Overture of The Vanguard: Aggarwal & Som evoke a response from The Approachable

Rollins Cornell Fine Arts Museum is surrounded by Western masterpieces on loan. Taking a seat against these masturbating religious pose is The New Narrative, starved for a response. In their first collaboration — Vidhu Aggarwal’s* brilliant crafting of Hump (noun/adjective) from her futurist poetry book  The Trouble with Humpadori and Bishakh Som’s** mastermind comix — the two attack the approachability of American art.

Enthralled, anxious and oozing from the veracity, the audience witnesses parasitical machines, non-binary humanoids that fuse with spoken word noise collages, and obscene popism. It’s a mutant of the hybrid text and image. This mixture of comix and poetry is not a new concept. The challenge presented to the narrative by Aggarwal and Som is.

Robbing mythology at birth, this ferocious performance inject the shameless multi-dimensionality of their work into the audience. Aggarwal & Som’s perverse undertones comment on Bollywood symbolism, post-colonial allegories and our personal entanglement with space and time. Their charismatic persistence against the canonical separates the tradition between performer and observer/professor and student. Abstract film is played over a projector; the audience memorized. Aggarwal echoes her voice in real time, again disputing the separation from signifier to signified. Theatrical, the playback gestures from Aggarwal and Som provoke  the audience to hinge onto their every word. A monotone choir recites behind Aggarwal’s slivering liquid tongue:

“Little universes, at the smallest possibly surface area and skin, damaged void trickle in.”

Aggarwal and Som’s text buddle visions allow for the body to divorce time and salivate from the glory of this neo-canonical performance.  Never today, always next, the mantra set by the gorgeous grotesque. Her exemplary blends of images and text triggers eye dilating refinement that shifted the collective audience hive mind; This it was group learning.

I too, have learned  Hump.

*Vidhu Aggarwal is the founding editor of SPECS, a hybrid poet, and the author of The Trouble with Humpadori.

**Bishakh Som is Général of The Quantum Now. She’s a talented  illustrator who’s been  featured in Hi-Horse, Boston Review, Graphic Canon, and SPECS. She disrupts the traditional narrative of gender, sexuality, memory and urbanism.

Overture of The Vanguard: Vidhu Aggarwal & Bishakh Som evoke a response from The Approachable by Andres Andrade

The Ashtray Sweat Weather

The Ashtray – ‘Sweat Weather’ (ep review)

The Ashtray is an Orlando garage rock trio whose debut EP Sweat Weather was released just a few weeks ago on April 26. The band features TVW contributor Andres Andrade on fuzzed-out guitar, acting as a thick base for Brendan (vocals/guitar) and Paul (drums) to go absolutely insane and leap off of. Brendan’s vocals on songs like “Late Last Week” and “P I N K” sound like the walls of his throat are caving in. He holds nothing back.

Although a short four songs, Sweat Weather covers a lot of distorted ground, jumping in-and-out of punk, garage rock, noise, Pixies-esque grunge, and sad boy emo–there’s even elements of drone in the walls of guitar I previously mentioned. EPs often get overlooked as the precursor to a full-length album, but I’ve always seen them as band’s compacted mission statement. Four or five really good songs is so much better than an album bogged down with filler. And at less than 10 minutes, Sweat Weather is a great snack of a listen that feels like a journey through noise both past and present. 

Crit Overthought album review

“I Am Happier Than I Have Ever Been” | Crit – ‘Overthought’ (album review)

…but it’s Overthought, not over thought, an homage to Nevermind. Overthought, a feeling mutual to us all.

Headphones in. Fuzz on. Distortion tone set to HI, color set to OD.

90s California is the band’s influence; Pavement, The Flesh Eaters, The Bay Area. They’re holding apathetic self-aware parking-lot sprawl rock to a high standard, and Crit’s Overthought is an apex example of how music is no longer bound by location, but based purely off influence. “Fucking Up///Fuck Me Up” hits us with the pleading vocals that hold throughout the whole album. It’s asking for accountability and he’s “fucking exhausted.” Punk rock with its own fangs that are not store-bought, but handmade. The mixture of Wowee Zowee and American post-punk Replacements brings a sense of nostalgia you didn’t even realize you experienced, let alone missed.

“I know it’s just wrong / to shrug it off.” (A brief comment in Orlando Weekly’s 2015 Undie isn’t something to shrug about, either.) “Lose It All” rattles ice picks of misguided anxiety in just under three minutes and this trend of impaling riffs and vocal presentations never halters. “On Me” shows off the immutable mixing and mastering of this record. Vocal cracks bring real power to this track drilling in “It’s all fun.” “Asking Myself” is another anthem. Crit knows that self-degradation makes for killer tracks when done genuinely. “What am I doing? / Feeling hopeless all the time.” We’ve heard it time and time again, but when Crit presents it, we listen. It’s pop and there’s nothing bad about it.

