The good-hearted souls from Fourth Dimension ([email protected]) -- Fort Lauderdale's competent if not convincing reggae act -- can often be found performing at Tarpon Bend downtown. On their recent disc Around the World, Steve, Carlos, Pierre, and Ilich praise Jah while rhyming "unity" with "community." Yet they boast decent dub production accents, gracing a brace of originals and a featherweight lob at Genesis' "Land of Confusion." Not sure about the name Fourth Dimension? That makes... oh, about 250,000 of us.
Leading with a similarly uninspired handle is Dimentions Music, with four members residing on the West Coast and one tin soldier who "stays up in Palm Beach County." An untitled promotional disc recorded between 2000 and 2001 throws together boinkin' beats, flute loops, and sailing-down-a-stream vocal flow. The remainder of the rap/soul romp gets into tricky cadences, abstract wordplay, and dark futuristic jazz, all tightly and poetically constructed. ([email protected])
Dimentions Music's efforts are easily more engaging than DJ Hardware's Let the Drums Speak, an extended set of bangin' breaks (from Boca!) that form a mind-erasing and ominous cloudbank, thundering, rumbling, shifting, and shuffling over the course of two long and largely indistinguishable discs. (Prisoners of Dance/Artemis Records)
Found it hard to resist the relaxing and rural Nude, the new album from West Palm Beach one-man project Sleeping Dogs Lie. Melding the tranquil moods of Luna, Galaxie 500, and even His Name Is Alive, SDL's acoustic purity (particularly the soft "The Green Blanket"), though as downbeat and drawn-out as an interminable afternoon alone, is worth curling up next to. Checking out the band live is now on Bandwidth's list of New Year's resolutions. (DecadentArtworks.com/Shitvision/Evol Egg Nart; www.sleepingdogslie.net)
On the same DecadentArtworks/Shitvision imprint is Detach, the aptly titled album from Miami's Acetythane. Severely harsh, autonomously experimental electronic textures abound, along with a dose of spoken-word narration that's far more off-putting than the abrasive music. In fairness, Detach isn't all abrasive -- the moody hum of "Lazarus" creeps along at an almost subliminal level, "Telephone Booth" booms and echoes like an abandoned factory, and "Zamba" even adds a delicately plucked acoustic guitar. (Available at Uncle Sam's in Lauderhill; www.acetythane.com)
The Creepy T's Farfisa-powered hot-rod leaves the other '60s-garage fuzzboxy freak shows on the shadowy shoulder of Shunt Boulevard. This Hallandale Beach-based gang of ghouls, like Grandpa Munster's pet Transylvanian bat, are probably haunting a castle somewhere near you right now with evil atrocities like "Mummy's Curse" and "Shrunken Head," included on a six-song CD available on Evil House of Wax Records. (www.geocities.com/creepyts)
Originating from a comparable locale is Psycho Daisies' It's No Fun to Be Paranoid, but instead of keyboards, each song is bayoneted by leader Johnny Salton's ludicrous guitar work. The rudimentary anthems depend upon unpretentious riffs and a sense of sloppy self-amusement, but "123rd Street Stomp" blows off the froth from a dark Doorsy brew. And the title track twangs like a drunken Deliverance step-cousin, twice removed.
Rev it up and ride with the new self-titled EP from the Heatseekers, a lean, mean, blink-and-you-miss-it little chunk of punk. The trio's five songs, three chords, and disappearing cloud of dust is both blisteringly quick and hella fun -- which can be readily tapped into as the band opens for Hot Hot Heat ("New Heat Wave," page 52) this Friday night. (www.heatseekers.org)
Fun is unfortunately in short supply on FoF or Friends of Funkadero, a collaborative jazz effort overseen by local producer Nick Funk that assembles typical standards and some original stuff. Drummer Duffy Jackson's scat vocals on "Funkadero Blues" amount to the only rise in temperature above the tepid level. Despite the presence of firebrand saxman Turk Mauro, who should be exuding a caustic vitality, Friends of Funkadero is staid, pleasantly middle-aged, and exceedingly ordinary. ([email protected])
Right off the bat, Cole, the newest release from Miami's Emily Easterly, bids a warm welcome with its romantic production, shimmery songs, and, presumably, the contributions of engineer Alan Weatherhead, who's worked with Sparklehorse and Helium's Mary Timony. Easterly's gallant throatiness recalls Kristen Hersh, with just the right balance of ache and atmosphere. The sequencing of these eight brisk songs hits a near-perfect stride with the sparkling "All" and the pretty pedal-steel mournfulness of the following "Bad Luck." (www.emilyeasterly.com)