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.
Bug Chaser Hailing from the state streets of South City, Bug Chaser continue to fill the gaping void for fans of organic krautrock and intergalactic psychedelia. While its effective use of repetition recalls the trance-inducing hooks of Can and Neu!, the band's fluid motion easily transitions to the unrelenting progression of psychedelic forefathers Chrome and Hawkwind. Where contemporary bands often lose themselves in the endless monotony of weed-filled jams, Bug Chaser focuses its songwriting into a dynamic blend of warring guitar riffery and syncopated rhythm. Offset by vocalist Pat Grosch's teen-wolf howl, the band jettisons forward through eight-minute songs with a hard-edged gnarl not of this world. Unlike the analog elite of the 1970s, guitarist Jake Jones and soundscape artist Jeff White's full embrace of the digital age allows their innovative production and on-point sampling to bloom into a sonic collage of futuristic proportion. --Josh Levi
Magic City The champion qualities of rock and roll music are hard to wield. So it goes in a genre that has a powerful market penetration, with too few artists to truly represent its elements. Larry Bulawsky stands at the helm of Magic City with a cavernous howl, often donning the guitar to exude style and honest-to-goodness skill. Psychedelics spread from the fingers of JJ Hamon, who brings forth an extra-terrestrial hum through six strings and lap-steels. Magic City sounds striking both on record and in person, with Adam Hesed working as the rock & roll organ donor and bassist Anne Tkach voiding any weak spots with strong, melodic lines. Their performance is a sacred rock ritual, both feverish and classic in its delivery. --Joseph Hess
Pillow Talk No-contest (it wasn't even close) winners of the "We Sound Nothing Like Our Name" sweepstakes, Pillow Talk skips the whisper and cuts straight to the scream. Lay your head down beside this South City band and it will split your skull open. The group's thundering and gurgling bass, bestial and bent guitars, demonic singing and pounded-to-pieces, time-shifting drumming is as heavy and unhinged as the local punk scene gets. Drummer Mike Hansen and singer Jeff Robtoy formed the band out of the shattered Glass Teeth, tightening up the edges of the noisemaking while preserving all the babbling insanity of a pure primal scream of some doomed metalhead's nightmare. --Roy Kasten
Tone Rodent The thrilling use of controlled chaos amidst down-tempo rhythm spells truth for Tone Rodent's cult of noise. Blistering feedback merges with milky synthesizer, and the swarm of whirling guitars tug at the innards. Vocalist Adam Watkins beckons with lyrical mysticism, while guitarist Jeff Robtoy plays with electric fire. Tone Rodent is a band to be felt, for the wall of melody mates with a keen sense of texture. The use of repetition bathes each song in aural solitude, and with time the parts grow familiar and singular. Ashley Hohmann works in a double layer of percussion and voice, working as the auxiliary for deliberate pieces of psychdelia. Tone Rodent sweats a contemporary sound through the heavy pores of rock music. --Joseph Hess
Troubadour Dali Attracted equally to the fuzzed out psych-pop of the late-'80s and the unfolding walls of early-'90s shoegaze, Troubadour Dali remains one of the premiere psychedelic bands in the city. Filtered through a wall of reverb and fog, the band's music readily redefines the birth of cool with its lackadaisical melody-driven rock and the unwavering songwriting of Ben Hinn and Kevin Bachmann. Although the influence of bands like the Jesus and Mary Chain, Brian Jonestown Massacre, and Dandy Warhols is apparent, Troubadour Dali sets itself apart with a tasteful mix of radiating guitar solos, swashes of white noise and bewildering acoustic instrumentation. Drifting in and out of consciousness, its songs ease into the ether with a lackadaisical strut, never slipping into silence or lacking intensity. --Josh Levi