Bands Die, That's What Happens

Last night, Cherokee street was busy with two packed shows – one at Foam, the other at Melt. Both bills were lined-up the same, too. At Foam, Pile from Boston performed with three locals: Blight Future, Little Big Bangs and Stonechat, who played their last show. Melt had Nature Boys from Kansas City with Maximum Effort, Riprap (recent transplants) and Self Help, who were also playing for the last time.

Picking between the two was hard because, damn, you might not ever get a chance to see Stonechat or Self Help again. Sure, either band could decide to pick right back up and play, but that's not likely. The reality is this: these shows happen all the time, but that extra push, or urgency, to go just isn't there.

Speaking strictly to readers of this blog, I'll assume you're either a musician or a showgoer. Maybe you like the idea of going out, but the time isn't there so you live vicariously through Facebook or Twitter. Maybe you're already out at shows five nights a week – either way, many of us get saturated with flyers, e-mails and show invites.

Through social media, it's easy to feel shamed for not attending certain shows. You've seen it, and it looks loosely like this: "everyone who didn't go last night fucked up and missed out." All of that is enough to get exhausted, and whether you're involved in music or an avid supporter, we're all privy to it – the burnout.

Stonechat and Self Help both split because of cordial reasons – either a bandmate moved away or the members moved on to new projects. Not every split is malicious and it's fortunate that, at least for these two bands, final shows were had. But fans aren't always so lucky.

It's normal for bands to stop and really, it's inevitable. Every band is temporary. The level of support shown last night was massive, but considering I've seen Stonechat and Self Help play to empty rooms in the past I couldn't help but think: we could have been doing this months ago. Why wait until someone's funeral to tell them that you love them? Sounds a little tragic to me, but for bands, that's the norm.


If you like a band, actually go see it because you won't always have a chance.

-Joseph Hess

This Week In St. Louis 9/22/14 - 9/28/14


Despise You (CA)
Creator|Destroyer (TX)
Shaved Women

@ Apop Records / 2831 Cherokee Street
9 pm / $7 / all ages

Despise You brings precise power-violence from the west coast. They've never played in St. Louis, and their live shows carry a reputation, so don't miss out. I wasn't able to track down music from Creator|Destroyer, mostly because there are other bands out there with the same name, but they're traveling with Despise You, so they're likely along the same lines - don't expect a folk band or something. Shaved Women is hot off the release of their new record Just Death and I heard a rumor that this might be Overdoser's last show - plenty of reasons to go.

Woozy (LA)
The Sal Show (IL)
Lions Eat Grass
Cold Rooms
(First Show)
@ Foam / 3359 South Jefferson Avenue
8 pm / $5 / all ages

Woozy brings a mash-up of mellow shoegaze and intricate riffing that feels subtle and controlled. Solid songwriting is at work here, bringing just enough bursts of loud, distorted rock to break up happy, melodic hooks. The Sal Show is the side project of Sal from Chicago-based Animal City, but those unfamiliar should expect poppy indie-rock. Leland, the brains behind Cold Rooms, has spent the last few years making killer home recordings under the name Weird White Wolves. This show is his first live performance - definitely not to be missed.

Also on Tuesday: Indiana's Hypnogram plays the Way Out Club with Jaded Evil Lambs, 32 Pc. Vintage Party Set and more.


UNDERCURRENT 9 featuring:
Kingston Family Singers

@ Schlafly Tap Room / 2100 Locust Street
8 pm / free / all ages

Undercurrent is a monthly show series featuring local punk, experimental and more. Each show is recorded live and put on cassette tape by Wrong Division and Paradoxal Pterodactyl. So if you come to this show, you'll get a free cassette tape with music from the previous Undercurrent. All bands play in the projections of Chad Eivins aka Chizmo.TV. Everything's free, everything's local.

Trauma Harness
@ CBGB / 3163 South Grand Avenue
9 pm / donation$ / 21+

Deaf Wish is post-punk via Australia, and they're playing a cramped dive bar in the Midwest. That should be reason enough to go, unless you hate punk music in general, but considering the band is traveling half-way around the world, it's worth a shot. Deaf Wish's inventive song writing invokes familiar sounds - definitely inspired by post-punk of the '80s - but the band feels wholly original, propelling its songs into a fuzzy, distorted mess.



Marriage (TX)
Catholic Guilt

Free Willy (members of Willis and Beauty Pageant...first show/last show?)
@ Kismet Creative Center / 3409 Iowa Avenue (right off Cherokee Street)
8 pm / free / $5 suggested donation / all ages

Kismet Creative Center is a new space at the corner of Cherokee and Iowa. If you've been to the new pizza joint Yaqui's, it's right next to that, across the street from BANK projects. This is the first loud show there, and kind of a test run. Marriage features members of Black Eyes (Dischord Records) and When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth. The five-piece uses dual percussion to drive a bass-heavy dirge of noisy psych-rock. If you're a fan of kraut rock or noise, this band is right up your alley. Britches is coming back after a long-hiatus to play songs from its last album Demolition and Free Willy is a one-time super group with members of Willis and Beauty Pageant. Show up early for a secret band.

