15 St. Louis Music Brands to Listen to While Staying at Home
[Editor’s note: When the mandatory “stay home” rule went into effect in St. Louis city and county on Monday March 23, it became clear to locals that the best way to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic would be to stay home. In a major change to normal life, many have found themselves working, teaching children and entertaining their families simultaneously from their living rooms. Musicians are no exception, so we appreciate the time these artists took to share the motivational messages in this story with our readers!]
No matter how hard times get, one thing that remains is consistent is music and its ability to heal and comfort. Here are tips from some of our favorite musicians (and the writers who covered them for Guided: St. Louis) highlighting 15 local music brands to listen to while staying at home.
Image courtesy of Stephen Favazza.
Hands and Feet ‘Alive’ single
A one-man force of musical nature, electronic indie band Hands and Feet pulls the most invigorating sounds and noises from figurative black holes. Created by Stephen Favazza after his old group disbanded, Hands and Feet creates an eerie, open sound breeding raw, unseen emotion. Comprised of bits and pieces of Favazza’s, imagination, records like “Alive” defy auditory possibility, becoming sound that can be felt. Over the next few weeks, Favazza says he is working on cultivating his creative edge and focusing on creating timeless music to leave for future generations to discover.
Image courtesy of Umberto Lopez.
Dubbed the Queen of the Future by St. Louis fans, Tonina makes passionate, storytelling music rich in feeling and musical diversity. An independent singer/songwriter and trained bassist, Tonina’s heartfelt sound and her wide vocal range merge to blend traditional Spanish melodies with a new age-Americana folk mantra. While her name is still growing internationally, Tonina is no novice to music; her song “Historia de un Amor” was one of NPR’s 100 Best Songs of 2018 and even received a nod from President Barack Obama as one of his favorite songs that year. Tonina’s 2019 album “St. Lost” reaches unmeasured depth usually unexplored by millennial artists brands. Although the young star has lost more than $10,000 because of show cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she says she has been writing nonstop and encourages fans to use this time to reset and re-energize themselves.
Image courtesy of NandoSTL.
NandoSTL ‘Bamboo’ EP
A newcomer on the St. Louis indie music scene, hip-hop artist NandoSTL emerged after his 2019 summer anthem “Outside,” featuring violinist Blake Hernton, exploded on social media. His 2020 EP “Bamboo” delivers that same powerful punch. One of the strongest, fast-growing plants in the world, “Bamboo” is a metaphor for Nando’s blossoming, seemingly overnight success, with the St. Louis rapper winning two St. Louis Underground Music Awards less than two years after the release of his debut EP “Good Vibes.” An infusion of rap, jazz and gospel influences dipped in intense harmonies and sprinkled with a soulful, refreshing aura, NandoSTL’s “Bamboo” is what St. Louis hip-hop has been waiting on.
Image courtesy of Beth Bombara.
Beth Bombara ‘Evergreen’ album
The 2019 album from Beth Bombara, “Evergreen” is the perfect name for a project lush and vibrant in lyrical content and instrumentation. Inspired by Tom Petty heartland rock and Aimee Mann indie folk music, “Evergreen” is the result of months of touring that culminated in an album developed in and inspired by nature. A plethora of grounding sounds and melancholy guitar strums that evoke smiles, Bombara‘s latest body of work is fueled by mystical wonder and attitude, with standout records like “Anymore” and “Tenderhearted” touching the depths of the soul. Bombara says that right now is a good time for reflection, and she has started a virtual live concert series airing every Monday at 8 PM CST on her Facebook page.
The St. Louis Rising Playlist by Elvin The Enforcer
If you’ve been looking for a way to stay updated on new urban music emerging in the city, the St. Louis Rising Playlist is exactly what you should be listening to. Curated by SLUMFest co-creator Elvin The Enforcer, this playlist focuses on the best in upcoming hip-hop and R&B talent, uncovering on some of the next artists to blow from the cities thriving underground rap scene. Featuring artists like Smino, KVtheWriter, Rob Apollo and Nikee Turbo, who recently showcased his talents on Netflix’s hit series “Rhythm & Flow,” the St. Louis Rising Playlist gives credit where credit is due to artists working overtime to let their light shine.
Image courtesy of Brian Owens.
A genius at bring soulful new life to nostalgic American records, Brian Owens puts forth vocals unlike any sounds you’ve ever heard. His intense and personal rendition of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come,” performed with his father, toppled nearly 40 million views on YouTube, while his duet with five-time Grammy-winning vocalist Michael McDonald, “Soul of Ferguson,” is remarkable and invigorating. Delightful and brilliant, with a gospel wind that blows through from time to time, Owens‘ latest release “Soul Of Cash” is his own bold blues interpretation of some of Johnny Cash’s greatest hits, including “Ring of Fire” and “Walk The Line.” Owens encourages everyone to stay creative and connected as St. Louis residents adjust to the new stay home rule.
An indie pop and punk rock hybrid, Sorry, Scout has been making waves throughout the city with its ability to summon rhythmic desire through poetic and chaotic sounds. Influenced by Alabama Shakes, Savages and Sleater-Kinner, Sorry, Scout uses its music to spread a powerful message—covering topics like police brutality, inequality in America and “surviving in an increasingly oppressive reality.” Singer Randi Whitaker’s sweet, expansive voice drives emotion as it blends with the voice of David Anson, and rock ‘n’ roll fantasies are brought to life with every stroke of Nate Jones’ guitar. The 2019 EP “Barely Waking” tells a moving story in both lyric and rhyme, painting a vivid picture for anyone who listens.
