Music » This Little Underground

New Orlando releases: albums from Stucco and Matthew Fowler, a new-old tune from Ray Brazen

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LOCAL RELEASES

With the Welzeins, Orlando polymath Russ Nordstrom rocks hard. On his own, he's a little weirder. And Stucco, Nordstrom's relatively new personal project, is where he really lets that flag fly. He writes, performs, records and mixes all Stucco material himself, convening others (currently members of Timothy Eerie) only for live shows.

On Cocoon, Stucco's recent sophomore album, the rock comes with more levity and miscellany than you might expect from him. The playful, Ween-inspired grab bag of songs runs the gamut of odd punk, garage rock, quirk pop, indie rock, drone and even Devo-esque synth-rock. It's a big leap forward from Stucco's 2019 debut, Pink Glitter Hummer Limo, and is remarkable in both quality and diversity.

The nine-song Cocoon is up on Bandcamp generously as a name-your-price download.

Although he's made a live name for himself, Orlando-bred folk-pop troubadour Matthew Fowler hasn't released an album since his 2014 debut, Beginning. And though details about his follow-up are finally out, that sophomore album, The Grief We Gave Our Mother, still won't drop till this autumn. But at last there's a real taste of it available now.

If new single "I'm Still Trying" is any sign, the long-ass gestation may be worth it. The song still carries Fowler's gentle soul but on new, resolute wings of melodic precision like Ryan Adams at his sharpest. With a newfound crispness in tune and execution, this well-honed track is probably Fowler's most incisive moment on record yet.

It'll be interesting to finally see in long form the development of this gifted young artist whose first album came out when he was still a teenager, but "I'm Still Trying" is a very auspicious first peek. The single's now streaming on major platforms and the upcoming LP — Fowler's label debut on Signature Sounds — is released on Sept. 10 and can be preordered on Bandcamp.

In all the Ray Brazen catalog, perhaps the best-known song is "New Music Women" from 2008's The Wendy EP, a record that was charmingly dedicated to dearly departed local TV news anchor Wendy Chioji. Well, Orlando's outsider king just did an update to his indie-rock fetish anthem. "New Music Women 2021" is a send-up of his original ode with a pandemic twist. And B-side "Gotta Get Back to New York" is a cover of Rodgers & Hart's 1933 song that sounds like Brazen pushing a show tune through a garage-punk blender. The two-track singe is up on Brazen's Bandcamp.

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