West Palm Beach and Lake Worth's Best Musical Acts

West Palm Beach and Lake Worth's Best Musical Acts
Ian Witlen

West Palm Beach seems to have sprouted a broad array of bands over the last two or three years, all of varying qualities and scope. It is with great care that we have taken on the responsibility of determining, for you blog readers, the mice from the men of quality rock and roll acts grown from this geriatric beachscape.

After the jump, as they say, take some time to hear the best music ever to come out of the barren cultural landscape known as West Palm Beach and thank the New Times later for guiding you past faux freak folkies and calloused corporate corn-balls.

Love Handles
Whether stripped down to the core of two members or amassing an instrumental army, Love Handles is one of the most awe inspiring and captivating groups out of Lake Worth.

Chris Jankow and Jordan Pettingill have been playing music since they were teenagers starting in hardcore bands, on to Glory Bullfighter, Mammoth, Rat Tail, Freak Church, and current counterpart band Cop City/Chill Pillars, they set the bar and standards of being in a local band very high.

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As they get older, the influence has become regionally acknowledged. Love Handles is a fantastic spectacle to watch. Usually Pettingill holds down the athletic act of playing a pedal bass, organ, and a stripped down set of drums while simultaneously harmonizing with Chris Jankow's universally introspective vocal lines and pitch-shifting pop guitar work.

This is undoubtedly the best band that exists in Florida, if not the United States, if not the world? We're willing to bet all the big bucks we make on writing this article that you haven't bought their 7" out on West Palm Beotch Records yet. Listen to "Gold Chain," and tell us you don't feel the most awkward wave of positivity run through your veins when that organ and guitar, call and response, dance break drops.

 

Yahtzee Guy
Thomas Fekete, critically acclaimed independent rock and roller whose guitar work is featured on recordings by the anomalous success story of West Palms' Surfer Blood, has continued to make music separately from his referentially coastal day job. When not touring the continents, "rocking" packed clubs and foreign arenas, Fekete goes by moniker Yahtzee Guy. As Yahtzee Guy, he displays a more long-winded and visceral approach to music making.

Yahtzee Guy mostly exists on SoundCloud, and if you are lucky, at intimate concert settings at the now defunct venue The Snooze (shame on you West Palm Beach). Blasts of blown out organ loops and hyper flanged guitars build atop each other until the cacophonous sound carries you to a broader melodic valley somewhere between My Bloody Valentines and the more sonically visceral qualities and the melodious weight of New Order's bass and guitar lines. Cute right? No, he's pretty bummed apparently, and the songs are fantastic.

Guy Harvey
Bands like Guy Harvey are not a hard sell. Accessibility, for some, may be a place where guilt is conjured and perpetuated until you deconstruct everything to a point where you forget if you actually like anything at all.

If you can see yourself in a room, say Little Munich in Lake Worth, bobbing your head along to bass driven melodies and shimmering guitar work, you start to feel as though maybe, somewhere, you have heard this music before. Slightly delayed guitar parts echo on time with the drums as one of the most handsome men you have ever seen painfully croons into the microphone with eyes closed. Women are everywhere, as well as an assortment of guys you have never really seen before, but they are all being positive. The drumming is manic and pushes these otherwise bummer songs to make you shake and dance as, again, this really handsome dude is just singing his heart out to some distant muse, nowhere in the audience.

The masturbatory scenic description doesn't do much to describe the quality of Guy Harvey. They are just a great band that write real songs and actually put out records and have ventured out of the city to share their work. Google.com will show you where to buy the singles, just don't get it confused with the redneck clothing line. Play the music in the car really loud. Check out the gnarly Nirvana cover they did. They were actually alive when Nevermind came out, and it sounds like Bob Mould is on vocals.

 

The Jameses
If Love Handles are the best band in Florida, or the United States, or the world, then the Jameses are like the alternate dimension version of them that will probably house you on the basketball court, recording studio, or football field.

The Jameses are signed to a super chic label in New York City, Captured Tracks. The Jameses largest body of recordings to date seems to stem from an area in West Palm Beach known as the Acreage. We can't conjure a narrative clever enough to describe the sheer strangeness of this occurrence happening, but we don't really need to. When you listen to the Jameses, you are blasted with the same kind of positive morbidity that flows through a lot of the better bands in WPB.

Often your wet ears are doused in organ and keyboard lines that make you feel as though you are going down a cavernous space vortex from some British science fiction series like classic '70s era Doctor Who or The Tomorrow People. These lines are accompanied by some bombastic low end samples that spew from their homemade bass speaker rigs. Dan McHughs shout is filled with a conviction as he prophesies atop machine-like disco drum beats in choruses like those in "Caribou." Frank Axtell would be very proud of these boys if he only knew what he brewed sitting in his reclining rolling chair, reciting scales and modes. Actually, maybe not...

The Jameses have a full length that they are writing and recording currently for Captured Tracks, set to be released soon.





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