music

Undercurrent 9 tapes featuring Frances With Wolves, Hylidae, Contrails and spoken word by Brett Underwood at Undercurrent 10 event
Willis Ryder Arnold/St. Louis Public Radio

Ask someone younger than 10 if he's ever heard a cassette and you may be met with a blank stare. Before CDs or the ubiquitous MP3, tapes were the go-to method for album releases. Major record labels stopped releasing cassettes years ago, but St. Louis is home to a dedicated tape community. Musicians turn to tape for artistic, creative and practical reasons.

An Affordable Method

Fender Amp
floss | sxc.hu

In the last six months thieves targeting touring musicians have hit St. Louis. At least eight bands' touring vans have been robbed since May 2014. Some musicians like rapper Spose have vowed to avoid the city because of the thefts. Police Captain Daniel Howard, of the Fourth District, where many of the thefts took place, said authorities are making progress and some equipment  has been recovered.

“There’s a ringleader of a group of thieves that we have our eyes on, and we are working with a prosecutor to make charges,” Howard said.

Tiffany Minx
File photo | St. Louis Beacon

Early this month Tiffany Minx announced on Facebook the closing of her independent music shop Apop Records. The store will close this Monday. Although Minx has stressed a desire to look to the future, some fans are mourning the loss of an integral part of the St. Louis music scene.

“It’s just a major loss,” said Matthew Stuttler, who runs a cassette tape music label distributed online and at Apop.

Alarm Will Sound
Justin Bernhaut via Alarm Will Sound

Alarm Will Sound, which conductor Alan Pierson describes as “the orchestra of the 21st century,” will debut two pieces this weekend in St. Louis.

On Friday, the group will perform "Miles Re-Vision" by local composer Peter Martin at a concert at the Sheldon Concert Hall celebrating St. Louis' musical history.

Morgan Nusbaum of bruiser queen
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Bruiser Queen is a pair of St. Louis residents that play catchy, scuzzy, rock music that lands somewhere between 1960s girl groups and 1990s riot grrrl punk. Morgan Nusbaum fronts the band, commanding both microphone and guitar.

She’s backed by Jason Potter on the drums. The duo practices in an old doctor’s office off Cherokee street. The walls are a faded bubble-gum pink and plastic bins for charts are still screwed to the wall near every exam room. The duo rehearsed for Friday’s record release show promoting their newest album Sweet Static.

Wynton Marsalis
Frank Stewart / (Courtesy Jazz at Lincoln Center)

Wynton Marsalis has been to St. Louis many times, but before Thursday night he had not played at Jazz at the Bistro.

“I’ve been coming here for many, many years. This is one of my favorite cities to come and play, in many contexts,” said Marsalis, a trumpeter, composer and educator. “I’d been to the Bistro, just sitting in and hanging with musicians … and it’s a famous place to play amongst the musicians. From a national standpoint, when you talk about St. Louis, you’re always talking about the Bistro.”

Saint Louis Chamber Chorus
Saint Louis Chamber Chorus

Instead of following a theme, the Saint Louis Chamber Chorus' 59th season will focus on composers. 

“In the early years, we’ve put together programs on ideas, on literature, on great cities, on different poets,” said Philip Barnes, the chorus’ artistic director. “We’ve performed in a wrestling arena because I wanted to sing ‘Musicians Wrestle Everywhere,’ words by Emily Dickinson. This is the first time we’ve put together a season where the composers themselves have been the driving force.”

Tritone Drive
Physics Punk Pedals Facebook page

This month David Anderson’s Tritone Guitars turns two years old. Tritone is really Anderson himself: repairing guitars, assembling guitars, and acting as guitar tech for local and national bands as they swing through town. National acts like Robert Randolph and the Family Band have called on Anderson to fix gear when they’ve suffered massive equipment failure in the middle of their set.

Elizabeth Futral
K Cadel / Colbert Artists Management

Soprano Elizabeth Futral and composer Philip Lasser can thank pianist Margo Garrett for their friendship, which spans nearly a decade.

