Music » Music Stories & Interviews

14 local artists who are reshaping the Orlando music scene

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PHOTO BY MATTHEW VENTURA
  • Photo by Matthew Ventura

Acoqui

Though Acoqui has been around for several years, it's only very recently that the project has genuinely crystallized. Originally a solo bedroom outlet for noted local musician Alberto Hernandez (known best as a member of Kanine Records-signed act Viernes), it eventually bloomed into a full-band affair but still had scant street presence due to physical distance within its ranks. Now, they have a cast in place that's not simply all native but also happens to boast credentials in heavyweight Orlando bands like Summerbirds in the Cellar, the Sh-Booms and Moon Jelly. Sonically, Acoqui has risen from ambient beginnings to a current thrill ride that zooms between shoegaze and dreampop. Both their recent live performances and a debut album (A Heart Fills This Way) that was one of the best local releases this year are proof of a band emerging with one of the most textured and realized sounds to come out of Orlando in ages. – BLH

PHOTO BY GREGORY GUTIERREZ
  • Photo by Gregory Gutierrez

Bubble Boys

In the past year, perhaps no other Orlando band has shown as much progress and lightning as Bubble Boys. Even among the city's historically crowded punk herd, there was something else about them from the beginning. Frontman Dani Jalali formed the band to fulfill a promise to a deceased friend, whose love for bubbles inspired the group's name and whose non-binary identity has influenced their stance (they have a song titled "Not the Kinda Guy [You Think I Am]" and slogan stickers that read "Bubble Boys piss where they wanna"). They hit all the requisite sweet spots that any card-carrying garage punk desires, but they're no clones. Instead of just ripping the basic genre tropes, Bubble Boys flame it out with raw rock & roll flourish. Equal parts romp and flash, they're powered by the kind of "It" quality that makes them seem like they're only a couple of short moves away from catching wider fire. Though they currently only have a couple of demos available online on Bandcamp (for free), those are but a sliver of where the band is now. So a show's really where to experience them, which you can do next at Austin's Coffee on Dec. 16. – BLH

PHOTO BY JAMIE JOHNSON
  • Photo by Jamie Johnson

Lush Agave

Lush Agave, the solo vehicle for longtime Southern experimental musician Alisha Erao, is many, many things. It is a singular attempt to meld classical and baroque songforms and vocal styles with modern electronic soundcraft. It is a merging of dance and voice, of the personal and the political. It is a mix of the gently ethereal and the earthy visceral. It is an enchanting filigreed web of looped, operatic vocals, crystal synths and head-nodding beats that gives way to choral ambience. It is a callback to classic 4AD trailblazers like Dead Can Dance and This Mortal Coil. And it is Erao's finest musical statement to date. Recent live shows have upped the Lush Agave ante considerably: Gone are the choral robes, replaced with stark black attire and the sole ornamentation of a few candles, to keep the focus on Erao's incredible voice and dramatic movements. Music fans and performers outside our city limits are starting to notice her work too; the secret is out. – MM

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