Central Florida was all over national TV last week, and not for dumb shit, either. Roadkill Ghost Choir was on David Letterman (Jan. 17) and Jessy Lynn Martens debuted as the voice of Cheryl’s country-singer alter ego on Archer (Jan. 13). And since the downtown Archer viewing party featuring Martens (Bullitt Bar) went so well, it’s now a weekly event. Every Monday (8-11 p.m.) throughout this season, she’ll do a free show singing songs from the new Archer soundtrack.
Concert bookers are critical to every music scene. They can make or – simply by virtue of their nonexistence – break one. Clearly, we have here an indie scene deep enough to keep discerning tastes engaged, and one of the torchbearers carrying the scene today is Norse Korea Presents. When I did a cover story on them two years ago, they were a meteoric upstart in Orlando’s concert landscape. Now, three years in, they’re a pillar. Under the leadership of Kyle Raker, NK is maybe the most influential and qualitatively consistent independent booker not employed by a venue since the much-missed Parafora Presents. And that’s a big deal – for them as achievers and us as beneficiaries.
To match the occasion, they’ve organized a whopping celebration this weekend spanning two nights (Jan. 24-25) and four venues (Backbooth, the Social, Will’s Pub, Lil Indies). So let’s just call this the NK mini-fest. Good imports include Nashville garage stars Turbo Fruits and Atlanta’s Del Venicci, a gazey dream-pop spin-off of Carnivores, the excellent Atlanta garage band that headlined the first ever NK show. They’ll play alongside a great area cross-section spanning punk, funk, soul, Americana and grunge from high-caliber locals like the Pauses, Me Chinese, the Sh-Booms, Fast Preacher, ButterQueen, the New Lows, Wet Nurse, Richard Sherfey & All God’s Children, Yogurt Smoothness, Mojave Wilde and many more.
NK is responsible for a significant portion of what makes Orlando’s music scene pacesetting and current. This weekend will be a concentrated and blowout version of what they do so well. So, tell yo franz. (Discounted presale tix and two-day passes for $12 available at backbooth.com, willspub.org and thesocial.org.)
Speaking of NK’s good work, they recently wrapped a strong bill around Syracuse buzz band Perfect Pussy (Jan. 14, Will’s Pub). Right here, I will resist innuendo with the same iron determination that enables me to maintain tractor-beam eye contact with women of conspicuous breasts. I can get through this, I swear.
Anyway, they rip an intriguing brand of texture-steeped hardcore that’s enveloped in a gale of noise and layered sonic distance. Though individual elements disappear in their blizzard approach, it does leave a singular impression: velocity. It’s everything to the point of nothing, but you can feel every collective ounce of it. And they drive it with a surplus of presence and conviction.
But, holy hell, Tallahassee’s Ex-Breathers torched it up too, maybe even more. Yes, definitely make that more. They arrived with hot word of mouth and, well, the hype mill spun some big truth this time. Their open-throttle post-hardcore rushes the blood with some impressively hairy noise-rock verve. It all culminates in a fireball of intelligence and power. Mark these high-voltage sluggers down in your book for when they come back to town. I am.
One reason Uncle Lou’s is the city’s freakiest live bar is because of performances by local acts like Gnutzak (Jan. 13). The weirdo electronic improv group, which features members of Me Chinese, primed the night with a strange fog so experimental and extemporaneous that a couple of their non-member – and I’m pretty sure non-musical – friends jumped into the mix on instruments mid-song, and it wasn’t out of place.
But making total, crystalline sense was Atlanta’s Suno Deko, a solo loop-layering act with an interesting setup: keyboard, snare drum, violin, sleigh bells, guitar and, of course, pedals. I’ve seen many employ this technique effectively, but few with this degree of taste. Instead of being just the sum of tricks, his music is a full, sophisticated gestalt of song and melody. Intricate and woven with detail, it’s a lovely, left-field and otherworldly pop dream.
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