Best Rock Band 2022 | Frogs Show Mercy | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
Photo by John Thomas Bryson

Uniting in Kendall during the pandemic's most monotonous days, the four members of Frogs Show Mercy bonded over a mutual passion for Midwestern emo and late-20th-century indie rock. Singer/guitarist Yucky Poor, drummer Javier Nin, bassist Karl Martinez, and guitarist Laz Matus utilized their boredom and restless hearts to create loud, rhythmic art. Over the past year, they've put out a series of four singles that, depending on your mood, could inspire you to dance, cry, or aggressively kick over a chair. "Hereditary" is a catchy track in its own low-key and lo-fi manner. "Echo Park" betrays an experimental, loungey dive-bar vibe, while "Love Witch" releases that bottled-up frustration we've all been feeling. The foursome's latest single, "PTSD," is perhaps their most epic, with an eight-minute running time that allows the listener to experience a range of emotions.

Photo by Valerie Perez

At the ripe old age of 21, Mikah Amani has already put out an EP and a full-length LP that embody a beauty and maturity that belie the singer-songwriter's years. Released in March, The Hooded Crow featured a dozen songs with probing lyrics and stunning instrumentation. Written and recorded in Miami while taking a leave from his creative-writing studies at New York University, Amani sings and plays guitar with the quiet, introspective vibe of a 21st-century Tracy Chapman. Many of the lyrics deal with Amani's experiences as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, whether dealing with unrequited queer love or coming out to a father who doesn't understand him. The beautiful thing about expressing these experiences through soulful music is that it allows personal struggle to be understood universally — by anyone.

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Thankfully, Miami locals Seafoam Walls did the hard work of explaining their original sound to us. Who else could categorize their beautiful new album XVI as "Caribbean Jazzgage"? The collection of new songs indeed delves into jazz rhythms and shoegaze experimentation, all of it set against a laid-back island vibe. (Is that even possible? Yes, it is.) Founded in 2014 by singer/guitarist Jayan Bertrand, Seafoam Walls expanded with the addition of bassist Joshua Ewers, multi-instrumentalist Dion Kerr, and drummer Josue Vargas. The band's debut full-length got a boost in national attention when Thurston Moore, legendary frontman of Sonic Youth, became a fan and released the album on his Daydream Library Series label, which helped to attract attention from outlets like Spin and Pitchfork. And that attention came in the form of uniform admiration. But even with the band's apt and efficient genre-branding, XVI remains otherworldly and addictive — kinda like the city that spawned it.

Photo by Jeffrey Delannoy

It wasn't enough for local husband-and-wife team Tony Kapel and Maitejosune Urrechaga to form the noise rock band Pocket of Lollipops. Their mutual love of music found them creating their own label, Houndstooth Cottage. Since its formation in 2013, Houndstooth has released more than 20 releases in formats ranging from vinyl to CD to cassette. The year 2022 is shaping up to be a busy one for HC, with upcoming titles including a solo project from June of 44's Sean Meadows, featuring sessions wherein he teaches guitar to villagers in Vietnam along with songs from his Kewl Haro project. Locals Ed Artigas & Ed Matus will represent the 305 with brand-new EPs. And an album is finally being planned for Lost Hours, the new band from Bobby Fay of Sebadoh.

Photo by Rafael Pichardo

As we enter year 17 of the great vinyl comeback, it makes sense that actual brick-and-mortar record stores are seeing a parallel resurgence. If listeners want their music to occupy a physical form, it makes sense they'd also want their shopping experience to be nondigital. North Miami's Found Sound Records hearkens back to a day when independent record shops were grounds for new discoveries and downloading wasn't even a word. Every Tuesday through Saturday, from 1 to 7 p.m., owner Ralph Pichardo sits behind the counter spinning vinyl, ready to answer customers' questions about everything from Father's Day gifts to why you might want to steer clear of that Legendary Stardust Cowboy album. The inventory of new and used records hovers around 8,000, including original pressings and other valuable rarities but also crates filled with LPs priced as low as two bucks.

Photo by Jay Guzman

Carlos Hernandez's comedy is rooted in the absurdity of living at the tip of the Floridian peninsula. "Hialeah, where you at?" The crowd roars. "Miami Lakes, where you at?" More cheers. "Miami Lakes is, like, pretending to not be Hialeah. 'We're here. There's, like, a little lake over there. It's fine. There's cows. There's no chickens here.'" Then he proclaims, "Doral in the building!" to silence, followed by hysterical laughter. From an outsider's perspective, it might not seem funny at all. But locals know that Miami Lakes residents turn up their noses at their neighbors in Hialeah and that Doralzuela was an industrial park not too long ago. The bilingual comedian regularly holds court at the Miami Improv as well as at comedy nights across the city, so you shouldn't have a problem catching his act in person. If convincing you requires a taste of his material, check out his TikTok (@cahrlol).

Courtesy of Blackbird Ordinary

In a city known for its nightlife, you can bet on Ladies Nights aplenty. But none does it better than Blackbird Ordinary. Every Tuesday night, once the clock strikes 10 p.m., queens get free drinks, from mixed to signature cocktails, until 1 a.m. Their prized sig, "The Blackbird," is a deliciously supple mixture of sweet tea vodka, blackberries, and lemonade. You can pass the time talking with friends, enjoying the live music, or playing board games at the back of the venue. The bar stays open later than most establishments, so you can party until 5 o'clock in the morning, then head to work.

Guillaume Raberin

Karaoke is a beloved pastime around the world, but you don't want to sing your favorite songs at any old hole in the wall. Sweet Caroline Karaoke Bar will help you feel like a sparkly Neil Diamond every night. Unlike the recently popularized Japanese style of karaoke, the venue doesn't offer private rooms, but in our humble view, an audience makes the experience all that much more exciting. One of the best features at Sweet Caroline is the monthly emo party, where you can relive the glory days of bright hair and dark clothes with classic tracks from Evanescence and My Chemical Romance. If you're hoping to score a table, reservations are pretty much a must, but all are welcome to walk in. The bar is open until 4 a.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, with half-off drinks during happy hour (6 to 8 p.m.).

Photo courtesy of Seminole Casino Coconut Creek

This year has been about a return to normalcy, and nothing says Stop telling me what to do, I'm living my best life like stepping back into a casino for some good old-fashioned fun. Seminole Coconut Creek offers everything you need to enjoy a night out at the gamblin' hall, without all the fuss. Smoke-free areas that are actually smoke-free, slots, roulette, and poker rooms. Live music from artists you love but forgot existed — and a decent steakhouse, to boot. Sure, other places advertise some sort of South Beach/gambling fusion, but sometimes you just want to get in and get out with less money in your pocket without all the hoopla.

There are certainly strip clubs where it's the total norm for bored AF-looking gals do an unenthusiastic little ass shake and call it a day. This is not the case at Vixens, in fact, it is never the case. With a tag of "The Sexy Circus" donning its logo, a Vixens outing is a multifaceted, entertaining experience where everyone leaves happy. On a given night, you might see world-renowned DJ Paul Oakenfold in the DJ booth. Or perhaps you'll catch its full-on circus show, with high-flying chicks twirling around on polls, swinging through hoops, or breathing fire. Or maybe it's an average day and you're craving a slice of Sinful Double Chocolate Cake. Whether you're rockin' it in a VIP booth, champagne room, or Vixens' skybox, bring all the bills and prepare for a good time. You'll use 'em and not feel about it.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®