Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Vera Fang's lone 7" shows why they were unique and promising

Artist: Vera Fang
Title: Conscumption
Label: Army of Bad Luck
Release date: 2008

With Vera Fang's first, and likely final, 7", it takes just one listen to know they were a talented young band with a lot of promise and imagination.

Conscumption is four songs of well-crafted indie-art-rock crossed with dark storytelling.

The a-side has two tunes which display the talents of vocalist Zopi Kristjanson and guitarist Jeff Cook, as "Conscumption" and "Herd" sound like a cross between Sonic Youth when they were daring and interesting and a less shouty Mika Miko.

B-sider "Role Dolls" is a slower tune that allows the other two Vera Fang members, bassist Sunni Johnson and drummer Preston Charges, to shine while remaining as energetic and delightfully odd as its a-side counterparts.

The last track, "Neon Neverland," is the strong point of this release. The lyrics sound like something from a 1960's art house, while the music sounds like it came from the 1990's. That's a nice change from the typical local band that sounds like a '60's band but has vulgar lyrics just so you'll know they are from this century.

Vera Fang must have preferred the b-side's tracks, as well, since they included a CD with this release which has all four songs plus bizarre remixes of both "Role Dolls" ("Role Model (Chopper City Mix") and "Neon Neverland" ("Sugnillacsidnalrevennoen", or "Neon Neverland is calling us" backwards).

Monday, December 29, 2008

A debut, rare appearance, and reunion were a late Christmas present for Star Bar patrons

A debut, a rare appearance, and a reunion all occurred the night after Christmas, and like many good shows at The Star Bar, it was free.

The Electric Cycles debuted that night, though the band already has t-shirts, buttons, and eight original songs. The group plays straightforward rock music with helpings of punk, garage, surf, and psychedelic influences.

For a first gig, things went well. Matt from The now-defunct Barberries is in the group, and it was great to see his familiar red guitar back on the Star Bar stage. He also played organ on a couple of tunes, just like he does in Double Dynamite.

Do not let the Barberries and Double Dynamite connections fool you. This band is much more serious and "grown up," though they are still energetic and fun. Seeing how they develop should be interesting, beginning with their next show this Saturday at Criminal Records.

Up next was a rare appearance by The Holland Dutch. The two guys-two girls indie rockers are, as bassist Erin Bradley Dangar put it, "like ABBA before 'Knowing Me, Knowing You' when they all got divorced." They cannot write songs quite like ABBA could (few bands can), but they put on a good live show with their mix of straightforward rock and XTC-style pop.

El Capitan and Thee Scallywags reunited and closed out the night with their usual blend of surf rock and Ennio Morricone inspired spaghetti western tunes. It was the first time in a while that the band has wowed an Atlanta audience with one of their all-instrumental sets, as their drummer moved earlier this year. Surprisingly, they did not lose him to New York. Instead, he's now a citizen of Vancouver, British Columbia.

While a band that has not practiced together in ages is not going to put on one of their better shows, El Capitan still earned an encore.

It was a good night overall, and The Electric Cycles can now be added to a growing list of new bands everyone should keep an eye on in 2009.

Friday, December 26, 2008

A single for those who are gleefully waving goodbye to Christmas

Artist: Gentleman Jesse and His Men and Fever B
Title: A Seasonal Seven Inch
Label: Die Slaughterhaus Records
Release date: Not around the holidays

Not everyone loves Christmas or the nauseating songs that accompany it, and Die Slaughterhaus has the perfect record for those who are not religious or materialistic enough to enjoy traditional, force-fed tunes.

On A Seasonal Seven Inch, Gentleman Jesse Smith and his songwriting compatriot Fever B (Brian Hermosillo of The Fevers and Sweet Faces) used Christmas as an excuse to add to their catalogs of pure pop goodness.

For the A-side, the original Gentleman Jesse lineup provided a song that's as good as anything else they have released. "Christmas Hangover" may be the most Costell-esque Gentleman Jesse song to date, as pure pop goodness is the backdrop to biting, sarcastic lyrics about a less than reverent way to "celebrate the day Jesus was born."

Fever B's flipside is just as potent, as "Down With Christmas" mixes traditional rock and roll with a negative view of the holidays. Even if you are down with Christmas cheer, you'll catch yourself singing along with this infectious chorus by the third or fourth listen.

While 7 Inch Atlanta does not condone being a total wet blanket at Christmas and ruining a good time for friends and family, we do suggest giving this record a spin when you need a break from overly positive tunes like "Frosty The Snowman," that shitty Alabama song they play in most supermarkets and the entirety of Billy Idol's Happy Holidays album.

Plus, this 7" is kind of like that Carbonas/Die Rottz split because it's still available at the local record shop, though it's just as good as some of the singles that go for a pretty penny on Ebay.

Post-Christmas events for Barberries and Mammals fans

There's a free show tonight for those of us who were trapped in Redneck Hell last night when Gentleman Jesse was at the Earl spreading holiday cheer.

El Capitan and Thee Scallywags are headlining The Star Bar's free after-Christmas party. The Electric Cycles, a new band featuring Matt from Double Dynamite and The Barberries, will debut. The Holland Dutch are also scheduled to appear. This should be a excellent free show, and 7 Inch Atlanta! will be there to exploit it.

On Saturday, the remaining members of The Mammals and Barberries will team up to perform at The Highland Inn.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Three promising bands and a comedic duo raised funds for a good cause

Three new bands and a wacky side project teamed to help a friend in need Saturday at Lenny's at the latest Bobby Ubangi Preservation Society benefit show.

Up first were Double Dynamite, the comedic garage rock duo of Matt from the now-deceased Barberries and Nate from Cars Can Be Blue. The guitar-less duo features Nate on drums and Matt on keys with both men splitting vocal duties. Together, they have a blast as they attempt to start a new craze with "the chicken dance." Was their act absurd at times? Yes, but good natured absurdity is the whole concept behind Double Dynamite.

Nate observed before the show that the band order for the night went from oldest band to newest band, as Double Dynamite have been together a couple of years and the three other bands on the bill all formed in 2008.

The show was then stolen by three bands who debuted in 2008 and look to have a 2009 chock-full of live gigs and studio recordings.

Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction were the first newcomers to grace the stage, and they played a good though shorter than usual set. "$.49 Hot Dog Day" is still the crowd favorite, but "Coke Dick," which they recently recorded with Peter from Gringo Star, is emerging as the band's best song. They also played their simplistic though catchy ode to the Supreme Genius himself, King Khan.

Predator, a straightforward punk three-piece formed from the ashes of Frantic, were next, and they ripped through their growing catalog. This was their first show in a while because Mike and Brannon have been touring Europe with Beat Beat Beat, and the trio picked up where they left off Halloween night. Songs now becoming familiar to Atlanta audiences like "Helicopter" and "Little Prince" highlighted Predator's energetic set.

The Poison Arrows, or Poison Assholes as Tuk put it, closed out the unusually warm December night with yet another shorter than usual yet still rewarding set. Like Predator, The Poison Arrows' songs are becoming familiar with Atlanta audiences. Among those songs are powerpop gems "Shakin' All Over" and "Sticky Situations." Though the band probably came close to smothering under the hot stage lights, they put on their second best gig to date. With a brief tour with The Cute Lepers and Queers on the horizon and multiple 7"s in the works, The Poison Arrows' 2009 may be the most promising of any Atlanta band outside of The Coathangers and Black Lips.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Updated lineup for Saturday's BJ benefit

I just read that Saturday's Bobby Ubangi benefit will feature Double Dynamite (Matt from The now deceased Barberries and Nate from Cars Can Be Blue), Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction, The Poison Arrows, and Predator (featuring former members of Beat Beat Beat and Frantic). I had mentioned before that The Coathangers were set to play, but their Myspace does not list any upcoming shows.

Don't be a Douche. Check out one of the Carbonas' best singles.

Artist: The Carbonas
Title: Blackout (Waiting to Happen)
Label: Douchemaster Records
Release date: First came out in 2005

This 7”, made slightly more available a while back by Douchemaster Records, is one of the best to come out of Atlanta this decade and gives listeners a taste of why The Carbonas’ earlier singles are almost impossible to find at a reasonable price.

