics and serious musicianship. They last came through St. Louis on January 30th, delivering a Daytrotter Session the next day. Recommended for fans of The Books, Point Reyes can quench your thirst for honed symphonic tunes - revisiting the living room of the Lemp on April 14th. Catch this unusual act in an intimate setting while you still can. » - Bethany Tusser 1 5226 Gravois Avenue, 63116 "Chain & the Gang combines gritty electric guitar shredding, tambourine, harmonica, doo-wop choruses, and flat, spoken (or yelled) verses to substantiate self-aware, goofily snotty lyrics." April 14 – $5 (All Ages) 3301 Lemp Avenue, 63118 LEMP ARTS CENTER April 21 – $7 (All Ages) As the frontman of Chain & the Gang, longtime Washington D.C.-based punk rebel Ian Svenonius produces a wild, rickety brand of rock 'n' roll that one expects to have blasted from the radios of the cool-kid greaser-types in the 1950s and '60s. On K Records, Chain & the Gang combines gritty electric guitar shredding, tambourine, harmonica, doo-wop choruses, and flat, spoken (or yelled) verses to substantiate selfaware, goofily snotty lyrics. Chain’s themes range from the meaning of money (“What is a Dollar?) to the decay of the creative class in post-industrial cities (“Detroit Music”), to solving outlandish conspiracy theories (“Deathbed Confession”). Svenonius seems to deliberately reach for a soulful, modern pulp rock; undoubtedly, Chain & the Gang's set alongside Little Big Bangs at Pig Sop on Record Store Day (a stone's throw from Apop Records) will be a sweaty, kicking fustercluck of teenaged angst coming from an all-ages group. » - Tessa Cayne 2 APR 6 7 13 21 27 28 Jon Bonham & Friends, Scarlet Tanager Unicycle Loves You, Pat Sajak Assasins Où Où, HUMDRUM, Jack Buck Bunnygrunt, Ravenhill, Black Bears Merchandise, Demonlover, Doomtown Frontier Ruckus, Falsetto Boy Off Broadway 3 3511 Lemp Ave, 63118 APR Kentucky Knife Fight video premiere 6 The Hillbenders, Elemental Shakedown 12 Caroline Smith & the Good Night Sleeps 13 Rough Shop, Ransom Note 14 Bob Reuter's Alley Ghost, Magic City 15 Cursive, Cymbals Eat Guitars 20 Sleepy Sun, White Hills 21 REM Tribute 27 Pop's 4140 Manchester Avenue, 63110 4 APR 7 9 12 14 15 18 20 21 24 27 28 Timeflies Protest the Hero, Periphery Job for a Cowboy, 3 Inches of Blood Kottonmouth Kings, Twiztid, Blaze Glass Cloud, Quare Verum Ignite the Borealis, Parabelle As Earth Shatters, What Was Lost Kix Brooks (of Brooks & Dunn) Rocky Loves Emily, Taylor Thrash Buckcherry, James Durbin Social Distortion, Toadies elevenmusicmag.com | ELEVEN | 16 features MIKAL CRONIN by Tara Pham Mikal Cronin is a nice guy. But he plays a mean guitar. The child of a healthy Orange County, CA, punk scene, Cronin is now deeply entrenched in a San Francisco scene for known heavy garage rockers like Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Sic Alps, and so on. Yet, Mikal (said “Michael”) emerges with an almost Beach Boys-esque, unassuming pop sensibility. His single “Apathy” last July received a warm critical reception, and the self-titled full-length album that followed retains wide acclaim from the likes of NPR and Pitchfork. Claiming themes derived from post-college adjustment and a heavy-hearted breakup, Cronin’s album can’t help but endear its listener. Cronin kicks off KWUR Week on April 16th at the Gargoyle on Washington University’s campus, with opener rockabilly-surf jammers D. Watusi from Nashville, TN. Turning 20 years old this year, KWUR Week is a festival of nightly diverse genre showcases curated by Washington University’s KWUR 90.3FM that highlights acts at the cutting edge; it claims such alumni bands as Of Montreal, Imrat Khan, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Man Man, Brother Ali, and more. The radio station has also brought such acts to St. Louis as Animal Collective, Monotonix, Minutemen, and The Mountain Goats – and also captured a library of in-studios called Stack Sessions. KWUR is one of the nation’s few remaining completely student-run, free-format, non-commercial radio stations. It celebrates another year of KWUR Week with a finale show that brings back The Mountain Goats, opened by Water Liars on April 21st. In anticipation of KWUR Week, Mikal chatted with Eleven while recovering from a demanding run of shows at SXSW. Eleven: I just caught you play the Panache Booking showcase on the finale night of SXSW. Are you on a break now then, since