Music » Critics' Picks

Caleb Engstrom

Thursday, May 4, at 9 p.m. The Hi-Pointe (1001 McCausland Avenue)


Caleb Engstrom is no stranger to St. Louis; as a Greenville (Illinois) College student, he interned at SCOSAG in Tower Grove Park. But after deciding to pursue music full-time, the singer-songwriter dropped out of school and moved to Iowa City (where he's since enrolled in college again). This upheaval likely explains the slow-brooding turmoil present on Engstrom's Building Day One, an album that wouldn't sound out of place among the Magnolia Electric Co. catalog. "Now" is the type of haunted dirge that band's frontman, Jason Molina, specializes in crafting, all tortured-ghost vocals and somber piano, while tea-time-refined strings create a mournful atmosphere on the fragile "Six." In an age when most indie rock is either overhyped or overly self-conscious, Engstrom's simplicity is incredibly rewarding.

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