Video didn't kill no one

A coupla my favorite local bands have recently made videos. First, ascendant alt-country boys The Heathens have a video for "Stickin Around," the first single off their upcoming debut album. It won the "Audience Choice" award at this year's Florida Music Festival and will be screened at the L.A. Film Festival on a music video showcase alongside the respectable likes of The White Stripes, Kasabian, Bright Eyes, Death Cab for Cutie and The Shins. You can lay yer pretty l'il eyes on the video rye-cheer:

Second, Summerbirds in the Cellar have a video for "Trains" and it's one of only three finalists in the Scion Xpress Fest challenge. If you pop the link below, view the video and vote for it like any decent Orlandoan should, the boys win one of those sweeeet boxes-on-wheels.


Spitvalves reunion

This is a public service announcement to all you ska fans. Local ska-punkers the Spitvalves are briefly reuniting for a one-off show this Thursday at The Social before their bassist moves to Ohio. If you know me (or have read me long enough) then you know that ska don't tickle my balls. So it might mean something when I tell you that I saw them play a word-of-mouth show at Will's Pub last night and they were pretty good. They were the best in town in their day and they proved once again to be about 16 hours ago, if only temporarily. Again, it's still just ska to me but they brought enough of a punk rock kick to comfortably supress the vomit. And, as you know, that's no small feat, ladies and gents. So if you've become accustomed to the ska being peddled around here in recent years then the Spitvalves are sure to be a wake-up call for you.


Mike Dunn & the Kings of New England CD Release Party

For those of you who like your rock 'n' roll honest, American and twanged, obligate yourself to going to the CD release party for Mike Dunn & the Kings of New England at BackBooth tonight. They totally hooked me with their recent FMF showcase and the EP is rock-solid. Seriously, the opening song "Paper Candy" is in sickeningly heavy rotation on my player. Their sound is remarkably fleshed-out and fully-formed. Soon to be a major player in the very promising local alt-country scene.

And it sure don't hurt that the rest of the bill smolders with hot-blooded acts like Gasoline Heart and the Country Slashers.


Hate Bombs resurrection?

Apparently, The Hate Bombs Reunion on Memorial Day for Little Steven's Underground Garage party at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel kicked total tail because rumor has it that Little Steven himself offered the local garage rock merchants a record deal. It seems he expressed interest in all their old singles and their new, unrecorded material (10 songs). According to the band, "Nothing is in writing, nothing confirmed," but they're cautiously optimistic.

It's not all that big of a surprise, as Little Steven's been an outspoken fan of theirs for quite some time, but it would be a great development for a deserving band. They might actually join the active list again. Maybe.


Randall Shreve got plugged the wrong way

I popped into The Social last night for the Randall Shreve CD Release Party. Only caught Benjamin Del Shreve though. Decent band but shaky singing. Beyond imperfection of pitch, Ben's ambitious but very ungainly voice seems oddly prone to cat mewing.

My biggest beef, however, was the gratuitous plugging of Randall Shreve's CD. When I say gratuitous, I literally mean almost every non-singing sentence urged the audience to purchase. Though couched in humor that was occasionally funny, the schtick got old real fast. It may be cute to immediate family and friends but everyone else thinks it's stupid and annoying. After that, I forcibly squashed any passing thoughts of buying the record as a form of silent protest. I didn't care if it was Psychocandy good, I just wasn't havin' any of it. Sorry, Randall. You need to have a talk with your boy.

FMF comes to a close

Pant, pant...


Rock Art Walk @ DMAC

Go see the Rock Art Walk at DMAC. Part of the Florida Music Festival, it's an exhibition of rock poster art by three very talented local artists (Stainboy, Lure Design and Eye Noise) who are actually making a living designing concert posters, and they all have taste when it comes to music.

A new victim every half-hour

Tonight's the first night of music for the Florida Music Festival. Even if most of the bands could give me lockjaw from yawning, it's always pretty fun, if only for its pace. However, this year's selection has a conspicuous upspike in respectable local indie acts. Hm, what on earth could've precipitated that?

