The Best St. Louis Music Releases of 2013

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Fabio Sola Penna
It's hard evidence of a vital music community when this local-release column only touches a fraction of what was released in 2013. Sins of omission aside, here's what caught my ear most this year: established bands hitting their stride, scene veterans trying new things and a few new faces making impressive introductions. --Christian Schaeffer, Senior Music Writer

See Also: The Top 20 St. Louis Concerts of 2013

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RIP: Remembering Ten We Lost In 2013

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Jaime Lees
2013 saw a number of significant passings: political figures both respected and reviled (Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher, Hugo Chavez, Ed Koch), sports heroes (Stan Musial), television and film personalities (James Gandolfini, Annette Funicello, Peter O'Toole) and wordsmiths (Roger Ebert, Elmore Leonard). However, it was in the music world where the losses often felt the most personal. Here are ten that we'll miss in 2014 and beyond.

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Pazz & Jop Results Are In! See this Year's Winners, Read Advice from St. Louis Artists

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The Village Voice's annual critic's-list-to-end-all-critic's-lists, the venerable Pazz & Jop issue, is now in circulation. Each year the Voice polls hundreds of music critics in an effort to provide the most comprehensive list possible of the former year's most critically-acclaimed music. In addition to voting, critics are offered the opportunity to pontificate on matters of musical import in essay form.

One such essay this year was written by that guy Kiernan Maletsky, whom you may remember as the dude that was me around here before I became me. He tackled the topic of touring in 2012 and asked musicians across the country to weigh in -- several of which are based in St. Louis! Click through to see the results of this year's poll and to read advice from St. Louis artists.

See also:
-Kendrick Lamar's Debut is One of the Most Important Hip-Hop Albums of Our Era
-Fiona Apple's Comeback Tide Rises with Release of "Every Single Night"
-Pazz & Jop: Miguel Is Living The Dream


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St. Louis Hits the Road: Tips From the Many Local Bands that Toured in 2012

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Doom Town in Hamburg, Germany
Hard times, high gas prices and an ill economy did little to derail local artists from expanding outward in 2012. As a musician, I've never seen so many of my peers crawl out from these red brick buildings to push their River City sounds than in the past 12 months. Many return with invaluable advice on touring and supporting fellow artists.

"Always change your underwear," says Josh Jenkins of local post-punk trio Trauma Harness." If you don't change your underwear, after a couple days you'll start to smell," he says.

See also:
- The Best Hip-Hop Release to Come Out of Saint Louis This Year
- St. Louis Music in 2012: Break 'Em Off with a Little Review of the Remix
- The Six Most Absurd Pop Songs Of 2012


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The Year-End List of Lists to End All Year-End Lists This Year (You Wish)

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Tame Impala's Lonerism is on one of these many lists.
I am a chronic ranker of things, a lister. You give me a category - movies, music, vegetables, just about anything besides my children - and I'll give you a nice, neat list of my favorites. For my summary of the year 2012, a single Top Ten List didn't seem sufficient, so instead I submit my Top Five Top Fives of 2012. First, a disclaimer: I read about and listen to as much music as I can, but music is my vacation, not my vocation. So if you read this and are inclined to deride me with "what about (fill in whichever album I missed)?", I probably didn't hear it. If there is something my life wouldn't be complete without me hearing, let me know about it on Twitter (@thegeeter).

So Without further ado....

See also:
- The Top Five Notes on My Bass Guitar
- The Six Best Shows of 2012 That Nobody Attended
- The Ten Best Musical Happenings of 2012: Humble Edition


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Announcing the Winners of the First Voice Media Group Music Writing Awards

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Photo by Christine Taylor
Jesse Sykes
By Ben Westhoff
Each week in our print editions and every day on our blogs, the 13 Voice Media Group papers feature some of the best music writing in the country.

That's why we're excited to announce the winners of our first VMG music writing awards. The honor goes to the authors of one blog post and one print piece; eligible were any of our freelance scribes.

The envelope please...


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The Best Hip-Hop Release to Come Out of Saint Louis This Year

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Editor: Tef Poe is an artist from St. Louis City. Through powerful imagery and complicated honesty, he has earned a reputation as one of the best rappers telling the story of St. Louis, which is about much more than one place. Poe has been featured in music publications such as XXL and Urb Magazine. His newest project War Machine 2 was released on June 5th and will be followed up by a full-length with DJ Burn One entitled Cheer For The Villain. Follow him on twitter @tefpoe. Get War Machine 2 here.ollow him on twitter @tefpoe. Get War Machine 2 here.

I believe the honor of Best Hip-Hop Release to Come Out of Saint Louis This Year belongs to none other than Rockwell Knuckles for the tireless effort he put in on his latest work, Take Me To Your Leader. I don't intend on turning this blog into a music review or a step-by-step critical breakdown; I simply want to put into perspective the endless amount of vision embedded in this project.

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St. Louis Music in 2012: Break 'Em Off with a Little Review of the Remix

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CaveofswordS - no stranger to collaboration and the art of the Remix
In the decade I've been writing about national and local music for the Riverfront Times, there's been a near-constant rumble on how our city's bands, clubs, bookers and fans should refer to themselves. Are we a "scene" or are we a "community?" The difference is easy enough to parse - scenes are exclusive, communities are inclusive. At our most charitable we preach inclusion, a come-one, come-all spirit that's based in the knowledge that St. Louis' music culture is not so big or profitable to exclude anyone. Of course, that doesn't stop the shit-talking, the hierarchies and the social jockeying.

See also:
- Adult Fur's New Remix Project RÁN is Out Saturday: Review and Album Stream
- R Kelly Got His Crotch Grabbed 26 Times and Performed 50 Songs At The Fox Theatre
- The Bands Leading St. Louis' Ass-Shaking Groove Revival


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The Ten Best Musical Happenings of 2012: Humble Edition

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Pussy Riot's incarceration was one of the most remarkable musical sagas of 2012.
Editor's Note: The end of 2012 is upon us, so we thought we'd put a cap on things by sharing some of our personal favorite shows, albums, events and general shenanigans. Join us as we indulge in some navel-gazing!

I am not the most active of local scenesters. I am not up on many of the year's critically-lauded releases. Therefore, consider this a purely subjective, humbly-submitted Top Ten list of music-related items that caught my attention in 2012.

But first, special thanks to Kiernan Maletsky for sticking it out as music editor this year. Not only was he professional and easy to work with, but he was willing to at least consider whatever bizarre idea I proposed ("a piece about GG Allin's critical re-evaluation? Go for it"). So let's wish him luck as he heads to Dallas, and be glad that he's left the section in good hands with Daniel Hill.

See also:
- The Six Best Shows of 2012 That Nobody Attended
- Japandroids: How A Just Okay Record Became The Best Album of 2012
- The Bands Leading St. Louis' Ass-Shaking Groove Revival

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Japandroids: How A Just Okay Record Became The Best Album of 2012

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Japandroids - Celebration Rock
Japandroids' Celebration Rock is my favorite record of 2012 because I'm tired of albums that want to change my life. This is the simplest conclusion I can come to in my search for a deeper reasoning of what Celebration Rock means to me - or, more accurately, what liking Celebration Rock says about me. Even though Japandroids' record will land on almost every tastemaker's top ten list, it's likely to peak at #3 (your move, Pitchfork). Somehow calling the album my favorite feels like a rebellion. It's a slight middle finger move to a system I'm burned out on but not such a far departure to be futile. It's writing in Ron Paul for President rather than writing in Bart Simpson.

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