Ghostface Killah Looking Fresh in a Crispy Cardinals Pullover, Threatening Action Bronson

Categories: News

Screenshot from video embedded below.
Big Ghost reppin' Cardinal Nation
This week, Wu-Tang legend Ghostface Killah busted out his finest linens -- a sharp little Cardinals pullover with a zippered neck -- in order to take to the internet and threaten the holy hell right out of Action Bronson.

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Foxing's Trailer Stolen in Austin, Texas with $30,000 Worth of Gear Inside

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Courtesy of Foxing
Members of the band stand where their trailer once sat.

Last week, we reported on the recently returned trend of thieves targeting touring bands in the St. Louis area. As local group Foxing just proved, bands are no safer outside of city limits. Yesterday morning, the group discovered its trailer was stolen overnight in a residential neighborhood in Austin, Texas.

See also: Tour Van Break-Ins Return to St. Louis After Brief Reprieve

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Jeremy Kannapell Makes Experimental Music Happen in St. Louis

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Photo by Mabel Suen
Jeremy Kannapell performing as Ghost Ice.

His one-man project Ghost Ice is nominated for a Music Award under that troublesome "Noise" category (more on that later), but Jeremy Kannapell's contributions to the St. Louis music scene extend far beyond his increasingly frequent live performances. In his words, he has become a "coordinator" — not a booker or promoter — for all manner of experimental shows, whether in DIY spaces or staid concert halls. Think of him as a kind of switchboard for progressive music, connecting artists, venues and audiences, and helping foster a supportive scene for outside-the-box musicians.

Just don't expect him to take any credit for it.

See also: Noise: Meet the 2015 RFT Music Award Nominees

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Some of St. Louis' Finest Musicians Are Doing Their Best Work in Splinter Groups

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Photo by Nate Burrell
The Loot Rock Gang is led by Mat Wilson of the Rum Drum Ramblers and his wife/collaborator, Little Rachel.
The most cynical take on the phenomenon known as the "side project" was offered by the staff of the now-closed St. Louis punk-rock club Creepy Crawl (via its website circa 2008, on a page titled "Annoying"): "Side-project is another name for self-indulgent crap so embarrassingly bad they can't dignify it with a name and gives them a cover why none of their friends will come see them 'perform.' (Would you go see your friend masturbate if they asked you to come watch?) Note to bands: think of your side-project as a project never to get booked again."

But even if such projects come and go like so many windshield-stuck show fliers, sometimes they can be more than merely self-indulgent. In the last year, a number of established St. Louis rockers, songwriters and hip-hoppers have reconfigured, rebranded and reimagined their music into wholly new sounds and songs. They probably all eschew the "side project" tag, as well they should, so let's call them "parallel bands" or "analog acts" or "splinter groups," even as the bands from whence the new analogs came continue in their own fashion.

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A Thriving Studio Scene Is Giving St. Louis Bands More Options Than Ever

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Photo by Shawn Manny
Musicians at work at Moon Jr.
Bands looking to record are finding more options than ever in St. Louis' thriving studio scene — and sometimes opening spaces of their own

Thanks to advances in technology, it's easier and cheaper than ever to record music on your own. Local bands such as Whoa Thunder and Apex Shrine have made great-sounding albums that were mostly, if not completely, recorded in the homes of their members.

But by that same token, it's also easier and cheaper than ever to open your own studio — a place to record your work, as well as that of other bands. Perhaps that's why a new crop of studios has popped up in St. Louis over the last twelve months.

Troubadour Dali frontman Ben Hinn opened Mound Sound Studio in the basement space under Go Music on Delmar in late 2014, while local band Shark Dad raised $1,605 through a crowdfunding campaign to build Moon Jr. Studio. The space, a fully renovated studio that drummer Shawn Manny runs out of his basement, is where the band recorded its debut album, A Bigger Boat. Manny is putting a few finishing touches on Moon Jr. before opening its doors to the public. (Singer and RFT contributor Jason Robinson estimates it will happen "before summer's out.")

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How the Grove Became the City's Hottest Neighborhood for Live Music

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Photo Courtesy of Flickr/Paul Sableman
The Grove has become the city's hottest neighborhood for nightlife -- to the chagrin of some residents.

