Blondie's Chris Stein Still Making Waves 40 Years Later

Categories: Interviews

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photo by Danielle St. Laurent
Blondie with Chris Stein (second from right)

For Chris Stein, music and photography have always been married. When he attended the School of Visual Arts in New York during the late '60s, he made it his mission to document downtown culture. As luck would have it, that culture just happened to include a music scene that was on the brink of an international explosion.


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STL Vernacular Aims to Be St. Louis' Go-To Spot for Podcasts

Categories: Interviews

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Patrick Lanham
Adam Frick, the man behind STL Vernacular.
In a small, glass-encased room at Shock City Studios, Em Piro, director of the St. Louis Fringe Festival, is discussing her event with host Martin Casas on his STL Swap Meet podcast. "It's an open market for creative work," says Piro, summarizing the two-week festival.

On the other side of the glass, Adam Frick -- the man producing the interview -- is attempting to set up the same kind of market for podcasts.

STL Vernacular, Frick's podcast network, launched on April 13. In addition to the three podcasts he manages -- STL Swap Meet, the comedy-based Would You Watch This and Married to Music -- Frick says he hopes the network will serve as a landing pad for all podcasts in the St. Louis area.

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Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin Picks Up the Pace with The High Country

Categories: Interviews

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Shay Rainey
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin will perform Friday, June 26, at Off Broadway.
A group of high school friends get together, form a band and release an album of fuzzy, uptempo songs -- it's a trope as old as rock music itself. Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, however, waited until its fifth record to show off its more more garage-rock side. "It was a reaction to our last album," said singer/drummer/guitarist Phillip Dickey of The High Country, the group's latest release. "On the last album [we] recorded all the parts ourselves. We were very meticulous about finding tones.This was...let's do things the exact opposite."

The contrast between the two records is immediately apparent. The piano and drum machine intro that opened Fly By Night , the group's 2013 album, is replaced by a simple count-off and a wall of fuzz with "Line on You," the new album's opener.

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Crosstalk: Bo & the Locomotive and July Talk Interview Each Other to Preview Upcoming Show

Categories: Interviews

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July Talk photo provided by the band, Bo & the Locomotive photo by Abby Gillardi
July Talk, left, and Bo & the Locomotive, right, will perform together Tuesday, June 16 at Off Broadway.
This upcoming Tuesday, June 16, St. Louis' Bo & the Locomotive will perform a co-headlining bill with Toronto, Canada's July Talk, an appropriate pairing of two excellent bands at the top of their respective games. RFT Music's own Christian Schaeffer had the following to say in a critic's pick for the show:

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White Lung's Mish Way Wants Something Different

Categories: Interviews

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Piper Ferguson
White Lung
It has been almost exactly a year since Mish Way and her bandmates in White Lung released their third album, Deep Fantasy, but Way isn't the retrospective type. She's already looking forward to new things -- to a new record and a new collection of songs to pull from on the road.

Way hopes to start recording the new album in the fall, but before she can dive into that, she has one more tour. When we reach her on the phone, she is on her way from New York to D.C., getting ready for a nine-day, nine-city stint that will take her from the East Coast to the Midwest before winding back east to New York and Boston. The band will hit St. Louis tonight with a show at the Demo. It's an exhausting itinerary, but Way isn't complaining. This is what she signed up for.

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Meet Mariner and its Alter-Ego, Semen Allergy

Categories: Interviews

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Photo by John Warren Olds

"I didn't really put Mariner and semen together like seaman," says Cody Perkins, the latest addition to post-hardcore outfit Mariner. Last summer he joined an already tight-knit group of friends, all with their own in-jokes. But Perkins fit right in because he shared a strong passion for community in the music scene, which might be the most important part of the band.

Perkins refers to Mariner's recent outing as Semen Allergy, an alter-ego made to blow off steam, but to also explore ideas that don't quite fit the band's aesthetic direction. Among those ideas was a flyer -- a short essay to challenge others who don't do their part to help sustain local music. In the days following Semen Allergy's first (and only) show, a picture of the printout made social media rounds.


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Speedy Ortiz Grows Up and Out

Categories: Interviews

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Shervin Lainez
Speedy Ortiz: Unexpectedly affecting.

The Fantagraphics comic-book series Love and Rockets once featured a young man named Speedy Ortiz. The comic character started as combative gang member, but later became more introspective. The Massachusetts-based band has done the opposite from a lyrical standpoint.

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Of Montreal Continues Its Evolution on the Bitter Aureate Gloom

Categories: Interviews

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Kevin Barnes
Kevin Barnes: "I'm trying to bring myself out of that funk and into a better funk."
Don't listen to the reviewers — Aureate Gloom is not Of Montreal leader Kevin Barnes' breakup album. Yes, he and his wife, Nina Aimee Grøttland, separated in December 2013, leading many critics to jump to conclusions in regard to the 2015 record's motivations. But Barnes wants them to know that they got it all wrong.


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Ryley Walker Gets Lucky With the Folk-Jazz Primrose Green

Categories: Interviews
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Photo by Dusdin Condren

Shitty punk shows, underground noise, experimental jazz, Drag City records spilled out on a floor -- these are not the first sources that come to mind when encountering the music of Ryley Walker. This year the 25-year-old guitarist and singer released Primrose Green, a vibes, electric piano and open-tuned guitar-based exploration of the jazz side of British folk-rock, with undeniable echoes of Tim Buckley, Pentangle and Nick Drake.

But the punk soul is just as undeniable: Walker delivers his songs with an inchoate wail and grouse, and if the melodies ever get too pristine, they don't stay that way for long. His guitar attack is hypnotic and violent at once, whether he's pushing through a solo 12-string passage or surrendering to a rhythm section that knows not where it's headed -- and can't wait to get there.

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London Quartet Wolf Alice Will Be Getting Your Attention

Categories: Interviews

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Photo Courtesy of Wolf Alice/Jenn Five
Wolf Alice
The first thing that may strike you about My Love Is Cool, the forthcoming debut album by North London quartet Wolf Alice, is how remarkably self-assured it is. Starting in 2010 as the duo of singer/guitarist Ellie Rowsell and guitarist Joff Oddie and growing from there, the band spent half a decade refining its sound. Wolf Alice released a series of EPs and spent a lot of time playing to empty rooms, all the while making its sound bigger and fuller.

With My Love Is Cool, Wolf Alice has drawn influences from myriad sources - The Breeders' loud/quiet dynamic and raw melodies, My Bloody Valentine's swirly, surreal tones and mellifluous vocals, Blur's observational songwriting, and the occasional Sonic Youth guitar break -- to create something definably its own.

After wowing South by Southwest earlier this year, Wolf Alice has hit the road for its second American tour. Drummer Joel Amey took time out of a rare day off in his hometown of Dorking to answer our questions. See the band at the Demo on May 3 and have a good time. Just don't ask Amey to accompany you to Cracker Barrel. Read our condensed interview for the reason why.

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