tour just ended? MC: Yeah, I think that was probably our eighth or ninth show in the last couple days [of SXSW], so [I’m] pretty exhausted. But yeah, that was a fun show… I also play in Ty Segall’s live band. We’re going out on tour in about a month from now. So, I have about a month of break, and then I’m going out with Ty Segall. Then in June, I’m going to Europe. And in July, Ty’s band’s going to Europe. So I’ve got about a month before things get really busy for a long time. 11: And you’ve been touring a lot in the last couple years, so were there any other cities that caught your eye – or ear, so to speak? MC: Yeah, this is kind of a recent thing because I hadn’t been there before – but Nashville, Tennessee, has a lot of really good bands, and it’s got a really cool, tight-knit scene there. All the people 17 | ELEVEN | elevenmusicmag.com there are really nice and really kind. It’s always, like, the best part of the tour now to go to Nashville specifically. That’s a great place. 11: Were you in Nashville for Freakin’ Weekend [Music Festival]? MC: I was, yeah. We were just there for one day, but it was crazy and really fun. Ty’s old band, the Traditional Fools, flew out from San Francisco and met up with us and played that night. And Heavy Cream, a Nashville band, were awesome. That was a crazy weekend. It was a freakin’ weekend. (laughs) … Yeah, there’s something about that place that breeds really awesome people. 11: You’ve been touring a lot, obviously been really busy off the release of your self-titled LP in September. Are you working on any new stuff? MC: Yeah, I have been busy, so I haven’t been writing too much. But on this month off, I’m definitely focusing on recording new music for maybe another LP. That’s what I’m aiming for. I’m definitely going to be working on new stuff whenever I have a break from touring throughout the rest of the year. 11: With touring so much now and having a wider audience, what influences inform your songwriting now? MC: Yeah, well I’m hoping that having a slightly wider audience doesn’t affect the music in any way. I’m not really concerned about that aspect. But it’s been awhile since I wrote the last songs on the last LP, and my mind’s constantly going in different directions as far as songwriting and influences and things. But at this point, I’m not really sure what it’s going to sound like… I definitely want to write a better record in my mind, and I am definitely not going to try to re-hash the things I’ve been doing. And the new songs I do have are sounding familiar to the last record, but it’s a little different… maybe getting a little “poppier,” but at the same time getting weirder and bigger, or something. 11: Where did you record your self-titled album? MC: I recorded it in San Francisco at my friend Eric Bauer’s studio. It’s the same place where Ty Segall has been recording his last few LPs, as well as a lot of other San Francisco bands… Eric has a Mikal Cronin finishes strong at the Panache Booking finale showcase of SXSW at Mohawk's in Austin. » photo by Matthew Ström one-inch,16-track tape machine that’s the basis of recordings. And in the best way, he’s really an analogue gear nerd. Eric has tons of really cool equipment and amps and guitars and all that stuff. So it definitely comes away with that analogue sound. 11: After a period of digital prevalence, many musicians are “reverting” back to analogue now. Is analogue recording a conscious choice for you, or does it just happen because it’s what is around you? MC: Since I’ve been recording, it’s been on analogue gear, like tape machines and cassette recorders. A lot of that was used out of necessity because we didn’t have big, professional Pro Tools studios. But now, it’s to the point where I do record a lot of quick demos on my computer at home. But as far as the final product, I haven’t found a digital way of recording that sounds nearly as good as using tape machines and old gear. So I guess that’s influenced by most of the music I listen to these days, from the ‘60s and ‘70s. They used all that. I’m not trying to mimic their sounds, but [we are] maybe getting that sound engrained in our head and not wanting it to be too clean or crisp when we record our own music. 