Lauren Reskin, the heart and soul behind the iconic Sweat Records, is supporting live and local music in all its many forms. She and her team have revamped their stage and performance space with new curtains and lighting, as well as an upgraded sound system. And they’re celebrating with a whole new concert series.
[email protected] Sessions start Sept. 19, kicking off a twice a month series of free live concerts running until the end of the year. Thirteen musical acts round out the series, a mix of genre-defying groups that showcase some of the best underground Miami talent.
The series starts with Raffa Jo and Noah Nite on Sept. 19. Raffa Jo Harris, formerly of Miami folk duo Raffa & Rainer, plays tender, achy, folk songs for the forlorn and brokenhearted, while Noah Nite sings poetic songs made to swoon, sway, and waste away. They will collectively capture your soul and mind while gently plucking away at your heart strings.
Oct. 3 is the one night where only one act is necessary. Pure Imagination Live XXI is the brainchild of Matt Gajewski and was created as a radio program on University of Miami’s 90.5 WVUM in 2004. If could be described as part Moth and part This American Life, mixed with a fantastical feel for added flavor. The whole spectacle is accompanied by improvisational music courtesy of the Mountain Dew Code Red Terror Alert Band. It’s a darkly comic narrative with uniquely improvised musical accompaniment.
Sweat is featuring Dracula and Dim Past on Oct. 24, two very different acts for an eclectic night. Dracula is a folk duo who harmonizes over pretty guitar lines while adding a melancholy goth flavor to the delicate beauty. On the other end of the spectrum is the amazingly off-the-wall Dim Past, utilizing all of the tools one would expect from EDM, house music, and techno, but keeping the whole thing fresh by mixing genres until it transforms into a beast all its own.
Krisp and Cog Nomen play on Nov. 14. Comprised of Jason Mavila, Juan Ledesma, Alex Lopez and Charlie Woods, Krisp plays a sort of disco influenced, indie rock, dreamy pop music. They’ve felt right at home playing alongside Nancy Wang from LCD Sound system, Holy Ghost!, and Blood Orange in the past.
Cog Nomen, on the other hand, has a more experimental sound, an electro-pop, psych-rock duo consisting of Ulysses Perez, who triggers bass lines and plays drums while singing through a vocoder, and Buffalo Brown, who plays looped, synthed guitar tracks while singing. They’ve been compared to Trans Am and the Flaming Lips. Cog Nomen actually has has a Kickstarter campaign going in order to fund their “Twin Stars” EP and the production of a new music video.
Nov. 21 brings the Axe and the Oak with Sumo to Sweat’s stage. Axe and the Oak serves up a unique mixture of Johnny Cash twang, Nick Cave’s croon, and Poison Ivy’s guitar. An amalgamation of surf rock, horror movie vibes, rock-a-billy cool, and goth aesthetic combine to bring to life a moody soundtrack reminiscent of the post punk bands of the ’80s.
Sumo is a band whose members run the gamut of genres in Miami’s music scene. They’re a perfect foil to Axe and the Oak’s dark musings — a bright and intensely bombastic, instrumental rock band sharing members from previous Miami bands: Vidavox, Target Nevada, Milkshed and Datamouth, to name a few. A bit of geography played into them ending up on the line up. Lolo admits, “They practice next door, we heard them a few times and we really loved them!”
Sweat’s line-up for December 12 is Wastelands and Bleeth. Wastelands consist of Ale Campos on bass and vocals, Alex Nunez on guitar and vocals and Eric Hernandez on drums. This psychedelic, stoner punk, freak out, power trio from the swamps of Miami are equal parts Jimi Hendrix, Dinosaur Jr., and the Melvins.
Like fried chicken and champagne, Wastelands and Bleeth together are the stuff of deliciously loud legend. Featuring Ryan Rivas on bass, Lauren Palma on guitar, and Juan Londano on drums, Bleeth’s power comes from their visceral take on sludgy psychedelic stoner riffs. They only formed in late 2014, but they’ve already recorded an EP and launched a 10-day tour up the East Coast in support.
Ending this year’s series on Dec. 19 is The State Of and Quarter Horses. Reminiscent of Metric with a dash of The Kills and a sprinkle of very early Radiohead, The State Of is an indie pop duo blending Steph Taylor’s rhythmic, often staccato piano and synth with the garage band sounds of Nabedi Osorio on drums.
Quarter Horses, on the other hand, describe themselves as “gospel noir.” They’re otherworldly, practically a mystical sound that goes to unexpected places. The guitars sounds like anything but a simple guitars, with minimalistic drumming and a droning, repetitive sound almost reminiscent of The Velvet Underground.
With all of the [email protected] Sessions, the Sweat crew is highlighting the lesser known, underrated musical talents lurking under the surface. Some of it’s experimental, some of it’s accessible, but all of it is local, a surprising slice of Miami’s underground music scene that’s being given a chance to perform. Shows start at 7 p.m. Entrance is free and open to all ages.
Note: The New Tropic is a community partner on this event series. We occasionally partner with community organizations to help spread the word about free events around Miami. If you’re interested in a community partnership, please contact us.