After a quiet 2011, West Palm Beach’s The Band in Heaven (TBIH) started off the new year with a fantastic albeit horrifying music video (below) and a 7” vinyl released on Jan. 20 by HoZac Records, whose catalogue includes releases by Blank Dog, Black Lips, Dum Dum Girls, Davila 666, Mark Sultan, UV Race, and South Florida’s Teepee and Jacuzzi Boys. The Chicago label was seduced by TBIH’s slow-burn drone and the disturbing images that Alice Cohen wove together for the trio’s “Sleazy Dreams” video.
West Palm’s Weird Wives, led by vocalist Nick Klein and filled out by current Surfer Blood guitarist Thomas Fekete and former Surfer Blood members Brian Black (bass) and Marcos Marchesani (percussion), recently announced that their forthcoming 10-track cassette, Some Motherfuckers Gonna Be Walking ‘Round With a Size 9 Diehard Up Their Ass, Cause Apparently They Ain’t Never Seen a Short AC Man Get Bad Ass On Methadon, will be released on Oct. 7 on West Palm Beotch Records.
While clearly not into the whole brevity thing, Weird Wives are into the whole sharing thing. After offering their previous three EPs for free, Klein sent us “Predator 4”, the closing track from the new album. (County Grind is streaming three other tracks from Some Motherfuckers Gonna Be Walking ‘Round With a Size 9 Diehard Up Their Ass, Cause Apparently They Ain’t Never Seen a Short AC Man Get Bad Ass On Methadon, and Pitchfork recently debuted “Plastic Masks”.)
Easily the band’s most accessible song to date, “Predator 4” immediately lures the listener into a false sense of security with a melodic prelude that gives way to a psychotic bass-driven descent around the 50-second mark. The rhythmic overthrow is merely a trigger for the song’s intensifiers: Klein’s distorted, haunting vocals, blood-curdling feedback, and layer upon layer of echo. Throughout the track’s five-plus minutes, Weird Wives play the Pixies’ loud-soft-loud game studiously while injecting their own brand of charismatically off-kilter noise rock.
The Some Motherfuckers Gonna Be Walking ‘Round With a Size 9 Diehard Up Their Ass, Cause Apparently They Ain’t Never Seen a Short AC Man Get Bad Ass On Methadon cassette release show will be held at the Snooze Theatre on Saturday and will feature the all-West Palm Beotch lineup of Russian Tsarlag, Haves and Thirds, Universal Expansion, and Love Handles, who will be releasing a 7” record at the show. RSVP on Facebook. Until then, here’s “Predator 4″.
So, what’s the best way to survive a nearly nine-hour (largely) garage-rock marathon at Grand Central? Well, common sense says you should start slow, save the craziest energy expenditure for later in the evening, get drunk elsewhere to save money, and don’t dance near, look at, or even breathe in the vicinity of some of the venue’s over-eager security guards.
Many well-meaning music fans ignored at least one or all of these suggestions last night during the on-land kickoff party for the inaugural Bruise Cruise, which departs from Miami this morning. The mega-watt line-up featured virtually every performer slated to perform aboard the Carnival Imagination during the three-day rock cruise: Jacuzzi Boys, Turbo Fruits, Ty Segall, Surfer Blood, the Strange Boys, Thee Oh Sees, Vivian Girls, Quintron and Miss Pussycat, and Black Lips. As such, there was pretty much no skip-able opening act, Miami time wasn’t going to fly, and many, many people actually showed up early … which means that by 12:30 a.m. or so, many had also started to tap out.
Those who made it through to the wee hours, though, were treated to epic musician stage-diving fails, a psychedelic puppet show, and, of course, yet another trademark Crazy Black Lips set. It was a lot to process, so we’ll break it down, yearbook-style, into superlatives.
Band Most in Need of a Smile: Surfer Blood. These South Florida natives went on surprisingly early; one would think their quasi-hometown status would give them a more peak-hour billing. It turned out be for the best, though. Though the youngest and most eager fans near the edge of the stag (bless ‘em) still appreciated the set heavy with material from Astro Coast, the band looked glum throughout it all.
