New Band: Meet the RFT Music Award Nominees



The 2013 Riverfront Times Music Showcase is tomorrow! Think of it as St. Louis music's own official holiday, and consider this the season. Throughout May we at RFT Music have been working hard to make our cases for all 130 bands and artists nominated for an RFT Music Award this year in 26 categories.

Read on and get yourself acquainted, and we'll see you at the showcase! Check out this post for the full schedule. Then, create your own showcase schedule with this handy custom scheduler, courtesy of the fine folks at

At present the forecast is looking a little ominous, but we have plans in the works to deal with Mother Nature's wrath -- don't let a little rain scare you away.

Vote for all categories at the official 2013 RFT Music Showcase Readers' Poll. You can also use your phone to vote via text. Check out this handy guide with instructions how!

Previously: - Punk - Post Hardcore - Rock - Soul/Funk - Jazz - Hard Rock - Hardcore - R&B - Singer/Songwriter - Pop - Indie Rock - Psych - Folk - Electronic/Dance - Experimental - Cover - Country - Blues - Chamber Pop - Metal - Americana

  • Courtesy of Allan Crain

Acorns to Oaks

The twisted mind of Chris Ward, which already brought us St. Louis' funniest Twitter of the year, is the same brain behind the strange folk/synth hybrid Acorns to Oaks. Sitting behind and stomping on a tiny bass drum while practically bursting out of his skin with his singing and guitar strumming, Ward is a sight to behold in concert. His absurdist, impassioned comedic voice shines through on songs like "Every Day Gets A Little Bit Worse," and his ballad about Patrick Swayze, but a heartbreakingly sincere song about a dog and death proves that this is not a joke band. Ward's lyrical idiosyncrasies and Win Butler-esque yelp will be matched one last time at the RFT Music Showcase by Kate Peterson's operatic voice and arsenal of instruments (keyboards, accordions and Theremins, oh my!), and Matt Champion's impressive vocals are not to be discounted. -Bob McMahon


Good Luck at the Hog Slaughter

Jim Fitzpatrick leads with bright, angular guitar and throaty vocals. His band's lyrics read like poetry while six strings complement with melodic upheaval. Good Luck at the Hog Slaughter plays on nostalgia by recalling bands like Pavement and Fugazi. Drummer Chris Gorka tears through the kit, moving from powered jazz to twitchy punk. Every member does their fair share of heavy lifting as each song moves in flux through heady sections. Punchy bass keeps the affair grounded with solid rhythm, and it works as an extension of Gorka's percussion. Good Luck at the Hog Slaughter reaches for a middle ground between progressive rock and punk, and it thankfully grips its songs with tight precision. -Joseph Hess


Lumpy and the Dumpers

This one-man band from Belleville, Illinois, turned overnight punk-blog sensation plays more local shows that almost any band in the city's history. (Besides, of course, when a philharmonic comes to town for a couple-month run.) Lumpy & the Dumpers creeps and gurgles its way into your brain with slime-covered catchiness. In the past year two tapes have been released, and Lumpy is in negotiations with various labels to put out a full-length as the band continues to leave a smelly trail between St. Louis DIY spots and the best basements/skate parks America has to offer. One, two, fuck you; face the meat! -Jimmy Eberle


Rat Heart

Rat Heart is St. Louis' answer to bands that put more emphasis on the "rock" in punk rock, like Radio Birdman or the first Replacements LP Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash. The infectious simplicity of the band's songs really lets its members get wild live, like the MC5 if they all lost 40 pounds and the singer was anchored to a mic by his guitar's instrument cable. Regardless, Rat Heart is a fresh breath of life in the overcrowded market of rock & roll revival acts, especially in a blues-obsessed city like ours. -Jimmy Eberle


Town Cars

After serving as a sidewoman in countless St. Louis bands over the past few years, Melinda Cooper grabs a guitar and takes center stage in her new project, Town Cars. As befitting of someone who has played in bands that span many genres, Cooper is as at ease writing mid-tempo alt-country as she is with hard-charging rock. The common denominator is Cooper's sweet-but-tough voice that cleanly cuts through the mix. This extends to her live shows, which range from solo gigs to affairs featuring her many friends and collaborators, depending on who is available that night. Town Cars proves what we've all suspected: Melinda Cooper is as good a songwriter as the many musicians she backs up. -Bob McMahon

Previously: - Punk - Post Hardcore - Rock - Soul/Funk - Jazz - Hard Rock - Hardcore - R&B - Singer/Songwriter - Pop - Indie Rock - Psych - Folk - Electronic/Dance - Experimental - Cover - Country - Blues - Chamber Pop - Metal - Americana

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