When it comes to music from South Florida, all of the big names are either Gloria Estefan or rappers. Who's got time for rock 'n' roll when you've got a region full of people constantly blasting the trap-rap bangers of Rick Ross, dancing in the street to the Latin-tinged hip-hop of Pitbull, or jiggling their mammoth badonks to the booty bass of 2 Live Crew?
The answer to that question is Jacuzzi Boys, Miami's leading garage-pop trio. They've got nothing but time for rockin', rollin', and related activities. The Boys started generating momentum with an early flurry of seven-inch singles. But really, it was No Seasons, their debut full-length on Orlando garage-slash-punk label Florida's Dying, that catapulted them out of the swamp and into broader American consciousness.
These days, the Boys have a new label — Seattle's Hardly Art — and a new LP — Glazin' — and something tells us their consciousness expansion program is set to explode. But don't let all this psychic hippie talk confuse you. The Jacuzzi Boys won't really "melt your face off" or "blow your mind." Instead, their particular take on the garage template involves slightly surfy riffage, a danceable tempo, and a slickly retro (though not gratuitously reverbed) tone.
Speaking about the new album, vocalist Gabriel Alcala describes the music as the ideal soundtrack for "a car packed with friends on the way to a party." Relatedly, drummer Diego Monasterios calls the record "a rock 'n' roll piñata," an image that seems to be a particularly striking metaphor for the Jacuzzi sound — which, like a piñata, is colorful and playful on the surface and aggressively confirms its whimsy by vomiting candy everywhere.
While maintaining the good-times get-down appeal of their first album, Glazin', Gabriel explains, also represents a departure for the Boys. "It's still us," he says, "still our version of rock 'n' roll. [But] it feels tighter, more electric, as opposed to No Seasons, which had a looser, live feel." And to nail down the record's vibe with utmost precision, the Boys bunkered down at the Key Club Recording Co. in Michigan. "We slept in bunk beds, watched great-slash-awful VHS movies, played with dogs, played poker, ate amazing pad Thai, and drank a lot of wine and whiskey."
Living like kings presumably inspired a king's worth of rock music. As for the finished product? Gabriel once again describes it as "electric." And the Boys will no doubt be dropping a shit-ton of that electricity at Churchill's Pub this Saturday when we all finally get a real, live taste of Glazin'.