Always one to mix the robust melodies of powerpop with soft adult contemporary, Fernando Perdomo replaces powerpop with the sweeping elements of orchestral acoustic pop on his new EP, Home is Wherever You Are, released yesterday. After relocating to Los Angeles this year, the longtime Miami staple delivers two new originals and four re-worked tracks of songs Perdomo originally released with his band Dreaming in Stereo.
“In a World Without You”, one of the two new songs, is a condensed two-minute ballad with a Burt Bacharach-like arrangement. The EP’s other original, “Andrea’s Fault”, is composed alluringly with a charming string section backing Perdomo’s thin baritone, which, here, moves a lot like Elvis Costello’s. The EP’s four revised Dreaming in Stereo originals have been stripped of their powerpop façade and arranged either acoustically lush (“Lazy” and “Fill My Sky”) or subtly grand (“Home” and “Smile”).
To learn more about Home is Wherever You Are, visit Perdomo’s website. You can also watch the video for “Smile” after the jump.
Fernando Perdomo — Dreaming In Stereo band member, Forward Motion Records label boss, and a damn good guitarist — is leaving Miami for Reseda, Cali., a suburb of Los Angeles. An artist leaving Miami for a bigger market is nothing new, but this particular departure is noteworthy because Perdomo has been a steadfast advocate for a certain slice of the Miami music scene (basically, poppy rock and roll), going as far as to write the song “I’m Not Going To Move To LA” several years ago. Alas, the defiant ditty did not hold true. Perdomo is not “staying right here”, though, as he told the Miami New Times, he intends to rep his hometown out west: “… I hope everyone knows that I will now be [a] soldier [for] the scene and will find every possible way to make South Florida music global. 305 till I die …” Bon voyage, Fernando.
Band leader and record label chief, Fernando Perdomo (guitar, left) is pushing South Florida music as hard as anyone.
Fernando Perdomo says he’s “really passionate about South Florida music,” and I suppose there’s no better evidence of that than the fact that he made time to talk to me about South Florida music on Sunday, the same day that he buried his mother.
A long-time EL Nuevo Herald editor, Araceli Perdomo died last week after a five-year battle with ovarian cancer. Her son, who was by her side throughout, says her funeral drew members of her three families, “her blood family, musicians, and her Miami Herald family.”
“It’s funny,” he says. “[Former Herald publisher] David Lawrence in the same room as [local experimental musician] Rat Bastard.”
That is funny, but, naturally, Perdomo wasn’t feeling jocular. Still, he made a point to get on the phone with me because he wanted to talk about his Miami Beach-based record label, Forward Motion Records, which will celebrate its one year anniversary on Thursday with a 16-artist showcase at Revolution Live in Ft. Lauderdale.
“It’s been one hell of a year,” says Perdomo, referring both to the loss of his mother and to the impressive successes of his record label. Since its launch last summer, Forward Motion has released more than 30 records, had two artists (Dreaming In Stereo, Perdomo’s band, and singer-songwriter Andy Pratt) play at SXSW, and one artist, singer Jorge Moreno, win a prize in the International Songwriting Competition for his low-budget video, “Thank You”.
The 31-year-old label boss isn’t satisfied.
“I’ll never be satisfied,” Perdomo says. “You know what, I’ll be satisfied, but I’ll never be done. My biggest goal is for a success story to come out of South Florida in the genre that is [Forward Motion’s] specialty, which is English-language singer-songwriter music … the most-timeless genre.”
Fernando Perdomo is the guitar hero of Dreaming in Stereo and mastermind of Miami-based Forward Motion Records. Perdomo recently took his act to Austin for South by Southwest (SXSW, March 11 – March 20), an annual festival of music, technology, and film. For those of us who didn’t get to go, he jotted down some notes on his favorite acts (and least-favorite person). You might recognize a few of the names on the list — the first list, that is. I embedded a few of the bands’ videos at random. The Rooney vid is pretty epic, in a vulnerable vampire kinda way.
Moneybrother: Springsteen meets The Clash with heavy Swede accents
Miami's Dreaming in Stereo (from left to right): Dave Torre, Marisol Garcia, Fernando Perdomo, Eddie Zyne, and Vincent Cuevas.