Image courtesy of Katarra Parson.
Katarra “Cocoa Voyage” Album
The debut album from the self-taught singer, songwriter and pianist, Katarra’s “Cocoa Voyage” is the lovechild of soulful bliss and high-strung emotions. In her compilation of fierce records—fueled by effortless runs, harmonies and a dab of classical influence—Katarra uses her voice to somehow fuse the present with the past. With an intensity that is unmatched, “Cocoa Voyage” gives that ’90s “Love Jones” feel that R&B-lovers look for when seeking out timeless records. Tracks like “Phoenix Rising” and “Something Good For You” display Katarra’s vocal latitude and make her a bright star to keep an eye on as the year rolls on. Katarra says fans should seek out forms of emotional and physical expression during times of isolation to combat boredom and loneliness.
Image courtesy of Gavin M.
Gavin M. ‘Belgrave Road’ Tiny Desk Entry Video
A creator of narrative-driven music, Belleville native Gavin M. gave a breathtaking acoustic performance of his new single “Belgrave Road” on his YouTube channel in February. A NPR Tiny Desk Entry video, Gavin’s video gives life to “Belgrave Road” surrounded by classic pianos and organs as his peaceful voice floods through the speakers and flushes through your ears. A song about freedom and bravery, “Belgrave Road” embraces the heartland dialect and Mississippi River musical style, creating a wide-open and imaginative sound.
Being holed up is nothing new for rock band Holy Posers, whose members spent a week isolated together in the winter of 2019 while recording their latest EP “Are You Sure You’re Having Fun?”. Even while staying at their own homes in 2020, they’ve still been collaborating and producing music over the internet. The band’s mellow, disco-like vibe merges soul and rock n’ roll into one street. Comprised of more musical elements than we can list, the Holy Posers’ music makes you want to dance in ecstasy as tears of joy stream down your face. Modern-day, feel-good music, records like “OMG” and “Grapenuts ” create an uncanny sense of warmth after each listen.
Image courtesy of Jordan Johnson.
In The Mix with DJ Durrty Burrd
An on-air DJ on St. Louis’ number one urban music radio station, Hot 104.1 FM, DJ Durrty Burrd has been hitting the virtual ones and twos and keeping the entire city dancing until late into the night. His “Club Quarantine,” a multi-hour Facebook live session featuring Durrty Burrd spinning some of the hottest records in hip-hop and R&B, has gone viral multiple times, reaching more than 5,000 live viewers. He also released an iconic 314 Day mix called “Half Orders and Vess Cans,” pulling together dozens of tracks from local artists through St. Louis history. DJ Durrty Burrd advises readers to stay encouraged during the quarantine period and to pray constantly.
Image courtesy of Aysia Berlynn.
An artist gifted at conquering the dramatic highs and lows of any record, singer Aysia Berlynn provides those steady R&B vibes perfect for any occasion. Her new EP, “Synth & Soul”, is 8 tracks of creative ingenuity. Produced by Native.Genius, this project is the ultimate vibe; its vibrations change the atmosphere of any room it enters and allow listeners to transcend into rhythmic euphoria. Records like “Devoted” give an old-school flavor, while other tracks like “Spinnin” and “Trip” provide an electric flair from beginning to end. Berlynn is remaining positive during the COVID-19 outbreak and wants to remind everyone that there will be “life after the pandemic.”
Image courtesy of Philip Hamer.
Brothers Lazaroff ‘Sisters and Brothers’ album
Released in November 2019, Brothers Lazaroff’s “Sisters and Brothers” album gives those hybrid, rock vibes St. Louis listeners love to hear. Created by David Lazaroff in 2009, Brothers Lazaroff embodies psycho rock and jazz music to create a worldly, Americana message drenched in funk. The band’s innately jazzy sound is not lost on “Sisters and Brothers,” with classical transitions, eclectic sounds and harmonic solos heard on every track. Musical benders of time, Brothers Lazaroff makes waves with its newest release while remaining true to the cadre’s original movement.
Photo by Attilio D’Agostino.
Bloom ‘Pages’ official video
Although the video may be short and sweet, St. Louis singer Bloom ignites every emotion with the official visual for her song “Pages.” A single from her 2019 EP “Colors,” the video begins with Bloom running full speed, dressed in all white. Her sultry voice begins subtle then erupts with passion and vigor as she leads into the chorus of the song. Bass-filled vocals drive this records as the pain funnels through Bloom’s voice. Simple, definitive shots, moving closeups and heightened visual effects breathe even more life into this piece of stunning musical and visual content.
Golden Curls “Goblin Market” album
Described as “pop music through a glass bottle” or woozy pop, Golden Curls‘ new album “Goblin Market” is the city’s dark musical secret. The band takes listeners on a forbidden journey with a combination of high pitches, bells and flutes creating a magical place within both heart and mind. Sarah Downen’s voice is the thing fairy tales are made of, and her innocent voice shrouded in darkness creates an emotion that resonates with listeners. Overall, “Goblin Market” combines textured vocals and layered, vibrant instrumentation to make a transcending, familiar feeling almost like a lucid dream.
Featured image of Holy Posers courtesy of Trent Dickerson.