Friday, April 29, 2011

Cool in Tampa: Gettin' Ready

So, it looks like in a couple of months I'll be moving from Tokyo to Tampa, Florida - I've landed a pretty sweet gig at the University of South Florida.  But of course, man cannot live on work alone, so I'm also trying to find out what's going on there artistically/socially.  If there's one thing I learned from living in Iowa, it's that there are creative types everywhere - you just have to find them.  I started searching knowing only that there's some sort of noise festival in south florida every year . . . and it took me about two hours to discover that there's a LOT of weird art happening in central Florida.

Last year's Tampa stop of the post-noise conference tour featured several bands from Tampa. Here's T-Func, Slave Scene (promising), Neon Blud (seem serious, touring), Tyger Beat (opened for Matt and Kim), Haves and Thirds (likes beats!), Father Finger (actual songwriting! Worth another view), Skeleton Warrior (blog's not updated . . . defunct?), Boulders (I think this is their blog? or at least their label?)

This year's edition, in Miami (Which just happened in February), also featured a ton of FL bands, including No Milk (Really great, and her blog is a gold mine of Tampa information) and Alien Overmind (electronic noise!).  Good writeup of top picks at Miami New Times.

Most exciting, Lazy Magnet is from Tampa, though may now live in Nashville (?).  This guy used to come through Iowa, though I can't say I remember seeing him.  Sadly, his Myspace (which has a friggin' great track on it) says the project is dead, but noise acts are like superhero sidekicks. He seems to really share my aesthetic - low, slow beats, heavy synths, and distortion.  Russian Tsarlag is also from Tampa, but doesn't live there anymore, and was never quite my cup of tea.

Not surprisingly, a lot of these bands don't have much web presence. I can't find anything else about Body Rot, Craow, Outmode, or Brides of Borg.


There seem to be at least a couple decent venues.  Events have been held at Cafe Hey, so I have a feeling I'll be spending some time there, though Google shows it's in a pretty bleak part of town.  The Czar Bar displays good taste in booking and Soviet design (twitter: @czarnation).  Iowa City's Supersonic Piss is apparently playing someplace called Heinrich's Workshop in a week or two . . . the only people listed.  I'm guessing it's a warehouse/house, always promising.  Seems there's a second house called the Branch Ranch Pervert Pit.  Proper.


Others:

Florida Experimental blog Terminal Beach Party

Ordinary Hungry - Warded Halls label and show listings

Cephia's Treat - Haves and Nots Label

Something called Auf Bees.  I have no idea what it is, but it's cool.

Civic Media Center, an infoshop in Gainesville, about two hours south of Tampa.  Apparently one of the U.S.'s largest collections of 'zines.

St. Petersburg Institute of Noise - St. Pete label

The Black Box Theater at New College in Sarasota, FL (one hour south of Tampa).

Also in Sarasota and NCF affiliated, the Four Winds Cafe

Action Research, concert series in Gainesville, many hosted at The Lab

There does seem to have been something called Tampa Noise Fest at some point, but I'm not sure whether this is just another name for the after-shows of the International Noise Conference in Miami.

WMNF Community Radio Tampa - Puts on some fringe shows.

Last.fm group Experimental Southeast

Bicycle Scavenger Hunt sponsored by a vintage scooter club? I'm there.

Re/Creating Tampa: A fellow former UT Administrative Assistant blogging about Tampa.


Naturally, I'm also finding a lot of good stuff in Miami.  It's four hours from Tampa, but unlike my days in Iowa, I'm actually going to have time to make that trip.  So:

Churchill's Pub

Sweat Records store

Roofless Records (label?)

Squelchers (Miami Beach)

Bruise Cruise! Rock n' Roll Cruise taking off from Miami.

So, all told, it may not be Tokyo, but it's a great step up from Iowa - a close-knit network of towns within driving distance.  Anything else great in Tampa and/or Florida that I'm missing?  Of course, I'm not just into the noise/freak scene -  I'll also be digging into the rap scene, and FOOTBAAAALL (I'm gonna meet Josh Freeman, I swear).

2 comments:

Jonathan Dresner said...

You also have to take a look at Re/Creating Tampa, by Dave Davisson. I love his historical/political discussions, but he also does a great deal of local food/drink/politics blogging.

David Z. Morris said...

Thanks, looks great.