The title track, “Blackout (Waiting to Happen),” features the best Carbonas lineup (Jesse on bass and Josh on guitar) at its best. Anyone who has seen The Carbonas live since 2004 likely remembers the hardcore-inspired song where the band stops on a dime only to launch right back into the song without missing a beat. The composing of this tune was a key moment in Carbona history, and it sounds every bit as energetic on this 7”.

Both b-side tracks are good though lesser-known tunes. “(Your Love is) Inside Out” is a guitar-driven tune with a catchy, repetitive hook. Maybe it was the sneak-preview of Gentleman Jesse? Seriously, this sped-up powerpop tune is worthy of being sandwiched in between two very good songs.

The final track, “Nostalgia Buff,” is a hidden gem. It’s almost like a rougher-around-the-edges version of the band’s earlier sound (think “Frothing at the Mouth”).

Douchemaster Records still has copies of this one available online. Buy it, or at the very least download the title track off Douchemaster’s website.

Stolen Minks' latest album shows band's growth as songwriters

Artist: The Stolen Minks
Title: High Kicks
Label: New Romance For Kids
Release date: Sept. 16, 2008

On High Kicks, Halifax, Nova Scotia’s Stolen Minks prove that they have come into their own as songwriters, as clever covers have given way to eight well-crafted originals.

The album opens with “Bring It,” which is a fast-paced, autobiographical party-starter that is guaranteed to get your feet moving. Like other songs on the album, this one shows the versatility the band is allowed through their use of three vocalists.

Next is “Northend Strangler,” which, despite its sinister title and opening sample, is packed full of upbeat, keyboard-driven goodness.

“Reflexes” is a standout track because it is totally different than anything on The Stolen Minks’ debut CD or EP. This guitar-driven track and its slightly distorted vocals makes the Minks sound more like a really good Kill Rocks Stars band than a group that does well-played Link Wray covers.

“Get Wet” is another standout which shows off the band’s musical development and the band’s penchant for using all of their vocal talents on the same tune. The song also has a memorable chorus that’s anchored by torrential drumming and a catchy hook.

Up next is the repetitive, mid-tempo tune “Consecutives,” which is the weakest track on the album. When your album's worst track is actually very good when it's not getting compared to single-worthy cuts like "Reflexes," you're doing something right.

Your Broken Heart” and “I Hate You” are good old fashioned punk tunes. The latter is not a Carbonas cover, though the girls are known to play a banging live version of “Lost Cause.” Instead, it’s an energetic, rough-around-the-edges tune which could easily be covered by the Carbonas.

The album wraps up with “Viola Desmond,” which is another out-of-left-field tune that shows the band can still rock out while indulging in a little folksy storytelling.

Before this album came out, The Stolen Minks were already a top-notch band. With these songs added to their growing canon, the all-girl trio is now on par with fellow Canadian girls Vancougar.

The Stolen Minks’ newest release may not have an instant classic about sex with Batman like their first album, but it does have eight kick-ass originals by one of Canada’s finest exports.

For a fun bonus, scope out The Stolen Minks' tour blog, which includes plenty of pictures of cats, dogs, and Chevy Chase worship and an entry about the show they played at The Earl with The Renegades/Black Lips and The Goodnight Loving. In that entry, the band reveals they will be back this spring to play an Atlanta show with New York's Vivian Girls. That will be a can't miss show.

Another star-studded BJ benefit

Saturday at Lenny's, The Coathangers, Poison Arrows, Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction, and Double Dynamite are set to play a benefit for Bobby Ubangi. It costs $10, but the proceeds go to a good cause.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ghosts of Christmas present

There will be a rare Spooks gig Thursday at Eyedrum, and it will be for a good cause. Abby Go Go and two other bands are scheduled to play.

We barely knew ye

This is copy-and-pasted from The Barberries' MySpace page:

The shitty Barberries are officially defunct, but the remaining members (the cool ones) will be debuting with their new band on January 2nd in the living room of the former Barberries headquarters. The band will be called Knoel and the S.S. and will feature Josh Johnson of Pinche Gringo and Nate Mitchell of Cars Can Be Blue. Expect this shit to rock!

Three bands play a fun, and free, show

Knife and the Fourth Ward Daggers' first gig in nearly four months went down Tuesday at Lenny's, as the punk trio shared the bill with messthetic rockers Facehugger and Thee always charismatic Crucials.

Facehugger was up first, and they feature a manic lead singer who often looks like he is having a seizure and a drum machine. It's a shame they do not have a live drummer to replace the latter, but otherwise this band has the right pieces in place. David, the keyboardist from Derek Lyn Plastic, plays the same role in this group, though he got out of his seat a few times to play drums or guitar. Facehugger does not play weird indie-rock. Instead, their sound is closer to weird punk rock like Suicide. That is a good thing, of course.

Knife was next, and his band had a bit of stage-rust to work off at first. Fortunately, the band got better as the show went on, and the last two songs sounded superb. While Knife may have seemed unhappy with the band's performance, the Fourth Ward Daggers' sound had the sparse crowd dancing as if the band was as sharp as they sounded at Tromapalooza.

The last band up was Thee Crucials, who are known for their live energy and charisma. While their music is nothing new, seeing a couple of guys in dress shirts and ties who are willing to run out into the audience while playing so they can solicit high-fives is a bit different than seeing the usual, static throwback band. The band's liveliness grew as the set went on. Their frontman was actually more lively during the last two songs, which included a cover of "A Little Bit 'O Soul," than he was before he had even broke a sweat.

Overall, it was a fun and free concert. Since there was nothing else affordable going on last night, it's a shame there was not a larger crowd.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Knife and company are back!

Knife and the Fourth Ward Daggers will play their first show in months Tuesday at Lenny's along with Thee Crucials and Facehugger. The best part is, it's free. The worst part is The Poison Arrows cancelled, but they'll be playing Lenny's Saturday night along with 7 Inch Atlanta favorites Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction and The Coathangers.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Detroit rockers make a strange brew of styles work

Artist: The Terrible Twos
Title: Grey Ghost Street
Label: Italy Records
Release Date: December 2008

On their latest 7”, Grey Ghost Street, Detroit’s Terrible Twos prove to be a strange amalgam of styles.

The title track mixes hardcore and electro-punk with a trace amount of metal, as distorted vocals collide with scorching guitars. It’s as if these guys grew up hearing some of the more famous bands from their town, and they are not afraid to bring all of their musical influences to the table.

If that’s not strange enough, the band has a keyboardist, and he plays a big part in their sound both live and on the record. His contributions, instead of adding a happy dance-worthy element to the band’s sound, actually makes tunes like “Grey Ghost Street” sound sinister, and not in a cheesy horror movie soundtrack kind of way. Think Derek Lyn Plastic or even some of TSOL’s output instead of more upbeat groups like The Coathangers or B-52s.

The flipside opens with a brief, rough-around-the-edges instrumental called “Hang On, I Gotta Do This,” and ends with “Creep Cloud.” The last tune is an angry, straightforward rocker where more than just the vocals sound a little distorted.

There’s too many bands out there trying to re-record old sounds and not enough bands like The Terrible Twos who are willing to take elements from their favorite types of bands and mix them to create a new yet familiar sound.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Lots of good news for record collectors

First and foremost, The Black Lips have announced Feb. 24, 2009, as the release date for their next Vice Records album, 200 Million Thousand.

Also, Full Breach Kicks announced today that three new singles are available for pre-order.

Atlanta's Poison Arrows first 7", "Sticky Situations," is coming soon and the first 100 copies are on gold vinyl. This one will feature gold-worthy tracks "Sticky Situations," "Shakin' All Over," and "Wild Hearts Beat Free." This is the first of several upcoming releases by one of Atlanta's best new acts.

Josh Martin from The Carbonas and Beat Beat Beat is in a new band called Ex-Humans, and their debut 7", "Chicane," is also available for pre-order from Full Breach Kicks. This band also has ties to the fantastic Star Spangles. The b-side is a tune called "Detector." The first 100 copies are on Coke bottle-colored vinyl.

