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

6 p.m. Brett Gretzky
Nominated in Hip-Hop (Group)
Brett Gretzky is a hip-hop duo schemed up after the clever coordination of fellow IndyGround artist, Steddy P. St. Louis resident Eric Farlow (Farout) and Chicagoan Jason Bommarito (JBomb) blend Show-Me State bravado with Windy City mellow into breezy records that beckon multiple listens. Farlow spits a barrage of polysyllabic ryhmes with a self-assured, breakneck flow — suffice it to say, he has speed and can pilot a search engine. Bommarito supplies comely melodies often accompanied by an acoustic guitar. His reggae-filtered contributions float methodically above sampled backing beats with the durability of a 100-year-old oak tree. Bommarito's grounded verses tether Farlow's sky-high ponderings to sounds scratched from IndyGrounder and fellow nominee DJ Mahf and producer Ben Bounce. Together, Farlow and Bommarito have churned out multiple solo and joined efforts, each more pleasant and cerebral than the last.—Blair Stiles

7 p.m. DJ Mahf
Nominated in DJ
DJ Mahf works from some place in his brain that pumps out enough enthusiasm to make his work look easy. Performing with a chilled zeal, the IndyGround DJ interplays dense minutes of thumping samples with crackling movie clips and fine-tuned, one-and-two-handed scratches. He has already banged around Kansas City's spirited Middle of the Map Fest with labelmate Brett Gretzky, crossed the northern American border and cut and pasted for Red Bull's Thre3style competition this year. Whether live or replayed through IndyGround's streaming footage, Mahf exudes the enjoyment he feels: In tempo he bobs at the waist, moving faster in the moments when he is inundated with the floor's energy, always looking pleased. It is Mahf's obvious enjoyment of his craft that puts his sets so squarely in the spotlight.—Blair Stiles

8 p.m. Franco-Hill
Nominated in Electronic/Dance
Franco-Hill defines itself as a "hip-hop jazz duo," and the group's music sounds better in real life than it reads on paper. Guitarist Michael Franco and drummer Jeffery Hill Jr. explore the gray space between organic and synthetic, between live performance and digital construction. The result sounds at times like the sample-heavy soul beats from a Madlib or J Dilla record, while other experiments recall the extraterrestrial IDM jazz of Squarepusher. The duo recently dropped Batman and the Black Bruce Wayne, a solid hour of material that could serve as a well-groomed LP for Franco-Hill were it not simply a collection of scraps from the band's impending proper debut Vibrate Higher.—Ryan Wasoba

9 p.m. Black James
Nominated in Electronic/Dance
When Jennifer McDaniel used to strum her banjo and sing her visions with a wavering twang, it was so much easier to hang a name on her. Now she makes listeners and critics work a whole lot harder, though the payoff is commensurate. As Black James, McDaniel has spent the last year or so immersed in beat music, using samplers, synths and effects to corral her evolving style. Last year's im A mirAcle was a mission statement hidden inside a cassette case, with two side-length pieces that comprise trip-hop, psych-folk, Gothic blues and more. If no one knows exactly where to place Black James in the local scene (she's as comfortable with experimental hip-hop showcases as she is on a noise bill), it's probably because St. Louis is still getting used to such sonic gatecrashing. —Christian Schaeffer

10 p.m. Adult Fur
Nominated in Electronic/Dance
Even when operating under the pseudonym Adult Fur, Ryan McNeely has long been a behind-the-scenes enabler. The average St. Louisan is more likely to have heard the beats he crafted for Rockwell Knuckles' fantastic Take Me To Your Leader mixtape, his feature on Tef Poe's song "Psycho Analysis" or his production on Mikey Wehling and the Reverbs' Nests in Tree EP than his own music. McNeely is currently hard at work on the new Adult Fur album, cryptically titled μ. If his new material is like everything else McNeely touches, μ is certain to sound like gold and potentially could give Adult Fur a well-deserved moment to step out from the tech crew and into the spotlight.—Ryan Wasoba


Hair of the Dog

6 p.m. Cathedral Fever
Nominated in Hardcore
From the ashes of Stretcher! and some of the former members of Rites of Impiety comes Cathedral Fever. If you like Cursed, American Nightmare/Give Up the Ghost or any other prolific hardcore band that rose to prominence in the early aughts, you'll love Cathedral Fever. Frontman Jerry Rose leads the way with his intense hair-whip breaks in between screaming fits. CF is usually the hardcore band that ends up playing the DIY metal shows, shaking attendees awake in between slow, regurgitated, merch-core bands in the Fubar lounge. Cathedral Fever is spreading like wildfire: Catch it, then burn to a crisp. Jimmy Eberle

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St. Louis Concert Tickets

Concert Calendar

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