“There was a third party that gave my songs to Elizabeth,” Lasser said. “Then as fate would have it, she was collaborating with Margo Garrett, who happens to be a colleague of mine at Juilliard and who had a studio at the time right across the hall from my studio. We met over these songs.”

Courtesy Old Webster Jazz and Blues Festival

Webster Groves’ largest music festival returns for a 14th year Saturday.

“Great musicians continue to develop here, and it’s really wonderful to give them a chance to get exposure on a big stage in front of up to about 12-, 13,000 people every year,” said Terry Perkins, the festival’s music director.

Streets will be closed and performances will take place on two stages at Allen and South Gore avenues, just north of Lockwood Avenue. The festival starts at noon.

The one and only Cake lights up the stage at the 5th Annual Loufest Saturday Night
Brian Villa | Special to St. Louis Public Radio

This weekend an estimated 36,000 people from out of state and the surrounding area gathered in St. Louis for LouFest 2014, the little music festival that could. In just four years, the weekend-long concert has grown so much that founder Brian Cohen partnered with production company C3 Presents to help handle logistics, bring in bigger names and expand concert amenities.

Christine Brewer
Christian Steiner

Soprano Christine Brewer, jazz pianist Peter Martin and jazz vocalist Denise Thimes will perform Sunday with ensembles from various faith communities in an annual 9/11 commemoration concert. 

Related story: Sept. 11 Concert Focuses On Uniting Community

Ray Marklin

Greek Orthodox, Muslim and Hindu musical ensembles are just part of the lineup for the fourth annual September 11th Interfaith Commemoration in Music: An Appreciation of Religious Diversity.

Sunday’s event is the work of Arts & Faith St. Louis, a coalition of local arts and faith leaders. The show focuses on bringing people of different ethnicities and faiths together both on stage and in the audience.

Provided by Katie Borders

Until recently, you may have considered Weird Al Yankovic to be that fading parody singer who turned “Beat It” into “Eat It” before sliding into relative obscurity in the 1990s.

But Weird Al’s not only sustained a 35-year career, he was just showcased at the Emmy Awards. And there’s a grassroots movement to get him on stage at the Superbowl.

The neighborhood free outdoor summer concert season is coming to the end. If you know of a free series that isn't on this list, still let us know, as we can get concert series on the list for next year.

Coming up: Fat Pocket at the Zoo on Friday, Salt of the Earth at the Kirkwood Farmers Market Saturday morning and Sarah Jane & the Blue Notes at Benton Park Sunday. But they aren't the only performers at these neighborhood concerts coming up in the next few days. So check out what's coming this week:

Big Muddy Blues Festival
Archive photo from the Big Muddy website

The Big Muddy Blues Festival has added an extra night on the front end of its schedule.

The festival, which had been set for Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 30-31, has now scheduled three local bands for Friday night, Aug. 29. Everett Dean will take the stage at 6 p.m. Friday, followed by Billy Peek at 8 and Marquise Knox at 10.

The Friday night performances lead up to a weekend of 24 more national, regional and local acts beginning at 3 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday and playing until midnight.

Ben Kaplan / Commonwealth

A group of local artists are taking the real estate mantra “location, location, location” and making it their own.

“Commonwealth is a way of making art that’s inspired by location, that’s inspired by the city,” said Commonwealth co-founder Ben Kaplan. “It wasn’t so much about the name of the place, it was about the location.”

The neighborhood free outdoor summer concert season is now in full swing. If you know of a free series that isn't on this list, let us know.

You can read more about Javier Mendoza and Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers. Or just check out what's coming this week:

Miss Jubilee is proving that she is a favorite of the neighborhood concert scene. Over the next seven days, she will be at Bluebird Park in Ellisville, Eckert's in Belleville and Music on Main in St. Charles.

David Mulat, 13, and his sister Betty (short for Bethlehem), 15
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

Summer camp is where teenagers make friends and sometimes find their first love. It’s also a place they can improve social skills and self-esteem.

A new music day camp in St. Louis focuses on building confidence as well as musical ability. David Mulat, 13, and his sister Betty (short for Bethlehem), 15, are attending the Littlestone Summer Music Festival at St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church in South City on scholarships.

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