One of the Nineties' more beloved Miami underground rock outfits returns with a vault-scraping collection: previously unreleased studio sessions from 1997, a live-on-WLRN-FM set from 1992 (yes, Virginia, WLRN once aired rock and roll amid the NPR gabbing), and from that same year, a raucous live show from the now-defunct Beach club Washington Square. As this CD's title implies, the Holy Terrors have disbanded (keep your eyes peeled for the latest Interpol video on MTV and you'll spy Terrors drummer Sam Fogarino thumping away), but the music here is by no means of historical interest only. Underneath the paint-peeling Pixies-ish onslaught of guitars, and singer Rob Elba's often-shrieked vocals, is an unerring sense of songcraft. If nothing else, this was a group that knew a killer pop hook definitely makes the bitter medicine go down. For old fans, this archival release is a welcome reminder of the Holy Terrors' fearsome attack. For newcomers, it's proof the words Miami and genuinely exciting rock haven't always been mutually exclusive.

Speaking of love, it's hard not to amour Rose Max when she sings, for example, "Speaking of Love" ("Falando de Amor") or any of those Brazilian jazz standards that make us so happy we could cry. One night she woos you with her bossa nova and samba amid the couches and candlelight of the Van Dyke Café's dreamy upstairs room. On another her renditions of Seventies pop songs in the cheesy bar at Porçao get you and your sisters cluster-dancing, arm-waving, and singing along. Husband Ramatis Morães provides Max's lush bed of guitar chords. Whatever the venue, everybody is in seventh heaven; that is, major-seventh and minor-seventh, those magical chords that can at once relax, energize, sadden, and enrapture, as master Brazilian songwriters Antonio Carlos Jobim, Newton Mendonça, and others discovered. Max, a native of Rio de Janeiro, was practically singing before she was born. Her great-grandfather was conductor/composer Cupertino de Menezes and her grandfather guitar player/composer Manuel de Menezes. She moved to Miami in 1993 and a decade later she gives her sultriest seminars at the Van Dyke, where she and Morães play with a full drum-bass-piano rhythm section. She appeared out of nowhere, as goes the Toni Bellotto and Nando Reis classic "Pra Dizer Adeus" ("To Say Goodbye"), which she delivers on her recently released first CD. "You never saw me alone, you never heard me cry," it continues. "You make it hard to imagine whether it's too early or too late to say goodbye." It is always both once Max has begun to sing.

Readers Choice: Melody Cole

With a golden tenor and fabulous hair, Walter Lino has gracefully worked a multitude of piano joints in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. He's developed a cult following of drunks, sweater queens, and off-key beer-belters who take refuge around his baby grand for a dose of piano-and-bourbon therapy. And Lino delivers with virtuoso phrasing and twinkling eyes. One moment he seizes attention singing a dramatic flamenco or an Edith Piaf chanson. The next he lays back and lightly improvises behind the din of tipsy conversation. Try requesting, say, "Bali Ha'i" and Lino will likely vamp the South Pacific anthem while teasing you to step up and sing. Don't be shy. As one of Miami's classiest acts, Lino won't let you look bad.

Sam Beam is fast becoming all the rage. Earlier this spring his album as Iron & Wine, The Creek Drank the Cradle, charted at number 81 in the Village Voice's prestigious "Pazz and Jop" poll for the best of 2002, and his subsequent national tour engendered even more praise from fans and critics. Some wondered how a man who writes quiet, reflective country and folk tunes filled with vividly elliptical imagery could come from the land of Girls Gone Wild, but Miamians know he's part of a folk tradition that's unusually strong in these parts. Though Beam doesn't sing in Spanish, he fits right in.

JJ. Andre. Jorge. They've put together a "Latin" sound all their own, a slinky-violined, smoothly percussioned, poply tropical sound that sets them apart from the rest. And though the world knows them through their two outstanding CDs (the last, Caraluna, got them serious airtime) and tours, only Miami can call them "local." And how much more Miami can you get than this sound made by Jorge Villamizar from Colombia, André Lopes from Brazil, and José Javier Freire from Puerto Rico, who hooked up at the University of Miami. The trio is currently red hot, and we call them the best Latin band.

