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Miami Music Week: Borscht & Miami Music

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Music makes the world go ‘round and film captures the madness of that movement. This year, the Borscht Film Festival united some of Miami’s most talented filmmakers and musicians in the creation of entertainment for the masses.

Though the festival has been around for seven years or so, only in the last two did the boys and girls of Borscht begin to focus on music. “It happened organically,” according to Lucas Leyva, the Borscht Minister of Interior. It was during Borscht 6, as in year six, that the fusion of the two art forms began to solidify. That year’s festival included a short by Andrew Hevia on the life of Panic Bomber. Also, IDM legend Otto von Schirach did the sound design for “Xemoland,” which screened at Sundance, and featured Riviera Cinema for all you oldies.

Otto and 2 Live Crew’s Luther Campbell both appeared in films for this April’s fest, sort of acting as themselves. Otto was a man with a mission to feed in “Otto and the Electric Eel” and Uncle Luke played Luke, entirely transported into a trippy reimagining of his own life in “Life and Freaky Times of Uncle Luke.” Jorge Rubiera of Animal Tropical shot and edited a beautiful, ethereal short film “Birdwatchers” and Barry Jenkins was partially inspired by Millionyoung to create “Chlorophyl.” And that’s only part of the list of musically inspired Borscht creations.

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Miami Music Week: Five questions submitted from members of Jacuzzi Boys Fan Club International

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Adam Gersten, a home-schooled high school sophomore from Miami Beach, considers himself lucky. You see, he’s just been elected President of the Jacuzzi Boys Fan Club, International. Although music appreciation is only one of his hobbies (he also collects stamps), it seems like his new “gig” with the fan club is taking up most of his time.

Just last week, a reporter from The Gazette asked him to submit five questions to the badboy rocker band Jacuzzi Boys on behalf of the fan club members. With no time to send letters to each fan club member, Gersten did what any motivated and tuned-in teen in his position would do, he picked up the telephone and called every member and asked for a question. Gersten’s mother says of her living room at that time, “What with all the index cards and the phone calls, you would have thought he was planning a political coup!”

Gersten said that selecting the five questions from the thousands submitted by members of the JBFCI was a difficult task, but one that he enjoyed. He plans to submit more to the band later, for the club’s monthly newsletter, but in the meantime, he doesn’t want to let rock and roll distract him too much from his studies.

JBFC, Int’l Presents: 5 Questions for the Greatest Band

1. If your parents told you that you shouldn’t play rock and roll, what would you tell them to change their minds?

Gabriel: Kids, if your folks weren’t Stones fans or Deadheads & are trying to turn you off to what you get turned onto… climb out your windows & get your kicks.

Danny: I’d say: “Get off my back! You’ll be sorry when I’m rich and famous!!!!”

Diego: Mom… Dad… Let me live!!!

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Miami Music Week: a Pool Party gift for you

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We here at The Heat Lightning know how much ya’ll love free shit because we too basically love free shit as well, and no week celebrating South Florida’s music can be complete without a) mentioning Iceland’s Breakfast Radio’s favorite band of all time, Pool Party, b) extremely long sentences and c) free shit in the manner of an MP3.

Those not yet acquainted with the dynamo of pop/disco/electro/punk/country that is Pool Party will not truly get a full understanding with this here track since its nuanced keyboard applications take a backseat to Creep Guirdo’s pussy-wetting voice and it’s quite frankly in my opinion the very first thing that comes close to a love song in their long and varied career.

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Miami Music Week: Experimenting with Amanda Green and Oly at Sweat

Thursday night at Sweat Records, Miami’s enduring and emerging experimental music scenes joined forces to showcase the talents of five women. Sweat, Rat Bastard, and Roofless Records organized a screening of Sculptress of Sound: Delia Derbyshire, Matthew Sweet’s documentary on the female pioneer of electronic music. After the film, four of Miami’s finest ladies of experimental sound performed short sets, 15 minutes each.

I interviewed Amanda Green, Oly, Luma Junger, and Sharlyn Evertsz a day before the event. Green told me that she wanted her performance to sound like chamber music. With the help of an iPad, using her infinite talent and genius, she did just that. How is that possible, you might ask? You ever watch lightning and then think, how the hell does that happen? I mean, you know how it happens, but how does it happen? Just the the coming together of natural forces to create absolute magic. Watching Green, reluctant and yet totally pulling through, sitting on the floor with a simple setup using complex tools, the audience was mesmerized. A few of us couldn’t contain our admiration. For her second song, she used a Kaoss Pad and blew our minds (video after the jump).

Oly also put together wonderful soundscapes. With hypnotic sounds she created a soothing atmosphere that filled the space with tension. It was like driving slowly through the Great Plains right before a storm (video after the jump). Again, magical.

To be completely honest, I went in stressed and miserable, and left feeling completely refreshed and hopeful.

Watch two other videos after the jump.

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Miami Music Week: Holly Hunt interview with SFW gear porn pics

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All images by Venessa Monokian.