11: So what are you listening to now? MC: We were just on tour and listened to a lot of Black Sabbath and Hawkwind and Motorhead in the car. I’ve been listening to a lot of the Kinks’ records. And I’ve been listening to a lot of Kate Bush actually, which isn’t really an influence-- it’s kind of an anomaly in my listening preference, but been really into her. As far as new stuff, I’ve been listening to White Fence, new Thee Oh Sees, The Strange Boys, and Harry Nilsson. I listen to a lot of random stuff. 11: You’re kind of steeped in the San Francisco scene now Do you think the sound in San Francisco is pretty unique to San Francisco, or are you finding that there a pretty nice national scene for the kind music you’re making? MC: Well, it’s hard say what it is exactly about San Francisco, but there does seem to be a particular sound or style that comes out… I mentioned Nashville, and I think all those Nashville bands have a particular sound. I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is, but, yeah, it is geographically and community-based. I know a lot of San Francisco bands are influenced by each other, so there’s a lot of sharing of ideas that happens, subconsciously or not. So, I know that there are a lot of musics that get along with each other and work with each other all over the country, no matter where it is. So there’s one larger scene with little sub-scenes, and geographic sub-genres. 11: You’re going to be playing St. Louis for KWUR Week on April 16th. Actually, Thee Oh Sees played it last year, and KWUR brought in Heavy Cream for a show in 2010.. MC: Cool, I’m really excited to go out there [to St. Louis]. [It’s] the first show I’ve been flown out for. I feel honored to get asked to fly out there to play one show. It’s going to be really fun… I haven’t spent that much time at all there… but I’m expecting to love it. » elevenmusicmag.com | ELEVEN | 18 features by Cassie Kohler Battling the sounds of construction drills echoing throughout his Brooklyn loft, St. Louis native and White Rabbits vocalist and pianist Stephen Patterson worked in a conversation with Eleven to discuss the bands transition from Columbia, Missouri, to the Big Apple and their newest album, Milk Famous. Stephen talked at length about the journey to finding the band’s musical voice, what they were trying to accomplish with the new release, and the totally new sound that emerged. Catch White Rabbits at Plush on April 5th. Eleven: So, White Rabbits formed in the college town of Columbia, Missouri. How would describe the band’s goals then? Stephen Patterson: I think our main ambition was to be as much like the Walkman as we could be, as much as we were trying to deny that at the moment. Basically I was interested in writing songs and playing songs of my own composition. In Columbia, I think that’s all we were trying to figure out. How do we write songs? Because we didn’t know how to do it. Columbia was great because we could just play all the time and not have to work very much. The cost of living is so low. I remember we rehearsed in a storage shed off of Business Loop 70. We weren’t allowed to be in there, and it was freezing cold. We would stay in there all night; it was a great time. 19 | ELEVEN | elevenmusicmag.com 11: Did you guys just practice in this space, or did you do any lower-level recording there? SP: We attempted to, but I think the extent of that was just putting a boom box in the middle of the room and hitting record. We didn’t really know how to record ourselves back then. 11: You and Greg Roberts [co-vocalist and guitarist] met while working at Streetside Records. Were there any particular records or bands that stick out from your time there? SP: Greg and I had our boss, Kevin Walsh, at Streetside who turned us on to a bunch of music. He was big influence on us actually, in introducing us to new records. I think he’s the one who got me into the band Television. That is a huge [influence on] how we think of Though the band formed in Columbia, MO, White Rabbits members Jamie Levinson (drums), Alex Even (guitar), Matthew Clark (drums), Stephen Patterson (vocals, piano), and Gregory Roberts (vocals, guitar) mostly grew up in the St. Louis area. Âť photo by Nick Simonite elevenmusicmag.com | ELEVEN | 20 features "We’re starting to get more comfortable making our sound really big whenever we want it to sound really big and small whenever we want it to sound small." writing now. They have these intertwining guitar parts that form this combined sort of rhythm thing, and I think that’s how I view our arrangements now. It’s kind of like, “This part’s covering that rhythm, and here are holes. How can we fill that with another instrument?” 