Major League Music #3 -St Louis Cardinals

The Spirit of St Louis – Sea Power (2004, Toys Factory Records)

I’ve never been to St Louis, so I can’t personally vouch for this but, apparently the first thing that you do when you arrive there is look up and say, “that is a bloody big arch”.  A reference of course, to the Gateway Arch, the largest arch anywhere in the world and as it happens the largest man-made structure in the Northern Hemisphere.  It has fast become the number one reason to visit St Louis.    Saying that you would need a very good reason to go there as St Louis also has the highest murder rate in all of the USA.  Which is saying something.

One reason to go there would be to see the St Louis Cardinals, the city’s baseball team.  Which is the second most successful team in the history of Major League Baseball with 11 World Series Titles.   They are also one of the fiercest rivals of my beloved Kansas City Royals and each year they play each other six times split across the two cities in what is called the ‘Show Me Series’.  The rivalry stems from the 1985 World Series (which Kansas won in the seventh and final match).  So obviously The Cardinals are rubbish.

Last week the first of the six games took place and St Louis won 6-5.  Meaning that, as I type, the Royals have now lost four in a row.  Like I said, its going to be a long season. 

Musically speaking there is only really one place to start and that would be with St Louis’ most famous son, Chuck Berry.  If only because it makes me think of his cousin, Marvin, in the film Back to the Future, shouting down the telephone about a new sound as Marty McFly rips it up on the stage in front of his future parents.  Face facts Bill and Ted fans, that is cinemas greatest ever guitar solo.

Johnny B Goode – Chuck Berry (1958, Chess Records)

For me the best artist to have come out of St Louis in recent years is Angel Olsen.  Her third album ‘No Woman’ is a thing of absolute beauty and is something that you should all listen to at least once a week.

Shut Up Kiss Me – Angel Olsen (2016, Jagjaguwar Records)

But easily, one of the most success acts to have come out of St Louis, in, well ever really, is Akon.  His 2006 track ‘Smack That’ reached number one in ten countries including the UK where it went platinum.

Smack That – Akon featuring Eminem (2006, Konvict Records)

And here is this weeks randomly picked local band.  I’ve gone for Beau Diamond, who for the second week in a row, are a band that claim to make a kind of indie garage rock sound.   Let’s be the judge of that shall we….

Masquerade – Beau Diamond (2021, Self Released)

Next week: Detroit…

The Never Ending Playlist – Week #4

16. Forgiven/Forgotten – Angel Olsen (2013, Jagjaguwar Records, Taken from ‘Burn Your Fire for No Witness’)

Welcome to Week 4 of the Never Ending Playlist. We kick off the week with North Carolina’s finest Angel Olsen and the lead track from her second album ‘Burn Your Fire for No Witness’. This can also be the first song in a series all about songs with /’s in the title. A series I will call ‘Slash, Bang Wallop’. Probably.

Anyway…’Forgiven/Forgotten’ is a tremendous piece of psych pop full of distorted guitars and a kick drums that sound positively threatening. It marked quite a departure for Angel Olsen, as her previous work (and some of her later work) was way more laid back than the shouty almost punky vibe we hear today. Olsen is consistently brilliant to be honest whatever type of record she is making.

If you like what you hear then you should almost certainly check out the album that followed it – ‘Burn You Fire for No Witness’ which is chock full of raw intensity and punchy old songs about loneliness and rejection of which this is the pick of the bunch

Hi Five – Angel Olsen (2014, Jagjaguwar Records, Taken from ‘Burn Your Fire for No Witness’)