Monday, October 10, 2011

Milagres CD Giveaway

Don't forget to come see Milagres at Mojo's this Tuesday, October 11. (Read more and listen to samples in my last post.) Today only you can enter to win a Milagres CD on this blog by shooting me an e-mail. (Be sure to include your name and mailing address.) I'll pick a name at random Tuesday morning. Best of luck!

Congratulations to Heather from Columbia for being the lucky winner of the Milagres CD. Thanks to everyone else who wrote in yesterday!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Milagres at Mojo's, October 11

  Photo by Cameron Wittig

A few weeks ago I downloaded a track off iTunes by a band called Milagres. "Glowing Mouth" grabbed me right away with its gloomy luster, making me want to dim the lights and kick back in a smoky haze of cloves (never mind that I haven't smelled a clove cigarette in fifteen years). The song is chill and dark and lovely.

Then last week I got a tip that Milagres was playing right here in Columbia at our very own Mojo's. The Brooklyn-based quintet is touring to promote their just-released second album, Glowing Mouth (Kill Rock Stars). They've been compared to lo-fi bands from Grizzly Bear to Radiohead with some Prince thrown in for color (likely due to lead singer Kyle Wilson's falsetto). Layering rhythmic keyboards with lush melodies, Milagres creates the kind of songs that wrap around you and don't let go.

Check out the video for the hooky "Halfway" and get your Neverending Story fix:

Come see Milagres with Peter Wolf Crier at Mojo's on Tuesday, October 11. Doors open at 8:00; tickets are $8.

This post also appears on the COMO Collective.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Joy Formidable at The Firebird, September 21

All photos courtesy of Derek
No, this blog is not turning into The Joy Formidable fan site, despite what my last few posts suggest. (In fact, I'm not even sure what this blog is turning into at all.)

Consider this the resolution to our TJF tornado story. On Wednesday night Derek and I finally got to see The Joy Formidable play at the Firebird in St. Louis. (The Firebird is like Mojo's turned on its side: same tiny size but stretched horizontally around the stage rather than vertically.) We didn't have to dodge tornadoes this time, and the most stressful thing was trying to find the venue tucked into a row of deserted shop fronts on Olive Street.

Let me just say we got our faces rocked off. You know a show is good when you get that same rush you felt at 17 blowing out your friend's Cutlass Sierra speakers with My Bloody Valentine. TJF is a band made for ear plugs, but their massive wall of sound turns your entire body into an ear drum: you pulse from the inside. Maybe it's their Smashing Pumpkins loudness... I don't know; they invoke a weird 90s nostalgia in me. Apparently I'm not the only one of a certain age who feels this way. There was a lot of headbanging in the crowd from older folk. We apparently still feel the need to rage against some sort of machine and not go gently into any grungy good night—which is not to say that the next-generation contingent was missing: they were represented by a dude with an ironic mullet and rat tail near the front of the stage and a Whisker Wars contestant who screamed Hell, yeah! throughout the show. (Hair is huge for hipsters.)


TJF's set was just over an hour, which isn't surprising since the band is relatively new. They followed glam rock openers U.S. Royalty. (Really, I'm only considering U.S. Royalty glam rock because the lead singer was wearing a silver sequined shirt and lots of eyeliner. What the hell do I know?) I have nothing but good things to say about U.S. Royalty: they were very, very tight and had excellent vocals and amazing energy. And the guitarist has some seriously Slash-worthy hair.


Ritzy, Rhydian, and Matt took the stage around 10:00 and opened with "Abacus." Head banging began. Hell, yeah! screamed bearded man. The crowd surged forward and up, down, and all around with an unspoken cry of Hell, yeah! The force of this band is impressive, balanced only by Ritzy's cute gibes with the audience between songs. And what a little pixie she is! Standing at what looks to be under five feet, she somehow manages to unleash a torrent of aggression when she and her mates are rocking out.


TJF ripped and tore through most of the tracks off The Big Roar, finishing with "Whirring" and coming back to play two encores: "I Don't Want to See You Like This" and "The Everchanging Spectrum of a Lie." The set wasn't long, but it felt about right. The  band packs so much power into each song you need some recovery time to check your ears and make sure they aren't bleeding.

We stuck around after the show to meet the band. Like Mojo's, the Firebird encourages audience/band interaction with its dinky size. It was worth the wait because TJF are so nice. Ritzy remembered us from the St. Louis/tornado incident and the TJF forum and said, "You guys got stuck in traffic, right? You got a bunch of goodies, no?" She was incredibly sweet, all smiles, and so tiny. We didn't meet Rhydian, but Matt was also very down-to-earth and friendly. I always feel bad for bands having to deal with a horde of drooling fans after a show, but the band was so gracious. It was nice to be able to thank them in person for sending us signed CDs and a photo this summer after we missed their April show.

Word on the street has it the band might be returning to St. Louis some time in December.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Our Joy Is Formidable

In April D. and I almost died on our way to see The Joy Formidable in St. Louis (as described here). Okay, there was no actual death brushing, no lights at the end of the tunnel...we just missed what would have been a really cool show at a really cool venue (the Luminary Center for the Arts) because of the tornado that hit the St. Louis airport. We exited I-70 to dodge the tornado and then got back on I-70 to continue on to the show but got stuck in traffic for about four hours. In short, it sucked.

But our story ends well. Fast forward to last week when a mysterious package arrived in our mailbox from overseas. Thinking it was a gift from our Italian friend Bruno, we were surprised to find a signed photo inside along with several signed albums from our now-favorite band The Joy Formidable. The handwritten inscription on the photo reads "Thanks for trying, guys. See you at next gig hopefully. R R & M."

No, the band isn't psychic: After the concert D. posted our story on The Joy Formidable's fan forum to vent and rant and maybe get a t-shirt out of the whole ordeal—something to make us feel that squirming with full bladders on the highway for eight hours was somehow worth it. But then time passed and we forgot about it. Receiving the package was a little nugget of joy in an otherwise dull work week.

For the record, the Joy Formidable rocks and they care about their fans.

Now for some shameless self-promotion: Check out the COMO Collective for my weekly music preview on Cheyenne Marie Mize and Vandaveer at Mojo's Wednesday, June 15.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Okay, I let this blog slide for a few months, but I've been working on a new project and thought I should dust off this one. More posts to come....

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Year, New Post, New Music

I'm usually one of the first people to take down my Christmas tree, so why has my blog been stuck in Holiday 2010? My excuses: (1) I've been working on an editorial project nonstop, and (2) D. and I have been film-going fools for the past two weeks, seeing True Grit and Black Swan and 127 Hours and Winter's Bone. Also, I wasn't aware that anyone visited this blog anymore until this morning when I read on Building International Coalitions... that A Ravenous Horde was one of the major referral sites to Zac's. Say what?

So here I am, trying to be better (at least for a little while) about posting.

Okay, there's a fourth reason I haven't posted much: I've come to terms with my own high levels of suck as a music blogger. I mean, I rarely go to shows these days, and I haven't been following new music, and I've been in a music slump, and I've been thinking about what to do with the rest of my life, and all of that light-hearted stuff.

I've thought of turning this blog into a random record of my art projects, music, writing, photos, etc. But I'm more likely to just start a whole new blog if I go that direction.

And then there's D. I spend most of my time with a music lover who shares his new finds with me, and it's hard to dump my music blog when he's there to remind me how much I love music once I settle my wandering, restless mind down enough to focus. He should be writing this music blog. Seriously.

I cannot claim credit for these two bands:

The Joy Formidable
D. has been humming these tracks everywhere he goes. The 90s grunge kid inside me appreciates running into The Joy Formidable's Welsh wall of sound. Once they get going, they punch you in the face. Their debut album, The Big Roar, comes out March 15 in the United States. D. burned me a copy of a mini-album they released in the last year or two (A Balloon Called Moaning); I've noticed a slight Breeders' influence mixed with My Bloody Valentine.

"Whirring" by The Joy Formidable

The U.K. tour kicks off this month with a U.S. tour to follow (no dates available yet).

Stornaway takes its name from a small town in the Scottish Highlands, but these four boys are British—from Oxford, actually. They released their debut album, Beachcomber's Windowsill, in May 2010. When you're in the mood for English folk, this hits the spot. Just don't watch the video too closely. This song sounds better when you don't see the self-consciously well-groomed, indie-fied band members.

"Zorbing" by Stornaway

It looks like Stornaway will be touring Australia and Europe for most of 2011.

Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Take a Snow Day with Matt Pond PA

The snow... she be comin'. Or so the weather forecast says. We are probably going to stay in Columbia for the holidays rather than hitting the road for Illinois.

Matt Pond PA thinks we could all use a "Snow Day":

(Nice cello in this one.)

Merry Christmas!