Bring cake, it's my birthday. -Joe

Steve's Top Pics from August 2014

Stephen Houldsworth attends more shows in Saint Louis than most, and he covers a huge range of sound. Be it hardcore or noise, pop or rock, Stephen comes equipped with his point-and-shoot. The guerrilla style of photography that results is a dry and honest take on the independent scene in St. Louis. Once a month, Mr. Houldsworth shoots us an e-mail with his recent favorite photos.

Funny Faces; Good Cause.
Audience members make funny faces at the "Bands Up" Ferguson/STL benefit show at The Ready Room on August 31.

He's the Bos(s).
Nos Bos in a very special episode of the Simpsons at CBGB on August 10.

Islands of Support.
Nick gives a shout out of support to the Ferguson uprising at the Islands show on August 30 at Firebird.

Lumpy Sit Pit.
Martin had everybody sitting down at the Lumpy & the Dumpers show at Melt on August 26.

Many Seans.
Sean Ballard is in so many projects that it sometimes seems like there are multiple versions of him. This evidence was captured on August 17 at the Firebird.

Music is Power.
Songstress Basmin Nadra leads protesters in Freedom Songs on August 18 in Kiener Plaza.

Pointing to the Future.
Blight Future energized the crowd at the Bands Up fundraiser at The Ready Room on August 31.

Billy Bragg gave an impromptu Ferguson Solidarity benefit concert on August 18 at The Royale.

Song Circle.
On August 28, folks gathered together at Shepard School courtyard to sing songs and share community support.

The Hair Matches The Shorts.
Skarekrauradio at CBGB on August 8.

Graham's Top Picks for August 2014

Graham Matthews bounces from show to show with a handy-cam, collecting the odds and ends of music in St. Louis. There is absolutely no genre-bend in his coverage, made evident by an ever growing Youtube page, which features thousands of videos of independent artists. Once a month, Graham sends us a list of 5 picks from his personal channel.

Sur at the Firebird
I guess people were excited for SW/MM/NG, but Sur really snuck up and melted everyone's faces clean off. Unexpectedly-awesome is the best kind of awesome.

Islands - Fiction at the Firebird
As a long time fan of Islands, it feels pretty cool to capture a brand new song that almost no one has heard before (one show before this one, world first recording?!). It was even cooler meeting Nick from Islands after the show who helped hype our Mike Brown & Ferguson benefit show "Bands Up, Don't Shoot" via Twitter. What a sweetie!

Billy Bragg - Crying in the Streets at the Royale Steve went to the semi-secret, very short notice Billy Bragg show at the Royale, because he's a folk legend and was coming to support Mike Brown & Ferguson. This video got more hits in a week than our previously most watched video got in a year and a half. WHOA!

Lumpy & the Dumpers at Melt
If you've ever wondered what it might be like to be manhandled by Lumpy, this is your chance. At 1:13, he puts his slimy fingers all over the camera. I am still trying to get all the slime off the lens.

Q at the Ready Room
Q was running a little behind and didn't have much time for their set, so it was all crammed into 4 minutes of bliss. Young moshers are brought on stage to get the party started. A newly bought Trauma Harness shirt glistens in the Ready Room's lights like a neon diamond. I think Austin says it best at the end, "GET THE FUCK OFF ME!" Too much love can hurt.

AKTV Episode 5 and Upcoming Shows

Acid Kat TV is the Youtube channel of Acid Kat, a local zine and music label. Every once in a while, the group throws together a montage of live footage, interviews and other miscellany clips. Recently, the group uploaded two videos: Episode 5 of their on-going web-series and a special festival episode with tons of footage from the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Kat Fest back in July.

September was already packed with gigs, but a few more things just came together in the past week. Don't miss out - definitely come out and support the touring bands. There are a few fests in nearby cities in the next week (namely Already Dead Fest and Cropped Out 2014), so killer bands are coming through St. Louis on their way to and from.

Tuesday: Mezzanine Swimmers (NY) performs at Blank Space with Eric Hall.
Also Tuesday: Vetter Kids (TX) plays at Melt with Anodes and Maybe Dynamite.
Thursday: The NOiSE concert series at Blank Space with Willis, Dave Stone and more.
Friday: Free-jazz legend Joe McPhee & Survival Unit III plays Joe's Cafe.
Also on Friday: Secret Tombs (PA) performs at the Demo with Braining and Shitstorm.

