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14 local artists who are reshaping the Orlando music scene

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PHOTO BY SARAH MODENE
  • Photo by Sarah Modene

Expert Timing

As relics like high waists and hi-top fades roam the streets anew, it's the '90s all over again in indie rock too. One of Orlando's best emergent bands influenced by that pivotal decade are Expert Timing, a trio fronted by the wife-husband partnership of Katrina and Jeff Snyder. Their indie rock is as classically '90s as it gets with heart, melodies and guitars that are all equally big. In just over a year after putting out a demo, their particular take on the style has shown such natural shine that it's earned them a slot at the Fest this year and a growing fan base that includes some key scene figures. The band are currently in the middle of tracking their first full-length album with Dikembe's David Bell, which is planned for release in early 2018. The next chance to swoon in their sweet nostalgia is on Dec. 3 at Will's Pub with Flashlights, another exceptional local band that pack some of the best of the '90s. – BLH

PHOTO BY JIM LEATHERMAN
  • Photo by Jim Leatherman

Tight Genes

Out of all the members of the Total Punk extended family, Tight Genes get slept on a bit locally and that's a damn shame because their Germs-y street punk is undeniable both live and on record. The quartet of Noah, Eddi, Alexis and Kayo can regularly be seen throwing down at grittier venues across town as the stalwart local anchor for out-of-town malcontents like the Nots and the Mold. What's more, the group has casually one-upped a good number of their area peers with both some touring under their belt and the release of the truly excellent Prison Wallet 7" single last year. But live is where the band truly thrives, with the three instrumentalists bashing it out in the background and vocalist Noah getting down and dirty in and among the people. Don't miss their next show on Dec. 5 at Will's Pub with Dark Thoughts; you never know if they'll implode – or explode – at any minute. – MM

PHOTO BY JIM LEATHERMAN
  • Photo by Jim Leatherman

The Wildtones

Although local trio the Wildtones have been around for several years, it's really only recently that they've hit their stride. Led by incredibly dynamic guitarist and singer Joshua Ramsey, the Wildtones are currently the city's purest champions of early rock & roll and rockabilly. Their effective line celebrating both the flair and primitive heart of the tradition has attracted touring invitations from the likes of the Legendary Shack Shakers, Reverend Horton Heat, Bloodshot Bill and Deke Dickerson. They've also chalked up festival appearances at Meltasia, the Rockabilly Rave and the New England Shake-Up. Their latest promising development is the involvement of Simon Palombi, a young local musician whose profile is enjoying exponential rise between his stints as frontman of the excellent Woolly Bushmen and as a budding producer. Palombi isn't just filling in on drums, he's recording the Wildtones' new songs. – BLH

PHOTO BY JIM LEATHERMAN
  • Photo by Jim Leatherman

Flying Limbs

The artists formerly known as Deformed are, to our ears, the best extreme ensemble currently playing – hell, razing – venues in Central Florida. Containing members of Ad Nauseum and Wrapped in Pale, this trio takes the grindcore template and unsentimentally strips it down to the barest of essentials. Think Napalm Death's Scum or Insect Warfare at their most unrestrained. A guitar, a drum kit and one hell of a scream are it all it takes for the band to whip up a storm of noise. Drummer Mike Sweeney is an octopus, playing a kit that appears to be welded together to withstand earthquakes; guitarist Glenn Stefani keeps his head down and cranks out pure distortion, while vocalist Summer Jewell is a maniac, throwing themselves into the crowd, unafraid of confrontation. Flying Limbs aren't apolitical fence-sitters either; the band recently played a benefit for Puerto Rico post-Irma and raised a decent chunk of change for their efforts. Catch them at Florida Is Loud and see the inheritors to the thrones of Assück and Agoraphobic Nosebleed. – MM

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Zoya Zafar

Zoya Zafar released a demo back in 2014, but it wasn't until last year that this very distinctive singer truly emerged on the radar. Since debuting at Will's Pub for Southern Fried Sunday, Zafar's name has been increasingly seen on notable bills. She's been keeping good company as one of the freshest young members of Beth McKee's Swamp Sistas and has been making fans of scene movers. Graced with a beautiful jazz voice that can captivate with just the faintest exhalation, her torch-folk sound was always a thing of quiet allure. But lately, the longtime soloist has been showing new sonic ambition with some modern texture and sometimes performing with an accompanist on guitar and keyboards (Matthew Verdier). Zafar will release a single titled "Sweet Talk" soon and is currently working on a full-length album for next year. The next chance to bask in her radiance is when she headlines the Bad Balloon event on Dec. 18 at Will's Pub. – BLH

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