This Little Underground
Bao Le-Huu takes on Flashlights, Slow Jamz, Boyfrndz and more
Published: July 28, 2011
Orlando’s Permanent Nap was working in a brand-new member, and that could be why they sounded so transitional at their latest show (July 20, Stardust Video & Coffee). It’s definitely true that the ensemble needs more cohesion. But their tentativeness seemed more systemic than that. Although pleasant, their dreamy pop was cloudy and uncertain. Like Slow Jamz, it’s clear that something’s here; it just wasn’t all there yet.
Of the openers, Tampa’s No Milk was the best, bringing ’80s electronic futurism that was actually well-framed, vocally gutsy and packed with lovely intrigue. As a solo synth act, it was stark and not much to look at; one woman singing over mostly prerecorded tracks does not a riveting show make. But No Milk at least plays alluring music. When you consider all the crimes of art jivery committed in the one-man-band guise, she deserves all the more credit for her good songs.
Blending space, drone and noise in an amorphous way, fellow Tampa solo act S2Kwas a little less stimulating, musically, but homeboy sure knows how to seize the attention. He commenced his set by playing a basic cosmic track and launching into a rambling live monologue in the middle of the room that was essentially a synaptic storm in English. It was cuckoo, but it also illuminated his art, which is, by his admission, an entirely improvised affair. That’s one way to break a crowd out of its default stance – and that alone was commendable and worth seeing.
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