"Americana" means after all. — Allison Babka

5 P.M. Bear Hive

Nominated for: Best Indie Rock

New-wavey indie-pop band Bear Hive has both kinds of chemistry: organic and synthetic. Formed through high school friendship, Chris Phillips, Nate Heininger and Joel Burton sound like three guys bonding over a love of Echo & the Bunnymen and Depeche Mode records. They also synthesize everything else they just happen to think will make for a good song. On the EP A Mountain to Maintain, Bear Hive puts a premium on dynamics, shifting through dark and quiet guitar interludes and proggy synth doodles before bursting into the kind of dance-pop only math rockers at heart can make. — Roy Kasten

6 P.M. The Pat Sajak Assassins

Nominated for: Best Rock

Remember how bands like Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull and Yes are widely credited with cementing the legitimacy of the progressive-rock genre in the late '60s and early '70s? How they heralded an evolution for music? Well, the scholars might end up saying something similar about the Pat Sajak Assassins decades from now. As a band that relies more upon instrumental layering instead of front-and-center vocals, PSA already shifts from the norm. But it's more than that — PSA also stacks synth, bass and percussion in ways that jolt listeners into truly hearing each beep and boop, setting a new standard for music composition. Played in any order, the songs become an opera fit for R2-D2, and we can't wait to welcome our new robot overlords. — Allison Babka

7 P.M. Al Holliday and the East Side Rhythm Band

Nominated for: Best Soul/Funk

Collinsville, Illinois, native Al Holliday made quite the splash locally with his latest effort, 2013's Made It Through the Mill, Again. So much so, in fact, that we named it one of the best releases of the year and dubbed Holliday one of the best singers in St. Louis. But superlatives aside, he and his crew, the East Side Rhythm Band, absolutely warrant your attention. Its members may only be in their twenties, but you wouldn't know it from the music, which has the depth and grit one might expect from seasoned veterans. Together, Al Holliday and Co. form one of the finest St. Louis revival bands this side of Pokey LaFarge — and that's no small feat. — Daniel Hill

8 P.M. Theresa Payne

Nominated for: Best R&B

This past March, Theresa Payne found herself before a national TV audience on The Voice. Payne more than earned the right to be there: She is one of our city's most commanding singers, and though her version of Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" didn't woo the likes of Shakira (who, for the record, Payne can sing circles around), she isn't letting that disappointment derail her. Released this past March, "Bye Fear" is her strongest single to date: With tense strings and her killer band and backup singers

urging her on, she makes a statement of future promise that her voice will surely keep. — Roy Kasten

9 P.M. Dots Not Feathers

Nominated for: Best Indie Pop

Doomed romances and near-fatal arachnid venom influence the poly-genre sound of Dots Not Feathers. Guitarist Stephen Baier spins webs of unrequited crushes between the branches of Jessica Haley's spindly omnichord to the delight of listeners who covet the cool shade of spacey sounds. Keyboardist Katie Brooking ranges from dexterous to birdlike as she harmonizes with guitarist Ryan Myers' bravado-swaddled vibrato. Chris Dickey and Nick Blackburn's bass and drum section is syncopated to imbue Baier and Myers' guitars with pummeling power. Produced by Luke Arens of Shock City Studios and mastered by Secretly Canadian's David Vandervelde, the band's latest, Dolphin World, takes a swing at mainstream success. On record or live, Dots Not Feathers' multi-tempo arrangements and poetic lyrics hold court over all who see and hear. — Blair Stiles

10 P.M. Mathias & the Pirates

Nominated for: Best Hip-Hop (Group)

Some rappers lionize outlaw legends like Scarface; some rappers style themselves as street-smart CEOs. For his latest LP, Mathias took to the high seas and, with his aptly named crew the Pirates, set himself up as a verbal swashbuckler. Last year's Life of the Buzzard hit hard with old-school beats, but it was smoothed out with the help of vocalist Ms. Vizion, who serves as an oft-calming foil to Mathias' more fiery verses. Songs like "Sea Shanty in D Minor" and "The Ballad of Old Long Ben" underline the high-seas/high-adventure motif, but Mathias isn't interested in putting on costumes or playing dress-up — it's simply a new way to present the message he has been preaching for well over a decade. — Christian Schaeffer

The Gramophone

4 P.M. Big Brother Thunder and the Master Blasters

Nominated for: Best Soul/Funk

Being a funk band that specializes in original music isn't easy here or in any town. There are gigs if you want to be the chumps who play Stevie Wonder, P-Funk and the rest of the wedding-party hits, and what's more, you won't have to worry about trivial matters like having an actual identity. Big Brother Thunder and the Master Blasters would rather take its chances with an eclectic, horn-rich mix of hard funk, barrio soul, Latin jazz and Afro-Caribbean roots, splashing some groovy psychedelic colors in along the way. That original approach (and a ton of hard work) is starting pay off: The band was recently announced as part of this year's LouFest lineup. — Roy Kasten

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