Riverfront Times Music Awards '04

The Mega HurtsSee Best Pop.

Rough ShopOne 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 RobotsSometimes 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 ErrorThere 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. TheRFT 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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