2011 RFT Music Awards Winners: Best New Band: Dots Not Feathers

Sounds Like: Dots Not Feathers takes the bookish side of indie-folk collectivism seriously but not severely. At times the four singers harmonize as if the lights have dimmed on a high school theater and the climax to the musical has arrived. Those harmonies can soar and dip sweetly, even as the heavy fuzz and bonk of a synth suggest it has spent as much time on vintage video games as reading up on its Emily Dickinson. Even playing a post-twilight set on a patio, the sound was always sunny and daydreamy, with nonchalant melodies and rhythms as gentle as an afternoon stroll through Tower Grove Park. What distinguishes Dots Not Feathers is the strength of the group's individual voices. Stephen Baier, Katy Durrwachter, Ryan Myers and Ravi Raghuram all sing quite distinctly and yet harmonize like the close friends they've become.

Recommended If You Like: Sufjan Stevens, the Head and the Heart, Marching Band

Instrumentation: Electric guitar, acoustic guitar, banjo, electric piano, synth, melodica, drums, percussion, bells, ukulele

Crowd Response: The band was politely received, and if no one sang along, it was only because the band and its highly group-singable choruses are relatively new to the world. The audience on the Over/Under patio numbered perhaps only 50, and listened respectfully, with nary a shoutout for a song from Glee to be heard. By the end of the set, much of the crowd was pleading for an encore.

Year Formed: 2010

Influences: Iron & Wine, Fleet Foxes, Nickel Creek and barber shop quartets

What's your favorite post-rehearsal or post-show ritual? "While sometimes immediately going home to sleep is a big post show/rehearsal ritual, another one is going to eat at a place like Uncle Bill's on Kingshighway. That place is the bee's knees for late-night food," says vocalist, guitarist and banjoist Stephen Baier.

Next St. Louis Show: June 23 at Old Rock House

Click here to return to the complete list of 2011 RFT Music Awards winners.

 
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