Music Showcase Schedule

The complete low-down on this year's nominated acts

James Will and the Engines of Creation
www.jameswill.music.mindviz.com; www.myspace.com/theenginesofcreation
James Will is the ex-Julia Sets art-punk and veteran Vintage Vinyl clerk who knows his feedback. If he now claims to be inspired by Replacements bootlegs, he's also got the MC5 and Big Star on his mind, or at least in his throttled Telecaster tone and in the pitiless attack of drummer David Pfeffer and bassist Bryan Clarkson. This engine is most definitely built for speed — but also for stripping gears and getting dirty in a very, very loud garage. (RK)
9 p.m., Delmar Restaurant & Lounge

Est. 1974
www.myspace.com/est1974
The bulk of the MySpace missives Est. 1974 sent out this summer involved frantic searches for a bassist, so that the hard-rockin' band could continue the momentum they started building by opening for the Sword and Orange Goblin. But once the trio find the perfect addition to their rhythm section, it'll likely be smooth sailing; demo songs they've posted show a young group of shredders beholden to stoner rock, '80s metal (the technique-laden kind, not hair or glam) and Guns 'n Roses. (AZ)
7 p.m., Halo Bar

Berlin Whale
www.myspace.com/berlinwhale
To date, the bulk of Berlin Whale's shows have taken place under the radar at usual haunts the Creepy Crawl, Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center and the late Radio Cherokee. But these four young'uns have started earning serious overground buzz for their infectious brand of spazzy-but-not-spastic indie-rock. Burbling-carnival Casio keyboards, happy-feet beats and droning vocals match primitive gee-tars — making 'em kindred souls to locals Jumbling Towers and So Many Dynamos and nationals such as HORSE the Band. (AZ)
8 p.m., Riddles Penultimate Café & Wine Bar

Best Noise/Experimental

Grand Ulena
www.grandulena.com; www.myspace.com/grandulena
Like a prison breaker who methodically constructs a tunnel only to destroy the evidence once he reaches freedom, Grand Ulena use repetitive guitar lines to build deep grooves, then buries them by detonating their cataclysmic rhythm section. Part power trio, part space-jazz odyssey, this instrumental outfit emphasizes intriguing atmosphere during serene passages and maximum volume during chaotic outbursts. Grand Ulena's members have gigged separately recently — guitarist Chris Trull and drummer Danny McClain collaborated with Brain Transplant's Chris Smentkowski, while bassist Darin Gray shared a Japan bill with Jim O'Rourke and Merzbow — but the band remains intact. (AM)

Ring, Cicada
www.ringcicadarock.com; www.myspace.com/ringcicada
Much as aspiring rappers hone their flows using beat-only versions of hip-hop hits, so could fledgling rock singers perfect their delivery with the help of Ring, Cicada's largely instrumental templates. Relative to their peers in this category, Ring, Cicada follow a familiar verse-chorus-verse format, albeit with a wordless twist. Their riffs recall classic rock and grunge as well as prog and early-'90s indie. Demos from The Deuce, Ring, Cicada's 2007 follow-up to their Steve Albini-produced full-length debut, Good Morning, Mr. Good, establish the group's undiminished vitality as they approach their tenth year. (AM)

The Conformists
www.theconformists.com; www.myspace.com/theconformists
Shirking convention, the Conformists refuse to put a photo of themselves up on their MySpace page — a gesture that certainly matches the fiercely unorthodox path the band has taken since forming in 1996. Albums arrive whenever they find a label that likes their sinewy punk precision and noise bursts (currently, 54°40' or Fight! for this year's Three Hundred). Even recording Threewith legend Steve Albini didn't change the group's thundering sparseness and cathartic grooves; if anything, it just threw them into higher relief. (AZ)

Dancing Feet March to War
www.dfmtw.net
Few bands embody the DIY- (and free-) spirit and far-left-leaning politics of the Lemp-based noise scene better than Dancing Feet March to War. Formed by Stephen and Robert — no last names, please — in 2003, DFMTW have only released one album (2005's Movement) but continue to work on music as a trio, all the while perfecting throttling punk nuggets with anguished screams and smart, post-hardcore sensibilities. (AZ)

Skarekrau Radio
www.skarekrauradio.bizland.com
Skarekrau Radio is a religion unto itself. Witness how they self-describe on their Web site: "Skarekrau Radio is the Tempora IL Kuu Sect. This ever-expanding Sect use 'irratainment' to teach the warnings and revelations of the almighty God Kuu." Confused yet? You won't be when listening to their amelodic yet curiously soothing noise, screeds inspired by White House, XBXRX and other experimental gurus. Hear 'em on a recent twelve-inch split on regional label APoP Records or at numerous shows at the Lemp. (AZ)
8 p.m., Cicero's

Best Punk

The Beating
The good thing about the small, incestuous St. Louis music scene is that chances are talented musicians will eventually surface with other projects besides their main gig. Take the case of the Beating, which is composed of members of Eating Rats and Sayonara. They had a busy summer playing shows at the Czech Center, Radio Cherokee and elusive venue the Slaughterhouse, but stand to develop a much higher profile the longer they stick together. (AZ)

Blacked Out
www.myspace.com/blackedout
Consider Blacked Out's inclusion in this category somewhat of a bittersweet event: The group has decided to break up after two-plus years together. While the scene's loss is somewhat mitigated by the new project formed by Blacked Out's core members (check it out at www.myspace.com/mikehawkandthedicks), St. Louis will certainly miss the old-school sensibilities and don't-give-a-fuck attitude found in breakneck-speed hardcore-metal hybrids such as "Mind Control" and "So Long." (AZ)

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