Plexi 3, Milwaukee's best pop trio, will follow up two of the best 7"s in recent memory, including this year's "We Know Better," with their Full Breach Kicks debut, "Timebox." The Full Breach Kicks Website describes the new tune as "a catchy pop take on screwed up humanity." The flipside will be another potential pop classic in "What Love is For." The first 100 are on clear vinyl.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Farewell show featured five solid acts

A concert featuring two promising new groups, some eclectic out-of-towners and two of Atlanta's best bands lived up to the hype Monday, as Bukkake Boys, Poison Arrows, Terrible Twos, Gentleman Jesse and Beat Beat Beat put on a show at the Drunken Unicorn which was worth well more than the $5 cost of admission.

The Bukkake Boys were up first, and they ripped through their set like a tropical storm. They only played for about eight minutes, but since they are a hardcore band that means they had time to play five or six songs. The sparse audience enjoyed it, though only two people were animated enough to stand front-and-center and feed off the band's energy.

Up second was Detroit's The Terrible Twos. Though the audience did not seem to latch onto these guys, they put on a good, and very different, show. The group could be labeled hardcore, though their keyboardist plays a prominent role in their sound. There is also an unexpected and refreshing taste of metal influence in their music. Hearing how these influences come across on the band's new 7" should be interesting.

The Poison Arrows then took the night to another level, as they played the best of their four gigs. Anchored by solid tunes like "Shakin All Over," the band did what they needed to do-- they improved shortcomings from their first shows and built on their strong points. Hopefully, The Poison Arrows will be a tight unit by the beginning of 2009, since they have several 7"s and a tour with the Queers and Cute Lepers on the horizon.

So far, The Poison Arrows sound like a mix between The Exploding Hearts and Slade, but do not be surprised if their punk rock influences begin to show.

Gentleman Jesse and His Men were next-to-last, and they played the best set of the night. Singalong classics from their debut 7" and tunes from the album of the year were on the set list, as expected. One surprise, though, was a performance of "Christmas Hangover" from Die Slaughterhaus' Seasonal Seven Inch. Not since Run DMC or Pansy Division has someone cut a better "Christmas song for people who hate Christmas songs," and it came across well live.

Beat Beat Beat closed the night with what may have been their last show. That's been said about the band at least three times now, so it would not be unfair to say they've made more comebacks than James Brown after he put his cape on.

Seriously, the band got off to a slow start due to some technical issues, but once they got their act together they put on the solid show they likely played in shitty European bars throughout November.

The band played most of the songs in their repertoire, including a new tune and classics like "Sick Sad World" and "Eyeballs Jones." Toward the end of the set, they played an energetic and memorable rendition of "Leave Me Out" as Josh Martin reminded his former hometown that he is a brilliant frontman.

If Beat Beat Beat is done permanently, or at least for the time being, they have nothing to be ashamed of when they look back on a legacy that includes a sold-out single, a tremendous album, a European tour and numerous memorable shows in front of their Atlanta friends.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tonight is the night of an anticipated show

I expect Beat Beat Beat to be a tight unit after playing a slew of shows together in Europe.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Punk rock advent calendar with free songs

For those of us who normally hate Christmas songs:


Four bands celebrate Juggz' 30th birthday

Four bands with ties to Die Slaughterhaus Records threw Jessica Juggz an exciting 30th birthday party Thursday at the Clermont Lounge.

First up was Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction, featuring Juggz on drums. The band was playing their second birthday celebration in as many shows (Morgan's birthday was celebrated at the infamous Barberrie house show). There was less cake-smearing (that came later in the night) and a better set than the band's previous outing as they played all of their songs, including their ode to King Khan. As the band played, the Clermont's infamous dancers got to do interpretive dances to songs like "$.49 Hot Dog Day." That alone made this a memorable set.

Coffin Bound, one of the most unique and under-appreciated bands in Atlanta, was next. They got off to a shaky start on their first song before quickly adjusting and putting on arguably the best set of the night. As always, Coffin Bound sounded like a mix between garage rock, punk, blues and Southern rock with a little Alice Cooper sprinkled in (if just saying they sound like The Exploding Hearts or early Rolling Stones would suffice, that'd be boring).

The Coathangers, the obvious choice to play a birthday party since they usually bring balloons and party favors, played third and continued to wow Atlanta with their newest songs. The Suicide Squeeze album which will likely include some of these new songs like "Getting Mad and Pumping Iron" and "Cheap, Cheap" should be as anticipated as the next Black Lips album. Old favorites like "Tonya Harding" and "Don't Touch My Shit" were also played during a typical (in a good way), energetic Coathangers set.

Finally, Juggz returned to the stage as frontwoman of her hard rock outfit, Mourdella. They put on a good show which got as much reaction from bar patrons as it did from the usual concert goers.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Video from the first-ever Poison Arrows gig

Here's a video of The Poison Arrows' historic first gig Oct. 25 at the Doo Gallery. I'm at work right now, so there's no telling if the sound quality is up to snuff.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

One of their newest and best should get you pumped up for Thursday night

Here's a video of The Coathangers playing one of their newer songs. The band's newer songs are some of their best songs, so their upcoming Suicide Squeeze LP/CD should be one of the early musical highlights of 2009. Catch The Coathangers tomorrow night when they play with Mourdella, Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction, and Coffin Bound at the Clermont.

If King Khan is a Baby Dinosaur, we should all strive to be one.

Here's the poster for Thursday's birthday party/concert. If there was a video game where you had to book an Atlanta venue without going broke or getting The Black Lips to play under a different name, I'd totally line up these four bands.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A full night of punk rock, alcohol, and rare records

The East Atlanta Icehouse will host a special event, "A Punka Punka Burning Love," Friday which will feature 10 punk bands and a rare records and merchandise booth.

Among the bands scheduled are Atlanta acts Chet Knight and the No Disciples (featuring the longtime member of The Templars and APA and the Icehouse's booking manager), Tendaberry, Unemployed Gurus, The Intoxicated and We Don't Stop.

In addition, touring punk bands Independent Progress (Minneapolis) and Amish Electric Chair (Athens, Ohio) are on the bill.

I'm not sure who The Remingtons are, but Friday will be a good chance to find out since they'll be playing with The Misfits next Tuesday night at the Masquerade (as will Courtesy Murder and We Don't Stop). Tragic Truth is also an unknown, but you never know when a band might go from being a no name to a new favorite.

The show is free if you have a ticket for the Murphy's Law gig Saturday at the Masquerade. Otherwise, the show costs $8 at the door.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Straightforward, catchy tunes by an Atlanta mainstay

Artist: Bobby and the Soft Spots
Title: Can’t Get Her Off
Label: Rob’s House and Die Slaughterhaus
Release date: November 2008

Two of Atlanta’s top labels teamed up to make this, the latest release by Bobby Ubangi, a reality.

Ubangi, a founding member of both The Carbonas and The Lids, provides vocals on two lo-fi tunes and is backed by Trey from Rob’s House on guitar, Mark from Die Slaugtherhaus on bass and Beat Beat Beat’s Stephen on tambourine and Mike on drums.

The title track, “Can’t Get Her Off,” is a catchy tune with straightforward lyrics that is played at breakneck speed. If you are tired of everyone being all nice and powerpop, give this song a few spins.

“I Don’t Need You” is a slower, guitar-driven tune that sounds like it could have been plucked from a session with Bobby’s other band, Blade II.

This 7” is definitely worth picking up if you dig either version of The Gaye Blades (Bobby’s band with Jared from The Black Lips). Proceeds from record sales will benefit Bobby, since he is currently battling cancer.

Birthday bash this Thursday

This Thursday at the Clermont Lounge, four top Atlanta bands will play Jessica Juggz' birthday extravaganza. Both of Jessica's bands, Mourdella and Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction, will share the stage with Die Slaughterhaus brethren Coffin Bound and party-starting extraordinaires The Coathangers. If the well-seasoned dancers don't excite you, the music will.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Strange brew of bands made for great pre-Thanksgiving entertainment

Derek Lyn Plastic closed out a month of Wednesday night appearances at the Star Bar this week by appearing second on a bill featuring three very different bands.

Female-fronted indie rockers Vera Fang played first to an already sizable crowd and may have played the best set of the night. Vocalist Zopi Kristjanson and guitarist Jeff Cook’s styles combine to make Vera Fang sound like a really good Kill Rock Stars band. Kristjanson also has the performance element down, as well, to the point that she should be first in line if Mika Miko ever wants to audition for a third vocalist. Bassist Sunni Johnson was way less animated on stage than Zopi, but a little shoegazing is okay if you are steadily providing the backbone of your band’s sound.

