This Little Underground

This week: pride, disappointment, violence and death. So juicy!

The beat

Orlando heroes Solillaquists of Sound have been crafting their legend all along, but it's really beginning to crystallize in full force now. Their CD release party and tour kickoff (Aug. 4, Club Firestone) was proof of a quantum leap in the way the group presents itself, both in product (a hot new album with prime-time potential) and performance (a multimedia concert experience). The hip-hop fam was jacked with excitement over unveiling their new work to the sizable hometown crowd and the rapturous fans matched every bit of it, making this a particularly special event that was as in-the-moment as it gets.

Right now, it looks like they're hungry and hurtling toward the big time. Their vision is clear, cohesive and vibrant. On the back of music and packaging that's popping like never before, they've arrived as one of the most distinctive hip-hop groups in the game. And frankly, these homegrown talents deserve every ounce of recognition and celebrity they're finally getting. Their gains are the fruits of concept, talent and perseverance. Besides, you couldn't find a better ambassador for Orlando's music scene.

The bigger thing to take away from their case is this: The creative soil here is capable of cultivating top-caliber talent. Solillaquists aren't the only examples; they're just the ones who broke out. The single biggest — and possibly only — thing distinguishing them from other talented potential contenders is sheer will. So get on it.

Despite their Christ-core roots, the evil rock machete of Maylene and the Sons of Disaster made me a believer a couple of years ago. I was so on their bandwagon that it would've taken a pretty hard bump to knock me off. And then came their latest album, III, for which they're currently touring. Now riding shotgun beside the whiskey-breathing Southern-metal snarl that got me in the first place is wimpy alt-rock crooning (WTF?!), so I went into the show (Aug. 5, the Social) with mixed emotions.

Luckily, they mostly kept things nasty with their more raging songs. Frontman Dallas Taylor stoked the gathered into near insanity during the finale with a couple of sweet stage dives, the first landing him on top of a crowd surfer and the other a motherfucking backflip! In all, an impressively punishing set, but I'm no closer to reconciling their Christian underpinnings with their slashing rowdiness and murderous imagery.

As for the headliner, I'll just quote an obvious Maylene fan who summed it up with elegant concision when he exited with a loud, to-the-sky exclamation: "Fuck Emery!"

The latest edition of Garage Days (Aug. 3, the Social) was a blistering one featuring hot sweat cooked up by an all-local new-school hardcore lineup. This was my third time attending, and I gotta say that this concert series has shaped up to be a great night. Though cacophonous and somewhat unfocused, the technical grindcore of Republicorpse was stuffed with trickery. Double bonus action points go to the singer of No Qualms for diving off the top of the photo booth, but the best set was delivered by Time to Die, whose metallic, full-bore hardcore is a nasty, roaring brute of concentrated power.

Respect to the lively crowd, who served up decent ensemble violence without any of the tough-guy stuff. I came up in a pit culture that was fueled by a genuine desire to hurt people, which actually suits me just fine, but it's nice to see a scene where girls and skinny fixed-gear types can fully enjoy the needed release of fucking shit up without getting fucked up by some boneheaded bruiser.

By the time you read this, the short-lived but spectacular Spirit Bomb will be no more. The brilliant little local band that was one of the stars of the next wave of great Orlando music has called it quits because one of its members is relocating for academic pursuits, thereby robbing the world of considerable joy. Their final show and CD release (Aug. 2, Uncle Lou's) — a weird and unfortunate combination of landmarks — was well-attended and burst in triumphant fireworks of lovely, technical guitars and post-hardcore deliverance. Kick yourself now for not catching 'em when they were around, and keep this as a reminder of all the other possibilities you're missing out there.

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