Don't confuse this nautically themed viejo haven with the Los Marinos Restaurant or the Los Marinos Cafeteria. (They all share the same building, painted up kinda like a boat, across the street from the dog track).During the week, this lounge is full of smoky old men playing cubilete for dollars and drinking. On weekend nights, though, it transforms into the most awesome Miami experience imaginable.Things get magical around 8 p.m., when the cast of characters arrives: the cougars (heavy makeup, crimson dresses, peroxide hair), the couples (holding hands, waiting for their chance to tear up the tiny dance floor situated between a pair of battling DJ booths), and the mysterious Señor Amor (a dapper Lothario sporting a white suit and a mullet, who apparently gets the only tablecloth in the house). Ponytails, double-breasted jackets, and blue eyeshadow abound.
Mixing traditional flamenco with modern sounds is not easy, but Spanish-born Rayito (a.k.a. Antonio Rayo) has a natural knack for assembling three-minute Latin pop gems. A child prodigy, Rayito learned to play Spanish guitar from his father, and by the age of 12, he had earned fame as a brilliant flamenco guitar player. After studying in Miami's New World School of the Arts, Rayito went on to compose chart toppers for Latin superstars, co-writing "Jaleo" for Ricky Martin and "Llorare Las Penas" for David Bisbal. The 26-year-old came into his own with 2006's Rayito an album that seamlessly blended his beloved flamenco with hip-hop, reggae, and Latin pop in songs such as the exquisite "Me Falta." At a time when most Latin pop seems to wallow on by-the-numbers bubblegum, the velvety-voiced Rayito is bringing out some of the most inventive and exciting compositions around.
Although most local bands figure the best way to start out is to play as much as possible, the Postmarks took the opposite tack. They didn't play out — at all. Instead they holed up in a studio and polished their blend of bookish, sticky-sweet Anglophilic pop until it was totally ready for the harsh light of the South Florida day. And — voilà! — the band's self-titled full-length, released by Unfiltered Records, boasts 11 nuggets of jangly, twee indie goodness. For good reason, it had everyone at Pitchfork, Spin, and even Rolling Stone in a lather, and the Postmarks watched as their star rose meteorically everywhere except at home. That's changed a bit, and the band has thrown us a few bones by performing around the tri-county area a little more often. Meanwhile, the quality of the record has been so universally agreed-upon that it was recently released in its sort-of musical motherland — the UK. Time will tell if the scrappy hometown trio can beat the Brits at their own game.
The average cool-kid record-store shopper probably can't place Arnold Steiner by name. But if the same music fan has any taste for the finest in underground hip-hop and electronic sounds, he or she has probably seen his stunning, stomach-dropping artwork. Under the moniker AS1, Steiner has created breathtaking covers and imagery for the likes of world-renowned beatmakers such as Venetian Snares and DJ Dara, as well as homegrown talent including Otto Von Schirach, Plantlife, and Jason Tyler. His compositions are dense, tangled landscapes of biomechanical apocalypse, where contrasts are stark and the organic is strangled by the artificial. They're so arresting they threaten to eclipse the music inside. And considering the discerning, innovative caliber of artists with whom he has worked, that's a high compliment indeed.
The long-haired, natty Lazaro Casanova got his start playing at the old Malibu Grand Prix's infamous Full Moon parties in the late Nineties. But he really became a local marquee name as the musical selector du jour for indie-ish dance parties in Miami, most notably at the long-running, now-defunct Revolver. But when pressing play on White Stripes discs got boring, Casanova branched out on his own — at home. Tapping into the burgeoning underground crossover dance scene when it was still in its infancy, Casanova cranked out filthy, searing bedroom remixes that quickly spread across the Internet. Eventually he hooked up with Canadian electro duo MSTRKRFT. They recruited him for a national tour, and soon he was playing sizzling, electroey-housey sets heavily featuring his own chunky, thumping compositions. Since then, he's become a sort of unofficial third arm of that outfit, rocking international crowds of thousands both with the duo and as a headliner in his own right. In the meantime, Casanova still updates his blog, Shot Callin' (shotcallin.blogspot.com), with the latest white-hot dance music, and issues his own heavily blogged rerubs while putting the finishing touches on an upcoming EP of original material.
Jon Saxx was sleeping when the sound of a saxophone hit his preteen ears. The tones resonated in his soul, he awakened, and in that moment, he fell in love with the horn that makes us fall in love with him. He's been playing ever since. A virtuoso on the soprano, alto, and tenor sax, Saxx plays by ear — closing his eyes and "playing what I feel and getting lost in the music," he says. He would love to duet with Stevie Wonder on "Ribbon in the Sky," which we could totally see (and hear) because one child prodigy definitely deserves another. Witnessing Saxx in his element, whether or not his eyes are hidden under one of his trademark hats, you realize you're watching a man possessed by the spirit of jazz. He's not reading sheet music; he's hearing the band play or a chanteuse croon and following suit in a way that's as natural as his own heartbeat. Now that's soul music.
