The 2023 True/False Music program resembles the experimental state of both sound and industry writ large. From an Austin-based rock band making sense of life in a post-MAGA nation, to a slew of nascent solo projects forging uncharted pathways under lockdown conditions, and finally club music’s most exciting vocalist sharpening her DJ abilities to a fine point, we believe this collection of creatives symbolizes the wide range of narratives, communities, and emotions that have come to define the story of this decade’s experimentation so far.
St. Louis polymath Stan Chisholm holds no mercy for the uninitiated. With Chisholm incorporating a studio’s worth of modular hardware into his immersive live experience, ideas of hip-hop and electronic music are shattered and pieced back together into a vision both grim and wholly life-affirming. LISTEN
A. BILLI FREE & THE LASSO
Fusing a luscious funk backdrop with textured beats and humanistic lyrics, this New Mexico-via-Detroit collaboration acknowledges the trauma of recent memory and offers audiences a salve for the soul via its nocturnal vibes. LISTEN
Through his deconstruction and recontextualizing of Black musical motifs, this Nashville multi-instrumentalist lives up to his moniker with strident power. LISTEN
Expressive beats beaming with positive vibes, St. Louis DJ Agile One brings vintage hip–hop & deep grooves to the party. LISTEN
ALL NIGHT TRIO
Bandleader Matt Villinger and co. usher in a fresh life cycle to a resurgent Midwestern Jazz Scene movement with gooey synths, razor–sharp rhythms and expert musical timing. This Kansas City outfit is sure to please both genre traditionalists and recent converts alike with its effusive tones. LISTEN
Austin Jones is an Americana musician, through and through. Raised in St. Louis, Austin found himself inspired by the city’s rich musical history, merging classic blues and folk traditions with modern approaches. LISTEN
A spritely new presence rising out of our illustrious local soul scene, Columbia’s own Cemone James and her collection of accompanists find beauty in the interior passages of life. With Ms. James precisely executing R&B tunes with a warmly familiar aesthetic, it’s heartening to know that she is only just beginning to attain flight. LISTEN
This South Carolina singer-producer fashions his genreless approach as an archival study, creating dialogue with Black American sound ancestors through his remarkable utilization of misshapen samples and melancholic vocals. LISTEN
With musical DNA traceable to the college and indie rock of yore, Chicago experimental bedroom pop band Discus hands you a fresh and upbeat take with get–up–and–go feels. LISTEN
Drona is a young, passionate sibling trio of self-taught players eager to bring their concoctions to the stage, fusing their love of genres as different as bedroom pop and black metal into mathy musical structures while leaving room for the rule-breaking openness of jazz. LISTEN
Chicago–based instrumentalist Eli Winter makes nods to his creative–writing background in his melodic storytelling, using the acoustic guitar to weave wondrous landscapes. LISTEN
Local legend Lou Nevins returns to T/F with his haunting sound, bringing to mind a winding Southern Gothic backroad and putting you in the shoes of someone who has experienced true love and real loss. LISTEN
The Goldenrods, out of neighboring big city St. Louis, will waltz you to tears and two–step you to a joyous grin. It’s a fresh take on “country and midwestern” with a master’s touch on all the traditional instrumentation you’d expect to hear. LISTEN
With its aptly named album Bummer Year inviting unanimous critical and audience praise in 2022, this Austin quartet arrives at the Fest with redemptive, steel-nosed rock songs dripping with sentiment and dosed with pastoral nostalgia. To hear these guys tell it, there’s still something worth fighting for in the near American future if we can stick together. LISTEN
GORA GORA ORKESTAR
Funk-oriented, eclectic brass collective Gora Gora Orkestar hits a folksy medley of Old World and New World, with energetic live performances that will rock and rattle you to your feet. LISTEN
If we’re in the midst of a dance music renaissance, Jessy Lanza is one of the form’s torchbearers. As Lanza laces deeply sensual vocals over a dynamic tapestry of uptempo production styles, all frequencies are welcomed and cherished on the dance floor of this architect’s mind. LISTEN
Delicately reserved vocals, full-throated lyrical passion and an affinity for interstate sprawl make up the foundation of this St. Louis country crooner’s work. Ferber speaks to the inner road warrior in all of us, soundtracking the desire for an aimless journey through time and space. LISTEN
JOHN GALBRAITH TRIO
Led by Columbia’s own virtuoso guitar wizard John Galbraith, JG3 combines classic sounds from rock of all eras to craft catchy riffs that can drive or jangle or work the angles in between, forming the perfect foundation for Galbraith’s full-hearted brand of storytelling. LISTEN
CoMo’s young giant, Kyren Penrose writes songs that seem to come from an older soul, new notes that seem nostalgic, and hooks that could have found a home on ’90s alt-rock radio. LISTEN