On second was Derek Lyn Plastic, as they cranked out their fourth solid show in as many weeks. DLP continues to improve on their new material while sticking with older tunes like “Negative Feelings.” As always, fantastic drumming and Derek’s frantic vocals stole the post-apocalyptic electro-punk show.

What type of band would follow a really good Kill Rock Stars band and electro-punk pioneers? Heavy metal is not the logical answer here, but that’s what the audience got with the guitar-heavy sounds of Das Manics.

The group, fronted by Matt from hardcore heroes The Despised, did all the things you would expect (made eardrums bleed, summoned up demons from Hell, said “fuck” and “goddamn” a bunch of times in between songs, etc.) and had a good, sloppy-drunk time in the process. They even treated the audience to a not-as-good-as-The-Dictators-but-still-exciting cover of “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath. Overall, it was a fun and energetic set, even for us powerpop softies who do not get into metal.

While that lineup probably sounds like three pieces that do not fit together, it worked on this particular (or should I say peculiar) night, as the grace of Vera Fang, energy of DLP, and power of Das Manics made for a complete night of pre-Thanksgiving entertainment.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Beat Beat Beat in Germany, Nov. 20

DLP, Coffin Bound play upcoming festive shows

Tonight, Derek Lyn Plastic will wrap up a month-long Star Bar residency along with an odd pairing of Vera Fang and Das Manics. If you like any of those acts, come out and be confused by the other bands on the bill. I kid, of course. It should be a fun and eclectic night.

Then on Thanksgiving, the Star Bar will host a free show featuring leftover pie, Coffin Bound, Pinche Gringo (you might remember him from a show with The Carbonas and The Pets back in the summer), and The Long Shadows. Check it out. It'll be a good chance to dance off the extra pounds you pick up at your folks' house.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Southern music for swamp people

Artist: Jacuzzi Boys
Title: I Fought a Crocodile
Label: Rob’s House Records
Release date: November 2008
Color: If you find it, it’ll be black. The colored vinyl sold out in about 20 hours.

Last week, Miami’s Jacuzzi Boys became the latest Rob’s House band to sell out a single in a blink of an eye when copies of the new “I Fought a Crocodile” 7” sold like hotcakes.

Those who were fortunate enough to get this 7” on colored vinyl will not be disappointed with the three-piece’s two newest swamp-inspired garage-pop tunes.

“I Fought a Crocodile” begins with nature sounds but quickly launches into a funky rock song with very catchy pop lyrics. From the subject matter to the “woo hoo” backup vocals, this song really would make a good soundtrack for a crocodile fighting exhibition.

The b-side, “Blowin’ Kisses,” has a raw, bluesy Southern rock feel reminiscent of Austell’s Coffin Bound, though this track is not as rough-around-the-edges as the typical Coffin Bound tune.

On the cover, there is a painting by Farley Aguilar of Gabriel, Danny and Diego in a Florida swamp wrangling a crocodile. This clever, eye-catching image of the Jacuzzi Boys in their tighty-whiteys shows why Rob’s House may be Atlanta’s most consistent label when it comes to cover art.

Chase this record down if you get the chance. Once you hear it, you will be itching to hear this band live.

House show rumble ends with a cake-slinging good time

Five bands, including two coming fresh off Friday’s fantastic King Khan and BBQ Show gig, played a sloppy yet fun house show Saturday at the Barberrie House in Decatur.

The first band, Odist, played about four mostly-instrumental songs led by a six-string bass and numerous foot pedals.

Turf War came all the way from Augusta to play with The Barberries, and they played a decent set of straightforward rock music.

On third was the host band, The Barberries, but tensions and alcohol reduced their set to one poorly played song. At least their drama happened in their own living room, right? Here’s hoping that The Barberries play another show together and it does not involve fake blood or real violence. Otherwise, their last two shows might not be fondly remembered though the band has had a good run and released a solid 7”.

Up fourth was Cars Can Be Blue, as the Athens band played their last U.S. gig for a while since they flew out Sunday to the U.K. to play a brief tour with Hotpants Romance. Nate and Becky always argue in jest, but hard liquor that was drank and intentionally spilled may have added some real tension to their set. Regardless, they put on a decent set which mostly consisted of songs from their first album. Poppy hits like “Cat is Out” and the always popular “Retarded Retard” made for a good performance, all things considered.

Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction wrapped up a rather bizarre night with their fifth gig in eight days. It was also the band’s first chance in a while to headline and the first time they were guaranteed to have the best set out of any Atlanta band on the bill.

Thankfully, Baby Dinosaurs delivered. They played all of their songs, including the song about King Khan they unveiled Friday, and even treated the audience to an encore of “Coke Dick.”

Saturday’s house show doubled as Morgan’s birthday bash. Instead of slipping and sliding on fake blood like the band did the night before, there was cake all over the place. In fact, Morgan and Mark had cake on their faces early in the set. They totally could have recreated the cover of Damned, Damned, Damned and used it as a promotion shot.

After all of the official bands were finished, members of The Barberries, Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction, The Mammals, Ominous Castle, and Cars Can Be Blue threw together random collectives and jammed. Some of these pairings sounded better than a couple of the bands that played earlier in the night.

The Supreme Genius asks, "Who the Hell ordered pizza?"

Artist: King Khan and BBQ Show
Title: Animal Party
Label: Fat Possum Records
Release date: Fall 2008

King Khan, an internationally known German recording star and a friend of the Atlanta scene, recently hooked up with his pal BBQ for a fun, party-starting single called “Animal Party.”

On the title track, Khan’s soulful vocals and farm animal noises combine with garage rock guitars and percussion. To put this track in Atlanta terms, it’s like combining the fun and enthusiasm of The Coathangers with the minimalist though precise sounds of The Black Lips.

“God of Raisins” is the b-side and it mixes 1960’s rock and roll with background vocals that are reminiscent of old gospel songs and Negro spirituals. Seriously. This tune is less amusing lyrically than the title track, but it does display the musical talents that make Khan and BBQ one of the world’s best live acts.

The packaging even comes with a coloring book which tells the story of the title track and even chronicles the lyrics. Who else but King Khan would give his fans a chance to color a tit-slinging pig, elephants and cows with human noses, a fishnet-wearing zebra and a cartoon of himself in drag?

Definitely check this zaniness out. Few acts can both make you dance and laugh like Khan and BBQ can.

King Khan packs out Lenny's in spite of a total bloodbath

One of the world’s best live acts, King Khan and BBQ Show, packed Lenny’s Friday and put on one of the best shows of the year.

Beforehand, four local acts played to what might have been each group’s largest audience to date.

Johnny Buffalo and The Mutinous Noise played first to an already packed crowd and ensured those of us who came out early would hear a little bit of everything throughout the night when they broke out a lengthy drum solo.

Up next was The N.E.C., as they roared through their guitar-driven set to the delight of the growing crowd. Like the two bands that followed, The N.E.C. is getting their name known in Atlanta through playing constant shows at venues like Lenny’s and The Star Bar.

The now three-piece Barberries made the stage sloppy as they brought a bucket of fake blood that ended up on most of the people who were fortunate enough to have a standing spot at the front of the stage. Was it supposed to be berry juice because of the band’s name? Regardless, the guys played a good set in spite of the mess they regretfully made, though the absence of Matt on lead guitar takes away the wacky solo in “Americana Junkie” and the psychedelic goodness of the band’s best song, “69/70.”

Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction then paved the way for King Khan with a set that was similar in quality to their solid Wednesday night performance at the Star Bar. What used to be a four or five song set has turned into an eight or nine song set for Baby D. vs. X., as they have seamlessly worked tunes like “Skeleton” and “Jeremy” into their rotation. Outside of Jessica Juggz slipping on Barberrie blood and falling on her butt after “Playa Hermosa,” things went well for the always improving group.

Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction even unveiled a new song, “King Khan is a Baby Dino,” written by Juggz especially for Friday’s show. It was to the Baby Dinos what that silly Halloween song was to Predator a few weeks ago. It was a decent though simplistic song that could be re-worded and used on other occasions, or maybe left as-is and be a catchy B-side for an upcoming 7”.

