The Dark Romantics – Some Midnight Kissin'

Honestly, when I started this blog I had no idea how many wonderful bands there were in my local area. That is my own fault I know, so I set out to find some of these bands in 2007. Well, one does not have to try very hard to find Lakeland’s own The Dark Romantics, and as this year moves along I suspect you’re gonna hear about these guys whether you are looking for them or not.The Dark Romantics are friends Eric Collins (guitar/vocals) and Dean Paul (guitar/vocals) along with their wives who happen to be sisters Amanda Jones (keyboards) and Carla Jones (bass). The band is rounded out by Fifi Salomon. Their debut cd, Some Midnight Kissin’ was recorded in the Hunnington Beach home studio of Starflyer 59 front man, Jason Martin.I got the cd a few weeks ago and tossed it into the cd player while the wife and I were cleaning house/washing bikes/washing dogs etc. etc…suffice to say I heard about half the cd, listened to none of it, but that did not stop me from making a judgement. When the cd player loaded the next cd I said “Looks like Lakeland got themselves a Franz Ferdinand clone” to my wife. Let the prosecution admit that comment as state’s evidence #4,035,326 that I am an overly judgemental prick most of the time. Now, to be sure, you are gonna mention Franz Ferdinand when you talk about these guys, but to label them a mere FF clone was plain ignorant. Luckily, my cd player is only a 3-disc changer with 1 broken tray so I got to listen to the cd a few more times.

Some Midnight Kissin’ is sultry rock noir made for, well, midnight kissing in the clubs. Slippery smooth synth-rock ala Franz Ferdinand, The Killer’s, Interpol, She Wants Revenge…you get the direction. The songs are catchy, full of hooks and perfect for Saturday night that you can not help but dance around to. As another reviewer wrote:

In The Dark Romantics’ world, it’s always Saturday night. You’re always dressed to kill. You’re always in the middle of the best first date in your life. It’s a pretty decent place to hang out, huh?

and there you go. I would be genuinely surprised not to see these guys experience great commercial success on the back of this release and it is quite deserved. Since my FF clone comment to the wife the cd has made it’s way into heavy rotation in our household, our cars and onto out “workout” play lists on the iPods. So, check out the samples and if you like them, buy the cd. If you happen to live in the Tampa Bay area you can get all of their show listings of their myspace site. I, for one, really look forward to seeing these guys.

The Dark Romantics – So Confused (and we like it)
The Dark Romantics – She’s a Fire
The Dark Romantics – Baby Boy, Baby Girl

The Dark Romantics Official Site, The Dark Romantics myspace site, Buy The Dark Romantics debut cd (released Feb. 13th)

btw: With all the sex, people of the night references, and what not I find myself wondering if the Rocky Horror-esque cd cover was an accident. “Touch Me, Touch Me, I wanna be dirty” indeed.

Here are some upcoming local area show dates:Feb 16 @ Tuesday Music Club (Lakeland) (oddly enough, I had my wedding reception here)
Feb 17 @ The Porch (Brandon)
Mar 1 @ Lilians (Lakeland)
Mar 2 @ Transitions (Tampa)

Remembering Roxx Gang:

One of the biggest surprises while looking up sleaze rock was the mention of Roxx Gang in the Wiki list of 80’s bands that fit the sleaze rock bill.

Roxx Gang was a local glam metal act that amassed a huge Tampa Bay area following in the late 80’s with the release of their cd “Things You’ve Never Done Before”. 98 Rock (local new rock station then and now) used to do this top 10 songs at 10pm Monday through Friday. Roxx Gang’s power ballad “Red Rose” sat on that countdown for 6 months if it was a day. Hell, it probably sat on there even longer than that. I had no idea they had garnered enough attention outside of the Tampa Bay radio market to even be remembered much less used as an example in a list these days.

Thanks to the continued airplay of Red Rose I purchased “Things You’ve Never Done Before” and it will always be remembered as the first local band’s album I ever bought. Don’t get me wrong now, it was a strong release. For the time, it was as good as any Poison, Warrant or whateverhairyouwannalist release out there. Like most hair albums of that time the disc hasn’t stood up to the test of time, but it is still good for a fun listen once a year or so. heh heh…I admit, I am bobbing my head to it as I type this.

The official word is the Roxx Gang is on “hiatus” rather than “broke up” since seemingly the only member of the band that was a constant isĀ singer Kevin Steele. These days Steele fronts the band Mojo Gurus and they are always playing this little bar down the street from my house. I think I might go check them out one night thanks to all of this.

So, I raise this glass to Roxx Gang…your hair may have fallen with your star but I still remember you (accidental Skid Row pun there).

