Ugly Orange brings Camp Howard's local debut and where have Orlando shoegazers Sad Halen been all my life?

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Camp Howard at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Camp Howard at Will's Pub
THIS LITTLE UNDERGROUND
Camp Howard, Sad Halen and Dearest, Will’s Pub, Jan. 23

Ugly Orange’s latest showcase featured the Orlando debut of Virginia’s Camp Howard, an indie-rock band that bounces with an odd, intriguing groove.
Camp Howard at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Camp Howard at Will's Pub
Camp Howard at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Camp Howard at Will's Pub
Generally, their vibe coasts like a breeze. Underneath it, however, the nimble music is in a constant state of dynamism with restless time signatures and guitars that go from crystalline to crashing with little notice. Further add in some bilingual action and this is stuff that, though charming, keeps listeners on their toes.
Sad Halen at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Sad Halen at Will's Pub
Also playing were Sad Halen, a trio whose strong set left me perplexed about their lack of status. Besides being of great name, this local group seems to have been around for a while – including under former moniker Joywise – yet their profile remains relatively low.
Sad Halen at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Sad Halen at Will's Pub
Sad Halen at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Sad Halen at Will's Pub
Old recordings indicate a shoegaze band, which automatically makes Sad Halen something of a unicorn in these parts. This performance, however, proves that their gazing isn’t just strict constructionism. Although they pack the requisite fuzz and swerve, they’re not content to just haunt in dissonant distance like the ethereal U.K. originators. Instead, they come with a more charged rock pulse that cherry-picks from the cream of the sonically-minded 1990s indie bands like the Drop Nineteens, Yo La Tengo and Dinosaur Jr.
Sad Halen at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Sad Halen at Will's Pub
Sad Halen at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Sad Halen at Will's Pub
Sad Halen at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Sad Halen at Will's Pub
Sad Halen is the magic that happens when you swathe sweetly bummed-out melodies in diving gales of wool and noise. Their name is popping up on bills a little more frequently of late so be on the look for this unsung local gem.
Dearest at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Dearest at Will's Pub
Opening the night was the loop wizardry of Dearest. Although the local solo vehicle has blossomed into a band, Tracy Farah played this one alone, which isn’t a particular concession when it comes to Dearest. It started as a solo act and earned distinction as one – the band expansion was just gravy. As has become the norm, Farah’s loop-built twilight post-rock again wove its tender magic without seam.
Dearest at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Dearest at Will's Pub

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Email Bao: baolehuu@orlandoweekly.com