After watching Trick Daddy's last album, www.thug.com, go gold, and seeing his leering mug plastered all over MTV, the Box, and BET, it's safe to say Miami's hip-hop scene has definitely found life after Luke. Not that Trick Daddy himself sounds too happy about his newfound fame and fortune: On his most recent release, Book of Thugs, when he's not snapping at so-called friends and lovers looking for a free ride on his coattails, he's railing at America at large for its unwillingness to see members of the black community as anything beyond subhuman, no matter how high on the socioeconomic ladder they may climb. He's not exactly breaking any new ground here (no less than three of the album's songs feature the word 'ho in the title), but as long as he keeps setting his gripes and fierce tales of ghetto-ology to these infectiously head-nodding grooves and post-bass beats, we're more than happy to stifle any wishes for a kinder, gentler Trick Daddy.
Among the warehouses just west of Biscayne Boulevard and north of the Design District lives birdman (a.k.a. Sean Gould). Since graduating in 1987 from Clemson University with an English degree, the six-foot-four blond-haired Gould has been honing the art of what he calls "urban pioneering." What this amounts to: moving into a blighted or barren city landscape and launching a homegrown rock club. The latest incarnation is the musical compound he now inhabits at 6720 NE Fourth Ave. He calls it birdneststudio. Since December 1999 Gould has been manning the mixing board and playing MC during live recording sessions of local rock bands at the warehouse. Birdneststudio is at once a recording facility, a rehearsal space, a live venue, and a home. Gould got the impresario bug while working with old-school production and engineering legend Tom Dowd, whom he met during a 1995 recording project in Miami. With area rock venues in short supply, birdman's base of operations keeps the embers of local talent smoldering.
In a city of conga players, bell clangers, and maracas shakers, Brazilian percussionist Claudio Silva stands apart. The largest country in Latin America, Brazil also boasts the greatest number of percussion instruments, from the Amazonian rattle to the booming surdo of the samba schools. Silva dominates them all. The versatile musician got his start at the age of twelve, playing Afro-Brazilian folk music in his native Rio de Janeiro. Since then he has been an important figure on the Brazilian bossa nova and jazz scene in the United States, recording with heavyweights such as Bob Moses, David Byrne, John Zorn, and Gil Santos. He lends his talented hands to Miami musicians Angela Patua and Orlando Landinho when not touring with his own jazz ensemble, named for the famous Brazilian tamborim player Esgoleba. Silva came to the United States in 1978, playing regularly in clubs like the Blue Note in New York City and Café Brasil in New Orleans before settling permanently in Miami in 1994. His accomplishments in jazz have not taken him away from the more popular traditions. He founded the first samba school in the United States in New York City's Lower East Side and this past April debuted with a new samba band, So Samba, at the Carna Bay Brazilian festival at Bayfront Park.
Once again Rat Bastard's cacophonous collective Laundry Room Squelchers are tops in Miami noise. Not that there aren't other noise artists doing notable things, such as Monotract, which performed to a packed house with Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore at the Knitting Factory in New York City. But no one wants to destroy rock and roll more than Rat Bastard and his pack of merry Squelchers. And this year the crew has done wonders to bring its special brand of musical deconstruction to the public. Not only do the Squelchers continue to hold court at Churchill's Hideaway every Thursday night (where Rat has produced noise under one moniker or another for nearly a decade and a half), but they also released a new disc, Drunker Than Pollard. Named in tribute to Guided by Voices frontman and Bastard buddy Robert Pollard, the CD-ROM album is a subtle 36 hours (that's right, a day and a half) of noise. If that weren't enough, Rat showcases some of the strangest sounds ever broadcast from midnight to 2:00 a.m. each Sunday during eyeQradio.com's Laundry Room show. The generous Bastard wanted to share his "music" firsthand with the rest of the nation, so recently the Squelchers (all six guitarists and a percussionist) embarked on a two-week tour, clearing bars and shattering eardrums coast to coast.
Since 1989 the "mystic thunder" of Loray Mistik has boomed all over town. Led by Papaloko (Jude Thegenus), the self-crowned king of vodou pop, this ten-piece band mixes traditional vodou rhythms with West African percussion, rock and roll, blues, and hip-hop. A painter, political commentator, and cultural promoter as well as band leader, Thegenus instituted the full-moon drumming circle on Miami Beach in 1992. His Papaloko persona joined the Drum Society to release the independently produced CD Full Moon Energy in 1996, a haunting assortment of West African rhythms from Yorubaland. With Loray Mistik Papaloko released Ti Moun Yo in 1998, a collection of politically inflected tunes addressing issues ranging from the plight of children in Haiti to police brutality against black men in the United States. The hardest-working band in the Haitian roots business, Loray Mistik is a festival favorite, playing at events from Metrozoo's Feast with the Beasts to Calle Ocho to a roots fest in Trinidad. Their righteous rasin sound currently reverberates on weekend nights through the elegantly revamped Power Studios.
