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Music Showcase Schedule

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

The Pubes
www.the-pubes.com; www.myspace.com/thepubes
The Pubes and Sex Robots share two members — Mario Viele and Maysam Attaran — but the two groups couldn't be more different. Whereas the latter peppers their brand of punk with ragged garage-pop heart, the former prefers their punk straight-up, no chaser (think a less-serious Circle Jerks or Black Flag). Tempos careen like a go-kart sliding on ice, with gruff vocals and greased-up riffs keeping pace. The cumulative result sounds like a gem of a seven-inch released somewhere around 1978. (AZ) Noon, Market in the Loop Outdoor Stage

Sex Robots
www.myspace.com/sexrobots
Sex Robots are easily one of the most talented and hardest-working bands in St. Louis. They've earned their DIY-indie-rocker status by playing, recording and touring at a rate that outshines most other locals. And to describe the Sex Robots sound as pop-punk is a bit of an insult, because pop-punk usually doesn't sound this good; their songs contain both contagious hand claps and head-bobbing beats. (JL)
11 p.m., Delmar Restaurant & Lounge

Corbeta Corbata
To paraphrase music writer Frank Kogan, real punks don't wear black — they wear suits. At least that's the case for the three gentlemen in Corbeta Corbata, whose sharp looks don't soften the band's scathing guitar chugs and snaking bass lines. Singer Ben Smith lets loose like an unrestrained Ian MacKaye or an indignant D. Boon, leaving few moments to breathe in his terse songs. This is punk rock that pulls no punches. (CS) 8 p.m., Halo Bar

Best Reggae/Ska

Murder City Players
Any band that sticks around for nearly 25 years — with an ever-evolving lineup to boot — has to be doing something right. Just ask the Murder City Players, who are arguably the premier roots-reggae act in St. Louis, if not one of the best in the nation. Horns-heavy slow jams, dancehall and ska just begin to describe their repertoire; Murder City Players do it all, whether they're entertaining folks at the annual Lot fest or rocking the Lucas School House. (AZ)

MU330
www.mu330.com; www.myspace.com/11056464
While many of the ska bands that found popularity in the 1990s gave up the ghost years ago, MU330 have stubbornly stuck to their horns and skank-it-up riffs. New tunes that drummer-vocalist Ted Moll describes as "garage-surf" are in the works, and even though they don't play out as often now, they did manage to play gigs in Alaska earlier this year — leaving them only two states short in their quest to hit all 50. (AZ)

Dubtronix
Dubtronix's DJ Ranx still keeps the late-late-Friday-night airwaves on KDHX (88.1 FM) full of dub-reggae goodness (his show's at two a.m. weekly), a commitment to quality tunes matched by his long-running band. The RFT has been trumpeting the sinewy grooves of Dubtronix for years now; see 'em live at the showcase and find out for yourself. (AZ)
7 p.m., Delmar Restaurant & Lounge
Dub Kitchen
www.dubkitchen.com
Dub Kitchen remains an elusive presence in St. Louis, rarely playing out and offering only a perfunctory bio on their Web site. But make no mistake: This is dub reggae as played by a handful of white twentysomethings who — praise Jah — don't pretend to come from funky Kingston. The alternating male and female vocals come and go in a sweet, unassuming fashion, but this band's core is their rhythm section. Stuttering organ chords, rumbling bass lines and sharp snare hits fall into the cavern of echoing ephemera. The members of Dub Kitchen are proud students of '70s dub, and they keep the pot simmering at the perfect temperature. (CS)

Best Rock

Ludo
www.ludorock.com; www.myspace.com/ludorock
Ludo manage the rare feat of writing and performing pop-rock songs that delight high school girls and jaded music critics alike. It's easy to be drawn to the band's happy-go-lucky sensibilities, which are informed by equal parts emo, ska and arena rock. But a closer listen reveals a band intent on challenging itself with varying time signatures, complex vocal harmonies and impressionistic storylines. All three of these traits can be found on the new track "Lake Ponchartrain" (available on Ludo's MySpace page), a dream-like travelogue through Louisiana that suggests hopeful new dimensions to the band's dynamic. (CS)

Red Eyed Driver
www.redeyeddriver.com; www.myspace.com/redeyeddriver
A group of glam rockers whose idea of glamour is the Fall, R.E.M. and Oasis, Red Eyed Driver is a south-city band of a distinct metal. They're uninterested in dirty rock amateurism and obsessed with mini-symphonies to the teenaged gods of melodic, layered lushness — as well-suited for brooding in bedrooms as they are for test-cruising a new set of wheels. With newest member Jordan Heimburger aboard, they've added an electric guitar and dropped the keyboards. But Red Eyed Driver's complex vocal strategies, led by the wicked-ranged Bryan Hoskins, still make their songs soar. (RK)
10 p.m., Blueberry Hill's Duck Room

The Love Experts
www.theloveexpertsband.com; www.myspace.com/loveexperts
Though formed in the late '80s, the Love Experts aren't really children of their era — unless you count the '60s psych-folk rock revivalists of the Paisley Underground. Steve Carosello's delicate high tenor drifts over gleaming, counter-pointing electric guitars, always rising straight through the climax to find more meditative moods. The Love Experts swing more than you'd guess from a band that names Television and Split Enz among its influences. In the pure aestheticism of their lyrical and musical ideas, the Experts make the plaudit "timeless" mean something. (RK)
1:40 p.m., Main Outdoor Stage

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