The 2008 RFT Music Award Winners: The Results Are In!

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Like every year, the 2008 RFT Music Award winners represent a diverse cross-section of the old and the new, the familiar and the upstart. Genial jazz chanteuse Erin Bode (who's set to release a new album this weekend) and venerable hip-hop/rock hybrid the Midwest Avengers both swept their categories, as did the fifteen-years-young Bottle Rockets, 7 Shot Screamers (whose punk-a-billy prowess netted it Best Rock Band this year) and swerving post-rock mentalists the Conformists. But despite hefty support, these acts weren't even the top three vote-getters: That honor went to garage-rock vets the Trip Daddys, coed blues faves Bottoms Up Blues Gang and reggae stalwarts Murder City Players — all of whom performed at the awards ceremony on Tuesday, June 10, at the Pageant.

Click here for a photo slide show of the ceremony at the Pageant.

A few categories were insanely close this year. In the Best Americana/Folk category, the new Emmet Otter's Jug Band-like trio Rum Drum Ramblers squeaked by, while a local-band compilation released by Nick Acquisto (in association with this KDHX (88.1 FM) show, The Space Parlour) earned Best Self-Released Local Album. Louder-than-bombs rock act Shame Club beat out worthy competitors to win Best Hard Rock/Metal band, while Best New Artist was also a competitive category, with snappy mod-rockers the Blind Eyes prevailing.

The write-in votes were occasionally clever; gold stars for whoever voted "from Full House" as their answer for Best DJ — and although Radiohead and the Flaming Lips are two of the best live bands around, they're ineligible for local music awards. (For the record: 7 Shot Screamers won Best Live Act category too, by a nose.)

Congratulations to all of the musicians mentioned above and everyone else who appears in the following pages. This year's winners and nominees simply reinforce that the local music scene hasn't been this strong across so many disparate genres in years. Go out and support the hard-working bands that make St. Louis tick. — Annie Zaleski

Best Garage Band
Trip Daddys
Whether you call it punk-infused rockabilly, rock-infused country or swing-tinged blues, the Trip Daddys channel everything that is pure and nostalgic about rock & roll.  — Shae Moseley

Best Rap/Hip-Hop Artist
Midwest Avengers
It's no small feat to make rap-metal cool again, but the two emcees and three instrumentalists in the Midwest Avengers do their best to revive the subgenre. — Christian Schaeffer

Best Jazz Artist
Erin Bode
With a new CD — the first in two years centered on her work with her own band — due out in a few weeks, Erin Bode seems ready to move into the spotlight as a national and international artist. — Dean C. Minderman

Best Live Act & Best Rock Band
7 Shot Screamers
7 Shot Screamers is such a good — nay, make that consistently good — live band, that it's almost too easy to take the quartet for granted. — Annie Zaleski

Best DJ
Flex Boogie
Flex's urban sound is soulfully funky and frequently incorporates the necessary vocals-heavy hip-hop and pop tracks required to initiate Midwestern booty-shaking. — Kristy Wendt

Best Blues Artist
Bottoms Up Blues Gang
If you haven't come across the Bottoms Up Blues Gang yet, you must be either dead or in jail. — Christian Schaeffer

Best Pop Band
Sex Robots
The music of the Sex Robots is best experienced when its shambolic two-and-a-half-minute burners are witnessed live. Its concerts are effortless in the way that only experienced musicians can present. — Jaime Lees

Best Local Release (self-released)
Various Artists, Space Parlour: Live in St. Louis Series 2007
By compiling songs from artists specializing in folk (Casey Reid), punk (Bug) and rock (That's My Daughter), Nick Acquisto's comp serves as a document of St. Louis talent — as well as a tip sheet for many of this city's best bands. — Christian Schaeffer

[Editor's note: A correction ran concerning this paragraph; please see end of article.]

Best Reggae Band
Murder City Players
Attribute Murder City Players' longevity — the band turned an impressive 25 years old this year — to its chameleonic nature. — Annie Zaleski

Best Americana/Folk
Rum Drum Ramblers
It's nearly disturbing to witness the little white boys in the Rum Drum Ramblers do the blues so well. — Jaime Lees

Best Indie Band
By night, Matt Harnish and his merry cast of 'Grunt workers unleash foaming-at-the-mouth twee-punk that will tickle your pop fancy. — Annie Zaleski

Best Local Release (on a label)
Ludo, You're Awful, I Love You (Island)
With the release of You're Awful, I Love You, count Ludo among those who dodged the cut-out-bin bullet. — Annie Zaleski

Best Hard Rock/Metal
Shame Club
Shame Club's new album, Come On is so righteous and full of dude-jams that Detroit's Small Stone Records made a bro-verture and re-released it earlier this year.— Annie Zaleski

Best Punk/Hardcore
The Pubes
The four lads in the Pubes celebrate a return to punk's charming naiveté while using the wit and fury of their mohawked forebears. — Christian Schaeffer

Best New Artist
The Blind Eyes
Like many "new" bands in town, the Blind Eyes should be familiar to regular show-goers, especially since its lineup is the Gentleman Callers minus guitarist Mike Virag. — Annie Zaleski

Best Funk/Soul/R&B
Dogtown Allstars
The four-piece remains a shining star of feel-good dance music, bringing together noodle-dancing hippie chicks and goatee-stroking jazzbos under the sway of the almighty groove. — Christian Schaeffer

Best Untraditional Americana/Folk
The Bottle Rockets
The Bottle Rockets should have exploded ages ago, and they continue to explore just how much soul can be drawn from the rock and country well. — Roy Kasten

Best Hip-Hop DJ
If you thought Lil' Wayne sounded hot on the original hook to "Hello Brooklyn," check it as Needles envisions it, with a sick horn break that combines the best of the Jay's high-powered production with the soulful sound of NYC's jazz rap extraordinaires. — Keegan Hamilton

Best Eclectic/Uncategorizable
The Conformists
Like the slightly shifting monotony of a ship at sea on choppy waters, the Conformists writes music that is ever-morphing yet manages to create a trancelike effect. — Shae Moseley


1. Bottoms Up Blues Gang

2. The Trip Daddys

3. Murder City Players

4. Erin Bode

5. The Bottle Rockets

6. Sex Robots

7. 7 Shot Screamers

8. Midwest Avengers

9. The Conformists

10. Dogtown Allstars

Click here for a photo slide show of the winners.

Correction published 6/17/08: In the original version of this story, we erroneously stated that the group Ded Bugs is on Space Parlour: Live in St. Louis Series 2007, which was voted Best Local Release (self-released). In fact, the group Bug is on this compilation album, not Ded Bugs. The above version reflects this correction.
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