Music » This Little Underground

New Orlando music drops: Trotsky's Watercooler, Gamma Waves and saying goodbye to Jim O'Rourke



Sadly, the Orlando music community just lost one of its longtime pillars. Local musician Jim O'Rourke is as original a gangster as it gets around here. According to owner Will Walker, he was the first person to play live music at Will's Pub — no, the old one, at Loch Haven. Nearly everyone who's anyone in the city's music scene knows him,

I knew Jim's name long before I'd ever met him. After we finally met, all I ever saw from him since was a kind, gentle and creative soul. And that creativity kept up until the very end, with a particularly prolific release roll the last year or so. Although it's a distant second to still having Jim among us, his footprint in the Orlando music scene will be a lasting one.


Worried about that Delta? If only we all were. But you can savor some good live vibes from the safety of your own bubble in a couple of recent releases from local acts that have electrified the Mills strip with some well-documented performances.

Gamma Waves have repeatedly proven on stage to be one of the most impressive new Orlando rock bands to emerge recently. Their latest release is a live recording of a May performance they did in the Milk District. The seven-song Live at Iron Cow is a solid bottling of the raw grunge brawn that these guys can muster in concert. It's generously available on Bandcamp as a name-your-price download.

The other noteworthy live release is Design for Survival by Trotsky's Watercooler, the solo vehicle for Orlando noise luminary Dan Reaves that uses some of the more inventive hardware in the game. Culled from two very recent performances in July, Design for Survival is nearly 30 explorative minutes of Reaves looping and manipulating spoken-word and instructional records.

Recorded at the Gainesville apartment of experimental underground pioneer and longtime cassette champion Hal McGee as part of his live Apartment Music series, "Polite Instruction for Our Feathered Friends" is a melted and dizzying piece that's as psychedelic as it is industrial. The second track, "I Don't Buy It" — recorded, notably, at this year's X-Day celebration at Land of Id in Land O' Lakes — is an eerie work that sounds like the escalating stages of a paranormal possession and should probably only be listened to during the day while someone else is home with you. It's up on Trotsky's Watercooler's Bandcamp.

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