Catching Up With Last Year's "St. Louis Musical Acts to Watch"

Andrew Koh
Mvstermind Einstein of M.M.E.

We're getting a fresh start in 2015 and looking ahead to the new sonic awesomeness that St. Louis musicians will bring. The talent pool in this city continues to grow, and that promises nothing but good things for our local culture and notoriety.

But we've been down this path before. At the end of December 2013, we predicted what might happen for eight local acts that we dubbed "the ones to watch" for 2014. So how did last year turn out for these brilliant creators and performers? We went straight to the musicians themselves to find out. (Not all eight acts could be reached for comment.)

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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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What a Concept: Dots Not Feathers and Volcanoes Talk About Their Upcoming Albums

Bryan Sutter
Dots Not Feathers (from left to right: Chris Dickey, Katie Brooking, Nick Blackburn, Ryan Myers, Jessica Haley, and Stephen Baier).

When Eric Peters suggests a hike to St. Charles for a group interview, he does it without his signature hyperbolic flair. The message comes with the watered-down flavor of a gin and tonic that sits at the bar without so much as a sip taken. "I know the perfect place. They have a Mustache Monday. And it's kinda like a dark cave. And it's called Old Millstream Tavern." There is also a shitstorm of emojis that depict various natural disasters. And dolphins.

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Eight St. Louis Bands to Watch in 2014

File photo

We often wonder if every St. Louis musician made some kind of blood oath on December 31, 2012, promising to grind out a gazillion shows and EPs over the next twelve months. Their joy over surviving the Mayan apocalypse is the only way we can explain how 2013 was even more fan-freaking-tastic than usual for local music, with bands, collectives and solo artists all raising the bar in homegrown entertainment.

But we know even more good stuff is coming in 2014, from every type of artist in every genre. In particular, we're keeping an eye on the following eight acts, which have promised us (OK, and you) albums, tour dates and a whole lot more, proving themselves 314 to the core.

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Why Shopping at Local Record Stores on Black Friday Is Awesome

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Black Friday can pose agonizing questions: Do you choose family time or doorbuster sales? Do you protest workers' crazy hours by staying home, or do you go buy something because the clerks are going to be at the stores anyway? And what in the world should you think about the growing trend for stores to be open all day on Thanksgiving?

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Foxing's Debut LP, The Albatross, Tackles the Darkness: "It's Sacrificing to Your Own Well-Being"

Courtesy of Foxing

Voted 2012's Best New Band by you fine folks, Foxing is quickly making a name for itself both locally and nationally. The five-piece was signed by the Count Your Lucky Stars label this spring while on tour and is set to drop its first full-length album, The Albatross, on November 12. The release party is November 15 at the Firebird (2706 Olive Street; 314-535-0353), sponsored by Empire Pizza and 4 Hands Brewery. The show is $5 and features Dots Not Feathers, Bear Hive and Parisian.

See Also: Foxing Returns From Tour, Signs Deal With Count Your Lucky Stars

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Gorilla Warfare Tactics' Dilla on Zoology and Growing Up on St. Louis Hip-Hop

Press Photo
Gorilla Warfare Tactics
Gorilla Warfare Tactics member Dilla, a native St. Louisan, had been a hip-hop enthusiast since grade school. But after he relocated to New York and began making music with his NYU roommates, hip-hop nation started to become just as enthusiastic about him. With tens of thousands of downloads and a No. 1 single on Hype Machine already under their belts, Gorilla Warfare Tactics released its new album, Zoology, just before graduation. We spoke to Dilla about growing up in St. Louis, making the transition into the New York hip-hop scene and balancing schoolwork with a certified Internet smash.

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James "JBJR" Bishop Releases Beat Tape Just Beats, Joy, and Rhythm: Cookin' Soul

James "JBJR" Bishop released the beat tape Just Beats, Joy, and Rhythm: Cookin' Soul in late March.
Producer James "JBJR" Bishop released his first official beat tape in late March, a collection of soulful instrumental tracks that showcases the St. Louis native's talents and influences.

Bishop's free 10-song release Just Beats, Joy, & Rhythm: Cookin' Soul was made available in late March on his Bandcamp page. The album's title is a play on Bishop's moniker, as well as a reference to the types of beats used.

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Kanye West and Jay-Z, The Horrors, Pepper Rabbit: This Week's New Releases

‚ÄčEach Tuesday, record-store clerks unpack boxes of albums and restock shelves with the latest releases. This week brings many notable releases, including the much-anticipated collaboration between Kanye West and Jay-Z, British shoegaze punks the Horrors and Pepper Rabbit.

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Boston Spaceships, Fountains of Wayne, Keb Mo: This Week's New Releases

Each Tuesday, record-store clerks unpack boxes of albums and restock shelves with the latest releases. This week brings many notable releases, including albums from New Jersey's finest power-pop outfit, Fountains of Wayne, indie hybrid Boston Spaceships and blues guitar fixture Keb Mo.

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