With a full-tilt, fast-and-loud string band spirit equally suited to the jam band circuit of the great outdoors as to the dank confines of crowded punk clubs, this four-piece outfit has brought the old-timey noise on a regular basis to virtually every venue in South Florida. Lick-rich guitar work, sparkling banjo, blazing fiddle, and buoyant bass are on display as well as mandolin, harmonica, and more — this is a multi-intrumentalist zone. These sounds, along with rich, intricate harmonies and lyrical wit, all uplift the "uproot."

At the risk of re-igniting the fierce controversy that began some 50 years ago with the release of Bringing It All Back Home — the album on which Bob Dylan first "went electric" — this year's Best Folk Band is the similarly unapologetically electric Big Brass Bed. Having begun as a side project of Rod MacDonald (a New York expat who made his bones in NYC's "fast folk" scene of the 1980s), BBB's lineup is fluid but its chops are consistently soulful, tight, and dextrous. The band's set lists are primarily made up of Dylan covers, appropriately, but also include material by Leonard Cohen, Sam Cooke, and Nina Simone — in other words, music known, loved, and sung by us folk. Rock on.

Kodak Black is Pompano Beach's 18-year-old Project Baby, a street rapper who came up in the low-income Golden Acres Developments and shot to fame this past year after earning a cosign from Drake. (Though, he's not eager to credit the tastemaking hip-hop star with his success. "It didn't get me where I am today. My music did," he told us back in December.) A born hustler, Kodak has consistently earned critical acclaim for his mixtape projects, was recently featured in the New Yorker, and has been called "one of the biggest new artists in the game right now" by XXL magazine. Pretty impressive for a kid who first set up shop recording out of the back of a trap house and is currently making plans for his senior prom. Lately he's been making the talk radio rounds, confessing he'd like to ask out Kylie Jenner or rapper T.I.'s daughter Zonnique. With a new mixtape in the works for a June release and his first album dropping around Christmas, the future looks bright for South Florida's latest breakout rapper. But if he plans to make it to prom this year — not to mention all 19 stops on his U.S. tour with Lil Uzi Vert this summer — our Project Baby needs to stay out of trouble. The rising star, whose real name is Dieuson Octave, was recently arrested on weapons and marijuana charges.

Readers' choice: Bleubird

Stache Drinking Den
CandaceWest.com

Does Fort Lauderdale know how #blessed it is to count Mikey Ramirez among its ranks? A virtual encyclopedia of musical knowledge and a dedicated member of the local scene, he oversees all things vinyl at Radio-Active Records, where he also organizes killer Record Store Day parties year after year and books in-store meet-and-greets. He's also a talented DJ in his own right. On Friday nights he holds down a weekly residency at Gramps Bar in Miami's Wynwood Arts District, and lately he's also been spinning at Stache. Whether he's throwing down some old school Miami Bass, electro, and boogie tunes; a rare punk b-side; or some super-fresh left-field house grooves, you'll do well to make it out to one of Mikey's sets. "Lately, I have been playing a lot of edits — ESG, Jah Wobble, Fela Kuti, Vanity, Trevor Jackson, Padded Cell, Lightning Rod, Yardbirds, EPMD... " he says, adding that he aims to "keep it across the board but have substance." Like taking a journey through the musical cosmos, if you make it out the other end, you'll be all the wiser, sweatier, and freakier having sampled some of his favorite sounds.

Readers' choice: DJ Misha

Consisting of Kimmy Drake (vocals, guitar) and Skyler Black (drums), Beach Day formed in 2011 after the pair discovered a shared love of some of the most American of musical styles — namely, Detroit garage, '60s girl groups, and surf rock. They clicked instantaneously, and by the end of their initial rehearsal, they not only had a handful of tracks but their band name, a moniker taken from their first completed composition. In person, the duo (often extended into a trio with a touring bassist) channel the brilliant, raucous vibes of their heroes with songs that are crisp and tight, songs that sound like they were written by a band that's been together for the last 40 years instead of the last four. In that time, Beach Day have remained productive, signing with Kanine Records and releasing two records in two years — Trip Track Attack (2013) and Native Echoes (2014) — and touring for the better part of the last three.

