Guerillas in the mix

For now Beta Bodega is just a label and a group of kindred artists, but Castro hopes that after disseminating information, eventually its activities will move into the realm of action, helping to guide a locally-based pan-Hispanic movement, using electronic music as a common bond. In the immediate realm, Castro and Garrido helm a record-release party for B2 on Wednesday, September 8, at the Gables's Meza Gallery. The evening features a gathering of the local turntablist tribes; it also highlights the growing schizophrenia of Miami's breakbeat scientists, with producers and DJs now adopting two, three, even four different names. Keeping up with the array of aliases can be a bit dizzying, so let's just say that the MC-ing of Kenyatta, or Hi-Fi, or whatever he's calling himself this week, should be one of the bill's high points. Using a ragga-tinged smooth flow over Haviken Hayes's quick-time hip-hop, the two combine headily. Phoenecia engages in a little auditory mitosis, with each member of the duo performing solo, while Wreck, Tamber & Red-C, Twonky, and Cookieheadz also throw down. Serving as the headliner for the evening is Jake Mandell, one of the mainstays of the burgeoning "intelligent dance music" (idm) scene, whose creepy-crawly rhythmic constructions should have the crowd twitching in tandem. Idm is certainly a silly moniker, almost as goofy as "indie rock" (and not just because it implies that non-intelligent dance music grooves are, well, stupid). But it's a term that's here, and if it helps earmark the more experimental, avant-garde schools of sound percolating on the margins of the postrave milieu, so be it.

A grand doyen of the world of drum and bass -- England's Grooverider -- makes his way to Beatcamp at the Mission on Thursday, September 2. Indeed Grooverider is regarded as such a tastemaker that his DJ sets are often looked to as a harbinger of changing styles. Case in point: the seething mood and cavalry-on-the-warpath rhythms of hardstep that Grooverider helped popularize as a successor to more overtly hip-hop-flavored drum and bass. But Grooverider's most recent recorded work, 1998's Mysteries of Funk album, was a decisive shift to a more subdued, jazzy terrain that left few people happy. In fact the true mystery of funk on that record seemed to be its literal absence. Instead we got hamfisted swathes of airy fusion-era keyboards laid atop clichéd downward strokes, a clumsy crossover nod toward the Cristal-quaffing massive. With luck his Beatcamp set, freed of any chart concerns, will be a bit more satisfying.

Rick Garrido (left) and Steven Castro of Beta Bodega label, serving up truth, justice, and mad crazy beats
Steve Satterwhite
Rick Garrido (left) and Steven Castro of Beta Bodega label, serving up truth, justice, and mad crazy beats

The underground-music landmark Churchill's celebrates its twentieth anniversary this month, and appropriately, owner Dave Daniels has scheduled the appearance of several ghosts from Miami's rock past to grace the stage at the famed Little Haiti bar. Friday, September 3, sees the return of the Drug Czars, the veritable Blind Faith of South Florida's punk scene. Featuring singer Michael O'Brien (known as the frontman of early '80s legends the Eat, whose "Communist Radio" sits comfortably alongside "Louie Louie" as one of the truly great garage-stomp anthems of our age), drummer Chuck Loose, guitarist Jeff Hodapp, and bassist "Markey Awesome," the Drug Czars have a combined résumé that stands as a de facto history of some the most interesting leather-jacketed outfits to have kicked around these parts. This is no nostalgia act though; if their most recent seven-inch is any indication, the band members still howl with as much feedback-laden buzz as ever. On Saturday, September 4, another seminal cult figure arrives at Churchill's in the form of Charlie Pickett, whose fusion of punk spit and roots-rock fervor was unfortunately about fifteen years ahead of its time. Few other band leaders could move as effortlessly from opening for X in front of a slamdancing crowd to dueting with Michael Stipe on a tender country-inflected Velvet Underground cover.

Send your music news, local releases, and general gunk to Brett Sokol at 2800 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33137. Fax to 305-571-7678 or e-mail brett_sokol@miaminewtimes.com

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