Saturday, December 27, 2014

This weekend in live music: Hymn for Her, Oliver Heldens & more

Concerts this Sat.-Sun., Dec. 27-28

Posted By on Sat, Dec 27, 2014 at 7:00 AM

A look at shows happening this Sat.-Sun., Dec. 27-28. 

Thomas Wynn and the Believers with Boxcar Hollow, Hannah Harber Crafting a high-spirited, heartening blend of dark Southern rock, gritty howling soul and grinding psychedelia-soaked blues is Orlando-brewed, siblings-led sextet Thomas 
Wynn and the Believers, the namesake leader’s robust tenor weaving and soaring in howling harmony with his sister Olivia’s throaty gospel-tinged calls. Fiddle-busting Americana rockers Boxcar Hollow and alt country songstress Hannah Harber kick things off. (Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa)

Oliver Heldens Good ‘ol house music made quite a comeback this year, and 19-year-old producer Oliver Heldens (they just get younger and younger) helped lead the charge. Seemingly every big DJ played sets that tapped his hit track “Gecko,” and his latest banger “Last All Night (Koala)” debuted at No. 5 on the British Singles chart. With catchy, groovy synths and rhythmic kicks at his disposal, Heldens convinces his crowds to put the “dance” back in electronic dance music. (Amphitheatre, Ybor City) –Cody Smith

Damon Fowler Group Get your last Damon Fowler fix of 2014 when the Tampa native slide guitar, dobro and lap steel whiz finishes a busy year touring behind his third and latest album – the Tab Benoit-produced Sounds of Home – with a free show of swampy soulful blues and roots rock under the stars of the Witch courtyard. (Ale and the Witch, St. Petersburg)

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Friday, December 26, 2014

Tonight in live music: Kyle Chason & Broken Things co-CD release party, Ryan Elliott & more

Concerts this Fri., Dec. 26.

Posted By on Fri, Dec 26, 2014 at 1:45 PM

A quick breakdown of music happening for this Fri., Dec. 26...

  • Sven Marquardt
  • Ryan Elliott
Serious Soul 2014 Finale: Ryan Elliott Berlin-by-way-of-Detroit DJ/remixer Ryan Elliott is repped by Ghostly International offshoot Spectral Sound (Audion, James T. Cotton), and has more than a decade of experience behind the decks, not to mention an expansive record collection that he draws from to build his bassline-driven, kick drum-thumping, high hat-hissing techno-house jams. (Hyde Park Café, Tampa)

Hot Rod Hornets The name says it all – this three-piece of guitar, double bass and drums serves up that warm, 1950s-evocative rockabilly healthily dosed in country and blues with setlists made up of songs from the era, including a mash-up of Johnny Cash’s “Blistered” with the Bonanza theme and “Sweet Love on My Mind” by Johnny Burnette. (Ale and the Witch, St. Petersburg)

The 13th Night of Christmas with Infinite Third, OPHELIA, Kersey Williams, Mountain Holler A post-Christmas live music bash featuring four solo acts that are all associated with the newly-launched Remember You Are Dreaming (RYAD) music collective/record label, founded by experimental guitarist Billy Mays III aka Infinite Third. He leads the lineup with his ambient, looped-and-effected post-rock and electro-psychedelic melodies. (Fubar, St. Petersburg)

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The Hip Hop ABCs: Letter Y

The alphabetical rap battle series nears its conclusion

Posted By on Fri, Dec 26, 2014 at 6:15 AM

It is nearly impossible to get a bunch of passionate hip hop fans to agree on anything. But I tried anyhow, starting with a series of polls on Facebook that aimed to figure out which emcee or group was the best in the game as driven by the letters of the alphabet. No specific rubric or criteria was given; just a simple request for answers to the question, "Who is the best emcee or hip hop group beginning with the letter 'A'?; 'B'?; 'C'?; 'D'?..." and so on. The responses were immediate and spurred some pretty spirited discussions. A general consensus was ultimately reached for each and per the request of Music Editor Leilani Polk, I'm bringing the poll results to Ear Buds. Each week, I'll reveal a letter and its "winning" artist, and then I'll re-open the question for further debate. Once we finish the first 26, we'll start it all over again fresh.

Had this artist not killed his own name back in 2011, the Hip Hop ABCs Letter 'M' would have been even tougher to decide upon. That being said, it's not like the Letter 'Y' is devoid of talent. Regardless of how you might feel about them, the YinYang Twins had some major hits. The Youngbloodz and the Young Guns captivated their regions and had success for a short while. And Young MC gave us a timeless classic.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Year in Lists: 13 Albums that Rocked 2014

My favorite albums of the year — local, national and overseas talents included.

