You Could Win Free LouFest Passes, Starting Today

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Photo by Bryan Sutter
Matt and Kim performing at the 2014 LouFest.
Getting free tickets to this year's LouFest isn't quite as easy as being the fourth caller or hitting refresh on your browser a zillion times once a link goes live -- but it may be a whole lot less maddening.

The festival organizers have placed a limited number of "Scratch a Lou" tickets in select businesses around the city. Stop by before they run out, start scratching, and you could find yourself the lucky winner of a two-day pass to the festival, held Sept. 12-13 in Forest Park.

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Kevin Buckley Reinvigorates Grace Basement with Month-Long Foam Residency

Categories: Live and Local

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Courtesy of the artist
Kevin Buckley
The walls of John D. McGurk's front room are covered with framed photos of musicians who have played on its stage -- men and women armed with guitars, fiddles, bodhran drums and Uilleann pipes, musicians who have kept Irish folk music alive and well in St. Louis. Kevin Buckley is playing his fiddle on this narrow stage directly below a framed photo of himself in slightly younger days; the same benevolent intensity is evident in his eyes both in photograph and in person.

The Irish Brigade, the Minnesota-based duo of Mike Wallace and Joe Smith that performs a few month-long stints at the Soulard pub each year, is holding court on this uncrowded Wednesday night. Buckley sits in with them regularly, and tonight the trio works through "Down by the Salley Gardens" before launching into a full-throated take on the Beatles' "The Long and Winding Road" (McCartney is an Irish surname, after all).

Buckley says little and sings less; he's an apt sideman in this modest setting, and when the band moves away from sing-alongs and Pogues covers to instrumental jigs and reels, Buckley shines. His skills on the fiddle have given him prominence in the Irish folk world, and alongside fellow St. Louisan Ian Walsh, Buckley plays traditional folk tunes at McGurk's every Monday night.

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Ambitious Last in the American League Project Will Finally Be Released This Week

Categories: Live and Local

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Courtesy LITAL
Art and music meet in Last in the American League.
If the eyes are truly the windows to the soul, Chuck Crittenden's betray the passion behind his normally stoic nature.

"I don't usually show a lot of emotion," Crittenden says, his blue eyes pulsating with energy, "but I'm really excited."

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Fresh Produce Beat Battles Are Back

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Courtesy of Fresh Produce
Ben Stein
After a four-year hiatus, St. Louis' Fresh Produce Beat Battle is back this week, with a new show called Fruit of the Boom.

Known for showcasing the best new talent hip-hop talent in St. Louis, the Fresh Produce Beat Battle was held monthly for four years before taking its long break. In that time, it drew a wide spectrum of hip-hop fans in the region, impressed by the caliber of producers the contest brought into the scene.

We caught up with DJ Who and Ben Stein, both members of the Basement Sound System, to chat about providing a fertile proving ground for aspiring producers and rappers, allowing them to "get out of the basement and out in the world."

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Pokey LaFarge on His Rounder Records Debut, Something in the Water

Categories: Live and Local

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LaFarge: "This is an album I think I'm finally proud of."
The last time RFT Music caught up with Pokey LaFarge, the year was 2010 and the St. Louis songwriter was fresh off the release of his third album, Riverboat Soul, released by Free Dirt Records. "I'm pretty happy with it," LaFarge said of the record at that time. But, he confided, "It will probably be a couple more years before I get the sound that I want, and that will be with a bigger ensemble."

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Spectator's Music Is as Beautiful and Enigmatic as Rock Gets

Categories: Live and Local

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Ted Carstensen
Megan Rooney and Jeffrey Albert are the core of Spectator.
Even in the sketchy borders of rock music, a "St. Louis sound" should not, could not exist. And even if such a descriptor did present itself, the band Spectator would sound nothing like it.

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St. Louis Misfits Tribute Band We Bite Has a Hearse Now, Fittingly

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Nikki Strychnine
We Bite bassist Nikki Strychnine is dead serious about his new ride -- a 1990 Cadillac de Ville hearse.

In its continuing quest to emulate its horror-punk heroes the Misfits, the Gateway City's own We Bite acquired a hearse this week to cart gear from show to show. That's right: Instead of transporting dead bodies to the graveyard, this former funeral carriage is transporting music lovers to heaven.

Or to hell, as the Misfits tribute act would probably prefer.

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Listen to Pokey LaFarge's Full New Album, Something in the Water

Categories: Live and Local

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Steve Truesdell
Pokey LaFarge performing live at the Casa Loma Ballroom.
Pokey LaFarge's upcoming Rounder Records debut, Something in the Water, is now available to preorder, as well as stream online in full.

The official release date for the record is April 7, but if you head on over to this Pandora link you can listen right now. (Note: You need an account to do so, but they are free and Pandora is neat anyway, so go for it.)

See also: Watch the Hilarious New Video for Pokey LaFarge's "Something in the Water"

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

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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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Local Bands and Videographers: Send Us Your Music Videos

Categories: Live and Local

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Screenshot taken from "Bad Investments" by local rapper Con.

Video (apparently) killed the radio star decades ago, and now we sit here in the future with every Youtube video literally at our fingertips. In the last month alone we saw brand-new music videos from Con, Ciej and Maximum Effort -- just to name a few. Ranging from low-budget basement flicks to the kind of glossy big productions you might see on MTV2, local bands are releasing music videos now more than ever. Did you just pour your soul into an audio visual masterpiece? Send it to us, and we'll share it with the rest of the world.

See also: Bands, Promoters and Music Fans: Here's How to Make Sure We Cover What Matters To You


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