Neutral Milk Hotel played its first post-hiatus St. Louis show to a sold-out Pageant audience, confirming the reality of a concert that most fans never dreamed of attending. Jeff Mangum and company delivered a tight performance without sacrificing the endearingly shambolic aesthetic Neutral Milk Hotel has come to represent.
Split between Houston, Texas and Brisbane, Australia, the Valery Trails return with "Starsong," which blurs the already quite blurry line between the band's tense shoegaze and wide-open, melodic guitar rock.
"I don't want to walk down memory lane," howls Joel Williams of the band Champ. "Burnt Alive" is an anti-nostalgic declaration, though the collision of grunge and febrile pop harmonies more than suggests that this San Diego foursome isn't ready to kiss off the rock 'n' roll past just yet.
Led by Reese Beeman and James Adkisson formerly of psych-rock band the 7% Solution, and featuring singer Lisa Lipkin, Austin, Texas' HeadShy packs up its R.E.M. and Primal Scream record collection and heads for dreamier pop terrain on "The Light That Guides the Blind."
Lists are never perfect. The idea is to remind myself what captivated me throughout the year, and to let others know what they might have missed. And then, I try to say a little more to contribute to thinking about the music of 2013. So, here is what I liked the most on the day that I wrote the list.
Opening like a love-lorn waltz and then surging into psychedelic noise, "Good Guy" is a literal swan song for Lakefield (the group is dissolving) and will likely make any fan of Bettie Serveert or Wye Oak wish the Vancouver band could have stuck around a little longer.
When Xenia Rubinos' album "Magic Trix" landed in my lap it felt like the most tangible show of piano and percussive prowess.
I recently took a look at my 10 favorite national albums of last year; here's my look at the best releases out of St. Louis in 2013.