Riverfront Times Music Awards '04

Soul Tyde

Are they hip-hop? Are they R&B? Yes. They're also massive, with almost as many members as the Polyphonic Spree, without the disquieting sheen of insanity. But the music rolls out in one big wave, wrapping up the audience in a solid groove. The rappers, singers and musicians crowd the stage; the crowd has to work pretty hard to have half the party that the Tyde is having. Bandy about quibbles about genres if you wish, but please do it outside. We're having fun in here.

Best New Artist

The Hailmarys

Not to be confused with the all-girl, proudly lesbian band from San Francisco, St. Louis' Hailmarys are a new pure-punk group that has played an incredible amount of shows in a short time and is still reeling from a recent CD-release party. Featuring former members of Ultraman, Jonny Hyperdrive and about a million other bands, the 'Marys may be new, but they are in no way inexperienced, and with the band members having honed their skills in other acts before, their live show is nothing short of a professional punk-rock experience. 6 p.m., Main Outdoor Stage

The Mega Hurts See Best Pop.

Rough Shop

One Fell Swoop was a St. Louis musical treasure for several years, and then it was over. But John Wendland and Andy Ploof, two of the three mainstays in that band, have returned with a new lineup and new songs. Mike Tiefenbrun and Sean Anglin remain from the end of the Swoop era to play bass and drums, respectively. Nate Dahm adds keyboard colors, and Anne Tkach, from Nadine and Bad Folk, among other projects, sings and plays guitar. Wendland and Ploof are playing way more electric guitar than they did in the old days, which befits a turn from the strictly rootsy, country-based material to a more eclectic, sometimes pop-rock oriented sound. Longtime fans can take comfort in the fact that the mandolins and acoustic guitars are still around when necessary.

Sex Robots

Sometimes punk rock is made by kids just learning their instruments as they make a lot of noise and jump around. Sometimes punk rock is made by skilled instrumentalists discovering how much fun they can have simplifying things, making a lot of noise and jumping around. The Sex Robots are the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups of punk, with guitarist/vocalist Mario Viele acting as the trained chocolate to the self-taught peanut butter of bassist Tracey John Morrissey and drummer Maysam Attaran. Their originals go by in a blaze of furious riffing, banging and shouting, and they win extra points for covering Wire's "12XU" in their live sets. 7 p.m., Hi-Pointe

Syntax Error

There are 10 types of people in the world -- those who understand binary and those who don't. With its song "01011000011011010000101110011," Syntax Error certainly does. This band makes the sounds that make synthetics rock, machine squeals and electro-rhythms dictating robot dreams. Rerun, Terminal Ann and Chet Offensive reproduce a sort of retro-futuristic punk that wouldn't sound out of place next to bands like the Causey Way, but without all the pseudo-religion, or early Devo, only with way more actual rock. Mechanically precise, Syntax Error is what your electronic house appliances will be listening to when they finally revolt.

Correction published 6/30/04: In the original version of this piece, the description of Killjoy4Fun included observations about the band's live performances based on a description by Playback magazine contributor John Kujawski, whom we failed to credit. The RFT regrets the omission -- as well as the fact that we neglected to spell the band's name as1singleword. The above version reflects the corrected text.

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