Alex Nelson: A fast-rising one-man-band from Fort Lauderdale, Nelson specializes in hushed tales of heartbreak run through a byzantine setup of knobs and buttons. His style captures the essence of both Dashboard Confessional and, say, the Postal Service, and it works — really works. Late Thursday/early Friday at 1 a.m. in the Lounge at Transit and Friday at 10 p.m. at La Guaracha.

People From Venus: Miami's previously best-kept secret, these Anglophile indie rockers touch on glam and electro with a hefty dose of big hooks. What makes them stand out from the rest of the Brit-loving pack are the outer-spacey melodies and supple, reedy vocals courtesy of frontman Paul Isaac. Friday at 10 p.m. at Mekka Discotekka.

Sol Ruiz: Local girl Ruiz plays what she calls "psychedelic Cuban blues," sometimes solo, often with a rotating backing cast of Miami's best players. With her distinct, almost jazzy vocal inflections and percolating rhythms, her sound is multiculti and artsy while still being radio-ready. Thursday at 9 p.m. outside Waxy O'Connor's; Friday at 9 p.m. at Mekka Goddess; and Saturday at 11 p.m. in the Lounge at Transit.

Boston's Mindwalk Blvd. features YouTube sensation Tyler Hudson (far right) on drums.
Boston's Mindwalk Blvd. features YouTube sensation Tyler Hudson (far right) on drums.


Miami Music Festival: Thursday, December 10, through Saturday, December 12. Various downtown Miami venues. Public showcases begin at 8 p.m. each night. Three-day wristbands cost $50, or $35 for students. One-day wristbands cost $25, or $20 for students. Individual showcases cost $10;

Cat Shell: This flaxen-haired chanteuse recently decamped to Miami Beach from her old Boca turf. She remains popular all over the tri-county area for jazz-pop infused with a bluesy tang that's mature beyond her young years. Thursday at midnight in the Lounge at Transit and Friday at midnight at Wallflower Gallery.

Shonie: One of Slip-N-Slide's most recent discoveries, Shonie brings frank talk back to R&B. Rather than sing with her head in the clouds, Shone gives it to you straight from a female perspective, as she did with her minor Internet hit earlier this year, a somewhat salacious response song to Jeremih's "Birthday Sex." Late Thursday/early Friday at 1 a.m. at Ecco Lounge.

Shawn Snyder: This local rambling 20-something is one of South Florida's most preternaturally talented singer-songwriters, with a jangling blend of folk-rock that lives up to the legacy of those he name-checks as influences, including James Taylor and Paul Simon. Last December, we named his Romantic's Requiem one of the top local albums of 2008. Thursday at 9 p.m. at Mekka Discotekka; Friday at 10 p.m. at Havana Dreams; and late Saturday/early Sunday at 1 a.m. in the Lounge at Transit.

Eric Stinnett: Remember the good old days of now-classic '90s R&B, before much of the genre got slightly creepy? Stinnett does, and he does a bang-up job of bringing those good feelings back, through jazzy, soulful songwriting and instrumentation. Actually, without calling it "neo-soul," his music should appeal to fans of artists such as Musiq Soulchild. Saturday at midnight at Red Bar.

Stonefox: Imagine Led Zeppelin, Howlin' Wolf, and any number of obscure garage rock 'n' roll bands reincarnated in the bodies of four skinny kids from the Boca burbs. If that sounds like hyperbole, catch their live show, where hands go in the air and amps go to 11. Saturday at 9 p.m. outside Tobacco Road.

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