African Alert Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary and the Golden Era of Hip-Hop This Saturday

Categories: Five Questions

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Courtesy of G. Wiz
G. Wiz (center) with rapper Paris and DJ Mike at the Double Helix Studio in 1991.
A quarter century ago, a show called African Alert invaded the airwaves at St. Louis' community radio station, KDHX (88.1 FM), exposing listeners to the golden era of hip-hop as it trickled throughout the country in steadily increasing streams. Ronald Butts, a.k.a. DJ G. Wiz, acted as a key player behind the mixing board, undoubtedly inspiring future generations of St. Louis DJs as well as hip-hop fans and historians. He throws a party to celebrate the show's 25th anniversary and the positively tinged music of its time at 2720 Cherokee (2720 Cherokee Street; 314-276-2700) this Saturday, December 7.

See also: Old School: Unearthed in a cluttered storeroom, a pair of vintage St. Louis hip-hop recordings help tell the history of rap

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From Sine Nomine to the Fluff of Murder: Meet Derek Yeager

Categories: Five Questions

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Mabel Suen

The Fluff of Murder
at Noisefest X

Sunday, November 3
Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center
7 p.m. | $7 | All Ages

As local musician Derek Yeager learned, putting one's wrist through the rigors of technical metal does little to ease the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome. Yeager released his first record with the St. Louis group Sine Nomine over ten years ago. But after a decade of touring, recording, splitting and reforming, Yeager's ready to focus on a softer, albeit just as heady, side of music with the Fluff of Murder. Following a three-song EP released early last month, Yeager will debut the Fluff of Murder in a live setting this Sunday at the closing night of Noisefest X at the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center (3301 Lemp Avenue).

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Chicago's Cave Invades Plush Tonight For a Pre-Halloween Performance

Categories: Five Questions

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Chris Olsen
Cave from Chicago, the psychedelic hippies of the future.

Cave with Skarekrau Radio and Ghost Ice
Wednesday, October 30
Plush
9 PM | $5 | 18+

Technically, Halloween starts tonight at midnight, and the creepy racket hosted at Plush (3224 Locust Street; 314-535-2686) should be enough to kick off the sordid holiday right. Costumes are the norm with Skarekrau Radio, the local no-wave cult that adorns itself in wigs and masks on the regular. Fresh off the release of its latest LP, Skarekrau Radio will perform tonight alongside our city's proudest proprietor of noise, Ghost Ice (We named him Best Noise Band in 2012 and our readers, that means you, named him Best Noise in the 2013 RFT Music Awards). Right next to the locals will be the venerable Cave, from Chicago.

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A Look at Luc Michalski's Black Panties

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Steve Truesdell
Black Panties at the 2013 RFT Music Showcase.

Meet Black Panties, the snot-nosed rock & roll brat of south city. Luc Michalski, an otherwise mild-mannered fella, dons a leather jacket and transforms into a foul-mouthed, politically incorrect caricature of adolescent angst. To put it simple, he spits what some are truly thinking, but are too afraid to say. For better and worse, Black Panties draws from Michalski's throat, coughing up real trashy and guttural punk rock from the chest. The band's first album, Dead and Gone, delivers with ten tracks of fuzzy, nihilist rock. Own it and see the band live this Sunday at Blank Space (2847 Cherokee Street; 314-458-9472).


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AQurld Waves: St. Louis' First Underwater Multimedia Concert

Courtesy of Hearding Cats Collective | Dale Dufer
AQurld Waves creative director Rich O'Donnell.
What do whale sounds, 6,000-lumen projectors, analog synthesizers, Tai Chi masters, LED lights and bikinis all have in common? They'll all be in the Webster University Pool (175 Edgar Road; 314-968-7433) for an underwater concert called AQurld Waves. The multi-discipline "theater of senses" presents itself for a one-time event in three separate twenty-minute acts.

RFT Music spoke with creative director and experimental mastermind Rich O'Donnell, who started the not-for-profit Hearding Cats Artists Collective with his wife Anna Lum (one of the Tai Chi masters performing that evening), Mike Murphy and Ryan Harris in 2009. The group commits itself to "keeping St. Louis strange and wonderful," and AQurld Waves certainly provides no exception.

