Though most often billed as a reggae band, St. Louis’ own Team Relevance are, at heart, sonic tapestry weavers and song crafters, creating and experimenting with any sounds danceable, soulful and textured.
A veteran crafter of songs and road-seasoned troubadour, Verlon Thompson writes tunes that paint pictures of solitariness, contemplate the tides of a fast-changing world and feel patiently for the slow pulse of love. He sat down with Interstate to share some of his stripped-down, sensitive compositions.
Formed in 1996, the Conformists are some kind of anomalous rock band -- playing big, strange, intricate music that’s painstakingly crafted and precise, but never predictable. The band – Chris on guitar, Mike on vocals, Jim on bass and Pat on drums – has steadily built a steadfast group of fans in St. Louis and internationally, evolving from a local, 3-nights-a-week weirdo bar/basement band to a band that holds the respect of their peers.
A Monday night rock & roll show in St. Louis has the potential to be an uncomfortable experience on both sides of the music; especially if it happens in the long, slate corridor of the Firebird, where Monday-night crowd members might feel isolated standing in that gaping space before the stage.
In a world where the current musical spectrum is dominated by over-produced and hyper-stylized tabloid pop on one end and an ever-expanding cluster of mostly mediocre (if not uninteresting) "indie" rock on the other, the Bad Plus has carved out an inimitable presence in modern music as an avant-garde jazz trio.
The crowd at Off Broadway on Halloween night was still sparse, sober and mildly responsive when the opener, the Band of Heathens, started its set. Three dueling lead guitars ripped and twisted through almost every one of the band's songs while the bass and drums set up solid soul grooves. They played it all relaxed, a good band to ease into the rest of the night with.
Through his swamp-soul croons, yelps and paper writing service harmonies, you hear Jimbo Mathus’ command of his songs. His stories of confused drifters and shady deals are told with the reserve and candor of a road-hewn musician who knows he’s got your attention and can keep it.
"Burn It Down," the first cut on Los Lobos' Tin Can Trust, opens with urgent strums from an acoustic guitar -- immediately the listener feels a momentum, an impulse and a need to listen. As a band that has been made up of the same five core members since 1984, it is no small feat for Los Lobos to still deliver that kind of energy within the first few seconds of an album.
On first listening, Fishtank Ensemble’s music sounds like swirling, complex gypsy music played with a rockabilly sensibility. And it is; but with that, the band also seamlessly threads each member’s myriad styles. The ensemble stopped by Music from the Hills to ring out a selection from its deep sonic well.