There are big bands, and then there is the Educated Guess. Helmed by Singer, songwriter and arranger Charlie Brumley, the St. Louis group often sprawls to a dozen or more musicians on stage, but it's not the numbers that matter. It's the soaring, orchestral, soul-pop vision, captured on new recordings like the Motown-spirited "Baby, If You Want It."
The late Anne Tkach, who passed away on April 9, 2015 at the age of 48, was a beloved part of the St. Louis music community. She was best known as a bassist and singer for the bands Hazeldine, Nadine, Rough Shop, Magic City, Bad Folk and many more. But as the song "Dear Mama" shows, she could also write a beautiful melody and lyric when so inspired.
Dub reggae meets psychedelic synth pop, and the two produce instant fireworks through the waves of Danish dark wave on "Going Out" by Dinner (singer and producer Anders Rhedin).
The latest music from Spectator, led by Megan Rooney and Jeff Albert, picks up where the St. Louis band left off three years ago, with its first EP "In the Brick." The weightless melodies and jazzy rhythms are there, but on a track like "Muddy Water," a sense of beautiful foreboding and psychedelic exploration surges forth.
The no-budget, no-pretension, no-gimmicks DIY rock of American Wrestlers (aka St. Louis musician Gary McClure) has yielded some surprising results: 1) A signing to the heavyweight indie Fat Possum Records and 2) the irresistible statement of purpose called "I Can Do No Wrong."
The swinging, horn, harmony and piano-powered sound of "Anonymous" by Fort Frances proves that indie rock and soul really can coexist and even flourish together.
"I feel like an old soul," sings Drew Holcomb on the new song "Tightrope. "I feel like a sinking ship." The world-weariness isn't a downer, however. It's Holcomb's way of facing the truth, which, like the friend and/or lover he invokes, helps him make it along the perilous tightrope walk of life.
Think you know indie dance-pop? Think again. The frenetic, time-signature-shifting electro bop sound of "You Only Like What You Know" by Beardyman unleashes all of Darren Foreman's beatboxing, looping and loopy talents.
In Andy Shauf's "Hometown Hero," what starts out as a satirical (but oh so lyrical) portrait of a small-town might-have-been, ends up as a charming, everyman fantasy come true.