Despite what the new Furious Dudes album may say, Florida is awesome. You know the party line: We're so far removed from the rest of the country that we can't help but have our own distinct sensibility. That home-brewed style drips all over everything we produce, including music. Especially music.
Now here are three new South Florida releases from Jacuzzi Boys, Love Handles, and the Jameses that flagrantly display their subtropical heritage. P.S. You can see all three bands together on one stage at Respectables this Saturday. Check the cut for reviews and show details.
Jacuzzi Boys ― "Bricks or Coconuts" 7-inch (Mexican Summer)
If it ain't broke, don't fix it ― especially when the club girls are busting out Beach Party '69 dance moves. This EP is the Boys' first record since its critically lauded No Seasons on Florida's Dying. And if there were a way to fuse this record onto that one, you might not know the difference. The formula is tight and successful: often undistorted surf-jangle guitar, vocals that sound like Mick Jagger by way of Cousin It, party-time bass grooves, and a danceable rhythm section. The A-side is summery pop, the B-side a little heavier on the garage rock churn. No Seasons set the Jacuzzi Boys apart from the garage rock masses, and this new single is a strong sign they're not resting on their laurels. Get "Bricks or Coconuts" at Sweat Records.
Love Handles ― 11 Songs (Self-released free download)
Love Handles is a parallel project from two-thirds of Palm Beach County's Cop City/Chill Pillars. The signature Chillest Pillar stomp and caveman boogie rock is all over these songs, but there's also a simple pop sensibility. Where the Pillars go for the throat, Love Handles indulges in slow-paced bummer breakdowns. They're also spinning hooks, both vocal and instrumental, like nobody's business. The songs are effectively short (great for repeat play) and cover a lot of ground (anthemic, brooding, psych) with delightfully sparse arrangements. The band has been circulating this collection of recordings on the internet. And despite it's informal "release," it's one of the best local albums of 2010. Download 11 Songs here.
Jameses ― "The Haunted Rider" and "Rat People"
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The Jameses are part of the West Palm and Lake Worth wave of new music. There are a lot of bands, including Cop City/Chill Pillars, Band In Heaven, the Dewars, and Guy Harvey. And while the groups all play guitar-bass-drums-and-occasional-keyboard rock, each one distinguishes itself with signature style. When it comes to the Jameses, contemporary fuzz is applied to late '90s indie rock. "Rat People" is a feel good jam with well placed synthesizer burs and whizzes, and a dash of swirling psychedelia. "The Haunted Rider" sounds like slowed down Husker-Du (which I guess means it also sounds a bit like R.E.M., in a good way) with dreamy "doo doo doo" and "ooo la la" vocals. Not sure if the singer really needs all that reverb, but unnecessarily effected vocals is one of the ubiquitous crimes of rock 'n' roll, so why bother complaining. A great sounding record with equally great cover art.Get "The Haunted Rider" and "Rat People" at Sweat Records.
-- Matt Preira
Jacuzzi Boys, Love Handles, and the Jameses. Saturday, October 9. Respectable Street, 518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. Doors open at 8 p.m. respectablestreet.com