Citizens of the bottom 100 miles or so of Southeast Florida’s coast like to use the blanket term “South Florida,” as though it were all one metropolitan area. Those people are not the ones who actually live in Miami. Miami has very geo-specific pride and its locals like to separate themselves as diverse, cosmopolitan, attractive, and all that, in opposition to the supposed white, suburban character of Broward and Palm Beach Counties to the north. (What the hell is Broward County, you ask? Well, it’s the home of Fort Lauderdale, which is a large-ish city and probably most famous to outsiders for its spring break-y past.)
Palm Beach County: South Florida’s New Cradle of Rock and Roll?
Arielle | September 23rd, 2010
There is a lot of truth in the stereotypes Miami natives have of the rest of “South Florida,” but it doesn’t mean everybody up there should be discounted. Until recently, part of my work beat was covering the music scene in Broward and Palm Beach counties, and, actually, most of my favorite rock bands these days are coming out of Palm Beach County, about an hour (or more, depending) north of Miami proper. For such a spread-out, sprawling area, there seems to be a critical mass developing of quality rock bands from the unlikely 561 area code, where pretty much every house is in a gated development and seemingly 90 percent of the restaurants are chains.
Still, there are a few excellent venues up there: the 23-year-running Respectable Street in downtown West Palm Beach is one, and Propaganda and Little Munich, in nearby downtown Lake Worth, are two others. Here are a few rock bands from Palm Beach County worth checking out right now.
Blond Fuzz, myspace.com/blondfuzz
In my opinion, this group, which hails from the sleepy retirement town of Boca Raton, is the one with the best chance of breaking out big. Just a bass-less trio, the three guys cause enough of a vintage rock and roll racket for three times as many humans. They’re tight, bluesy without being cheesy, retro, but still contemporary-sounding — the type of band that gets hipsters and random drunk bar people dancing equally.
This band hails from Jupiter, which is as pretty far north as you can get in Palm Beach County and, like the name implies, is basically another planet compared to Miami. Still, it’s the home of this deliciously ear drum-puncturing shoegaze-inspired act.
The quartet is from the aforementioned Lake Worth, a town which has old, sleepy Florida written all over it from the outside. They play an angular, jangly, catchy brand of pop-punk.
The Jameses, myspace.com/3headedlion
This band is also from Lake Worth, and has often shared the stage with Guy Harvey. They were recently reviewed on Pitchfork, have a real-deal national PR agency, and upcoming releases on the uber-hip label Captured Tracks. The music itself is a heavily organ-driven, fuzzy brand of pop not totally unlike Palm Beach County’s last great indie success, Surfer Blood.