Gino Robair Comes To St. Louis & KDHX

Photo by Jane Richey (

Photo by Jane Richey (

As part of their 50th Anniversary Season, on Saturday, March 7 @ 7:30 p.m. New Music Circle welcomes percussionist Gino Robair to St. Louis for a performance of his modern opera I, Norton at Mildred Bastian Theater, 5600 Oakland Ave. on the campus of Forest Park Community College.

I, Norton which is based on the life of Norton I “the first and only emperor of the United States”, brings Bay Area musician Gino Robair to St. Louis for a rare appearance. Joshua Norton on September 17, 1859 proclaimed, “at the request of the citizens of these United States, I…declare myself Emperor.” This real life Bay Area Emperor, immortalized in Mark Twain’s THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN, abolished Congress, decreed bridges be built between Oakland and San Francisco, enjoyed free passage by rail and ship, printed and used his own money, and corresponded with kings, queens, and presidents.
New Music Circle says “I, Norton will feature 20 performers, including many of St. Louis’s most highly regarded musicians. The ensemble itself is assembled in a unique way for each concert. In performance, I, Norton takes the shape of an improvised collage structure that combines hand cues, graphic scores, memory-based improvisational structures, and fully notated works.” Click here for more details about the show.

In addition to his live appearance, Gino Robair will be performing in the studio at KDHX on Wednesday, March 4 between 10am and 12 Noon, for a live studio session and interview with me on on Uncontrollable Urge. So please tune in. Gino Robair plays and records with several musicians in ensembles including Tom Waits, John Zorn, Pink Mountain, The New Black, Splatter Trio, Peter James and Michael Zapruder

“No (Yeah)” by Pink Mountain

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“The Mumbler” by Splatter Trio

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March Release Highlights

February wasn’t a bad month for new releases, but March is when the new music really kicks in. I’m especially psyched for Nils Lofgren, Dallas Wayne, Marianne Faithful and Neko (duh). Let me know what I missed!

March 3
Justin Townes Earle - Midnight At The Movies
Neko Case - Middle Cyclone
Jesse Harris – Watching The Sky
Soundtrack Of Our Lives - Communion
Thin Lizzy - Still Dangerous: Live At The Tower Theater Philadelphia 1977
U2 - No Line On The Horizon
Grandmaster Flash – The Bridge: Concept of a Culture (first album in over 20 years)
Anne Heaton – Blazing Red
Raul Malo – Lucky One
Ian McLagan and the Bump Band – Never Say Never
Buddy and Julie Miller – Written in Chalk
Angus and Julia Stone – A Book Like This
Seth Walker – Leap of Faith
Dallas Wayne – I’ll Take the Fifth

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Drive-By Truckers Show Postponed

KDHX programmer and A to Z blogger Annie Zaleski has the somewhat bad news that the DBTs won’t be at the Pageant this Thursday; however, the show has been rescheduled for a weekend in late March. Details here.

In the meantime, here’s a shaky video from last year’s gig at the Pageant….

Marah Minus One @ the Duck Room

I’m on record as saying that Marah‘s Kids in Philly is one of the greatest rock and roll records of this decade, and if I’m not on record saying Marah is one of the best club bands you’ll ever see, then, there you go, I’m on record.

But the band’s return to St. Louis this past Thursday found them without brother Serge, the essential foil to lead singer and principal songwriter Dave Bielanko. Curmudgeons might say this isn’t really Marah; thankfully, curmudgeons weren’t at the show. Serge is on maternity leave (he’s a new father), and the band has gone through some substantial line-up changes over the last 12 months. But the new rhythm section is taut and sharp, and singer and keyboardist Christine Smith (whose addition flummoxed a number of now departed band members) fit in well with Bielanko’s sweat-spraying rockitude.

The band swung back and forth between Kids in Philly songs and most of last year’s terrific Angels of Destruction!, as well as unreleased material and two Chuck Berry covers: “Too Much Monkey Business” and “Come On,” the latter featuring a walk-on guitar assist from the Bottle Rockets’ Brian Henneman. Mid-way through the evening, I somehow convinced myself that the band needed a round of Jack Daniels, forgetting that Bielanko is on the wagon. The drummer appreciated the shots, while Dave just nudged the cup of poison away from his guitar pedal. But before the end of the night, he knelt down, took a sip, and then spat it out across the stage–just one of the night’s many instinctive rock and roll gestures.

Touch and Grrrr!

Yesterday Touch and Go Records founder Corey Rusk broke many a music industry worker’s heart.  In an official statement, Rusk announced that the nearly 30-year-old label will be closing the distribution arm of the company and turning its focus solely to operating as an old-school indie label.

Corey Rusk’s official statement:

“It is with great sadness that we are reporting some major changes here at Touch and Go Records. Many of you may not be aware, but for nearly 2 decades, Touch and Go has provided manufacturing and distribution services for a select yet diverse group of other important independent record labels. Titles from these other labels populate the shelves of our warehouse alongside the titles on our own two labels, Touch and Go Records, and Quarterstick Records.

