Music News

The Secondhand Outfit

If you've ever checked out any local hip-hop nights from Palm Beach to Miami-Dade, chances are you've run into the Secondhand Outfit. MCs Dirty Work and Keenan Smith and producer/DJ Palmeto are staples of the live scene; Dirty Work, a.k.a. Jasper Delaini, also promotes and hosts the regular Rock Bottom Hip-hop nights at the Fort Lauderdale Saloon. So you've seen their music performed live, and you know it's lyrically dense and sonically dark, and you're wondering if it holds up on record.

The answer, for the most part, is yes. Clean Gloves is the sound of a couple of seriously insightful rappers peeling open their skulls and letting loose their demons over a minimalist soundtrack of bleak, razor-sharp tracks. Dirty Work shows instinctive cadence, almost rushing the beat but consistently arriving right on time, flexing more patience here than in his hectic live delivery. Through gritted teeth, he rants on the SoFla music scene and the wearying bullshit involved in a minimum-wage existence. Smith lays a little farther back in the cut but comes up front for the personal admission of "2/1," bringing to mind the bold confessionals of Minnesota's Atmosphere. Smudging digital into analog and vice versa, Palmeto is all scratchy fills and distilled ambience, showing heavy sequencing chops and compositional vision on the instrumental "The Cutting Room Floor." As is the case with a lot of DIY releases, the production rings a bit hollow and could use the studio heft that only major dollars can buy. The album also suffers a bit from its brevity; it feels more like a collection of viable outtakes than a cohesive statement. Still, Gloves bristles with creative energy and big ideas. Florida heads ought to sit up and take notice.

The Secondhand Outfit plays with Bleubird, Astronautilus, and PSM at 10 p.m. Friday, March 4, at Club M, 2037 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. The show is free. Call 954-920-6400.

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Jonathan Zwickel