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Audio Agitation

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Audio Agitation: Emphasis on the atmosphere

May 27, 2016
Laura Heidotten | St. Louis Public Radio

The past couple weeks have been rainy and a little spooky in St. Louis.

With that in mind, this week’s Audio Agitation is inspired by David Lynch and the last couple of rainy low-energy weeks.

Audio Agitation: The collaboration thicket

May 20, 2016
Audio Agitation
Laura Heidotten | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis music scene is a tangled mess of collaborations, established bands, one-off projects, guest spots, and unexpected guest spots.  It’s an atmosphere that contributes to some of the best music emerging from the city but makes less-hot projects easy to ignore.

Audio Agitation: Guitars, guitars everywhere

May 13, 2016
A series of Stratocaster style guitars rendered in dark purples and bright greens splashes across the page.
Laura Heidotten | St. Louis Public Radio

It can be hard to keep guitars sounding fresh in the face of so much experimentation in contemporary music. Guitars are often paired with electronics or heavily processed when they appear in pop music, if they appear at all. Yet, three St. Louis groups have released excellent songs in the past month that place the guitar front and center.

Audio Agitation: Share the wealth

May 6, 2016

The split record is a chance for bands to unite fan-bases, reduce album costs, and produce one-off collaborations.

Sometimes it’s a chance for well-known groups to support lesser known acts.

Audio Agitation: Danceable Dissatisfaction

Apr 29, 2016
Laura Heidotten | St. Louis Public Radio

Pop music often falls into the tropes of love, desire, and wanting things you can’t have or had and lost. In real life these feelings can lead to inertia, melancholia, and ennui.

So what happens when those sentiments are expressed through huge melodies and danceable beats? 

There’s a group of young St. Louis-born musicians who have toured the country and developed strong online fan bases, despite having released only handfuls of tracks.  Their songs are connected stylistically and thematically by this exploration of pairing propulsive beats with a sense of want.

Audio Agitation: Dystopia

Apr 22, 2016
Image of gridded room with free-floating squares that look like screens into another universe.
Laura Heidotten | St. Louis Public Radio

Destruction, reinvention and the Anthropocene. Adult Fur’s, all-too prescient new album MYU tackles these concerns while acknowledging that the time may be too late for us humans.  In a recent RFT review by Christian Schaeffer the album is characterized as “dystopic” and in this age of political and ecological sturm und drang we decided to lean into that classification and see what other “dystopic music” is burbling up through the city’s pavement.

Lo-Fi Cherokee turns 5 as bands play unexpected venues

Apr 12, 2016
Fans and camera crews surround the band Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear's performance
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s 9:30 on Saturday morning and there’s a garage rock band playing in a flower shop and plant nursery on Cherokee Street. Half an hour later another group performs in front of a group of kids in a chemical safety office.  By mid-afternoon bands have played in bike shops, feminist sex stores, micro-breweries and clothing stores along Cherokee Street. It’s all part of Lo-Fi Cherokee. 

“It’s like a marathon of shooting music videos,” said Lo-Fi attendee Adam Ballard.

Audio Agitation: Processed Soul

Mar 25, 2016
Laura Heidotten | St. Louis Public Radio

Today we’d like to offer up six after-hours songs that would sit well in smoky bars, dance clubs or warehouses.  They’re a distinctly modern blend of traditional soul, rap and electronic music.  Notes slip and slide over minimal baselines and skittering drums.  Vocal melodies twist electronically. Blips and bleeps bubble up beneath piano chords. 

Audio Agitation: Tiny Desk surprises

Mar 18, 2016
Laura Heidotten | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s been one week since St. Louis Public Radio held its first Tiny Desk Concert with Mt. Thelonious.  We’re still reeling from all the good times!

We were so pleased with number of entries and the variety of sounds submitted by St. Louis that we decided to take a deeper dive into the submissions. TDC entries could only showcase one song but there’s so much more out there. So here’s an offering of surprises we found while “crate-digging” through the catalogs of the entrants.

Audio Agitation: Getting out of Gateway City

Mar 4, 2016
Audio Agitation
Laura Heidotten | St. Louis Public Radio

This week’s audio agitation is inspired by wanderlust, our health reporter's recent travels to Thailand, and the desire to get up and go. Sometimes the sun is up, the breeze is fine, and it doesn’t matter where you’re headed, you just need to be in motion. At that point it's time to take a walk or hop in the car or on a train. Many songs about travel also acknowledge the troubles that come with travel, because it's not always an easy ride.

