Hard times, high gas prices and an ill economy did little to derail local artists from expanding outward in 2012. As a musician, I've never seen so many of my peers crawl out from these red brick buildings to push their River City sounds than in the past 12 months. Many return with invaluable advice on touring and supporting fellow artists.
"Always change your underwear," says Josh Jenkins of local post-punk trio Trauma Harness." If you don't change your underwear, after a couple days you'll start to smell," he says.
St. Louis bands were everywhere this year. Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three appeared on Jools-Holland on New Year's Day. Doom Town ripped through Europe in early January, bringing back a tighter and more world-weathered punk rock. Before February came, St. Louis sent out Britches to sling esoteric noise down the collective Midwest's throat. Britches would crawl back out several times before a hiatus.
Yowie brought a mindful mess to progressive music this year, releasing Damning With Faint Praise. Yowie spread that wax abroad in Europe, and encountered obstacles missing from the typical trek through America.
"Figure out roughly what currency equivalent you will want for your merch in each of the countries you visit. Try to stick to round numbers. Change can be a bitch. Euros are easy. The other ten currencies you will be futzing with are not so much," says drummer Shawn O'Connor. "You will rarely be able to find regular bottled water in Europe. It is usually sparkling, which is pretty gross. If you are like me and just want to use tap water, make sure you look around for signs that may say, in German, 'NON-POTABLE; DO NOT DRINK,'"
Springtime shot hardcore heavies Overdoser and Who Fucking Cares? up the East Coast and back while noise tanks Global Distance and Radiator Grays followed close behind. Raglani piled on modular mania with Keith Fullerton Whitman in New York, Boston and Philadelphia. Summer in St. Louis feels like breathing in a swamp; Volcanoes escaped that humid mess with a jaunt across the country flaunting their disco-through-distortion sound. Catholic Guilt sweat it out with improvised noise jams, spreading its River City juice to beyond and back.
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