Make us your home page

New Soundcheck blog offers Tampa band and concerts news

One year ago, in tbt*'s Ultimate Local Music Guide 2008, I wrote the following about the Tampa band Brer:

There's a lot of brotherly love in Brer's catchy, sparkly folk-pop. ... The songs are uplifting and polished enough to pop up on Grey's Anatomy.

This February, it actually happened. Brer singer-songwriter Matt Hires landed a song on Grey's Anatomy. A song called Turn the Page, from his upcoming solo album, due in June.

Not that we're taking credit or anything.

Believe it or not, success really can happen just that fast. One day you're a part-time band gigging for fun at bars around Central Florida. The next day you're getting a call — or, in Hires' case, a MySpace message — from an A&R rep who discovered your music online.

This is why our Ultimate Local Music Guide, now in its third year, is such a big deal to us. We know there's talent in Tampa Bay. You know it, too. We profiled some 300 bands, artists, rappers and DJs in our first two guides, and another 150 in these pages — and we know there are probably just as many out there we've never even heard of.

But we want to change that. So this week, we're thrilled to launch a new blog devoted to the local music scene: Soundcheck, named after tbt*'s weekly concert-preview column. (Today's Soundcheck is on Page 55.) Every day, we'll feature an Artist of the Day and a Concert of the Day. We'll post mp3s and pictures from local bands, give you the scoop on cool below-the-radar acts coming to town, and offer plenty of concert pics and reviews.

Go to for a link to the blog. And while you're there, cast a vote in our 2009 Ultimate Local Band Contest.

Once again, we've pulled together 10 of the best artists in Tampa Bay, from feel-good Tampa institution Bluegrass Parlor Band to genre-smashing rappers the Basiqs to mesmerizing indie chanteuse Geri X. We think they accurately represent the best of what the Tampa music scene has to offer, as did previous contest winners Tribal Style (2007) and Win Win Winter (2008).

Visit our Soundcheck blog at, and click on the checkmark to vote. The winning artist will receive prizes including a Dean Hardtail guitar, a music video shoot and an opportunity to perform on the Plaza before a concert at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Plus, if you cast a vote, you'll have a chance to win tickets to this year's Ultimate Local Music Showcase May 2 at Skipper's Smokehouse, featuring several of this year's top 10 bands. Trust me, you want these tickets. Last year's Showcase was — and I believe I'm being unbiased here — the most awesome concert in the history of music. (Think about it — did the Beatles at Shea offer barbecued gator ribs? No. Case closed.)

One more thing: If you make music, we want to hear from you. Send your links, your gigs, your pictures, your mp3s, your demos, your anything to [email protected] Not only do we want to discover new music, but we want you to discover new music as well.

And if someone from Grey's Anatomy should happen to hear it, well, just send the royalty check our way. — [email protected]

The liner notes

Who did what for this year's Ultimate Local Music Guide? Julie Garisto, author of tbt*'s weekly Meet the Band column, and Jay Cridlin, tbt*'s features and entertainment editor, selected this year's Ultimate Local Bands. All the profiles were written by Julie, Jay, Wade Tatangelo and Dalia Colón. Peter Couture and Joshua Gillin edited the words, and designer Lisa Haiss put them all together. Lance Aram Rothstein and Luis Santana photographed our 10 finalists and shot video of them, which was edited by Catriona Stuart. Christopher Kozlowski designed the concert-poster-inspired cover to this year's guide (the Chuck Taylor is Jay's), as well as the cool look to our new Soundcheck blog on Anne Glover, Steve Spears and Jeremy Bowers built the blog from scratch, and Scott Becker constructed the voting site for the 2009 Ultimate Local Band contest. Kerry O'Reilly, Marti Galloway, Shannon Breen and Lynette Gryniak orchestrated this year's contest, and are once again compiling a top-notch lineup for our Ultimate Local Music Showcase, scheduled for May 2 at Skipper's Smokehouse in Tampa. And as always, thanks to the many friends, artists and music-scene gurus who offered suggestions and helped us make connections for this issue. You're the ones who really rock.

tbt*'s 2009
Ultimate Local Bands

THE BEAUVILLES Enigmatic frontman Shawn Kyle leads his band of merry rock stars into Austin for South by Southwest. PAGE 25

SELECT START Fresh off an East Coast tour, Tampa's most popular pop-punks bring the synths back home. PAGE 27

MAGADOG Heroes of the local scene in the '90s, ska veterans Magadog returned with a vengeance two years ago, and are once again dominating the stage. PAGE 29

HAVE GUN, WILL TRAVEL With spins on NPR, Bradenton's acclaimed alt-country rockers have stardom in their sights. PAGE 32

WILL QUINLAN AND THE DIVINERS Longtime scene vet Quinlan rode an intimate album, Navasota, to the best reviews of his career. PAGE 32

BLUEGRASS PARLOR BAND A Tampa institution, Tampa bluegrass vets Tom Henderson and now Jeff Jones have kept local music students picking and grinning for more than two decades. PAGE 33

GERI X. St. Pete's beguiling queen of indie folk reigns supreme when it comes to catchy confessional anthems. PAGE 36

THE BASIQS Gage and Mr. Sin — hip-hop's "Lennon and McCartney" — are bridging pop and hip-hop from here to L.A. PAGE 42

TAILGUNNER JOE AND THE EARLS OF SLANDER This week Spin crowned Tailgunner Joe a band to watch in '09. That's what we've been saying all along! PAGE 45

TRIPTICO With roots in Cuba and Costa Rica, Tampa's Valdivia brothers embrace an unconventionally jammy, funky approach to Latin rock. PAGE 50



Pop-punk 27







Loud & fast45



Cover bands51

New Soundcheck blog offers Tampa band and concerts news 03/19/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 24, 2009 8:47am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours