Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fringe Binge eve is upon us

I know I said something about reviewing the new Gentleman Jesse lp and the last three 7"s released by Derek Lyn Plastic in time for Fringe Binge. Well, those reviews will come in time but not soon enough for Fringe Binge because it's tomorrow night.

I also have failed to give an overview of the old man army seen above, also known as The Rubber City Rebels. Well, to be briefer than planned, they are the second most famous punk band from Akron, Ohio. They play stripped down rock and roll like fellow Cleveland legends the Dead Boys but have an almost comical macho stance in some of their songs. Had Joey Ramone spent more time developing his own masculine fantasy world and less time thinking about holding hands, his band might have sounded a bit like the Rebels. Hell, they even recorded an original song called "Pinhead" on their second album. Ramones comparisons are usually an easy-out when trying to describe a band, but I'd say the comparison is warranted.

The Rebels will be joined Saturday by local favorites The Carbonas, Predator (featuring members of Beat Beat Beat and Frantic), and Knife and the 4th Ward Daggers. That's not all, as the Black and Whites (Oxford, Miss.), Hot New Mexicans, Hidden Spots (Chattanooga), and Giant Tigers (Chattanooga) are all playing Saturday. Last but not least, The Rent Boys will play their first gig in seven years. Not a bad lineup for a hot summer weekend, huh?

I'll stop rambling now and let you all listen to the recent Barberries Have You Heard session.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

First night Fringer got off to a good start with debut 7"

Artist: Derek Lyn Plastic
Title: Invisible Skin
Label: self-released
Release date: 2005
Vinyl color: Red

By the end of this 2005 release, Derek Lyn Plastic proves to be an imaginative songwriter with a flair for taking classic punk influences and mixing them to create a fresh, new sound.

The first two tunes, "Invisible Skin" and Sweat City Madness," sound like Magazine-era Howard DeVoto paired with an American hardcore band. That makes for a potent combination, but these songs and their catchy hooks are not enough to capture how clever Mr. Plastic truly is.

"Dirty Money" takes this release to another level, as it is the first of consecutive songs that sounds like it is from the future. Not a goofy Sigue Sigue Sputnik type of future, mind you. This tune is from a bleak wasteland where the organist at the local ballpark is on speed and plays in a local punk band after hours. (I just read over that last sentence and wonder if maybe I am the drug-addled one.)

"Hardcore Addicts" opens the b-side and is more of the same, except this time it is Plastic's vocals that sound hyperactive and quirky noises emanating from a guitar which sound like they are from some neighboring galaxy.

The b-side also includes the sleazy "Body Parts" and the too fun to be disturbing "Suicide Get Down," which is the most moshable/pogoable song on the release.

Overall, this is a good introduction to one of Atlanta's finest and will likely encourage listeners to track down the rest of Plastic's back catalog.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Friday's bands I won't get around to properly schilling

On Friday, Gentleman Jesse and His Men, The Barberries, and Derek Lyn Plastic will be joined by these groups:

The Forty-Fives
Here's a group (seen above in a pic from their official website) that started here in Atlanta and has been around a successful 10 years. A pure rock/R&B band, The Forty-Fives will appeal to fans of The Booze.

The Howlies
Here's another Atlanta band that knows how to "rock" in the purest sense of the term. Since they have a new single on the way, these guys may just introduce you to your new favorite song (well, at least until you hear Gentleman Jesse later in the evening). Seriously, these guys are popular and for a good reason.

Bobby and the Soft Spots
Being the second best Lids spinoff group in town is no shame, and Bobby Ubangi's new group gets to hold that proud distinction. They rank high on the Beat Beat Beat spinoff charts, too.

John Barrett's Bass Drum of Death
With a name like that, you've got to be at least a little curious, right? Stripped down, hand-clapping blues is the sexiest new thing in Oxford, Mississippi this side of Houston Nutt's sweatpants. I totally didn't mean that last sentence.

Chain Stereo
The band name looks familiar, and I may have even seen them live at some point. But right now I cannot provide a description since they either do not have a Myspace or they are like me and try to keep theirs hid from obnoxious relatives.

Fringe Binge hype machine

With Fringe Binge coming up this weekend, it's high time I review Derek Lyn Plastic's four 7"s, the new Gentleman Jesse album which is getting rave reviews and is already sold out on vinyl, the Carbonas' Euro Tour EP, and a quick glance at The Rubber City Rebels (shown above) and their albums.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The perfect kickoff to a great month of shows

Last year, Fringe Binge's second night brought Atlanta music fans The Carbonas, Beat Beat Beat, Frantic, The Booze, Gentleman Jesse, and The Heart Attacks to the Star Bar on the same wild night. It may not have been the best show of 2007, but it certainly had the best line-up top to bottom.

In 2008, there will be more awesome local bands, ranging from Fringe Binge vets The Carbonas and Gentleman Jesse to newcomers like The Barberries,Derek Lyn Plastic, Knife and the 4th Ward Daggers, and Predator.

