2019 gave us much in the way of music to celebrate in Northeast Florida; a glorious and eclectic mix of output, to be sure. Here are two tunes we really dug in ’19.
“Aquella Mujer” (Live from Void HQ)
If you haven’t yet seen Riverside’s mighty 10-piece Afro-Cuban Salsa band, LPT play, it’s very likely you’ve been living under a rock. An in-demand “party band” that can flat-out play their a**** off, LPT keeps a fairly relentless performance schedule, and has, in due time, garnered a reputation for goading even the most disinterested wallflowers out onto the dance floor.
In late 2018, we invited the band into Void HQ to record the first of our Into the Void: Office Music Series performances, where they proceeded to tear through the famed Bobby Valentin number “Aquella Mujer.” A heartbreak song in which the narrator comes to terms with the fact that he’d been blindly in love, in LPT’s hands it becomes a cathartic blast of rhythm and melody, with frontman Josué Cruz intoning the heartache, yet keeping things lively. The echo-y confines of our modern-industrial office layout lent a vintage sonic quality to the recording, which ended up as a standout track on our all-local compilation Void on Vinyl (Vol. 1). The band plans to release a pair of singles and a full-length in the coming months.—Matthew Shaw
The Black Toilet
There are music earworms and then there are behemoth mind-annihilators; Dune-sized sandworms that bore into your skull with a resounding, sickly-sweet crack. The Black Toilet’s “What What” is surely in the latter camp. While he is so arcane and cryptic in sonic artistry and public presentation that he seems to border on “anti-celebrity,” the Black Toilet (aka Quanza) lets his music do the talking. Balancing DIY-sci-fi-zinged hip-hop, humor and flat-out weirdness is a dance, and with “What What,” our hero knows all the moves.
“What What” glides along on a pool of sparkling electric piano notes, a tight-crackling beat, and an ostinato bass line so laidback that it sounds like it was recorded in the ICU. The BT rolls out challenger lyrics that morph surrealism at 90-bpm: “MCs freeze up when I walk by / you want to run? / pull up your shoes / have your socks tight / you can’t come like you’re in a school / with a pink eye.” While “What What” was actually released in 2018, we are bending space and time and grandfathering the tune into 2019; because it’s a timeless track. Local-rooted director Walker Flocker made an equally weird and eerie vid for the tune, as seen on YouTube.
The Black Toilet/Quanzo has kept busy since dropping this Void fave. “Meth,” his collab with fellow Duval artist The Yellow Kid, sounds like a mystical holla fired off from a clandestine Promethazine incense lab, secreted deep in Kathmandu. Book your flight now!—Daniel A. Brown
These entries originally appeared as part of our feature “The Music We Needed: 19 Songs we loved in 2019” in Void Magazine, Vol. 10, Issue 6.