The 2012 Riverfront Times Music Showcase is a week away. And if that is our own St. Louis Music holiday, then consider this the season: Throughout May, we've been making our cases for all 125 bands and artists nominated for an RFT Music Award this year, introducing the nominees from one or more of our 25 categories. For each artist you will find a photo, a streaming track to sample and a few words from the staff at RFT Music.
Can We Win Born out of the remains of former St. Louis hardcore mainstay Resolve, Can We Win plays a straight-forward, no-bullshit style of youth crew hardcore that calls to mind classics of the genre such as Youth of Today, Floorpunch and Mouthpiece, the latter having written the song that serves as the band's namesake. The longest song on its 2011 demo clocks in at a lean one minute and ten seconds; most tracks don't even reach the minute mark. Drummer David Vaughn punishes his kit at an impressive, hyper-fast speed, dragging the rest of the band along for the ride while singer Kevin barks angrily about life's disappointments, lyrically maintaining a refusal to compromise integrity or to accept the unacceptable. Catch the band opening the upcoming Negative Approach show, and watch for its debut seven-inch later this year on Camp Records. --Daniel Hill
Everything Went Black Everything Went Black has had quite a year - in January it released its debut LP Cycles of Light on LA's Prosthetic Records to massive critical acclaim. Later that same month the band hit the road for its first tour - a nine date run through the Midwest - and most recently played Chicago's "The Rumble" fest alongside some of the biggest names in hardcore. Add to that an opening slot on Ringworm's upcoming tour and it becomes quite clear that the blackened metallic hardcore outfit is quite the force to be reckoned with. The tragic 2011 passing of bassist Shagy Kennedy was a major blow to the band and St. Louis scene, but much of the music on Cycles was written with Kennedy and Everything Went Black's continuing success serves as an appropriate legacy for the much-missed local hero. --Daniel Hill
Overdoser Overdoser tests metallic guitars against vicious percussion, pushing out a brand of deceptively dark hardcore: It treads through swampy water with mid-tempo breaks while shattering monotony with stop-and-go thrashing. This schizophrenic sense of speed builds tension, which is then released by Overdoser's gravel-filled style of lyrical howling. The songs share a solid drive, force-feeding Midwestern hardcore with a suffocating pace and humid melody. Overdoser sprung forth in late 2011, birthing a solid demo in early 2012 and hitting the East Coast for a two-week foray shortly thereafter. The band pinpoints the pounding elements of its genre and magnifies heavy and down-trodden abrasive music with a rip that is uniquely St. Louis. --Joseph Hess
Shaved Women Shaved Women may have taken its name from an early single by British anarcho punks Crass, but the sound is closer in spirit and intent to such Midwestern pioneers as Negative Approach or Drunks with Guns. Lead vocalist Ben Salyers possesses a gravel-throated bark in the finest tradition of John Brannon and Dez Cadena. When Shaved Women slows it down, as on "Static," the combination of heavy riffs and self lacerating introspection brings to mind My War-era Black Flag, thankfully without the excess guitar wankery. Live, Salyers is a compelling presence, forgoing the stage to stalk the audience, yell in people's faces, and generally demolish the fourth wall. --Mike Appelstein
Who Fucking Cares? Who Fucking Cares? Recently seen scrawled on a urinal in a South-city music venue's bathroom: "The Who Fucking Cares Band gives no shits about boring blues covers; you are white nerds. Do something interesting. Stop pretending to be cultured." This sentiment, coupled with the vandalistic medium used in its delivery, essentially sums up much of what fast-as-fuck hardcore punk band Who Fucking Cares? is all about: Not giving a shit, and getting all up in your face about it. Playing a style that is equal parts Poison Idea and Infest, WFC? have charged hard out of the gate in the last year, having already toured repeatedly and self-released a well-received debut seven-inch. With its second seven inch already in the can (recorded at Firebrand Studios, no less) and more tours on the horizon, it is safe to assume Who Fucking Cares? isn't going anywhere - much to the chagrin of public restroom owners city-wide. --Daniel Hill