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
Tight Pants Syndrome
Singles The comings and goings of band members make it hard to fix the identity of Tight Pants Syndrome. Still, this career-spanning collection is remarkably cohesive and more than enough to cement its reputation as the catchiest and craftiest of St. Louis pop bands. Channeling a sound that's part Beach Boys and part Sonics, the album celebrates and scoffs at love and lust, with intricate harmonies, fuzzy guitars, spangled keys and a sense of fun that's as relentless as the hooks are. (RK)
Best Album (on a label)
Gentleman Auction House
Alphabet Graveyard was the album on which Gentleman Auction House finally earned the right to have two drummers in the band. Although its beat-based songs received a professional overhaul in an actual studio, the band wisely retained its sharp corners — the quickly strummed guitars and buzzy keyboard blasts add gristle to Eric Enger's introspective, fractured story-songs. Made by a band with big dreams and a solid vision for its sound, Alphabet Graveyard is the sound of indie-rock ambition made real. (CS)
Main Outdoor Stage, 4 p.m.
Head On Collision
Thrash band Head On Collision knows a thing or two about the power of metal. Ritual Sacrifice is like a diabolic mashup of Dark Angel, Slayer and maybe Anthrax — and what it lacks in originality (ripping off your shirt and breaking skin in a mosh pit never gets old), it makes up for in extreme shredding, pile-driving double kick-drums and vicious vocal rage. Does this band hate war, revile violence and renounce Satan? Who cares? This record kicks your teeth in and makes you beg for more. (RK)
Lines from the Frame
The themes of Magnolia Summer's third album — memory and release, the weight of the past and the feeling of utter freedom — distinguish it from the perpetual glut of semi-roots-oriented rock releases. The country connection is here, especially in the touches of fiddle and steel guitar on the lovely "Birds Without a Wire," but this is largely a rock record, with the charging, urgent guitars of John Horton and singer/songwriter Chris Grabau. The latter's voice has never sounded stronger, more supple and personal, and the band as a whole has clearly found its own poetic, thrilling soul. (RK)
Pi, 9 p.m.
Recorded over twelve years, this double album captures Prisonshake in a 22-track hall of mirrors, each song reflecting a different side of its DIY rock aesthetic. There's art-rock, Stooge-rock, punk rock and garage; there's heavy '70s-riff rock and noodly fusion, glam and psychedelic expressionism. What holds it all together is the disciplined, ever-in-the-groove rhythm section of Patrick Hawley and Steve Scariano, even as singer Doug Enkler pushes the envelope of snarling, gnashing punk vocals, and guitarist Robert Griffin lights said envelope on fire with a stunning range of styles and textures. (RK)
Of Sirens Born
Part switchboard operator, part air-traffic controller and part composer, Raglani manipulates the noise humming from his analog synthesizers and molds it into something warm and human. On Of Sirens Born, his debut for much-loved indie Kranky Records, Raglani proves that his wordless compositions can tell a story and carry a theme — by asking listeners to use their imaginations to fill in the blanks. (CS)
Blueberry Hill's Elvis Room, 6 p.m.
Rum Drum Ramblers
Hey Lordy Mama Mama Get Up and Go
This set from the best blues band in St. Louis that the tourists will never understand comes just as advertised. The trio shouts and shakes through holy and unholy subjects, in a collective throwback to the acoustic jump and jive that ruled the juke joints in this town circa 1942. The rhythms beat with life, the songs are all original, the camaraderie feels palpable, and the sound of speaker-shredding harmonica, piercing acoustic guitar, and warm and thumping bass is simply timeless. (RK)
Racanelli's Cucina, 7 p.m.