Town Cars Celebrates Its New CD, Hearts and Stars, This Weekend

Photos by Melinda Cooper and Jess Luther
If you've been to a local show over the past few years, you've likely seen Melinda Cooper play. She's performed with the likes of Union Electric, Humdrum, Cassie Morgan & the Lonely Pine, Celia's Big Rock Band, and most recently (this past Friday, in fact), as an auxiliary member of Bruiser Queen. Despite this pedigree, Cooper has seldom performed her own material. With Town Cars, however, she has stepped into the lead. Over the past couple of years, Town Cars has played around the city with a revolving lineup, generally including drummer Corey Woodruff and keyboardist/vocalist Jenn Malzone (better known as the leader of Middle Class Fashion). This week, Town Cars releases its debut CD, Hearts and Stars, on its own Extension Chord label. It's a solid, to-the-point listen, with a sound steeped in everything from 1990s indie rock and 1970s singer-songwriters.

Town Cars celebrates Hearts and Stars with a listening/release party this Saturday, October 11, at the Tick Tock Tavern. Cooper and I met at her rehearsal space deep within the Lemp Brewery complex to discuss Town Cars, as well as her own upbringing and musical past.

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Liquor License Protest Against the Ready Room Fails, Agreement Pending Between Neighbors

Categories: Live and Local

Jason Stoff for RFT
The Ready Room in the Grove.
In July RFT Music took an in-depth look at noise complaints arising from Forest Park Southeast residents regarding neighboring music venues the Ready Room (4195 Manchester Avenue) and the Demo (4191 Manchester Avenue) in the Grove. In late August the Demo's liquor license protest came to an end after a peaceful resolution between club managers and area resident Rachel Siegert. A written compromise, mediated by city excise commisioner Bob Kraiberg, outlines specific soundproofing goals and event limitations while allowing the Demo to re-open and carry on business as usual.

The Ready Room managers and its residential neighbors, on the other hand, have yet to reach a concrete agreement. After a hearing with Kraiberg on September 4, the official liquor license protest filed by residents Brad Fratello and Doug Moore failed due to a lack of signatures.

See also: The Demo's Reopening Over Labor Day Weekend

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Pü Fest Is Real and Happening This Weekend

Categories: Live and Local

Greg Houston
A comic dramatization of this weekend's festivities.

This Saturday and Sunday, September 6 and 7, more than 30 bands will perform in the basement of Empire Hall in south St. Louis for Pü Fest. The lineup, comprised of acts from all over the country, highlights the abrasive underbelly of American music in 2014.

Despite its tongue-in-cheek name, Pü Fest isn't meant to be a cynical jab at this weekend's mainstream-friendly LouFest. Local organizers Mike Herr, Luc Michalski and Patrick Boland only want to provide an alternative -- one with an intensely local component -- something LouFest is lacking, despite its name.

See also: Pü Fest to Debut in St. Louis This Fall

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The Demo Sets Its Sights on Reopening Labor Day Weekend

Categories: Live and Local

Steve Truesdell
The Demo managing partners Brandon Cavanagh and Mike Cracchiolo.
Exactly two months after closing its doors owing to neighborhood noise complaints, Grove-area music venue the Demo (4191 Manchester Avenue) has made significant progress toward reopening. At a hearing with the excise commissioner last Tuesday, the venue's managing partners reached a compromise with the residential neighbors who initially filed the complaint, resulting in the revocation of the protest as well as the subsequent approval of the business' liquor license.

"We now have a few more steps to take with the state, and we will be open," says Cavanagh, who anticipates a soft opening on or around Labor Day weekend, with a grand opening in the works for a weekend in September. The Demo also successfully completed an Indiegogo campaign last Friday, exceeding its $10,000 goal.

See also: Music Record Shop Opens in the Grove In Between Ready Room and Demo

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STL Open Media Integration Center to Occupy Former KDHX Building

Categories: Live and Local

Photo by Mabel Suen
The new home of STL Open MIC on Magnolia Avenue.