“Unfortunately, as much as we love all of these labels, the current state of the economy has reached the point where we can no longer afford to continue this lesser known, yet important part of Touch and Go’s operations. Over the years, these labels have become part of our family, and it pains us to see them go. We wish them all the very best and we will be doing everything we can to help make the transition as easy as possible.

“Touch and Go will be returning to its roots and focusing solely on being an independent record label. We’ll be busy for a few months working closely with the departing labels and scaling our company to an appropriate smaller size after their departure. It is the end of a grand chapter in Touch and Go’s history, but we also know that good things can come from new beginnings.”

The following is a list of labels who will be looking for a new distributor: 21361, 5, Rue Christine, All Natural, Atavistic, Drag City, Emperor Jones, Estrus, Flameshovel, Jade Tree, In The Fishtank, Kill Rock Stars, Le Tigre Recordings, Merge Records, Overcoat Recordings, Pretty Activity, Post Present Medium, Record Label, Robcore, Suicide Squeeze, Trance Syndicate, Trixie, Voodoo-EROS, and Warm Electronic Recordings.

Obviously, the decision is going to make quite a ripple in the independent music scene. Idolator has a tearjerker of an article featuring comments from several of the affected labels about what this will mean for them.

The blogosphere had been abuzz for the last week with rumors that Touch and Go was shutting its doors completely.  While the label has laid off its staff of 20, they do plan to continue putting out new music.  Just this past week, Touch and Go released new albums by Mi Ami and Sholi, and and a new release from Crystal Antlers is still slated for April. August will see the reissue of several albums by the Jesus Lizard (who will be reuniting for a brief tour this spring).

KDHX Charts for 02.17.09

Another week, another set of the charts! KDHX sends these reports to music industry publications. They are compiled according to what our programmers play each week. To see more KDHX charts, visit the KDHX Music Chart archive.

CMJ Top 30 – 02.17.09
1       A.C. NEWMAN     Get Guilty      Matador
2       ANDREW BIRD     Noble Beast     Fat Possum
3       FRANZ FERDINAND Tonight: Franz Ferdinand        Domino
4       ANIMAL COLLECTIVE       Merriweather Post Pavilion      Domino
5       BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN       Working On A Dream      Columbia
6       HEARTLESS BASTARDS      The Mountain    Fat Possum
7       LADYHAWKE       Ladyhawke       Modular
8       VETIVER Tight Knit      Sub Pop
9       BEIRUT  March Of The Zapotec/Holland    Pompeii
10      GARY LOURIS AND MARK OLSON      Ready For The Flood     Hacktone
11      COTTON JONES    Paranoid Cocoon Suicide Squeeze
12      ANTONY AND THE JOHNSONS The Crying Light        Secretly Canadian
13      WILLIAM ELLIOTT WHITMORE        Animals In The Dark     Anti
14      DENT MAY AND HIS MAGNIFICENT UKELELE    The Good Feeling Music
Of…    Paw Tracks
15      DAN AUERBACH    Keep It Hid     Nonesuch
16      MIRANDA LEE RICHARDS    Light Of X      Nettwerk
17      ROKIA TRAORE    Tchamantche     Nonesuch
18      GLASVEGAS       Glasvegas       Columbia
19      BIRD AND THE BEE        Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future
Blue Note
20      LILY ALLEN      It’s Not Me, It’s You   Capitol Records
21      ELENI MANDELL   Artificial Fire Zedtone
22      ROBYN HITCHCOCK AND THE VENUS 3 Goodnight Oslo  Yep Roc
23      FOL CHEN        Part 1: John Shade, Your Fortune’s Made Asthmatic Kitty
24      PHOSPHORESCENT  To Willie       Dead Oceans
25      M. WARD Hold Time       Merge
26      FAUNTS  Feel.Love.Thinking.Of   Friendly Fire
27      NOUS NON PLUS   Menagerie       Aeronaut
28      SPARKS  Exotic Creatures Of The Deep    LilBeethoven
29      LATE OF THE PIER        Fantasy Black Channel   Astralwerks
30      BLACK JOE LEWIS AND THE HONEYBEARS      Black Joe Lewis And The
Honeybears [EP] Lost Highway

Click below to see our hip hop, jazz, world, RPM and Americana charts.

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KDHX Chart Catch-Up!

Forgive me, KDHX fans, friends, and followers. I’ve been negligent the last couple of weeks, but I’m back and will be posting more profusely than ever! Below are the College Music Journal and Americana Music Association charts for last week.

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Mark Olson and Gary Louris at KDHX

Photo by Sara Finke

Photo by Sara Finke

It’s been a great month for harmony singing in Saint Louis. First there was Chris Stamey and Peter Holsapple, and this week, Mark Olson and Gary Louris made a stop at the Duck Room. Whatever your feelings may be about the Jayhawks, it’s hard to deny the pure beauty of what happens when these two old friends sing together. And that’s exactly what they did this week at the KDHX studios. You can stream the entire performance and listen to the interview at, but here’s an exclusive MP3 of “Doves and Stones” (a song from their new record Ready For the Flood on New West), as captured in the Magnolia Avenue Studios.

Doves and Stones (Live @ KDHX)

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