Enough about how Miami doesn’t have a music scene. More than bright neon, flashy clubs, beautiful beaches and stereotypes portrayed on CSI, South Florida has been cultivating an impressive roster of local talent who’ve been the subject of national exposure recently. The cultural diversity of the “Magic City” and surrounding areas has certainly seeped into the musical realm and we’ve compiled a list of 10 South Florida bands—from indie rock to booty bass, sexy salsa to thumping dubstep—that you should listen to right now.
This prolific duo has become a local staple, consistently churning out Miami-inspired pop rock with synthy, danceable, electronica tinges since 2005. ANR released their third and most cohesive full-length album, Stay Kids last year and toured nationally and abroad in support of it. Having performed along side bands like Neon Indian, No Age, Fucked Up and Animal Collective, ANR is poised to continue trailblazing from Miami, with upcoming gigs at SXSW and another album already in the works.
This fuzzed out indie quartet is the brainchild of Chicago-to-Miami transplant Michael McGinnis. Plains’ eponymous debut album is generally considered one of the best local South Florida LPs of 2011, and the band kicked off 2012 by opening for Sebadoh in Miami last month. Check them out at SXSW in March, as well.
3. Rachel Goodrich
Even though the ukulele-touting, kazoo-blowing, self-proclaimed “shake-a-billy” star Rachel Goodrich moved to Los Angeles last year, she’ll always seem like a local hero in her hometown of Miami. Goodrich has already received accolades from the New York Times and gotten her music synced in a Crayola commercial, but last year’s self-titled album represented decidedly more mature next step for the up-and-coming singer.
4. Jacuzzi Boys
While these two songs from the video below can be heard on their live album recorded and pressed at Jack White’s Third Man Records in 2010, the Jacuzzi Boys’ latest release, Glazin came out on Sub Pop’s sister label Hardly Art last year. The band’s sound stands at the intersection of surfer pop and teenage punk and they will set off on a British and European tour this spring.
5. Raffa and Rainer
Easily Miami’s best folk duo, Raffa Jo Harris and Rainer Davies delivered 11 tracks of acoustic bliss on 2010’s No Mercy. Raffa’s sultry voice sweetly wavers over Rainer’s jazzy guitar noodling and they’re often accompanied by a revolving cast of local horns and strings players. While the band has a bunch of South Florida dates coming up soon, they’re also working on organizing a national tour for later this year.
6. Sol Ruiz
It seems like every wonderful aspect of South Florida’s diversity is wrapped up in Sol Ruiz’s personality and music. Performing what she calls “psychedelic Cuban blues” in both English and Spanish, Ruiz released a six-track album called Outlander last year. Before going on tour in Europe and the U.K. at the end of the month, Ruiz is finishing a Kickstarter campaign to fund follow-up album.
With supporters that include Lil Wayne, DJ Khaled and Tech N9ne, this Miami hip-hop collective got its start from a collaboration with Cee-Lo Green in 2006. Since then, they’ve released two LPs, three EPs, a mixtape and most recently, MC Wreckonzie joined Tech N9ne on his new single, “Blur.” ¡Mayday! will release its third full length album and Strange Music debut, Take Me To Your Leader on March 27.
8. Juan Basshead
All things Miami dubstep lead back to Juan Basshead. This producer, label head for BassHead Music, resident DJ, venue owner and promoter helped introduce and break the dance-grime genre in The Magic City.
“Avant-dance” duo Afrobeta creates tunes worthy of the South Beach party scene, but their music also has a certain underlying artistry. Comprised of Cuci Amador and Tony Smurphio (who was Pitbull’s touring keyboardist for years), Afrobeta released a full-length album Under The Streets last year. They’ve performed at Glastonbury, Burning Man and Ultra Brazil, and you can catch them at Miami’s Ultra Music Festival (again) this March.
10. Deaf Poets
This bluesy duo balances the crunch of bands like the Black Keys and White Stripes and sun-soaked inspiration from Miami’s locale. Though they only formed in 2009, their live sets have already attracted enough of a following to get them aboard the Bruise Cruise this month with Fucked Up, The Oh Sees, The Soft Pack and the aforementioned Jacuzzi Boys. Look out for the Deaf Poets this April when they’ll release their first 7” vinyl single.