"There's a thousand little ideas behind every big idea," says William Gelb, acting Executive Director of the St. Louis Open Media Integration Center (Open MIC). His big idea involves transforming the former KDHX 88.1 FM building, located on Magnolia Avenue in the Tower Grove East neighborhood.

Gelb is no stranger to the space. He might be better known as his alias Wil Wander, DJ of Elevated Rhymestate on KDHX. Gelb, a graduate of UMSL's Nonprofit Management and Leadership Program, seeks to change the old space into a general center for media in south city.

Using the infrastructure once built for radio, he and his team of volunteers aim to provide local artists with the means to record and expand upon their art. And while the station once used the space specifically for recording, Gelb imagines many more possibilities:

"Three parts to the mission are to enable musicians to access tools, space and education. Anything that is media is within our range of possibilities. We're going to work and collaborate with other organizations. They'll be able to use our multi-purpose rooms for their classes and education as well," he adds.

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St. Louis' Bo & the Locomotive Is Poised for the National Stage

Buy Bo & the Locomotive some smoothies, and these guys will be yours forever.

Every great band has a story about the time it turned the corner, when something magical happened that brought its members' dreams of creativity and stardom just a little closer. Perhaps a record label fat cat takes notice of the group performing at a local dive bar. Or a talent agent catches a musician busking in the park. Or a local news station starts a band down a path of progressively bigger gigs just by having the group perform on a morning show.

Or maybe it all starts on Craigslist.

"I was looking for nude models for my private drawing sessions," Bo Bulawsky explains.

"Goth twink is what you were looking for, Bo; don't be silly," Peter Garea interrupts.

"Anyway, he responded and wanted to be my nude model," Bulawsky continues. "Turns out, he also was a band manager."

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The Demo Launches Indiegogo Campaign: "Help Save The Demo"

Categories: Live and Local

The Demo. | Mabel Suen
Last month, RFT Music took an in-depth look at a conflict arising between residents and club owners in the Grove. The story concerns the Ready Room (4195 Manchester Avenue; 314-833-3929) and its smaller sister venue, the Demo (4191 Manchester Avenue), a 200-capacity space that closed its doors in the midst of a liquor license application process owing to neighborhood noise complaints. On August 7 the Demo launched an Indiegogo campaign to help replenish its subsequently depleted funds.

"You know the story by now, and we've nearly been shut down for an entire quarter because of it," said the Demo's proprietors in a recent Facebook post. "Now we're asking you to help us weather the storm."

See also: The Grove's Close Confines Have Residents and Club Owners Battling Over Noise

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Doorway's Jammie Jam Promises a Night of Sweet Dreams

Press photo
Doorway asks, "What's your jam? Your pajammie jam?"

Wearing pajamas makes any activity infinitely more fun. Just think about how much cooler checking out library books, doing taxes or even attending world peace summits might be if everyone wore those old-timey PJs with the flap on the butt.

Imagine, then, the kind of epic party local hip-hop group Doorway will throw down with all four of its members performing in sleep pants and boxers.

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Whoa Thunder to Make Live Debut Tonight at Venice Café

Categories: Live and Local

Via Whoa Thunder's Facebook
Whoa Thunder's lineup on You're Under Attack.
Brian McClelland has been a key sideman for such St. Louis heavyweights as Middle Class Fashion and Tight Pants Syndrome, but he's stepping back into the spotlight this Thursday at Venice Café with his Whoa Thunder project.

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Open Highway Music Festival Expands to Five Days, Features Former R.E.M. Members

Categories: Live and Local

Jon Gitchoff
Cory Chisel will kick off this year's Open Highway Music Festival on August 5 at Off Broadway.

Last August, Off Broadway concert promoter John Henry told RFT Music that he wasn't sure how big the hugely successful Open Highway Festival ultimately would become, but he shared that he and club owner Steve Pohlman wanted to continue to surprise concertgoers with a variety of musical genres and perhaps even lengthen the event's duration.

This year, Henry and Pohlman are making good on those promises.

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