This Week In St. Louis 9/8/14 - 9/14/14


Waveless (MN)
@ CBGB / 3163 South Grand Boulevard
9 pm / bring donation$ / 21+

Shoegaze is one of those ever-present genres that seem to infect every other show, but Waveless takes a noisy albeit darker approach. The melodies here are front and center and never get totally buried under a blanket of delay and reverb. There's a songwriting force at work here that feels catchy but, at the same time, subversive and downright weird. Kisser takes a similar approach - but to psychedelic rock - crafting a sound that takes genre conventions in a meaner, more visceral direction. The start time says 9 pm, but expect this one to go late - that's usually how it goes at CBGB. Bring donations.

Also on Wednesday night: Kid Congo Powers and Little Big Bangs play Off Broadway.


Thumbscrew: Mary Halvorson, Michael Formanek, Tomas Fujiwara
@ Joe's Cafe / 6014 Kingsbury Avenue
7 pm / $10 / 21+

Thumbscrew makes dark jazz using atonal sounds and heady, dissonant parts. There's a certain skronkiness going on between the guitar, bass and drums, but the progression feels natural and gradual as opposed to forced or jagged. The trio's new album was just released through Cuneiform Records, who is known for Upsilon Acrux and Ahleuchatistas among other groups.

Also on Friday:


Gadabout Film Festival featuring:
Eric Hall

@ Melt / 2712 Cherokee Street
8 pm / $5 / all ages

Indiana-native Eric Ayotte makes chilled-out folk and Americana music, but that's just one of his many hats. He's also the proprietor of the traveling Gadabout Film Festival, which showcases short movies from artists all around the country. Many of the featured movies come from Ayotte's film challenges among a mass of other cool things he's involved with. The omnipresent Eric Hall opens this show along with the films of Chad Eivins aka Chizmo.TV.

This Week In St. Louis 9/4/14 - 9/7/14


Animal Lover (MN)
Foul Tip (IL)
Braining (cassette release)
Life Like
@ Blank Space / 2847 Cherokee Street
9:30 pm | $5 | all ages

Animal Lover brings shrill, metallic guitar sound to mid-tempo noise rock, packing dissonant riffs inside tight drumming. The songs hit hard but go by fast enough that they never wear out their welcome. Foul Tip (from Chicago) is catchy enough punk with an industrial edge by way of an overblown drum machine. Grab the new Braining tape (possibly two tapes?) for $5 or download it HERE for free.

Mongoloid (OR)
Lumpy & The Dumpers
The Warden

@ Spot down by the river / click for details
7 pm (early show) | $5 | all ages

Mongoloid is a trashy punk band by way of Portland, Oregon. Guitar solos peak out from behind a wall of nasty noise accompanied by mucousy yells. And this band features Eric, older brother of Lumpy frontman Martin Meyer. So if you're into brotherly love...

Also: Bear Cub and Black for a Second also play a free show over at the Schlafly Tap Room


DJ Spinn (IL)
DJ Paypal
Deejay Earl
with live visuals by Chizmo.TV

@ Billiken Club / 20 N. Grand Boulevard
7:30 pm | $8 for non-students | all ages

This might be an odd fit for the Wrong Division blog, but this is a DJ/footwork show worth checking out. St. Louis' own DMY (Derek Yaeger of Sine Nomine and noise project Fluff of Murder) is opening the show and our favorite warped video artist Chizmo is providing live visuals. Chicago footwork legend DJ Spinn headlines.


Pü Fest
Absolutely (WI)
Alex Body (IA)
American Cream (MN)
Black James (STL)
Broken Prayer (Chi)
Bug Chaser (STL)
The Conformists (STL)
Demonlover (STL)
Digital Leather (NE)
Eric Hall (STL)
Faultfinder (KC)
Guerilla Toss (MA)
Gymshorts (RI)
Kisser (STL)
KneeGrowPleeze (STL)
Lechuguillas (ATX)
Maximum Effort (STL)
Nervosas (OH)
Perfect Pussy (NY)
Plack Blague (NE)
Radiator Greys (DC)
Self Help (STL)
Shaved Women (LP Release show, STL)
Sioux City Pete and the Beggars (WA)
Slut River (WA)
Transmontane (Chi)
Trauma Harness (STL)
Tree Blood (MN)
Worried Mothers (NE)

Main shows happen at Empire Hall at 3407 California Avenue on Saturday and Sunday ($20 per day or $30 for the whole weekend)
Kick-off show happens Friday night at Melt at 2712 Cherokee Street (free)
featuring: Black Panties, Tone Rodent, Jack Grelle and Pizza Boys
More details on the poster below: