The Getaway Car
Veterans of a couple of notable area groups, bassist/vocalist Donald Williams and guitarist Jay Sommers bring a relatively new look, The Getaway Car, onto shelves with "First Gear," a big, impressive jump from the earlier version of the group.
Augmented by drummer Dan Gleason, DJ Fritz the Cat and Jon Parsons on Hammond B3 and Fender Rhodes, the Sinister Dane/Sugardaddy alumni create a album that builds on neo-R&B stylings of their past, adding a big pinch of drum'n'bass. The melding of new and old is best represented on the track "Damage," which combines a nervous backbeat, underpinning some sweet keys. Add in a confident Williams on vocals, Sommers' always reliable guitars and inventive fills, samples and scratches from Fritz and the track really shines, the group striking a balance between originality and old-fashioned hooks.
Running about 25 minutes over six cuts, the band has put together a fine first effort, with the CD a bit back-loaded, the best material coming after the first few cuts, including the disc's standout, "Damage." Finding a unique voice, the band's clearly comfortable in the studio, too. Here's hoping for another, longer long-player in the near future.
The group's set to play during May with gigs at two fests: the Slammies (at the Pageant on May 6) and at the Washington Avenue Beat Festival (the Galaxy on May 27).
Wednesday, April 18
A musician who has shared a bill with Kate Schrock likens her to "Fiona Apple without the weird edge." Can't really top that one for brevity. It also tends to do the trick descriptively.
Focusing on emotive, pop songs, with your "dark" elements attached, Schrock performed in St. Louis without a band, focusing her audience's attention on the stripped-down songs and clean acoustics of the room. On this "practice" night (two evenings before a more-promoted show at the Hi-Pointe), she moved through cuts from all three of her solo discs, which show a degree of growth as a performer and songwriter over the past-decade. The latest, "Dames Rocket," contains several songs that'd be pleasing to the ears of AAA radio programmers.
The only problem with that scenario is that Schrock's an artist with a conscience, preferring to market and manufacture her own works independently. She has some allies in St. Louis, including her manager and the local Blue Sky Distribution group. With those folks in place, she's also a frequent visitor to St. Louis. If you care for pop crafted on keys, she might be worth your attention the next time through.
Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center
Saturday, April 21
Held at the quirky and cool Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center, the STL Independent Media Center launched last month with a "happening," of sorts, including DJs, interactive art and a strange, rather-smelly geodesic dome.
The website affiliated with the evening (read more about it in this month's Media Shoegaze) was on display in the main room, offering up a skeletal amount of content, which will be added to in coming months. The scene, though, was far from limited to the screen.
The yard contained the dome, which was filled by TVs, light and plastic. People lounged about, or walked around, creating strange ghosts. Nearby, the smoothie-makers from the Black Bear Bakery were putting out around one drink per 10 minutes. (Ah, the unquenched thirst!) Inside, a handful of dancers did their thing in the middle of the room, while the more-jaded could crash on a series of couches. Despite house being the basic music of choice, INXS' "Devil Inside" made a cameo, drawing a couple of dancers. Half the students appeared to be students from Webster University or recent grads, including the INXS fans.
As one bemused observer noted, "it's good to know what the underground's doing." Indeed. At the end of 40 minutes of observance, "interesting" was the word that came to mind.
"Rocket 88" hosted by Darren Snow
KDHX 88.1 FM
Tuesday afternoons, 12-2 p.m.
Though he DJs at the midtown venue Kearbey's a couple nights a week, you get the best sense of Darren Snow's considerable skills as a music programmer during this two-hour, genre-blending blast. Combining pop songs from the 1950s through today, Snow mixes up music in tasty, sensible sets, unafraid to buck the station's motto with the occasional hit of yesteryear. Most of the time, though, you'll be treated to something wholly new and cool. A 15-minute excursion into trip-hop effortlessly becomes a lounge set, eventually segueing into alt country. And don't forget his ability to dip into his 80s trickbag for lost wave legends and dated (but highly-pleasing) funk.
Versed in a wide array of genres, Snow's a programmer that spends a considerable amount of time working out a set before rolling into the studio. The attention to detail pays off, Snow able to spin a set that'd bring tears to the eyes of a commercial radio DJ. Clever and informative between-set banter enlivens these two hours of pop bliss.
Guy knows his stuff. Enjoy weekly.