THIS LITTLE UNDERGROUND 


Ladies, germs and herms: hats off, please. By the time you read this, local band Jeanie and the Tits will be history. An important part of Orlando’s music history, yes, but history nonetheless. I’m totally crying over spilled, ahem, milk, but that’s because their amicable demise – brought on primarily by the upcoming relocation of a couple members – is a damned shame.

And of course they just had to make the pang of regret that much more acute by putting on the absolute best performance I’ve ever seen of theirs at a final stand April 3 at the Peacock Room. Better execution, more energy, loads more attitude. In short, the band I always hoped they would become.

Perhaps more than their music, however, the Tits’ legacy lies in what they represented. Within a relatively short lifespan, they became the area’s standard-bearing female band. It was a role that allowed the impact of the punk band to transcend genre. And apparently, that isn’t lost on our scene, because the ’Cock was wall-to-wall with the city’s indie elite, many of whom I’ve never seen at a Tits show.

At least frontchick Jean Smegma’s influence will continue with her new femme-centric record label, Lipstick Pickup, a sister imprint to Floridas Dying.

Speaking of, Slippery Slopes, the latest band in which Floridas Dying don Rich Evans plays, opened up. This is now my favorite local party band by virtue of the simple fact that they engender the glorious stupidity of rock & roll.

Their repertoire is actually filled with good songs, but they just completely abuse them. Which is either brave or dumb. Or both. Regardless, they’re a rockin’ train wreck, they don’t give a shit, and that’s why I love ’em.

THE BEAT

April 1 at the Social was English band Athlete, who are curiously named since their music is anything but athletic. Instead, it’s marginally pleasant, chronically lite indie-pop fare. Their sweetness is immediate but proves unfulfilling in the long (or even intermediate) run. It’s the sort of soft-palmed band that the Brits see fit to infect the rest of the world with every few years or so.

But I’m sort of conflicted about the show. I’m not sure what was more offensive: the band’s absolute innocuousness or the audience’s rudeness. On one hand, it was impossible to ignore the inappropriately loud din of the crowd during their performance. Not cool. Then again, the band’s music was so utterly beige that, well, I don’t blame people for seeking some stimulation in their surroundings.

Lead singer Joel Pott attempted to shush the yahoos at one point but even that was so limp-wristed that no one responded. Poor band? Poor me? Who knows? Who cares.

Repairing the U.K.’s reputation on April 4 (at the Social again) was much-hyped Bristol duo Fuck Buttons. Considering their music’s lack of facetiousness or irony, their ill-fitting moniker has always given me pause. Sure, I like saying it – over and over sometimes – but it never sat right as a descriptor. But now I know. Every time they pushed a button onstage, I went, “Fuck! That’s gorgeous!”

Their brew of noise, drone and fuzz groaned with sonic immediacy in gestures that, though simple, were done in monolithic proportions. Those sounds – ohhh, those SOUNDS – were at once assaulting and beautiful, like blistering white noise aimed at the heavens.

Now I realize they didn’t do all that much in terms of live playing, but it didn’t really matter because their music is so well-conceived. So long as it’s loud enough, it’s gonna move you. Hearing such evocative and transporting work live, we might as well have been watching the sun rise from the peak of an Aztec temple as volcanoes exploded in slo-mo and UFOs landed all around. Seriously, we’re talkin’ real dawn-of-man shit here. If Kubrick were still alive, betcher ass they would be scoring his next space film.

A bit more modest was widely adored Canadian band the Weakerthans April 5 at the Social. They’re not much to look at, really. No pyro, no antics, just effortlessly pretty songs. It’s simple guitar pop, but, when done as well as they do it, it’s an infinitely gratifying
thing.

Straight-ahead, guileless melodic rock like this seems a nearly extinct creature. There’s plenty of pleasant-sounding stuff in the ether, but it’s mostly presented with twee affectation these days. Even more reason to be thankful for the Weakerthans.

baolehuu@orlandoweekly.com

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