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Jay Cridlin, Pop Music/Culture Critic

Jay Cridlin

Jay Cridlin is the Pop Music/Culture Critic for the Tampa Bay Times and tbt*, and the editor of Soundcheck, a blog about music and concerts in Tampa Bay. He graduated from Wake Forest University in 2002 and has been with the Times ever since.

Phone: (727) 893-8336


Blog: Soundcheck

Twitter: @JayCridlin and @tbtsoundcheck

Instagram: @cridlin

  1. 2016 Grammy predictions: Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar, 'Uptown Funk' and...?


    This year’s Grammy Awards race is over.

    Well, not exactly — there’s still the whole matter of picking nominations, voting for winners and handing out actual trophies, all of which will take place over the next 4 1/2 months. But Wednesday marked the end of this year’s eligibility period, which means we’ve already seen and heard all of this year’s eventual nominees. Anything that comes out between now and the end of the year? Sorry. See you in 2017, Adele....

  2. This week in Tampa: Brad Paisley, Steve Aoki, Ani DiFranco, Death Grips and more


    It's a busy and eclectic week in Tampa Bay music, kicking off with Brad Paisley on Friday and ending with Death Grips next Thursday. Do those guys belong in the same sentence together? Probably not, but we'll take it.

    Other acts with Tampa Bay concerts this week: Ani DiFranco, Steve Aoki, Dr. John and the Nite Trippers, Kylesa, MisterWives, Corey Smith, Adventure Club, Clutch, Corrosion of Conformity, In the Valley Below, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Electric Six and Here Come the Mummies. Here to walk you through it all are Jay Cridlin and Ray Roa......

  3. Ani DiFranco talks activism, mellowing with age, becoming a target and more


    A quarter-century after founding Righteous Babe Records in her hometown of Buffalo, N.Y., Ani DiFranco is still as fiercely independent as ever, pondering big topics like race, incarceration, gender politics, LGBT rights and the relentless stream of invective she sees every day in the media.

    "Human dynamics are so fascinating to me," she said in a recent phone interview.

    Is she the same teenage maverick who shaved her head, founded her own record label and busked for years on the road to ensure her poetry, her music, her progressive politics and activism would never be diluted by the corporate music machine?...

  4. Underoath's Tim McTague talks reunion shows, King State Coffee, touring in 2016 and more


    In today's Tampa Bay Times, you'll find our story about Tampa's burgeoning small-batch coffee scene, led in part by musicians like Joel Davis (formerly of Ascend the Hill, currently of Fistful) of Commune + Co., and Nate Young (Anberlin) and Tim McTague (Underoath) of King State Coffee....

  5. Music Planner: Party with Paisley and Aoki, protest with DiFranco, dance with MisterWives

    Music & Concerts

    BRAD ATTITUDE: Brad Paisley

    They don't make 'em like Brad Paisley anymore — mischievous sips of moonshine who can write a killer hook about as well as he can pick a Fender.

    Sure, there are a few young gunslingers out there following the Paisley path to success — Jon Pardi and Frankie Ballard come to mind — but it's rare to find a country singer as passionate about the guitar as Mr. Online, who returns to Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Friday. (Just check out the extensively, nerdily catalogued "gear" section of his website.)...

    Brad Paisley will play the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Friday.
  6. Ani DiFranco, unstoppable as ever despite life's speed bumps

    Music & Concerts

    Sometimes Ani DiFranco thinks back to the time she shaved her head.

    "I'm 18," she says. "It's 1989 or something. And there just isn't the kind of cultural context for a young white girl with a shaved head. Nobody knows what to make of it. Everybody is uncomfortable. People used to stop and ask me the time on the street. Now they cross the street to avoid walking past me. I get followed around every store I go in by the security guard. No matter how open and smiling I try to make my energy, people are nervous."...

    Singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco will perform in Clearwater on Oct. 7.
  7. Review: Jose Gonzalez enchants St. Petersburg's State Theatre with heartfelt indie folk


    It’s the little things. That’s what made Jose Gonzalez’s concert on Tuesday at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg such a joy to behold.

