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Best Pop Band Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 2000 - Ed Matus' Struggle

Some folks label the music of Miami's Ed Matus' Struggle "emo," which is ostensibly a shortened "emotional." But since emotional music, to us, encompasses everything from Edith Piaf to Henry Rollins, can we finally shelve the meaningless term? Ed Matus' Struggle just makes good music, no matter what it's called. Since it refrains from capitulating to trendy electronic-dance fashion statements, the group is often lost against the busy Miami soundscape. You have to sit down and listen to the group's jazz-tinged originals to get a sense of how adventurous this band really is -- Ed Matus' Struggle is a lot closer to the late-'90s art-rock of the Sea and Cake or Creeper Lagoon than the radio-friendly schlock of Third Eye Blind. For the last five years, the band has been playing infrequent live dates and quietly laboring on singles like "Entomological Discoveries With Sound and Vibration" and "Planes That Cast a Gloom." (The titles alone indicate a desire to distance themselves from the pack.) So far, out-of-towners have been quicker to recognize Ed Matus' Struggle than have local crowds: Green Day, Mike Watt, Unwound, Jimmy Eat World, and Trans Am have all called on the group as an opening act, and their material has been included on various national compilations. Maybe Ed Matus' Struggle's undeserved obscurity has finally run its course.

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