To celebrate the end of another brutal winter in the subtropics, Miami-based rock and roll label Limited Fanfare Records presents a “Spring/Summer” sampler featuring new songs by local favorites PLAINS (“Hurricane City”) and Lil Daggers (“Spider Lilly”). Comprising 14 tracks by 14 different bands, most of them with Miami or Florida ties, you can stream the sampler in its entirety for the first time right here and download it via Limited Fanfare’s bandcamp.
After a quiet 2012, PLAINS is revving up for a productive new year, promising a stream of single releases leading up to its second full-length album in early summer. In fact, guitarist Jorge Graupera says the LP is “90% completed”. That’s very good news considering PLAINS’ self-titled debut featured two songs in the top five of our South Florida Songs of 2011 list, including the number-one spot. To whet your appetite for a year of PLAINS production — and, in the shorter term, for the band’s Churchill’s show on Friday, Jan. 25 — here is a video (shot by occasional Beached Miami photographer Jesse Meadows) of the band performing “Swim”, a song from the forthcoming record.
Last Wednesday night rocked, with an all-star roster of Miami talent drawing the masses to the Electric Pickle for the Beached Basel Bash, a night of live music (Nicky Blitz, Little Beard, PLAINS, ANR) and top-notch DJs (Eddie P, Laura of Miami, Millionyoung) co-presented by Beached Miami and 10K Islands. Created by Francisco Moraga, this video is from the lovely outside portion of the night and features Little Beard’s “Restless Days & Nights”.
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.
It’s coming. Art Basel is going to sweep across Miami like a tsunami, and the best way to get your sea legs is with the Beached Basel Bash at Electric Pickle on Wednesday, Nov. 30, presented by Beached Miami and 10K Islands. The party will feature live music by ANR, PLAINS, Little Beard, and Nicky Blitz; DJ sets by Millionyoung, Laura of Miami, and Eddie P; and Grolsch drink specials. The BBB is $10 at the door and only $8 if you prepay. To learn more about the party, visit the Facebook event page.
Click HERE to view/download a high-res version of the BBB flyer.
You can keep up with Nevermind Miami throughout September on beachedmiami.com/nevermind-miami.
This is the second installment of Nevermind Miami, a tribute to the generation-defining album Nirvana released 20 years ago, on September 24, 1991. To commemorate the occasion, we have asked local musicians to cover each of the 13 songs on the original release. We will be posting the covers throughout September in no particular order.
First up in this installment, we have PLAINS covering “Lithium”, track five on Nevermind. PLAINS frontman (and, at times, only man) Michael McGinnis recently released the band’s debut album to (our) rave review. A prolific songwriter and self-described “studio rat”, McGinnis says he doesn’t have “any memory of hearing Nevermind for the first time.”
“It’s just one of those records that was always around cause everyone had it,” he says. “Any time I revisit it though, I realize more and more how much it influenced me.”
Revisiting “Lithium”, McGinnis accentuates the bass-driven groove of Nevermind’s grooviest track and adds a church-worthy Mellotron behind Kurt Cobain’s dismissal of Sunday morning in a cover that pays homage to the original tune.
Michael McGinnis and Jennifer Lopez (right) both figure in this week's podcast.
Breaking news: It’s hot. We analyze that unpleasant phenomenon as well as the steamy divorce of Jennifer “J.Lo” Lopez and Marc “never to be heard from again” Anthony on this episode of the Beached Miami podcast. We also visit with self-proclaimed “studio rat” Michael McGinnis at his former home and current home-away-from-home, Honor Roll Music. McGinnis, who recently released the album PLAINS to (our) rave review, will take the stage at Vagabond Friday night to celebrate the record’s release backed by Jorge Graupera (guitar), Max Johnston (bass), and Jorge Rubiera (drums). This, then, is the PLAINScast, featuring several tracks from the album sandwiched between some inane banter courtesy of the brothers Campbell.
If you like what you hear, make sure to subscribe to our podcast RSS feed to get a free mp3 download beamed your way every other Thursday morning or so. If you have any suggestions — a person to interview, an event to forecast, a Davie outlet selling reappropriated deer for a song — please email us at podcast at beachedmiami dot com.
Michael McGinnis, the mastermind of PLAINS, performing in May at the Green Room in Ft. Lauderdale.
Eleven months ago, PLAINS put out a 7” through Discosoma Records. The small vinyl release (now sold out) introduced Miami to band mastermind Michael McGinnis, who had moved here from Chicago in 2009 to work as a recording engineer, and one of its tracks, “Innovator”, logged the ten spot on our Top 15 South Florida Songs of 2010 list.
The track revealed a resilient breed of rock — moody, yearning, and rowdy with a deft mix of muddy bass lines, shrieking riffs, and strategically placed acoustics — that hinted at indie rock forefathers with a freshness that made it hard to conduct the auditory paternity test by ear alone.
