This Little Underground

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The area music scene is currently experiencing a changing of the guard. To see some of our foundational indie bands fold is always heartbreaking (and more than a little unsettling) to someone like me whose chief concern is the creative health of this city. But let me reassure you: There's a fertile swell of new acts jockeying to carry the torch this time, so it doesn't look like there's gonna be a lull between waves. And most of the strongest contenders are coming from the ever-strengthening experimental scene.

The beat

A prime case in point is Pan/Dos (Jul. 22, Will's Pub), the Japanese-jonesing multimedia project by Jonathan Taylor on local experimental label Gone & Records. Sonically, his set was represented by a collage of electronic patterns, beat science and found sound. Visually, it involved synchronized video on three old box televisions of images that ranged from impressionistic to beautiful to comical. All of it was mixed through VHS tapes, resulting in a big pile of them next to Taylor's feet by set's end. Though technically not brand-new, he's recently re-entered the live circuit after an extended performance hiatus. But this awesomely original act is still under the radar, and that's something that needs to change.

A very new act in the extended area is St. Pete's Blind Man's Colour (Jul. 25, Back Booth), another rapid riser courtesy of the Internet buzz machine. Though the teenagers are barely out of the gate in terms of public performance (this was only their second proper show), they're already waving blog praise from Grizzly Bear and Kanye West, as well as sporting a well-known national publicist. Musically, their psych-pop is from the Animal Collective school and is the kind of textural and ambient exercise that's all pastel clouds and underwater sounds. I generally prefer my music with more punctuation and point, but these kids are good at what they do, and what they do is currently de rigueur.

And then there are jokers like Ricky Diamond still buzzing around like shit- worshipping flies. His recent event (Jul. 23, Will's Pub) was given the bloated title "The Defamation of Ricky Diamond," either riding the coattails of the blasting he got on Defame: Orlando or simply foretelling this here write-up.

Not much to say about opener and wannabe celeb Jamesson Beane, who was just pathetically earnest but unsure, like bad karaoke. As for Diamond Boy, well, his display of dollar-store twat-pop is a spectacle that can only be enjoyed with an unkind sense of irony. The amateurishness of a talent show is forgiven because it's done by innocent grade-schoolers. But when it's served up for public consumption by a grown-ass man reeking of hubris, it's contemptible.

Still, watching him perform took me on a dynamic emotional journey. At first sight, laughter and disgust were in a tug-of-war inside me. Eventually, the tragedy of such ham-handed soul-whoring sank in and weighed on my sense of humanity. And then, after a few more drinks, the comedy returned and life was good again. But ultimately, it was like, anyone have a stage cane or a gong? Anything to make it stop. Good god, at least Cori Yarckin can sing. Then again, that's like discussing how Daughtry was the "substantive" one on American Idol, so never mind.

Diamond is one of those deluded fools who's so desperate for attention he doesn't discriminate between the good kind and the bad. To be a punch line is bad. To be OK with being one is sad. However, as long as avenues like YouTube and public access television are out there, dude's got a shot.

Whether or not he's serious about what he's doing doesn't even matter in this case. If he's not, then it means he lacks the comedic acumen to pull it off. If he is, then he's simply the most delusional music figure in Orlando. All you can be sure of is that he sucks the big one and that a serious art crime is being perpetrated here.

Add to that the hen-party audience he drew — marked by that singular glass- cutting shrillness that can only come from loud drunk girls — and I now have a revised idea of what my personal hell looks like. Thanks for that.

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