It's Monday, it's shitty outside, and I'm tired. My brain is mush, creativity is lacking, and there's an unknown chirp occurring somewhere in the vicinity of my desk (seemingly overhead somehow, but it is not a smoke detector) that is driving me to distraction. I've played out the coming hours in my head, and if it doesn't stop shortly I will inevitably be found by one of my co-workers hanging halfway out of the ducts in the ceiling, kicking and swearing, surrounded by chunks of drywall and searching for what I'm starting to believe is a cricket that somehow lost its way.
Oh yeah, shows this week: Stevie Nicks's ex will be at the Pageant on Friday. Did you know he wrote the theme song to the Vacation movies? That "Holiday roooooOOOOoooooOOOooOOOad" song. That song rules. Vektor will play Cusumano's on Thursday; fans of ultra technical progressive thrash metal, take note. Giant Giant Sand will play Blueberry Hill on Tuesday; its even Gianter that the normal Giant Sand, believe it or not. The rest of our picks follow.
Sharon Van Etten Mon., 8:00 p.m. November 5 w/ Indian Blanket, Damien Jurado @ The Firebird - $14 By Jason Rosenbaum Sharon Van Etten's journey through the music world included relentless touring, respites on friends' couches and kinship with indie-rock royalty. And now, the Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter's journey is making another 2012 stop in St. Louis after an earlier show at the Luminary Center for the Arts. Her exceptionally personal songwriting and unique sound has garnered national attention, including late night television appearances with Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon. Damien Jurado and St. Louis' Indian Blanket (an RFT Music favorite) open.
Giant Giant Sand Tues., 8:00 p.m. November 6 @ Blueberry Hill - $17 By Christian Schaeffer For too long, Howe Gelb's Giant Sand has been viewed as a charm school for artists to pass through on their way to bigger stages. Famous faces like M. Ward, Neko Case and the Calexico principals have benefited from time spent in Gelb's Tucson, Arizona enclave, and his melding of American and Mexican folk music has left a mark on those who served under his tutelage. In anticipation of the band's 30th birthday in 2013, Gelb has assembled a super-sized version of the group, dubbed Giant Giant Sand, and is touring behind the newly minted album Tucson. Story Songs: Tucson is billed as "A Country Rock Opera," and its nineteen tracks trace the arc of a beautiful loser, and Gelb shares the vocal duties with several band mates.
Milo Greene Wed., 9:00 p.m. November 7 @ The Firebird - $10 By Kiernan Maletsky The many-headed Milo Greene has found its national footing this year on the strength of its exceptional self-titled debut full-length. The Los Angeles quintet employs masterful harmony and thoughtful composition to the end of one of the year's best folk efforts. Everyone but drummer Curtis Marrero sings and switches instruments, so what might have been a fairly staid live show should instead be dynamic. This will be Milo Greene's first stop in St. Louis, and given its trajectory you might not have many more chances to see the band this up-close and personal. Alright, Alright: No one in the band is named Milo; that's an arbitrary moniker for the group. Aren't band-name origin stories fun??
Vektor Thurs., 9:00 p.m. November 8 w/ Zuul, Black Fast @ Cusumano's Pizza - $5 By Daniel Hill Tempe's Vektor plays blisteringly fast technical thrash with progressive influences; they'd probably do quite well with fans of the local pioneer of this style, Anacrusis. Expect long-ish song times, intense riffage, lightning-quick tempos, lots of weedily-weedily technicality and some seriously evil, scorched-to-the-bone vocals. Vektor is one of the handful of New Wave of Thrash Metal bands that metal purists tend to agree on. The band was on Heavy Artillery Records when it was recently acquired by Earache, and its Earache debut is pending. Not Pizza Party Thrash, But: Cusumano's has rapidly become the go-to spot for underground metal shows in St. Louis, owing in no small part to its hedonistic inexpensivity: Five-dollar two-topping pizzas, three-dollar Natty pitchers, two-dollar shots -- you've been warned!