2013 saw the start of our show, Burning The Cassette. In honor of the year gone by, and with a keen eye for what might come in 2014, we descend from 13 all the way down to #1 on a list that has no real parameters other than “St. Louis” “Music” and “Rooster-Approved”:
13. Local Press actually covered the Local Scene a little bit. Actually, quite enough for my taste. As Local Music Hipster, i was able to look up most shows that were happening and felt the RFT, Eleven Magazine and KDHX all took major steps in connecting with the music scenes they cover. Burning the Cassette looks forward to even more improvement from the Local Press in 2014, as many National Acts continue to mistakenly skip over their diehard fans here in St. Louis.
12. Shovels and Rope visited Off Broadway and blew everyone’s pants off. Luckily, i was wearing shorts and tights. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ue9lsHpGKd4 if you haven’t seen or heard this dynamic, romantic duo, check out that link or just go see them again when they rock Off Broadway as headliners on February 25, 2014. Yes, i weaseled my way in to their sold out show last time, and yes i plan on doing the same in the new year.
11. St. Louis-based hip-hop producers stepped it up. Abnormal, Black James, DJ Reminisce and Nodzilla, Indian Bones Collective, Franco Hill, HENDRIX, MME, Nature Boy, Wino Willy and Parisian all posted their best works to date, while they and many others made it known that St. Louis Hip-Hop no longer has much to do with Chingy, J-Kwon and Nelly, except for Country Grammar, which is still a great fucking record. And oh yeah, while we’re here, i always actually thought Murphy Lee was a good rapper.
10. Eclectic shows remained en vogue. From InFest to LouFest, St. Louis’ best impressions of weird joined it’s most seasoned players on multiple shows in 2013. What’s that? Foxing (emo), Dots Not Feathers (Indie Pop), Bear Hive (Indie Rock) and Parisian (Hip-Hop/Electronica) are playing a show together? Oh, Eric Hall (Synth) is headlining with Union Electric (Americana) and HUMDRUM (Indie) on a bill that also feautres WHSKY GNGR (Solo Ukestress), Franco-Hill and Dream Fox (Dance)? Kentucky Knife Fight is doing a Video Release Show? Count me in! I think.
9a. Conversely, really fucking sweet bands played to 8 people in a basement, again. And again. And again. Some shows just don’t entice a high volume of people. Some shows compete with each other, probably by total accident, since a lot of bands & scenes don’t cross-pollinate often in this town. I witnessed this at venues that need no more shit talked about them, as well as respected places that usually draw a nice crowd. I saw side projects i’ll never see again and headliners i wish you could’ve seen with me, because i doubt you were there. Mostly because i’m a hipster. Partly because our scene is not united, although that’s what every artist wants.
9b. St. Louis Venues continued to exploit the free labor of musicians, while musicians continued to comply with this tragic state of affairs. Come on venues, you’ll pay that indie band who’s not even popular $1000, but the local bands who draw in all the people at the show get 10 times less? Everyone involved should be ashamed. I’m on a mission to empower musicians in 2014 with some simple advice: if you want change, demand it. Ask for what you know you’re worth and deliver on what you say. Or do it for free because it’s what you love, but i’m tired of this bullshit middleground. Rant Over.
8. The Columbia Scene is blowin up! Jack Grelle and the Johnson Family and Dubb Nubb got in on some Daytrotter Session action (a la Pokey Lafarge and Theodore in the near past) while The Hooten Hallers played their footstompin Welp-N-Roll all across these divided states. Rip Rap reverbed me to a cloud somewhere off the coast of Kauai and Gran Mal pushed a heavy Anarcho-BlackMetal record called 2 while Boreal Hills won over the hearts of KSLUers and Missourians alike, and word is, they’ll have a Daytrotter Sesh of their own soon! Go CoMo, Go!
7. KDHX made their move to Grand Center. This mostly resulted in a lot of lead-up as far as 2013 was concerned, but with such a huge move (and upgrade, i hear on the streets), this was sure to be a process and seems sure to change the way St. Louis Music is consumed. Move over, Clear Channel, the Semi-Independent figured out their way into the market with good ole fashioned ingenuity. A venue, a cafe, new shows and state-of-the-art equipment are only a few of the things to look out for at KDHX in 2014, so stay involved. And cheers to many joint future endeavors between KSLU & KDHX, welcome to the neighborhood!
6. Pokey LaFarge once again became directly relevant to the St. Louis Music Scene. From signing with Jack White’s label Third Man Records to release his Self-Titled debut LP, to doing St. Louis right with proper release shows, signings and secret shows, Pokey won my heart back in 2013. He also got on Letterman and toured Europe. Not bad for somebody who likes to claim St. Louis as his #1 home.
5. More Folkin Country Music! From Jack Grelle and the Johnson Family to Hooten Hallers, Dock Ellis Band to Dubb Nubb, Hobosexuals to Rum Drum Ramblers, and that pesky Pokey, St. Louis and Missouri are killin the Folk Game right now. I know some of the punk rockers and hip-hoppers don’t care for it, but Folk’s legit, and it’s here to stay.
4. National Acts did trickle in a little more this year. While Big Boi did cancel his involvement in a show due to worries about attendance, for the most part great bands from all genres visited St. Lou this past year. Patti Smith, Mobb Deep, Shabazz Palaces and DJ Shadow all came. Animal Collective, Built to Spill, No Age and Neutral Milk Hotel all played shows here. LouFest had some people play. Cool. Good for us. Oh yeah, Killer Mike and El-P was a great show. Thanks to everyone who did show us love this year.
3. Little Big Bangs released their self-titled LP. And it rocked the eff out from the time they released it around the corner at Plush. The gang also hit the road for tour and kept up to their usual bringing of the motherfuckin ruckus to a few local shows a month for the most part. And none of them even got arrested! STL’s favorite anarcho-stepchildren are doing big things in 2014 too, with a vinyl pressing of Little Big Bangs as well as Tape Splits with Brother Gruesome, Barely Free and Rip Rap on local label Eat Tapes.
2. Foxing became the best band in St. Louis. 2013’s 7-inch Ocelot and LP Albatross were quite possibly the best single and LP, respectively that were released by a St. Louis band this year. Two hugely successful release shows were followed quickly (and smartly) with midwest tours, and they even snuck in a Daytrotter Session before year’s end. Their version of Orchestral Emo is a truly unique experience on record and live, and is worth a listen whether or not you like what that means.
1. Best of all, me and my buds had a great freakin time playin music in and from this city, this year. People and bands came and went, but music was constantly being thought up and made by individuals and groups who feed off their creative urges. Our scene is not perfect, i don’t even know if it’s a scene, but St. Louis Music shined locally and eleswhere in 2013, and i will remember it fondly!