Nato Caliph Presents "The Build" at Blank Space

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Omar O'Hara
A still From Nato Caliph's "Polarity" video shoot at Kayak Coffee.

In this weekly column, RFT Music gets to know local creatives, musicians and their missions. Get a slice of the local scene, complete with a snippet of sound and info about upcoming releases and shows. Stick around to see what St. Louis artists have to say whenever they Fill in the Blank.

"Your music is not for everybody. Artists need that wake-up call. It's hard to believe, but that's a fact," says hip-hop artist Nato Caliph. "Focus on making quality music for the people that want to hear it, and that will spread itself. That's the reality, but that's what makes it beautiful."

Whether he's writing for new tracks or booking shows, Nato stays humble, with a strong sense of community. That humility shows in the poster for his next show, on which his name sits at the very bottom, despite his role as its main promoter. Catch him, along with ten-plus additional performers, at The Build at Blank Space on Saturday, April 26.


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Progressive Hip-Hop Artists Jah Orah and KD Assassin Debut Video For "It's Not the Same"

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Mabel Suen
Jah Orah and KD Assassin.
In this weekly column, RFT Music gets to know local creatives, musicians and their missions. Get a slice of the local scene, complete with a snippet of sound and info about upcoming releases and shows. Stick around to see what St. Louis artists have to say whenever they Fill in the Blank.

"We're basically learning from the pioneers that started this thing, and becoming engineers going through things in life," says hip-hop artist KD Assassin. "What we do can be called 'street-hop,' meaning it's good music with an edge.... It's positive music -- intelligent, intellectual conversation with a message."

Recently, KD Assassin and fellow emcee Jah Orah released a music video for "It's Not the Same," a song that their producer Stephen King, a.k.a. InStrumenTaL jokingly refers to as "some kind of unintentional manthem." Prince Ea directs the video, which also features Orah and KD's counterpart, MC923. Assembled on the spot in the studio, the song tells the story of each artist's individual relationships and frustrating realities in one seamless song.

See also: Twelve Must-See Music Videos from St. Louis Hip-Hop Artists

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Zagk Gibbons Is a One-Man Rock Band with a Psych Edge

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Mabel Suen
Zagk Gibbons is a sound engineer, artist and musician.

In this weekly column, RFT Music gets to know local creatives, musicians and their missions. Get a slice of the local scene, complete with a snippet of sound and info about upcoming releases and shows. Stick around to see what St. Louis artists have to say whenever they Fill in the Blank.

Zagk Gibbons takes a page or two from the book of modern pop artists. By stacking samples atop live guitar and keys, Gibbons effectively builds his songs bearing the force of a full band, and he does so alone. His newest EP, Nothing With the Letter V, is set to release on May 31, and Gibbons has shared with us a sneak peak of what's to come.

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Britches Release Demolition Tonight: "The tape's more like a tombstone."

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Photos by Mabel Suen
Britches is Andrew Carter, Bryant Hoban and Marty Reutter.
In this weekly column, RFT Music gets to know local creatives, musicians and their missions. Get a slice of the local scene, complete with a snippet of sound and info about upcoming releases and shows. Stick around to see what St. Louis artists have to say whenever they Fill in the Blank.

"It's kind of weird how we do things. Normally, you'd release an album and go tour on it. We've been on tour several times and now we're finally releasing a tape. And we're probably never going to play these songs ever again," says Andrew Carter, the drummer of Britches, regarding the trio's new album, Demolition. The cassette release is Britches' third set of recorded songs since its formation in 2009 and will be released tonight during a show with Boston's Guerilla Toss at Cafe Ventana (3919 West Pine Boulevard; 314-531-7500).

"The tape's more like a tombstone," adds Bryant Hoban.

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The Maness Brothers: A Forceful Wall of Blues and Garage Rock

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The Maness Brothers release Grief Factory this Saturday.

In this weekly column, RFT Music gets to know local creatives, musicians and their missions. Get a slice of the local scene, complete with a snippet of sound and info about upcoming releases and shows. Stick around to see what St. Louis artists have to say whenever they Fill in the Blank.