Brooklyn–based Adam Schatz is a multi-instrumentalist composer of a singular experimental jazz pop. Here at T/F, you’ll hear Adam performing his diverse musical catalog as Landlady as well as joining Macie Stewart on sax in her backing lineup. LISTEN
Multi disciplinary artist, composer, and cellist Lia Kohl springs from the creative mecca of Chicago’s art scene. Her dreamy, improvisational performances of drony, layered synth and strings have the ability to transport you to a different, more serene world. LISTEN
Loose layers will keep you warm, and Winnipeg’s Living Hour will bundle you up in Casiotones, polyrhythms, beautiful brass, melodic guitars, and a final layer that is the warm, wooly sound of Sam Sarty’s emotive voice. LISTEN
Macie Stewart is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and collaborator. One half of the experimental indie–rock band Finom (formerly known as Ohmme), Macie brings lush sentimentality to the forefront in their solo work. LISTEN
There is something eerily organic about the artificial nature of this regional duo’s take on electronic composition. The line between analog and digital sounds is blurred as Marble Faun takes you on a pensive journey through shimmering synths and heavy saturated bass. LISTEN
Psych-tinged, drenched in experimentation, Mamalarky oscillates between genres with ease. Formed by members of White Denim, Cherry Glazerr, and T/F alum Chris Cohen, it seamlessly balances dreamy production, buoyant indie–pop vocals, and math–rock–inspired riffs. LISTEN
Having exploded out of the pandemic age to quickly establish a patented brand of reckless club nights, it’s about time this rave brigade lands in Columbia. Integrating modern house, techno, rap, and breakbeat into a ’90s-style warehouse package, this STL collective spins joy into a full–blown act of revolt. Instagram
MOBILE FUNK UNIT
True/False March March veteran will deliver its driving brass section and thumping bass throughout the weekend with a bright energy that embodies the essence of the Fest experience.
STL-based duo Mold Gold harkens back to many enchanting folk forebears, bringing forth Connie Converse’s intimate vocal delicacy and Nick Drake’s billowing finger-picking. They manage to sound both contemporary and familiar, like birds chirping to signal Spring. LISTEN
The ever evolving master loop crafter Molly Healey arranges her stringed savvy into warm orchestral mountains. Each part builds on the previous until the entire room is filled with movement, her voice softly sliding into place between the instrumental peaks and valleys. LISTEN
MONTGOMERY & TURNER
A collaborative affair between two of the region’s most fascinating tinkerers, Jayve Montgomery (Abstract Black) and Nick Turner (Tyresta) apply an almost wistful symphonic lens to their drone passages, charting a course to settings unknown. LISTEN
Oklahoma-based harpist and songwriter Moriah Bailey hints at the naturalistic wonder and pluralistic incantations within her soundscapes. Her roots on the plains Midwestern shine with melodies and vocals reminiscent of fields of flora blowing in the breeze. LISTEN
They’re back. The boys of summer make their triumphant return to the Fest, this time armed with a new full-length record displaying their infamous brand of jangle pop and surf rock prowess.
One of the most prolific new faces entering the Fest fold this season, Chicago representative Oui Ennui is a true signifier of the changing tide in underground music. Moving between cerebral ambient patterns and the sheer physicality of boogie with childlike ease, diving headfirst into his enigmatic universe earns high rewards. LISTEN
Through the power of choral music and community service, The Quorus strives to be a positive, caring, and dynamic group of diverse advocates providing safe-space, growth, and social justice for the LGBTQIA-Z community. Facebook
If you’ve ever walked by a certain small cavernous building on 8th Street at just the right time, you may have already been lucky enough to hear the soft intimate croon of Richard Penrose’s voice, hear his ukulele strum or his pump organ vibrate its reeds.
STAS THEE BOSS
Seattle MC, DJ, and Afrofuturist pioneer Stas THEE Boss returns to the Fest in singular style. A pivotal mind behind Seattle’s Black Constellation movement (Shabazz Palaces, THEESatisfaction), her effortless alchemy of bars, beats, and breaks injects a stream of life into any space. LISTEN
Synthesizers, basslines, and heady guitar licks posit Steven Senger’s music as both of the future and past. Equal parts DIY and avant-garde, notions of electronic music are bent and warped, arresting audiences with sonic fluidity. LISTEN
Progressive yet catchy, crunchy yet melodic, Columbia’s own Tri-County Liquidators offer a fire sale of heady psych rock to lure you from your winter slumber. LISTEN
NYC’s Val Jeanty tours listeners through the auditory environments of the Afro-Caribbean diaspora via her marriage of traditional percussive elements and progressive turntable techniques. LISTEN
All concert admission is included for Supers, Silvers, Center, and Stay Up Late passholders, space available. General admission pricing listed individually.