    Tiny handclaps and fingersnaps. Soft bells and percussion rattles. Clicks of a clave or wood block.

    Gonzalez could get away without any of this – his songs are so intensely intimate, delivered in such a hush, that he could tour America with only a guitar and most fans might not mind, or even notice....

    Luluc opened for Jose Gonzalez at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg on Sept. 29, 2015.
  8. Lil Wayne, August Alsina, iLoveMakonnen added to Tampa's HIT Music Festival


    Tampa's new HIT Music Festival just got a whole lot more real.

    A slew of big-name hip hop stars have been added to the inaugural bash on Nov. 9 at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, including Lil Wayne, August Alsina, DJ Khaled, iLoveMakonnen, Yo Gotti, Troy Ave, Jo Rodeo and more. They join previously announced headliner Nas and acts including Fabolous, Tink, Trae the Truth and Cyhi the Prince....

  9. Craft coffee scene brewing around Tampa Bay aims to broaden local tastes



    Roasting coffee beans is a solitary pursuit. Some mornings Nate Young will walk into Tim McTague's garage, fire up the Proaster 1.5 and some Spotify, and spend hours roasting beans and filling orders all alone.

    "I toured with so many dudes for so long, stuck in a bus with 12 people," Young said. "I welcome the solitude. I can pick whatever music I want to listen to. I truly love it."...

    King State Coffee’s Tim McTague, foreground, and Nate Young both came up through the local Christian music scene before starting the coffee company.
  10. Ferg's books first big concert: Warrant, Ratt, L.A. Guns


    Last week, word arrived that venerable St. Petersburg baseball hangout Ferg's Sports Bar was getting into the live concert game, with former Jannus Landing owner John C. "Jack" Bodziak at the helm.

    Now Ferg's has its first major concert on the books: A show by veteran hair-metal trio Warrant, Ratt and L.A. Guns on Nov. 6....

  11. Bret Michaels added to Ribfest 2015 lineup


    After weeks of switch-ups and announcements, this year's Ribfest lineup is complete, thanks to a major new addition Thursday night.

    Poison frontman Bret Michaels will headline the opening night of Ribfest 2015 on Nov. 13 at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg.

    The Celebrity Apprentice star and Every Rose Has Its Thorn power-balladeer might be the biggest name yet in a Ribfest lineup that, once again, is heavy on classic rock. Joining him on Friday are Ratt singer Stephen Pearcy and the band Blended Brew....

  12. Tampa Bay's Wild 94.1 adapts to music's shifts, but keeps a steady beat



    Twelve nights before drawing a standing ovation at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, pop singer Tori Kelly stood before an intimate crowd at Tampa's Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, strumming an acoustic guitar and opening up about her songwriting process.

    A fast-rising star, Kelly easily could have filled a much larger venue. But this gig was private, open only to guests of Wild 94.1 as part of its Tampa Bay Talent Search, a contest for aspiring singer-songwriters....

    Wild 94.1’s Orlando Davis talks with singer-songwriter Tori Kelly at the start of the station’s talent search last month.
  13. This week in Tampa: Dr. Dog, Jose Gonzalez, Collective Soul, Plan B Block Party and more


    It’s kind of a laid-back week in Tampa Bay, with more club and local shows than usual this week. After tonight’s Janet Jackson concert at Amalie Arena (click here for details), you can downsize for a few days and check out concerts by Jose Gonzalez, Dr. Dog (above), Collective Soul, Three Days Grace, the Wailers, Andrew Rayel, Joyce Manor, Delbert McClinton, Stokeswood, Pop Will Eat Itself, Stephen Kellogg, Skipper’s Smokehouse’s 35th anniversary and the Plan B Block Party, featuring RJD2 and a slew of amazing local acts. Here to walk you through it all are Jay Cridlin and Ray Roa...

