Before we go onward and upward, here's the official monument to Orlando music in 2015 for the time capsule.
Acts to watch: Waxed (gaze-pop by Flashlights spinoff band); Ad Nauseum (noise-doom-sludge-core); Timothy Eerie (garage psych-pop); Secret Tracers (heavy psych doom); Crit (punk-hearted '90s-style indie rock); The Wildtones (rockabilly with a garage stomp); Kristen Warren (neo-soul); Dumberbunnies (raw '60s-style rock & roll); Amigo the Devil (Southern gothic folk).
Best local releases: Woolly Bushmen – Sky Bosses (an excitingly hungry sonic broadening of the city's best early rock & roll band); E-Turn and SPS – ESP (old-school chops with new message by a local hip-hop dream team);
Mike Dunn – Hard Luck Soft Rock (one of the best roots rockers Orlando has ever produced returns to long-awaited and anthemic form); Ad Nauseum – EP (a crushing monolith of noise, fury and despair); Hot Hands – Blood Stereo (a garage-rock dose of hot licks and raw attitude); False Punk – self-tited cassette (more noisy thrill from possibly the most exciting hardcore band in the area); Mindscar – Kill the King (probably the most technically dazzling metal assault this year); Maan – Nightlife (chill, liquid electro-soul from Solillaquists of Sound siren Alexandra Love and synth maestro Rogier van Etten).
Best local music roundup: Norsekorea's Orlando Is Tight comp. Juiced with stars like American Party Machine, False Punk, Waxed, the Areolas, Moonmen From Mars and Panther Camp, this two-volume compilation is the best snapshot of Orlando's current music scene.
Best band reboot: The Sh-Booms and Moon Jelly. With some major overhauls in both personnel and perspective, both already promising bands instantly went from cute to serious in astonishing style.
Best local breakout: Christopher Paul Stelling. The Daytona-born former local who got his start on Orlando indie collective Sleepybird Orphanage is finally an undisputably made man with this year's release (Labor Against Waste) on Anti Records.
Best new downtown live-maker: Marshal Rones. Although one of the newest, this young member of the mighty Foundation Presents booking group has proven one of its most enterprising by bringing local-centric live events like free Monday shows at Olde 64 and the about-to-launch Punk on the Patio back to downtown.
Best new heavy booking: Endoxa Booking. Pacesetting heavy-music promoter Non-Prophet Organization has very few peers, but Endoxa has emerged as one of them. With lots of notable credits around the state like the Southern Darkness Fest, Endoxa's not new. But the locally based promoter has really become an Orlando player this year and is fattening up the area's heavy music menu on a signficant scale.
Best local music video: The Wildtones' "Love Machine." Professionally directed by English comedian Greig Johnson (aka Lunge Dolphin), this video is an eye-fucking romp.
Best music history porthole: Brazenblog (raybrazen.blogspot.com). Ray Brazen is a proudly local musician now, but he came up in one of the country's most pioneering music scenes (New York/New Jersey) during one of its most fertile periods (late '70s, early '80s). This year, he started documenting some of his scene memories, and his firsthand accounts of the great American underground are like story time for music heads.
Best local podcast: Moon Cast From Mars. Created, acted and impressively produced by concept punk band Moonmen From Mars, this radio show is an intergalactic gumbo of ridiculous character dialogue, serious talk with local music luminaries and well-curated local music.
Best local EDM history lesson: AAHZ's These Are the Breaks. All the AAHZ reunions are spirited and impressively enduring reminders of a time when Orlando was a global player in EDM, but this edition zeroed in on the party-popping breaks that made us originators.
Best satellite scene: Lakeland. With outstanding acts that have been opening eyes in local clubs like Omri Loved Celadon, Poster and Pilgrimage, this little burg has proven to have the greater area's most fertile soil lately.
Thinnest skin: The nerd scene. Nothing's more self-sabotaging to your bid for mainstream legitimacy than going full bitch en masse to a very mild and generally positive review of one of your shows. Other scenes have handled reviews a thousand times worse with a million times more of a sense of humor.
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