July is here, and now that the fireworks have faded away, we celebrate a full half year of independent music by taking a look at some of the best releases of 2014 thus far. The DJs of KDHX have picked their 10 favorites from the first six months of the year, with plenty of surprises in store.
I have been a big supporter of the St. Lou Fringe festival since its inception three years ago. This year I was out of town for most of the festival’s run (June 18-22), so I only got to six events. Rather than writing a review of each one, I have decided put them into three groups: hits, misses, and flops (a.k.a. “I want my 45 minutes back”). We’ll start with the hits.
When Lou Edward Thimes spoke on the radio and intoned "Fatha, Fatha, Fatha," it was an adult thing: women listeners approved, and the male ones would nod in agreement: they knew when listening to Fatha Thimes, the music would be top-notch soul/rhythm and blues, selected and voiced by one of the most identifiable talents on St. Louis airwaves.
Whether or not "My Daddy Rocks Me" is the first popular song to mention both "rock" and "roll" in a non-religious context, the tune remains a pre-War jazz and blues classic. Tom Hall and Alice Spencer, veterans of the Geyer Street Sheiks, and now regularly performing together as T&A, capture both the rock and the roll and a whole lot more in this swinging version.
"Locus" effortlessly flows in and out of structural time constraints with the unlikely combination of cornet, balaphone and the Nintendo Game Boy. If you have any naive assumptions about the Chicago Underground Duo, they are most likely wrong.
A visit to New Orleans is a sensory treat, but the 2014 version of the French Quarter Festival takes your senses to a whole new level.
With whisper and a hum, the saxophone-led Dave Stone Trio embodies the modern legacy of straight ahead jazz in St. Louis.
Matthew Shipp Trio's "Root of Things" reveals the beauty and the hideousness of the world around us via six free-form compositions.
Tommy Halloran is "making a living, not a killing." His newly released debut with his new band Guerilla Swing have excited his fans to see a new chapter unfold for a St. Louis veteran who plays some 300 nights a year.