"Noise" has become a blanket term for bands that explore and experiment around the beaten path. The genre, like others, is huge and diverse but not without its share of hangups. That's why we're here. Every month, we supply a short list of sure bets in St. Louis, ranging from needlessly complex to minimalist drone. Connect the weird to your ears.
A label like "experimental" downplays just how precise On Fillmore tends to be both live and on record. At their core, the songs carry shapely melodies with enough nooks and crannies to explore, but a primal sense of rhythm drives the sound into uncharted waters. In terms of genre, On Fillmore feels more like a middleman linking conversations between film scores and real-time sonic exploration.
New Music Circle presents: On Fillmore Friday, April 3 The Stage at KDHX 7:30 p.m. | $10-$20 Bassist Darin Gray (of Tweedy, Grand Ulena, Dazzling Killmen) pulls low tones with riffs that stalk around, casting a ghastly shade over lush vibraphone. Glenn Kotche (of Wilco) takes a tonal approach when building beats, working vibrant layers of percussion into the subtle space between himself and Gray.
On Fillmore has lent its music to WNYC program Radiolab as well as director J.T. Petty, who has used the duo's songs for two feature films: S&Man and Blood Red Earth. To date, Gray and Kotche have recorded four full-length albums, two of which were released by labels Drag City and Dead Oceans. This event is the group's first appearance in St. Louis in more than ten years -- you better believe people who slept on this a decade ago lived to regret it.
Jeff Zagers w/ Larva Lu, Hylidae, Zak M. Tuesday, April 7 Los Punk 7 p.m. | technically free, but donations are encouraged Savannah, Georgia, native Jeff Zagers elicits a heavy sway, bouncing beats on a lo-fi bed of disparate keys. Vocals creep their way through loaded layers of bobbing tones, commanding the sum of every murky part. At first glance this is a danceable mess of static and synths, but Zagers invokes a hot fever dream of sleazy lounge jams. It's an absolute treat of outsider pop music for those brave enough to hear it.
HEARding Cats Collective presents: Extra and Extraction: The Myth of Static Geometry Saturday, April 11 William A. Kerr Foundation 8 p.m. | free It's hard not to view Extra and Extraction as anything but a sequel to last year's As Unstable As, featured in the video above. Formed by long-time friends and collaborators Kevin Harris and Chad Eivins (of Chizmo.TV), the concert brought four monstrous video projections working in tandem with striking, off-kilter ambient work to the Kranzberg Arts Center. This time, Ashley Tate and members of the Ashleyliane dance company will augment the show by presenting the human form atop images generated in real time by Harris and Eivins. The HEARding Cats Collective presents this audio visual event at the Kerr Foundation, a beautiful space nestled within the maze of one ways and gravel roads on the riverfront.
New Music Circle presents: Black Host w/ Gerald Cleaver, Cooper-Moore, Darius Jones, Pascal Niggenkemper, Brandon Seabrook Saturday, April 25 The Stage at KDHX 7 p.m. | $20 Led by powerhouse drummer Gerald Cleaver, Black Host brings raw, dissonant jazz that invites the dents and cracks that come with use and age. Not that this group takes a slapdash or sloppy approach, but the timbre from simply playing hard is ever present, invoking some semblance of a punk rock aesthetic. Last year's Life in the Sugar Candle Mines, released on Northern Spy, showcases the luminous group in pure form. Raw jazz spews without remorse, spitting a full tonal frenzy through warped strings, pristine keys and razor-sharp rhythm. On this night, Cleaver is joined by Cooper-Moore, Darius Jones, Pascal Niggenkemper and Brandon Seabrook -- the definitive form of Black Host to say the least.
Think I left something out? Piss off! No, actually, you're probably right. I usually cap this column at three or four shows. Share what you know in the comments below. For the future, drop me a line any time at firstname.lastname@example.org
Joseph Hess is the clubs editor for the Riverfront Times. When he's not writing for RFT, he's hosting the experimental rock show Wrong Division over at KDHX (88.1 FM). Visit his personal blog here for more on this city's DIY and experimental music. Or stalk him on Twitter.
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