The Undie Awards: Honoring the biggest Orlando music happenings in 2022

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click to enlarge Snotnoze Saleem took the Undie Award for best hip-hop debut - Photo by Matthew Moyer
Photo by Matthew Moyer
Snotnoze Saleem took the Undie Award for best hip-hop debut

OK, PYTs: It’s time once again to honor some of the biggest things that happened this year in Orlando music. Welcome back to This Little Underground’s annual Undie Awards

THE 2022 UNDIES

Best local representation:
Ms. Meka Nism
This year, Orlando metal icon Ms. Meka Nism was elected president of the venerable Recording Academy’s Florida chapter. Good for her, but good for us too. She’s the first Orlandoan and only the fourth woman to ever hold the position in the chapter’s history, so it’s a milestone on manifold levels. Now we’ve got one of us inside the establishment.

Best reboot:
Leatherette
When you make a name on pure thrill, it’s a tall-ass order to then pivot into not just a new direction but a new identity altogether. Well, that’s what Orlando garage punks Spoon Dogs did when they completely rebranded as Leatherette and released a run of songs that went more for atmosphere than exhilaration. They’ve pulled it off by proving that their raw punk verve can cast an even deeper spell when paired with some dark bluesy depth.

Most dramatic metamorphosis:
Marc With a C
Jaws dropped this year when left-field pop artist Marc With a C officially ditched the charismatic persona that’s made him a cult hero after two decades. But did you really expect some boring normie to be behind that veil? Not a chance. Only a real personality could’ve ever conceived of Mark With a C, and that person is now speaking through a truly new and still utterly original perspective. Beginning with the grand release of the high-concept Thanatophobia album, the first under his big new deal with notable outsider label Needlejuice Records, Marc has emerged from the chrysalis in newfound splendor.

Best heavy debut:
Weak
Of all the new heavy music released in Orlando this year, some of the best came from one of the newest bands. This summer, the Life, Death & Foxes EP dropped, slayed and immediately established Weak as a heavyweight hardcore contender. And it’s only the first half of an upcoming full-length album.

Best hip-hop debut:
Snotnoze Saleem
This year, Orlando rapper-producer Snotnoze Saleem exploded as a promising new voice in left-field hip-hop with the thrilling debut mixtape Type Shit on Illuminated Paths. Then, six months later, he returned with the even better Intifada, an album that suggests his rate of development may be as breathless as his frenetic raps.

Best indie-rock debut:
The Amphetamines
One of this year’s best indie-rock releases also came from a newcomer. From total obscurity, Orlando’s Amphetamines suddenly emerged with Daggers in the Blacklight, an astonishingly perfect four-song EP that bridges the Strokes’ tight melodicism and Surfer Blood’s heady fuzz. It’s some of the most finely tuned indie rock to come from here in a long time.

Best new classical music:
Answers
Although classical in genre, Orlando band Answers released one of the most categorically contemporary records this year. Their studio debut, A New Path to Touch the Earth, is a skilled interplay of composition and improvisation that’s forward-thinking enough to feature mixing and mastering credits by post-rock giant John McEntire (of Tortoise and the Sea and Cake fame).

Hottest local cameo:
DJ GAY-Z
This year, cutting-edge Tampa hip-hop act They Hate Change became one of Florida’s most notable indie breakouts with their Jagjaguwar debut (Finally, New). The lead single that launched that big national emergence was “From the Floor.” It’s a futuristic take on the classic Florida bass banger and it prominently features Orlando’s DJ GAY-Z, showcasing the next generation of native talent to the broader masses.

Most gothic ode:
C.B. Carlyle & the Desert Angels
No black clothes, no black makeup. Instead, the year’s most gothic song came from cinematic country and Western act C.B. Carlyle & the Desert Angels, whose “Fever Swamp” single is a chilling blues hex that weaves mystique like C.W. Stoneking to lure you into the midnight bayou.

Best stalker soundtrack:
ACP Pro
With new single “Atomic Trinity,” local synthwave act ACP Pro ventured further into the heart of darkness than ever before. It’s a lurking electronic drive that’s like a slasher-flick score set to a beat, and it’s ACP Pro’s finest work to date.

About The Author

Bao Le-Huu

Music columnist.
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