Sound Sleeper Vinyl Release Party Tonight at Churchill's, Admits: "We're Old Motherf*%kers"

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Dennis Ho
Old school fans of the local music scene, circa the late '90s and early '00s, will have no trouble remembering the wispy alt rock yelps of Sunday Driver and its frontman Alex Martinez.

Navigating a similar hardcore/emo terrain of groups like New Found Glory and the Vacant Andys, Sunday Driver broke out of South Forida's insular punk scene and landed on the national stage. And although the group found itself signed to a reputable indie label (Doghouse Records, known for launching the career of power pop troupe All-American Rejects), with a rotating video on MTV2, and write-ups in Rolling Stone, lasting success never came Sunday Driver's way. The group disbanded in 2010, never completing a follow up to its critically-acclaimed 2003 full length A Letter to Bryson City.

But Alex Martinez never stopped writing. A totally self-taught musician, Martinez exudes an every-man likability and is the farthest thing one would expect from an almost famous rock star. After Sunday Driver, his band mates went on to other ventures (guitarist Charlie Suarez taking part in the psychedelic haze of heavy hitting trio MonstrO, and bassist Arnold Nese in post-grunge outfit Atom Smash). Martinez found himself the odd man out.


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John Prine Heads to Parker Playhouse, Delightful and Entertaining as Ever

Categories: Concert Preview

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Photo by Ron Baker via Wikimedia
John Prine'll make ya laugh and make ya sing.

Since 1971, John Prine's been blending, or, rather, muddling the lines between country and folk music. Sure, there might be a stylistic plane on which they might both exist, but no one has done it with more eloquence and chutzpah than Prine.

A native of Illinois, the singer/songwriter's giddy-up to the limelight included stints in the armed forces and as a carrier for the U.S. Postal Service before finding some quick fame alongside former writing partner Steve Goodman in Chicago's folk revival scene, thanks to the latter's introduction to Kris Kristofferson. From there, Prine's meteoric rise has been bookmarked by sound-altering bouts of cancer made even more poignant by Goodman's passing in 1984 of leukemia at age 36.


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Melissa Sandoval: From Mortuary Science to Live Music

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Louis Lauro with LLP Captured Dreams Photography
Singing in the ocean is better than singing in the rain.

About two years ago, singer/songwriter Melissa Sandoval was on the brink of a record deal in New Jersey when the offer went sour due to circumstances out of her control. But what seemed like a big disappointment at the time actually became the spark she needed to produce her own album, Memory in the Sand, in Delray Beach.

She's been performing her own originally produced music in South Florida for the past few months and has big plans on the horizon. But this Delray diva actually started out her career 19 years ago in New York City. The songstress comes from a close-knit El Salvadoran family, and her parents were her biggest supporters.

Her diva-strength voice echoed through nightclubs before she even got to middle school.
"The person that inspired me the most to just get up there and sing was Selena," Sandoval says. "As a little girl, I loved her, and I wanted to be just like her. When I was performing at 10 in bars and clubs, I used to dress up like her. That was a big part of the reason I decided to start singing."


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Seminole Tribe Welcomes Outlaw Country Star Gary Allan to Big Cypress

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Courtesy of the artist
Country all the way.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida is celebrating the 119th anniversary of its Big Cypress Seminole Reservation this weekend. The party will be wild with the expected alligator wrestling but also with a proper country-music hoedown.

The Seminoles tapped country music stars Gary Allan and Montgomery Gentry to close out the night's festivities. But before all the honky-tonking takes place, the tribe is inviting attendees to explore its fair and exhibition, which will feature Central Plains Dancers, a critter and alligator show, carnival rides, and scrumptious food vendors throughout (get your fry bread on).

Kentucky natives Montgomery Gentry, who have five number-one hits to its name (including rousers "Something to Be Proud Of" and "If You Ever Stop Loving Me") will warm up the crowd before handing over the main stage to modern-day country outlaw Gary Allan. With his rugged and ragged vocals, he echoes the sentiments of renegade country crooners such as Merle Haggard and Buck Owens but with a mainstream appeal -- selling more than 7 million albums without crossing over into full-blown pop-country terrain.


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Elton John Announces Miami Concert Date on March 6

Categories: Concert Preview

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Sayre Berman
Don't worry, Elton'll never go breaking your heart.

Last summer, one of the most risqué fashionistas in pop music, Elton John, told Sky News that if Jesus Christ were around today, he'd be down with gay marriage. "He was all about love and compassion... and that's what the church should be about," John reflected on J.C.

