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Sweat Records' Lauren Reskin's Top Cultural Events of 2011

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As 2011 comes to an end, we're getting all nostalgic about the great

moments in Miami culture that took place over the past year. And we know

we're not alone. So we've asked some of Miami's top artists, writers,

film producers and other cultural geniuses about their favorite 2011


Lauren Reskin, who you might simply know as Lolo, is, among many other things, a successful entrepreneur and a longtime, crowd-drawing DJ. She started up Miami's independent record store Sweat Records in 2005 with friend Sara Yousuf. After Yousuf departed, Lolo carried the musical torch to the present day, delivering Miami's music to the world via the new SweatShop Miami website, and offering us a mainline to the musical world outside of our county borders.

Sweat has been the location of many a cultural event this year, including comedy shows, vegan waffle brunches, and, of course, incredibly unique musical gatherings like an intimate show with Bonnie "Prince" Billy and the annual Sweatstock blowout. Needless to say, when we asked Reskin her top cultural events of 2011, she gave us a list that was musically inclined. She gave us a great taste of what Miami experienced this year sonically.

Fitz & The Tantrums at Culture Room
Since this band's album Pickin' Up the Pieces was released, Reskin says it hasn't left her rotation. "I'm basically obsessed with this band and their live show is fun as hell. The organ and sax players keep it funky and the chemistry between lead singers Fitz and Noelle is sexy and electric."

Bloodshot Bill + Tandoori Knights at The Vagabond
Not the first time King Khan graced the Vagabond stage with insane energy, as Tandoori Knights, he and the rest of the crew made quite an impression on Reskin. "Bloodshot Bill was probably the best one-man-band I've ever seen. He played a crazy awesome hybrid of psychobilly and Looney Tunes vocal sound effects, whilst wearing what looked like prison pajamas." She continued, "Then Bill joined King Khan as Tandoori Knights and brought the house down. The whole club and staff were decked out Bollywood-style and it was just an amazing night."

Philip Glass at New World Center
Reskin calls influential classical composer Philip Glass' Miami performance, "completely mesmerizing." This cousin of This American Life's Ira Glass played off the cuff. "There was no sheet music at all, just the man and a piano with the music flowing out through his fingertips."

Stars + PLAINS at Culture Room
Plains is soon to be a Miami staple, opening in January for Sebadoh along with the Jacuzzi Boys. Reskin says of the headliner of their 2011 show at Culture Room, "This was a warm fuzzy one for me as Stars was one of the first bands I'd ever booked back around 2002 at Two Last Shoes, now the Pickle. They gave me a shout-out from the stage. Squee! They are some of the nicest people ever and their music is uniquely heartfelt and genuine."

Junior Boys at Bardot
Everyone knows that at Bardot, the bouncers'll give you shit if you take video or photos, but we all do it anyway. Canadian duo Junior Boys will even get the stuffiest venue dancing and jamming to their electronic beats. "Their music is just undeniably sexy and the sound that night was pristine." Reskin observes, "I'm sure a ton of people got laid that night."

Rich Aucoin at The Vagabond
Also a Canadian, but more in the indie-pop vein, Rich Aucoin is blowing up all over the interweb -- with the above video having reached 45,000 views - and in concert. "His live shows are hard to do justice to with words - hyperactive, interactive crowd-karaoke comes close." Reskin notes, "He's a super positive person and his shows involve custom visuals, sing-a-longs, confetti guns, parachutes and more. Everyone there definitely had a sweaty, good time."

Crocodiles at The Vagabond
On the noise pop tip, Crocodiles made a special Miami visit this year. Reskin's looking forward to seeing them again. She says,"This band is criminally underrated and their live show was incredible - high energy, passion to spare, tight musicianship."

No Age at Grand Central
As you may know, No Age headlined Sweatstock, Sweat's annual concert, in 2010. Of the L.A. band, Reskin noted, "The turnout at this show could've been better but they're one of my favorite bands. They're great guys and Everything In Between was one of my favorite albums of last year."

Cut Copy at Grand Central
Cut Copy played a few shows in the 305 this year. After an incredible set at Ultra, they performed two consecutive nights at Grand Central. Reskin also saw them more than once in 2011. "I'd caught them weeks before playing to around 30,000 at Austin City Limits, so it was cool to see them in a packed hometown venue. As a long-time fan it was an honor to DJ before they went on."

Manu Chao at Klipsch Amphitheater
A Manu Chao concert in the U.S. is as rare as that of a Yeti spotting. Lucky for us all, he made his way to Miami this year for a huge show. "Was so excited to see Manu Chao after being a fan for years, and big ups to Rhythm Foundation for finally getting him down to Miami." Reskin says of the international rock star, "He had an insane amount of energy and didn't seem to stop bouncing up and down for the entire two plus hour show."

Not all of what Reskin loved reached SoFla.

Arcade Fire at ACL Festival (Austin)
"This show reaffirmed my belief that music is one of the most potent, positive, unifying forces in the universe," raves Reskin of the Grammy Award winners. They clearly lit up ACL this year. "I was feeling so warm and squishy after the show that I actually tapped that into my phone."

Cibo Matto at Bowery Ballroom (NYC)
Catching Cibo Matto in the NYC was for Reskin, "A high school dream-come-true!" Apparently, they mixed some old favorites with new goodies. "Miho Hatori might have the cutest accent ever and her between-song banter made everyone melt." You can see the band was chill enough to hang out with Lolo after the show in the picture all the way at the top.

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