By Jeremy Essig
By Jason Robinson
By Hans Morgenstern
By Joseph Hess
By Peter Gilstrap
By Julia Burch
By Jeremy Essig
By Nathan Smith
Best Indie Band
Since releasing 2006's No Thrills Target Market has gone through quite the metamorphosis in terms of lineup and musical direction. Recent live performances have found the band leaving behind most of its spastic post-rock in favor of a more hook-driven indie-pop sound that draws more from the simple genius of Lou Reed than complex Midwest mathiness. But danceable grooves, deceptively complex drum patterns and inventive melodies still serve the band well and should fuel its upcoming album, which is expected later this year. (SM)
Cicero's, 7 p.m.
By day, Matt Harnish slings records behind the counter at Vintage Vinyl. But by night, he and his merry cast of 'Grunt workers (long-time foils Karen Ried and Eric Von Damage and – sometimes, if we're lucky — scene staples Jason Hutto and Mario Viele) unleash foaming-at-the-mouth twee-punk that will tickle your pop fancy – while inducing more awkward dance moves this side of a junior high mixer. (AZ)
Delmar Lounge, midnight
With an eye on classic pop forms and an ear for of-the-moment trends, the Hibernauts craft melodic, instantly catchy rock & roll that is both familiar and innovative. The band's debut EP Periodic Fable offers a satisfying sample of the quartet's abilities; its mix of space rock, Britpop and post-punk reveals a band that enjoys testing the limits of the three-minute pop song. Jack Stevens and Tom McArthur let their guitars play off of one another, and the tension-and-release dynamic often leads to a euphoric lift-off. (CS)
Cicero's, 10 p.m.
Sniff. Oh, these wee indie bands grow up so fast! After recording its debut album with So Many Dynamos guitarist Ryan Wasoba, the Say Panther kids started exuding very-adult musical confidence onstage. Thankfully, even as this self-assurance made the collective's trumpet-peppered tunes feel mature – think New Order, Architecture in Helsinki and De Novo Dahl – the collective lost none of its charming innocence. (AZ)
Cicero's, 6 p.m.
The members of So Many Dynamos are showing no signs of scaling back their tireless work ethic. After touring all over the country (again) last year, the quartet recorded most of its third full-length album at John Vanderslice's Tiny Telephone Studios in San Francisco with Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla at the controls. With record labels already showing interest in the results, it seems the band is poised to make its biggest waves yet this year — which isn't surprising to anyone who's seen the band's brain-bending, super-energetic live show. When the taste-making hype machine does finally come knocking for the Dynamos, we here in St. Louis will simply say, "What took you so long?" (SM)
Main Stage, 4 p.m.
Last year's self-titled debut introduced the Jumbling Towers as a band with a focused sound and an audible intensity. Joe DeBoer's vocals owe an equal debt to Syd Barrett and Destroyer's Dan Bejar, and his command of the Fender Rhodes electric piano gives a soulful heft to the squall-like guitar parts and boundary-setting bass. A new EP is due any day now, although the quartet will have to work hard to match the energy and vision of its first outing. (CS)
Cicero's, 8 p.m.
Best Jazz Artist
The saxophone is an iconic instrument in jazz, and no one in St. Louis wields the tenor and soprano saxophones with more skill than Willie Akins. Akins has been a mainstay on the local jazz scene for five decades, and his weekly sessions at Spruill's have become a pilgrimage for young musicians looking to learn from a master and out-of-town visitors paying homage to a local legend. With just one recording in print as a leader, Akins has earned his reputation though live performances, and knowledgeable listeners who hear him play will instantly recognize a talent deserving of much wider recognition. (DM)
The best always make it look easy — and much like Tiger Woods swinging a golf club or Albert Pujols clubbing a game-winning homer, Hamiet Bluiett's performances on the baritone saxophone reveal only a hint of the difficulty of the feat. A member of the original Black Artists Group and co-founder of the World Saxophone Quartet, Bluiett has been a game-changer for the role of the baritone sax in modern jazz, pushing the big horn to do things heretofore thought impossible. His home base may be in the St. Louis area, but Bluiett's reputation as an artist and innovator is worldwide. (DM)
Whether you call her sound jazz, folk, pop or indie, there's no doubt that singer Erin Bode has struck a chord with listeners in St. Louis and all over the nation. The silvery-voiced chanteuse seems to win new fans with every live show or media appearance and has expanded her touring schedule from coast to coast over the past couple of years. With a new CD – the first in two years centered on her work with her own band – due out in a few weeks, Bode seems ready to consolidate those gains and move into the spotlight as a national and international artist. (DM)
Much like free-jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman, local saxophonist Dave Stone seems equally enamored with the melodic and textural possibilities of his instrument. He seems as comfortable emitting syrupy melodies from his horn as he does producing shards of abrasive sounds from his reeds and keys. As a respected part of both the local jazz and noise communities, Stone has made his reputation by being well versed, but constantly uncompromising. Stone can often be seen around town collaborating with countless musicians, but his talent shines the brightest when performing his weekly gigs with the trio that bears his name. – Ryan Wasoba
Brandt's, 11 p.m.