This week, Fitz and the Tantrums, Eleni Mandell, Heatsick, Cheap Art and more stop into town. Plan a romantic weekend with yourself or someone else, or just go out every other night this week and stay in to watch Lifetime movies to your heart's content come Cupid's retribution on Friday. Love it or hate it, here's what's up this weekend. Stay tuned for more picks at the end of the week.
Fitz and the Tantrums Monday, February 10, 8 p.m. w/ The Unlikely Candidates @ The Pageant - $22.50-$27 By Tara Mahadevan Combine neo-soul and indie-pop you get Fitz & The Tantrums, four dudes and one sizzling front lady that came to prominence with their single "Breakin' The Chains of Love" in 2009, whose video features two of the members on a moving and rotating bed. Despite the bedtime theme, the group's music is anything but sleepy: Influenced by the likes of Motown and Stax, Fitz & The Tantrums will have you up and at 'em, shaking your groove thang -- to say the least. You won't find any guitar strumming in this band, as lead vocalist Michael Fitzgerald has been quite outspoken about his aversion to the instrument. Instead expect percussion, saxophone, keyboard, drums, flute, bass, tambourine -- basically anything but the dreaded guitar.
Eleni Mandell Tuesday, February 11, 8 p.m. w/ Vikesh Kapoor @ The Firebird - $10-$12 By Roy Kasten Sometimes one stumbles across a songwriting credit that reads "Unknown" or "Anonymous." In the case of LA-based, left-of-jazz-pop-center songwriter Eleni Mandell, the mystery lyrical donor isn't an untraceable public domain figure, but an untraceable sperm donor with whom she collaborated on her twins Rex and Della, ultimately inspiring her newest album Let's Fly a Kite. That absurd back story becomes meaningful in these luminously swinging and witty songs of single motherhood and quotidian joys, and the blissful way Mandell sings a line like "We'll go down in history for nothing at all," as if the pleasures of music-making have been born anew for her. And they have. Opener Vikesh Kapoor picks up where the late Pete Seeger left off; his songs of working class struggles ring with verities beyond the front page.
Stag Nite/Zine Night Wednesday, February 12, 9 p.m. w/ Dad. Jr, Animal Teeth, Mr. Ben, Dem Scientist, Dusty Fingers @ Livery Company - $5 By RFT Staff From RFT's Best of St. Louis 2013: "Cock rock" describes tunes played to the beat of a pelvic thrust, mostly in relation to males working through their midlife crises. The members of Dad Jr.'s crew are barely half as old as most cock-rockers, but they've taken a quick detour that might ruin their chances of being future weekend warriors. Mr. Hands, the foursome's lead guitarist, has literally slammed his flaccid penis against the six-string in lieu of shredding. The solos, a hallmark of rock & roll everywhere, are, after all, masturbatory. Dad Jr.'s tendency to trim the fat and lay things bare extends to its succinct songs. Mr. Hands rarely goes balls out, and his fretwork induces a midsummer garage-rock fever dream. Dr. Jackstraw pounds away on the set with little remorse, keeping the foursome's tunes in tow with striking fills. The whole affair chugs along fast and dirty, bringing a dense set of riffs rife with leather jackets and sunglasses.
Heatsick Thursday, February 13, 9 p.m. w/ Raglani, Black James @ Kerr Foundation - $10 By Joseph Hess Based in Berlin, Steven Warwick dons the alias of Heatsick and applies a lo-fi punk aesthetic to ethereal dance music. By working through guitar pedals and a single Casio keyboard, Heatsick manages to feel full and distinct, despite the minimalist approach. Simple beats come stacked atop one another while loops build into cacophonies of hyperactive dance. Ambient layers lie beneath the sound to provide ample tone and texture, making for songs that feel thematic. But Heatsick bucks the theatrics, trading in the frills and gimmicks of most modern electronica for an honest and deliberate sound. Heatsick's latest album, Intersex, released via PAN, sees Warwick fully delving into massive psychedelics. If Warwick's goal is to stop people from dancing and cock their heads to listen for just a minute, he may well succeed. Like Heatsick, local openers Black James and Raglani apply their own distinct approaches to electronica. While Raglani brings atmosphere and ambiance through modular synth, Black James deploys a hip-hop/noise hybrid alongside bewitching moans and howls.
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