Watch Film and Commercial Clips Featuring Songs by St. Louis Bands

Screenshot from preview below.
This scene from The Last Time You Had Fun features the song "Now Is Not the Time" by St. Louis' own Pretty Little Empire.

Most local musicians don't aim to have their songs on Dance Moms and other reality shows. Sometimes they're just lucky that way.

Actually, a bit more than luck brought indie-pop band Scarlet Tanager together with the Lifetime television program in 2013. As we note in this week's feature story, the St. Louis group had licensed songs to a major music library that places tunes in television shows. Rock group Pretty Little Empire also has had success placing songs on TV and in film, though that band accomplished the feat not via a song library but through people already familiar with its catalog.

So what's the deal? Do musicians give up the rights to their songs when they let an entertainment entity use the tunes?

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Movie and Television Licensing Deals Provide Exposure for Bands in St. Louis and Beyond

Categories: Interviews

Ben Mudd
St. Louis act Scarlet Tanager has had its music featured on The Real World, Dance Moms, Catfish and a commercial for GoPro cameras.
For many kids with guitar-shaped stars in their eyes, cutting an album deal is what it means to be a successful musician. Those ten cherry-picked songs backed by a major label signify "making it" -- something that will launch them into superstardom, world tours and giant piles of money. And once upon a time, that's kind of how it was.

But the times, they are a-changin'.

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This Will Destroy You Tightens Up and Sharpens Its Focus on Another Language

Categories: Interviews

Courtesy the artist
This Will Destroy You comes to the Firebird tonight.
By Matt Wood

On a Sunday afternoon, Alex Bhore is just packing and doing laundry in preparation for This Will Destroy You's upcoming East Coast tour. The band just returned from a European trek, where it played a show almost every single night for five weeks straight. Even though he's had a few weeks off, that doesn't exactly mean there's downtime for Bhore.

When he's not working with This Will Destroy You, Bhore works on production for other bands in Texas. Over the phone, he fondly recalls working with Future Death, who's also opening for This Will Destroy You at the Firebird for their show tonight, Friday, October 24. He also mentions working with Danny Diamonds, Blackstone Rangers and Nervous Curtains, plus a couple more that escape his memory at the moment.

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Brian Regan: It's Just Him and a Microphone

Categories: Comedy, Interviews


"Altruistic" is a word rarely -- if ever -- used to describe a standup comic, but it suits Brian Regan. In the 35 years he's been performing, wielding a microphone as his bullhorn, Regan does what only the most seasoned comics are capable of: making it look easy. He flourishes in the understanding and practice that the value of a joke is not simply a punch line, but in the shared experience of a comedic journey.

He's trekked back and forth across the United States and late-night talk shows more times than some comics could begin to imagine. His act stands up to the most acclaimed and praised in the business -- he is, after all, the poster boy for what the industry calls a "comic's comic." RFT Music spoke with Regan about what that means and dug into the depths of a joke.

(Brian Regan is performing a brand new 65-minute routine this Friday, October 24, at the Peabody Opera House. And he may even entertain with a few of the hits -- but only if he decides to.)

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Schwarz Talks About Lil B, Social Media and His Protest Song "Hands Up, Don't Shoot"

Categories: Interviews

Press photo

It makes sense that a world informed by social media and infinite feeds of information would inspire generations of artists. Such is the case for house-music producer Adam Schwarz. For years now, Schwarz has been producing high-energy club music from his homebase of Baltimore, Maryland. Imbued with the city's deep history with vogue and club culture, Schwarz has distilled his love for Baltimore house into a strange new beat. His take on the genre has allowed him to fill clubs from Baltimore to New York and even land a few spots producing for Internet rap icon, Lil B.

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Comedian Hannibal Buress Talks Standup, Baseball and Ninjas

Categories: Comedy, Interviews


Since his last stop in St. Louis just over a year ago at the Firebird, Hannibal Buress has been beyond busy. Heading into its second season, Buress will return as Lincoln, co-staring on Llana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson's Comedy Central hit Broad City. He'll also be back in the oversized chair/undersized couch for the third season as cohost of The Eric Andre Show and is making yet another big-screen debut later this year with Flock of Dudes. Buress still hosts Sunday nights at the Knitting Factory when he's home in New York City and just set off on The Comedy Camasido Tour with a brand-new hour this very month.

We talked with Buress about how he makes time to write and develop his standup, what it means to "get baseballed" and, as an added bonus, he was even kind enough to divulge the details of his first standup appearance. He will be appearing at the Pageant on Friday, October 24, at 8 p.m.

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Don't Ask Taylor Momsen of the Pretty Reckless About Gossip Girl

Categories: Interviews


By Ashley Zimmerman

The Pretty Reckless currently has a hell of a lot to be happy about. The band's latest album, Going to Hell, has already produced two hit tunes -- "Heaven Knows" and "Fucked Up World" -- and the group just kicked off the second leg of its North American tour.

It's no surprise that Taylor Momsen, who once acted in Gossip Girl, is heading straight to the top. What is surprising is that she's been able to do it with aggressive rock & roll. While most music geared to 21-year-old girls is total "popcorn" pop, as Momsen calls it, she told us she's on a much different musical path.

As for whether we'll be seeing Momsen on the big or little screen again, the answer is, probs not. We found this all out and so much more when speaking with Momsen before the tour brings the Pretty Reckless to the Pageant on October 23.

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James Brown Was a Complicated Dad, Says New Book

Categories: Interviews

Chicago Review Press
Dr. Yamma Brown, whose Father was the Godfather. Got that?
James Brown was, of course, the Godfather of Soul and the Hardest Working Man in Show Business. But all the work he did to grab those titles over decades seemed to come crashing down through much of the '80s and '90s.

That's when he derailed into years of drug and domestic abuse, erratic behavior, weapons charges, a carousel of women and questionable business deals. His name became more a punch line for comedians than a pillar for music writers, the low point being a crazy-looking mug shot and an actual stint in a South Carolina prison (remember the "Free James Brown" T-shirts?).

But his crash and burn was no laughing matter to some members of his family, especially daughter Yamma.

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Naoko Yamano of Shonen Knife on Why Shows Start Earlier in Japan

Categories: Interviews

Courtesy of Good Charamel Records
By Tom Murphy

In the late 1980s, it was nearly unheard of for Japanese underground rock bands to play in the United States. But Shonen Knife, appearing at the Firebird this Saturday, October 18, played a show in Los Angeles in 1989.

By then, the band's music had already spent several years circulating in the U.S., thanks to a 1983 visit to Japan by Beat Happening frontman and K Records founder Calvin Johnson. While overseas, Johnson found Shonen Knife's second album, Burning Farm, on cassette; he reissued the album the following year on his label. The group's original take on punk rock and its surreal, straight-faced send-up of pop culture struck a chord with artists in the English-speaking world, including Sonic Youth, Red Kross and, famously, Kurt Cobain, who invited Shonen Knife to open for Nirvana on the U.K. leg of its tour for Nevermind.

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St. Louis' Shock City Studios Works With Kickstarter to Record Bands For Free

Categories: Interviews

Blair Stiles

Shock City Studios' head honcho Doug Firley stands on chair in a dim hallway and screws a light bulb into the ceiling. He gives a sharp exclamation when the bulb sears his fingers. From his burnt state, the discomfort seems to jog his memory.

"It's so much harder nowadays to get recognized as a band then it was when I was your age," he says as the light flares and illuminates with a final twist. Firley, a veteran of industrial rock act Gravity Kills, saw the band's rise into radio play during the '90s.

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