This Little Underground

Bao Le-Huu takes on Company, Young Widows, My Disco, Rusko and locals Maximino, the Broken Inn and Kaleigh Baker

Tell me you're taking in this nice run of springtime concerts we're having.

The beat

Using loop-and-layer construction, Orlando abstract pop project Maximino (May 5, Will's Pub) weaves a diverse array of instruments (bells, guitar, cello, keys, etc.) to give his tapestry impressive dimension for a one-man act. Besides his good singing voice, the use of strictly textural vocals deepens his palette even more. The results are organic, diaphanous compositions with real suppleness and beauty. Moreover, with atypical influences like tropical breezes, there's more flavor and human touch in his sound than the average indie cloud rider.

Even live, Maximino's songs maintained a discernible pop progression instead of being purely circular. This is much more than a loosely assembled slideshow of glacial still-lifes. Coasting with easy-listening soulfulness, this is actual songwriting with breadth and vitality. Most critically, Maximino has clear personality and point of view, which is more than can be said for many of his ilk. And this should make you curious enough to check out his elegant - and free - recordings 

Company (May 7, Will's Pub) is from South Carolina but they have sort of a North Carolina thing going on with drivingly tuneful Chapel Hill-style indie rock paired with some tasty twang. Any melodic band that loves distortion this much is always a good thing. The result in their case is rock that's loud, earthy and pretty.

Also playing was local band the Broken Inn, who have a slight identity crisis to address. At their best, they can kick out scrappy, sweltering jams reminiscent of early Willowz. And that's why the rest of the band needs to lock into singer-guitarist Daniel Hanson's vibe in order to truly lift off. He is the band. Despite the wrinkles, there's something here. But decisions need to be made for them to realize their considerable potential. Go see for yourself when they support another dope South Carolina band, Leslie (July 6, Back Booth). Perhaps playing alongside them will show the Broken Inn the virtue of more rock economy and balls.

The expansive noise rock and post-hardcore of Louisville, Ky.'s Young Widows (May 2, Will's Pub) may not be as detonative or dangerous as their peers, but there's a discipline and clarity to what they do. Their contained take on this often furious form has a gripping tension that comes from always being on the edge but never over. With them, it's not about release; it's about the intensity of suspense.

Opening was Australia's My Disco, whose mechanistic, ever-building hypno-rock needs to be experienced live to be fully appreciated. What's often antiseptic on their recordings is much more charged and spontaneous live. The scraping guitars and dissonance that occasionally stab their monolithic groove pack more thrill and urgency in person, sometimes rising beautifully into a near-shoegaze blizzard of sound. Considering this live electricity, maybe they should rethink their recording tack.

Oh, dubstep - what to do with you? I get the appeal, at least initially. When U.K. DJ/producer Rusko (May 3, the Beacham) - one of the style's preeminent practitioners - released his 2010 debut album, I gave it a halfway decent review. But I fully expected dubstep to be dead by now. However banging it may be, surely something so 
knuckle-draggingly simplistic has got to wear out its welcome fast, right? Well, considering he's only the second act to officially sell out the Beacham, not so. Dubstep isn't just one-note. It's a single note, honed into a nerve jackhammer and set on repeat. I can't think of another dance subgenre as dumbly narrow as dubstep. Even the purest jungle has more range. Yes, it hits hard and makes a splash, but dubstep's uniquely unlistenable beyond the short term - all immediacy but no longevity. Rusko drove the crowd out of their minds, and it was good to see Orlando party like this. But ultimately, dubstep deserves to be no more significant of a footnote than newbeat.

Sadly, Kaleigh Baker's EP release party (May 6, the Social) was also her Orlando swansong, since the powerhouse siren is moving to NYC. But it was a great send-off that achieved the impressive feat of selling out the Social, a testament to her legacy here. Her departure hurts, but this is good for her.