Holly Hunt is a rock band in that they play loud blues-derived, guitar-and-drums music. Acceptable responses to their metallic, though richly sonorous, aural onslaught include, but are not limited to: raising two fists clenched in triumph (looks like you’re riding a motorcycle with very high handlebars); banging your head (albeit sometimes very, very slowly); and packing and/or rolling another one.

Holly Hunt is more than a rock band in that – particularly in a live setting – their compositions take on the monstrous physicality of musique concrete. The visceral experience they promise is the product of innate technical chops, a strong dialogic exchange between players and an incredibly deep relationship to their gear.

That last part – a connection to one’s instrument accurately described as a ‘bond’ – seemed to be a particularly salient entry point into the densely undulating waves of power this duo produces. So, in honor of The Heat Lightning’s Miami Music Week, we shot Holly Hunt (a.k.a. Beatriz Monteavaro and Gavin Perry) some questions to get a little insight into the guts of their sound.

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The Heat Lightning's Miami music week: album 2

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Jimmy at Sweat Records.

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Miami Music Week: The evolution of Panic Bomber

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When Richard Haig first began performing around Miami as Panic Bomber, in late 2008 and early 2009, he came complete with a manifesto he spread across his various social networking pages. In it, he detailed his abortive past as a live musician in the city. “I have played in live bands in Miami where the band has gotten cut off early at a show because the DJ is scheduled to ‘play,’” he wrote in a heady outline of facts. Said outline also included a series of geometry proof-like arguments comparing DJs to art gallerists, also concluding that because of these similarities, DJs were not artists.

Alright, fine. So what was clear from this opening salvo, along with an accompanying early, six-song demo, were these three facts: 1) Richard Haig had a penchant for the cerebral. 2) As a former player of “real” instruments, he was also bringing a certain melodic and performance-centric sensibility to electronic music. 3) The end result was catchy as hell and totally danceable, even if it was supposed to be some kind of convoluted anti-DJ-centric “statement.”

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Miami Music Week: Mickey de Grand IV of Psychic Mirrors

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Miami native Mickey de Grand IV started playing music in 1995. Since then, he’s learned to play many, many instruments of sound. These include the tenor saxophone, the piano, the bass, the guitar, the drums, synthesizers, and the congas. Since October of last year, his band Psychic Mirrors has been bringing funk to Miami from Miami. Their band boasts an incredibly large number of members. Eleven right now. Eleven people on stage. But you know what, it’s hard to recreate his complex compositions live. They don’t play very often around town, so we thought we’d give you the old heads up.

We asked de Grand five really, totally deep and probing questions about his music and his band, but totally forgot to ask about the name Psychic Mirrors.

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Miami Music Week: R.I.P. Beings


That just kinda came and went, huh?

I’m talking about Beings. Their songs, their sets and their albums left me wanting more. I wanted more of Ivan’s catchy hooks, abrasive guitar playing, and weird little yelps and hoots. I wanted more of Betty’s explosive toms, her fast rolls, and red lipstick. I wanted more of Mike’s rock solid bass playing, his perfectly synched fills, and his relaxed dance moves. Of course, now that they’ve broken up, I just want more Beings.

They always surprised me, too – and, I’m not talking about the cool arrangements and weird time signatures (those caught me off guard) – they’d surprise me with the basic elements of basic rock they’d slyly sneak into their songs. On the surface it seemed so noisy and wild, but if you scratched a little of the feedback off and looked past the blast beats you’ll see it’s just rock and roll.

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Miami Music Week: The President is experiencing sobriety

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Jason Handelsman has been known by many names.

Azar. Ghost of Dirty. Justin Hamilton.

These days he goes by The President, and he does much to live up to that moniker. He has become a “card carrying” Freemason, he got sober, and he is vetoing negativity and intoxication with his uplifting “Masonic Rock.” Almost every word that comes out of his mouth is a positive incantation meant to attract money and success to his life. He quotes Napoleon Hill and the Bible often. “I have a nine word mantra,” he explains, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self control.”

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Miami Music Week: Take a flyer trip down memory lane with DJ Juan Tapia a.k.a. Plot

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Oly: How did you get started? Tell us some history.

Tapia: The first time was at a radio station called the WOMB 107.1 FM with Seven from Chocolate Industries. It was a pirate radio station on the Beach.

Then, from there, I met Marco from Beatcamp. (a drum and bass, jungle spot on the beach). We used to play upstairs, in the second room. I played IDM, hip-hop, then later on electro, minimal techno, and techno. It’s always been a mixture. I’ve always liked the second room thing because you have more freedom to do different stuff. I had never played for people and I was still nervous. I’m not really big on performing. I’m kind of (nervous laugh) not very social. My intention is mostly about the music, I take myself out of the equation. The music speaks for itself anyway.

meza back

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The Heat Lightning's Miami music week: album 1

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I spent the better part of two weeks this month writing about Miami’s blooming music scene for The Atlantic. Thinking about all of the great musicians we have down here inspired me to ask some of my favorite South Florida writers to help write about their favorite local bands.

To kick off five days of sound, I went through a bunch of old photos of shows I’ve been to in the last three or so years (the digital camera: what a fun invention) and posted here some of the better shots. I hope you enjoy them and I hope they gain a few new fans.

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