As good as “Innovator” was, it only made us want to hear more from PLAINS. McGinnis played it coy, leaking a song here, playing a show there (with a shifting lineup that currently features Animal Tropical members Jorge Rubiera and Max Johnston on drums and guitar, respectively, and Jorge Graupera on guitar). But he kept us guessing as to whether he could deliver the goods: not just a great song, but an album full of them.
I’m happy to report that he can.
On July 19, PLAINS will unleash a 13-track, self-titled debut album through 10K Islands Records and make a compelling case for local album of the year — no small distinction considering the 2011 output of ANR, Cop City Chill Pillars, Can’t Stop, and Lil Daggers.
The album sounds off with the immodest “End of the World”, a track that conjures Arcade Fire with its urgent guitars, driving drums, and overall grandiosity. Although packed with end-times imagery, the song is about something much more personal than the Apocalypse. “When it’s the end of the world, who’ll you run to? Where will you go?” Poignantly, pathetically even, McGinnis wants to know whether you’ll choose him when the Four Horsemen come galloping through town. Meanwhile, as the lyrics vacillate between the poles of unity and solitude, the music manages to be both somber and rollicking. It’s a helluva note to start an album on, and the amazing thing is that the next twelve songs manage to live up to the expectations McGinnis raises with this opener.
Back-to-back tracks “Black Feeling” (which we leaked back in April) and the aforementioned “Innovator” reinforce McGinnis’s ability to rock and rack his listener simultaneously. It isn’t magic, just a rare combination of technical savvy, good taste, and talent — the humble trinity that early indie rock, post-punk, and grunge-era bands all thrived on.
Kicking off with murky bass notes, “Innovator” ultimately outs McGinnis as a meticulous arranger who likely agonizes over the placement of a single strum (see 2:23 and 2:27). Built on nagging, high-pitched guitar, “Black Feeling” is one of the few rock songs about feeling shitty that sets your head involuntarily a-banging. McGinnis’s rhythmic vocals are on full display here, carrying the foreboding track to unexpectedly poppy places with Michael Stipe-esque flair.
But if pop’s your pleasure, “Judy” is the chart-topper of the bunch. From its first reverberated, harp-like strum, the song has you convinced you’ve heard it before, you know the lyrics, and, in fact, you were singing it into your loofah just this morning. Before you know it, you’ve joined a heartbroken McGinnis at the bar on his search for “comfort in deeper drinks”, a quest that culminates in the whole soused tavern bellowing the song’s joyously bitter chorus: “Ohhhhh J-Judy!/Go on and sing your songs, J-Judy/Go on and run, run, run.”
PLAINS’ aforementioned standouts stand out, but every track on the album rewards the ear. “Poor Little Space Monkey” is a Jane’s Addiction song without Perry Farrell’s irritating voice. “Roots”, an arrangement of funk and crispy metallic layers, illustrates McGinnis’s creativity with the knobs. The thumping bass line, prominently featured at the outset of the song, is pulled back, fuzzed out, and left bare to complement McGinnis’s hallway voice. “All I Want” finds McGinnis hammering an acoustic guitar with a melancholic violin, jaunty keyboards, and well-placed misplaced static in the background. The songs “Break You Up” and “Dry” are both sonic nods to different segments of 1990s Britpop. “Break You Up” is a stripped down acoustic ballad that calls to mind the hand-me-down pop of Oasis, while “Dry” is powered by the icy sexiness of Pulp’s This is Hardcore.
Overall, PLAINS is the rare record sans a skippable song, a collection of intelligent rock crafted by a musician with an engineer’s technical skill, a bleeding heart’s emotional baggage, and a songsmith’s careful craftsmanship. The combination results in a collection of songs that sound checks many while mimicking none. If PLAINS were released at any point in McGinnis’s career, it would be a major achievement. As a debut, it is astonishing.
As we first mentioned in this month’s top music events list, PLAINS will celebrate the album release with a show at the Vagabond on July 22. Until then, here is the track listing for the debut.
1. “End of the World”
2. “Poor Little Space Monkey”
3. “Sleep Deprived”
5. “Black Feeling”
6. “All I Want”
10. “Hang On”
11. “Break You Up”
13. “Good Son”
I schlepped up to Ft. Lauderdale early Friday evening to get to the bottom of a mystery: An alleged band of Miami musicians calling themselves Plains. With only a 7″ release and few shows under their belt, Plains has been flying in stealth mode for a while now. Every now and again, the band has bleeped across our radar to drop a track — no bombs, just well-crafted guitar-driven indie rock like “Black Feeling” and “Innovator” (#10 on our Top 15 SoFla Songs of 2010 list) to make a 90s child like me yearn for his long-lost Walkman.
But then, abruptly, the bleeping would stop, the screen would go black, Plains would disappear.