Jorge Rubiera's Side Project Can't Stop Mixes '90s Nostalgia With Lo-Fi Pop

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One of Miami's most collaborative musicians, Jorge Rubiera, has decided to create his own personal labor of love. For years, he's been performing alongside longtime pals in Pygmy, the Down Home Southernaires, and Animal Tropical. But now he's created Can't Stop.

Only a month ago, the band played its first concert at Churchill's Pub for 10K Islands Records' Holidazed showcase. And already, Can't Stop has a big bash booked at Sweat Records this Saturday to commemorate its brand-new debut album, Neighborhood.

The question: How does Rubiera get it all done so quickly? "Since we have a record label now, we've been recording several different things and a bunch of different releases," he says.

The label he mentions is Rottweiler Farm Records, a joint venture with bandmate Jose Castello. The pair plans to release all of Animal Tropical's efforts as well as albums by Can't Stop and a few other local bands. Also in the works: A Pygmy documentary, limited-edition art books, and possibly even poetry projects.

And right now, Rubiera is already working on the second Can't Stop record, which he suggests is a bit of a departure from the band's current frame of mind. It seems impossible, but he'd like to take a more collaborative approach for this new collection. He'd also like to incorporate more of his trademark Vaudevillian flourishes. "It's going to be these pop tunes dispersed around weirdo noise orchestration," Rubiera explains. "I wanted to keep the same kind of structure with the pop songs and intersperse it and make it one long musical experience, as opposed to the last record, which was just a bunch of tunes."

If you've yet to hear them, that "bunch of tunes" off Neighborhood are a heavy blend of '90s New York City indie rock and summer pop à la Beach Boys. The songs sound distinctly different from Rubiera's previous stuff. And that's because he has consciously chosen to temporarily shift away from the troubadour style that has characterized so many of his earlier bands, including Down Home Southernaires and Animal Tropical. For now, he's sticking strictly to rock music.

"Basically, when I was riding the bus in middle school, it's what was on my tape player," Rubiera admits. "It was a lot of Pavement, Sonic Youth, the Flaming Lips. Listening to this stuff again made me think, God, this really sculpted my way of listening to music."

And while recording the debut, Rubiera went searching for those coarse and distorted sounds of his youth. "[It was] sort of nasty and free," he says. "That's what Neighborhood is. For the most part, it's reminiscing. All these tracks are through the eyes of a 12 year old."

Now between Rotweiller Farm, Can't Stop, and all his other projects, Rubiera has so much going on that he's not planning too many gigs aside from the Sweat Records CD-release show. So if you'd like to catch him and his new band live, this Saturday may be your only chance for months.

Yeah, he should slow down a bit. But honestly, Rubiera can't stop.

Can't Stop CD-release party with Ice Cream, presented by Rottweiler Farm Records. Saturday, January 29. Sweat Records, 5505 NE Second Ave, Miami. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and admission is free. Call 786-693-9309 or visit sweatrecordsmiami.com.

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