By Roy Kasten
By Kris Wernowsky
By Chaz Kangas
By Joseph Hess
By Julie Seabaugh
By Mike Appelstein
By Rachel Brodsky
By Kelsey McClure
All of Ludo's hard work has paid off in a big way in the past year. The quintet inked a major-label record deal with Island Records and landed the opening slot for a string of shows with college-rock faves O.A.R., among other achievements. This summer will be even busier for the Moog-punks, with more Warped Tour exposure and the imminent release of their Island debut on the horizon. (AZ)
Sex Robots sound like they should have been on the Empire Records soundtrack. The band consistently produces delightful little nuggets of delicious power-pop, most of which are bright and encourage sunny little dreams of rainbows, flowers and lollipops. In fact, Sex Robots make you wanna scream, "Wheeee!" especially when they bust out one of their sexy little Beach Boys-esque, surfy guitar solos. They claim to be heavily influenced by Cyndi Lauper, which makes perfect sense, because the Sex Robots just wanna have fun, too. Whee! (JL)
That's My Daughter
This punk band is not your father's daughter, and they're not the gay kitsch trio who scored the Comedy Centralhit "Tight White Jeans." That's My Daughter is Sara Oberst, Tim Dreste, Lindsay Reber and Cory Hammerstone, and its take on punk draws as much from devil metal as it does from the Ramones, incorporating as much grrl-pop attitude as it does urban alienation. More satirical than political, the band turns noise riffs into sludgy guitar stomp and tosses off hooks like so many meaningless make-out sessions hot, sloppy and sticky fun. (RK)
Delmar Restaurant & Lounge, 11 p.m.
Best Rap/Hip-Hop Artist
Earthworms. Earth...worms. Such a humble, unassuming, just-crawlin'-along-don't-mind-me name for such an incredibly vibrant group. Then again, maybe the guys in this whip-smart collective Mathias, Black Patrick, Kama and DJ Mahf are thinking about the earthworm's other characteristics. You know: Tough. Able to thrive in the underground. Always regenerating, nearly undefeatable. Yeah, we get it now. If you're not hip to the Earthworms yet, you're missing out on one of the city's most exciting crews. The live show is a raucous party, and the album No Arms, No Legs, Just a Head and a Body is a rap-funk amalgam of the highest order. These guys took top honors last year, and they're worthy contenders again. You owe it to yourself to check out Earthworms but please don't send us the bill when your feet are sore from dancing. We gave you fair warning, after all. (BF)
Blueberry Hill's Elvis Room, 11 p.m.
Family Affairshould've blown up huge by now. Their solar-flare-hot single, "U Go Luv tha Family," is as tight as anything playing on national radio at the moment. In fact, it's better, because the duo twin brothers Mr. REP and QB tha Classic laid this track down over a year ago. That means that, instead of biting the string-section samples and the chill-yet-menacing flow, these guys presaged it. Family Affair received plenty of spins on The Beat (100.3 FM), which is awesome. But it'd be great to see these talented emcees take it to the next level. After all, how many twenty-year-old rappers do you know who confide that "confidence came from my Moms and the ghost of my Granny?" Talk about respect. (BF)
There's no getting around it: Most rap-rock sucks a big one. So what are the Midwest Avengers to do? They produce hip-hop with a rock & roll foundation and it's amazing. They sound nothing like the obnoxious Limp Bizkits and Linkin Parks of the world. The Midwest Avengers flow smooth, intelligent lyrics over propulsive hip-hop beats with a freeing rock & roll style. Unlike many other local bands, its recordings and live shows sound phenomenally professional. Slick and dignified, the Avengers' primary genre of hip-hop is gently skewed as they embrace elements of funk, jazz and even a little classic rock. (JL)
Blueberry Hill's Elvis Room, 7 p.m.
The self-proclaimed "Midwest Underground King," Ruka Puff organized the Midwest Monsters Music Conference in January to help his peers and loyal subjects perfect their industry hustle. He also extends advice to his enemies: In April, the thunder-voiced emcee left the message "If you're hating, kill your fucking self" on his Web site. Ruka's latest single, a club-ready ode to "thick" ladies called "Peanut Butta," combines massive bass drops, a melodic whistle and a seductively sung hook ("I know you wanna touch me.") (AM)
There aren't enough female emcees in the game, period. So we're incredibly lucky to have one of the best right here in St. Louis. Toyy, a quick-spitting, deep-thinking rapper from north city, has brought her skills to the underground scene for the past several years. The sister of Jia (and the late Katt) Davis, Toyy furthers the family legacy with her smoky voice and take-no-prisoners rhymes. She performs with Jia in the Committee (for our money, one of the absolute best St. Louis crews) and also takes the stage solo. Tired of seeing women in hip-hop treated as little more than bootylicious props? Yeah, so are we. Let Toyy show you what real talent is. It's about damn time. (BF)
Blueberry Hill's Elvis Room, 6 p.m.