Culture Room
Photo by Monica McGivern

On a chilly Friday night in January, desperate procrastinators were hanging outside a strip mall begging anyone and everyone if they had an extra ticket. No one did, because the Southern California shoegazers Silversun Pickups were in town for the first time in six years. After local openers Sweet Bronco warmed up the crowd at Culture Room, the LA quartet ripped through 16 of their alternately rocking and brooding songs that had the packed room jumping up and down to lyrics about lazy eyes, panic switches, and well-thought-out twinkles. They played requests for songs they hadn't played in years, like "Kissing Families." They flirted and joked with fans in the crowd. And, in the best of show business tradition, they left the audience hungry for more.

Weakened by a rare form of cancer, the West Palm Beach guitarist of Surfer Blood did not just sit around and mope when he had to quit touring with his band to receive treatment. Instead, he locked himself in his bedroom and made beautiful music. This past December, Thomas Fekete released Burner — 11 songs recorded on his home 4-track. The standout was the early release from the album, "Treason." It's 90 seconds of fuzzed-out, blissful garage rock filled with distortion and surf guitar. Depending on your mood, you can see it as a moment of triumph of art over human frailty or a haunting, ominous hymn of betrayal. Either way, it will earn a permanent spot on your playlist.

Rick Ross' eighth studio album features guest appearances by everyone from John Legend, Nas, and Mariah Carey to Mary J. Blige, Chris Brown, and Future, showing off the former corrections officer and current Broward resident's keen knack for collaboration. But it's the locally bred rap star's usual threatening braggadocio and trademarked "humphs" that achieve new heights on Black Market. Released in December 2015, a mere 376 days after his previous LP, Hood Billionaire, the new album received praise across the board. Even though he's faced some challenges over the last few years, (including involvement in a shootout on Las Olas Boulevard in 2013 and aggravated assault and kidnapping charges in 2015 after allegedly pistol-whipping one of his employees at his Georgia mansion), Ross remains one of our proudest exports in recent music history. Playing up his close working relationship with fellow local hustler and social media maven DJ Khaled, as well as grooming a massive Snapchat following of his own, Ricky Rozay (aka Ferrari Fatboy) makes it clear he's still a boss — and Black Market is testament to that truth.

While Palm Beach and the United Kingdom aren't known to have any trade agreements, the album Golden Ticket might be as good a reason as any to set up a British embassy somewhere around West Palm. The record is a union between local rapper Eric Biddines and English producer Paul White. Together as Golden Rules, they embody the spirit of classic hip-hop. They aren't afraid to get silly like they do on "Holy Macaroni" with the refrain, "Holy moly macaroni with the cheese," nor are they scared to get sultry as they do on "Play Some Luther" where Biddines coos, "Take your skirt off/Play some Luther Vandross." Biddines' old-school flow merges perfectly with White's ear for beats, which he previously honed with acts like Danny Brown and Charli XCX.

Palm Beach band Raggy Monster is part dream, part nightmare. Mixing beauty, horror, and fantasy both in their music and onstage has been their calling card. Their album is called As the Thorn Lures the Widow's Lip, It Seeks No Wisdom From the Wicker Flies, and the little green monster on its cover was inspired by guitarist Billy Schmidt's childhood imaginary friend. His wife Rachel, the lead singer, takes the main stage of the band's music video for "Crying Shame," which is simple and dramatic at the same time. After opening with images of fireworks and an ominous piano melody, the rest of the band slowly joins in until Rachel steps up to her place front and center. The video switches back from and forth from shots of the band playing and Rachel singing from a car driving by. Well known for her dramatic facial expressions and powerful onstage presence, Rachel delivers a performance like a haunting dream. While the band is more exciting to watch live, this music video certainly does Raggy Monster justice.

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