The 2014 Riverfront Times Music Showcase will be held this year on June 7 in the Grove! Think of it as St. Louis music's own official holiday and consider this the season. Throughout May we at RFT Music will be making our cases for all 140 bands and artists nominated for an RFT Music Award this year, so that you will be able to make a fully informed decision with regards to your vote. Read on and get yourself acquainted, and we'll see you at the showcase!
See also: Vote Now For the 2014 RFT Music Awards
Once, when directors hated their movies, they'd release them under the pseudonym "Alan Smithee." Now they just release them to Netflix. The only thing St. Louis band Alan Smithee likely hates about its ouvre is that it's not loud enough, because titanic, screaming, shredding noise-metal can never be loud enough. Alan Smithee doesn't play metal so much as it punishes it for the sake of all our sins. With crushingly cathartic vocal howls, mathematically advanced riffage, a brutalizing rhythm section and songs that are admirably concise in their attack, Alan Smithee takes its take-no-prisoners sound seriously. -Christian Schaeffer
Like the greatest bands of its ilk, Anodes lives on the edge of impending collapse. The quartet taps into the cathartic scariness of screamo's forefathers, pushing the intense end of its dynamic to a collective breaking point and reassembling the scraps via reserved, atmospheric passages that would not feel out of place on an Isis record. The contrast works because Anodes never relaxes. Listening to a gorgeous interlude in a song like "Fall and Rise" is akin to staring at the pretty flame eating up the fuse of a bomb. We all know it's going to explode, but the tension is its own reward. -Ryan Wasoba
A little bit math-rocky, a little bit yacht-rocky, a little bit impossible-to-pin-down, Foxing may be the biggest buzz band in St. Louis since So Many Dynamos (Ryan Wasoba of that band and of the RFT has engineered for Foxing), though that may not be saying much. Its debut album, The Albatross, was just re-released (in remixed and remastered form) by New York label Triple Crown Records, and the band is currently touring North America with Seahaven and Adventures. Foxing's national notices (including love from Pitchfork and Noisey) are surely well deserved. Its inspired blend of blurry chamber-pop with emo vocal-shredding and guitar noise makes for an impressive (and frequently downright pretty) deconstruction. -Roy Kasten
Heavy Horse is heavy indeed; the trio takes the raw-throated vitriol of hardcore and channels it through the structure-blurring methods of post-rock. The songs on 2013's A Dialogue Between Us can be slinky and sludgy ("Never Forgotten, Always Changed") or take the form of a pneumatic squall ("Tomahawk"). Members Jordan Lake (guitar), Seth Rodgers (bass) and Dominick Valli (drums) share vocal duty, and when their voices (and instruments) combine, the full weight of this project is felt, viscerally. With a new record due out soon, Heavy Horse intends to keep making music that is as hard and heavy as it is nimble and spry. -Christian Schaeffer
Several local bands are now accepting the once-shunned classification of "emo," but Laika seems to be owning it in the most punk-rock way. The young quartet fits the bill, all knotty and mathy and finger-tappy (it's 2014, can we start saying "angular" again yet?), but these kids are as scrappy as they come, applying caffeinated energy to oddly mature influences. Once-forgotten bands like Circle Takes the Square and Bear Vs. Shark are fitting references, likely featured on these youngins' iPods. As evidenced by its well-received opening slot for Tera Melos last fall, Laika's sets are already semi-vulgar displays of rawness and vulnerability. It's only a matter of time until the crowds catch up and turn Laika shows into loud, fast group-therapy sessions. -Ryan Wasoba
Previously: - DJ - Noise - Hard Rock - Folk - Hip-Hop (Solo) - Soul/Funk - Indie Rock - Psych - Americana - Country - Pop - New Band - Indie-Pop - Singer/Songwriter - R&B - Jazz - Hip-Hop (Group) - Garage Rock - Blues