Music Reviews

Relaxing the Undertow

Various Artists

Put It On a Cracker

Already we’re experiencing a backlash to the “Florida Sound,” imagined by many to be an amalgamation of Seven Mary Three, Matchbox 20, and Creed. Fortunately, like many other states, Florida actually contains varied musical acts, many of them of strange and wondrous sonorous qualities! Those who think that the Sunshine State can produce only oranges, vacations, and slightly heavy emotional pop should check out Relaxing the Undertow, a truly comprehensive snapshot of Florida’s musical produce, harvested by Bill Bryson, someone who truly knows what’s up. Bryson runs Gainesville’s Covered Dish, probably one of the few consistent destinations for local, regional, and touring bands on the peninsula for the last six or so years. Highlights on the disc include For Squirrels’ emotional “Van Gogh,” bloom.’s careening “Motorola,” several different breeds of eclecticism in Meringue and Home (both excellent and individually unique), the Sam Rivers Trio’s superb jazz minimalism, and Grit Kisser’s “King Spoon,” which makes me yearn for the days when Jon Spencer was more of a creative force.

Not all the tracks here are from Florida bands (Lovely Lads, Jennyanykind, and What It Is are the exceptions), but the feel on this disc is cohesive and truly representative, not of the “Florida Sound,” but of Bryson’s ear for quality music. Highly recommended. Put It On A Cracker Records, P.O. Box 2944, Gainesville, FL 32602;

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