Welcome to my new column about the artists, shows, scenesters and the occasional shenanigans that make up the Bay area music scene. It's dubbed Tampa Calling after the Creative Loafing music blog I've helmed for the past 14 months. In case you're old school and only roll with the CL print edition, TampaCalling.com is the online hub for the latest-breaking music news, highly influential Top 10 lists, self-indulgent musings and pics of scantily clad female stars. My blog is also the source for the local music items appearing in this column, on-the-scene reporting and bullet items spotlighting the goings-on of homegrown talent with occasional gossip and fun facts.
(Speaking of the latter, here's an example: Cody Wilson, bassist for Clearwater garage-rockers Tres Bien, won the hot dog eating contest at the Hot Dog Show Friday, July 3 at Crowbar in Ybor City. Much to the crowd's amazement, he threw 16 wieners down the hatch — and then still managed to perform after puking up all the tube steaks and $5 liters he'd recklessly consumed. I was impressed.)
In the interest of making Tampa Calling as comprehensive as possible, please e-mail me ([email protected]) regarding band personnel changes, or a new single posted online, or a venue that's opening, closing, or if your lead singer had sex with twins following a gig at New World Brewery or on the road in, say, Tuscaloosa. Or other stuff you might deem of interest.
• On Sat., July 5, five local acts performed at the CL in Concert's Independence Fest that took place at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg. I arrived in time to catch emotive math-rockers Military Junior turn in a taut, frisky performance that brought me to the lip of the stage. The trio recently posted a new song, "Unconventional," on their website and is recording a full-length they hope to have ready for release by October. "It's going to be a little more mainstream-sounding," singer/guitarist Jason Schultz said.
Schultz and I had just finished watching alt-country ensemble Have Gun, Will Travel deliver yet another set that left me wondering why this Bradenton band isn't the subject of a balls-out bidding war between New West, Bloodshot, Lost Highway Back Porch and the like. Incidentally, HGWT is meeting with a prospective manager who has the juice to make such a deal happen. "We're going to talk to him at the Americana Fest," July 19 at Skipper's Smokehouse, leader Matt Burke said while relaxing with his band mates backstage prior to their winning performance.
Will Quinlan joined HGWT for the number "Pins and Needles." Future Process, Mouse Fire and Car Bomb Driver also performed Saturday. Nessie bassist Joey Neill, who played at the Hot Dog Show, was also in attendance.
• Bradenton pop-punks We the Kings' self-titled debut disc produced the hit single "Check Yes Juliet." It reached No. 59 on Billboard's Pop 100. The band will be repping the local scene when the Vans Warped Tour hits St. Petersburg's Vinoy Park Fri., July 11. The Kelly Ogden-fronted power-pop trio The Dollyrots — now based in L.A., formerly of Tampa Bay — are also on the roster. Gainesville's Against Me! co-headlines.
• Former Flat Duo Jet (and one-time Venice, Fla. resident) Dexter Romweber has inked a deal with the venerable Americana label Bloodshot. St. Petersburg's own Brett Steele of Steele Management (Mojo Gurus, Blind Buddy Moody, Some Dancing Skeleton) manages Romweber. The roots-rock hero's debut disc for the label will feature duets with Cat Power's Chan Marshall and Neko Case, among others. It's a multi-album deal, and recording commences in mid-August at Overdub Lane in Durham, N.C.; John Plymale (Meat Puppets, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Corrosion Of Conformity) is producing.
• Tampa rock trio the Hat Trick Heroes dropped their new single "Chasing My Tail," which can be downloaded for free at TampaCalling.com. HTH's new full-length should be released in the near future. "We have completed recording our new album," reads a recent bog entry on the band's website. "We are back in Tampa, but Roger Alan Nichols (our producer) is back in Nashville mixing."
• At the packed Will Quinlan CD release show at New World Brewery on June 14, which also featured standout performances by Have Gun, Will Travel and Matt Butcher, Keith Ulrey, head of locally-based New Granada Records, told me that he was jazzed about the full-length disc by Tampa Bay indie-rock outfit Win Win Winter that should drop in October. "So we've just embarked on our maiden voyage, our full-length," reads a blog post on the band's website.
• Versatile guitar ace/singer Damon Fowler is negotiating with a top national blues label, according to my sources at Skipper's Smokehouse.
• Internationally acclaimed Tampa singer/songwriter Ronny Elliott performed at The Woody Guthrie Folk Festival, July 9-13, at Okemah, Okla. (Guthrie's birthplace). Judy Collins headlined.
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