3. Betty Wright & the Roots — Betty Wright: The Movie

Betty Wright is our local soul survivor. When she was barely 18, she scored a Top Ten hit with the Clarence "Blowfly" Reid-penned "Clean Up Woman." For the past 40 years, she's been in and out of the spotlight, releasing albums and coaching today's vocal acrobats. It's the time Wright spent out of public view that makes her sound so bold and makes Betty Wright: The Movie feel so real. When she sings about financial woes, acting right, and making love last, we believe her. Cameos by Snoop Dogg and Lil Wayne are a perfect pinch of salt in Betty's home-cooked meal. If someone with less taste, talent, and knowledge than ?uestlove had produced this, we would've found our woman fumbling through Auto-Tune, samples of herself, and champagne-room beats. Praise the Roots for bringing us into Wright's world. — Jose Flores

2. Cop City Chill Pillars Held Hostage on Planet Chill

If ever a band existed that embraces the "other" vision of Florida music, it's the musty, psychedelic surf pranksters Cop City Chill Pillars. Instead of four-on-the-floor breakbeats, Held Hostage on Planet Chill is dotted with mischievous time signatures that stretch and buckle like the well-worn elastic on that pair of Fruit of the Loom you use to clean your hubcaps. Guitarist C.J. Jankow, drummer Jordan Pettingill, bassist Jimmy Bradshaw — and any of the other dozen West Palm Beach-area musicians who sit in with them — employ a chant-like vocal style akin to the echoing voices in our heads in the middle of a cheap rum hangover. There's a child-like innocence to these rigorous, punk-fueled jams for late-night consumption. — Reed Fischer

1. Plains — Plains

Miami rock outfit Plains' self-titled debut album is damned near perfect. Leader Michael McGinnis' songs beg to be looped endlessly. Though this is no Britpop revival, McGinnis does have Blur frontman Damon Albarn's best vocal qualities: the whispered croon, the cracked falsetto, and syllables that sound bone-dry and deeply saddened — all in the same breath. The build-up intro of "End of the World" is enough for the listeners to buckle up inside the Plains Space Shuttle. As McGinnis sings about not wanting to "be a satellite" in "Poor Little Space Monkey," it's not hard to imagine gliding through the thermosphere and looking down on our sunny state. Beneath the hooks and guitars that sound like synths — or synths that sound like guitars — there's a sense of impending doom. Luckily, Plains' sweet-and-sour harmonies act as a parachute to make sure we land safely. — Jose Flores

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