Meet the New Republicans

On bikes or on stage, Awesome New Republic is the face of a radically unexpected Miami

Thematically, Hancock injects ANR´s slinky funk with kaleidoscopic, far-flung imagery, some pseudo-political, some deeply personal, some both at once. ¨Going 2 Bed with N Korea¨ follows up the line ¨We fucked the sheets right off of the bed¨ with ¨By now, the water´s gone/By now, the wind has blown in/These ill beats drop the bomb/Jong-Il´s beat drop the bomb in.¨ Bicycles are a metaphor for relationships, Kylie Minogue becomes a warrior queen, bedroom come-ons elevate into poetry, post-millennium tension looms, self-reference is rife. If this is what the New Republic looks like, then you better believe it´s awesome.

¨Everything is just a mishmash of nothing being excluded,¨ Hancock says of his lyrics. ¨We´re definitely not like, OK, our band sings about booze, chicks, and motorcycles. Go!´ And were also not like, We sing about important sociopolitical issues and we only play fundraising events for third-party politics.´ I think it´s more characteristic of growing up in this generation, being inundated with everything all at once — video games, your president, porn, artwork, movies, music, your neighborhood. It all becomes your whole experience.¨

And maybe there´s no place more saturated with that experience than the superconsumptive, pop-culture crucible of South Florida. Maybe there´s no other locale from which ANR could bike-ride into a cool-hand coup.

ANR´s Michael-John Hancock and Brian Robertson (below) take the struggle to the Culture Room.
Colby Katz
ANR´s Michael-John Hancock and Brian Robertson (below) take the struggle to the Culture Room.

Details

10 p.m. Friday, November 18. Tickets cost $4. Call 954-776-6082. ANR plays again at 10 p.m. Saturday, November 19, as part of Art vs. Rock V at Churchill´s Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami. Tickets cost $7. Call 305-757-1807.
Headquarters at Sonny´s Stardust Lounge, 5181 Powerline Rd., Fort Lauderdale

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¨If they weren´t taking in all of those things, they would just be another generic band from Miami,¨ says Lauren Reskin, owner of Sweat Records, Miami´s premiere indie record shop, and of Sutro Records, the label that´s released both ANR albums. ¨I knew from opening the store that there was this untapped group of people that was greater than anyone recognized. Because of the geography of South Florida, a lot of music lovers don´t come into contact with one another unless it´s at a show. That´s why we thought Miami would be a great place to do what we´re doing, because of the vast amount of room to do it. Just by virtue of being down here, it´s something special.¨

Believe it: South Florida needs ANR far more than any overhyped celebrity cameo or soulless awards show. Though that´s exactly what everyone´s come to expect from the Magic City.

¨Everyone who actually makes the music here is used to being the last person in line at the cafeteria who gets to eat lunch,¨ Hancock says. ¨And that´s good. That´s what keeps you going. Everybody else can get greedy. Regardless of what people say, Miami still doesn´t have anything going for it yet. There´s still a lot that needs to happen for it to have its own unique youth culture. Kids have to start incorporating all these elements of the city into what they´re doing. There´s all these other kinds of music that I don´t see anyone incorporating into their bands — Latin, hip-hop, reggaeton. No city in America has that, and this city could. But as of now, it´s trying to imitate something that´s already happened somewhere else. Hopefully as a stepping-off point to the next level.

¨U2 made that album Pop at South Beach Studios a few years ago,¨ he continues. ¨You listen to that and it´s more reflective of Miami in its lyrics and sound than most local records that have come out over the past decade. And it´s fucking U2. Surely we can do better than that, people.¨

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