Remember when bands had magical powers and went on adventures and shit? Like the Beatles, for example, when they took that submarine trip; or Josie and the Pussycats, how they had their own spaceship; or the way David Bowie led that girl into his magical labyrinth just so she could be in his music video in the end. Nowadays, what the hell good is a band? A bunch of funny-hat-wearing wannabes, that's all most of 'em are these days. But not Los Primeros. Hialeah's very own boy band is made up of three young men — Pedro Perez, Andres Pita, and Ray Moreno, all homegrown. The group struck it big in 2003 with the hit single "Eslow Motion." Since they performed for a quinceañera that just happened to be featured on MTV's My Super Sweet 16, the stars are the limit. And although they might not have magical powers, per se — none that they've revealed, anyway — at least these guys have a purpose. When slot gambling at various Miami-Dade tracks was to appear on ballots this past January, historic Hialeah Park was left out from the list of potential beneficiaries. Los Primeros (with, it must be noted, the backing of Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina) rallied to the cause, releasing the single "Save Hialeah Park." Smells like Sixties teen spirit.
Born Algernod Lanier Washington, 32-year-old Plies launched his career when he teamed up with Akon for their chart-topping hit "Hypnotized." Plies released his breakout album, The Real Testament, in 2007 and went from being best known for allegedly firing a gun into the crowd at his own show in Gainesville to becoming a celebrated representative of street life authenticity. His smash single "Shawty," featuring Tallahassee's T-Pain, quickly burned up the airwaves and gave Plies an opportunity to reveal the softer side of his hard-knock ghetto persona. Having recently signed with Ted Lucas's Slip-N-Slide Records, Plies looks set to follow in the footsteps of hip-hop legends such as Trick Daddy, Trina, and Rick Ross. With a reality show in production and an eagerly awaited sophomore album (Definition of Real) due for a June release, the SoFla artist seems to have all of hip-hop under his spell.
Local quartet Black Tide has accomplished what few far-Kendall rock acts could ever even pretend to dream of doing. Within the past two years, they've been discovered by an A&R rep at a Florida music festival and been flown across the country as subjects of a major-label bidding war. They've landed a plum deal with Interscope and been duly carted off to Chicago to record a high-budget debut album. They've toured the States for half of last year's Ozzfest, hit the UK with hard-rock heavyweights Avenged Sevenfold, and then returned again to England to headline their own tour. They're heading out this summer as part of the megawatt Mayhem Tour. Can we blame them, then, for putting on hold those plans to finish high school? Yep, the old-school, thrashy metallers formerly known around the local all-ages scene as Radio boast an average age of 18. Frontman Gabriel Garcia couldn't even get a driver's license if he wanted to — the pint-size, long-haired dude with the ballsy wail is just 15 years old. He was a student at Claude Pepper — the elementary school — when he met the rest of the band, then-freshmen at Felix Varela High. Unable to legally play at most of the usual venues around town, the bandmates perfected their act by performing at house parties and the Kendall strip-mall spot Kaffe Krystal, until their first major break came at the 2006 edition of the Florida Music Festival in Orlando. Luckily they've got the chops to back it up: Light from Above, the band's first full-length, was released this past March to fanfare from national mags such as Spin and hard-rock bible Revolver. Its 11 tracks are a sucker-punch of true old-school heaviness, all Maiden'ed- and Megadeth'ed-out, a refreshing change in a sea of teenage bands wedded to their makeup kits. Forget that — the debut puts many of the peers twice their age to shame.
Exactly how much of the mysterious, greasy fellow known as José El Rey is a put-on? We don't know or care — and neither, apparently, does his rapidly growing legion of fans. His lo-fi renditions of tinkling freestyle and booming Miami bass, coupled with his flashy Miami Vice-era stage wear and rico suave sexual banter, cause unanimous commotion among the wildly mixed-up cross section of people in his audience. Old-school bros, roller rink queens, Wynwood hipsters — they all worship at the altar of this ladies'-man shaman. Seriously — so many girls jump onstage to shake their shit that El Rey's trusty security sidekick, El Tigre, often has to lay the smack down, for real. The king has scored shout-outs from Perez Hilton and a recent full-page interview in Maxim en Español, as well as an appearance (as part of the Miami Bass Warriors group) at the holy grail of local Latin culture: the Calle Ocho Festival. José El Rey loves Miami, and Miami loves him right back.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®