11: Are there any other local Columbia bands that stood out to you? SP: Mahjongg. They were such a force. It was around the time they had just released Raydoncong , their second record. I would just go see them every chance I could and I wanted to sit in with them so many times, just play songs with them or something. I eventually got that opportunity. But I used to just watch those guys play. They were a really large group, like 6 people, I think. They were really heavy on drums and had these 2 sides to them: this really dark droning instrumental direction and then also these poppy songs would be in the mix. They would still apply all these complex rhythms and incorporate drum triggers and samples. I had never seen anything like that. I think that we’ve given them little nods on every record. It’s a little inside joke, like referencing one of their songs… on every one of our albums, actually. They were the biggest influence on me from any band in Columbia. 11: How’d you guys make the decision to move to Brooklyn? SP: We decided we wanted to move to New York pretty quickly. A few of us were finishing up school, and we knew we wanted to try living somewhere else, and the timing was just right. So I think for a large part of the time we were in Columbia, we were just trying to figure out what we were and what we wanted to sound like, how to make ourselves sound like what we wanted. In Columbia, we knew everyone, and I think a big inspiration to leave was that we had just been in so many bands and played around the area for so long that it eventually gets hard to start anything new and have a fresh start. And I think there was that nice thought of “Let’s just move somewhere where no one knows who we are, and we can do a brand new thing.” Everybody thinks about doing stuff like that. That wasn’t necessarily the goal though, to move up there to make it. It was more to just go… go somewhere we could really focus on just playing the music, somewhere new. 11: What was the first thing that stuck out to you as being differ- 21 | ELEVEN | elevenmusicmag.com ent in Brooklyn from living in the Midwest? SP: The biggest thing for me: I prefer being in a high-pressure environment. I don’t do well in places that are kind of easy going. You have to keep working in Brooklyn, in order to be able to continue living in Brooklyn. I wouldn’t necessarily say competitive, there’s just a lot of stuff going on, and it’s hard to just simply be heard. 11: Were there any other new influences from the Big Apple? SP: I’ve always been into different kinds of music. So I’ve always been listening to a bunch of different genres and collecting records; we all were. I think I was able to get a really great musical education in Missouri. And I’m still interested in a lot of the same things, but there’s the opportunity to see a lot more shows in Brooklyn. 11: Let’s talk about the new album, Milk Famous. You guys really have developed a new sound compared to last couple albums. What were the band’s goals going into this album? Were there any specific changes you wanted to address or new themes to include? SP: One thing we knew we wanted to do was create more space, perhaps have a bit more patience in the songwriting, have longer passages in the songs instead of just vocal. I think that hypnotic sort of element we were all sort of interested in. There’s this feeling sometimes when you are listening to music or a song where you’re kind of zoning out, and then the vocals just re-enter, and you’re like, “Whoa! I just zoned out for a second.” I really love that feeling where you’re just kind of lost in it and don’t realize what is going on. We got into the idea of sampling ourselves and creating loops of samples that we made, and you can hear that on songs like “Are You Free,” like the drums that happen in the back or the piano in “Heavy Metal.” You can hear some of that, also, in “Everyone Can’t Be Confused.” And we were trying to use that rhythmic element in a different way that wasn’t necessarily bashing the shit out of the drums all the time. There are other ways to emphasize it, and I think we wanted to explore that. 11: It seems to be more psychedelic while still retaining the catchiness of a dance beat. Do you think you’ve found your niche in this album? SP: Yeah. For the first time, I’m finally feeling not overwhelmed by the process of writing. It’s a much easier thing for me to do now, which has to be a good sign. I think we’re starting to get more The guys rocking Club de Ville at SXSW last month. » Photo by Matthew Ström comfortable making our sound really big whenever we want it to sound really big and small whenever we want it to sound small. And I think we’d never really figured out how to make those things happen before. I was always afraid of really lush arrangements, but we’ve kind of embraced it with this record I think. 