All right, ya mooks, it’s that time again when This Little Underground recognizes the local superlatives that simply refused to get lost in my mountain of notes this year. I present to you the 2011 Undies! Dirty bar napkin please ...
Best new local bands
Mr. Pussy – face-beating noise-rock supergroup.
Roadkill Ghostkill Choir – folk done with grace and grandeur.
Saskatchewan – gorgeously crafted dream-pop.
Maximino – a one-man psych-pop project that’s the city’s gold standard for solo possibility.
The Sh-Booms – finally, we have a straight-up classic soul band up in here.
Woolly Bushmen – rousing frat-rock straight from the garage.
Most overlooked band – Lone Hymnal
These arrestingly atmospheric twangsters absolutely belong in the above list, but their criminally low profile warrants its own category.
Most sonically misanthropic band – Fire in the Cave
Another band that belongs in the list above but demands their own category because they are a motherfucking volcano of black and doom metal.
Most punishing live band – No Qualms
How this hardcore band manages to focus a cosmos of energy into one room I don’t know. But, good god, what a physical experience!
Best roster tune-up – Hollow Leg
When this Jacksonville doom squad reloads with two additional members from savage area band Junior Bruce, the only thing that can result is pure murder.
Best Central Florida releases
Flashlights – I’m Not Alone (NK Tapes/Protagonist)
The Pauses – A Cautionary Tale (New Granada)
Khann – Erode (Blackmarket)
Sleepy Vikings – They Will Find You Here (New Granada)
Best calendar – Will’s Pub
While leading downtown clubs like the Social and Back Booth have kind of taken the foot off the quality throttle, it was a banner year for Will’s Pub due largely to smart new partnerships with the city’s brightest, most current promoters.
Biggest phoenix – Beacham Theater
What I just said about the ebb of the Social’s calendar is true, but it’s understandable, considering they’ve been busy shifting gears this year to fill this large downtown room, too. Getting a 747 like this off the ground is no small feat, and they’ve done a good job with some stunning, high-profile productions (M83, Glitch Mob, Ghostland Observatory). It’s beautiful to have this prime space restored to glory and respectability.
Best new venue – the Acre
Details are still scant on this place and its viability as a public venue remains to be seen, but this arty compound is one of the most distinctive event spaces around.
Most dearly departed venue – Hoops Tavern
Other than that it’s now under the same ownership as Firestone Live, which has also exited the live music business, there are no details yet as to what this space will become. But one less DIY venue is always a lamentable thing.
Best booking – Norse Korea Presents
From Surf City to Hunx & His Punx to KEN Mode, these newcomers covered lots of genres. But they earn the honor this year through sheer quality. By importing some of the best, most tasteful bands, they organized many of this year’s must-go events.
Best heavy booking – Orlandooom Productions
Like a more genre-specific Norse Korea, this group has built a tastemaking name by bringing in some of the best national and regional heavy acts you should be digging (Whores, Primate, etc.) and unearthing some of the best area acts around.
Biggest question mark – Orlando Calling
This historical production was the most far-reaching event debut here in years. But the turnout – about half their target – will test the organizers’ resolve.
Biggest nightlife loss – Kelly Fitzpatrick
Best new music fest – Accidental Music Festival
A week-long festival that broaches avant-garde, non-rock material? That’s balls. And a lot of it was funded through Kickstarter. Who says we aren’t ready for interesting things?
After months of self-debate, I still can’t decide between the Frisch’s Big Boy perfection of Andy Matchett (the Minks) and the wild, mind-of-its-own swag of Cory Bennett’s (bartender, Will’s Pub) voluminous Steven Wright coif, so it’s a tie!