Music Menu

THURSDAY, JAN. 20
PARTY PEOPLE/DISCOVER AMERICA/MI CAPITAN/THE SAME/ELLASON GRACE Central Florida's Party People got a cool retro thing going on - sexy and reverbed-out and forbidden, but not, you know, like Jet. Discover America is a riddle wrapped in an enigma hidden behind a website splash page that doesn't lead anywhere. Mi Capitan sound awesome in a brooding pop sort of way, and The Same get all cool, quirky and chaotic on ya. Call someone younger before you head out; I'm not sure but I think white belts are currently between being "in" and being "ironic." (Orpheum, Ybor City)

FOREVER CHANGED/RUMORS OF WAR/NORTH/SOPHOMORE EFFORT It's a night of Florida bands that sound like other Florida bands. Rumors of War is a local group who embrace the inevitable comparisons to fellow Florida emo acts Further Seems Forever and Hot Water Music. They love good harmonies as much as their fuzz pedals. North is another local emo act that compares itself to Dashboard and Further Seems Forever in their bio. And they sound like both. Forever Changed is a Tallahassee band whose sound bears more than a passing resemblance to Bradentonians The Chase Theory. And you know what? The same guy who produced Forever Changed's upcoming release also worked on albums by Dashboard and Further Seems Forever. AND they both have the word "forever" in their band names! Coincidence? The Sophomore Effort sounds like? oh, whatever. If you listen to Floridian emo music, you can probably figure it out for yourself. (Jan. 20, Rockerfellas, Bradenton) -Mark Sanders

FRIDAY, JAN. 21
AN ALBATROSS/THE CINEMA EYE/AQUI/YIP YIP/THE WINDSHIELD DEATH THREAT PROCEDURE Tired of songs that sound like songs? Here's another experimental noise freakout extravaganza for ya. These bands display more orchestration and creative personality than most of the noise brigade, and Aqui's creepy, atmospheric and totally unpredictable material deserves special mention - I don't usually dig much of this stuff, but the band's disc The First Tripout (on hip little label Ace Fu) is poetic and unsettling and gets under your skin. (Orpheum, Ybor City)

CHAMPIONS OF ROCK Smaller than last week's Emergenza onslaught, bigger than any single venue's series of elimination, Champions of Rock is a touring battle of the bands perfect for today's modern rock fan on the go. Tonight is the first stop on an 11-show tour, but get this: The bands don't tour, the judges do. They'll be checking out 10 local outfits, some of which will go on to some other show somewhere else, or something. The lineup: Dan Brady, Trenton, The Joint Chiefs, Underscore, Silhouette, This Will Be Remembered, Initial Doubt, The Standing Shadows, Tater Junktion, and Last Minute Project. Go. Cheer. (Masquerade, Ybor City)

SUFFOCATION/CATTLE DECAPITATION/BODIES IN THE GEARS OF THE APPARATUS/AGAINST ALL/THE ABSENCE Yup, all of these bands sound pretty much like you'd expect from their names, except for The Absence - the name might lead you to believe that they sound like the empty space where music should be, but it's not true, they're heavy as shit. Brutal stuff all around, from three national acts, along with the two locals that open every traveling metal show that comes through town, because that's the law now. (Boomerz Boiler Room, Seminole)

TOMMY CASTRO He was once pegged for the elusive blues-pop crossover - maybe because his group, The Dynatones, was the house band for NBC's Comedy Showcase - but it never happened. Now he's a yeomanlike Strat-slinger in the post-Stevie Ray mold who has developed a devoted following among modern blues aficionados. (Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa) -Eric Snider

SATURDAY, JAN. 22
NEW GRANADA PRESENTS Tampa label New Granada (run by Keith and Susie Ulrey of The Maccabees) takes over the New World courtyard for the second installment of a series in which they, um, let bands they really like play. See, kids - you want to get your local show into the Music Menu, make it a freakin' event. Anyway, tonight's featured performers are criminally underrated Tampa post-pop combo The Sophomore Effort, acclaimed Bradenton-based new rock heroes The Chase Theory, and a brand new outfit, Explorer 1, that features former members of Michael Furey and Modern, excellent, now-defunct local post-rock bands. (New World Brewery, Ybor City)

AGAINST ME!/SOVIETTES/JERICHO/GRABASS CHARLESTONS Gainesville's Against Me! will not stop touring. Ever. And you know what that means: The already superlative pub-punk unit is just going to keep getting better. The Soviettes also rule, partly because they play straightforward, hooky rock 'n' roll but mainly because they're from Minneapolis and probably hang out with The Dillinger Four. Jericho is either the Richmond act recently forced to change its name by an Australian band called Jericho, or the Australian band that recently forced a band from Richmond to change its name. You already know that Grabass Charlestons are straight-up fun. (Masquerade, Ybor City)