See also: The HEARding Cats collective brings new sounds to St. Louis

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A Conversation with Experimental Bassist Darin Gray: Playing Art Hill, Radiolab Live and More

Categories: Five Questions

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Robert Iwanik
Bassist Darin Gray might be the most prolific experimental musician out of St. Louis. 32 years after his first performance in the area, he shows no signs of stopping, and RFT Music couldn't be prouder to call him one our city's own. Despite the racket Gray has generated in countless ensembles and bands including Grand Ulena, Dazzling Killmen, You Fantastic!, On Fillmore and Chikamorachi over the years, he says he's actually a pretty shy guy.

In this interview, we get to know him on a more personal level and discuss his upcoming projects and releases, including Radiolab Live and a New Music Circle performance this Friday, August 23 with Mars Williams and Tyler Damon on Art Hill.

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Nathan Brown Plays Original '80s Soundtrack Music in the Vein of Beverly Hills Cop and Top Gun Tonight at Pop's Blue Moon

Categories: Five Questions

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Courtesy of Nathan Brown
Here at RFT Music, a lot of strange, often incomprehensible event submissions wash up on the shores of our sprawling inboxes. On a scale of one to WTF, one particular message scored about a 1,001 on our Richter scale of ridiculousness. If you're up for a strange, probably surreal experience, head to the dive-y confines of Pop's Blue Moon (5249 Pattison Avenue; 314-776-4200) tonight to see self-proclaimed "electronic cheerleader" Nathan Brown, a Texan who plays original '80s synth-pop soundtrack music in the vein of Top Gun and Beverly Hills Cop, complete with dual keyboards, involuntary hip twitching and spry falsetto.

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SKiN GRAFT's Al Johnson on St. Louis: "Flip the Arch Upside Down"

Categories: Five Questions

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Mabel Suen
Al Johnson is a present-day prophet.

Skin Graft Records pushed math-rock and noise in the early '90s, an era when those terms weren't so faux pas and hardcore tended to leak into other genres without fear of scuffing up some favored tradition. The label's roster grew through the next decade, hoisting up the Dazzling Killmen, Melt-Banana and U.S. Maple among many others.

See also:
- An Interview with SKiN GRAFT Records owner Mark Fischer
- Al Johnson is Decent: A Conversation with the Host of This Weekend's Skin Graft Records Homecoming


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Al Johnson is Decent: A Conversation with the Host of This Weekend's Skin Graft Records Homecoming

Categories: Five Questions

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Photo courtesy of: Nightengalephotography.com
Al Johnson looks positively decent.

Skin Graft Records emerged in the early '90s amidst the rise of music cross-genres noise-rock and math-rock. Being an early proponent of such salty sounds, label owner Mark Fischer saw fit to combine records and comics in an unholy union of visual and audio debauchery. Early art featured Rob Syers, known for Gumballhead the Cat and music from Dazzling Killmen, Shorty and Mount Shasta. Once based in St. Louis, the label's head moved to Chicago, New York and, ultimately, Austria.

See also:
- Rock Mandala: Yowie works through the pain
- Skin Graft's Mark Fischer Weighs In on Rolling Stone's AIDS Wolf Camel ad


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Grammy-Winning St. Louis Artist Thi'sl to Throw First Pitch at Marlins/Cardinals Game This Saturday

Categories: Five Questions

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Press Photo

This Saturday, local Hip-Hop artist Thi'sl will throw the first pitch against his beloved St. Louis Cardinals while sporting a Miami Marlins jersey. What motivation could a hometown boy have to turncoat and guest pitch for the Marlins? Plenty, it turns out.

"I can't lie I was crushed at first, and Juan knew when he called that I would have a hard time doing it, but at the end of the day this is my job, and because of these jobs and people like the Marlins, I'm able to continue to give back to our city," Thi'sl says. The gangster-turned-Christian rapper spits the good word while giving back to our slice of the earth.

See also:
- Thi'sl goes from murder suspect to chart topper


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