Amazing to think that what began 36 years ago as the Great Artists Series at Miami Beach's Temple Beth Sholom has evolved into one of South Florida's premier purveyors of classical music and dance. Founded and led by impresaria and onetime opera singer Judy Drucker, the Concert Association of Florida packs a two-county punch, filling the seats of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts and the Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts with eager culture vultures by presenting the highest caliber of artists. Among the luminaries who have graced us with their presence just this past season: sopranos Kathleen Battle and Renée Fleming; violinist Itzhak Perlman; pianists Joseph Kalichstein, Evgeny Kissin, and Andre Watts; cellist Mstislav Rostropovich; and conductors Lorin Maazel and the New York Philharmonic and Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra. And that's a just few names in the musical arena. Visiting dance companies have included Arthur Mitchell's Dance Theatre of Harlem, the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, and Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. An outreach program wherein master musicians provide classes to local youngsters means that continuity of audience and players is somewhat assured. How to thank Drucker for zipping her aria-singing lips more than a generation ago and devoting herself to the cause of high culture in this town? A simple "Brava!" should suffice.

With the ever-evolving form of rock, it's not a stretch to say a band that combines hard guitar with house beats and rap lyrics falls into this category. This band's not afraid to try that mix of hip-hop and drum and bass and then kick in a few guitar riffs to back it up. The new technology age is here, and this band fits right in. To top it off, the members sing in Miami Spanglish and blend four nationalities, not including their parents'.

Readers Choice: The Voz

One of the cornerstones of Miami's electronic music scene is Greg Chin, a.k.a. Stryke. He is an original among a sea of new jacks and biters. The classically trained pianist pioneered electronic music shows for college radio (at UM and FIU stations) in the early Nineties. He crafted some of the first locally produced techno tracks when most people didn't know a break beat from a 4/4 kick. His first album, Reality Base, introduced the raspy, raw techno scene to tight, crisp, steely compositions like the dance track classic "Acid Musique." His last release, Pages From the Blue Diary, a concept album about lost love, injected deep emotion into a genre of music often accused of being cold and thoughtless. After dealing with label bull for years, he started his own, Substance Recordings, in the late Nineties. Substance as in over style, but it isn't that Stryke doesn't have a mad sense of aesthetic. His live performances captivate all levels of listening. His ability to capture rhythm in a cerebral context is entrancing and his subtle use of various forms of electronica -- trance, techno, house, electro, drum and bass -- ensure he'll stick around no matter what turns the music takes.

Readers Choice: Out of the Anonymous

They aren't from Miami. They hail from Fort Lauderdale. And they may not be innovative, plying a brand of sleazy garage punk (à la the Queers circa Grow Up) that's been bandied about for years. But it doesn't matter. The Heatseekers have that elusive quality, that totally unquantifiable rock and roll thing that moves audiences and propels their songs along like a drunk in a '57 Chevy, careening between the highway guardrails. They go down like bourbon and make you want to fuck or fight or both. Josh Menendez, garage-rock DJ and the driving force behind the mod-themed weekly party Revolver, says the Heatseekers always get the crowd going. "They have a lot of energy and a great stage presence. Definitely one of the best shows in town."

Readers Choice: dear starlet

The recent passing of legendary producer Tom Dowd returned the Hit Factory Criteria to the media spotlight, reminding us all that the North Miami studio was the creative birthing spot for so many seminal albums, from Derek and the Dominos' 1970 Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs to the Bee Gees' 1977 Saturday Night Fever soundtrack to Bob Dylan's 1997 aesthetic return-to-form comeback Time Out of Mind. Yet what often gets overlooked is the appeal of the studio itself. Indeed it wasn't just Dowd's own production techniques that had drawn a musical who's who to work with him here. As important as the sounds being laid down on any session is the equipment being used to capture it -- and this studio's analog-style mixing boards, vintage microphones, and sumptuous wooden acoustics have artists from Christina Aguilera to DMX catching flights into Miami when it comes time to record. Accordingly, studio time at the Hit Factory Criteria is pricey, and a few weeks' worth of work can easily produce a hefty six-figure bill; this isn't the spot to cut your garage band's demo. But if you're on a major-label budget, the dizzyingly infatuated look engineers take on when gabbing about the equipment at hand seems justification enough for running up that tab.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®