    Jose Gonzalez
    TUESDAY 8 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $22-$25.

    Back in the blog-rock heyday of the mid-2000s, there was no surer way for an indie artist to attract attention than with a cool cover of a cool song. Swedish singer-songwriter Jose Gonzalez did just that with a hushed, heartfelt take on The Knife’s  electro-fuzzy Heartbeats on his 2003 debut Veneer, and it resonated around the world. Heartbeats, along with his similarly sparse cover of Massive Attack’s Teardrop, are among the many Gonzalez songs that have popped up in films, commercials and TV shows over the past decade-plus. For longtime fans, this show is long overdue — Gonzalez came through Tampa with his band Junip in 2011, but this will be fans’ first chance to hear him in all his stark, solo glory.

    Dr. Dog
    With Swimm
    MONDAY 8 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $22-$25.
    Philadelphia’s Dr. Dog, who play at 8 p.m. Monday, were already somewhat successful by the time they covered Architecture in Helsinki’s Heart It Races in 2007, having toured with My Morning Jacket. But their light, funky rendition — along with that year’s acclaimed LP We All Belong — became a calling card for the band, and a staple of their set as their fame went national. In 2013 they played Heart It Races from the main stage at the Gasparilla Music Festival, and last year it was the lead single and video from this year’s Live at a Flamingo Hotel. So they’ve definitely made it their own.

    Plan B Block Party
    With RJD2, Hank & Cupcakes, Set and Setting, Have Gun Will Travel, Saskatchewan, Florida Night Heat, Ketchy Shuby, the Sh-Booms, Samurai Shotgun, the Woolly Bushmen, the Plastic Pinks, Pleasures, Empire Cinema, Brother Cephus, DieAlps!, more
    SATURDAY 4 p.m. Venues around Ybor City: Crowbar, New World Brewery, Market on 7th, Cigar City Cider and Mead, Tequilas. $20-$25.
    This year’s Plan B Block Party brings the Ybor City festival’s biggest headliner yet: DJ/producer RJD2, best known for composing the theme song to Mad Men. But don’t mistake the booking as some sort of Hail Mary to save the fest, now in its third year. “It’s been successful since the beginning,” said Phil Benito of organizers Brokenmold Entertainment. “I feel like the staff has worked together more, we’ve worked with the venues more, the relationships are more entrenched, and things tend to move smoother.” When Plan B split, contentiously, from St. Petersburg’s late, lamented Antiwarpt Festival in 2013, it wasn’t clear if it would last. (Fans familiar with that divorce may get a kick out of this: St. Pete is tweaking back at Plan B with “Plan C,” a free concert at 9:30 p.m. Saturday at the Amsterdam, 1049 Central Ave., featuring Luxury Mane, Funny Bunny and more.) But Plan B has evolved into one of the Bay’s best showcases of local music. This year’s lineup features nearly 50 artists and comedians on six stages around Ybor City. On the main stage at Crowbar (1812 N 17th St.) are RJD2, Brooklyn dance-rock duo Hank & Cupcakes and St. Pete’s own nationally signed prog-metal outfit Set and Setting, among others. There are two stages at a new venue, Cigar City Cider and Mead (1812 N 15th St.), with artists including Bradenton Americana outfit Have Gun, Will Travel outside and local comics like Matt Fernandez and Rodney Smith inside. At other venues you’ll find punk, folk, indie rock and more.

    Joyce Manor
    With Cheap Girls, Tracks
    SUNDAY 7 p.m. Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $15-$17. (813) 248-9500.
    Last year, Rolling Stone dubbed Joyce Manor a “New Artist You Need to Know,” citing the SoCal punks’ affinity for high-energy pop designed to please the Jets to Brazil set. The boys’ offerings on a newish LP (2014’s Never Hungover Again) will also turn ears if you’re a fan of the Smiths and while frontman Barry Johnson & co. are still waiting for that big break, they aren’t wasting any time. This show finds them joined by tongue-way-out-of-cheek duo Cheap Girls (sample lyric: “I love her and cigarettes so much.”) as well as punk folkie Jason Anderson, who is bringing a brand new project, Tracks, to open the show with songs like Moonlight, a three-and-a-half minute bouncy number that is something of a departure from Anderson’s mostly laid-back offerings.

