By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
Nick Acquisto has hosted The Space Parlour on KDHX (88.1 FM) for the past four years, playing modern indie-pop and obscure avant-rock late into the night (Acquisto's current time slot is midnight to 2 a.m. on late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning). Over three months in the early spring of this year, Acquisto gave the first hour of his show over to twelve local bands, giving each a chance to perform a live, on-air set.
The recordings have been collected on the just-released compilation The Space Parlour: Live in St. Louis Series 2007. The disc not only documents the in-studio sessions for posterity's sake, but it also gives a thumbnail sketch of some of the city's most exciting bands. While the bulk of the groups can be loosely labeled indie rock, the comp collects some folk enthusiasts (Casey Reid, Bad Folk), some old-timey revivalists (Strawfoot, the Monads) and super-charged power-popsters (Grace Basement, the Hibernauts).
This eclecticism fits in nicely with Acquisto's show, which often plays cuts from the likes of Jarvis Cocker, John Cale, Of Montreal and Ween. "I like bands that have really interesting orchestration and instrumentation, and then I like really driving pop stuff," says Acquisto. "Then I also like old-timey sounding, like Spike Jones stuff. So it's kind of a mixed bag."
While the Live in St. Louis Series began as a way to showcase local talent in a live radio setting, Acquisto soon realized that, by collecting these performances, he could fill a void that has existed in the local rock & roll community: a one-stop compilation that gives a taste of some of the city's best and brightest.
"I can't think of any really good St. Louis comps that have been released in the past ten years, aside from the Bert Dax [Christmas compilations], which have some really good songs on there but are all Christmas songs," Acquisto says. "The last good one that I can think of was the Rooster Lollipop compilation, and that was close to eight years ago."
The Rooster Lollipop comp, called Axes & Snaxes, compiled live performances from such now-defunct bands as the Phonocaptors, the Highway Matrons and the Homewreckers. Like that disc, The Space Parlour collection has a loose, off-the-cuff feel that unites a small but diverse sampling of local talent. (What's more, on Acquisto's compilation, That's My Daughter covers "Butch in Springtime" by Sexicolor, another band that labored under the Rooster Lollipop umbrella.)
Acquisto has already thrown two CD release shows for the Live in St. Louis Series, and the final show takes place on August 31 at the Way Out Club and features Dos Dedos, Casey Reid and Grace Basement. All proceeds from admission and the sale of the CD benefit KDHX. And while the community radio station benefits financially from the compilation, Acquisto sees the CD as a way to publicize the music being produced by bands in town.
"It just seems like there's this whole new emerging scene in St. Louis and set of bands that are really great and need some kind of push to a bigger audience," he says.
Christian Schaeffer 10 p.m. Friday, August 31. Way Out Club, 2525 South Jefferson Avenue. $10. 314-664-7638. Country Grammar
By critical alignment and past affiliations, Limbeck must be some kind of pop-punk/emo band. You wouldn't know it, though, from the Orange County kids' new self-titled album. Its country rock is plush and un-ironic, and its straight-up, neo-classical guitar sound isn't just radio-friendly it's radio-horny. Bring on the choir singing "sellout": Limbeck will drown it out with hooks and a sunny disposition. From the road, singer and songwriter Patrick Carrie brightened B-Sides' day.
B-Sides:Do you think emo is dead?
Patrick Carrie:No. I don't think anything is dead.
OK, so at which show are you going to kill it? I want to be there.Maybe it's dead, but let's say this: As a band, we're revolving back to days when we were first going to shows, punk shows, Lookout! Records bands, and we're reminiscing over how good things were in those days. So maybe emo is dead, but I'm sure there are people who are living in those times, because they were good to those people. We had a huge conversation about that last night. Things are never going to be as good as they were.
What are we talking about here?
For us it was high school. We were going to, like, four shows a week, seeing all these bands that were blowing our minds. You couldn't research it on the Internet. You'd see Mr. T Experience, and then you'd see who they were touring with, the Queers or the Groovie Ghoulies. You can't replicate that these days. There was a different discovery to it. You had to work for it to find out about these bands.
On the new album the references aren't punk. They're classic: Tom Petty, the Stones, a little Fleetwood Mac.People say, "Why did you change your sound? You said because you grew up." I think we've just opened our minds and tastes, just to be more accepting. We look back at high school days and the only thing that existed was pop-punk music. Screeching Weasel told us Led Zeppelin was terrible. Why would we need anything but punk rock? We grew up a little. Bob Dylan, the Stones, the Beatles. You get into more obscure stuff and stuff your parents listened to. We're more appreciative of it all.
I think some of the new album would sound great on country radio, right next to Keith Urban or Jack Ingram or, I'm sorry, Bon Jovi.[Laughs awkwardly] We have a weird niche. We've toured with New Found Glory and then with Pharaoh, people on opposite sides of the spectrum. Not being pigeonholed is good for us.
I like that it's a big, even slick, album.We wanted to take our time. This is our third album, we had a bigger budget, and so we filled things out. The last record we did in about two weeks. It was a stress-fest the whole time. This time, we were going for a bigger, more produced sound.
It's a good-natured album. One of my favorite lines is: "It's good to be good to people you don't understand." But then I was thinking: Sometimes you just have to tell those people to shut the fuck up.That might be your gut reaction...If a friend or a friend of a friend came into your room and was crying, you'd say, "Hey, what's going on?" But in other venues, you might want to say, "Shut the fuck up," or "Whatever, it's not my problem." But I don't know. There should be a way to feel the other side of it. Roy Kasten 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 5. Pop's, 1403 Mississippi Avenue, Sauget, Illinois. $15. 618-274-6720.