Best Country Band 2012 | Boise Bob and His Backyard Band | Arts & Entertainment | South Florida

The smell of the swamp, the slick of sawgrass, the chomp of the alligator. That's the kind of authentic South Florida shit you experience with Boise Bob and His Backyard Band. Their songs take a humorous approach to country music. He talks about eating 'possum and getting shitfaced at a bar he loves more than he loves you. The act isn't made up just of Boise Bob — his Backyard Band includes a host of musicians jamming on backwoods instruments you'll rarely see around these parts. There's an electric washboard, a washtub bass, a harp, a banjo, kick drum, slide guitar, fiddle, mandolin, and, whew, the occasional pig and bird sounds. Boise Bob is a longtime Broward County resident whose music represents this swampy cityscape like no other. And damn, can these guys deliver some motherfuckin', fun-timesy, country-twanged dance songs, perfectly suited for anyone who knows the feel of the hot Florida sun on their backs and of gators nipping at their ass.

With a name like Chrome Dick, you might think this guy'd be spitting rhymes about his genitals and how strong and shiny they are. But Chrome Dick is actually Raphael Alvarez, a musician who's been involved for years in popular Broward bands like .ihatejulie, Traded to Racine, Harvey and the Buckets, and now Suede Dudes. As Chrome Dick, though, pop leaves the room and noise enters. His EP Portal Between Heaven and Hell actually sounds like the space between the celestial and the satanic. There's nothing regular about Chrome Dick's sound. He creates haunting soundscapes and abrasive soundtracks simply with pedals, guitars, and a mic. Inspired by books on noise and experimental acts like Throbbing Gristle, in 2008, this musician became an experimental musician and a performance artist. Noise is more than just creating a cacophony of disruptive sounds; for Alvarez, it's about emotion, concept, and intellect.

Robb Bank$ has a serious gold grill and looks as young as 15. But his sound is savage and his voice smooth. The music is trippy. It's like he's laying rhymes over ethereal experimental soundscapes. Robb Bank$ is likely to catch the eye and ear of the industry, and soon. This jit is half of the group Tuesday Thru Sunday with partner Matt Meyer Lansky. His mixtape Calendars marks his solo debut. The South Florida boy sings about everything, from Pokémon and oral sex to hipster girls and smoking pot. He just about has the male experience covered.

It has been several years since the utopian Deadhead night at Fisherman's Wharf on Pompano Pier went the way of Jerry Garcia when the bar/restaurant gave way to new ideas for "development." In the period since, South Florida heads have followed Crazy Fingers, the well-loved Grateful Dead tribute act, around to a few new Thursday-night spots. But none has felt quite as homey as the old Wharf used to, until now. With the jam-band scene in South Florida growing more energized, the landscape is prime for the weekly Deadhead night at Boca Muse, where Crazy Fingers throws down two sets for the patchouli-loving folks and straight-from-the-office, undercover heads alike. Crazy Fingers is as reliable as always these days, paying homage to the band that set so much good energy into motion while being faithful to their own groove at the same time. For now, SoFla heads have plenty of reason to be Grateful, at least once a week. Keep on truckin', Crazy Fingers.

Paper Chaser Committee, or PCC, began in 2003 as a clique only. It has since grown to a five-man crew, consisting of some recognizable names in the underground hip-hop scene in West Palm Beach. There's Cookem Up — the CEO — then a mix of rappers including Vandam Bodyslam, Mic Check, A.I., Breezy, and Moneyman. They came together in 2008 to take danceable beats and lay down hard-core lyrics over them, already putting out a few mixtapes and more than 30 YouTube videos. Their single "Club Scene" has been on heavy rotation on turntables around South Florida. This is a big leap since Mic Check first was simply making beats at home. PCC is still a group that feels like a family. Members stay true to one another even when their jams are blowing up stereos all over town. Hopefully, they'll remain tight even after stereos are blowing up with their sound all over the world.

