Best of Miami

50 Best Miami Bands of All Time: From 25 to 21

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25. Critical Mass

When exactly did Miami punk rock come crawling outta the swamp-water gutter, start walking and snarling and spitting, snatch up a guitar, gnaw on a microphone, and release its very first seven-inch single? The year was 1978. And the original specimen was Critical Mass.

Weened by Mick Fazz, this five-year-old "high-energy progressive rock" creature was radically reborn (like a million others around the world) after consuming a copy of the Sex Pistols' Never Mind the Bollocks. Almost instantaneously, Fazz and the Mass mutated into punks. They fed on the Pistols and the New York Dolls. Then they headed for a Hialeah studio to crap out a couple of SoFla punk classics, "Silver Screen" and "No One Left To Blame."

And though Critical Mass soon went extinct, its punk progeny inherited the Earth. Or at least a sizable slice of the Miami music scene. -- S. Pajot

24. Phoenicia

Unlike so many composers obsessed with the sonics of cinema, Phoenicia's Romulo Del Castillo and Josh Kay were not interested in generating the background noise that constitutes a film's score. Instead, the Schematic Records founders were obsessed with designing soundscapes inspired by the commonplace noise inherent to any plot depicted on the big screen. More Skywalker Sound than Jon Brion, if you will.

The end result of their synaesthetic query is a powerful discography (including the duo's magnum opus double-LP from 2001, Brownout) showcasing extraordinarily complex electronic music founded expressly upon textural nuance and forward-thinking aural architecture. -- Matt Preira

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Miami New Times staff