9 p.m. Prairie Rehab
Nominated in Country
Like the Decemberists' Colin Meloy or Okkervil River's Will Sheff before her, Lacie Mangels wields her vocabulary and poetic vision like a scalpel, using uncommon verbiage to get at universal truths. Her words and her plainspoken voice are at the center of Prairie Rehab, a twangy quartet that uses country music more as a suggestion than as a dictum. On the group's second LP, this year's Weights & Measures, gentle and nuanced melodies prop up Mangels' equally gentle and nuanced delivery, with Scott Swartz's pedal steel adding vibrant color enhancements. —Christian Schaeffer

10 p.m. Indian Blanket
Nominated in Folk
Joe Andert of Indian Blanket is a willowy young man with chest-length, caramel-colored hair and a mythical presence, with a voice that's also found in legend. Backed by Jim Hughes, Alex Beaven and cellist Katie Brown, the maestro curates mercurial folk songs that battle the din of chatty showgoers and ask for a listener's ear. His voice slithers out, in and around a crowd, finding moments of silence to erupt and showcase its beauty. Indian Blanket's résumé is bullet-pointed with impressive opening slots: Samantha Crain, Widowspeak and First Aid Kit, to name a few. Prior to the opening gig for FAK, Indian Blanket was quietly constructing songs out of Americana's modern permutations. Now after those attention-getting shows, Indian Blanket is poised to come out of St. Louis' woodwork and present itself as more than folklore. —Roy Kasten

11 p.m. Scarlet Tanager
Nominated in Chamber Pop
Terms like "lo-fi" and "twee" befit Scarlet Tanager, particularly seeing as how Susan Logsdon's delivery evokes Pacific Northwest sirens Kimya Dawson and Mirah. Yet these descriptors minimize the depth and breadth of the band's fun-folk constructions. The tracks on the band's 2011 debut, American Songbird, have yet to overstay their welcome, serving as a hype builder for the sophomore album the band is painstakingly crafting. No word on a release date, but the timing could not be better. The Lumineers and Of Monsters and Men recently dug a hidden passage into pop radio for the kind of communal folk Scarlet Tanager deals in, and MTV recently plugged the band on Twitter and featured its tune "Zipcode" in an episode of The Real World. —Ryan Wasoba

Midnight Arthur and the Librarian
Nominated in Folk
If you added thought balloons to photos of Arthur and the Librarian at any of its shows, they'd all say variations of "Holy shit, I can't believe we're actually doing this!" Onstage, members of the folk group grin madly and bounce awkwardly while appearing surprised that people would pay to hear their sway-inducing tunes. It's like when Taylor Swift feigns shock as she receives an award, but you actually believe that Arthur and the Librarian means it. The effect is almost as enchanting as the music itself, which is best enjoyed while sitting in a park on a sunny day with a light breeze. With evocative songwriting, emotional harmonies and some damn thoughtful ukulele, Arthur and the Librarian songs kiss love both hello and goodbye. —Allison Babka

1 a.m. The VCRs
Nominated in Cover Band
One would not expect a '90s-rock cover band who formed in the offices of the Purina corporation to have as much cred as the VCRs. The group's punk-rock pedigree comes mainly from bassist Greg Stinson, best known as the guitarist of the Humanoids, and its reputation comes from its passionately authentic sets of '90s alt-rock hits, in which you may hear a chart-topper by Smashing Pumpkins or Weezer next to a forgotten gem like "Ready to Go" by Republica. In addition, the band brings two televisions onstage with stacks of VHS tapes, inviting audience members to swap out visual stimuli at their will. At last year's Grove Fest, VCRs singer Alex Kahn referenced this interactive schtick by changing some lyrics to Harvey Danger's "Flagpole Sitta": "Only stupid people are breeding/The cretins cloning and feeding/And I only own two TVs."—Ryan Wasoba

Flamingo Bowl

4 p.m. Eric Hall
Nominated in Experimental
You could probably fill your iPod with nothing but solo releases from Eric Hall and still run out of room before you got to his collaborative work with other musicians. Last year he was put in charge of curating a massive installment of musical pairings at Laumeier Sculpture Park — and he actually pulled it off. That alone demands attention, but it wasn't enough for Eric Hall. He is constantly working on his craft — not so much for the fans as for his own sanity. It is pure, and it is good, but Hall's fans already know that. This is brilliant music for eager ears.—Kenny Snarzyk

5 p.m. CaveofswordS
Nominated in Pop
Led by the husband-and-wife team of Sunyatta and Kevin McDermott, CaveofswordS has garnered attention for the past year or so for its elegant, chilly minimal synth sound. Silverwalks, the duo's debut CD, was full of goth-tinged vocals, droning loops and trip-hoppy rhythms. One could imagine the McDermotts contributing to a This Mortal Coil record in the 1980s or perhaps opening for Portishead in the 1990s. On their Skillwavers remix CD, the McDermotts draw from a variety of like-minded local friends, including Ou Où, Spectator and Adult Fur. The pair plans to spend the next few months recording a second album, so be sure to catch one of the few live shows they'll have time for this summer. —Mike Appelstein

« Previous Page
Next Page »