This Little Underground

Way to go this week, locals. This is how you do it.

The beat

Absolutely radioactive with potential is new local band Bananafish (Oct. 22, Back Booth). This brainchild of principal Travis Reed — also of outstanding new local act the Tenant — deals in a modern brand of cloud-riding symphonic folk that, in its best moments, claims prime property between Fleet Foxes and Port O'Brien. Despite a full five-member presence onstage, their instrumental makeup is actually rather minimal (acoustic guitar, bass, trumpet and a single floor tom). But through masterful arrangements, they achieve something lush, massive and melodically transcendental. It's a sound that envelops and transports. If they can pen more songs like the melodically wedded "The Owl's Refrain" and "The Owl's Lament," this band will attract some heavyweight attention. Get to know them now, because Bananafish is the region's next truly serious contender.

Also earning himself a bright spot on the map is Dub Theorist (Oct. 18, Will's Pub), the nom de plume of local electronic musician Darren Davis. Though his compositions interpret various shades of the dance genre with taste, he's most inventive when he reimagines reggae through the lens of electronic music to produce IDM with real concept.

But, being a one-man electronic act, it ain't much to behold. Fortunately, Davis was smart enough to know this and made the wise decision to bring in Jacksonville's Mark Kieran (Too Much Productions) to provide visuals in an integrated way. According to Davis, it was a collaborative effort that involved about 20 hours of preproduction for the show. Projected on both the back wall of the stage and the floor, Kieran's lush, mind-expanding kinetic visuals brought room-transforming ambience.

Always eyeing the next level, Orlando label Post Records held a showcase of rising local talent (Oct. 24, Will's Pub). At first, guitar-and-drum duo Reviver/Reviver rolled out with the grace of a hopelessly knotted rope. But the two players eventually switched instruments and everything magically smoothed out. Well, not entirely, since their music is so inherently mathy. So much so, in fact, that they make Watch Me Disappear seem like an arena-rock band in comparison. Due credit to the band for ambition, but it's awfully self-conscious and difficult fare. Note to band: Do not employ that starting lineup again. Ever.

1991 took the same two-piece format and pushed it all the way to enlightenment. Their fresh, complex breed of experimental noise rock can liberate and induce rapture in a way that only the short-lived but brilliant Spirit Bomb has achieved in recent memory. Powerful, unchained and incandescent, these boys are frontrunners in the new school of the Orlando underground.

Meanwhile, the exact opposite of progress was unfolding with the Genitorturers (Firestone Live). Though semi-legendary in this region's music history, time hasn't been especially kind to the formerly local and now Tampa-based band.

The thing about shock and titillation is that it's an ever-moving bar. The less you keep up, the more vanilla you become by default. And despite a storied past, their stage show is now about as racy as an Orange County strip club (yawn). What once spawned reports of actual displays of the genital torture ("genitorture") promised by their name now peddles softcore like it's some sort of revelation, which is bad news when the foundation of your basic premise is superlative sexual provocation, as theirs is. As for the music, their gothic rock has taken an even worse turn to become some glammy, slicked-up abomination that's pathetically Sunset Strip.

And then there are the outrageously funny Revolting Cocks (Oct. 21, Firestone Live), who, against the very steep odds of debuting a virtually all-new lineup, showed how pornographic rock is really supposed to be done. When a band is conceived as a supergroup, like RevCo was with Al Jourgensen (Ministry), Luc Van Acker and Richard 23 (Front 242), carrying the legacy torch is an unenviable proposition for a group of unknowns. And though it's true that this show lacked the all-star posse appeal that's always been intrinsic to the Cocks' appeal, singer Josh Bradford is an incredibly magnetic frontman with charisma and star power comparable to greats like the Legendary Shack Shakers' Col. J.D. Wilkes, something Bradford will need every ounce of to fill Jourgensen's now-vacant shoes. But his presence alone may just ensure a successful changing of the Revolting Cocks guard.

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