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Before we shelve it, here's a last look at the year — in convenient pill size just for you! My picks for the best albums, along with those of Justin Strout and Jason Ferguson, can be found elsewhere in this issue, but the following superlatives are Underground's other official year-end awards. I hereby present the Undies of 2008. Envelope, please …

The Undies

Best scene development: Reopening of Will's Pub and Redlight Redlight

There's no ignoring how momentous this one-two punch is. In terms of music rooms, both are far superior to their original digs, and collectively they represent a huge spike for our scene.

Most unique concert: Neptune on the Bus, March 20

I wrote about it in July in the "Best of Orlando" issue, but I think the stealth concert-adventure organized by scene provocateurs Pat Greene, Greg Liebowitz and Alex Boeckl in a moving, windowless bus with no destination is worth an official Undie nod.

Best local hip-hop event: Blow Sundays

The criminally overlooked weekly intersection of hip-hop, jazz and poetry going on under the streets at Tanqueray's is one of the city's most organic exemplars of groove and spontaneity.

Most improved local music festival: ELLA Fest, Oct. 2-4

This is not to say that there's not room to improve — there definitely is — but the sophomore edition showed that this female-centered music event is starting to resemble a marquee event, not just an ambitious footnote.

Best new hang for underage fixed-gear kids who take political correctness very seriously: Black Box Collective

Kidding aside, both this space and the art compound it's part of are a positive downtown development, particularly for the west side. It's a true incubator for anyone who's young, artistic and liberal.

Best new local act: Basements of Florida

Among a young indie class dominated by geniality, this assertive instrumental trio of rhythm players (one drummer, two bassists) pops from the pack by showing how dynamic the low-end theory can be.

Most auspicious local act: Mumpsy

If it seems this effervescent pop tribe is everywhere nowadays, it's because their hustle has been on overdrive this year. Between being a category winner (best garage-pop) in Sufjan Stevens' "Great Sufjan Song Xmas Exchange," appearing on CBS and playing CMJ, this band has proven a model of ambition, energy and industriousness.

Most au courant local act: Kingsbury

While the waters of intellectual property remain cloudy in the music biz, Kingsbury has leapt bravely into the new world by providing all their work for free through their website (, though they accept — and I strongly suggest — online donations.

Best DJ: SPS

I've been telling you that the turntablist partner-in-crime of rapper X:144 is a total badass. Now DMC officially has my back: The foremost global authority on mix culture crowned him the best battle DJ in America last September. Yes, greatness walks among you.

Best local release: Crutch and the Giant Junshi, Caterwaul

This freaky experimental folk album is an arresting construct of open-wound rawness, aching beauty and gutter romanticism.

Best local record label: Sleepy Bird Orphanage

In only nine months of existence so far, Phil Siegenthaler's experimental label has already served up six full-length releases that are mostly good and all interesting, including the above-mentioned Caterwaul.

Best local recovery: Brian Maguire

Though the famously affable Big Jef Special drummer is now functional, he was well on the road to being a vegetable after a devastating motorcycle accident only a year ago. Good to have you back, man.

Biggest local abomination: Blood on the Dance Floor

I know there are tons more out there, but this is the most emetic trespass of music I personally endured. You others? Don't worry, I'll get to you.

Most pathetic local act: Biteboy

Their crass ambition has led them to insert themselves into the media stream with the subtlety of a jailhouse rape. I would say that they'd sell their souls to the devil just for a career, but judging from their near-total lack of talent, they've clearly stopped shy.

Worst local band name: X.O.X.O.

No, not the worst band; musically, they're likable enough. But an all-male band called "hugs and kisses"? Ohhh, man. Someone detail for me the psychology behind that choice.

[email protected]

About The Author

Bao Le-Huu

Music columnist.
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