;There are several philanthropy-minded music acts in our scene, but none walk the walk like hip-hop group Sol.illaquists of Sound. Beyond mere rhetoric, they have a history of triggering tangible change in their immediate physical reality. The latest endeavor by the veteran activists is the Solilla Center 4 Creative Kids. The brainchild of vocalist Alexandra Sarton, the center will be as much a place of learning as it is a conduit of expression for Orlando youth. The vision includes a children's art gallery and store, a smoothie and juice bar, and an after-school tutoring and holistic study program that offers kids courses in language, art, poetry, theater, yoga, massage, gardening, vegan cooking and raw food. Trying to turn children into whole adults – imagine that. The nonprofit center will be run by SoS singers Sarton and Tonya Combs.
;;Now all they need to accomplish this is money. That's where you come in. This will be the most direct funding contribution to education that you'll ever be able to make, and it'll only set you back $2. Don't panic, Scrooge; in turn you'll receive a coupon code worth those same two dollars toward the purchase of anything from the Solilla Online Store for each donation. Their goal is to raise $20,000 in 30 days. As Americans, we happen to bear the unique cross of being rich as fuck and in serious need of karmic repair, so there's no reason this can't happen. Right? Go to http://solilla.myshopify.com to make a donation.
;;Great white hope
;On the exact opposite pole of the rap spectrum as the Sol.illaquists' intellectual gravitas is the hedonistic absurdism of Cracker Jackson. There are plenty of tighter, fiercer rappers in the city, but he is hands-down the most awesome. This is a guy, though, who you need to see as much as hear. On Aug. 1, the video for his riotously lewd single, "Front Bottom," premiered at the Matador. Filmed by occasional OW movie reviewer Brett Register, these two minutes and 15 seconds of solid gold capture the cheapness and hilarity of Jackson's geek-dope aesthetic in all its glory. If you're ready for the radness, it can be found on YouTube. (Search for user "Registered Films.")Could it be the official Orlando party jam? Oh, you bet your ass.;;
;;The turbocharged trio of the High Strung totally rocked Back Booth Aug. 4. Though their music beams with jangly '60s-influenced melodies, the muscle and fray of their sound validates their Motor City roots, and it doesn't hurt that legendary rock & roll producer Jim Diamond produced most of their albums. They drag power-pop through the garage on record but they're filled with even more sweat, guts and abandon live. The fuzzy, trench-diggin' bass lines of Chad Stocker carried all the melodic expression typically attributed to a guitar. And during a blustery burnout, drummer Derek Berk channeled his best Keith Moon in a furious fit of banging.
;;Onstage ass-spankin' aside, this particular club show was actually one of the few off-dates for an innovative tour they're on, the National Rock & Roll Library Tour. Yes, it's actually a tour of public libraries around the country. (It was featured on NPR's This American Life.) They played the library in Parkland, Fla., the day before and the Clearwater Public Library a couple of days after. Anything to get more kids reading, I always say – so they can read this column … and I can control their minds.
;;Rounding out the evening was local band Baron Von Bear, whom I've seen now a couple of times. Ambitious but not yet effective the first time I caught them, they didn't make much of an impression. This latest performance, however, showed that this indie-pop troupe is really getting it together. Like a more relaxed, '70s-influenced version of Band Marino, this was a much better band than the one I saw before.
;;Speaking of non-impressions, things weren't so nice at the Back Booth a couple of nights prior. Local act the Redcoat Band was, stylistically speaking, lost in space. A speck of the Brit style that their moniker implies came by way of a passing Badly Drawn Boy similarity during one song; other than that, their delivery conveyed only confusion – especially the drummer, who knocked out jam-band rhythms that were unnecessarily detailed to the point of being distracting. Even a T. Rex cover couldn't save their set; it wound up only serving to underscore the band's lack of virility.
;;Fellow local act the Majestys weren't bad, offering melodic, indie-leaning rock. They had a hint of what might be promise, but they'll be a much better band once they stop pandering to girls and develop a deeper musical direction.[email protected]