By Steve Brennan
By Ashley Zimmerman
By Michele Eve Sandberg
By Abel Folgar
By Ashley Zimmerman
By New Times Staff
By Abel Folgar
By Laurie Charles
Supporting local music comes in many forms: going to shows, buying merch, and even sharing a music video on your Facebook page. Passing out fliers was simply not enough support for one local crew. The need to provide a platform for South Florida's glorious strangeness is what inspired the creation of Decades Records. The West Palm Beach label, part of the Frenchkiss Group, is on a distinct mission to find and promote the area's most original music.
With club owner and coffee aficionado Rodney Mayo backing the label, it's no surprise that the inaugural Decades Records Showcase will be shining its light in one of his own venues, Respectable Street, this week. But it's not just the reputation of the bar that will no doubt transform this six-band assault into memorable performances. With two stages available and plenty of talent, each band is almost guaranteed to deliver big on sound and stage presence.
Take the fiercely original Astrea Corporation. This psychedelic, trip-hop act describes its existence as "an entity that not only involves a band of musicians but a full live visual show featuring real-time projections and manipulation." With its new album, Paradise Oscine, dropping just four days before the official label showcase, Astrea fans will be clamoring for a live show, or what they refer to as "a full immersive experience."
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Turn the dial 180 degrees and you might just land on fellow Decades band the Gravel Kings. Even though this indie folk act's sound is worlds away from Astrea Corp.'s, lead singer Zach Jones told us that signing with Decades Records "feels like home." The band will release an LP in July. "With Decades, we know we can be comfortable in the studio and on the road," Jones says. "They're here to listen and guide us in the direction we want to go."
Another act being showcased is witch-house group Symbols. Lead singer Lauren Dwyer (also of Band in Heaven) plays alongside Respectable DJs Dan Potvin and J.J. Contramus for this endeavor. She understands how important the direction the label's mindset has become. "Rodney has already done so much for the underground music community, and it's great to be included in his next step in fostering Decades Records," she says.
Jean Jacket is a Miami staple that manages to keep the past present. As frontman Harlowe G. says, "Nowadays, an artist doesn't really need a label on an underground scale. But the feel and vibe of Decades is just right for my situation. There's a certain sense of pride being associated with Decades Records and all their big plans for the future."
Lake Worth crew Wake Up also has a big future ahead. Though it cut its teeth in the local scene, the group recently went national and is fresh off of a slot opening for Surfer Blood on tour. The recent release of the seven-inch vinyl Forever Home is an homage to '90s indie rock à la Built to Spill with a South Florida twist. Guitarist Bobby Yapkowitz tells it like it is: "If you want to see four goofballs have the best time of their lives playing songs they love and a bunch of other great bands, there's no reason not to go to this show."
Last on the bill is Band In Heaven. The West Palm mainstay brought us Caught in a Summer Swell just last year, a roaring ode to this hot season, full of the act's signature, fuzzy dream pop. Band in Heaven appreciates not simply working with Decades Records, but being a part of something larger than the band. "It means that we're finally working with bands in the way we've always wanted to," says singer and guitarist Ates Isildak. "Symbols, Astrea Corporation, and Jean Jacket each remixed a Band in Heaven track. We all worked on the Symbols music video together. We all helped out with the last Jean Jacket video. We've helped bands record their songs and take photos. We hang out more than just at shows," but most important, he points out, "We're working on one another's art."