Audio Agitation: Going Cosmic

Feb 26, 2016
Audio Agitation
Laura Heidotten | St. Louis Public Radio

Two days ago NPR’s First Listen program premiered a new album by Heron Oblivion. The indie-psychedelic super group of sorts includes musicians from psych-folk group Espers and noise-rockers Comets on Fire. 

Audio Agitation: Tattarrattat

Feb 19, 2016
Laura Heidotten | St. Louis Public Radio

Tattarrattat —  a word created by James Joyce in his opus Ulysses is a palindrome that refers to the specific rhythm of someone knocking on a door. For this week’s Audio Agitation, we take "tatarrattat" as our guiding light, our investigation of rhythm as it appears in instrumental melodies. 

Audio Agitation presents songs that dart from cluttered to classical, sweet to strange.

Audio Agitation: New takes on the classic Americana sound

Feb 8, 2016
Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis has so many Americana acts that choosing three to highlight is almost a joke. There are perennial  favorites like Pokey LaFarge and the Bottle Rockets.  There are the alt-country "grandfathers" Uncle Tupelo.  But here are a couple of St. Louis Public Radio’s current favorites. Thanks to  Tim Lloyd, one of the hosts for We Live Here, for pointing Audio Agitation in the right direction.

Audio Agitation: Variations on a gospel theme

Jan 29, 2016
Rev. Osagyefo Sekou performs at a listening party for “The Revolution Has Come” on January 26, 2016. The album will be released January 31, 2016.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Inspired by the Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou’s forthcoming album “The Revolution Has Come,” we decided to look around St. Louis to find other interpretations of gospel music in the region. 

St. Louis has a rich tradition of gospel music, and our inquiry brought us to some unconventional interpretations. But let's start with what prompted this edition of Audio Agitation.

Audio Agitation: Country-fried weird rock

Jan 15, 2016
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

After our bout with melody circa last Audio Agitation we’re going to let things get a little weird. There’s a specific strain of St. Louis rock that seems to draws inspiration from anywhere they can get it.  The music can turn from melodic to aggressive or ambient in one bar.  The vocals may be volatile.  Electronics, distortion, and a heavy bassline are all tossed together in a send up of that old rock ‘n roll fury.  Here’s some of the kickers.

Audio Agitation: Dust off that old piano

Jan 8, 2016
Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

Today’s Cityscape segment about the musical "Fun Home" included music from the score that featured piano. This got us asking: How are different St. Louis musicians using the piano? Are they hammering away at the keys behind Springsteen-esque rave-ups? Are they setting a bittersweet tone with simple melodies that grow and expand into orchestral pop arrangements?

Audio Agitation: Life Lessons

Dec 24, 2015
Creative Commons

As the year comes to a close, we sit back with family and friends to discuss the past year and celebrate another year on earth.

To help aid any year-end reviews bandied about the house we’ve collected a number of songs that seem to offer some perspective on the life lessons we often think we’ve earned.

Audio Agitation: Spilled Sugar

Dec 11, 2015

It’s 20 degrees warmer than area average at this time of year. It’s Friday. It's quite possible there are too many gooey butter cakes and cookies starting to pile up around the office. You're riding a sugar high and you've just noticed the imminent energy crash. In honor of that afternoon buzzy feeling that comes from too much caffeine and pre-weekend excitement, we present three local acts that tackle pop music through a slightly skewed and, to be utterly redundant, buzzy lens.

Audio Agitation: Dark Pop for the (possible) first snowfall

Nov 20, 2015

St. Louis-based Foxing released its album "Dealer" a couple weeks ago to solid critical reception. The band’s music is filled with swells and melody. The lyrics focus on expansive topics like war and death filtered through a highly personal lens. With it getting dark earlier and the first snowfall imminent, this seems like a time to explore the slightly morbid sensibility that underpins the sweeps and builds of music from similar St. Louis "indie rock" bands.

Audio Agitation: Poli-Sci Rap Class

Nov 13, 2015
Tef Poe at civilian review board hearing 1.29.14
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

This week a couple of hip-hop musicians released tracks tackling current political issues. Tef Poe’s "Devils" follows Poe’s template of using his ire for a specific politician, in this case Ben Carson, to address systemic issues he sees in the political structure. For Poe, it’s full steam ahead.