Eight St. Louis Bands to Watch in 2014
You typically don't expect a lot of full-out dancing at hard-rock shows, but that's exactly what you get when you see Tok. The twist is that the most energetic dancing spectacle happens onstage instead of on the floor. Brothers Bryan and Matt Basler have made a name for themselves by being able to moonwalk while playing guitar, ensuring that we appreciate their swagger and humor just as much as we do their grungy songs. Tok released volumes one and two of Gold Dollar Hen House this year, with the band's website promising a third soon. We'll be grateful for that, but what we're really anticipating is another YouTube installment of Bryan teaching us how to do stuff.
Chris Grabau and Danny Kathriner have been on a lot of people's minds lately because of Cave States, their new project that launched its debut album The Great Divide this fall. But it's finally time to make some noise about their other band, Magnolia Summer, once again. After 2009's excellent Lines from the Frame, Magnolia Summer performed at the inaugural LouFest and played a BBC2 show during its UK tour before finally putting out a pair of digital EPs in 2011. And then, you know, life and projects and stuff happened. But in just a few short weeks, the eight-piece will treat us to a new album (The MS and Cave States websites suggest January), and we're pretty jazzed. A recurring nominee in various RFT polls, Magnolia Summer's long-awaited record should be just the thing to fight off the winter blues.
We sort of wanted to call upon Scooby-Doo to solve the mystery of when Bear Hive will release its album, but things sound like they're finally moving along for 2014. It's no secret that we're fans of the young trio's work; Bear Hive has been on our "best new band" and "band to watch" lists for a while now. And though we've enjoyed the indie band's Death Cab for Cutie vibe during its live shows this year, we're ready to have new stuff in our earholes all the time. The group has been recording and mixing at Bird Cloud Recording with Ryan Wasoba, so we know the output will be spectacular. But, dammit, that carrot has been dangling for a loooooooong time -- feed us, already!
The Jungle Fire
We'd forgive you for thinking that the Jungle Fire has appeared at most major events thrown in the city this year. After all, the band has come close to maxing out its stamina by performing at 4 Hands Food Truck Feast, Label Day, the Rock N Roll Craft Show after-party and our own big powwows the RFT Music Showcase and the RFT Best of St. Louis party. But our pick for this year's best soul band is just getting warmed up. With a well-received debut EP in 2012 and another stellar three-track collection this year, the Jungle Fire has made good on its promise for funk-soul songs about both St. Louis pride and strife. We're sure that streak will continue in 2014 when this group of passionate, horntastic musicians finally releases the songs they've been hinting at on Facebook. Where there's smoke there's fire, and we can't wait to feel some more heat.
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