Miami’s punk/hardcore scene is incestuous. I mean, I assume most cities’ are, but Miami especially. This guy was in this band with his brother who was also in this band with these 2 other guys who started out in some band that was really popular in South Florida and was friends with that band on Victory back when they were releasing relevant records and they used to tour together and they probably should have toured more. Well, actually, that band recently broke up and the two brothers are in different bands, but I think at least one of those bands shares a member of the brothers’ band, or maybe all the members are in both bands except the brothers. Wait, maybe the one brother isn’t in it or maybe it’s his cousin and he’s in like three other bands all with each ex-member of that grind and/or sludge band… anyway, they just formed 2 weeks ago and I’m pretty sure Robotic Empire is putting out their 7” they haven’t written yet and I think they’re playing a ten song set tomorrow.
6 years of living in Miami and this is how I felt at just about every local show I went to. Some of the members of Capsule were mentioned above, but I have no fucking clue which. I do know I have had some interaction with each member; guitarist/vocalist Colin Smith played guitar/drums/bass in countless bands including some my old band played shows with; no matter what band Ryan Haft has been in I have always admired his guitar playing and thought of him as one of the most innovative guitar players in the Miami scene. Kind of why I thought it was criminal that he was playing bass in Capsule, but he’s since been moved to guitar; drummer, well, now bassist/vocalist Eric Hernandez even played at my (dead) band’s CD release party and has also filled in on drums for both Torche and Kyelsa; and newest addition, live drummer Alex De Renzis played drums for Adore Miridia (whose shows I frequented) and a slew of other bands. Alex also ran a weekly themed night at a bar that my friends and I would go to almost every week. What they all have in common other than being in Capsule (and the first paragraph) is that they all probably don’t know who the fuck I am.
Sorry for the digression. On to what they sound like. Although Capsule is the band of the week this is really more of a focus on their latest release No Ghost, but since I don’t really do album reviews here we are. Not that Capsule’s past releases aren’t similar, quite the contrary, but this just happens to be the newest one. If it’s a screamo (please read “origins…”) record it’s by far the heaviest screamo record I’ve ever heard. If it’s a post-hardcore record, again, heaviest post-hardcore record I’ve ever heard. If it’s metal? Well, they still hold their weight. This band almost never slows down. Constant angular technical riffs against relentless pounding drums ala Lifetime of Gray Skies-era Anodyne, and thick pulverizing bass, the latter being the final blow that makes you feel like the gravity has been quadrupled. I say “almost never slows down” because there are tracks like “Isn’t Us” or the completely instrumental final song “_” that do alter the pacing. “Isn’t Us” is definitely one of the heaviest songs on the album and provides some head-nod inducing grooves. The vocals are a gruff singing/yelling, kind of like a mixture of Hot Water Music and KEN Mode. Actually, Capsule does kind of sound like if KEN Mode recruited The Fall of Troy guitarist and asked him to take the bubble gum out of his riffs.
Where you should start: Well, since most of this entry was inspired by No Ghost that would be my suggestion. Blue is a good second release to get by them and the split with Furnace is another fine couple of songs. I’d hold off on diving into the self titled release until you know you’re a fan.
Essential Song: Actually, you can sample a good chunk of the record through this player.
Kings of Prussia - Experimental instrumental metal with an electronic influence from Asheville, NC by way of Miami, FL. Think if Pink Floyd, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Nine Inch Nails, and Radiohead collaborated to score a zombie movie soundtrack.
Includes former members of Forelle and The Glasses Otter, as well as current members of RBTSWIN.
Pygmy - Jazzy, mathy, under-appreciated indie rock from Miami, FL. Almost as technical as The Dillinger Escape Plan, but lighthearted and avant-garde enough to be compared to The Flaming Lips. Maybe like a more quirky Faraquet. It just has to be heard. Leaving very little space for classic patterns, the vocalist creates well thought out verses for the technical parts and doesn’t waste an opportunity when the music finally does straighten out to belt out catchy melodies. A lot of songs contain an interesting instrumental emotional dive into jazz influenced indie rock before frolicking back into the more upbeat moments. Although an indie band, the live show did contain a DEP or even At the Drive-In intensity to it.
Members have gone on to form the bands The Down Home Southernaires and Animal Tropical as well as solo projects Can’t Stop and Adames.
The Glasses Otter - Best described by Kerrang! as “alternative noisecore” the Otter has every finger and every toe in a separate pool of aggressive abrasive music. Guitars have the alternative rock feel, a little Glassjaw post-hardcore with the tight heaviness of The Minor Times, and the timing precision of The Dillinger Escape Plan. The drumming is a non-stop onslaught that hints towards a Ben Koller of Converge influence and the unhinged vocals spiral through every level of a manic depressive asylum patient. Check the facebook page for a completely mutilated Thrice cover.
Members have gone on to play in Woodale, Kings of Prussia, and Say Never
Random Start (explanation): Poison the Well - “Horns and Tails”
Maybe it’s a little late for a “start,” but I don’t trust anybody who was up before 1 on a Sunday anyway. Since it’s an acoustic song by a hardcore band, this track always ends up on a mix tape/CD or playlist I put together to try and find music from my library that would be palatable for the normies. I know, writing hurtful things about women in rock ‘n roll is well worn territory, but I still like the scathing nature of these lyrics with a line like “What I’d do for one more day without you.” When this record came out, it wasn’t such a reach for a band like this to include a stripped down acoustic song, but PTW is the only memorable one of the bunch for me. I also have a soft spot for this one because while living in South Florida I’m fairly certain I met the girl that this song was written about and I think that’s pretty cool. It has also occurred to me that this could be about Jeff’s father. I’ve never met him.
Good god, was it really 11 years ago yesterday? Anyway, As a “he’s not going to be around long” (and he wasn’t) “and it might be a sight to see” (and it was), I went to check out Wesley Willis. What I ended up seeing was what became my favorite South Florida band. When I first saw them I immediately likened them to At the Drive-In because of the singer’s hair, but also called them The Dillinger Escape Plan of indie rock. And while live, they are an erratic jumbled mess, their songwriting is much more thoughtful than that. One half of the band were some of the nicest kids while the other half bordered on eccentric, this often melded into technical indie soul.