No matter how hard it tries, St. Louis will always suffer from Chronic Little Brother Syndrome, forever in the shadow of its hipper, savvier older bro, Chicago. For St. Louis music fans, this fact is driven home by the number of great bands living and working in Chicago. This Friday finds two of that city's finer acts sharing the Creepy Crawl stage, as Edith Frost and Manishevitz kick off their fall tour in our humble little town.
Edith Frost, a native Texan, started her career with the help of Chicago luminaries in Gastr del Sol, The Sea and Cake and the High Llamas, a fact that can obscure how talented she is taken on her own. Often corralled in the alt-country stockade, 2001's Wonder Wonder broadened Frost's sonic spectrum and contains the standout track "Cars and Parties." With the recently released Demos (a free download available at comfortstand.com), listeners can hear pared-down sketches that often sound as haunting and resonant as some of her studio works.
Conversely, Manishevitz rarely sounds pared down, instead opting for the full, clamorous sound of well-orchestrated post-punk. On last year's City Life, the band (led by former Virginian Adam Busch) veered more toward the grandiose, providing a wall of sound for Busch's snide, punctuated delivery. Roxy Music comparisons are inevitable (given the use of the mighty baritone saxophone and flighty synthesizers alongside the standard guitar/bass/drums lineup), though Busch sounds like what the Fall's Mark E. Smith might sound like if he was raised in Virginia, moved to Chicago and led a new-wave band with a faux British accent. And that's a good thing. Chicago may have us beat in architecture, culture and mass transit, but we still have one thing in our favor: Missouri hospitality. So get that Sears Tower-size chip off your shoulder and go show some little-brotherly love to two of Chicago's finest.