Fernando Perdomo has always worn his pop-bleeding heart on his sleeve. His band Dreaming in Stereo is as much a tribute to pop rock as it is a workshop for contributing to the canon. With the band’s upcoming release, Dreaming in Stereo 2 (due out Feb. 15th), Perdomo and company continue to mine the pop vein with Perdomo’s flawless guitar work lighting the way.
For the uninitiated, Perdomo’s music nods unapologetically to cult pop bands like The Posies and Jellyfish, who themselves drew heavily on even earlier pop-rock bands like The Byrds, Big Star, and The Move — all simple sounding music with complicated infrastructures. Perdomo is also quite vocal about his admiration for singer-songwriter Todd Rundgren. (I hear the influence on Perdomo mainly in Rundgren’s first three albums from the early 70s).
To my ear, DiS 2’s nearest relative is Jellyfish’s 1990 Bellybutton, with its bittersweet melodies that seamlessly alternate between major and minor moods within complex arrangements. And while, as a whole, Dreaming In Stereo’s upcoming album does not attain Bellybutton’s catchiness, it does show the band has the talent to get there.
Last night, the first Culinarium food truck round-up convened at the corner of N.E. 2nd Avenue and 17th Street downtown. Boasting many stalwarts of Miami’s food truck scene (Jefe’s, Dim Ssam a Gogo, Fish Box, Latin Burger, CheeseMe, Ms. Cheezious), Culinarium distinguished itself from BTTR and other mobile-kitchen meetups around town with two full bars and live music in Villa 221’s wedding-worthy backyard. Attendance was sparse early on and the lines short compared to BTTR, where I waited 45 minutes at a single truck. But the rainishness probably kept some folks away and, with the event scheduled to run until midnight, the crowd might have picked up as the night wore on. I’m not sure if Culinarium will become a weekly event (it’s apparently up in the air), but I suspect its combo of booze, grub, and style would eventually draw Miami’s bao-bun addicts downtown on a regular basis (at least this one).
Perdomo sat in with Omine on the outside stage, his guitar work adding a controlled frenzy to her rollicking roadhouse blues. Probably the foremost pleasure of the night was seeing how much Perdomo enjoys himself on stage. The rumpled man wields a wicked ax and routinely tosses off riffs that give standard chord progressions new life. Perdomo is an incorrigible local (see “I’m Not Gonna Move to L.A.”) who has done more than his fair share for Miami’s music scene, and it was good to see him get his rocks off on stage — his own Forward Motion-sponsored stage — at a venerable Miami venue.
Problem was, I was one of only about 30 people watching (29, if you don’t count Perdomo’s mother). Attendance at the other MMF stage upstairs was even worse. In fact, there might have been more people inside watching the Portland-Oklahoma game, seemingly oblivious that a music festival was underway, than there were at the two stages combined. So Perdomo and Omine gamely sent their musical energy out into an empty night, and in return they got a round of applause befitting a show-and-tell presentation.
Boasting only one nationally known band and few local stars, the diamonds in the Miami Music Festival lineup are few and far between. Here’s a guide to help you in the treasure hunt. You can also click HERE to find out why all the bands you’d expect or hope to see in the lineup aren’t.
MMF really gets going on Friday, Nov. 12, but there are a few bonus performances on Thursday at Cafeina, in Wynwood.
Mike Mineo @ 11 p.m. (inside) – When Mineo puts his mouth to the mic, make sure to hold onto your pomegranate mojito. Named Best Male Vocalist of 2010 by the Broward New Times, Mineo combines a velvet delivery with a smart, playful approach to songwriting. Mineo’s songs are informed by the classics, showcasing arrangements from blue-eyed soul (“Peaceful Daze”), light jazz fusion (“Easy Livin’”), and classic pop (“Truth Plagues Plato”). mikemineo.com
So Timeless @ 11 p.m. (outside) – Smooth Bay Area big band soul-hop with a blaring horn section and organ grinder. So Timeless is a 20-plus piece outfit, and even if the whole crew doesn’t make the trip from the West Coast, you will be dancing. They perform again on Friday at midnight, same place.