    Skipper’s Smokehouse 35th Anniversary
    With Dropin’ Pickup, Dukes of Juke with Freight Train Annie and the Late Night Brass Horns, TC Carr and the Bolts of Blue featuring Josh Nelms, the Cheaters, Quivering Rhythm Hounds, Sara Rose Band, Impulse, Shaun Hopper, more.
    SATURDAY Noon. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. Free. (813) 971-0666.
    Partying at Skipper’s is a rite of passage for the many University of South Florida students who spend at least one night of undergrad dancing barefoot under the oaks of the Skipperdome. It was also a coming-of-age event for the equally free-spirited hippies who came before them, and on Saturday, they’ll all come together for a full-day celebration of the North Tampa venue’s three-and-a-half decades of operation. Some Skipper’s regulars (reggae outfit Impulse, Grateful Dead tribute Uncle John’s Band) will be on hand, but so will a nice selection of talented Tampa Bay fingerpickers (Shaun Hooper), boogie specialists (Dukes of Juke, who played their first show ever at Skipper’s 30 years ago), and guitar slingers like Josh Nelms. Best part? It’s all free.

    Delbert McClinton
    SATURDAY 8 p.m. The Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $50-$60. (727) 791-7400.

    If ever there were a place for a teen to come of age in a bar, it has to be Fort Worth, Texas. It’s where Delbert McClinton cut his teeth as a young man, and his time with the house band at Jack’s Place is clearly the reason he went on to become a revered, harmonica-slingin’ Lone Star State roots music legend. He’s shared stages with a who’s who of rock and blues names, and an urban legend says McClinton was the guy who taught John Lennon how to play harmonica. McClinton, 74, never did reach mainstream stardom (although Tell Me About It, his 1992 duet with Tanya Tucker, got him close), but he did sell out Clearwater’s Capitol Theatre last March, so expect a packed house when he returns this weekend.

    Hyperbolic Chamber Music 5: Music for Tuba and Electronics
    With Brett Copeland
    SATURDAY 8 p.m. The Venture Compound, 2621 Fairfield Ave. S, St. Petersburg. $5-$10 Donation. (901) 619-1519.
    If you’ve ever been at a recital or classical music concert and thought “boy this could use some electro,” then you might want to head out to St. Petersburg’s warehouse district on Saturday when USF grad student Brett Copeland plays in the fifth installment of the Venture Compound’s long-running assault on the traditions of classical composition and performance. Copeland, who is pursuing degrees in both Tuba performance and electro-acoustic composition, will perform works by Francis Schwartz, William Kraft, Nathan Corder and himself. The stage setup includes a foot-controlled pedal board to handle MIDIs and effects, as well as the expected tuba, which will be sending out low-pitched frequencies to compliment whatever electro-modified lines of music Copeland has translated into digitized bits of sound.

    Andrew Rayel

    With Basomatik, Shanta!, Nasty Nat3
    SATURDAY 10 p.m. Amphitheatre Event Facility, 1609 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $15-$20. (813) 873-8368.
    These days, big name DJ’s come from all over the world. Amsterdam, France, Scotland, and even ’Merica have given birth to some of EDM’s brightest stars, so why not Moldova, too? The small European country (population 2.9 million) is where Andrei Ra hails from, and while stateside audiences know him by a much easier to pronounce name — Andrew Rayel — they know his big hits even better. Mimesis (with Alexander Popov) or his brand new single Chased are current trance set staples and find the rising young producer weaving infectious melodies in with bright textures, simple yet epic chord arrangements, and big drops to create gems that probably make his current label figurehead Armin Van Buuren very happy.