Finally, King Khan and BBQ Show whipped the crowd into a frenzy with their two-piece garage rock act that can only be matched in quality by Atlanta’s own Black Lips. Throughout Khan’s butt-wiggling set, he proved to be a diverse and talented musician and songwriter. While the most rocking songs sounded like 1950’s rock and roll, Khan and BBQ also broke out slower tunes and even showed some signs of rockabilly influence.

Like last Friday’s Atlanta Mess-Around (The Carbonas’ set in particular), it was as much the crowd’s energy that made the night as it was the bands’ performances. During King Khan, things were the craziest and I wound up dancing with all kinds of strangers in what was a workout as much as it was a good time.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Expect a blitz of posts tomorrow

Tomorrow, expect to read:
• A review of Friday's King Khan and BBQ Show . That gig featured plenty of fake blood and booty wiggling.
• A review of Saturday's bizarre yet fun and memorable attempt at a house show hosted by The Barberries.
• Reviews of the new King Khan and BBQ Show and Jacuzzi Boys 7"s.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A full weekend

Tonight is the main event, as King Khan and BBQ Show will perform along with local favorites like The Barberries and Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction.

On Saturday, The Barberries return to action along with other bands, including Baby D. vs. X. and everyone's favorite UK-bound pop duo, Cars Can Be Blue.

Finally, Sunday will bring Miami's Jacuzzi Boys to Atlanta and 97 Estoria. They will be selling copies of their 7", which came out on Rob's House Records and sold out very quickly. They will share the stage with The Poison Arrows. Catch Atlanta's fastest rising band while you still can.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hotpants no chance

Here's a fun video of a fun song by Cars Can Be Blue's tour mates.

DLP, Baby Dinos play outstanding residency show

Derek Lyn Plastic continued his successful run as the Star Bar's resident artist of the month last night at a show which also included two very different acts.

Up first were the improving and always delightful Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction. The girls and Mark played a solid set and changed their set list as "Playa Hermosa," the usual set-ender, was the second or third song and a new song was unveiled. They also saved their best, ".$49 Hot Dog Day," for last.

Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction have a busy weekend ahead of them, as they will open for King Khan and BBQ Show (a great live act that's second only to the Black Lips in our little musical world) Friday and will appear at the Barberrie House Saturday with 7" Atlanta favorites The Barberries and Cars Can Be Blue.

The second band of the night, The Sunglasses, totally changed tempo with what could be described as sped-up thrash metal. While they are not what DLP's audience is used to hearing, The Sunglasses were not terrible by no means thanks to some fantastic drumming.

The headliner, Derek Lyn Plastic, copied Baby D. vs. X. by changing up his set list a bit and adding some new tunes. While DLP's performance did not match their brilliant set from two weeks ago, they still put on a good show and served as a good ending to a great night of music.

Next week, DLP will wrap up a month-long residency by playing on a rather unusual bill with Vera Fang and Das Manics. It will be three good but very different acts for $3.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

DLP continues his residency, plays with Baby D. vs. X.

Plus Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction! Come out tonight for two of my favorite local acts and the chance to check out a couple of new bands for only $3.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Carbonas, Spits made Mess-around's first night worthwhile

Six solid bands, including the incomparable Spits, played Friday at the first night of The Earl's Atlanta Mess-Around.

Up first well before 9 p.m. was Blade II, the sequel to The Gaye Blades. Jared Swilley of The Black Lips and Bobby Ubangi of The Lids teamed up once again, and were joined by Carbonas members Jesse Smith and Dave Rahn.

Blade II may have had the most solid set, start to finish, of Friday's six bands. The band's early rock-and-roll sound is further enhanced by the addition of Smith, as he joined Ubangi on each song in a battle of dueling Rickenbackers.

They were followed by The Wax Museums, who recently released a Douchemaster Records LP. The Texas quartet played an energetic set and was led by a rather animated lead singer who kept the crowd interested in his band's sped-up punk tunes. The Wax Museums were good enough that they could have easily played fifth and got the crowd prepped for hearing the similar sounds of The Spits.

Atlanta's All Night Drug Prowling Wolves batted third and played what came across as a mix of straightforward indie rock that had traces of Motown and soul influence. While the band was talented and had a few catchy tunes, it almost seemed unfair that they were expected to follow The Wax Museums.

Another band with a new Douchemaster LP, The Babyshakes, hit cleanup and did not disappoint. With Dave Rahn behind the kit, The Babyshakes have gone from having a drummer from a great band in Murat to a drummer who makes bands great. Their set list was saturated with songs from the new LP, and they saved their best, "What Can You Do?," for last.

Rahn did not leave the stage for long, as The Carbonas were up next. After seven years of Carbonas gigs, it would be hard to say where Friday rates among their all-time best and most lively performances, but it was easily their best Atlanta show in recent memory.

The band nearly played flawlessly though songs you would expect to hear like "Blackout (Waiting to Happen)", "Lose Cause", and "Phonebooth" and surprises like "Frothing At the Mouth."

What made their set special, though, was the audience, as Atlantans and visitors alike did not settle for putting their hands in their pockets as usual and bobbing their heads. Stage-diving commenced about halfway through the set, led by the guys from Bukkake Boys. Before the end of the last song, Chris from The Carbonas threw down his bass and dove into the crowd.

Any band would have been hard-pressed to match, much less top, The Carbonas and the reaction they got from the audience. Fortunately, The Spits from Seattle are not just any band, and they both matched and surpassed Atlanta’s finest.

For their second Atlanta concert ever and first since 2004, The Spits donned aviator sunglasses and druid robes as wowed the audience with their bizarre, electro-injected punk sound. If you can imagine a band with the minimalist approach of The Black Lips, the lightning fast punk songs of The Ramones, and the weirdness of Devo, then you can imagine the sounds of The Spits.

An energized audience enjoyed a lengthy set that included at least four proclamations that The Spits were gearing up for their last song. As the set continued to get extended, I doubt anyone groaned about it. In fact, most everyone who had been hanging out at The Earl for nearly five hours would have been content if The Spits had played another half-hour.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Also this weekend:

The Coathangers return to action and will be joined by Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dance this mess around

Here's a full schedule of this weekend's Atlanta Mess-Around copy-and-pasted from my friend at the Decatur Psalms blog.

Thursday Nov. 13th
Mess-Around pre party at the Graveyard in East Atlanta
Doors @ 9

Friday November 14th @ The Earl
The Spits
Baby Shakes
All Night Drug Prowling Wolves
Wax Museums
Blade II
plus special guest!
Doors @ 8
Expect this one to be reviewed by 7 Inch Atlanta! I've heard nothing but good things about The Spits so seeing them should be a real treat.

Saturday November 15th @ Criminal Records
Baby Shakes in-store
Free beer!!
Starts @ 4
Dave Rahn is the hardest-working man in Atlanta as he is playing four sets in as many days.

Later That night @ The Earl
Gentleman Jesse & His Men
Hex Dispensers
Cheap Time
Black & Whites
Try to do the right thing and plan a weekend with the parents and NoBunny Comes to town. I am assuming Jesse will play bass since Warren is in Europe.

Sunday November 16th @ Danger House a.k.a Rob’s House
Baby Dinosaurs vs. X.
Coffin Bound
Double Dynamite
Poison Arrows
Kegs and BBQ Starts @ 3
Free beer!!
Three of my local favorites in the same dingy basement.

Two local acts split a Die Indy 7"

Artist: Balkans and Trial By Fire
Title: Split 7”
Label: Die Indy Records
Release date: Fall 2007
Color: Some copies are on red vinyl, as you can see.

Balkans and Trial By Fire recently split a 7” released by Die Indy Records which serves as a small sampling of what both local bands have two offer.

Balkans appear on the a-side and contributed “C++,” an upbeat instrumental piece, and “F3,” a mellow indie-rock tune. Mellow, in this instance, is not a bad thing, as Balkans achieved a Television kind of mellow. It’s experimental-rock-mellow and not elevator-music-mellow.

Though they are totally different style-wise from Atlanta’s best punk, powerpop, and garage-style bands, Balkans put on a good show, as evidenced by their recent chance to open for Jay Reatard.

The flipside is totally different, as Trial By Fire is a mid-tempo hard rock band that is prone to show off its punk and surf music influences.

