Just when I thought I masturbated a lot, Robert Pollard releases a new record Oct. 9 … another double album. The only fanfare this deserves is a single downward-curling horn bleat. Does this guy have one honest person in his life, one who can flip open the dictionary to the word “overkill” and push his nose to the page? For the few of you sick puppies who still care, rejoice: It’s a double dose of the same old shit. Knock yourselves out.

The beat

On Sept. 24, the Social hosted Do Make Say Think, the esteemed post-rock band whose ranks extend tentacles throughout the notable Toronto scene. Besides traditional rock instrumentation, they dilated their sound with horns, violin, keys, even a second drummer. Though the cast was big, they managed to be complex without being too busy. Unfortunately, in all those acres of instrumental detail, efficiency wasn’t a priority, rendering their tapestry more filigree than impact.

Unlike their name suggests, local openers Clock Hands Strangle are neither emo nor bad, instead proving to be a solid, rather charming folk-based indie band. A nice discovery.

Dropkick Murphys dropped their Southie rock on House of Blues Sept. 26. With all the regalia and pageantry that precedes them, it’s easy to form conclusions about their artistic intent. But under all the obvious symbolism, they’ve grown into a good rock band rooted deeply in the Irish folk tradition and blue-collar values. What on the surface seems like an ethnic gimmick has proven to be a much more earnest thing. Few street punk bands would go to the trouble of incorporating touches like tin whistle, mandolin, accordion and piano in a serious way. Sure, there are songs about the drunken misadventures of hooligans, but there are also songs about the plight of the proletariat and working-class heroes, which explains why tons of firemen from all over were at the show.

I’m not sayin’ the Murphys are intellectual or anything – nor would they, probably. But there are other kinds of depth. When it comes to emotion, they bring the fire. They’re as sincere as they are direct. They’re not above rowdy fun, but that’s a great thing. Remember that quaint notion that music should be fun? Besides, I love bagpipes and I love loud guitars, so there.

Equally direct but significantly less macho was the orgy of geeky bliss that was the Apples in Stereo at AKA Lounge Sept. 27. Between their Pollyanna pop that drips with the wholesomeness of an after-school special and some bad word of mouth from people more patient than me, I wasn’t expecting this to be a picnic for my nerves. I figured if I wasn’t impelled to climb onstage and choke anyone, it’d be a good night.

Turns out they didn’t have to file battery charges and I didn’t have to post bail, because they came correct by rasping their famously cloying melodies with stronger guitars, as their latest album – the excellent New Magnetic Wonder – did. With the tooth-rotting sweetness of their music tamed just enough, I was able to drink in the pure pop abandon without choking. OK, OK, I had a good time. There, I said it.

It was nice to see a good, well-attended concert at AKA, something I wish would happen more. Most of the notable shows there are overflow from other venues and promoters. AKA has yet to assertively pursue booking on a significant level on its own, which is too bad since it’s one of the best spaces in downtown Orlando.

Girl power

Two nights filled with women performing. My personal heaven? No. Well, yes, actually. But what I’m referring to this time is this weekend’s ELLA Music Festival, an event that celebrates the feminine musical perspective featuring the Actomatics, Raffa & Rainer, Jen Pumo, Geri X, Rachel Goodrich, Sunny Raskin, Channing Deren, Victoria Lynn Schultz, Holly Riggs and Jenny K. Surrounded by Wolves.

It’s the inaugural festival put on by Gamble Records, a label started by local musician Robert Johnson (of sacred steel praise). On Oct. 5 and 6, the festival takes over the theater in downtown’s historic Rogers Building (37 S. Magnolia Ave.), formerly DMAC. Cheaper presale tix can be purchased at Dandelion Communitea Café, Park Ave CDs and Austin’s Coffee & Film. A portion of proceeds will go to worthwhile causes like the Florida School of Herbal Studies, the Simple Living Institute and the Solilla Center 4 Creative Kids. Hellooo, ladies.


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