MAD AGNES The neo-folk trio blends instrumental virtuosity with quirky tunes and, of course, three-part vocal harmonies. (Octagon Arts Center, Clearwater) -ES

ATLANTA RHYTHM SECTION Hasn't been that long since ARS brought its breezy Southern pop to the market. In the '70s, this band was the safe, whitebread answer to Lynyrd Skynyrd. ARS' biggest hit was 1977's "So Into You." (Largo Cultural Center, Largo) -ES

SUNDAY, JAN. 23
CEX/ALOHA/WEATHER/CANDYBARS/LIMEADE Celebrated laptop jockey Cex rose to glitch-hop fame by ironically (or maybe not) detailing his mainstream-rap ambitions. Discerning IDM fans love him; nobody else has heard of him. Post-rock kings Aloha have a full-time vibraphone player now, as well as a really, really good latest album on Polyvinyl, Here Comes Everyone. Weather balances noise, energy, and melodic female vocals to come up with something, er, surging. It's pretty good. (Orpheum, Ybor City)-SH

THE KENNEDYS The husband-and-wife team of Pete and Maura Kennedy specialize in acoustic roots rock and pop. They have seven albums to their credit. (Unitarian Universalist Church of Tampa, Tampa) -ES

LEON REDBONE In the '70s, cloaked in shades and a white Panama hat, Leon Redbone pleaded in song, "I wish somebody would tell me what diddy-wah-diddy means?" Redbone's music is a mix of Tin Pan Alley, pre-WWII blues, jazz and novelty songs. More interesting than his music is Redbone's success at completely concealing his identity, which was scrutinized during a spasm of cult popularity in the '70s. His cartoon-like persona has endured. These days, however, you might ask the questions: Does anybody really know who Leon Redbone is? Does anybody really care? (Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Tampa) -ES

EIGHTEEN VISIONS/EMERY/REMEMBERING NEVER/MISERY SIGNALS We got a bit of a break from the metalcore over the holidays, but that's over now, pal. Comparative veterans Eighteen Visions are in the midst of their second U.S. tour pimping the wildly unimpressive Obsession - an album that sucks you in with a good lead-off tune and then punishes you for being such an easy sell with, like, 10 inferior ones - and they've got a largely mediocre stable of newer national acts in tow. (State Theatre, St. Petersburg)

KATE CAMPBELL This Southern songbird plays a kind of country-gospel that would fit well on any radio station playing Patsy Cline or Nanci Griffith. Actually, if you did hear one of Campbell's songs on the radio, there's a chance you might hear Griffith as well - the alt-country star made a guest appearance, along with Rodney Crowell and Jeff Black, on Campbell's 2004 album The Portable Kate Campbell. Campbell keeps up a hectic tour schedule, playing across the U.S. and Europe in coffeehouses, theaters, churches and, in this case, the campus of a small-town community college. (Jan. 23, Manatee Community College, Venice) -MS

TUESDAY, JAN. 25
CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN w/THE HACKENSAW BOYS Santa Cruz, California's CVB was an important figure in the formation of '90s alternative rock - not as recognized as The Pixies, perhaps, but valuable nonetheless. The band, which debuted in 1985, described its music as "surrealist absurdist folk," and merged punk, folk, ska, country and various world musics for a one-of-a-kind, occasionally schizophrenic, sound. The band folded the tend in '89, and the members worked alone and together in various configurations, spinning off such acts as Monks of Doom, Hieronymous Firebrain and (most well known) Cracker. CVB re-emerged last year with the rock opera-ish New Roman Times, the story of a teenager who joins the military and leaves to sign on with an anti-government militia. No word on whether the band will perform the opera start-to-finish with an opulent set and pyrotechnics. Opening this WMNF show will be The Hackensaw Boys, an eight-man acoustic outfit from Charlottesville, Va. that imbues old-time mountain and string-band music with a modern sensibility. (Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa) -ES

JOSH GROBAN w/CHRIS BOTTI Cute boys with powerful vocal chops will always be marketable, even if they skew classical, which is Josh Groban's milieu. He's a crossover artist of the first order, now playing The Big Room. Trumpeter Chris Botti also trades on his looks. He was named one of People magazine's most beautiful people. His specialty is polite instrumental ballads, although, as he showed during last year's Clearwater Jazz Holiday, he can lead an expert band through some high-energy fusion. (St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa) -ES

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