Despite what the new Furious Dudes album might say, Florida is awesome. It's awesome because it's weird. 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. And here are five new South Florida releases that flagrantly display their subtropical heritage. The records are all available at Sweat, the tape through Augurari, and the free download from the web.
This Heart Electric: "Polar" and "Nowhere to Run" seven-inch (die Stasi)
Ricardo Guerrero is a man of many hats. He is the cofounder of electro-punk duo Animals of the Arctic, curator of the annual local music showcase Death to the Sun, Psychic Youth collaborator, and minister of the low-end (he plays bass) in the band Hahahelp. What else could you ask for? How about gloomy, goth-night synth punk? Your wish is his command.
Miami local music releases
Jacuzzi Boys: "Bricks or Coconuts" seven-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 their critically lauded No Seasons on Florida's Dying. And if there was a way to fuse this record onto that one, you might not know the difference. 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.
Jameses: "The Haunted Rider" and "Rat People"
The Jameses are part of the West Palm and Lake Worth wave of new music, which includes a lot of bands, like 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. 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.
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Diane Ream/Nags Head split cassette (Augurari)
This tape is the debut release from Miami-based label Augurari. And, according to the catalog, both groups are "fictional" bands cooked up by the same "unnamed" visual artist. The music (or noise, or sound, depending on who's talking) is the product of various process-based exercises, and the song titles give much insight into both the methodology and what you're going to hear. Examples: "Fire a Pistol at an Amp," "Play Drums in the Next Room," "Belt Sand a Mic to the Cord," and "Drive Through the Country, Hold a Mic Out the Window."
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 Pillars' 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. The band has been circulating this collection of recordings on the Internet. And despite its informal "release," it's one of the best local albums of 2010.