By RFT Music
By Drew Ailes
By Bob McMahon
By Allison Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By Carolina de Busto
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
Congratulations are in order for DJ Crucial: His label, F5 Records — which has come to be known for its quality independent hip-hop — turned ten years old in 2008. Crucial does much of F5's production and has collaborated on songs with MF Doom, Slug and MC Eiht, with a style comparable to New York's DJ Premier. If you've never watched him mix before, do so; Croosh is one of the best scratching DJs around. (CC)
Now off his European tour with the Earthworms and Fresh Heir, it's back to the grind for DJ Mahf. (Well, somebody has to hold down Johnny Gitto's.) Mahf also works the turntables every Friday at the Atomic Cowboy, where he's known to mix in '80s pop and rock music with his hip-hop. He also produces Homemade Junk, a high-energy, mashup-style mixtape series with some interesting combinations of rap and electronica. (CC)
Pin-Up Bowl, 10 p.m.
From spinning records over the airwaves on the Beat (100.3 FM) and KDHX (88.1 FM) to hosting weekly events at local venues like 609, DJ Needles has been exposing people to classic hip-hop for more than a decade. Last year saw the continuation of his Soul Searching and Sure Shots mixtape brands, plus the birth of a new series called Raw. Nodzilla has also produced tracks for local acts Tef Poe, Jada Avenue and John Hill. (CC)
Pin-Up Bowl, 9 p.m.
DJ Trackstar's mixtape series, Boogie Bang, is up to Vol. 18, for those keeping count. Additionally, he's had his hands in numerous other projects, such as best-of compilations for Royce da 5'9" and Joe Buddens. Oh, and did we mention Rockwell Knuckles, Wafeek and Gotta Be Karim's latest albums? How about the DJ gigs in and out of town (SXSW, for instance)? This guy's everywhere — take a breather, Trackstar! (CC)
Blueberry Hill's Duck Room, 9 p.m.
Best Indie Band
The Radical Sons
On "I'm So Sick of the 21st Century," singer Ben Goldstein snarls, "I'm feeling nostalgic for things I've never known." But that feeling of rock & roll belatedness never becomes an existential crisis on the band's debut EP, Throwing Knives. The Radical Sons understands the promise of rock music: You can make it any way you want to, even if your young heart's desire sends you back to the Velvet Underground, the Replacements and the power-punk of the Jam. The band is making its own way through fragmented guitar lines, a jab-and-dart rhythm section, and withering social and self-critique. (RK)
Cicero's, 6 p.m.
James Bishop is used to change. When Say Panther emerged in 2005, it was the latest "dancy" indie band in town. But just a year later, the young band had a new lineup and new songs. Joined by brothers Joey and Sam, a new drummer, backup singers, and original drummer Robby Ritter on trumpet and keys, Bishop ushered in the band's new sound, which evoked the organic pop of Broken Social Scene. Say Panther began 2009 as a four-piece, with yet another sonic change; songs trended Southern toward Band of Horses and My Morning Jacket. With Ritter moving away this summer, change is again nigh, but here's hoping a proper release is also on the horizon. — Steve Kozel
The Delmar Restaurant & Lounge, 9 p.m.
The defining sound of contemporary indie rock has nothing to do with brittle guitars, Casio keyboards or Anglophilic vocal exertions. It's the group shout-and-response, a trick that can quickly become a cliché, but something that the Sham uses sparingly and to joyful effect. Whether blasting out short, Pixies-esque missives, stretching out with a sense of Television-esque adventure, or just getting glitchy and synthy, the band follows smartly crafted tunes in and out of their private demons to find a genuinely exuberant space. (RK)
Pi, 11 p.m.
So Many Dynamos
As the first local band in recent memory to sign to a prominent indie imprint (Vagrant Records), the "Dynabros" has legitimized its implicit status as the foremost indie band in St. Louis. The quartet's seeds of influence (the formative Dismemberment Plan/Les Savy Fav/Q And Not U fusion) and inspiration (a tireless work ethic of nonstop touring) have yielded a crop of younger bands over the past six years. With its Chris Walla-produced Loud Wars out this summer and its Rolodex busting with droppable names, So Many Dynamos has transcended its roots. (SK)
Since the release of the Concealer EP in late 2004, Target Market has flitted around the space between pop-slanted indie rock and uptempo post-punk. While the resulting colors have always been vibrant — with influences running the gamut of touchstones, from Death Cab for Cutie and Yo La Tengo to Enon and Pavement — the edges have at times seemed a bit soft. With a new full-length, Up on the Moon, however, the picture has truly come into focus, with a sharp outline of identity and the deliberate hues of maturity. (SK)
The Delmar Restaurant & Lounge, 11 p.m.
Troubadour Dali has recruited accomplished producer Bill Racine (Mates of State, Rogue Wave) to mix its long-awaited album, which is due in August on Euclid Records' new label. But the act hasn't exactly been sitting around doing nothing during the past couple of years: It's cycled through several lineups and carved out its own sound, away from the Brian Jonestown Massacre-influenced sonics which defined so much of its early output. An expanded lineup has enabled Troubadour Dali to incorporate more atmospherics and shoegaze-type textures — thus transforming its live show into an enveloping collage of ambient noise and pulsing pop-song constructs. (SM)
The Cucina Outdoor Stage, 1 p.m.