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Florida

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Biography

Perhaps the most enigmatic rock band of the twin cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Florida's four members first began performing together in 1997. The group self-released two albums of unique, deceptively complex pop/rock: 1997's somewhat rough-edged Golden Sun Songbook, and 2000's smoother-sounding Drum Solo on the Bumpers. While the young band made some predictable missteps (which actually worked more in the band's favor by enhancing their seemingly off-the-cuff brilliance), both records remain superlative examples of pop and rock songwriting. Contemporaneously fun, poignant, and timeless, they remain largely undiscovered gems. Florida was a band unencumbered by any artistic pretensions or ego; the group shared songwriting and lead vocal duties, with guitarist Tony Mogelson supplying the majority of the songs, and thereby occupying the dubious position of de facto frontman. Amazingly, all four musicians displayed an uncanny ear for melody and a knack for creative playing. All were capable vocalists, and both albums featured three-part harmonies and well-placed brass accompaniments — Florida's immediately recognizable trademarks. It's difficult to understand why the group never quite caught on, though a lack of live support for their records, an apparent disregard for self-promotion, and an ultimately mysterious existence didn't further their cause. Rarely playing out and sometimes forgoing live shows for years at a time, it's a testament to the solidity of the band's music that it remains popular in and around the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. With no official statement as to their future as a band, it's highly doubtful Florida will regroup. Guitarist Mike Brady continues to play with the neo-swing/country group Accident Clearinghouse, moonlights with party pop group Walker Kong, and fronts his own project, the Mike Brady Trio. Bassist Peter Robelia is also involved with Walker Kong, and drummer Kevin Riach lives and teaches in Hawaii. Tony Mogelson, the closest thing Florida had to a frontman, is evidently missing in action.

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