Orbweaver describes a common group of spiders. Spiders spin webs, and in these webs, they catch their dinner. Orbweaver is an experimental psych-metal band created by its singer, Broward native and main songwriter Randy Piro. He's been weaving tales and catching ideas in them, creating music that is as heavy as it is deadly. Piro once played with Gigan and Hate Eternal, and then in late 2010, he wrote all of the music for Orbweaver himself. He then decided to weave together something akin to a supergroup, hand-picking musicians he discovered around South Florida. It all began with drummer Mike Pena, who performed with Nuclear Infantry; then came Sally Gates, formerly of Gigan and Success Will Write the Apocalypse Across the Sky; Brad Lovett, currently with Slashpine; and bassist Jason Ledgard. They've been playing Piro's music live and are planning to record an album this year. Orbweaver is a concept band, and that concept is trippy as shit. Most of Piro's songs revolve around fictional character the Zone Tripper, an occult magician. The lyrics are a fantasy excursion that bring the listener out of this world and into one crazy/cool place in Piro's head.

It's difficult to lump the musical group Astrea Corporation into just one category, as the group's talent and sound break the barriers of any one genre. In a world that's flooded with dubstep and iPod DJs, the trip-hop beats made by Michael Bachman and Sander Davidson, complemented by the sultry voice of frontwoman Carly Astrea, are refreshing. It's safe to say Astrea Corporation brings a sound to the local music scene that nobody is making. Seeing the group's live show is a different experience each time; it's often intimate and soulfully haunting. To describe it in words almost feels like not giving the group enough credit. Constantly growing and evolving its sound, the Astrea Corporation is certainly one local act to keep an eye on.

Can you imagine what the body of South Florida would look like without its soul, the flamboyant fabulous hometown boy Clarence Reid? It'd be sad, skinny, serious, and sour. A body no one'd wanna bang. Reid, better-known as Blowfly, is a pervy old performer who knows a thing or two about keeping feet tapping and hearts beating heavy. His filthy lyrics will get even the grumpiest old grouch to at least crack a smile. He's a crafty wordsmith of the raunchiest sort, easily turning "Should I Stay or Should I Go" into "Should I Fuck This Big Fat Ho." His repertoire as Blowfly is as foul as the scribbles on a boy's bathroom wall. As Clarence Reid, he was a TK Records' guy: the creator of the first rap song in 1965, "Rap Dirty," and the man who penned tunes for Sam and Dave, Gwen McCrae, KC & the Sunshine Band, and Betty Wright. Despite personal tragedies and professional pitfalls, Blowfly remains. He's the bright, burning, and brash soul of this whole South Florida area.

Scuzzy, fuzzy, psychedelic. You can use all of these words to describe the Band in Heaven's new four-track EP featuring A-side "Sleazy Dreams." The first 475 copies of this seven-inch were pressed in February by a garage, noise, psych, and punk underground label out of Chicago called HoZac Records. The band creates not so much celestial sounds but more like the cries of a fallen angel. The EP is dark and disorienting. It has an experimental heart with a dirty rock body. Play these songs when experiencing the freedom of riding your bike on a particularly sunny afternoon or while driving home late at night, getting ready to do very bad things. The Band in Heaven represents a larger movement of experimental psych sounds coming out of its hometown of West Palm Beach. Appearances at South by Southwest and Austin Psych Fest solidify it as an act on the brink of breaking, in the good way. Breaking outward and upward.

Just last year, the readers (that's you) chose the New as the best local band. The alt-pop outfit isn't done entirely, but a break from its label and a switched-up lineup leaves the New in the hands of lead singer and guitarist Lori Garrote, and in her hands alone. Her off-again, on-again bandmate is now officially no longer part of the pack. Currently, she's playing with breakout garage act Beach Day. Members Giz Forte and Jordan Calloway have also moved on. But no fear! Girl rock isn't dead. Garotte is working with the former manager of the Mavericks and Marilyn Manson, John Tovar. Garotte says of the fresh sound, "With the addition of keyboards and adding two more background vocals, it certainly started sounding more feminine and more harmonic." Who knows? Maybe the new the New will put the girl back in grrrl.

Best Of Broward-Palm Beach®

Best Of