And all of Fort Lauderdale felt that kind of compassion and love the other night, precisely at 12:01 a.m. at the clerk's office in Fort Lauderdale, as same-sex marriage became a reality in Florida. And given that BroCo has the most gay couples like ever anywhere (thank you, Wilton Manors), there were plenty of reasons to celebrate.

And now South Florida has another excuse to throw its rainbow flags high in the air (and then catch 'em like color guard folk): Elton John and his band are heading to Miami this March 6.

See also: Photos from Elton John at Bank Atlantic Center 2012


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Six 2015 Festivals in (or Around) Florida Worth a Road Trip

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Liliana Mora

Florida is big and populous, and it's becoming one of the nation's most popular places for musical gatherings of all sizes and descriptions. One reason we have easy access to huge concerts year-round is the warm weather. We don't have to wait for the summer months to enjoy live tunes outdoors.

We gathered a list of a few in-state festivals well worth a mini-road trip that you'll want to catch in 2015.

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Periphery to Brutalize Revolution Live on January 14

Categories: Concert Preview

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There are two distinct types of heavy-metal fans that have developed over the past decade. There are those who continue to ask, "What's next?" And then there are those who live in a leather-clad past with a vehement disdain for all that threatens to sully the genre by straying too far from its lineage.

While there is surely a spectrum for these things and people do fall along a spectrum, for those who veer closer to the former, it might appear that the heavy-metal train has hit the proverbial wall in terms of extremity. Eight-string guitars built to accommodate cartoonishly low tunings are now standard tools for many bands. The time signatures have been divided, subdivided, subtracted, and molested in ways that would make Neil Peart dizzy, and trends have shifted to music that relies more on predictable sonic tropes, breakdowns, and blast beats than strong artistic statements.

Then there's a band like Periphery, guitarist and producer Misha Mansoor's brainchild of brutality.

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Beach Boys Are Bringing Good Vibrations to Kravis Center on January 8

Categories: Concert Preview

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Sayre Berman

For more than half of a century, the Beach Boys have been harmonizing about good feelings, surfing, women, boats, and whatever else exemplifies Florida living. Never mind that they are the quintessential California band. With those kind of lyrics, any waterfront abode will do. And if you're not seaside when the Beach Boys come on the radio, you're wishing you are.

In 1966, the ensemble practically invented the modern pop song with hits like "God Only Knows" (seriously try not to feel something when you hear that song) off the album Pet Sounds. With that release, the Beach Boys perfected another mainstay of modern music: the psychedelic rock opus. And the list of the classic act's songs that most people can sing along to without brain-strain is as long as A1A.

See also: Brian Wilson on Songwriting: "I'm Always Anxious to Make Each One Better"


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Donna the Buffalo's "Herd" Remains Loyal After Years on the Road

Categories: Concert Preview

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Bill Davis

The Grateful Dead has its Deadheads and Jimmy Buffet boasts Parrotheads. There's little distinction between the fans and fanatics once the crowd has its own name, both will follow the musicians to the ends of the earth.

Donna the Buffalo can consider itself among the fortunate beneficiaries of that kind of rapt attention and appreciation. After 25 years, ten albums, and headliner status at any number of high profile festivals nationwide -- including at least three in Florida, Virginia Key Grassroots Festival, the Magnolia Fest, and the Suwannee Springfest -- the band basks in the appreciation of loyal legions that have dubbed themselves "the Herd."


"I don't really know how to explain it," singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Tara Nevins responds when asked for the reasons behind the band's rabid following.

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7Steps2Hell's Dark Debut Gives "Two Middle Fingers to the Music Scene"

Categories: Concert Preview

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With all this holiday time spent praising Jesus, why not take a break from the holy and indulge in the devilish this weekend?

Relax, County Grind hasn't gone all Satanic on you, we're just suggesting you check out the witch house-infused project of local emcee Jabrjaw and experimental beatsmith Mike Astrea, 7steps2hell. The duo released its sample-heavy, downbeat, boombap-meets-horrorcore effort titled Turner Classicks on its Soundcloud a few weeks back. The two are also rumored to be making a debut live performance this weekend at Propaganda.

Jabrjaw (born Ryan Britt) was tight-lipped about whether or not Astrea and he would get on stage together at this weekend's hip-hop melee, Black Lodge. It'll feature other members of the now on hiatus Fort Lauderdale collective know as Black Locust Society like Bleubird. He did tease that there might be some "surprises" at the end of the night.


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