Speedy Ortiz Grows Up and Out

Categories: Interviews

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

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
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

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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STL Up Late Is Back -- and on the Prowl for a Network To Call Home

Categories: Comedy, Interviews

STL Up Late in a 2014 sketch lampooning homophobia in the NFL.
Local comedy powerhouse STL Up Late is back on for Season 4 at Satori Theater.

Actually, "back" may be too strong a word. In between seasons, the cast and crew of the sketch comedy show stayed more than busy with writing sessions, video production, a trip to LA to check out Jimmy Kimmel and, oh yeah, a live taping for a pilot episode. And that's only part of what they're up to: Many (and likely all) of the 30-plus cast and crew members not only have full-time jobs, but are also a part of an assortment of live productions across the city.

See also: STL Up Late Brings Comedic Relief to Your Saturday Night

With the taping wrapped and Season 4 just around the corner, RFT Music had a quick chat with executive producer Josh McNew and Eric Christensen, the show's host and director.

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How St. Louis' American Wrestlers Signed to a Respected Label Before Ever Playing a Show

Press photo via Fat Possum Records
Gary McClure of American wrestlers.
Late in 2014 mysterious rumblings from a few music blogs told tales of a reclusive Scotsman living in Missouri. He was releasing music under the name American Wrestlers, but no one knew his name, his pedigree or his story. That such a vaunted record label as Fat Possum Records, onetime home of the Black Keys, would be releasing American Wrestlers' music only led to further intrigue.

The reality is a little more mundane. Gary McClure, the man behind American Wrestlers, lives a quiet existence with his wife in Benton Park. By day, he unloads trucks for UPS. In his free time, he records rippling, kinetic rock songs on a bare-bones setup. When asked about the mystery behind his band's rollout, McClure shrugs off the idea of self-promotion, something the soft-spoken 34-year-old is not especially skilled at.

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Andrew Frank Crowned Champion of Make Me Laugh St. Louis, Heads West to Alaska

Categories: Comedy, Interviews

Corey Woodruff
Andrew Frank performing at The Elvis Room.

St. Louis comic Andrew Frank has proven himself to be one of the most talented, committed and dynamic comedians working in the city. In the past six months he landed himself the opening spot at the Pageant for Anthony Jeselnik, worked a clean set at Lumière Theatre for Kevin Nealon, regularly showcased at independent shows across the city and continues to feature at the Funny Bone on a monthly basis. He's a staple in the open mic scene and, given the opportunity, will perform on multiple shows a night.

This past week he displayed how hard work can and will pay off. Make Me Laugh, a nationally touring amateur standup comedy competition, crowned him the funniest comic in St. Louis. And just a day later, Frank skipped town to join the Comedy's Best Kept Secret tour alongside Dan Frigolette and Erik Anker. The tour will head all the way to Anchorage, Alaska, stopping in ten cities along the way. Frank will also receive professional head shots and a website to better promote his comedy career.

RFT Music sat down with Andrew Frank after his recent set at Taytro's Bistro in Festus and picked his brain about his next moves, as well as his expectations for the tour.

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Paula Poundstone Wants You to Fear Incontinence, at Least Once

Categories: Comedy, Interviews

Press photo
Paula Poundstone to appear at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

A humorist quite unlike any other, Paula Poundstone carries the experience she picked up from years of improv into a spontaneous and delightful live show. Channeling the spirit of standup, improv and sketch comedy, her performance is a comedic trinity to be revered. One of the most loved and admired by fans and comics alike, Poundstone refuses to simply sit and revel in her accomplishments.

Poundstone is slated to perform at the Sheldon Concert Hall on Saturday, March 28. She was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions via e-mail. (And like a true and honorable pro, she gracefully cut right through David Cross calling St. Louis humorless.)

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Fleetwood's Back: Mick Fleetwood Talks Making New Music with His Band's Classic Lineup

Categories: Interviews

Danny Clinch
Fleetwood Mac's classic lineup, together again.
By Hans Morgenstern

Over the course of the 38 years since the release of Fleetwood Mac's masterpiece, 1977's Rumours, the group's members have come and gone for a variety of reasons -- madness, romantic turmoil and creative tension chief among them. All the while, the rhythm section -- drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie -- has stuck it out.

Speaking by phone from a Dallas hotel room, Fleetwood says, "I will take some credit that I've always been, almost to the point of being obsessive, saying, 'We've got to keep going. We've got to keep going, dude.'"

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Pretty Little Empire to Perform Stripped-Down Set at Halo Bar Following Demetri Martin Show

Daniel Perea
William Godfred and Justin Johnson of Pretty Little Empire.
When comedian Demetri Martin performs at the Pageant this Thursday, March 26, he'll finally have the chance to hang with his new best friends in Pretty Little Empire.

OK, so the St. Louis indie-rock quartet hasn't actually met the former Important Things with Demetri Martin host. In fact, its members are not even sure Martin knows they exist, despite sharing roles in bringing comedy film The Last Time You Had Fun to life recently and having director Mo Perkins as a connection in common.

But maybe all of that will change when PLE performs at the Halo Bar directly following Martin's standup show.

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

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