The Union Electric
The Union Electric may be a new band, but it's comprised of seasoned professionals. You might even say that St. Louis' favorite working-class folk-punks have been laborin' at this for a while – after all, their résumé includes groups such as Bad Folk, the Adversary Workers, Corbeta Corbata and Cassie Morgan and the Lonely Pine. This synthesis of experience and style results in a self-described "hootenanny" full of pirates, incorrigibility and rebellious politics. (CW)
11:45 p.m., The Dubliner

Yung Ro
At least by commercial standards, eighteen-year-old Yung Ro is already one of the most successful St. Louis rappers since Nelly. Last year his obnoxiously catchy rump-shaking anthem "Donk Dat" peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Sales chart, and his latest release, "Fresha Den a Mall," is also racing up the charts and in rotation at local station WHHL (104.1 FM) — all without the support of a major label.  (KH)

Best Punk/Hardcore Band

The Disappeared
What's a punk-metal band doing with a song called "The Ballad of Nat King Cole"? Properly destroying, shredding and double-kick-drumming against nostalgia, that's what. The Disappeared aims for the same lethal power of Motörhead and the heavy guitar wizardry of Metallica, and every now and then they capture it, as on massive, tempo-shifting tunes such as "Hey Bud, This Ain't No Game of Poker." (RK)
1:15 a.m., Hair of the Dog

Frozen Food Section
Frozen Food Section

Egg Chef
Egg Chef is a brilliant name and a bizarre concept. Take some DIY, noise, post-punk and math-rock, throw in some HAZMAT suits and synth sludge, and presto! Instant hardcore omelet! As crazed as the band's sound can get — and as violently absurdist as its lyrics seem — the sound is pretty danceable, if your feet can keep up with 5000-BPM rhythms. (RK)

The Humanoids
Last year's Best Punk Band winner the Humanoids is returning for more — although little has changed, which is bad news for the competition. The band still plays hard, fast and out of control, while keeping a focus on melodies that somehow break through the blister-busting guitar work. The Humanoids' sense of dynamics, willingness to let riffs shine through and happiness in those sweet little "whoa-oh" choruses make them the punk band to beat. (RK)
10:45 p.m., The Side Bar

Maximum Effort
The members of this four-piece punk band say it's "not as much of a band as it is an awareness group." Lyrics seemingly inspired by syndicated radio show Coast to Coast AM and theatrics purveyed by frontman Zeng keep audiences listening to warnings of shadow governments and alien abductions. However, the band's steady schedule of live shows in clubs, record stores and basements over the past year has brought them some well-deserved local praise within the punk scene. (NL)

Shaved Women
The proud tradition of punk band names that raise an eyebrow (or in these modern times, make for a nasty Google search) continues with Shaved Women, a four-piece that specializes in good-mood-destroying hardcore punk. The group hasn't been around long — and it's only released two cassettes — but a demo is planned for this summer. Live, Shaved Women mixes in unlikely cover choices (Bad Brains to GG Allin's the Jabbers) to conflict with otherwise dreary hardcore noise. Those fond of later Black Flag, Flipper or the Jesus Lizard will find much to love about this band. (NL)

Sweet Tooth
A youthful attack of blazing hardcore noise, Sweet Tooth is one of the city's most exciting hardcore punk bands because of its live show: The group plays faster than nearly everyone else in the local scene and rarely misses a note or drumbeat. The musicianship is something that has long separated hardcore from punk — and made for tighter, faster, better songs. For fans of Deep Wound and Void but also later bands such as No Comment and the H-100s. (NL)

Best Pop Band

The Blind Eyes
Pop music needn't be modest, but the Blind Eyes manages to be both unassuming and completely irresistible. The trio's 2009 album, Modernity, is free of flash and gimmicks, and its live sets are simply a celebration of hooks, smart lyrics and catchy rhythms. Sure the Blind Eyes has its influences — the Kinks and Squeeze come to mind — but the band members don't wear their record collections on their sleeves. They're too focused on getting the hooks across with a sense of fun and always-present songcraft. (RK)
10:15 p.m., Rue 13

Gentleman Auction House
Word on the street (er, blog) is that Gentleman Auction House has been holed up in its St. Louis studio working on the much-anticipated followup to its well-received 2008 full-length, Alphabet Graveyard. After its release, the band constantly toured and even recorded a session with the tastemaking website Daytrotter. With how infectious those lighthearted pop confections were — and how different they were from GAH's gentle, folksy debut EP, The Rules Were Handed Down — it'll be very interesting to see where the band decides to go from here. (SM)

Grace Basement 
Kevin Buckley began Grace Basement as an outlet for his pop songs, which touch on '60s British Invasion, Americana and noisy alternative rock. It began as a solo affair, but the project became a different beast in the past few years, thanks to the addition of a full-time band. It's still Buckley's show, but his Grace Basement cohorts help expand these melodic, smartly tailored songs into something raw and wild. (CS)
8:15 p.m., Lucas Park Grille Patio
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