Brothers Jake and David Maness grew up in O'Fallon, Missouri on a steady diet of Hendrix and Canned Heat. The obvious end to a childhood of rock & roll is a band, but it took the Maness Brothers twenty some-odd years to start writing together. On Saturday, March 15, the duo will release their new seven-inch Grief Factory at The Livery Company (3211 Cherokee Street) alongside local favorites Fred Friction and Carriage House.


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Meet Con Trails, a Rock Duo With a Raw Shoegaze Bent

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Mabel Suen
Con Trails is Kevin Guszkowski and Luke Sapa.
In this weekly column, RFT Music gets to know local creatives, musicians and their missions. Get a slice of the local scene, complete with a snippet of sound and info about upcoming releases and shows. Stick around to see what St. Louis artists have to say whenever they Fill in the Blank.

The term "shoegaze" typically manifests through its wearers in the form of a semi-detached disposition and row after row of effects pedals, but such is not the case with Con Trails. While the power duo's sound fits the introspective alt-rock profile, the live delivery comes off as fierce rather than lax and depends on a single tube amp for its warm, warbling reverb.

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Meet This City Of Takers, Unhinged and Underrated Rockers

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Colin Suchland
This City Of Takers

In this weekly column, RFT Music gets to know local creatives, musicians and their missions. Get a slice of the local scene, complete with a snippet of sound and info about upcoming releases and shows. Stick around to see what St. Louis artists have to say whenever they Fill in the Blank.

When guitarist Brandon Lee started This City Of Takers in Summer 2009, the concept was simple: Each album would follow a narrative. Both releases to date, Going Along With The Delusions Will Not Be Helpful (2010) and The Felt (2011) invoke the sounds of folk cranked to max volume with audible influence from the lighter side of '90s grunge.

See also: Fill in the Blank Interview Series


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Get in the Loop with Experimental Pop Artist Syna So Pro, a One-Woman Show

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Corey Woodruff

In this weekly column, RFT Music gets to know local creatives, musicians and their missions. Get a slice of the local scene, complete with a snippet of sound and info about upcoming releases and shows. Stick around to see what St. Louis artists have to say whenever they Fill in in the Blank.

Just to be clear, Syna So Pro stands for "Syrhea Conaway solo project" -- not "Syna so professional."

"I'm not trying to be braggy!" jokes Conaway, who has been working on her live looping project since 2007 and will release her second album, Loop Talk Vol. 1 tonight. Also, to further clarify any confusion with names, "Syrhea" is pronounced "suh-ree-uh," and here's how we'll never forget.

See also: Syna So Pro's Incredible A Capella Smashups of St. Louis Bands

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Meet Eric Hall, Musical Surgeon Obsessed with Splicing Sounds

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Mabel Suen

In this weekly column, RFT Music gets to know local creatives, musicians and their missions. Get a slice of the local scene, complete with a snippet of sound and info about upcoming releases and shows. Stick around to see what St. Louis artists have to say whenever they Fill in in the Blank.

Experimental musician Eric Hall's curious obsession with sounds began at a very early age. Technically, his first set up consisted of a mishmash of manipulated cassettes and turntables. He'd scratch his Smurfs records with gravel to bounce the needle, record his neighbors splashing around in a pool outside his window and would then play all these noises together, recording them on his dad's Dictaphone.

See also: Eric Hall Laumeier Performance Video

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Pink Sock is Not a Positive Influence on Your Impressionable Teenager

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Steve Truesdell
Pink Sock was voted best Simpsons tattoo by everyone at RFT Music.

In this weekly column, RFT Music gets to know local creatives, musicians and their missions. Get a slice of the local scene, complete with a snippet of sound and info about upcoming releases and shows. Stick around to see what St. Louis artists have to say whenever they Fill in in the Blank.

"It is a vehicle to make other people feel as unpleasant as we do," says vocalist Travis Hanrahan, speaking about his band Pink Sock. Hanrahan fronts the group by shuffling around like a stab-wound victim, airing all his grievances before eventually bleeding out. And he does, occasionally. Pink Sock can't seem to get through a full set without throwing fists, beer cans or bottles at each other. Nevermind the sweat, spit and puke that covers the venue's floor.


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