“Waiting Too Long seems to call in The Ramones, if they where pissed that they got called sissy’s and are throwing knives into the ashcan eardrums of the audience. The tone presented matches the title track; anxiety becomes nervous energy and explodes into the closing track. Apathy reached its logical conclusion, acceptance but with remorse.

Crit exemplifies revivalism in indie rock before it broke the mainstream and was separated from alternative. They are the local band to watch. 2016 should be marauded of emotion for their sophomore album.

Crit Overthought Album Review by Andres Andrade.

False Punk - 'S/T' (review)

“You Can’t Fake False” | False Punk – ‘S/T’ (cassette review)

In the 80s, hardcore punk flourished in Gainesville and Orlando, with bands like Roach Mote, The Damn Maniacs, Dissent, and Florida’s Unwanted Children achieving underground affluence. Thirty years later, a new hardcore punk band, False Punk, is carrying the baton of punk rock into the present day. Playing DIY venues like The Space, The Space Station and Lou’s Entertainment Hall, they serve this still thriving punk scene. Their sound: a handful of mud, an orangutan’s heart and a jar of spit collected from their ravenous shows. All blended up and served with a smile!

After all, these are false punks.

“Spitface,” an homage to 80s hardcore, and starts S/T off with enraging transitions, a calling card for False Punk. It’s no surprise that the band shared a summer tour with local Power Violence band GROSS — the vigorous “got smoke in my eye” anger flows in their blood too. This track is two minutes and too short. Tempo change is False Punk’s secret weapon, exemplified in “In Death Do We Part.” Local punks take note: sludge is your friend; they like the dirt just as much as you do.

“Full Wolf//Adjustment Bureau” combines GERMS’ glaring hardcore and Fang’s memorable riffs. This should be the single; it’s a defining sound of the band. The fuzz bass anarcho-punk intro in “NSNP” is enough to crush your bones and leave you begging for death’s hand. The song’s experimental guitar progressions and vocals are reminiscent of The Urinals, another Californian influence, pulling you in and out with cyclone chords and drowning symbols. It’s no wonder that False Punk display split flying energy whenever they play.

After a false end, the track returns at six minutes and fifty-three seconds with a nod to cassette culture. This “hidden track” plays out the same, experimental and self-destructive. However, it takes influence from Hardcore/Grunge band Unwound and shows the band progressing into a noisier and filthier group. If this is an example of what’s to come from False Punk, can someone ask death to turn my hourglass over? I need to see how this plays out.


Canadian band and Sub Pop signed band METZ missed out on getting False Punk to open at The Beacham. Sub-Pop should be jumping to sign this band.

Hurry up, losers.

False Punk – ‘S/T’ by Andres “Andy” Andrade

Boxing At The Zoo - 'BATZ' (ep review)

Boxing At The Zoo – ‘BATZ’ (ep review)

A few months after the release of Daydreamer by The Young Psychedelics, the band has been reduce to only two members. Count your lucky stars that Daniel Ramos isn’t one of them.

Alongside Chase Bauduin’s grand bass playing and fall-in-love-with- me vocals, Andrew Lesmes’s impactful drumming (already stoically seen in local psychedelic-revival band, The Detour), allows for Daniel’s return to the role of charismatic and energy-releasing lead guitarist for his band, Boxing At The Zoo. Fueled by captivating indie pop rock that mixes the emotional depth of early Modest Mouse, the catchy rhythm of Vampire Weekend debut, and the blissful vocals of The Head and the Heart, Boxing At The Zoo self-titled EP (BATZ) strikes a chord of harmony and progression for the Central Florida independent scene.

BATZ opens with “Wanderlust,” a playful tune that drags you in with its brilliant rhythm and friendly indie pop sound. Flowing into “Ms Molly,” Boxing At The Zoo demonstrates some playful riffs — their signature at this point. Remarkably, these two are the most straightforward tracks on the EP.

Leading into “Another Story (Feel So Low),” the dynamic sound of earlier tracks are simply and elegantly shifted into a bouche of elegant lyrics: “Another story/Just another chance to be proven wrong/Just another chance to move along.” Chase’s vocal duet with Daniel provides a milky mixture of sincerity and passion. “Gone,” a song drenched in lyrical depth and an attitude that strives for hopelessness, continues this trend with the lyrics, “No point in dragging distant memories/No, they won’t make me a better person.”

“Time Will Tell” drags you back into the quick and promising indie pop from “Wanderlust” and “Ms Molly.” BATZ closes with another passive-aggressive tune that is filled with as much elegance as any track on this EP: “If you simply tell me you miss me/ I can pretended to care.” Daniel gives us a wink with this solo near the end of this track and wraps us all completely up with: “Oh she loves me!/Yeah she loves me!/ And she knows it!”

Beautiful and drenched with a taste for irony, Boxing At The Zoo presents an enthrallment for independent rock in Central Florida. As Daniel continues to provoke us with realistically romantic lyrics, we can only wait around patiently, for more.

Boxing At The Zoo – ‘BATZ’ (ep review) by Andres “Andy” Andrade