11: The vocals take on a new form in this album. What were your intentions there? SP: I wanted to do something that was less brash than what was there on It’s Frightening. I wanted to pursue different kinds of tones with my vocals. I stopped listening to a lot of rock n’ roll and starting listening to much more R&B, hip hop, and pop music than I ever had before. Recording the vocals, it was a very intense sort of experience. I was forced to finally properly learn how to sing, and I got really into it. It had been, for the most part, a bunch of yelling before. I feel like [the vocals] are still pretty upfront. They are not used exactly the same way as in It’s Frightening, but they are still pretty hot in the mix. I think it’s always kind of a big driving factor in the music that we make. 11: Any new recording technology on this album? SP: Alex and I got way more in-depth and serious about recording ourselves and trying to understand how to record. We really embraced music software and editing software and used it as an instrument. We’d record something and then move that recording to a different part of the song and see if anything happened. Or chopping things up a bit and not being bashful that, as a rock band, we were using digital equipment. We still recorded on two-inch tape but we used Pro Tools just like we would a guitar, and we’d never done that in the past. That’s opened us up to a whole lot of things that we want to pursue more. 11: What kind of direction do you see the band moving in the future? SP: I want to release music a lot more often. Usually, we finish a record, and we are ready to move on to a completely different thing. I’m still interested in the stuff we did on Milk Famous, and I’d like to keep going down this path, which is a first for me. » elevenmusicmag.com | ELEVEN | 22 the usual Good Old St. Louis: Archway Sound Studio by Ryan Reed, photos courtesy of Ruby Sain 4521 Natural Bridge Road in North St. Louis once housed Archway Sound Studio. The unassuming storefront at 4521 Natural Bridge Avenue in the Penrose Park neighborhood was once occupied by Oliver Sain’s Archway Sound Studio. A legendary R&B producer and performer, Sain opened the studio in 1965 and recorded a slew of local, regional, and national acts including the Montclairs, Zella Jackson Price, and Ike and Tina Turner. Currently vacant, the building is a tangible piece of St. Louis’ diverse musical history and a monument to the legacy of Sain’s impact on the city’s artistic community. Oliver Sain was born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, a region strongly associated with the origins of several music genres including blues and rock ‘n’ roll. Immersed in music, Sain taught himself to play drums and soon began performing with national acts such as Sunny Boy Williamson and Howlin’ Wolf. In 1950, his musical career was interrupted after he was drafted by the Army during the Korean War. At the conclusion of the war, Sain began playing the saxophone and became the bandleader for guitarist Little Milton. At the behest of Little Milton, Sain arrived in East St. Louis to play a weekend show at the Manhattan Club. Presented with numerous opportunities to play music, Sain decided to make his home in St. Louis. One such opportunity was producing records at the Technisonic Studio formerly located at the site now occupied by the Galleria Mall. His abilities as a producer soon garnered the attention of Phil and Leonard Chess of Chess Records in Chicago, IL. Recording in Chicago during the week and playing weekend shows across St. Louis, Sain sought to start his own studio to quiet his busy life. Sain purchased 4521 Natural Bridge Avenue during the early 1960s. The historic two-family flat was originally constructed in 1905 for butcher John Klockmann. The one-story buff brick storefront was added circa 1940 for Joseph Plischke to contain his commercial