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This Little Underground

Our live music columnist checks out the Appleseed Cast, Lemuria and Afeefa & the Boy

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Steel yourselves, boos. I’ll be on column break next week. But that’s only because it’ll be our annual Best of Orlando issue. It’s kind of a big deal.

The Beat

Former Mirror Pal frontman Drew Yardis is currently on the residency roster at Tanqueray’s. He was playing to the bar crowd on a recent night (July 17) with lots of covers, though I’ve seen him be a little more original elsewhere. His easy-listening folk vibe is the kind of smooth and soulfully sensitive stuff that would really rev your mom’s motor. But he’s better at this kind of fare than most.

Guesting was Afeefa & the Boy, a local group that’s been getting some minor press on the road despite keeping a low street profile here. Bandleader Afeefa Ayube has an interesting personal story, which was inspirational enough to be published in a letter to indie blog YVYNYL (goo.gl/VVINA – or search “Afeefa” and “YVYNYL” to find her post).

Her letter there explains why she tells me she’s an “accidental musician” who’s only been playing and writing for about a year. Unsurprising, then, that she’s a little green. But Ayube has already crafted a signature vocal style that charms like a warm breeze. And by surrounding herself with some classically trained musicians, the ambition is evident. The result is a rich, robust and romantic kind of indie folk furnished with lots of evocative instrumentation. And though they nod to traditional folk styles, Ayube injects just enough youthfulness and soul to make their sound a little less orthodox and a little more colorful. About that low local profile, it would be good if this incredibly earnest band could work on that. I’d like to hear more, and I think Orlando might too.

Melbourne’s Matt Rosman (July 18, Will’s Pub) is a one-man band who turned out to be an impressive bluesman of the deep Delta hue. But don’t listen to him online. I did for my pre-show prep and, as a result, he was the act I was least excited to see that night. Turns out, the two recordings on his Facebook profile are sanitized of much of the character and virility I saw in him live. See him in person and you’ll witness some real slide-guitar heat and a nice, beefy thump. He occasionally veered into cracker rave-ups too, but those were secondary, disposable even. The blues is where he rules. For him, at least, everything else can go to hell. Rosman’s maybe one of the finest one-man bands to spring from the sand around here, and he’s not afraid to drive hard and get loud. And this convincing performance was tight, greasy and gunning. What else is there?

So memo to Rosman: Capture some of that hot and gritty live lightning on tape. And memo to readers: Go see this guy play.

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