To Dwight Howard from aserious Magic fan: Good for you for ultimately abiding your better side, showing some loyalty and returning the love the city's shown you for now. However, I'm not sure how to divvy the blame, but somebody up in here deserves a bit of the ol' middle finger from Orlando fans for this grossly public trade opera. If it's your possibly dishonorable handlers, as you've intimated, and not you, then you should deliver the message yourself on both our behalves. And then go get less clumsy people to represent you because someone is fucking with your legacy.
After being lit up by them, I'd like to officially enter two bright young local acts into the books (March 12, Will's Pub). First is Jr. Meowzer, one of the few bands that not only does pop-punk right, but injects it with freshness. This is not the saccharine pap that's become the genre's norm. They take the requisite open-hearted melody and give it real sonic presence by thrusting it into the red with fuzz and brawn. Further distinguishing them is a strong dose of '90s indie-rock loudness, making them often resemble a more punk Superchunk with upped horsepower.
The other knockout was Orlando's Girls on the Beach. At heart, this is pretty straightforward garage rock with a beachy aspect. But what elevates them to true excitement is their songcraft, rock & roll energy and just completely massive sonics. Hot-revving, punk-spiked and way catchy, these guys are the deal. And they don't half-step it live. After whipping both the room and themselves into rapture, they closed with a wild finale that saw the drum kit destroyed and the lead guitar plucked of strings like a dishonored chicken. Although young, they're already remarkably well-formed and ready to conquer.
Both groups have only begun to chip into the scene lately, but pay attention because I can see them catching real fire. Finding exciting new bands like this is what this column lives for. And if these two are a taste of the next generation of buzz-worthiness, then Orlando's in very good shape. Download both bands' free songs on Bandcamp (jrmeowzer.bandcamp.com; girlsonthebeach.bandcamp.com) and go see them live. Jr. Meowzer next opens for Bomb the Music Industry (March 23, Stardust) and Girls on the Beach open for the Black Lips (March 26, the Social).
After seeing the various members of Orlando rap crew Vets of Kin side by side (March 15, the Social), it's become especially glaring to me that AmIAm needs to step up his solo game. Although youthful, this ace MC has a tough, athletic, on-rails flow that's gloriously old school. Ain't no pause or drag in his high-level, spring-loaded cadence. I first saw him own the sidewalk by the downtown vegan hot dog stand at an Ozone Cypher. Since then, he's always dominated almost everyone around him. I appreciate his attempts to keep things democratic with his peers but the cream must always rise to the top. If you don't let it, then an injustice is happening. So it's high time he stepped up and staked his domain by doing something big on his own. Time to get yours, young gun.
But practically stealing the show were the first video clips by Black Gallery, a purported Internet hip-hop celebrity that you seriously need to YouTube. Many will recognize the man behind this funny-ass persona but let's just say it's the alter ego of a very famous Orlando rapper not exactly known for his sense of humor, which is what makes this Chappelle-esque lampoon of rap stereotypes even better. Subversive, deliciously over the top and incredibly funny, Black Gallery is my new hero.
I've no idea how this huge piece of news slipped past me, but I want to go on record and bid a belated but loving farewell to local lounge legend Mark Wayne. Thanks for the great times, sir. Orlando is less colorful without you.
The only way that incandescence can ever be recaptured, even if in part, would be through soul partner Lorna Lambey. That's why she needs to sing again. Whenever you're ready, Lorna, we'll be here waiting. Until then, stay tuned to Mark & Lorna's Facebook page for the Red Fox Lounge's show updates.
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