The Best St. Louis Noise/Experimental Concerts: August 2014

Kisser releases its second EP this Friday at Schlafly Tap Room.
Kisser releases its second EP this Friday at Schlafly Tap Room.

Deliberately shrill and mostly dense, "noise" has become a blanket term for bands that explore and experiment around the beaten path. The genre, like others, isn't without its share of hangups, but that's why we're here. Every month, we supply a short list of sure bets in St. Louis, ranging from needlessly complex to minimalist drone. Connect the weird to your ears.

The dog days have arrived, along with a massive wave of shows. Young groups tend to tour in the first half of August, squandering their last few days before the next college semester. Because of that fact, now's a good time for concert-goers to scope out new and old acts alike. The ball has been dropped though, because I already missed what would've been the top pick for this month: Dead Rider at the Firebird on August 8. Instead of mourning the loss of a great performance, check out the band's latest music video below:

Another notable mention is Bull of Heaven, a two-piece noise outfit from Denver, Colorado. Since 2008, the band has been intensely prolific, releasing hundreds of recordings including several pieces that clock in at over 24 hours in length. Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center invited the seminal duo to perform on August 2 in honor of the art space's twenty year anniversary. The band prides itself on long-form pieces of drone and ambient music, but its catalog is anything but limited. See for yourself.

All is not lost. August still brings a wealth of gigs for fans of outsider music. From driving prog-rock to free-jazz, the schedule this month is jammed with talent. Let's explore:

Lair (MA) w/ Pat Sajak Assassins, Western Forever, Solid State Disaster Wednesday, August 13 Blank Space 8 pm | $5 | 21+

Lair plays with a solid core of rock n roll, relying on a tethered layer of synthesizer to thicken the sound. There's an audible inspiration from kraut rock of the '60s and '70s, but Lair maintains a distinct rip. Using live drums and guitar to fill in the holes between colorful backing tracks, the duo plays music that's more akin to a five or six piece band, and does it with strict timing. You could call this band a cyborg - a hybrid of man and machine.

Western Forever is the latest endeavor from experimental drummer Nate Larson. Guitar riffs trail off like space rock around the pitter-patter of sharp jazz drumming. Although their songs are mostly improvised, there's an audible cohesion that commands close listening.

Read on for more of our best picks for experimental shows in August, including Ahleuchatistas, Fielded and more.

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