Eleven Local Artists You Need to Know in 2011
The life cycle of a local music community goes something like this: Bands form, play out, record music, play out more and (eventually) break up. There's plenty of variation in this sequence of events, of course, but in St. Louis, the local-band turnover tends to be rather high. Keeping track of the new faces around town can be difficult, and so we decided to compile a list of up-and-coming bands and artists poised to have a breakout year in 2011. The RFT's freelance music writers shared what new acts they've been digging lately, and the results varied from bands who stick to punk houses to acts ready to open for a major-label powerhouse. Stay tuned tomorrow for other new(ish) acts we're keeping an eye on.
Who: A quartet from Edwardsville with an insatiable need for speed.
Sounds Like: A greatest hits package of '80s thrash metal repackaged and remastered for fans of Dethklok.
What It's About: The name celebrates metal's official color and tempo; its music follows suit. Black Fast pushes the familiar to its extremes. Blistering cascades of guitar leads, whiplash tempo changes and subversive sidesteps into major keys give an epic context to its lengthy shred-fests. Meanwhile, assertive vocalist/guitarist Aaron Akin gives the kids in the pit a reason to scream along -- as soon as they learn the words. At the moment, Black Fast can only be heard on YouTube bootlegs. The band is hibernating in preparation of recording its debut, obsessively rehearsing to make their hypertechnical sagas bigger, blacker, and faster.
Listen: "Chaos Orb"
-- Ryan Wasoba
Black Fast, "Chaos Orb"
Who: A Technicolor banjo troubadour who's often seen performing at Bolozone and Floating Laboratories. Also a member of the band Peck of Dirt
Sounds Like: The ancient soul/dream-folk warblings of a medium channeling Dock Boggs
What It's About: The American Gothic leanings of Black James, a.k.a. Jennifer McDaniel, creep from a dark, cavernous basement in South city. A St. Louis transplant by way of Knoxville, Tennessee, McDaniel transcends traditional folk and blues, on the strength of ancient ballads laced with eccentric narratives. Black James' songs unfold in a playful marriage of cotton-picked banjo, ghostly soundscapes and broken electronics; McDaniel's Southern drawl pairs with her impeccably sharp wit. Be on the lookout for a self-released cassette in 2011.
Listen: "Jacked Up To Jesus"
-- Josh Levi