Thanks to meat-fashion enthusiast Lady Gaga, pop music is currently parked at the corner of Weird Boulevard and Glamour Drive. Travel down an alley, though, and you'll find Marlon Alarm. In his video for single "Double Diamond," ethereally beautiful, ambiguous, and asexual Alarm emerges from a trash can before pronouncing with a sneer: "Radio, listen up, play my song. I'm talented as motherfuck." In the song's video, he does his best Britney on a budget — but gives off a classic Bowie vibe. It's not quite polished enough to reach double-diamond sales status, as the name suggests, but Alarm is an exciting raw talent with a clear artistic point of view. Sadly, radio may not be playing his song anytime soon, but there's no denying he is as talented as he claims to be.

Grand Central

Miami's hipster concertgoers are pretty lax when it comes to buying tickets. Indie shows rarely sell out here. So a lot of people were left shocked in their skinny jeans when tickets for Cut Copy's September show at the relatively cavernous Grand Central were gone early. That's because it wasn't just hipsters buying tickets. Cut Copy seems to be one of those groups whose popularity cuts across the city's very separate scenes. Apparently the Australian band's dance-friendly electro-rock moves the feet of South Beach house heads, Kendall kiddy ravers, Brickell yuppies, people who wear sunglasses in clubs even when they're sober, your mom, your hairstylist, your mom's hairstylist, that chick you kind of dated but dumped because she had a laugh like Fran Drescher — you know, just about everyone who doesn't get all of their music direction from Y100. So the band added a second show the day before, which is a rarity in Miami. And it was worth it. Opening acts Midnight Magic (disco revivalists with a horn section and last summer's hottest indie club jam) and Washed Out (chillwave OGs) set the tone, but Cut Copy whipped both nights' crowds into an ecstatic frenzy with hits like "Lights & Music" and "Need You Now." The experience left audiences wanting more, and probably ensured that tickets will sell out even faster the next time the band comes through town.

Is she a hippie, a gypsy, a nomad, or a crazy, soulful, lovely, lusty Cuban musical genius? All of the above, and a work of art to boot. And if you heard her earlier this year playing live on Michael Stock's folk and acoustic music show on WLRN (91.3 FM), you know the skill and imagination it takes to make a song about sex and pizza so lyrical you can smell it through the radio. Sol has toured Cuba, Jamaica, Costa Rica, and Europe, picking up new life experiences to write about at every opportunity. Her lyrics reflect an infectious passion for life that makes you want to hop a train, swim naked in the rain, and take a plane to Paris. That's the kind of music we like, and she writes it better than anyone else we have ever heard. She just funded her next album through Kickstarter, so we look forward to hearing more soon.

Oi! Die Trying plays street punk — the driving, anthemic, and melodic style of underground rock that encourages gang-vocal sing-alongs from the crowd and revels in the power of a simple and heartfelt delivery. The band features members from Hellhounds, Five Across the Eyes, Unit Six, Vice City Rockers, and Guerrilleros de Nadie — five groups that have helped define the past ten years of Churchill's Pub. You probably missed their first show there earlier this year, but you shouldn't miss their next one. With lyrics about fighting Nazi skinheads, standing up for justice, and sticking by your friends, Die Trying delivers inspirational hardcore that will give you something to think about while you rock out.

On April 1, 1991, the future capo of the intergalactic Raider Klan Mafia was born in Miami. His name was SpaceGhostPurrp. Well, legally, the infant's birth certificate read, "Muney Jordan." But that was just the earthly label forced upon an extraterrestrial creature who crash-landed in Carol City with a mission to get high, hypnotize humanity, make money, and elevate his Klan to another level. Now aged 21 in earth years, he proffers syrupy raps and staticky beats (i.e., "Mystikal Maze" and "Tha Black God") that sound like secret, swaggy messages from some undiscovered planet with a massive surplus of essential resources like cars, cash, hos, gangsta grills, and Purrp-brand promethazine drank. Last year, the Ghost grabbed mad Internet buzz for mixtapes like NASA: The Mixtape; collab'ed with swag superstars Smoke DZA and A$AP Rocky; scored a spot on Miami New Times' Best Albums of 2011 list with Blvcklvnd Rvdix 66.6; and even earned a name-drop in Spin's recent rap issue. But now he's about to blast out his debut studio slab, titled Chronicles of SpaceGhostPurrp. And then, he says, "The prophecy shall be fulfilled."