So this year's lineup is actually a great Cliff notes way of becoming educated on Orlando's indie scene, convenient and economical. But I'd never send you into Bar-BQ-Bar dropping names like Dmanufacture, John Frank or Cori Yarckin. Why not? Because I'm a friggin' sweetheart, that's why. The following are local acts playing this year's festival that are worth the while of anyone who's looking for something with some sort of edge. Follow it and you'll be able to house any hipster in a local music debate with your newfound knowledge. I won't tell 'em where you got it.

  1. AM Conspiracy (THU, The Social, 9p) - modern hard rock band that's actually good.
  2. Medic (THU, BackBooth, 10p) - Britpop whose smart influences go deeper than Coldplay.
  3. Derek Lyn Plastic (THU, Blue Room, 10p) - hilarious but truly scuzzy punk rock.
  4. Louis Defabrizio (THU, DMAC, 11p) - solo performance by Gasoline Heart front-man.
  5. Mike Dunn & the Kings of New England (THU, AKA, 11:30p) - like Ryan Adams? Then go.
  6. Matt Butcher (THU, DMAC, 11:30p) - solo performance by The Heathens front-man.
  7. X:144 & SPS (THU, BackBooth, 12a) - intelligent hip-hop with the best turntablist in the Southeast U.S., so says DMC.
  8. Nathan Bond (THU, DMAC, 12a) - solo performance by Band Marino front-man.
  9. Yip Yip (FRI, BackBooth, 7p) - whacked out electronic duo that's getting noticed.
  10. The Heathens (FRI, BackBooth, 9p) - one of the hippest alt-country bands in town.
  11. Band Marino (FRI, BackBooth, 11p) - currently one of Orlando's hottest indie acts, deservedly.
  12. Summerbirds in the Cellar (FRI, BackBooth, 1a) - one of my personal faves in the scene.
  13. Monikers (SAT, BackBooth, 1:30p) - slopped-up and scrappy punk rock.
  14. The Sugar Oaks (SAT, BackBooth, 7:30p) - spacious, abstract Americana-touched folk.
  15. Danny Feedback (SAT, BackBooth, 8:30p) - explosive, bombastic and totally dangerous.
  16. Black River Nightmare (SAT, BackBooth, 9:30p) - hard Southern rock.
  17. The Hex Tremors (SAT, BackBooth, 10:30p) - scalping blues-punk that plays like a more hateful version of the Immortal Lee County Killers.
  18. Gasoline Heart (SAT, BackBooth, 11:30p) - muscular, well-informed American rock 'n' roll.
  19. Country Slashers (SAT, BackBooth, 12:30a) - stylish Southern punk rock.
  20. The Punching Contest (SAT, Firestone, 1a) - incendiary post-punk that'll put you through the wringer.

There you go, suckas. See you downtown tonight, tomorrow and the night after. You see me walkin' in, you better have a cold one waitin' for me.


New Mexican crisis

I was at The Social last night to see our native hardcore sons New Mexican Disaster Squad play. Where was everybody else? You do know that they're good enough to be on highly esteemed indie label Jade Tree Records, right? That means they share a roster that has released acts like Hot Water Music, Strike Anywhere, The Explosion, Avail, along with others like Pedro the Lion, Songs: Ohia, Joan of Arc, Ester Drang and Cub Country. And they're LOCALS!

Don't even talk to me about there not being any "real" punk rock in Orlando. Idiots.


Country music at Will's South

The kind of people who get amped up about painting the town on Cinco de Mayo are amateurs. It's one of those ridiculous occasions that Americans have co-opted for hollow social purposes. In other words, an excuse for junior varsity partyers to get bombed in public. Screw that.

Consider yourself to be alternative-minded? Well, come on down to Will's South tonight. You should check out that fantastic dive anyway. But tonight, local country rock band Holidaysburg is playing and they're one of the promising young talents in the current wave of indie country in town. But they're also playing with a great band from Tampa called The Diviners. Like Uncle Tupelo? Then you're in for a treat.

Does Corona come in a can?


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Soorya Arsala, Orlando CityBeat's local CD reviewer.