“Happily Violent,” opens Trial By Fire’s side of vinyl, and is a rehearsal space style instrumental. While it is a good tune, the lack of John’s unique singing voice is a disappointment.

On “Winter Lust,” John’s voice is at the forefront of a slower-paced, drum-driven tune that actually reminds me of Public Image Limited. It is easily the best song on this single.

A third track, “Black Art,” is a bunch of garbled-up nonsense that you can apparently play backwards and hear Demonic messages. First they draw PiL comparisons, and now I have no choice but to say Trial By Fire pulled a little Black Oak Arkansas hero worship. That or they emulated one of the really bad songs from Sandinista. Actually, this is just a snippet from a Trial By Fire song played backwards.

This 7” is a mere sampling of what both bands have to offer both live and in the studio. Let’s hope there are more Balkans and Trial By Fire recordings, backwards or not, in the near-and-soon.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

DLP's residency reaches a second week

Tonight is night two of Derek Lyn Plastic's four-week Wednesday night Star Bar residency. They will be joined tonight by N.E.C., who are no strangers to the Star Bar, and Abby Go-Go, which apparently is the guys from Ominous Castle playing straightforward bass-guitar-and-drum rock. Come out and hear DLP's newest songs mixed with songs from their five fantastic 7"s.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Late nights in Hate City

Here's some images of last Wednesday's Derek Lyn Plastic show and its aftermath courtesy of my new friend Sweet Loretta Morgan.

DLP begins residency with new tunes and a fantastic set

The first night of a month-long Wednesday night Star Bar residency went exceptionally well for Derek Lyn Plastic and offered two other acts a chance to get some exposure.

Trial By Fire opened and brought their mid-tempo hard rock sound to the party. Throughout their set, influences ranging from punk to metal to surf music were apparent in the band's tunes. Lead singer John Breedlove has a unique voice, and he is not hesitant about performing in the truest sense of the term. From dancing with a girl from the audience to randomly burying his face into a monitor, Breedlove did not mind having a little fun during his band's set.

Up next was Ominous Castle with their unique, electronically-fueled ambient sounds. Unfortunately, electronic issues with their drum machine halted Ominous Castle's set and they called it a night right as they were about to hit their stride.

DLP was up next with their first show since Sept. 24. During that lay-off, the band apparently wrote a number of new songs that were scattered throughout last Wednesday's set list. They also played familiar cuts from the groups five 7"s.

As usual, DLP's set mixed frantic vocals and fantastic drumming as Derek's electro-punk outfit played one of their best shows in a long time.

Check out DLP this Wednesday when he performs with The N.E.C. and Abby Go-Go, a new band featuring members of Ominous Castle.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

DLP's residency begins tonight

Tonight's show should be a good one, as Atlanta punk songsmith Derek Lyn Plastic will share the Star Bar stage with Ominous Castle and Trial By Fire.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

From a 7 Inch favorite concert, complete with beach bum bassist!

Here is a video from this show.

Beat Beat Beat is back and in Europe

Beat Beat Beat, fresh off a Sunday evening house show at Danger House/Rob's House, flew out today for their European Tour.

Sunday's show was good, though the band went bass-less. All things considered, it was a solid Beat Beat Beat performance with Josh and Warren switching lead vocals and performing classics like "Eyeballs Jones" and "Don't Tell Me Now."

Beforehand, The Bukkake Boys played an energetic set that might have been outstanding if the lead singer had been audible.

Beat Beat Beat's European itinerary is as follows:

6/11 - Florens - TBC (D)
7/11 - La Spezia - TBC (ITA)
8/11 - Fidenza - Taun (ITA)
9/11 - Bergantino - TBC (ITA)
10/11 - TBA - TBA (FRA)
11/11 - Montpellier - TBC (FRA)
12/11 - Madrid - Gruta 77 (ES)
13/11 - Valencia - Barberbirborbur (ES)
14/11 - Granada - Who Rock Bar (ES)
15/11 - Barcelona/Zaragoza - TBC (ES)
16/11 - Bordeaux - TBC (FRA)
17/11 - Limoges - Petit Jourdan (FRA)
18/11 - Tours - Donalds Pub (FRA)
19/11 - Paris - Le Mecanique (FRA)
20/11 - Tübingen - Epplehaus (D)
21/11 - Dresden - Groove Station (D)
22/11 - Köln - Sonic Ballroom - (D)
23/11 - Solingen - Cobra Bar (NL)
24/11 - Kortrijk - The Pits (BE)
25/11 - Bremen - Tower Bar (D)
26/11 - Groningen - Vera (NL)
27/11 - Hamburg - Beatclub (D)
28/11 - Berlin - Costina Bob (D)
29/11 - Helsingör - Elvaerket (DK)
30/11 - Hamburg - Hafenklang (D)
2/12 - Örebro - TBC (SWE)
3/12 - Moss - Mortens House (NOR)
4/12 - Oslo - Funhouse (NOR)
5/12 - Stockholm - Vielle Montagne (SWE)
6/12 - Gothenburg - Showdown (SWE)

Minks' debut meets standard of debut EP

Artist: The Stolen Minks
Title: Family Boycott
Label: New Romance For Kids Records
Release Date: 2006
Format: CD

The Stolen Minks, an all-girl group from Halifax, Nova Scotia, followed up an outstanding EP in 2006 with Family Boycott, their first full-length album.

On “Rip It Up,” the girls seem to aim for kick-starting a garage-rock dance party instead of paying homage to their rockabilly heroes. The song ends with the band’s three distinct singers intertwining their voices.

“Stop Talking” is more like the songs on the EP, as it reeks of Wanda Jackson influence. “Charles Bronson” for all intents and purposes is an instrumental with a brief proclamation that is, as the title implies, about “Charles mother-fucking Bronson!”

The pace changes in a zany Cars Can Be Blue kind of way on “Batman (You’re The Sex).” On this, arguably the band’s best-known songs, the girls show a sense of humor and the ability to write a solid, drum-driven song with catchy backup vocals. Going back to the Cars Can Be Blue comparison, it is not hard to imagine a comedic genius like Becky sing, “Take out your bat-rope, tie me up tight. Send Robin home for the night.”

“Fight!” might be the best song on the album thanks to its catchy lyrics and memorable lines like “We don’t need a classroom to have a class war. We don’t need a theory, because we’ve got a dancefloor.”

The final original cut on the album, “Role Model,” is another solid track featuring an upbeat keyboard part that could be compared to Georgia’s Coathangers or even The B-52’s.

The final two tracks are rather interesting covers. First, the girls do a fine job tackling Link Wray’s “Branded.” The Stolen Minks are branded with Wray’s influence, so it should be no surprise they chose to pay homage to a legend. An unlisted cover of a Ginuwine song is interesting, as well, as the girls have fun with what some might consider a sexist hip-hop tune. Nothing should surprise anyone when it comes to The Stolen Minks’ choice in cover songs, though, since they boldly marched into Atlanta and covered The Carbonas’ “Lost Cause.”

Track this one down if you love female vocals, rock music in its purest form, and Ginuwine covers.

Plastic's least awesome is pretty damn good

Artist: Derek Lyn Plastic
Title: Negative Feelings
Record Label: NMG Records
Release Date: ???

When your least interesting 7” is as exciting as Derek Lyn Plastic’s Negative Feelings, you are doing something right as a musician and songwriter.

On this NMG release, DLP starts off with “Steakdinner,” a keyboard driven tune that has the post-apocalyptic punk feel of several of Derek’s better known songs. However, this song for whatever reason lacks the same punch as DLP standouts like “Invisible Skin” and “She’s Got a UTI.”

The title track does stand out, as its manic chorus degrades into frantic shouting. The intertwining of bass, guitar, drums, and keyboards also help make this song’s chorus stand out when compared to the other songs on this release.

The flipside begins with the fast-paced scorcher “Getaway.” It has that amphetamine-driven baseball park organ sound I love to hear in Derek’s recordings, and it has the catchiest hook of the four songs on this release.

“Weird Looks” begins with a piano part that sounds like it was lifted from a New York Dolls or Hollywood Brats song (seriously) and features female vocals. According to the single’s liner notes, the female voice belongs to Naomi Lavender, and “Weird Looks” is a cover of a Whores IV song. This song is an unexpected taste of something different from DLP.

