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click to enlarge The Plush Monsters at North Avenue Studios

Courtesy of North Avenue Studios

The Plush Monsters at North Avenue Studios

Music updates around town: The Plush Monsters, the Social, Rock & Brews 

Local band the Plush Monsters released Warm Blooded in June, laying down 10 bright indie-rock tracks that demonstrate their dynamic range on their first full-length since forming in 2010. They have the folky charm of bands like Bowerbirds, only with a more emotional vocal delivery from singer Thommy Laverack. We chose the Plush Monsters as this month's featured band on Off the Avenue, so they headed out to North Avenue Studios to perform their song "Valley Bird" and a special holiday original they're demurely dubbing "It's XMas (I Love You)" (watch below). Both videos are online now, along with a full profile on the band and a stream of Warm Blooded.

I've enjoyed immensely OW's Off the Avenue sessions at North Avenue Studios because it gives me a chance to share some of my favorite local bands without pulling hair to get people out to shows, but I'd be remiss not to mention all the other developments at North Avenue Studios this year (other than becoming a rad partner in documenting Orlando's best music). North Ave. kicked off their inaugural Off the Avenue Live series on their wonderful outdoor stage, inviting the public out to see all the good work they've been doing in Orange City. North Avenue Studios' David Plakon also recently announced his own label, Eye Four Records, with partner Ian Maikisch, starting off by supporting Orlando band Sabals and Gainesville's Palmedo. Based on the strength of their first releases, I'll certainly be watching next year to see how things ramp up and eagerly waiting for the next chance to head out to the studio.

If you've been paying attention to the Social's calendar (, you might've noticed an intriguing little arrangement between the indie club and the Dr. Phillips Center. It seems the two venues are pairing up to present a bunch of already-announced shows, including that Mark Kozelek show (Jan. 31, Dr. Phillips Center) I yammered on about in the Orlando Music News blog. Additionally, they've posted Justin Townes Earle (Feb. 17, Dr. Phillips Center) and Hundred Waters (March 13, Dr. Phillips Center), and both of those shows are less than $20, which seems to make good on the Center's promise to use the Alexis and Jim Pugh Theater as a fancy option for the community to enjoy really special concerts at reasonable rates.

Heads up, KISS fans: Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley will be in town for the "grand opening" of Rock & Brews (which has been open since mid-November, but you know, rock stars have to make an entrance). From 2-4 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 6, you can meet the rockers, get a little buzzed and sample the cuisine, then snap a pic with the pair to post/boast on Instagram – if you can afford the $200 price tag.

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