The genius of Dave Williamson's comedy: It's your life, but funnier. Williamson is an exactly average human being, a man of median age who lives in the burbs with his wife and kids. His height is average, he's neither grossly over- nor underweight, and he doesn't have a big nose or a Gilbert Gottfried voice or, really, any distinguishing physical characteristics. Like you, he enjoys telling stories about his kids, his own childhood growing up in Miami, and hanging out with his college buddies back in the day. But unlike you, his stories are unpretentious, genuinely interesting, and, most important, atomically funny. The normal world in which he lives — in which we all live — is ridiculous enough on its own; he's just especially talented at pointing that out. When your grandfather complains about annoying technology, you groan; when Williamson outlines the differences between the Trapper Keepers of his youth and his kids' iPads, you cry laughing. The details of family life, the trouble with raising children when you yourself are still just a man-boy, learning to amuse yourself at a 3-year-old's birthday party — it's all fodder. Williamson's sets are like the stand-up version of a great sitcom, except he's allowed to cuss and talk about penises. All you have to do is sit back and provide the laugh track.

Main Street Players president Clara Lyzniak has been involved with the small troupe since 1998 and has served in almost every capacity there is at a theater company. But it was her uproarious scene-stealing turn as Zoila in the group's production of Living Out that proves she needs to be on stage more often. Lyzniak's take on the modern Hispanic nanny — heavy accent, big attitude, and oozing with chutzpah — brought hysterical laughter to an otherwise somber and serious play. It was a bit role that served as the story's comic relief, but Lyzniak, who in real life speaks perfect English without a hint of an accent, absolutely crushed it as Zoila. She hilariously massacred the English language and delivered pure, unbridled sass when taking direction from her Anglo employers. The role could have easily been mailed in with a stereotypical portrayal, but Lyzniak knew when to dial it down and when to bring it full bore. The result was a show-stopping performance every time she appeared onstage. Zoila was Lyzniak's first major role for the troupe, taking her away from behind-the-scenes and administrative duties, and we hope to see more of her in front of the audience.

Putting on engaging stage dramas can be daunting for any theater troupe. Yet the diminutive and diverse Main Street Players is always up to the task. Sure, there are bigger troupes that draw larger crowds and cast more accomplished actors for their respective productions. But Main Street Players is special because its commitment is to stories and to telling those stories with hungry young actors and a stage crew ready to expertly build a small apartment or a makeshift park at a moment's notice. The group performs in an amiable black-box theater nestled across from a multiplex and a Johnny Rockets. And it knows how to pack a punch. Even with its limited budget and small working space, MSP understands the play is the thing, and the troupe's commitment resonates in each production. Main Street Players has had many incarnations over the years since opening in 1974 as the Miami Lakes Players Guild, often moving from venue to venue and putting on two or three productions a year wherever it could until the City of Miami Lakes offered the current space. It's a small, talented, and versatile group that doesn't mind taking on challenging plays such as the controversial Extremities, the deeply layered Living Out, and the provocative Closer. Plays with such driving and stimulating narratives would normally be shortchanged and curtailed by the quirks and limitations of a small local theater troupe working on a tiny stage, but Main Street Players is the little theater group that could, and it knows exactly how to give audiences a rich and rewarding theater experience.

Formed in 1971 at the University of Miami by the late T.G. Cooper, the M Ensemble has always had the goal of promoting African-American culture and experiences through the performing arts. Beginning at the Edison Community Center and going through many incarnations, with plays performed in schools, churches, and libraries, the troupe has made a deep and lasting mark in the community. With an unmatched, ambitious fervor to expand the boundaries of theater and expose Miami to talented and prolific African-American playwrights such as August Wilson and Djanet Sears, the M Ensemble has never been afraid of taking on profound and subversive plays and turning them into lively and engaging productions on a shoestring budget. With recent productions such as the complex and moving Radio Golf, a play that delved into the complicated parameters of embracing the promise of the present while sacrificing the past, and Harlem Duet, a stirring modern slant on Shakespeare's Othello, the M Ensemble continues to stretch itself and, in doing so, remains not only Miami's premier African-American theater company but also one that's unmatched by others.

TP Lords can serve up just about anything. One night she's offering traditional glam girl and the next she's on some avant-garde Leigh Bowery-type trip. Hell, she can even do Beyoncé realness with the best of them and then go backstage and emerge as some sort of neon creature who looks like a cross between a club kid and a space empress from Planet T. TP has drag versatility down. Otherwise known as Alex Velez, TP is the mother of the House of Lords when she's not performing multiple times a week at places such as Twist, Discotekka, Sugar, and the Palace.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®