Sun Bros' Biting Vines and Hess/Cunningham Duo's Presser: Review and Stream

Categories: Homespun

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It's in the interest of full disclosure that we begin by noting that Joseph Hess is a regular contributor to the Riverfront Times and a valuable voice in covering the local noise and experimental scenes. But Hess' work at this publication is probably the least interesting thing about him.

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Tef Poe's War Machine III: Review and Stream

Categories: Homespun

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Chris Hazou
Tef Poe
On the morning of July 14 -- the day Tef Poe's War Machine III dropped -- the rapper, activist, sometime RFT Music contributed and all-around firebrand was being released from jail.

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Bunnygrunt's New LP, Vol. 4: Homespun Review

Categories: Homespun

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Matt Harnish is the face of Bunnygrunt -- the cherubic, affable, sometimes mustachioed face of a band that has remained mostly cherubic and plenty affable some twenty-odd years after forming. But the heart of Bunnygrunt rests in bassist and vocalist Karen Ried.

It's easy to forget that, maybe because she moved away from St. Louis a few years ago or because Harnish is such an apt pitchman for the band, but Ried carries much of the weight on the new LP Vol. 4 (the band's first full-length since 2009's Matt Harnish & Other Delights). Ried won't be present for the local release shows or the band's upcoming UK tour -- Ashley Hohman (formerly of Doom Town, currently of Veil) will be taking her place -- but on the album, at least, Ried shines.


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Nick Muckerman's Eternal 5: Apollo: Review and Stream

Categories: Homespun

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Eternal 5: Apollo cover art.
Earlier this year, a tweedy UK duo calling itself Public Service Broadcasting released an unlikely hit: a found-sound mashup of recordings from the U.S./Soviet space race and the pair's own scrambled sense of pop music. That album, The Race for Space, used source materials (a speech by President Kennedy, the words of first-man-in-space Yuri Gagarin) and an array of samplers, synths and drum machines to make an LP that felt both historical and modern.


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Subtle Aggression Monopoly's Perennial Complex: Review and Stream

Categories: Homespun

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Perennial Complex.
The idea that we live in a post-racial -- or, God help us, a post-racist -- society has been pretty thoroughly put to bed in the past year as events in Ferguson, Baltimore, Charleston and more have underlined the deep divisions and biases across our country. But if overt acts of racism and discrimination have somewhat receded, we've heard more and more about "microaggressions" -- those coded acts and phrases that undermine a non-dominant culture. The distance between macro and micro could be seen in the gap between, say, a burning cross on someone's lawn and a Confederate flag sticker on someone's car.


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Toymaker's Self-Titled New Album: Review and Stream

Categories: Homespun

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The nexus of jazz, jam and funk music has long been a rich intersection for instrumentalists; depending on which end of the spectrum a musician comes from, this type of fusion allows the freedom of improvisation or the stricture of patterns that slowly modulate with each repetition. Toymaker, an instrumental trio that just released its first, self-titled LP, takes liberally from both sides of that equation: The improvisational elements are earned only through a thorough exploration of each song's main theme.

Keyboardist Ryan Marquez (also of Fresh Heir) is the trio's sole melodic instrumentalist, so each song's lead lines fall on his rig, which favors a vibrant Fender Rhodes in the left hand and a buzzy monophonic synth in the right. But while his contributions remain suitably measured, his bandmates Christian Kirk (drums) and Matt Harris (bass) go further afield as each song progresses. The overall effect is pretty smooth, a little funky and plenty cosmic.

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Audio Vulture's Strange Memories on This Nervous Night: Review and Stream

Categories: Homespun

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For the past five years, south-side denizen Ben Davis has made music under the name Audio Vulture, dutifully releasing an album every year or so with little fanfare and few, if any, live appearances. His one-man band name may sound like a post-Napster piracy hub or a particularly nasty piece of malware, but it fits his catchall technique of mixing found sound, canned beats, blues-indebted guitar and wry vocals into fairly catchy tunes about self-abuse and self-loathing.

He calls his music "junkie pop," a genre tag about as cute as a scabrous track mark and one that oversells the music's narcotic effect. Davis' sound-collage style and boho-jazz lyrics are closer to MTV-era Eels and Calvin Johnson side projects than, say, Mark Linkous' blackout fantasias with Sparklehorse.


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Apex Shrine's Home Baked: Review and Stream

Categories: Homespun

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Jammy, blues-kissed psychedelia is alive and well, and being rehearsed in a Crestwood basement. Apex Shrine, helmed by brothers Jack and Dan Eschmann on guitars and shared vocals, mines guitar-centric classic rock that never seems to go out of style.

Yes, there are expected traces of Jack White and the Black Keys on a few of these tracks, but, as befitting an album with the word "baked" in its title, Home Baked is happy to lay back in the groove. The nine-song LP was released in December, but the band's regular live shows and appearance at the early June Wakarusa festival in the Ozarks (alongside STS9, Umphrey's McGee and other jam-fest mainstays) have raised the young band's profile.


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Zach Schimpf's Onward, We Go: Review and Stream

Categories: Homespun

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We're only halfway through 2015, but Zach Schimpf has already had a busier year than most artists in town. So far the singer-songwriter has released the full-length Blue Pool and contributed to the soundtrack of the indie documentary Discovering the Beating Path, which featured songs inspired by cancer patients' stories.

By comparison, the six-song Onward, We Go EP is small change, but the tidy, tuneful program serves as a good introduction to Schimpf's winsome, folk-rooted pop songs.

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Homespun: Dylan Brady, All I Ever Wanted

Categories: Homespun

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A slight young man with long blond locks and a scruffy red beard, Dylan Brady crouches on the cover of All I Ever Wanted amid a monochromatic set awash in blue. The cover is both artsy and simple, and the azure palette hints at some of the moodier moments of this hip-hop producer's slow, syrupy, stretched-out tracks. Brady has made music under the name Lil Bando (his old handle is referenced on the track "Little Bando," wherein an untethered voice implores, "Don't play that shit"), but this album serves as the debut under his given name. He has gained some underground cred along the way from hip-hop blogs and garnered the attention of vocalists who sing the hooks on his songs (Night Lovell, Saputo and Ketema); he even has a few annotations for some of these tracks on Genius.com, where you'll learn the provenance of some of his sound samples (Dune, James Bond and Wes Anderson films).


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