Christina Wagner TBA (April/May)

J-Ville’s no-nonsense acoustic poet (and Best of Orlando grad) confirms she is heading to the studio for her debut proper. The album will feature “a lot” of regional guest artists, which is enticing in itself. “I’m working with Sam Rivers over at Born Recording Studios [in Jacksonville] in February,” says Wagner. Just try to wait a few months before you start throwing 10 bucks at her and shouting “pre-order.” It doesn’t go over well.

Mumpsy Cat & Canary (spring)

When Jeff Ilgenfritz and his sometime recording buddies came in second in the Best of Orlando 2007’s indie category, best believe they let out a primal scream and hit the studio, furiously determined to capture next year’s prize. OK, so that’s not exactly this sunny-pop veteran’s steelo, but the second part’s true: “[The album] is going to be released by Post Records in the spring time. I started writing the words and chords about a year and a half ago, and then everyone [Chris Rae, Sean Moore, Kristen Andre and Phil Longo] started showing up around 10 months ago to help me with the arrangements and to flesh out the heart of the songs. It’s 10 tracks and they’re all very catchy and poppy.”

You can almost feel the indignant rage, can’t you?

Solillaquists of Sound No More Heroes (spring)

“More guns, yo,” says Solilla producer DiViNCi about the sound of their new album, and he’s not really joking. Heroes is tough as nails. He cues up the mp3s in the group’s home studio and his amps start popping from the pressure. The local rap group’s sophomore effort for Anti-/Epitaph promises to baffle, featuring elements of wobblecore, fiddles, dubstep, talkbox and (seriously) hints of didgeridoo, DiViNCi is hard-pressed to label their new sound. “Quest-hop?” he guesses. At some point during the dizzying listening session, I scribbled “Donald Duck’s underground rave on NyQuil.” We’ll split the difference.

Happy Valley Mutanten (spring)

Hopping from Orlando’s hot band spot Post Records to infant O-town imprint Sleepy Bird Orphanage (founded by local guitarist Phil Siegenthaler), these chronically interesting geek-wobblers are hard at work on rocking the new as we speak.

Bedo Hurtin’ Before Havin’ (fall)

This Kissimmee MC has been on watch for what feels like an eternity now and his full-length debut is starting to look like the Chinese Democracy of Flevoland. An album sampler was available online for a few bucks all the way back to 2006 (at that time the album was titled Dirty World, Dirty Game) and the gravel-voiced rapper sounded like Juvenile spring-breaking in Daytona Beach with a few too many mimosas in him. His rocked & screwed “Pistols,” courtesy of Platinum-oozing hit-makers the Runners, is a breakout in the works but according to Bedo’s manager, Tony Wilkins, “I’m So Fly” is the lead single and video. “The album is actually coming out this time,” says Wilkins. It was recorded at KDS Studios, which is housed in the old Trans Con studio space and Bedo opens Jan. 19 for Busta Rhymes at the USF Sun Dome.

Hakim Tafari TBA (summer)

Jamaican by way of the United Kingdom, Tafari has been the quiet one in the corner of the Nonsense Records party since signing in 2005, but Nonsense founder Kelly Shockley says the wait is finally over. Armed with a unique blend of grime, dub and Dao philosophy, Shockley (who produced Tarfari’s upcoming label debut) says, “We have both come a long way. The album took about two years, [but] we didn’t want to rush anything.”

Ryland Bojack Traveling Salesman (fall)

Sometimes a newbie hits the scene running, and other times they sprint. Last month, when Jordan Wynn announced the January lineup for his Redlight Redlight art-music sessions, the crowd was bafflingly enthused to hear Bojack’s name. Who? Thanks to Myspace and some very good underground buzz, Bojack is starting to play with the big boys. Two weeks after Wynn’s announcement, Back Booth hosted Bojack right alongside Matt Butcher and Eric Hayden of the Sugar Oaks. Cred, yo. Bojack says he’s heading into the studio in the coming months and describes his sonic direction as “country Dylan meets the Beach Boys, mixed with a bit of Rufus Wainwright.”

Whole Wheat Bread TBA (late spring)

Yet another Orlando-beloved, J-ville neighbor, Aaron Abraham and his hoodest punk band ever to come out of the FL are adding a previously unthinkable Atlanta influence on their new full-length album. [It’s being] produced by Travis Huff (Fall Out Boy, Pharcyde) with additional production by Lil’ Jon,” says Orlando-based Fighting Records founder John Youngman.

“We haven’t decided whether or not we’re going to release it on Fighting, as there are several larger labels interested in possibly releasing it. Regardless, fans can expect it to drop prior to Warped Tour.” As Crunk master Lil’ Jon told Spinner.com last year, “There aren’t many Southern, punk, black bands.”



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