Monday, November 3, 2008

Community Radio: Why It Works and the Gentleman Auction House

Pre-internet, I learned of bands and new sounds almost exclusively from friends and KDHX. Occasionally WMRY would send something new my way, but not very often.

Another local community radio station, KWMU, recently had their pledge drive; and while I know they are necessary, I hate these things. I listen to the station faithful talking about "driveway moments". They are referring to times where you are listening to NPR in your car during your commute and are so engrossed in the program, that you sit in your driveway to finish listening. No driveway moments come to mind for me when it comes to NPR. But, it got me thinking about how many bands I've heard of on KDHX and ran home to see if I could find the band's name.

Now, I like popular music, don't get me wrong. The Beatles, Stones, Kinks, Motown, Miles Davis, Neil Young, etc. All that stuff is great and will be in my life forever. However, nothing beats the feeling of discovering something new and exciting. KDHX has done that again and again for me over the years. In the old days, I'd hear something and have to listen to the DJ and write down the band name if they even mentioned it. Or, I'd call the station and ask what the song was. Then email came and I could email the DJ and ask about songs (thanks Doug Morgan for being so kind over the years). Well, now it's much easier thanks to the great KDHX website. You can simply click on the show, and the song/band info appears. Excellent.

Friday, I happened to take a half day off; I turned on KDHX around noon and heard a song that immediately struck me. First, let me say that I am a sucker for hand claps and cow bells. The song being played immediately hit the spot with some choice hand claps not 2 seconds into the song. The inventive, complex layers of percussion and bass/synth lines kept my attention and the singer's voice and delivery reminded me a little of Conner Oberst. The jingle-jangle guitar part at 38 seconds continued to draw me in. It kinda reminded me of mid 70's soul, like Jackson Five. Some na-na-na's at 2:20 min, and I was sold.

I had to get home to log on to KDHX to see what that was. The show was "Silver Tray" and the DJ was Thomas Crone. He played a song called "ABCDEFGraveyard" by Gentleman Auction House. I googled it and found to my surprise that the band is from St. Louis! I was very happy. So I logged on to iTunes and bought a couple songs.

Thanks to KDHX, I now have a new current local favorite.

I hope to see these guys play soon, and I wish them luck. Here is a link to their website . And here's a nice interview of the band from SXSW. And a video of another good song "Book of Matches".

Now for the real question: are they really from St. Louis or the suburbs? I always gave Uncle Tupelo props for saying they were from Belleville. Being a Belleville product, that was very important to me.

Anyhow, thanks again KDHX for playing songs you can't hear anywhere else on the dial!

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