By Jeremy Essig
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From the Music Blog
My weekly local music column, A to Z, migrated online to the blog of the same name (blogs.riverfronttimes.com/atoz) a few years ago. The interactive format (and unlimited space) lets me post more news than I ever could in print — along with MP3s, videos and show reviews. Here's a sampling of the content A to Z has featured in the past week or so. If you have any local music tips, tunes or raves, by all means please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The St. Louis trio Living Things — which recently released a new album, Habeas Corpus — attracted controversy at SXSW by burning dollar bills on stage. Roy Kasten went to the band's Off Broadway show on Monday, May 11, and reported back about any potential shenanigans, while I chatted with singer Lillian Berlin (née Jason Rothman) about making Corpus in Germany in an exclusive online interview. Plus, I unearthed and posted a song from Berlin's Y2K-era Chicago band, Atrixo.
• Speaking of MP3s, A to Z posted downloadable tunes from artists playing shows in St. Louis. Honorees this week included Toronto keytar-and-drum duo Woodhands (specifically, its Eddy Grant and Katy Perry covers), Low-goes-country Austin rockers Monahans, Springfield, Missouri, twang-rockers Ha Ha Tonka and Lou ex-pat KRISTEENYOUNG. We also previewed bands coming to town — such as Mae's May 19 headlining show at Off Broadway — that we didn't have room to cover in print.
• Target Market released its new album, Up On the Moon, digitally on May 5. Physical copies will be available in June, says the band's Minneapolis label, Afternoon Records. Other local acts receiving reviews (and/or MP3 treatment) in recent weeks include electropop quartet the Pragmatic, politicos May Day Orchestra, punk-a-billy stalwarts Trip Daddys and eclectic jam-heads Messy Jiverson (which released a new album under its alter ego Blown Speakers).
• In terms of show reviews, Christian Schaeffer went his own way at Fleetwood Mac's May 5 Scottrade Center show. "In the end, it's hard to know what to say about a show like this, other than Fleetwood Mac delivered exactly what they promised and exactly what could reasonably be expected from them 35 years after its heyday. The songs still sound good, and so do the musicians playing them."
• And finally, I trekked up to Chicago to see legendary songbird Leonard Cohen. (His first tour in fifteen years isn't stopping in St. Louis.) It was, as to be expected, a fantastic show: "Cohen's strongest instrument is his voice, a wearied-by-life low rumble that he's grown into perfectly. The subtle inflections, the quick turns of phrase, the naked emotion, the poetic descriptions — his words dart and crackle, vibrant in their loneliness and lust, curled by romantic longing and burned by love lost."— Annie Zaleski