Dots Not Feathers
Forgive Dots Not Feathers for opening up its sparkling and sweet full-length album, A Thousand Novels, with a hissy recording of the philosophy of Ralph Waldo Emerson. The band doesn't need such transcendentalist clichés. It has figured out how to will its own way in the indie-folk world. Yes, all the trappings are there — the well-practiced but effortless harmonies, the baritone uke, synthesizer drums and trilling acoustic guitar and the droning cello lines — but how fresh and sunny and convincing they sound. What makes Dots Not Feathers special is its arrangements, the way a song like "Victoria" darts and rises and meditates, shape shifting but still demanding you hum along with its hopeful melody. (RK)
8:30 p.m., The Over/Under Bar & Grill Patio

The Vondrukes
The Vondrukes has a somewhat regal name, but the band's sound is pure beer-soaked flannel. Call it alt-country if you wish, but only if your definition of that cursed genre includes spastic cow punk and head-banging metal theatrics. On its debut self-titled EP, the band has a blast knocking back a case of homage to everything from Black Sabbath to Uncle Tupelo to Reverend Horton Heat. The manic fusion sometimes borders on the paranoid, as if singers and songwriters Jeff Griswold and Bob McKee believe they'll never shake their rock & roll demons. So they get drunk and turn up and play rockabilly and surf punk loud and fast enough to send the hounds back to Hell with tails between their legs and crushed tall-boy cans between their defeated teeth. (RK)

The Jump Starts
It's not as if singer and guitarist Justin Johnson is exactly hurting to have his songs heard; as the lead singer of Pretty Little Empire, he's become a standout presence with his impassioned performances. But alongside drummer Sarah Ross, Johnson also performs in the Jump Starts, and the simple two-person lineup gives space for his more direct, pop-friendly songs. With some raggedy acoustic guitar strums and Ross' often funky rhythms, the Jump Starts has the charm and panache of a bedroom-pop project — at times raw and unpolished but never short on feeling or heart. (CS)
7 p.m., Rosalita's Cantina

Sleepy Kitty Arts

Location Info



500 N. 14th St.
St. Louis, MO 63103

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: St. Louis - Downtown

Lucas Park Grille

1234 Washington Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63103

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: St. Louis - Washington Avenue


Tight Pants Syndrome
Last summer, Tight Pants Syndrome emerged from another short hiatus with yet another new lineup. Fortunately, not much else has changed about the collective's all-encompassing approach to pop. Buzzing synths still peacefully coexist with jangling twelve-string guitar licks and doowop rhythms and harmonies, sometimes all at once. If anything, Tight Pants Syndrome has expanded its reach. (Yes, that's a harp in "New Hit Record," among other things.) The result is a bigger, more impressive sound reminiscent of the New Pornographers' glorious excess. But for all the pomp, Tight Pants Syndrome retains the charm of a bunch of friends bashing out tunes together. They're just really good at it. (BM)
10:45 p.m., The Dubliner (Main Floor)

Magnolia Summer
Chris Grabau's Magnolia Summer collective had a big year, from playing the inaugural LouFest to a February tour of the UK including a performance on BBC Radio 2. Undertow Records issued a deluxe edition of its 2008 release Lines From the Frame with its 2010 EPs The Slip That Leads Into the Fall and The Current Moves, which promptly sold out. Despite a lineup of musicians that pull duty in bands such as the Bottle Rockets, Grace Basement and the Linemen, Magnolia Summer continues a steady schedule of live dates that showcase a sound both orchestral and rootsy, where string sections, roaring guitars and slide guitar cohabitate. It all frames Grabau's rich lyrical tales of murder ("Rangeline"), loss ("Short Wave Decline") and dread ("To Better Days"). (RW)

Warm Jets USA
Jason Hutto's bands have never lacked for pop hooks, but the latest fuzz-pop project helmed by the music-community mainstay is particularly tuneful and well produced. Warm Jets USA's "Records" contains lovely, jangly riffs, while "Peach Fuzz" is a classic, two-minute loud-soft-loud burst. "Dumb" is even better, a jolt of greased-up '70s hot-rod rock; it goes down like a shot of whiskey. If you're a fan of unheralded, criminally underappreciated indie-noise bands from the '90s, Warm Jets USA is right up your alley.
—Annie Zaleski
9:15 p.m., Lucas Park Grille (Patio)

Jon Hardy & the Public
Though the public largely recognizes this pop band from its acclaimed 2007 full-length, Working in Love, the Public has gone through extensive lineup changes — just Jon Hardy and Glenn LaBarre remain onboard since the Working days. This year's A Hard Year EP marks a return to bittersweet lyrics — wistful memories, cynicism, falling back into old patterns and ultimately hope — all backed by spirited piano and drums. The band's tapped into a sound that the public (and the Public, in whatever incarnation) enthusiastically gets behind. (RFT)

Karate Bikini
Guitarist and singer Tim McAvin has been playing his smartly nuanced style of pop song around town for so long that his imprimatur has benefited bands like the beloved '90s combo Lydia's Trumpet and power-pop maestros Tight Pants Syndrome. But Karate Bikini has given McAvin the chance to create a true St. Louis supergroup: He enlisted guitarist John Horton (Bottle Rockets, Magnolia Summer), saxophonist Michelle Rae (Jon Hardy & the Public) and a few other scene vets to play clever, melodic rock & roll with some obvious nods to the past ("Kimberly Rew," a song about the Soft Boys/Katrina and the Waves guitarist, is a live highlight). Look for the studio release Sauce of the Apple Horse later this year. (CS)
1:00 a.m., The Dubliner (Upstairs)

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