Speedy Ortiz Grows Up and Out

Categories: Interviews

Shervin Lainez
Speedy Ortiz: Unexpectedly affecting.

The 1980s comic-book series Love and Rockets featured a young man named Speedy Ortiz. The comic character started as combative gang member, but later became more introspective. The Northampton, Massachusetts, band has done the opposite from a lyrical standpoint.

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The Best Concerts in St. Louis This Week, May 26 to 31

Categories: Out Every Night

The Decemberists return to St. Louis this Saturday at the Peabody Opera House. View more photos from its 2011 show at the Pageant in RFT Slideshows.

Ex-Cult, the hyped-up punk troupe via Memphis, kick off a week of St. Louis music that includes truck-commercial legend John Mellencamp, avant-chamber group Alarm Will Sound, and St. Vincent, a band fronted by successful android-woman Annie Clark. On Sunday, Pop's Nightclub brings the best three-band metal bill in ages, on an outdoor stage no less.

Read on and let us know what you're looking forward to in the comments below.

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The Blue Pearl, New Bar/Music Venue, to Open on Cherokee This Summer

Categories: Fiesta!

photo via Lo-Fi St. Louis Facebook page
Whoa Thunder performing at the space that will hold The Blue Pearl

At 2926 Cherokee Street, owner/manager Julie Sommer is getting close to opening a different kind of Cherokee bar -- one she hopes will appeal to an older, more sophisticated clientele. The Blue Pearl plans to feature roots music and light food offerings.

The business has already had its hearing for a liquor license. While Sommer needs to apply for occupancy and health department permits before her license can be finalized, her goal is to open within the next few months.

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The 10 Best Concerts in St. Louis This Weekend: May 22-24

Photo by Jessy Gonzalez
Built to Spill's Doug Martsch performs with a new lineup tonight at the Ready Room.

The dream of the '90s is alive in St. Louis. While most trends tend to move in twenty-year cycles, that particular decade has particularly fun doomsday bookends: The Cold War ended in 1991, while nearly ten years later, not ready to hang up the idea of a good 'ol apocalypse, society predicted doom at the hands of Y2K.

Now that we're in the present and back to real issues like civil rights, St. Louis gets to enjoy the soundtrack to those Clinton years all weekend long.

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Rap Group 3 Problems Could Be St. Louis' Next Breakout Act. Here Are Their Best Videos

Photo by Ben Westhoff
Swagg Huncho (left) and Lil Tay of 3 Problems, a North County St. Louis group whose popularity is suddenly snowballing.

3 Problems is a St. Louis-based rap group making some of the most beautiful and troubling hip-hop out right now. Its members are Lil Tay, who lives in Jennings, Swagg Huncho, who lives in Ferguson, and Relly Rell, who recently got ten years for second-degree murder.

All three of them are eighteen, and though most RFT readers likely haven't heard of them, they're practically celebrities among north-county high school kids. They get recognized on the street, they posed for pictures at the Michael Brown protests, and they're increasingly asked to do features and shows. (You can catch them tonight at the #OshayParty at 419 Gano Ave.) They even recently got written up in Rolling Stone by an amazing local journalist. (Ahem.)

The guys get compared to Rae Sremmurd and have something of a Chief Keef vibe as well -- melodic but rough. More than anything, their music has a timeless quality, with honest-feeling stories about growing up in a tough environment. Their hooks are incredible -- just listen to their most recent mixtape, A Problem Story -- and judging by how quickly their following has been snowballing, they could be breakout national stars. (They're definitely hindered by Relly Rell's incarceration, but the other two members are so skilled that they can make it as a duo.)