Wednesday, Mar 1 / Doors 7pm, Show 8pm-11:30pm / Eastside Tavern
There’s no better catalyst for a slew of True/False musical nights than a trifecta of regional rock music featuring new and old blood. Tri-County Liquidators, Fumes, and Austin Jones will whet the palate for all those ready to embark on another True/False adventure. Gen admin: $10
Thursday, Mar 2 / Doors 7pm, Show 8pm-11pm / Cafe Berlin
Analog and digital practices come to a crashing head during this exploration of abstract sounds. New York City percussive master and turntablist Val Jeanty moves the audience through the sonic history of Vodou culture, while drone pioneers Montgomery & Turner bring their cosmic compositions down to earth. STL’s 18andCounting closes out the night with a sense of modular madness, while Missouri duo Marble Faun opens the doors and transitions sets with brand new electronic interludes. Gen admin: $15 advance, $20 night-of-show
Thursday, Mar 2 / Doors 10:30pm, Show 11pm-1am / The Blue Note
The grooving, indefatigable DJ sets by Jessy Lanza will transport you to another plane and keep you on your feet all throughout the night. Combining slick disco & hyperpop production with visual installations, it’ll be a sensory experience you’ll never forget. Gen admin: $25 advance, $30 night-of-show
Friday, Mar 3 / 6pm-8pm / Eastside Tavern
Midwestern innovators combine for one night of hypnotic musical stylings. Como’s very own mathy shoegaze wunderkinds Drona kick off the night, and STL’s twinkling, dreamy indie-folk Mold Gold bring us home. Free and open to the public, donations encouraged.
Friday, Mar 3 / Doors 7pm, Show 8pm-11pm / Cafe Berlin
Three of indie’s most exciting current profiles arrive at the Fest armed with an assortment of vibrant musical visions. 2022 breakout star Contour waxes poetic over expansionary soul soundscapes, Seattle legend Stas THEE Boss deftly flips the script on house and hip-hop, and Brooklyn’s Landlady adds a mercurial pop curiosity to this unforgettable night of performance and showmanship. Gen admin: $15 advance, $20 night-of-show
Saturday, Mar 4 / Doors 1:30pm, Show 2pm-4pm / Arcade District Stage
Experience the new stage in the Arcade District and hear the sound of some of Missouri’s finest landlocked midwestern Americana. Howling crooner Kyren Penrose brings his new band to the stage and instrumental fingerstyle guitarist Eli Winter makes his T/F debut. Free and open to the public, donations encouraged.
Saturday, Mar 4 / Doors 6:30pm, Show 7pm-9pm / First Presbyterian Church
Known for its serene atmosphere and pleasant escape from the crowds, the sanctuary at First Presbyterian Churn offers the ideal space to indulge in a night of dark baroque beauty with harpist Moriah Bailey and multi instrumentalist Macie Stewart, each to be joined by their own cast of classically trained musicians. Free & open to the public.
Saturday, Mar 4 / Doors 7pm, Show 8pm-11pm / Cafe Berlin
Get down, it’s Saturday night. Cafe Berlin plays host to a triangle of smoothness, as A.Billi Free & The Lasso’s colorful neo-funk is complemented by fervent local upstart Cemone James and the jazzy precision of Kansas City’s All Night Trio. Gen admin: $15 advance, $20 night-of-show
Saturday, Mar 4 / Doors 8pm, Show 9pm-12:30am / Rose Music Hall
A night of genre-bending taste-makers combine forces for the Rose Music Hall Afterparty. Nu-Americana rockers Good Looks, dreamy heart-breakers Living Hour, and woozy jangle pop kids Discus take us on a journey of indie experimentation. Gen admin: $20 advance, $25 night-of-show
Sunday, Mar 5 / 6pm-8pm / Hitt Records
Begin the weekend’s melancholic wind down in familiar fashion, as St. Louis psych-country stalwart Joey Ferber and hometown heroes the Onions pack their trademark lovesick jams within the walls of the Fest’s flagship record store. Free & open to the public.
Sunday, Mar 5 / 9:15pm-10:15pm / Missouri Theatre
With a tear and a beer, the festival comes to its official end with the ritual auditory escape. No ticket required; theater lobby open to Super, Silver, and Stay Up Late passholders & those with a ticket to the closing night film.