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This Little Underground

The best (and worst) of 2012

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Artiest scene-makers: Tiny Waves. Their events were consistently as much art installations as they were shows in the way they transformed the spaces they occupied.

Best return: Orlandooom. This O.G. heavy-music booking posse reanimated just in time to take the place of 90 Proof Productions (who deserve this year's title for "best heavy booking" and will exit the game next year), thereby ensuring that the evil will continue uninterrupted.

Best scene galvanizer: RalphFest. In its second year, it now involves multiple live stages, a Seminole County Public Schools music scholarship and a night of unconditional scene unity. And, even if for just one evening, it brought back Lorna Lambey!

Best studio: North Avenue Studios. The Orange City studio has made a national name for itself through its trailblazing Web series, Off the Avenue, a prominent feature channel on Consequence of Sound that celebrated its 100th episode in August.

Heaviest weekly night: Juggernaut (Tuesdays, Backbooth). In a downtown landscape of dance nights, this new heavy metal congress stands defiant. And since the Falcon has recently started Metal Mondays, perhaps heavy metal itself should be crowned this year as "scene queen."

Best theme night: Shoegaze (the Falcon). Regularly featured DJ Chad Beachy really hit the sweet spot with his well-curated audio-visual ode to the fuzz and the noise.

Best role-play: Melvins tribute (Will's Pub). Bob on Blonde went balls-out for this one, doubling its personnel to capture the Big Business-era Melvins. Man, that shit was boss.

Worst development: Fewer venues. Fewer public DIY stages are never healthy, and too many closed this year – like Substance, Blank Space and Sip (though that'll soon be the new Matador, so woot!).

Worst area act: Kitty Pryde. This applies more to her abysmal live ability than her recordings, though those aren't the nuggets of Tumblr-era intelligence that some try-too-hard bloggers ascribe to her.

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