This Little Underground 

Bao Le-Huu takes on Follow That Bird, Ceremony, Thou, Fire in the Cave and Demoter's final show

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Man, I thought the wholeNBA collective bargaining impasse was sickening, but all this Dwight Howard bullshit is even more emetic. Grooaaan. But if he’s no longer interested in being here, we need to deal him hard and get everything we can. The hometown team comes first; any individual player on our payroll comes second. I don’t begrudge the guy for dictating his own life but, as a Magic fan, I’m allowed to say, “Fuck him.” You either play for us or you don’t.

But on an infinitely more pleasant local note, here’s some good, opportune music news. The holidays are fast approaching but, face it, you ain’t got the cheddar to buy anyone else gifts this year so you might as well just worry about the number one indie rocker in your life: you! Thanks to some top Orlando artists, you can treat yourself right this year, gratis!

First, there’s the new single from mood-weavers Loud Valley titled “Ruins.” This daydreaming track is maybe their best, most focused song since “The Refrain,” and you can get yours on their Bandcamp page (loudvalley.bandcamp.com). There’s also the eclectic new EP by indie-pop act Mumpsy (facebook.com/mumpsy) and the new EP by Telethon (therealtelethon.bandcamp.com/album/ow-nix-golly), an especially good new step into freak-disco and electro-pop territory. You so deserve it.

The beat

A quality discovery this week was Austin, Texas-based trio Follow That Bird (Dec. 4, Stardust Video & Coffee), whose dark beauty comes in a big guitar rush. Cut from the cloth of indie female greats, singer-guitarist Lauren Green’s enveloping and melodic voice leads their stormy, emotional surges of sound to muster rich rock that’s fluid, evocative and hefty. This is a band that should be much better known than they are currently.

Also playing was Out Go the Lights, a local band that I’d never heard of, probably because they’re truly just kids (all only 17). Well, these youngsters could have a promising future. Their unfailingly buoyant indie rock is pretty straightforward, but their pop hooks are unstoppable.

From here on out though, the atmospheres pile on like slabs. When you approach the Will’s Pub music room and the crammed doorway looks like a spout that’s ejecting bodies into the game room in regular coughs, you know that space is packed and roiling with the tempest of a monster pit – and so it was for the final show by local band Demoter (Dec. 8, Will’s Pub). I had to wait until the end of their set to get to the bar, but it was worth it. The room was humid as a sauna from sheer body heat, bodies were flying everywhere and the band raged. Can’t ask for more than that.

The website of headlining California band Ceremony actually says “We do not have a Twitter, MySpace or Facebook.” Talk about hardcore. But as pure as their ethos is, their sound is anything but piously narrow punk rock. No, this has both signature and diversity of style. Whatever they are, they’re absolutely incredible live. Inciting the whole room into total physical mayhem, they delivered the kind of true hardcore show where it feels like anything can happen and everything is possible. It’s a blissful kind of danger, and Ceremony is a serious, if unlikely, new addition to the Matador Records stable.

Tipping this week’s scales even more was Thou (Dec. 9, Will’s Pub), a band so fiercely DIY that they release all their music online for free (noladiy.org/thou). These dudes dish up a gumbo of sludge, doom and punk from out of the swamp pits of Louisiana and, holy mother of whatever, they’re heavy. Like, capital-H heavy. Their dirty, polluted sound burns with a core of molten iron and plays like explosions in cadence. Man, these cats mean business.

Although my innards are probably still healing from the first time I encountered Orlando band Fire in the Cave, I was still thrilled to be flattened again by their night-closing set. The volume at which they unleash their volcanic brand of black- and doom-metal makes them quite possibly the most sonically ravaging band in the city. Committing to one of their live performances is akin to camping out on the tongue of a roaring dragon but, damn, it hurts so good. These guys are nuclear.

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