Principal singer/songwriter Todd Thompson and his bandmates guitarist Sean Edelson, drummer Ari Schantz, and bassist Brad Berman maintain a busy schedule performing their insightful tunes, an array of pleasant rock melodies combined with deft lyric writing. A favorite among South Florida's live-music fans, the foursome emerged victorious against several other local groups in the Lucky Strike Band-to-Band Combat competition recently held in Miami. Listen to their debut CD Greetings from Lemon City. Songs such as the up-tempo "Killing Mr. Watson," the jazzy "I'm Okay," and the moving ballad "No Roof But Heaven" will climb out of the stereo and give you instant insight as to why the Bomb is a blast of a pop outfit.
It was 1997 and the lawn around the cosmic house of rock was shaggy and rife with worn-out musical monikers. But bassist and songwriter Chris DeAngelis (formerly of The No, Raw B. Jae and The Liquid Funk, and The Whistling Tin Heads) was determined to find a fresh one for a new ensemble. He had his work cut out for him. Sharp and focused as a machete blade, he mowed through hundreds of band names, maybe more. Our rockological botanist then painstakingly classified the specimens into lexicological piles. There were bands named after colors, numbers, ordinary objects, historical events, and famous people. Others derived from puns or double-entendres. Some contained the words band or brothers or even deliberate misspellings. And there were many more. With the yard thus denuded into a tabula rasalike state, he began to dig and soon struck pay dirt. "We wanted a name that was bombastic yet self-deprecating, with slight comic-book-hero overtones," DeAngelis explains. "It needed to be a name that reflected the humorous, offbeat attitude of the songs we play." He also wanted the first word to begin with A, "because when folks go to a record store, they usually start browsing at the beginning of the alphabet." He notes one downside to the band's nona-syllabic handle: "Drunk people sometimes have trouble remembering it."
How the planet's greatest living Latin-jazz flutist made it in and out of town with barely a passing notice is one of those mysteries peculiar to South Florida. Indeed late this past winter Dave Valentin, woodwind-player extraordinaire, ascended the stage of Miami Beach's Van Dyke Café for two nights of soul-altering performances. During the February 27 and February 28 evening gigs, Valentin's musicianship propelled local talents Don Wilner (bass), James Martin (drums), and Mike Orta (piano) to higher levels of play. Switching back and forth between a variety of different flutes, both wooden and metallic, the Puerto Rican Bronx native offered his audience something closer to a quasi-religious cleansing than a passive listening experience. Valentin, who incorporated Afro-Cuban Yoruba chants to his introductions of classics like Mongo Santamaria's "Afro-Blue," whipped the typically sedate Van Dyke crowd into a whooping and hollering frenzy.
Miami: heat, entropy, and the concomitant disintegration of form. We love it. Want to love it more? Try a little dramatic tension. Have some bona fide sonic structure with your sweltering decomposition, and meet the people who can give it to you. For the steamy drive home, tune in to WTMI's The Open Road, weekday afternoons 3:00 until 7:00 p.m. Hosted by baritone vocalist Mark Hart, it is the show to put on to keep a cool and thoughtful head, especially if your air conditioner is busted. Broadcast from various locations about town, the Road not only doles out a daily dose of the tradition's staples, it also showcases interviews with South Florida's classical talent. Deborah Voigt, soprano for the Florida Grand Opera; Judy Drucker, director of the Concert Association of Florida; and world-famous baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky have been recent guests.
The shrill whistle, the rumble of the engine rolling down the tracks. It's 8:00 on a Sunday night. Ted Grossman takes his usual seat as conductor of the Night Train on WLRN. As he has every week for 25 years, Grossman leads a four-hour journey through his deep collection of vintage jazz recordings. There's no chronological restriction to what he'll play -- he might spin a tune from the 1920s followed by a track released in 1989 -- but WWII-era music dominates. Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, and perhaps Bing Crosby as Dick Tracy in a radio play culled from Grossman's archive of Armed Forces Radio Services broadcasts. In his distinctive foggy voice, and with his awesome selection of crooners and swing stylists, Grossman reminds his loyal listeners that not all musical memories in this town emanate from Havana.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®