Overall, this might not be one of the best of DLP’s five 7”’s, but it might be the most eclectic next to his newest release, She’s Got a UTI.

Don’t just buy it. Buy it directly from the man himself Wednesday night at the Star Bar when DLP begins a residency which will include everything from this week’s show with Trial By Fire and Ominous Castle to an odd lineup the night before Thanksgiving consisting of DLP, Vera Fang, and Das Manics.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Cola Freaks return, set stage for Reatard

An indie punk luminary shared the Lenny’s stage Saturday with one of Atlanta’s newest bands and one of Europe’s best hardcore bands when Jay Reatard played with The Poison Arrows and Cola Freaks.

Following performances by Balkans and Twin Tigers, The Poison Arrows played their second show of the night and their third gig overall.

Tuk, Mikey, and the boys played a solid set of seven or eight songs that only included one cover of an MC5 song. Though they seemed a bit loud for a powerpop band and Mikey’s vocals could barely be heard, it was still a good set from a brand-new band.

“Sticky Situations” and the rest of the first batch of Poison Arrows songs are, as Mikey puts it, “more power than pop” and are already drawing comparisons to The Exploding Hearts.

As new songs work their way into The Poison Arrows’ live set and Tuk adjusts to being a front man, this may become one of the best bands in Atlanta. It should be fun and rewarding for their fans to watch them rise to the top.

Saturday’s show with Reatard was the third overall and the second of the night for The Poison Arrows, as they appeared a few hours earlier at The Star Bar with some uninteresting bands at a Day of The Dead Festival.

The Cola Freaks, the band that stole the show and damn near started a riot Halloween night at Lenny’s, played the final show of their American tour as part of Saturday’s star-studded line-up.

While the crowd was way less drunk and insane than they were at The Star Bar, the lead singer was crazier than he was the previous evening. As I said before, he is very much like a young and alive Ian Curtis when he goes into his on-stage hoodoo trance and breaks out into nervous dancing. With more space for crowd interaction in a venue as large as Lenny’s, he shoved the microphone against a girl’s eye-hole and played with Greg Carbona’s nose during the second raucous Cola Freaks set in as many nights.

Finally, Reatard’s three-piece hit the stage and put on an energetic set. This was my first time seeing Reatard, surprisingly, and he was livelier than I expected onstage.

Like The Black Lips, Reatard does less craziness onstage in his older age, but along the way he has developed into a much better songwriter and musician.

Another Black Lips/Jay Reatard similarity is both acts’ ability to live up to their growing hype. Both are more than just Pitchfork and college radio hype bands and they prove this every time they hit the stage.

Like The Cola Freaks, Reatard was playing his second Atlanta show in as many nights, as he joined Deerhunter and Pylon on Halloween at The Variety Playhouse.

Overall, it would be fair to say everyone who came out Saturday got more than $10 worth of live powerpop, hardcore, and minimalist rock and roll.

Spooks help haunt Halloween

Halloween was haunted by The Spooks, as the Black Lips side project celebrated the release of its long-awaited LP with four other bands Friday at The Star Bar.

The party began with Predator, as they played a good and lengthier than usual set which included a song written especially for Halloween. Though they are not as good as Beat Beat Beat or Frantic just yet, this three-piece is poised to release what should be a solid single or two in the coming months.

Coffin Bound played next, and why this band is not headlining every time they play is beyond me. They sounded great and loud Friday. Coffin Bound is so different from other local bands, as their sound is sort of bluesy and will transport you to a swamp instead of a 1960’s dance party.

Mourdella, a harder-rocking punk outfit fronted by Jessica Juggz, ended the parade of local Die Slaughterhaus bands. The band was ready for Halloween, as Jessica was an Indian and she was joined on stage by two demons and a zombie. This was my first time seeing Mourdella, and their rocking sound was much, much different than the tambourine shaking and hoola-hooping I am used to seeing whenever Jessica tackles lead vocals with Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction.

Denmark’s Cola Freaks then took the show to another level, as they played a set that somehow surpassed their recent appearance at 97 Estoria. With their manic lead singer leading the charge, the Cola Freaks damn near started a riot. I was in the middle of the entire ruckus, and somehow or another ended up bleeding above my nose in the process.

Two things stick out about the Cola Freaks. One is their singer, who still reminds me of Ian Curtis with his nervous dancing, frantic pointing and audience members, and maniacal stares. The other is how a group of young guys from faraway Denmark seem to have the same musical influences as bands in Atlanta.

With the grand finale, The Spooks resurfaced as members of The Black Lips were joined by Mark from Die Slaugherhaus and local drummer Adam Bruneau as they played their interesting mix of minimalist rock and spooky electronic music.

Though the 3-D projections did not work (or at least not for my drunken eyes) and the band technically took the stage Nov. 1 and not on Halloween, everything else was ideal. The place was packed, as costumed locals had already poured in from the Deerhunter and Pylon show down the street at The Variety Playhouse. And, most importantly, the band was spot-on as they played Spooks originals and a cover of Elvis Presley’s “Burning Love.”

By the end of the night, fans had ended their Halloween and began November seeing some of Die Slaugherhaus’ finest bands and what has to be one of the most exciting live acts in Europe.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Carbonas, thrash rockers pack the Drunken Uni.

The Drunken Unicorn drew a sizable crowd Thursday with an all-ages show featuring Atlanta's Carbonas and Virginian rockers Municipal Waste and Cloak/Dagger.

Following a set by The Bukkake Boys, which I sadly missed, The Carbonas played their first real Atlanta gig since their 97 Estoria appearance with the Cola Freaks.

An energetic though sadly brief set began with older tracks like "Blackout (Waiting to Happen)" and "Lost Cause" and then kicked into hyper-drive with newer songs like "Butcher" and "Ripped Red Dress" from the Euro Tour EP and "Phonebooth" and "Assvogel," the bookends of the band's self-titled Goner Records LP. Other songs included covers of Kaos' "Iron Dream" and "September Gurls" by Big Star.

While nothing set The Carbonas' set apart and made it spectacular, they still put on a good show and set the stage for the two out-of-town bands. Plus, The Carbonas do not play as often as most local bands, so anytime they perform it is worth being half-asleep the next morning at work.

Up next was Cloak/Dagger, a straightforward hardcore band from Richmond, Virginia. They may have been the pleasant surprise of the night, as their energetic set got the crowd moving.

Municipal Waste closed out the show as they thrashed and head-banged through several tunes. While they did not play my preferred style of music, it was impossible to be disinterested as kids starting circle pits, diving into the crowd and hanging onto the rafters reminded me of a less civil time when I went to all-age shows out of necessity and did not even know about the joy of powerpop.

It was also funny to have Municipal Waste's lead singer introduce songs about fucked up topics. It was like, "This next song is about the time I disemboweled my ex-girlfriend. It's called 'Build My Own Coffin'." Alright, he did not really say that, though it would not have sounded out of place.

Overall, it was a great night. Tonight's Spooks, Coffin Bound, Cola Freaks, Mourdella and Predator show should make it two nights in a row of great music in East Atlanta.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Busy weekend

Tonight at The Drunken Unicorn, The Carbonas are playing with Municipal Waste and a slew of other bands. It will cost $10 to get in, but everyone should get their money's worth.

Tomorrow, The Spooks' LP will finally be released, and to commemorate Hell freezing over the Star Bar is going to throw a Halloween party. Also on the bill are Predator, Mourdella, Coffin Bound, and those zany Cola Freaks from Denmark.

On Saturday, Jay Reatard is coming to Lenny's, and he's bringing other solid acts like The Poison Arrows with him.

Finally, on Sunday, Beat Beat Beat will play a house show at Danger House before heading to Europe and will be selling re-presses of their debut 7" and other merchandise.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Poison Arrows debut was a rockin' keg party

Following what seemed like months of hype and waiting, The Poison Arrows hit the stage for the first time Saturday at a house show and keg party next door to the Doo Gallery.

Fans of the band's Myspace tracks were likely pleased with The Poison Arrows debut. While there is room for improvement, things went well for Atlanta's newest powerpop band. Nothing outside of a keyboardist was missing from a set which included about seven original songs, including "Sticky Situations," and an MC5 cover.

