Plea: St. Louis, The Music Tapes' Julian Koster Wants to Carol At Your House!

Usually, one attends a touring band’s performance. But what if you could make the performance come to you? That’s exactly what the Music Tapes, featuring ex-Neutral Milk Hotel singing-sawist Julian Koster, are proposing for their Holiday Cheer caroling tour. St. Louis is on the schedule for Monday, November 17. There’s just one problem: No one in the city has invited them yet.

Here’s the basic concept: For the next few weeks, Koster and friends will travel to selected cities on the East Coast and in the Midwest. Their itinerary is available at Merge Records’ website right here. The band will accept invitations from fans to play at their respective homes. At each tour stop, they will visit as many homes as they can between the hours of 6:30 and 9:00 pm. At each stop, they will perform holiday carols on singing saw for members of each house and their "outside guests."

On their website,, the Music Tapes are at pains to differentiate these appearances from house shows: "These will be caroling travels, so please know that there are other homes that must be visited!" Note as well that, although the website specifically requests invitations from "homes," the caroling stops need not be private residences. For instance, the band is visiting Paste magazine's headquarters in response to a handwritten invitation. However, the intent is clear: a series of brief, intimate appearances to rouse the spirit of the upcoming holidays.

Sounds fun, right? No Yuletide story is complete without a climactic miracle, and having a member of the famed Elephant 6 collective showing up at your house to perform for free is about as close to "miracle" status as most of us see in everyday life. So you can imagine my surprise when I emailed the Merge Records publicist to see where the Music Tapes will be performing locally...only to find out that no one in St. Louis has invited them yet.

That’s just wrong. Surely there must be a few welcoming houses, record stores, rehearsal spaces, places of business, or other offbeat St. Louis locations for Koster and friends to play.

So it’s time for you, A to Z readers, to step up to the plate. Deluge the Music Tapes with invitations to play. Send them emails, letters and carrier-pigeon communiqués. Make them concerned that they can’t possibly fulfill all the St. Louis requests in four hours. Roll out the welcome mat and be rewarded with holiday selections for singing saw and guitar. It’s the least we can do. Then, on November 17, we can sip hot cocoa, put up the Christmas stockings or gold-foil Stars of David, wait for the knock on the door, and enjoy a caroling visit like no other.

To extend an invitation or receive a list of caroling locations, please email [email protected]. They are accepting invitations to play through Sunday, November 16. That’s about three days, which isn’t much time. Time’s wasting, folks.

-- Mike Appelstein

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