1 A.M. Fister

Nominated for: Best Metal

Phil Anselmo wears this band's T-shirt. What else do you really need to know? Tour dates with Pallbearer, a split EP with Portland's Norska and a spot on NYC's first-rate Martyrdoom Fest this July are only part of Fister's impressive résumé. The band's sound is an intricate mix of doom, doom and vomit-drenched doom, wherein Godzilla drums, chainsaw guitars and speaker-melting bass tones are all used more like weapons than instruments. It's the perfect soundtrack to something like a plane crashing into the Andes — and if you can't handle it, you'd probably be the first one to be eaten. — Rick Giordano


3 P.M. Pet Rock: the Musical

Nominated for: Best Psych

There are jam bands and then there are bands that jam. Pet Rock: the Musical is most definitely the latter. That said, the trio of guitarist John Parker, bassist Justin Pitonak and drummer Donnie O'Laughlin could very well appeal to the spaced-out masses — who've proven themselves willing to lose their focus and their hearing to the likes of Mogwai — especially if said masses simply surrender to how good a wall of sludge can feel, even when blasted through the shittiest of DIY P.A.s. Pay attention to Pet Rock: The Musical's sound and you'll always hear melodies fighting like hell to break through. — Roy Kasten

4 P.M. Breakmouth Annie

Nominated for: Best Punk

After gigging around for the last couple of years, Breakmouth Annie just recently had its official coming-out party via its first recording, a split seven-inch with the Winchester (Throwing Things Records). The tunes are fast, gritty and heavy, and they drum up the spirit of genuine pre-Blink-182 pop-punk. Singer Bob Monroe's earnest, barbed-wire howl cuts through the thick wall of unmistakable Les Paul distortion, making these songs stick in you like a fishing hook — and it's easier to just leave them in your head and flounder around than to try to force them out. — Michael Dauphin

5 P.M. Better Days

Nominated for: Best Punk

Don't go into a Better Days show thinking that the punk foursome took its name from a second-rate Bruce Springsteen song. The better days that this band yearns for seem to be the ones when melodic, charging hardcore was the punk flavor du jour; Youth of Today, 7 Seconds and Dag Nasty are clearly the band's most overt influences. There's much more than throwback-punk at work here, though, and 2012's Good Luck Tonight EP makes that clear with Kevin Tomorrow's bouncing bass lines and Chris Vela's impassioned vocals suggesting that the better days in question are the ones right in front of us. Look for the band's Nope seven-inch to drop this summer c/o Encapsulated Records. — Christian Schaeffer

6 P.M. Quaere Verum

Nominated for: Best Metal

Quaere Verum is Latin for "to seek the truth." In the spirit of honesty, this band is not for everybody. Metal purists may balk at the group's prettier, post-rockier passages, while the band's gruffer moments can harsh those looking to zone out on atmosphere. Quaere Verum is a band for the open-minded, but not one limited to the cerebral listener. The weight of the group's breakdowns can be felt in the gut; the drama in its song structures can affect your heart rate. Few bands capture the spirit of their progressive influence as well as Quaere Verum. Even fewer do so without the compromises that come with the "prog" tag — in other words, you don't have to wait through a six-minute flute solo to get to the good stuff. — Ryan Wasoba

7 P.M. Laika

Nominated for: Best Emo/Post-Hardcore

Several local bands are now accepting the once-shunned classification of "emo," but Laika seems to be owning it in the most punk-rock way. The young quartet fits the bill, all knotty and mathy and finger-tappy. (It's 2014; can we start saying "angular" again yet?) But these kids are as scrappy as they come, applying caffeinated energy to oddly mature influences. Once-forgotten bands like Circle Takes the Square and Bear vs. Shark are fitting references, likely featured on these youngins' iPods. As evidenced by its well-received opening slot for Tera Melos last fall, Laika's sets are already semi-vulgar displays of rawness and vulnerability. It's only a matter of time until the crowds catch up and turn Laika shows into loud, fast, group-therapy sessions. — Ryan Wasoba

8 P.M. Alan Smithee

Nominated for: Best Emo/Post-Hardcore

Once, when directors hated their movies, they'd release them under the pseudonym "Alan Smithee." (Now they just release them to Netflix.) The only thing St. Louis band Alan Smithee likely hates about its ouvre is that it's not loud enough, because titanic, screaming, shredding noise-metal can never be loud enough. Alan Smithee doesn't play metal so much as it punishes it for the sake of all our sins. With crushingly cathartic vocal howls, mathematically advanced riffage, a brutalizing rhythm section and songs that are admirably concise in their attack, Alan Smithee takes its take-no-prisoners sound seriously. — Christian Schaeffer

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