This Little Underground 

Bao Le-Huu takes on Erasure, Anderson Gang, Rudy, Oak Hill Drifters, Aficionado and Soul inSanity, and urges the music scene to chip in for NK Tapes' Summer Single Comp

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More than almost everywhere, our city’s tourist bureaus literally have tons to work with. But do you ever wish these beckoning messages were for and by the cool people who constitute the real pulse of Orlando’s current music scene? Well, the most legit attempt to accomplish this in years is the Single Summer Comp. Being released on NK Tapes, this brainchild of Norse Korea’s Kyle Raker will gather more than 30 of Orlando’s best young DIY bands on a double-CD compilation. Like missionaries, the contributing bands will use it to spread the Orlando gospel through their active gigging and touring. Instead of just word-of-mouth, this is a tangible document of our thriving indie scene that’s well-curated, consolidated and communicable. It’s a completely nonprofit endeavor that only aims to further Orlando’s music culture beyond our region. That’s why it’s worth investing in, so Google “single summer comp kickstarter” and drop some change before Oct. 12. And check out the interesting incentive tiers.

THE BEAT

My feelings for clichéd jammy fusions are fairly well known by now, so I won’t get into the foundational problems of local band Soul inSanity (Aug. 29, Will’s Pub). But I will say that they, like much of their ilk, seem like a gathering of dudes looking for an outlet to exercise their itchy playing fingers, though without a unifying concept among them. And that’s something suited more for the garage than the public.

In a whole other realm, however, is Miami headliner Rudy, whose wankery pairs lightweight white-guy funk-rock with an adolescently terrible comedic sensibility. This stuff is just the worst. Truly. With taste this wayward, any technical chops they possess become totally irrelevant.

Judging by his references to the days of Nick Anderson and Penny, the singer for Albany, New York, band Aficionado is apparently a big and longtime Magic fan. He even tweeted Dwight Howard to let the big guy know he was on the guest list for the show (Aug. 31, the Social), which is pretty cool.

Beyond that little bit of shared interest though, their music was only a partial pleasure. Although unquestionably heartfelt, it was scattered, throwing anthem punk, angular post-hardcore and indie pop in seemingly indiscriminate directions. Sometimes you just gotta know when to keep it simple, people.

And while those who still care about Tim Kasher’s solo material stuck around, I headed over to catch up on some locals (Back Booth). It’s been a while since I’ve seen Oak Hill Drifters but they were an almost totally new act this night. Instead of the country traditionalism they’re known for, they focused more on jazz, swing and rockabilly. Though they can be fun, they’re still more like part-timers stepping out rather than a properly rehearsed combo.

But just when that seemed like a halfway reasonable excuse, the headlining Anderson Gang stepped up and delivered. They, too, have always been a part-time band at best, but they played with passionate acuity. In fact, this was their first public gig in more than a year. For a band that kicks up real country soaked in the spirit of Hank Sr., that’s far too long. I got behind this band a long time ago, and this is why.

I fondly remember seeing Erasure as a kid in the old arena, and the priceless shock on my ultra-hetero but naïve friend’s face (sorry, Chris!) when Andy Bell walked onstage in a tutu. So it was nice to see one of synth-pop’s all-time era-defining acts represent so well after all these years (Sept. 2, House of Blues). Even though they’re about to release their best album in many years (Tomorrow’s World, Oct. 4), this was a set that catered to their longtime fans. While it’s true that soundscaper Vince Clarke did as little as any synth guy typically does live, their music has an unusually heavy and athletic vocal demand for a synth-pop act. And Bell, ever the powerful vocalist and charismatic frontman, still loves the stage. Most importantly, he can still lift the house with his operatic blue-eyed soul.

Also, I’ve seen all manner of tough rock guys make snide Disney jabs when playing HOB. But none of their cred-padding statements were as hard-core as the muscle shirt Bell put on depicting the heads of Mickey and Minnie on real and highly pornographic nude human bodies (yep, full frontal). Punk as fuck!

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