Posted By on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 4:34 PM

I could put together a list of artists on virtually every other music rag’s Best of 2014 lists that I expected to be on mine, too, but that didn’t quite do it for me this album around, or a list of artists that dropped albums I almost-but-not-quite loved with several strong playlist-worthy tracks but too many weak points for start-to-finish play-throughs, or a list of albums I didn’t even get around to listening to or only heard recently and might’ve been Best ofs with a little more ear time and due consideration.

Still, I found plenty to love in 2014. The albums I played most compulsively, that moved me, grooved me or stole my heart, are by some active locals and acts with local ties, several nationally touring players, a few Canadians, and a few dark horses from abroad you likely won’t hear about anywhere else.

Benjamin Booker, Benjamin Booker How much more can we praise the New Orleans-by-way-of-Tampa singer-songwriter, or the eponymous debut that earned him worldwide notice and widespread critical acclaim? It’s a powerful slice of righteous garage-rock and punk-blues that packs a gritty-soulful punch and plenty of distorted crunch, Booker’s groaning vibrato and fiercely raw howls soaring over the top.

DieAlps!, DieAlps! EP The enchanting, achingly sweet release from New Granada’s waltzing indie folk-pop band is almost too short at five tracks but hits on all the right notes — tunefully harmonizing female vocals led by the bright accented pipings of Austrian-born guitar-strumming frontwoman Cornelia Calcaterra, ear-wormy refrains, occasional whistling and accordion playing, and a nice balance of dramatic climaxes and quieter melodic interludes.

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Live and local spotlight: New Granada Records 20-year Anniversary Celebration

Beloved Tampa emo outfit Pohgoh reunites for New Granada’s three-night bash, which kicks off on Christmas night

Posted By on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 4:13 PM

click image Pohgoh frontwoman Kobi Finley leads the band through a set at New World Brewery in Ybor City on December 25, 2009. - NICOLE KIBERT
  • Nicole Kibert
  • Pohgoh frontwoman Kobi Finley leads the band through a set at New World Brewery in Ybor City on December 25, 2009.

Perennially BOTB-winning New Granada Records has been in the midst of a releasing spree leading up to its 20-year anniversary celebration this week, and the final and most exciting music to drop comes from the Tampa-based label’s earliest act and a beloved local emo outfit that reunites to play the anniversary kick-off on Christmas night: Pohgoh.

“Claude Rains” is streaming now and finds the band rejoined by original singer Kobi Finley, who went on two tours and played on three 7” releases with the band.

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Joe Cocker: The Legacy of a Spirit

Joe Cocker's musical arc was complex and sometimes compromised.

Posted By on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 3:52 PM

I spent last night listening to Joe Cocker. Not because I had a sudden, undirected urge, of course, but because he passed away yesterday at age 70 after a battle with cancer. It’s a writer’s ghoulish duty, taking an artist’s death as an opportunity to contemplate what they gave us in life.

Joe Cocker, may he rest in peace, has a very odd legacy. Most of it — the weighty, history-making part driving the tributes he’s been receiving for the past 24 hours — hinges on his work from the late 1960s, and in particular, on his interpretation of the Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends.”

It’s odd to think of one five-minute song – a cover of someone else’s song – as a staggering, timeless achievement, but this one is. The Beatles’ original is goofy and lazy and a bit melancholy, and appeared on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, an album right about on the cusp of the Beatles’ transition from honed pop sensation into a machine of soul-crushing grace.

Cocker, improbably, turned the song into a statement of purpose for the entire Woodstock generation (of which admittedly there are more than a few), slowing it down and wailing it and giving its once throwaway lines about love and friendship and loneliness an immense gravity. He infused the song with his own palpable complexity and longing.

Here’s the eight-minute long version from Woodstock, 1969.

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Tonight in live music: Eighth Annual Brokenmold Holiday Party

FayRoy, Michael Parallax, Supros and Bellows perform on this night (media included)

Posted By on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 5:00 AM


The last throwdown before the Christmas holiday is staged by none other than multi-Best of the Bay award-winning promo company, Brokenmold Entertainment; it even has its own longtime favorite logo, a bird-shooting Santa, yo. The eclectic bill of indie rock at the 8th Annual Brokenmold Holiday Party is headed up by Indian Rocks Beach-brewed, San Francisco-based outfit FayRoy, which has a ‘60s evocative sound but a completely modern way of drawing on elements of psychedelic, surf, garage and folk rock, vocal harmonies ranging from ethereal coos to more lively crowing bursts. Orlando’s one-man explosion Michael Parallax purveys self-styled “Electronic Spiritual Revival Tent Music” while Supros spices up the festivities with ebullient dance rock dosed in grooving sonic flavors. Bellows is a last-minute addition folk-ambient-experimental addition. Check out music — audio & video — by each act below... Tues., Dec. 23, 8 p.m., Crowbar, Ybor City, $8.