    Anupam Shobhakar
    With Shankhachur Lahiri
    SUNDAY 4:30 p.m. Saint Petersburg College Music Center, 6605 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $5-$15 Donation. (727) 341-4772.
    The Venture Compound’s tuba meets electronic production and composition exhibition on Saturday might not be worldly or string-based enough for you, but worry not because another one of the Burg’s thinking institutions is also offering something nice and dense for the intellectual music lover. The sarod is perhaps the most popular instrument in Hindustani classical music (second only, perhaps, to the sitar) and it’s weirdly meditative tone lends itself to weighty melodic passages that can make you weep (listen to Deep River from Anupam Shobhakar’s 2014 LP with guitarist Joel Harrison) and also get you lost in a sea of string plinks and strums when the Grammy-nominated composer is paired up with masterful tablas players like Shankhachur Lahiri.

    Oktobeerfest Kick Off
    With Serotonic, Row Jomah
    THURSDAY 7:30 p.m. Dunedin Brewery, 937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. Free. (727) 736-0606.
    There is no shortage of local beer festivals looking toward Munich’s gigantic shindig for inspiration, and while the new Hofbräuhaus in St. Pete surely will soak up a lot of the Oktoberfest shine this year, there are many more places to get your fix around Tampa Bay. A Pinellas county stronghold of craft creations, the Dunedin Brewery, continues its long tradition and kicks off their Oktobeerfest celebrations with a pair of jam-leaning locals (Row Jomah and Serotonic) warming things up for Florida favorites the Heavy Pets who arrive in the not-so-sleepy coastal downtown the next day to play a stop on their highly-anticipated 10th Anniversary tour. Music is free, but the booze isn’t, so bring some drinking money.

    With People’s Blues of Richmond, Oxford Noland
    THURSDAY 8 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $10-$13. (813) 241-8600.
    On New Year’s Day 2012, Stokeswood was just some unknown band from Atlanta who happened to be in town playing Ybor City’s New World Brewery the day before the Georgia Bulldogs narrowly lost to Michigan State at the Outback Bowl. Three years later, the group is no stranger to the area, having played what feels like at least a dozen shows at various clubs. They’ve even taken promo shots at downtown Tampa’s Kiley Garden. On Thursday, Stokeswood returns with a new LP, 2075, that finds their already dance-floor ready pop upgraded to Top 40-aiming electro that can still please fans who only know them by their amazing cover of Hall & Oates’ Maneater. A rising local outfit, Oxford Noland, opens and one of the country’s hardest working, delightfully psychedelic young rock 'n’ roll bands, People’s Blues of Richmond, are along for the ride, too.

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  14. Kevin Smith bringing 'Frasier' podcast to the Tampa Improv


    When writer-director Kevin Smith came to the Tampa Improv in August, fans swarmed to snatch up tickets. He's the director of such cult flicks as Clerks, Chasing Amy and Dogma, but he's arguably an even better raconteur, so any time to see him live is worth the price of admission.

    Now he's coming back to the Improv with only one topic on his mind: Frasier.

    Smith will bring his Frasier-themed podcast Talk Salad and Scrambled Eggs to the Improv on Nov. 25, the club has announced. His co-host on Talk Salad and Scrambled Eggs is comedian Matt Mira, best known as the co-host of Chris Hardwick's Nerdist podcast, making this kind of an all-star night of podcastery....

  15. Music Planner: Billy Idol pops off; Dr. Dog, Jose Gonzalez rock the State Theatre; Ybor City adopts Plan B

    Music & Concerts

    REBEL WITH A YELL: Billy Idol

    The fact that Billy Idol has popped up in recent commercials for Bank of America should come as no surprise. He's always been punk's greatest and most shameless showman (apologies to his idol, Johnny Rotten), and sometimes that means playing to a wider pop audience. And boy, does Idol, who returns to Ruth Eckerd Hall on Thursday, know how to play. ...

    Dr. Dog plays Monday night at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg. The Philadelphia band played on the main stage at the Gasparilla Music Festival in 2013.