Sound-wise, the band is a mix of '70's style powerpop and rock-and-roll. This is a whole different ball-game than the Heart Attacks, as Tuk is tackling lead vocals and song-writing duties.

A poorly advertised show played inside a building with a high ceiling and concrete walls would put any band against the odds. When you pair that with the fact that the band was playing their first gig, things went incredibly well. There was a sizable crowd, and the band sounded good under the circumstances.

The Poison Arrows play twice Saturday as they are booked at both The Star Bar and at Lenny's with Jay Reatard. They will either maintain their first show's level of quality or they will exceed last weekend's keg party and make their first show sound like shit.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Poison Arrows debut Saturday

The Poison Arrows are set to play their first gig Saturday night at the Doo Gallery., 205 Holtzclaw Street. It would not be unfair to say that this is the most hyped new Atlanta band in a long time. This hype is partly because the band has posted some sweet powerpop tunes on Myspace that'll likely be on their debut Full Breach Kicks 7". The hype is also because Tuk and Mikey's other band, The Heart Attacks, has gained a reputation through constant touring and a pair of solid albums. Don't expect to hear The Heart Attacks Saturday night, but you should expect a good show from a potentially great new band.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Long-awaited release does not disappoint

Artist: The Babyshakes
Title: The First One
Label: Douchemaster Records
Release date: September 2008
Vinyl color: The first few copies were half pink, half blue.

The long-awaited Babyshakes LP has been out a few weeks now, which means it is old enough to be in the rotation of local DJs and be stuck in the head of powerpop fans across the nation.

From the first track, "Hello Hello," to the end, this album was worth the wait.

All the best elements of this band (female lead and backup vocals, pop and western guitar slinging, and solid drumming) are wrapped up in one powerpop package with "Hello Hello".

"What Can You Do?" follows the slightly mellow "Far Away" and will hook you in the first time you hear it on this record, especially if you are already familiar with this tune thanks to the second Whirlyball 7". While all 10 tracks will surely spark discussion about female vocals and pop lyrics, it is the western-inspired guitar in songs like "What Can You Do?" that make this group unique.

"Now I Know" has a 1960's feel to it due to girl group inspired vocals, while the upbeat rockabilly sound of "On My Way" wraps up a solid side of vinyl.

The flipside begins with the sugary sweet melodies of "Ooh La Love" and a decent cover of "Love Machine." They are followed by three tracks were recorded with Murat Akturk of The Electric Shadows on drums. The first seven cuts featured the drumming of Dave "Carbona" Rahn, who also recorded and mixed the entire LP.

"Come On Babe" may be the most danceable tune of the 10, while album closers "Tell Me Now" and the lightning quick "Just Another" are solid pop tunes that fail to stand out when compared to their a-side counterparts.

There seems to be an unofficial Atlanta-New York talent swap, and these girls have called both cities home. Hopefully, the swap will lead to more records like this one.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

On par with their live show, and that's saying something

Artist: The Stolen Minks
Title: The Stolen Minks EP
Label: New Romance For Kids Records
Release date: Originally came out on CD Aug. 2005, re-released in 2007 on 7" vinyl

Did you hear about the Canadian girls who opened for The Black Lips a week ago and busted out a Carbonas cover? That band, The Stolen Minks, are no strangers to energetic cover songs and cleverly written originals, as evidenced by their 2005 debut EP.

The opener, "Minks Riot," bundles the bands influences (rockabilly and old rock and country-western tunes) musically and pairs them with lyrics that come across as autobiographical.

Those influences are more evident on the rest of the a-side, since it features covers of Link Wray's "Black Widow" and "Chug a Lug" by the late comedic genius Roger Miller. The latter is transformed into a sped-up, punk-inspired garage tune.

B-side opener "Boys On The Floor" may be the best song in the entire Stolen Minks catalog. It has the same rough-around-the-edges appeal as the Roger Miller cover, and has original lyrics that could be interpreted as being either empowering ("Girls on the stage, boys on the floor") or intentionally silly ("If I had a revolution, would you come?"). Either way, this is a perfect leap-about-your-bedroom singalong song.

The EP ends with a cover of Joey Dee's "Peppermint Twist," which is evidence of the before-mentioned old-timey rock and roll influences. This of course is yet another solid Stolen Minks song. How could a cover of a rock classic accented by girl group style background vocals and recorded to sound like it came out of a Memphis garage fail?

Sometimes, I will discover a new band at a show, pick up a 7" or album, listen to it at home, and wonder what went wrong when that energetic band I saw live hit the recording studio. The Stolen Minks are the exception, and if you caught them live in Atlanta last week and enjoyed their raucous set, you will not be disappointed by their debut EP.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Half punk and half pop. One hundred percent rockin'.

Artist: The Powerchords
Title: ...Think I'm Gonna
Label: Single Screen Records
Release date: 2008

The West Coast could arguably rival vibrant scenes like the one in Atlanta due to their brand of powerpop and bands like The Powerchords, who recently struck gold with ...Think I'm Gonna.

While they are as powerpop as The Cute Lepers, Boss Martians, Avenue Rose, and other quality bands from their neck of the woods, The Powerchords also borrow a bit from the sped-up pop-punk sounds of 90's bands like The Queers and Green Day or, better yet, original poppunkers like The Buzzcocks and The Boys.

The title track is the type of fast romp anchored by a catchy hook you would expect from a Seattle area band. After that, the album proves to be surprisingly ecclectic.

Not afraid to break from their own mold, The Powerchords switch gears by the third song, as "Throwing Up" is a guitar-heavy anthem that has a big stadium rock feel reminiscent of Cheap Trick. It'll remind you of your dad's old albums in a good way (unless your dad is like mine and listened to Kenny Rogers).

Simple though political lyrics power the quick blast that is "Bad Guys," while sugary sweet pop lyrics are the backbone of "Dream Girl."

"Blue Bus," an ode to the band's personified tour bus, is both amusing and catchy as fuck. In fact, after a few listens you'll likely decide that this is one of the band's best tracks.

Another standout is "New Pheromones," as hooks, chords and poppy background vocals collide in a mix of everything that's exciting about this band.

"Tia Carrere" should amuse anyone who grew up in the 90's, and a reference to The Sweet's "Ballroom Blitz" becomes the most clever lead-in to the 1-2-3-4 count off in punk rock history.

Overall, there is not a weak link among the 14 tracks on ...Think I'm Gonna, but there certainly are some standout gems. This one is highly recommended for anyone who does not mind mixing powerpop with dab of sped-up pop-punk.

For the benefit of Mr. Ubangi

The local scene was out in full force Saturday at the brand-new Doo Gallery for a benefit concert and art auction for the incomparable Bobby “BJ” Ubangi. Sadly, the former Lid, Soft Spot, and Gaye Blade has cancer. In tough times you find out who your friends are, and both the crowd at Saturday’s show and the willingness of local businesses and artists to donate auction and raffle items showed that the whole Atlanta scene is behind Bobby all the way.

Predator, a relatively new band featuring Mike and Brannon of Beat Beat Beat and Frantic, opened the festivities. Though the band has yet to release a single, catchy tunes like “Dancing Queen Bitch” have been heard enough times by concert goers that it is as easy to get into their set. If you have not caught this band yet, you can get a taste of their sound at their new Myspace page, http://www.myspace.com/atlpredator.

Gentleman Jesse and His Men performed their typical (in a good way) set with their typical (in a good way) playlist. This playlist usually consists of two brilliant tracks from the band’s debut 7” and cuts from their LP. “Put Your Hands Together,” the singalong closer from the their LP, was one of the standouts Saturday though Jesse introduced the song by saying it is not fun to play live.

Afterwards, a silent art auction was held, with proceeds from art sales going to Bobby for his cancer treatments and living expenses.

The night also featured an open bar, DJs spinning both old records and the new ones like the Babyshakes LP, and Tuk from the Poison Arrows and Heart Attacks as master of ceremonies.

Not even two morons who returned to the gallery more than once after being asked to leave were able to ruin this night. Everyone should be proud that not a single punch was thrown before those losers were escorted away by the cops. If there was a good time to fight, it would be when your friend’s benefit show is being interrupted. However, some people are not worth an aggravated assault charge.

Gentleman Jesse play again this Tuesday at the Earl along with Coffin Bound and the Pierced Arrows.