By Jeremy Essig
By Jason Robinson
By Hans Morgenstern
By Joseph Hess
By Peter Gilstrap
By Julia Burch
By Jeremy Essig
By Nathan Smith
Ghost in Light After Fox Meadow For 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 Linemen Through Side One www.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 Owl Now You Can Boo Me www.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 Revival Under the Frostbidden Years www.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)
While mainstream mall culture has certainly co-opted the concepts, ideologies and even fashion of punk rock culture, the mere existence of bands such as the Humanoids ensures that the underground counterculture will never die. The quintet takes its cues from the old school (Descendents and Germs, we're looking at you) and from vintage-leaning groups such as Dillinger 4 both in blistering gigs and on its blink-and-you'll-miss-it debut EP, The Humanoids Are Born. (AZ)
Halo Bar, 11:30 p.m.
Shoegazer, noun: A person prone to liking and/or performing shoegazing music, a genre that's characterized by ear-numbing blasts of distortion, generous doses of reverb, and vocals that range from ethereal to buried-in-the-chaos. Stella Mora, noun: A local co-ed band of the shoegazing variety that likes its guitars loud and its songs filled with pleasing textured drones. Kindred spirits: Lush, Curve, My Bloody Valentine, Swervedriver. (AZ)
Halo Bar, 8:30 p.m.
Walkie Talkie U.S.A.
Since its debut late last summer, Walkie Talkie U.S.A. has quickly developed a sizable fan base. The loose collective plays packed venues with a casual grace that can only come from years of practice and indeed, all of the band's members are veterans of the St. Louis scene. (Bands represented include Sexicolor, Red Eyed Driver, the Phonocaptors and the Tripdaddys, among others.) In Walkie Talkie U.S.A., they've combined their expert talents to create hard indie rock with a foxy, fuzzed-out core. The stylistic diversity of their songs is impressive, and the pop components electrifying hooks and intoxicating choruses are exceptional. (JL)
Delmar Restaurant & Lounge, 1 a.m.