Stonefox vocalist Jordan Asher Cruz and bassist Ross Fuentes headed to New York in February, and with them, the blues-infused racket that was their trademark left town too. A whole lot of sweat-soaked and beer-coated warehouse floors went dry, and even more lusty South Florida hearts became famished. In late May, Cruz, guitarist Dave Barnard, and drummer Jeff Rose officially announced they had re-formed sans Fuentes — albeit as Blond Fuzz for legal reasons. With a cover of the Velvet Underground classic "White Light/White Heat" as the new outfit's first official output, none of the intensity was lost. While hacks like Jet keep crashing this Led Zep-inspired garage-rock style into the ocean, Blond Fuzz always gets the balance between retro and modern just right. It could have been a lifetime before another sound so cool and calculated echoed and buzzed from the belly of South Florida.

"Van Go" by Stonefox:

Art and Culture Center of Hollywood
When is barely controlled chaos a good thing? When it's in the service of a happening as inspired and inventive as "Abracadabra." The good folks at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood put the "fun" in fundraising with this event. It all starts with the largess of a hundred or so local artists who donate works that are then put on display for roughly a month. Follow that with a big party, complete with an open bar, catered edibles, and, as emcee, a magician who works the crowd. Then there's the raffle itself. That's when the fun really kicks in, as names are called and people scramble to claim the artwork of their choice. That's right — every ticket holder walks away with a piece of original art from the exhibition. Granted, the tickets are $375 a pop, but show us another raffle where literally everyone is a winner.
Mosaic Theatre
Adolescents aren't what they show you in the movies. They aren't trendy girls full of self-confidence or dour baby-faced sages, scuffing their feet and dispensing unspoilt Rousseauist wisdom. Actually, they are painfully dishonest, profoundly uncomfortable little weasels completely preoccupied with proving to the rest of us that they're more worldly than they are. Wiener's performance captured this completely. Playing a 16-year-old girl who was in the process of being seduced by a much older man who, as it happened, had been molested by her father as a child, she play-acted at being coy — and the deeper she went over her head, the more her very innocence seemed pornographic. By the end of her one long scene, watching her share the stage with her seducer was almost too much to bear.
Vices could easily have suffered from too-many-cooks syndrome. It was written by four songwriters, who, judging by the sound of things, had never so much as been in a room with one another. Their contributions, which ranged from cabaret-style joke songs to torchy laments to creepy balladeering, were hammered together into a seamless (but weird) whole by director Jon Rose, who linked the songs with strange washes of electronic noise that, taken in isolation, were the most modern and least classifiable bits of music to appear on any South Florida stage last year.
After you hear a true punk frontwoman with this much intensity, it's impossible to go back to Paramore-quality frontwoman punk. Flees' lead singer/screecher Elyse Perez has all of the weapons of a Chrissie Hynde, a Kathleen Hanna, and even an Iggy Pop packed into her holster of a larynx. From the versatility of this South Floridian's pipes, she could probably sing opera, but she apparently preferred to get a bunch of tattoos and smoke more cigarettes. When someone so fierce tells you "Drink Me," it's not optional — it's something you should have done for her already. Aside from giving off a 'tude you won't trifle with or try to replicate, Perez can do it while looking quite scrumptious, dare we say. Perhaps we dare not, for fear of getting our timid asses handed to us.
MillionYoung's (AKA Mike Diaz) practically put the chill in chillwave with his billowy, midtempo electronica infused with distant vocals. This musical laptop wünderkind from Coral Springs has garnered many favorable reviews, and there's little doubt why after hearing his dreamy, tropical reworking of Mary Tyler Moore's theme "Love Is All Around." And considering Diaz's bookings this year — opening for British upstarts Two Door Cinema Club here in the States and traveling to points near and far in Europe during the summer — it looks like South Florida will have to share its soundtrack master with the rest of the world.
Mark K. Wheeler Gallery
In some parallel universe, Jon Hunt and Jim Radford might be brothers — so alike and yet so different. In the real world, however, the family they share is the Art Institute, where Hunt currently teaches and where Radford taught not so long ago. Both traffic in a sort of cracked realism, although each puts such a different spin on it that the requisite comparisons and contrasts are often exhilarating. Hunt is a trippy postmodernist with a strong surrealist streak. Radford opts for neo-classicism. Together they make for a strange but satisfying symbiosis that this little exhibition cheerfully exploited.
Mosaic Theatre
There's an anger shared among old Communists — over their own blindness, over the hideous betrayals of Stalin or Mao or Pol Pot — that Gordon McConnell, as an aging and embittered English Marxist, captured perfectly. McConnell's rage seemed queerly particular: More in the way he glanced around the room than in anything he said. He seemed most of all angered that history has reached a moment when nothing much needs overthrowing. His was the anger of a brilliant and vibrant old man, itching for revolution just for the hell of it, and doomed to misery because it will never happen.
Caldwell Theatre Company
What we like about musicals is the music. What we don't like so much is all the silliness that so often accompanies it. The too-big emotions. The absence of character development or subtlety. The bombast. Well, Vices had none of that shit. It was all brilliant, catchy music with lyrics that were in turn moving, mysterious, creepy, and funny, tied together with thrilling modern dance, courtesy of A.C. Ciulla. Great stuff. Let's see more like it.
The vocal chops Delray Beach's Mike Mineo showcases on his debut album of eclectic pop, Eccentricity, almost make "blue-eyed soul" sound like an insult. First of all, Mineo's eyes are far too chestnut brown for that kind of comparison to pan out. Much like R&B revisionist Jamie Lidell, nothing Mineo does with his voice is completely rooted in the Stax sound, the Motown sound, or the Simon Cowell sound. You can tell that this self-identified goofball has heard and internalized enough of all three styles to be able to inflect flawlessly and tell a unique story through his cracked point of view. It's refreshing to hear someone with a gift for phrasing and wordplay who doesn't have to take himself too seriously either. Admittedly, he approaches Stevie Wonder's timbre on "Believe" — close enough to set off goose bumps. Once you start playing Mineo's music, it's hard to stop hoping to find that same sensation.

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