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Local Heroes

Modernage
Sure, when you hear the name Modernage, you may think of pricey white leather sofas with matching ottomans and not necessarily rock and roll. But that's where you're dead wrong. The band that bears the same name will have you bopping and swaying in that La-Z-Boy. Modernage plays semidark, danceable postpunk with isolating, pull-at-your-heartstrings guitars, and the singer's deadpan delivery and melodies are moody as Interpol. They'll sell you on their sound before you even think about that financing fee. -- Terra Sullivan
Modernage performs at 10:00 p.m. Thursday, June 17, at Liquor Lounge, 1560 Collins Ave, Miami Beach. Call 305-672-7171.

Maze, Anthony Hamilton
Maze, led by vocalist Frankie Beverly, is as familiar as a beloved summer shirt or a favorite winter jacket. Who hasn't sung along to "Before I Let Go" or "Joy and Pain"? During their heyday in the late Seventies and Eighties, they made universal records that are timeless; you can still hear their music being played in clubs, right next to R. Kelly's "Happy People." Need one more reason to step in the name of love when the band plays in Miami this Friday? Get to the show early and check out Anthony Hamilton, a new jack who released his critically acclaimed sophomore album, Comin' From Where I'm From, late last year. Though nothing on this smooth, soulful excursion is as memorable as Maze's "Back in Stride," his heart's in the right place, as song titles such as "Cornbread, Fish and Collard Greens" demonstrate. -- Mosi Reeves
Maze and Anthony Hamilton perform at 7:00 p.m. Friday, June 18, at James L. Knight Center, 400 SE 2nd Ave. Tickets range from $45.75 to $60.75. Call 305-372-4634.

Poplife's Fifth Anniversary
As if anyone needed another reason to visit the always-packed Poplife, this Saturday is its fifth anniversary party. One highlight of the evening should be a performance by Funkstörung, the German duo who pioneered a fusion of hip-hop and IDM back in the late Nineties with their Wu-Tang Clan and Björk remixes. They've since converted to a less challenging brand of electronic soul (along with Slicker, Telefon Tel Aviv, and just about everyone else), and more than a few of their fans were disappointed with their recent Disconnectedalbum. But give the group a chance. You can always freak out to the fun, kitschy sounds of Ursula 1000 afterward. -- Mosi Reeves
Funkstörung performs during Poplife's fifth anniversary party at 9:00 p.m. Saturday, June 19, at I/O, 30 NE 14th St. Call 305-358-8007.

The Remnants
In a sea of unsigned local talent, self-promotion is everything. Learn a lesson from the Remnants, who describe themselves as a "generic rock quartet out of North Miami offering up another sad rehash of three-chord rock and roll à la the Rolling Stones." Self-deprecation aside, the band is actually a soulful mix of Johnny Thunders-style rock and roll fronted by a heady, goosebump-inducing female singer. With vocals as soothing as Otis Redding's "Cigarettes and Coffee" and as tongue-in-cheek as Chrissie Hynde, the group has emerged from the mass of bar bands to offer up a healthy dose of memorable music. -- Terra Sullivan
The Remnants, the Creepy T's, and Mr. Entertainment perform at 10:00 p.m. Saturday, June 19, at Broadway Billiards, 17813 Biscayne Blvd, Aventura. Tickets cost $5. Call 305-931-1900.

Bembeya Jazz
Bembeya Jazz, a twelve-piece from Guinea, is one of Africa's most storied dance bands, providing the rhythm for this impoverished West African nation. The band formed in 1958 when Marxist president Ahmad Sekou Toure commissioned an indigenous arts movement to remove French culture from Guinea once and for all. With French imperialism as a subject for more than a few of its songs, Bembeya Jazz became an immediate hit, rivaling Orchestra Baobab in north Senegal as one of the continent's greatest acts. Led by a trifecta of guitarists, notably Sekou "Diamond Fingers" Diabate, whose Hawaiian slide work is to this day virtually unmatched, and a brass section that gave the group a Cuban twang, the group literally defined Afropop for decades.

Bembeya Jazz split in 1988, mostly for financial reasons, but it reassembled in 2002 to record a self-titled comeback album. Though most of its members are now pushing 70, it continues to provide a soundtrack for the motherland. -- Chris Coomey
Bembeya Jazz, Lavoisier Experience, Jude Papaloko, Roberto Poveda, Kailash, and several others perform at 5:00 p.m. Monday, June 21, at Brickell Village Cafe, 5 SW 11th St. Call 305-672-5202.


Climber
Downtown Loop (Botanica del Jibaro)

Downtown Loop mostly consists of tasty, DJ-friendly instrumental hip-hop tracks. There's the nifty "Café con Piernas," an acoustic guitar number that wedges together two different beats that are both equally scintillating; and "GetAway," which brilliantly appropriates Steely Dan's signature rhythm track. They're all seemingly made in fun, as the song title for the six-minute suite "Jesus Fixed My Car," which creeps along at a DJ Shadow-like pace, indicates, although the slow and melodic nature of Climber's tracks suggests deeper emotions. Check out "Monday Morning," where local MC Serum provides Downtown Loop's sole vocal appearance: "I schizophrenically conversate with myself in the mirror and hear everything I'm supposed to ignore." -- Mosi Reeves

 
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