Roxx Gang – Red Rose
Roxx Gang – No easy Way Out
Roxx Gang – Ball `n’ Gun

Roxx Gang Official Site, Mojo Gurus Official Site

Kevin Steele’s current band, Mojo Gurus, will be playing The Ringside Cafe on Friday, March 2. Showtime is listed as 9:30. Here is a brief description of Mojo Gurus’ sound:

The Mojo Gurus CD is a rough and rowdy traipse through some true Suthin’ music. Every track sounds like it was borne screaming from the Bible Belt. This band is soulful….Hotter than a double dipped crawfish, rawer than steak tartar.” – JAM Magazine

To Do: Summerbirds in the Cellar @ Czar Bar, Ybor City

What are you doing Friday night? If you are shrugging your shoulders then allow me to make your decision for you. Orlando natives by way of Athens, Summerbirds in the Cellar are playing Czar in Ybor.

As I said in December of 2006, I was gonna make a concentrated effort to see/discover more local music this year and use ninebullets as a medium to bring the deserving (and ready) one’s to you. Summerbirds in the Cellar are definitely ready. I stumbled upon Summerbirds while following myspace links from other local bands. The demo track “Wicked World” grabbed me immediately! As of this typing, Myspace shows that the track has been played 881 times. I would venture to guess that I am responsible for 50 of those plays. I was surprised to find a local band with such a refined and mature sound.

As with many other local acts I sent them an email explaining the web site(s) and my interest in covering them. Unlike most of the other bands, they actually followed through and got me a copy of their cd “With The Hands Of The Hunter it All Becomes Dead” and I spent the better part of my ski trip with it getting top bill on the iPod.

I have paced my living room for the past 20 minutes trying to come up with a way to describe Summerbird’s sound. Atmospheric and moody without coming off as detached. Dark and dramatic without coming off as pretentious? Jesus and Mary Chain meets Interpol with a splash of The Church. Does that make sense? Probably not so I’ll borrow from an Orlando Weekly review written by a professional:

Dark drones and thick, unidentifiable sonic swirls embrace abstract melodies and impressionistic lyrics, forcing the listener to focus on a complete picture that’s organic and wistful. Somber without being mopey and serious without being sterile, Summerbirds in the Cellar is psychedelic space-rock covered in dirt and rust.

As good as the material on With The Hands Of The Hunter it All Becomes Dead is, it pales in comparison to the demo tracks of the new material they have up for your sampling on myspace. The myspace tracks are from their upcoming album Druids, hopefully to be released in 2007.

Apparently their live shows can vary pretty greatly from their recorded music. To quote Curtis Brown, “Somebody once told us to worry first about making a good record and then figure out how to play it live later,” says Brown. “Why not make a record that sounds totally different than our live show? I think it makes it more interesting.”

Interesting is good. So, come out to Czar and show the Orlando kids that Tampa can appreciate local talent as well.

Summerbirds in the Cellar, Czar Bar, 9:00

Summerbirds in the Cellar – Beware of False Prophets
Summerbirds in the Cellar – Ghosttown
Summerbirds in the Cellar – Behold the Wolf

Summerbirds in the Cellar’s Official Site
, Summerbirds in the Cellar’s myspace site, Buy Summerbirds in the Cellar’s cd

a note from Autopsy IV: The Plight of Mildred

Dogs are simple…but they still have their hopes and dreams. Midred is my dog….and being a bulldog, she is more simple than most but she still has dreams. Mildred’s dream is to be on a Jones Soda label.

Help Mildred achieve her dream by voting for her.

09.30.06 Unripe 2.0


from Creative Loafing:
Avant-Garde in the Now is a different class of art collective, one that welcomes up-and-coming visual artists as well as filmmakers, actors, musicians and other talented individual interested in pushing the creative envelope, introducing new ideas to mainstream audiences and making lasting changes to popular culture. This Saturday night, the group hosts its second public art event: Unripe 2. This venture into experimental culture includes performances by acts like Xingu (orchestrated noise), Uh-Oh Spades (film projections combined with electronic, rhythmic noise samples), Ironing (menacing electronica), noWhere, and Distraub (heavy, distorted drum and bass). Christopher Kelly, Angus Shafer and Tony Krol present original art installations alongside a display of works by Jen Moreno and Corie Staub, and in the midst of all the experimental madness, Aubrey Bramble and other area independent filmmakers premiere a selection of short films.

Sat., Sept. 30, 7 p.m., Transitions Art Gallery @ Skatepark of Tampa, 4215 E. Columbus Drive, Tampa, free admission, 813-621-6793.