enterprise, Superba Music Company. At the time Sain was setting up his studio, he wrote “Don’t Mess Up a Good Thing,” which became a hit for Bobby McClure and Fontella Bass. Sain used his royalty check from the song to purchase his first soundboard and a 16-track, two-inch analog tape machine. Sain recorded numerous songs at the studio including his own “Bus Stop” and “St. Louis Breakdown.” The advent and widespread popularity of hip hop decreased work at Archways, but Sain continued recording until his death in 2003. Oliver Sain earned the nickname “The Man With The Golden Horn.” presented by 23 | ELEVEN | elevenmusicmag.com the usual St. Louis Breakdown (above) was one of Sain’s first hits for Abet Records. Bus Stop (below), recorded at Archway in 1974, was also released on Abet Records. It featured “Booty Bumpin’," Sain’s first song to reach the charts; the title track was a huge hit in England and led to his first tour in Europe. 18th St Mississippi Ave local Mississippi Alley 7 4 1 2 Park Ave 5 6 Vail Pl Lafayette Park 3 McNulty St Neighborhood of the month: LAFAYETTE SQUARE Lafayette Square is one of St. Louis' Victorian-era treasures, its beautiful mansions the setting for the musical classic Meet Me in St. Louis. The neighborhood's resurgence in the past decade is something that gets people all over singing its praises. » - Tara Pham PLAYBOOK Embark on a tour de bars at any hour in Lafayette Square. Catch a Cardinals game over an icy brew at the playfully quirky Lafayette Fire Company No. 1 (1). For a seventh inning stretch, step over to Square One Brewery & Distillery (2). There, you can pair a divine Burger of the Week with a house cask ale, seated in a lovely patio originally designed by the building’s ex-owner and City Museum founder, the late Bob Cassilly. 1 Cross the street for an after-dinner bottle of wine and live music set at SqWires (3). Before you head home, sip on a strong mint chocolate martini for a nightcap at Bailey’s Chocolate Bar (4). 2 The next morning, walk it all off with man's best friend through the beautiful Lafayette Park, stopping in Four Muddy Paws (5) for healthy dog treats and grooming services. Then, peruse amazing glass, jewelry, and other artisan crafts in the Fabrication Arts Center (6). Conclude your morning with a soul-soothing java and mouthwatering gooey butter cake from Park Avenue Coffee (7). 2 local NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH Adam Foster Fine Art Jewelry Whether it is a classic or a nontraditional engagement ring that you are looking for, they hand-make every one. Located in the Heart of Dogtown, Nora's is not your typical sandwich shop. From in-house smoked meats, to quirky and creative sandwiches, salads, and soups, you will be left satisfied. Clayton 9 N. Central ave. (63105) 771-3390 | fosterjewelry.com Dogtown 1136 Tamm Ave (63139) 645-2706 Strands The Mud House A relaxing boutique salon in the historic DeMun area, Strands draws inspiration from the world of fashion and art to stay on top of current trends. They create designs to showcase your individual beauty! Nothing beats some good gossip with a buddy, over a latte almost too pretty to drink... almost. Breakfast served all day and the best club sandwich you've ever had. Cherokee Street 2101 Cherokee St. (63118) 776-6599 | themudhousestl.com DeMun 730 DeMun Ave. (63105) 725-1717 FOAM Coffee & Beer With off-beat decor, snack plates, free WiFi, and weekly events and live shows, you’ve got the definitive place to work and play, open 4pm until late. Paid Advertising Nora's J. Gravity Strings Situated on the banks of the big muddy, Gravity Strings buys, sells, repairs, and restores guitars, banjos, mandolins and amplifiers for over 30 years. Cherokee Street 3359 S. Jefferson Ave. (63118) 772-2100 | foamstl.com Soulard 1546 S. Broadway (63104) 241-0190 | gravitystrings.com Mangia Italiano Blueberry Hill It’s always a good time at Mangia, whether you’re looking for fresh pasta and a glass of wine, or a slice of pizza and a cold beer. There’s new late night drink specials now, too. South Grand 3145 Grand Blvd. (63118) 664-8585 | dineatmangia.com A Landmark restaurant and music club filled with pop culture memorabilia and famous for great food — directly across from the new Chuck Berry Statue! The Loop 6504 Delmar Blvd. (63130) 727-4444 | blueberryhill.com elevenmusicmag.com | ELEVEN | 26 a streetwide celebration free to the public