By Bob McMahon
By Allison Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By Carolina de Busto
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
So Many DynamosFlashlights (Skrocki)www.myspace.com/somanydynamos
Perhaps it's a clichéd statement to make, but one might need a crowbar to remove So Many Dynamos' second album from the CD player. For that matter, one might need a crowbar to extract the quartet's songs from the brain. Whether it's the nonchalant paranoia of the danceable "Search Party" or the motor-mouthed chants driving "Home Is Where the Box Wine Is," Flashlights is a little bit unhinged post-punk, a little bit chaotic electro-prog and always a whole lotta fun. (AZ)
Cicero's, 9 p.m.
Target MarketNo Thrills (Afternoon)www.myspace.com/targetmarket
Like their buds (and kindred stylistic souls) So Many Dynamos, Target Market is skilled at making math-rock accessible to those who start sweating at the mere mention of calculus. Last year's No Thrills is bursting at the seams with spinning time signatures and criss-crossed melodies, all rendered with precision and a clear sense of purpose. Think the noisy comet-trails of the Pixies, with the brainiac edge of Talking Heads and the melancholic moments of Smoking Popes. (AZ)
Blueberry Hill's Duck Room, 10 p.m.
Best Local Release (self-released)
Jumbling TowersJumbling Towerswww.myspace.com/jumblingtowers
Jumbling Towers' self-titled album contains no fat and very little over-indulgence in studio trickery. Mixing the taut rhythms of post-punk with nearly psychedelic keyboards, the quartet writes unhinged rock & roll songs with no shortage of dramatic movements. Singer Joe DeBoer yelps and shouts through cryptic songs like "Pure Jew" and "He's a Cop Now" in a style that mixes the menace of the Walkmen with the detached gaze of early Pink Floyd. Debut records rarely come so fully formed. (CS)
Cicero's, 7 p.m.
Gentleman Auction HouseThe Rules Were Handed Downwww.myspace.com/gentlemanauctionhouse
The seven members of Gentleman Auction House cram an album's worth of possibilities into their debut EP. These six songs reflect the modern state of American indie rock specifically in their use of orchestral flourishes, sing-along choruses and hushed harmonies. Rulesbegins with the title track, a nod to the gentle folk of Bright Eyes (a reference point for the rest of the EP), while the next track, "A Hospital or Heaven," adds some Brill Building-esque piano and a modest trumpet solo. Somehow, amidst all the instrumentation, the band remains modest and humble, engaging in a kind of selflessness in supplication to the songs. (CS)
Main Outdoor Stage, 4 p.m.
Ghost in LightAfter Fox MeadowFor a certain kind of music geek, the concept of song-sequencing makes or breaks an album. The members of Ghost in Light certainly believe this to be true, if After Fox Meadow's seamless transitions between spaced-out reflection and brazen chord-bulldozing are any indication. Buzzing keyboards, harmonic latticework and spidery riffs abound conjuring the yawning noisebursts of Explosions in the Sky, early Smashing Pumpkins and Hum's burnt-sugar sheen. Perhaps most important, there's no shortage of heart stitched into Meadow's proficient musicianship. (AZ)
Blueberry Hill's Duck Room, 8 p.m.
The LinemenThrough Side Onewww.myspace.com/thelinemen
There's nothing "alt" or "insurgent" about the Linemen's brand of country music. Singer and songwriter Kevin Butterfield sings in a gentle, quavering croon, backed by an able band of musicians that knows how to keep the focus on the singer and his songs. On the band's debut, Through Side One, Jodee Lewis adds some sweetening with her background vocals, and Scott Swartz's pedal steel lends an ethereal grace to these rooted, rootsy songs. (CS)
Riddle's Penultimate Café & Wine Bar, 11 p.m.
Nite OwlNow You Can Boo Mewww.myspace.com/nitroowlious
Last year, LaMore Maclin hit a confident stride with Now You Can Boo Me, an old school, heavily soul-influenced, sometimes minimalist hip-hop record that matched spare, languid beats with cutting and satirical wordplay. "My attitude's like Andy Kaufman," he lays down on "Jump On It." He continues: "My head is like a sharkskin/But my flow is like the skin of a dolphin." Nite Owl's slick all right, but he's also soulful, and he doesn't just talk the talk: He works as a counselor at a children's shelter. (RK)
Blueberry Hill's Elvis Room, 9 p.m.
Red Water RevivalUnder the Frostbidden Yearswww.myspace.com/redwaterrevival
If Red Water Revival was based in Brooklyn, every single NYC-centric music blog would be salivating over the stomping psych-blues tunes on its debut, Under the Frostbidden Years. As it is, the quintet gives both stalwarts (White Stripes, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club) and upstarts (the Ponys, Earl Greyhound) a run for their bombastic money as on "Fairest of Seasons," which smokes and snarls like a howling, swamp-blues exorcism. (AZ)
Best New Artist
It's about time that a band from St. Louis took its cues from the shaggy, sexy garage-rock youthquake popularized by the Strokes. Enter the Daybreak Boys, a trio that's quickly become a live favorite around the city as much for its ragged riffs as for frontman Ryan Sears' scruffy looks. Be sure to pick up the band's recent The Bowery EP, which contains four songs suitable for your next impromptu hipster gathering. (AZ)
Market in the Loop Outdoor Stage, 5 p.m.
Heroes of the Kingdom
Collinsville-based power-rockers Heroes of the Kingdom prove that Craigslist is good for more than just finding an apartment or posting missed connections; after all, the quartet found its drummer by posting an ad on the site. Naturally, the scope of Heroes' music matches its mighty name: Think Cheap Trick-style pop bombast, with dinosaur-size thumps of Led Zeppelin and prog complexity the Mars Volta would kill to have. They have the power! (AZ)
Blueberry Hill's Duck Room, 7 p.m.
Huey's breakout single, "Pop Lock & Drop It," might spawn the hottest dance-along craze since the Macarena except, you know, "Pop Lock & Drop It" is actually good, and you probably won't have to watch your boss dance to it at the office holiday party. Huey's infectious beats and sexy flow make him the heir apparent to the St. Louis rap-radio throne, and his charming attitude just might keep haters at bay. And with guest spots from known hip-hop quantities like YoungBloodz and a track ("When I Hustle") produced by the excellent Jazze Pha Huey's just-released debut LP, Notebook Paper, already has plenty of cred. (BF)