The New Marilyn Manson Album Is Shockingly Good

Categories: Interviews

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The cover of Marilyn Manson's The Pale Emperor
Marilyn Manson recently marked the release his ninth studio album, The Pale Emperor. For those of us who grew up in the shock rocker's heyday, it's sort of insane that he has made it this far. Though his relevance and "shock value" are no longer what they were during the mid-'90s, he's survived and is still making music long after most of us had written him off.

The fact that The Pale Emperor is so great ranks among the most shocking tricks Manson has pulled off yet.

See also: Marilyn Manson Plays the Villain: The Uncut Edition

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Sklar Brothers Return to Their Hometown St. Louis For a Show Benefiting St. Louis Area Foodbank

Categories: Comedy, Interviews

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Photo via Scheurshots.com
Randy and Jason Sklar will perform at the Pageant this Saturday.
Saturday night, Randy and Jason Sklar, St. Louis' "prodigal sons who began as one" return for a show at the Pageant to benefit the St. Louis Area Foodbank (doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m.). To preview the show, RFT Music had a wide-ranging conversation with the comedy duo while they waited for their turkey burgers at a Los Angeles eatery.

See also: Sklar Brothers Vow to Rescue St. Louis From Baseball Depression

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Cold War Kids Aim to Release As Much Music As Humanly Possible

Categories: Interviews

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via Downtown Music
Cold War Kids, performing tonight at the Ready Room.
When Cold War Kids released its debut album Robbers & Cowards in 2006, the California-bred band was met with praise. The record was gritty and bluesy, a deviation from the pop-punk bands that were overrunning California's musical landscape. That deviation was purposeful for guitarist/singer Nathan Willett and his bandmates, who were inspired to make rock music like bands from New York and England -- drawing inspiration from the Velvet Underground and the Smiths -- but with a modern approach.

Because the group broke that tradition of pop, it has been lauded as a band without a genre. Though Cold War Kids eschewed upbeat tempos for the first three albums -- Robbers & Cowards, Loyalty to Loyalty (2008) and Mine Is Yours (2011) -- its members realized that in order to grow musically, they had to take risks. And they had to make a ton of music.

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St. Louis Duo the Funs Kicks Off 2015 With an Art Show and a New Cassette Tape

Categories: Interviews

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Photo by John Birkner
The Funs, a.k.a. Phillip Lesicko and Jessee Rose Crane.

"Without an ounce of sarcasm, art and music saved our lives. I know it's sort of cliché, but we're really sincere about that," says Jessee Rose Crane, musing on the title of her art exhibit now showing at the Kranzberg Arts Center through February 4. "This Could Save Your Life" brings a culmination of music and art -- two worlds that Crane says go hand in hand.

"My experiences as a band on the road fuel a lot of artwork that I do," she says. For the past five years, Crane and partner Philip Lesicko have toured and performed as the Funs, a two-piece rock band that reflects the couple's close relationship through dense, inclusive songs. The duo's swarming guitar plays Twister on the listener's ears while sharp beats propel the blissed-out sound into outer space. It's noisy indie-rock for the ADHD generation.


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The Toasters' Robert "Bucket" Hingley: "The Hell With U2 -- You Can Quote That"

Categories: Interviews

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Wikipedia / Richlv
The Toasters will perform at Off Broadway tonight, January 16.

With newer acts like Streetlight Manifesto to OGs like Rancid and Reel Big Fish all still touring, it's clear ska never died. But probably before these guys even picked up guitars, there was the Toasters. The two-tone act was one of the first American bands that emerged in the early '80s and is readying to celebrate its 35th year of existence. The band's only one consistent and remaining member is Robert "Bucket" Hingley. Two other originals have since passed away and the fourth is in a British monastery.

So how does a band tour with only one member? "There are a lot of local bands and guest members from local bands," Hingley explains. "There are 150 guys I work with, guys I've been working with for years -- it's been running pretty smoothly." And yes, Hingley picks all the temporary members himself.

"I'm in touch with everyone," he continues. "That's one of the useful things about Facebook. If we're in town and one of the guys wants to jump onstage in their city, we leave a hole in the lineup. Once a Toaster, always a Toaster. You're never allowed to leave."

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Zola Jesus: Pop Music for People Who Think Humanity Should Go Extinct

Categories: Interviews

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Jeff Elstone
Zola Jesus, performing at Ready Room on January 17.
By Tessa Stuart

Nika Roza Danilova is burdened by the unknowable. That's why she became a musician. "I needed music as a way to process my own sort of larger questions that I feel like I just can't possibly answer," says the 25-year-old vocalist, known now by names she borrowed from a French philosopher and the son of God.

Zola Jesus' newest album, Taiga, debuted in October of last year. It's a collection of meditations on those larger questions -- man versus nature, man's position in nature and the synthesized world versus the natural world -- informed, Danilova says, by the philosphy of Norwegian metaphysician Peter Wessel Zapffe. (He's a famous antinatalist -- someone who believes, essentially, that the human race should be extinguished.)

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Thirteen Years Into Its Career, Railroad Earth Is At the Top of Its Game

Categories: Interviews

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Erin Mills
Railroad Earth

Have you ever heard the Paul McCartney story of 'Yesterday,' where his original lyrics were 'Scrambled Eggs'?" asks Todd Sheaffer, having stumbled upon a better way to describe his songwriting process. "If you sing it, it makes sense."

He smiles. "It's kind of the same for me."

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Trans-Siberian Orchestra to Perform The Christmas Attic Live at Scottrade Center

Categories: Interviews

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Jason McEachern, 2014

"It's kind of like having a child; there's no secret," says Al Pitrelli, guitarist and founding member of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. "You give birth to something. You're there from its inception. You fall in love with it the second it opens its eyes. And twenty years later, you realize that it's grown up into something you're so proud of."

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National Blues Museum Meets Fundraising Goal, Begins Construction on World-Class Blues Experience

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Google Maps
The home of the National Blues Museum on Washington Avenue.

When the National Blues Museum announced on December 11 that it had completed financing and was ready for construction in downtown St. Louis, business executives and music fans around the metro region became excited. After all, a world-class tribute to the blues located on Washington Avenue could drive all kinds of economic and cultural development.

But Rob Endicott, chairman of the board of the National Blues Museum, isn't merely excited about the museum; he's also confident that this is the piece that will forever connect the Gateway City with a style of music that has contributed so much to America's rock & roll legacy.

He should know. He's a blues musician himself.

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Carried By Styx: Pallbearer Incorporates Prog-Rock Influences Into Its Doom-Metal Sound

Categories: Interviews, Metal

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Diana Lee Zadlo
Pallbearer loves Kansas.

Being the torchbearer of the modern American doom-metal movement can be a tough job, especially when you list Kansas as one of your favorite bands. But it makes sense, according to Pallbearer bass player and vocalist Joseph D. Rowland, who says the band's progressive tendencies are just as important as its metal roots.

"I think we are just as much a prog-rock band as we are doom-metal," says Rowland. "We're huge fans of King Crimson, Yes, Kansas -- bands that pushed the envelope. We like telling a story through the music as well as the lyrics."

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