;You know the kind of wicked bug that has you knotted in a fetal position and trembling in a pool of your own perspiration while visions both absurd and nightmarish materialize in your mind? Well, last week, I had just a garden-variety cold. But, for a disorienting moment, I was convinced it had kicked into overdrive when I was awakened by the sound of Korn playing "Freak on a Leash"… unplugged. Turns out it was a clip of MTV Unplugged (the album comes out Tuesday) playing in the background on my idiot box. The nightmarish part was the appearance of Evanescence's Amy Lee, whose presence I welcome in my auditory sphere as warmly as a choir of caterwauling cats. The absurd part is a band as dependent on sonic density as Korn playing acoustic. Really, what's the point? Doing something just for the hell of it is one thing, but some things don't even beg curiosity. And this idea's about as intriguing as an acoustic Melvins album.


;The beat

;;One of the best concert moments last week was the arty experimentalism of San Francisco's Deerhoof at the Social. Musically, it's as if they took saccharine hooks, dropped them into a blender and ended up with a wondrous elixir of unpredictable pop songs that teeter on odd mathematics and churning chaos. Floating their sound with even more otherworldliness is the whispered fragility of itty-bitty Satomi Matsuzaki's vocals. Deerhoof's one of those bands you definitely want to experience live, where the detailed whimsy of their music makes more sense and blooms more fully into complex sonic profiles that shimmer with frequent moments of surprise.

;;In last week's outings, I was reminded of a couple country-steeped local acts that tend to get overlooked. Friday I checked in on Holidaysburg at Central Station Bar. Despite the modest uprising of young alt-country acts that has sprouted in the past couple years, this band's profile remains mysteriously low. But maybe it's because these guys are the very picture of their music: no glamour, no bullshit, just straight-shooting. Despite the famously unforgiving acoustics of the space — brick walls, stone bar, terrazzo floors — their broad, soaring country-rock sound, given extra flight by singer Rob Weddle's powerfully agile voice, came as close as anyone to sounding remotely warm in this room.

;;The next night I caught up with Terri Binion & the Bible Belt Orphans at the Social. Predating the current wave of young twangsters, Binion was doing Americana before it was deemed indie-hip in these parts, and her head start shows in her accomplished sound. Her band, aptly titled since they all come from other bands, comprises some of the most technically gifted veterans in Orlando. Country music isn't necessarily the bailiwick of many of these players (who belong to groups like technical hard rock act Junkie Rush and jam band Florganism, among others), which is obvious by simply looking at them; Binion is the only one who really looks the part. So it's a resounding testament to their skill and range that the ensemble sound ;wasn't just facile but genuine. In fact, there's no one in this genre around here doing it with as much aptitude as these guys.


;Unlike many of their younger colleagues, nothing in the Orphans' mien suggests greenness, irony or tourism. What they offer instead is a more elegant, enveloping and authentic brand of country. The warm, unhurried sweetness of their sound was deftly steered by Binion, whose restrained power and assured grace is not unlike that of Caitlin Cary. Hopefully, her friendship with ascendant new-schoolers the Heathens will stoke widespread interest in her and her band, which are primarily appreciated in limited circles.


;That they played first on this bill was something of a shame, but having to go before Pensacola's Reynosa was insulting. These lads cite loads of Southern rock influences, but their sensibilities were much more in line with the nancified side of college rock. Ramming the Barenaked Ladies into a bale of hay does not a real Southern rock band make.


;FMF deadline

;Good news, slack asses. The final artist submission deadline for Florida Music Festival has been extended to Wednesday (March 7). Get it together and go to


;Saturday night fever

;;Back Booth is launching its open-genre Saturday dance night "Midnight Mass" this weekend. The good news, apart from a much needed addition to the weekend indie-dance landscape, is that it won't replace concerts. They'll just be earlier.

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