New Waves: “Feel Strange” by Can’t Stop

By | February 22nd, 2012 | No Comments

Spearheaded by filmmaker and Animal Tropical/PLAINS drummer Jorge Rubiera, Can’t Stop is playing alongside Sumsun, The State Of, and Honey Train in our tri-county showcase at the Electric Pickle on Saturday night (RSVP on Facebook). Rubiera released the excellent debut Can’t Stop LP, Neighborhood, at the beginning of 2011, and is now working on an EP called Free Tom Petty that will be packaged, naturally, with a Tom Petty mask and feature a remix by ANR singer-guitarist John Hancock. Recorded by Rubiera in his home studio and mixed and mastered by PLAINS frontman Michael McGinnis, “Feel Strange” is “a naive realization that human relationships are complex,” Rubiera says. It’s also a funky, falsetto-fueled hint that Free Tom Petty and the full-length album Rubiera is also working on will both be damn good. Here’s the track.

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Video Premier: “Black Feeling” by PLAINS

By | November 23rd, 2011 | No Comments

Doubling as an instrumental massacre and a confetti whirlwind, this video shows the bright side of a dark song and the playfulness of the generally brooding Miami rock band PLAINS, whose self-titled debut, released back in July, got our praise geyser gushing. The video was made by drummer Jorge Rubiera — who is also the man behind Can’t Stop and a member of Animal Tropical — and guitarist Jorge Graupera. Looking ahead, PLAINS has a sweet gig on January 18 opening for Sebadoh alongside the Jacuzzi Boys at Grand Central. The band will also share the stage with ANR, Millionyoung, Little Beard, and Nicky Blitz at the Beached Basel Bash, presented by Beached Miami and 10K Islands, on Wednesday, Nov. 30, at Electric Pickle (learn more/RSVP). Until then, here’s the new “Black Feeling” vid. Fair warning: Trumpet lovers may find this footage disturbing.

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ANR ‘Stay Kids’ video

By | May 18th, 2011 | No Comments

ANR duo Michael-John Hancock and Brian Robertson are Miami synth rockers with limey alter egos. The pair are signed to London-based record label Something In Construction, are currently on a 12-date U.K. tour, and have the British daily newspaper The Guardian thoroughly charmed.

Back in October, ANR (formerly Awesome New Republic) was the Guardian’s Band of the Day. Writer Paul Lester called “Stay Kids”, the title track of the band’s latest album (officially released in March), “amazing … a marvel of melodic majesty and cosmic funk, like some weird hybrid of Red Hot Chili Peppers and MGMT.”

Today, Hancock and Robertson showed their appreciation by debuting the “Stay Kids” video on the Guardian’s music blog (called, with classic dryness, “Music Blog”). Made by Miami filmmaker Jorge Rubiera, the video features ANR surrounded by instrument-armed kids and fan-blown balloons. It begins with Hancock sticking his drumsticks in his mouth walrus-style, and quickly moves on to him pulling off one tight t-shirt only to reveal another one underneath. It’s a funny gag and a reminder that the chorus — “Stay young!” — is a directive to himself as much as to the rug rats around him.

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Miami Video Week: ‘Believer’, ‘Wereman’, ‘Color Blast’

By | May 13th, 2011 | 10 Comments

This was a productive week for Miami videography with arresting vids premiering here, there, and everywhere. First we have Miami artist Jen Stark’s “Believer”, a stop-motion journey through a paper kaleidoscope that is definitely not for the easily dizzied. Featuring music by Dan Deacon, co-mastermind of unsurpassable internet vid “Drinking Out Of Cups”, and clocking in at more than five minutes, “Believer” is Stark’s most ambitious “papermation” work to date. She made it for an exhibition called “Double Rainbow Rainbow”, which opened at Toronto’s Show & Tell Gallery on Thursday and also features work by painter Maya Hayuk. Check out Stark’s Vimeo channel for similar but shorter clips dating as far back as 2005.

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Jorge Rubiera’s ‘Birdwatchers’ Trailer

By | April 14th, 2011 | No Comments

Jorge Rubiera, frontman of Can’t Stop and drummer of Animal Tropical, has a film called Birdwatchers in the Borscht Film Festival (Saturday, April 23, Arsht Center’s Knight Concert Hall). According to an interview Rubiera gave Cultist, it has almost no dialogue (a few snippets of Spanish here and there), no specific setting (North America? South America? Central America? the Caribbean?), no actors (it stars local musicians as conquistadores), and no plot as such (something about wearing leather in the tropics). What it does have, judging from this freshly cut trailer, is gorgeous images and a score full of horsehair.

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Can’t Stop Neighborhood Release Party at Sweat

By | January 31st, 2011 | No Comments

Can’t Stop, Animal Tropical drummer Jorge Rubiera’s new project, played their second show on Saturday night at Sweat Records to celebrate the release of the 12-song LP Neighborhood. “Their” might be the wrong pronoun as Can’t Stop’s only official member is Rubiera, who played every instrument except sax and flute on Neighborhood. But in both shows Rubiera played with a full band, including Animal Tropical mate Jarrett Hann on bass and Plains’ Michael McGinnis on drums at the Sweat show.

Having caught both Can’t Stop shows and listened to Neighborhood several times through, I’ve formed a preference for the live version of the songs. On the record, Rubiera indulges a confessed childhood love of ambient noise with scratches (“Thanks To JV”, #11 on our Top 15 SoFla Songs of 2010), sirens (“We’re Still Frenulums”), and static (“R-Complex”). But I’m not sure the noise adds much but noise to the songs, and part of me feels I’d like them more without the interference, which is how Rubiera plays them live.

Another reason I prefer live Can’t Stop to recorded Can’t Stop: the latter doesn’t do justice to Rubiera’s strong and instantly likable voice. This is most apparent with Neighborhood opener “Amygdala”. On the record, you might take the refrain “Get up, get going, get in a trance” as a sober request. Live it’s a freaking demand, albeit an unnecessary one, since the old-school backbeat and sax riff that drive the song out the gate will have most able-bodied listeners up and going before Rubiera sings his first syllable. The recorded version of “Amygdala” gets noisy midway through with some sustained guitar yawping, and again I’d prefer it didn’t, if only because it cuts into the tune’s killer groove (reminiscent of The Doors’ “Land Ho!”).

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