With the release of their impeccable six-song debut, The Neverglades, in 2010, the Dewars — identical twins Anthony and Zach Dewar of West Palm Beach — introduced their infectious stoner rock and bizarre sing-song narratives to South Florida. While on tour with WPB brethren Surfer Blood in October, the Dewars were tapped to record their very own Daytrotter session, joining the likes of indie darlings and/or legends No Age, Bob Mould, Beach House, Sunset Rubdown, Okkervil River, and Stephen Malkmus in laying down tracks at Daytrotter’s Horseshack Studio in Rock Island, Ill. As part of the customary Daytrotter package, the Dewars also got the Johnnie Cluney portrait treatment (hipster immortality!).
Thursday night, Anthony Dewar and I chatted via Facebook — cuz we’re cool like that — about the Daytrotter session and the Dewar’s upcoming EP, Pent Up Joy, a “tropical circus” due out in the next few weeks, says AD. You’re entering the at-times incoherent conversation right when I learn the Dewars recorded a Daytrotter session and nearly spill my gin.
No fuckin’ way. Congrats man! Did they contact ya’ll?
AD: Yeah. I thought it was a lost cause, but it was well worth the early drive to Nowheresville, so I’m stoked on it.
Was this in the Daytrotter studio?
AD: Yeah it was this abandoned attic of a warehouse of a studio in this tiny town that no one would expect.
This has been a very important year for South Florida music, with no shortage of spectacular acts, songs, and albums coming out of the scene. Yes, South Florida has a scene now, and finally one with some damn good homegrown music as its foundation (thanks in large part to the crop of stellar West Palm Beach talent). Besides the Jameses’ Pitchfork debut and the Dewars release of Songs from the Neverglades — one of my favorite albums of the year — we also saw the emergence of Jared McKay and Colin Foord’s Discosoma Records, the continued forward thinking of Lolo Reskin’s Sweat Records (which is bringing No Age back to Miami again in January), and Surfer Blood’s “Swim” getting re-released on Rough Trade Records. All in all, as Frank would say, it was a good year. To celebrate it, and South Florida’s evolving music culture, here are my favorite 15 SoFla tracks of 2010.
15. “Vampire” by Axe and the Oak – While every song from their Record Store Day 2010 EP is dripping with greatness, “Vampire” attains the heights of Franz Ferdinand cum Bauhaus. It isn’t the best track on the 6-song EP (see below), but it is most representative of what makes this trio tick.
14. “Greenpoint” by BFGF – Like most of Chris Video’s music, this song dares you not to shake, wiggle, and bob. With “Greenpoint”, BFGF takes sinister aim at EDM, plucking and placing goth rock elements within their usual synthetic landscape.
Indie darlings Surfer Blood may seem the exception in West Palm Beach, a town better known for harboring the nation’s oldest gefilte fish consumers than producing great music. But fortunately for us, the reverb-spewing quintet is part of a crop of talented West Palm Beach bands — including the Dewars, the Jameses, Sumsun, the Hear Hums, singer-songwriter Evan Mui, The Band in Heaven, Cop City/Chill Pillars (as well as their tamer side project, Love Handles), Guy Harvey, and Weird Wives — all of whom know and support each other.
And while a “scene” usually signifies a single style of music, West Palm Beach isn’t pinned to one genre. Far from it. From ambient freak-folk to chill electronic to revamped post-punk to supersonic pop rock, the music scene up north isn’t easily boxed in. But it is easily enjoyed. To get you on your way, here is a closer look at several of the bands making damn good music only about an hour north of Miami. With Zitfest I coming up on Dec. 17, you might want to get acquainted with the West Palm scene in a hurry.
With the release of Songs From the Neverglades this year, the Dewars’ proved themselves one of the most interesting pop music bands to come out of South Florida. Ever. “Playground Mediasma” would sit comfortably in Beck’s catalogue, “Pete the Pedophile” aligns right with Grizzly Bear’s acid-slumber rock, “If the World Was Gonna End Today” signals the Kinks — always a good thing — and “Keep Down the Noise Boys” won’t leave my head despite its relative mediocrity.
Track after track, twin brothers Anthony and Zac Dewar traverse the pop of today and yesterday and still manage to have a sound of their own. Now home after touring the U.S. with Surfer Blood, the Dewars are in the process of recording their second six-song EP. The release date is still up in the air, and a few unidentified labels have expressed interest in releasing the band’s new material.