THURSDAY, JANUARY 24
The Helio Sequence w/Shabazz Palaces Drummer/keyboardist Benjamin Weikel and vocalist/guitarist Brandon Summers took a four-year break between releasing 2008’s Keep Your Eyes Ahead and 2012 fifth album Negotiations, likely as much of this time spent recovering from the aftermath of a flooded studio/rehearsal space as it was writing new material. The Helio Sequence twosome eventually landed in new digs in an old industrial building and completely re-tooled their studio. Digital equipment was replaced with vintage and analog gear, which imbues Negotiations with a naturally warmer sound, while its sparse instrumentals and the spaces between melodies lend the songwriting of the Portland experimental alt rock duo a cooler, more airy timbre than previous efforts. CL Writer Scott Harrell called it “an accomplished, accessible and subtly engrossing listen,” and hopefully the duo’s live presentation will prove just as engaging. Warm up set by Shabazz Palaces, the alt hip-hop collective led by Ishmael Butler (aka Butterfly of Digable Planets). (State Theatre, St. Petersburg)--Leilani Polk
Sick/Sea It’s another charming sibling-led indie act! Formed a few years ago by Audrey and Cameron Scott, and rounded out by Miguel Morales, Sick/Sea crafts upbeat alterna-pop rock from the Deep South town of McAllen, Texas. Their 2011 EP, Oh Ship, has a jazzy grooving undertone and sunshine-y beach vibe complete with ukulele strums while last year’s Moral Compass finds the threesome delving into darker sonic waters as with angry ode “Parasite,” though the overall mood is kept light with bee-bopping melodies and Audrey’s girlish-saccharine lead vocals. Microgroove stays open late to welcome Sick/Sea for a free, all-ages performance that kicks off at 9 p.m. sharp. (Microgroove, Tampa) --LP
Mike Pinto A California singer-songwriter whose dulcet high-toned vocals add a rich and velvety R&B-pop note to a languid island rock sound laced heavily with roots reggae, upbeat ska and grooving Latin influences. (Local 662, St. Petersburg) --LP
Freelance Whales w/Hundred Waters After two years and many tours, baroque-lush synth pop outfit Freelance Whales delivered a sophomore album, Diluvia, described as a record about “the possible survival — or peril — of space-faring humans and other arguably fantastical scenarios,” and made up of feel-good odes like “Spitting Image,” its hooky racing melodies carrying boy-girl vocal harmonies and charming ooh-ooh backing choruses. Ethereal folk-tronic outfit Hundred Waters, from Gainesville, opens the Orlando date supporting a much buzzed-about self-titled LP. (The Social, Orlando) --LP
Barb Wire Dolls w/Little Jerks LA-by-way-of-Greece DIY punk trio Barb Wire Dolls drummed up enough funds on Kickstarter.com to record their 2012 debut, Slit, in Chicago over two days with legendary sound engineer Steve Albini (Nirvana, Iggy Pop, The Pixies). The result is a grungy first wave punk-influenced rock record as ring-led by fierce and feral frontwoman ‘Isis Queen.’ Video finds the bleached blonde force coiling and springing and thrashing and singing commanding, politically-charged lyrics to the crunchy power chord riffage of ‘Pyn Doll’ and battering-ram rhythms of ‘Krash Doll.’ (Fubar, St. Petersburg) --LP
Paul Van Dyk A Berlin-based trance, house and progressive electronic dance music DJ/producer of global renown who issued his sixth studio album, Evolution, in 2012. Its diversity of guests encompasses contemporary Christian singer Plumb in “I Don’t Deserve You,” a single that peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s Dance/Club Play charts. Paul van Dyk has earned the No. 1 ranking in DJ Magazine’s “Top 100 DJs” poll twice, a stat less than a handful of DJs can claim. (Amphitheatre, Ybor City) --LP
FRIDAY, JANUARY 25
A Silent Film w/Carousel/Goodnight Neverland Crafting an anthemic brand of synthy alt rock full of epic choruses and crescendos is A Silent Film, an Oxford, UK foursome that recorded sophomore LP Sand & Snow in El Paso, Texas, and has earned comparisons to Coldplay and The Killers. (Local 662, St. Petersburg) --LP
Roadkill Ghost Choir w/Coyotes/Bootleggers & Baptists A trio of acts rooted in folk and Amerciana but with distinctly original sonic atmospheres. Orlando area sextet Roadkill Ghost Choir builds richly-hued songs with rising organ, trumpet drama, pedal steel and banjo melodies, and haunting four-part vocal harmonies; LA-based Coyotes deliver alt country strut and dusty but bright-glowing folk rock; and Tampa’s two-man Bootleggers & Baptists round out the bill with their dark Southern grooves. (New World Brewery, Ybor City) --LP
SATURDAY, JANUARY 26
Chris Webby Direct from the Connecticut suburbs, indie rapper sWebby brings his white boy problems to St. Pete, spewing verses about smoking weed, having ADD, being broke and ‘90s nostalgia. His frat-boy party style of hip hop is perfect for playing drinking games like beer pong and new favorite, “Who did Webby sample?” (Ellie Goulding’s “Starry Eyed,” “Fuckin Problems” by A$AP Rocky, and ATC’s “Around the World” are just a few that might make an appearance). Webby’s suburban struggles are relatable to any kid that ever paid with a coupon at a diner, watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or set a high score record on Super Mario Brothers. Video games influence his clever wordplay and fun beats while respected rap artists like Prodigy (Mobb Deep) and Method Man appear in his mixtapes, like 2012 latest, Bars on Me. Understanding the middleclass hustle, he offers this comp along most of his earlier releases for free download at listentowebby.com. (State Theatre, St. Petersburg) —Shannon Kelly
Tyler- I can't believe how talented of a writer you are. This article was beautifully…
Great interview! Give the interviewer a full time job! He's great!
The DJ was actually The Castle's very own DJ Tom Gold :)
Fabulous review Gabe! Too bad I missed it.