The music industry is a fluid, evolving creature in which the only constant is change. Even so, the last twelve to eighteen months have seen a radical upheaval in St. Louis' live-music scene.

Midtown's Plush closed its doors after three scattershot but memorable years of hosting both local and national talent; meanwhile, Livery Company moved two doors down on Cherokee Street and radically scaled back its live-music bookings. But the popular street is already filling this gap: The Blue Pearl will cater to the late-afternoon/early-evening crowd with live music when it opens this summer, while Foam has increased its number and variety of music, comedy and experimental bookings under the reins of new owner Mic Boshans.

But these mutations are nothing compared to the yearlong metamorphosis that happened in the Grove. In April 2014, the Ready Room, a mid-size venue run by the booking team behind the Firebird, opened its doors. A month later, the Demo moved from the space connected to the Atomic Cowboy to a space connected to the Ready Room (Mike Cracchiolo, managing partner of both Firebird and the Ready Room, is also an investor in the Demo).

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Vintage Vinyl Partners Split; Lew Prince Moving On

Photo by Jon Scorfina
Lew Prince (left) and Tom "Papa" Ray at Vintage Vinyl.

Tom "Papa" Ray is now the sole owner of Vintage Vinyl. After more than three decades of sharing duties with co-founder Lew Prince, Ray assumed full ownership yesterday, as Prince moves on to new adventures. Both men talked to the Riverfront Times, sharing their pride in the store. The reason for the split? As Prince says, "I did this for 35 years. My kids graduated from college and it's paid for. My house is paid for. Now I get to do something different. It's just that simple."

Vintage Vinyl started in 1979 when Ray and Prince began selling used records out of a booth at Soulard Farmer's Market. The business thrived and eventually put down roots on the west end of the Delmar Loop in University City.

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KDHX Takes Talk Programming Off the Air; Shows to Be Podcast-Only

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Photo by Jon Gitchoff
KDHX's Andy Coco broadcasting from the studios of the station's newly opened Larry J. Weir Center for Independent Media.
This Monday, May 25, will be the last time to hear KDHX's handful of talk radio programs on the air -- after that, they will be converted to podcasts.

It's the latest step in an ongoing move toward music-only programming for St. Louis's 28-year-old community radio station. Six years ago, KDHX took most of its talk radio programs off the air, including St. Louis Poet Laureate Michael Castro's Poetry Beat and the syndicated Democracy Now. Four remaining shows -- Earthworms, Literature for the Halibut, Collateral Damage and Collector's Edition, which is about half music and half band interviews -- were stacked together on Monday night. Some were shortened.

Now they'll be podcast only, not broadcast.

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For Kentucky Knife Fight's Jason Holler, an Infant Daughter in Need

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Courtesy of Jason Holler
Rowan Holler with her parents, Kate and Jason.
As the vocalist and lyricist of Kentucky Knife Fight, Jason Holler enjoyed both critical and popular acclaim. Even if the band never quite hit it big nationally, its following in St. Louis and the greater Midwest was passionate -- and its distinctive blend of alternative rock, blues, Americana and garage-punk won it the RFT Music Award for best rock band for four years running.

But just a few months after notching its fourth consecutive award last summer, the band announced it was breaking up, and Holler moved to Austin. Not to hit it big, but be closer to his wife's family for the birth of the couple's first child.

"The baby wasn't the only factor in Knife Fight calling it quits, but it did force me to make a decision," he says. "I was running on empty near the end and was no longer feeling fulfilled in the band."

On March 25, Rowan Splendoria Holler was born -- a beautiful baby with chubby cheeks and her father's intense eyes. But within just a few days, it became clear something was wrong.

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Neighborhood Bar Johnnie Walker's San Loo to Open on Cherokee

Categories: News

Photo courtesy of Jon Coriell
The interior of Johnnie Walker San Loo.
The space on Cherokee Street that previously housed Livery Company is getting a new tenant -- a neighborhood bar called Johnnie Walker's San Loo that hopes to open within a few short weeks.

The space, at 3211 Cherokee just east of Gravois, includes a sizable patio, which its new owners hope to use for a beer garden in the summer. They've applied for a full license allowing wine, beer and liquor.

They also intend to host live music.

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