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Concert review: Fleetwood Mac lands at Amalie Arena in Tampa

The rumors are indeed true: with Christine McVie's return, the Mac is back and better than ever

Posted By and on Mon, Dec 22, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Fleetwood Mac at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Sat., Dec. 20, 2014 - TRACY MAY
  • Tracy May
  • Fleetwood Mac at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Sat., Dec. 20, 2014

It's often said that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. That age-old adage is particularly relevant in reference to rock bands that attempt to forge ahead and record or tour without a key member in tow; the results can be uneven or sub-standard at best. While Fleetwood Mac already had a lengthy catalog to their credit by the time they revamped their lineup and adopted more of a pop sound in the mid-1970's, the UK-spawned blues/rock group's greatest success came when the dynamics of all its different personalities meshed and translated into hit singles and million-selling albums. [Text by Gabe, photos by Tracy.]

Fleetwood Mac reached unimaginable heights when breezy, laid-back Californians Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham were welcomed to the fold and the band debuted their new look, sound and feel to the world with a magnificent 1975 self-titled album. A major factor in the band's newly attained success was the emergence of veteran songwriter and vocalist Christine McVie. With her cool vocal delivery and impressive keyboard work, McVie's presence was as much a factor in the band's dominance of sales charts as Buckingham and Nicks.

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Tonight in live music: 93.3 FLZ's Jingle Ball with Fall Out Boy, Demi Lovato, Pharrell & many more

All the Top 40 pop stars you could ever want to see land at Amalie Arena this Mon., Dec. 22

Posted By on Mon, Dec 22, 2014 at 6:16 AM

Pharrell Williams is among the performers at the Jingle Ball
  • Pharrell Williams is among the performers at the Jingle Ball

If you didn’t get your Fall Out Boy fill earlier this month when the arena rocking outfit played 97X NBT, or you just want another fix, the Patrick Stump-Pete Wentz-piloted quartet hits town again to deliver a condensed performance that’ll likely include current charter “Centuries” at the 93.3 FLZ Jingle Ball. The rest of the holiday-fueled bill touches on a bevy of other acts with hits on the Top 40 station and all play pithy sets as well – among them, actress/pop starlet Demi Lovato (“Heart Attack”), dance-pop crooner Calvin Harris (“Summer”), groove pop extraordinaire Pharrell (not enough room to list them all), blue-eyed soulful pop upstart Meaghan Trainor (“All About That Bass”), British R&B-soaked pop siren Jessie J (“Bang Bang”) and solo brother Nick Jonas.

Details: 93.3 FLZ's Jingle Ball with Fall Out Boy, Demi Lovato, Pharrell, Calvin Harris, Jason Derulo, Meghan Trainor, Charli XCX, Jessie J, Magic!, Rixton Kiesza, Jake Miller, Shawn Mendes, Nick Jonas, Mon., Dec. 22, 7:30 p.m., Amalie Arena, downtown Tampa, $41-$151.

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

This weekend in live music: SWIMM, Fleetwood Mac, Yoni Wolf & Astronautalis + more

Concerts this Sat.-Sun., Dec. 20-21

Posted By on Sat, Dec 20, 2014 at 7:30 AM

A high quality smattering of shows taking place this weekend. Take a look below...

Fleetwood Mac
  • Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac There are at least a half-dozen classic rock artists that I love but whose repertoires saturated my childhood so thoroughly, I need not ever listen to them again. Fleetwood Mac is one such, their easy breezy and groove-driving sounds inducing both immediate nostalgia and hasty station-changing when forced upon me. This run of arena dates is a rather big deal, because singer-keyboardist Christine McVie has returned to the fold for the first time in upwards of 16 years and reviews of recent performances rave about a revitalized Mac attack. Who knows if she’ll remain after tour, so if you’re a fan, it’s probably a good time to invest in a ticket. (Amalie Arena, Tampa)

Infinite Groove Orchestra with Serotonic Infinite Groove Orchestra (currently made up of drummer/percussionist Adam Volpe, bassist Jon Shea and keysman John Richardson currently joined full-time by guitarist Josh Formanek) unleash a set of expansive, funked-out sci-fi-delic jazz marked by dirty organ and bass grooves, unexpected time signatures, occasional forays into reggae, hip hop and drum n’ bass territories, and an instrumental repertoire drawing on originals and the odd cover (like Outkast’s “Spottieottiedopaliscious”). Serotonic complements with more dance oriented sax-blown funk-jazz set. (New World Brewery, Ybor City)

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