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Homespun: Con & Michael Franco, She EP

Categories: Homespun

When we last heard from Con (a.k.a., north-side native Malcolm Chandler) this past September, he had just dropped Solstice Part 2 (Dreams from a Snow Globe). That album attempted, in part, to encapsulate some of the rage and sorrow surrounding post-Ferguson St. Louis, and Chandler and his crew were some of the first voices to go on record when the eyes of the world were on our region. That album was one of St. Louis' best releases last year -- not only for Con's deft handling of the political commentary, but also for his strong, clear-eyed verses on all topics, placed alongside smart, soulful grooves. His latest EP, the eight-song She, shows similar range and more robust backing tracks, thanks to Michael Franco's production. Con's political consciousness is still engaged, as evident on the generous sample of Gil Scott-Heron on opener "Them Negus," and the larger message of black unity is introduced in Heron's words and underlined in Con's verses. The message here is less immediately topical but potently evergreen.

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The Urge, Ginuwine, ZZ Ward, and More Coming to St. Louis

Categories: This Just In

Photo by Jess Dewes
The Urge
Here, again, is every newly announced show for the week! On page one you'll find a quick list of shows that particularly caught our attention.

Page two contains our complete listing of new shows, so you can do some digging of your own and let us know which ones you are excited about. Click through, and start planning ahead.

See also: Over 25 Years In, The Urge Continues to Sell Out St. Louis Venues

92.3 WIL Summer Kickoff Party: W/ Frankie Ballard, Thu., June 4, 7 p.m., $35. Chesterfield Amphitheater, 16365 Lydia Hill Drive, Chesterfield.

Aaron Gillespie: W/ William Beckett, Fri., July 10, 7 p.m., $15-$17. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050.

Atlas Genius: W/ New Politics, Fri., June 19, 6 p.m., $10.57-$30. Ballpark Village, 601 Clark Ave, St. Louis, 314-345-9481.

Authority Zero: Sat., Aug. 15, 8 p.m., $13-$15. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050.

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KDHX Takes Talk Programming Off the Air; Shows to Be Podcast-Only

Categories: News

Photo by Jon Gitchoff
KDHX's Andy Coco broadcasting from the studios of the station's newly opened Larry J. Weir Center for Independent Media.
This Monday, May 25, will be the last time to hear KDHX's handful of talk radio programs on the air -- after that, they will be converted to podcasts.

It's the latest step in an ongoing move toward music-only programming for St. Louis's 28-year-old community radio station. Six years ago, KDHX took most of its talk radio programs off the air, including St. Louis Poet Laureate Michael Castro's Poetry Beat and the syndicated Democracy Now. Four remaining shows -- Earthworms, Literature for the Halibut, Collateral Damage and Collector's Edition, which is about half music and half band interviews -- were stacked together on Monday night. Some were shortened.

Now they'll be podcast only, not broadcast.

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Wizard World Comic Con Brings Music from the 8-Bit Universe to the Live Stage

Categories: Live and Local

Jason Hayes of Critical Hit.
Get ready, St. Louis -- a sea of zombies, superheroes and aliens is once again about to take over the America's Center on Washington Avenue. When pop-culture/sci-fi convention Wizard World Comic Con returns to the Gateway City this weekend, the Rams' home will swap out AstroTurf and tear-filled beers for a wall-to-wall assault of celebrities and comic-book references that even ace reporter Lois Lane would have trouble sussing out.

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For Kentucky Knife Fight's Jason Holler, an Infant Daughter in Need

Categories: News

Courtesy of Jason Holler
Rowan Holler with her parents, Kate and Jason.
As the vocalist and lyricist of Kentucky Knife Fight, Jason Holler enjoyed both critical and popular acclaim. Even if the band never quite hit it big nationally, its following in St. Louis and the greater Midwest was passionate -- and its distinctive blend of alternative rock, blues, Americana and garage-punk won it the RFT Music Award for best rock band for four years running.

But just a few months after notching its fourth consecutive award last summer, the band announced it was breaking up, and Holler moved to Austin. Not to hit it big, but be closer to his wife's family for the birth of the couple's first child.

"The baby wasn't the only factor in Knife Fight calling it quits, but it did force me to make a decision," he says. "I was running on empty near the end and was no longer feeling fulfilled in the band."

On March 25, Rowan Splendoria Holler was born -- a beautiful baby with chubby cheeks and her father's intense eyes. But within just a few days, it became clear something was wrong.

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