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
Last summer, Harkonin signed a multi-album deal with Battlegod Productions, a label run by Gorgoroth. (Not the Gorgoroth, black-metal fans, but an Australian dude who performs under that name; still, his band Baltak sounds pretty brutal.) In March, Battlegod, which boasts a distribution deal with metal empire Century Media, reissued Harkonin's stellar 2006 disc Ghanima. Harkonin recently leaked "Chaos Anthem," a rough demo from its in-progress 2009 release, and the new tune hints at a few changes in the group's sound: Most notably, singer Jason Barron sounds decidedly less snakelike. (AM)
Not many bands in town go around representing for "thrash." To the general public, the idea of thrash metal might seem outdated or at least uncool — that is, until it's seen Head On Collision. With HOC there is no tounge-in-cheek posing, just good, solid, home-grown metal. The drums are heavy, the singing is best described as gutteral screeching, and the guitar licks are straight-up evil, God love 'em. There aren't many bands like that around here, and Beer City Records is doing all it can to steal it away from us: signing the band, throwing money behind the release of its new album, Ritual Sacrifice, and sending it out on the road for most of the summer. Come back soon, HOC, you'll be missed. (JL)
Dude, I saw the most bitching band last night: Shame Club. The quartet's loud as fuck – you shoulda seen its stacks of Marshall amps — grooves like Zeppelin and plays as fast as fuckin' Motörhead. Motörhead! And bro, the sweet riffs Andy White and vocalist Jon Lumley play – man, I think I got whiplash from headbanging too hard. Plus, its new album, Come On? So righteous and full of dude-jams that Detroit's Small Stone Records made a bro-verture and re-released it earlier this year. Sweet." (AZ)
Blueberry Hill's Duck Room, 3 p.m.
The members of Heroes of the Kingdom have lived up to their mighty name since storming onto the scene last year. The quartet's live gigs continue to pulverize the eardrums, while its long-awaited album features a brawny distillation of He-Man riffs, rust-colored Midwest post-rock and KSHE jams – without sacrificing melody or nuance. (AZ)
Blueberry Hill's Duck Room, 2 p.m.
Best Hip-Hop DJ
Every Thursday night at new Grove venue the Gramophone, DJ Crucial and DJ Needles unleash Sound Clash, a free, tag-team celebration of hip-hop, soul and R&B. This plum gig is the latest feather in the cap for the F5 Records president, whose musical reputation both in and out of town continues to grow by leaps and bounds – thanks in no small part to live DJ gigs with Nato Caliph and a well-received collaboration with Hi-Fidel (In the Company of Wolves). (AZ)
Pin-Up Bowl, 10 p.m.
This year, you've probably heard this Soul Tyde vet spinning at the Gramophone or backing hometown hero Black Spade on the turntables. His most stellar work, however, was a mash-up: American Gangstarr combined the lyrics of Jay-Z's American Gangster album with the beats of Gang Starr's DJ Premier. If you thought Lil' Wayne sounded hot on the original hook to "Hello Brooklyn," check it as Needles envisions it, with a sick horn break that combines the best of the Jay's high-powered production with the soulful sound of NYC's jazz rap extraordinaires. – Keegan Hamilton
Pin-Up Bowl, 7 p.m.
Dan Mahfood is best known as the DJ for the Earthworms, mixing old-school soul samples and propulsive beats for the hip-hop collective. His scratching technique is classy and masterful, and his scratches always serve the song and amplify the groove. When he's not holding down the ones and twos for the Earthworms, DJ Mahf can be found spinning weekly sets at places like the Atomic Cowboy and the Upstairs Lounge, setting the mood with '80s pop and arena rock alongside modern hip-hop and R&B. (CS)
Blueberry Hill's Elvis Room, 10:40 p.m.
Gabe Moskoff (a.k.a. DJ Trackstar) hasn't let the cessation of his long-running Friday night Halo Bar spin slow him down. His weekly local hip-hop e-newsletter continues to be a must-read collection of news, free mixes and shows listings, while his artfully curated Boogie Bang mixtapes continue to arrive fast and furious (he's up to volume thirteen). Even better, people outside of the Lou are starting to take note: Earlier this spring Trackstar hosted a mix by underground luminary NYOil. (AZ)
Pin-Up Bowl, 11 p.m.
Whether it's in the friendly confines of the Delmar Lounge, the frenzied dance floor of the club, or on the airwaves of 104.1 FM, "The Don of St. Louis," as Chan bills himself, is always in control when he steps behind the wheels of steel. Perhaps it's the mafia monikers that help Chan command the power he wields over crowds, but whether he's spinning old school, underground or radio rap, the people respect the Lou veteran and get their freak on. (KH)
One look at K-Nine's hands and it's obvious he was born to DJ. His fingers are impossibly long and thin and bend back as if he were double-jointed. Whether he's performing solo or backing up his boy Nite Owl on the cutz, it's with these hands that he effortlessly scratches out breaks, almost tickling the vinyl. If you don't think the turntables are an instrument that requires as much hand dexterity as a guitar or piano, watch K-Nine, the man with the magic hands, go to work. (KH)