What's different, though, is the inclusion of out-of-towners like the Black and Whites and Akron, Ohio's second most famous punk band, The Rubber City Rebels. With local favorites and solid visiting bands, this will be worth the $10 admission price for both nights.

Fringe Binge is just the tip of the iceberg, believe it or not, for a month that'll bring The Cute Lepers, Street Dogs, and Paul Collins' Beat to Atlanta.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Barberries self-release the best psychedelic drug trip I've never had

Artist: The Barberries
Title: Raw Deal
Label: Barberrie Sound
Release date: July 2008
Vinyl color: Grey

The Barberries' self-released 7" has finally arrived, and it establishes the band's diversity as all three tracks seem to toss different musical influences into the their garage rock melting pot.

"Americana Junkie" opens the dance party with an amalgam of blues, garage rock, psychedelic sounds, and distorted vocals that somehow manages to sound fresh and unique unlike most newer garage influened tunes.

Though the a-side's lone track is a keeper in its own right, it is the b-side and its finale that make this a record worth purchasing.

The flipside's opener, "Habitual," adds faster-paced punk rock, angry vocals and a catchy hook to the mix. That is to say, the weakest of the three tracks is actually the most likely to get stuck in your head the rest of the night.

"69/70" is the hidden gem. It's the keeper. It's the track you'll be raving about to your friends. Hell, it's the song title you'll drunkenly request at the next Barberries show you attend.

While other bands develop a garage sound and sparingly throw in barely noticeable psychedelic influences, The Barberries are not afraid to embrace their drug-addled, free love schilling hippie predecessors with open arms and record one fucking awesome song in the process.

"69/70" starts out like you would expect after hearing the first two tracks, but quickly goes the ambient route as hollering gives way to surprisingly beautiful harmonies. That ends before the simulated drug trip kicks in (be that good or bad), as the song seamlessly switches back to the garage and a piano part that would not sound out of place in a Hollywood Brats song.

"Raw Deal" is a solid release from a band that is just getting started. Buy it from the band while the getting is good.

Wire on their way!

Wire is coming October 12 to the Variety Playhouse. It's only $20 to get in and see 77 originals and The Selmanaires. Too bad beers will probably cost $8.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Knife + drink specials?

I might actually have to check it out this week. Great music from Knife and the 4th Ward Daggers, cheap beer, and a duo of rock and roll DJs. I suppose this special weekly event will run until The Heart Attacks head west to record their third album.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pop's master craftsmen release another instant classic

Artist: Plexi 3
Title: We Know Better
Label: Hozac Records
Release date: Spring 2008

Plexi 3 has proven "Calculated Romance" was not a fluke with their latest release, as they have followed up one of last year's best 7"s with the outstanding "We Know Better."

The title track continues Plexi 3's trend of recording fast-paced, near perfect pop songs. Like "Calculated Romance," this song mixes clever lyrics, melodic vocals and a catchy chorus.

"Stabbing Fantasies" wraps up the a-side and showcases Wendy Norton as a guitarist and vocalist/screamer in another abrupt pop classic.

For the flipside, the band covers the classic Radiators From Space tune "Enemies." Their take on this Irish punk classic is not a far departure from the original, despite the addition of female vocals.

In case you've never heard of the Radiators, they were Phil Chevron's band before he was a co-founder of The Pogues. "Enemies" was their second single way back in 1977 and was arguably one of their finest moments.

If you have not picked up this record yet, you should. It'll instantly make you a Plexi 3 fan.

Monday, July 14, 2008

News about Chopper, Vancougar, and The Greatest Hits

As mentioned earlier, Chopper will be at the Graveyard Tavern in the East Atlanta Village Thursday right around 10ish. Come out and hear Tuk and Nico spin rock and roll records and enjoy the drink specials.

Also, you can check out Vancougar's latest radio session, including songs likely on their new album, directly from the CBC Web site.

A radio interview with Nils Forever of Seattle's glam/poptastic Greatest Hits can be heard here. If you like The Fishnet Stalkers, Soda Pop Kids, and other bands of that ilk, check out Nils and company.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Love at first listen

Artist: Plexi 3
Title: Calculated Romance
Label: Dusty Medical Records
Release date: 2007
Vinyl Color: Some of the represses are clear (give me a shout if you've got a clear copy to spare)

Sometimes, an out of town band will pleasantly surprise me with their set, leading me to buy a single or two that hopefully will live up to my expectations.

Milwaukee's Plexi 3 was the latest band to floor me instantly when they performed live with The Coathangers June 7 at The Drunken Unicorn. Since then, both Plexi 3 7"s have gotten a lot of plays in my basement.

Their first release, featuring the original two girls and one guy lineup, features two original pop tunes and a cover of a 1960's classic.

What's not to love about "Calculated Romance"? Listeners are given hefty dose of rock-inspired punk with girl-group style harmonies and lyrics too bizarre to be offensive ("You've never lived until you've had a lesbo threesome with someone's dad") in less than a minute and a half.

The b-side begins with a cover of "You I'll Be Following" from Love's 1966 debut album. The band must have felt daring since they both covered a lesser known psychedelic song and exceeded the two minute mark.

"Perfect Stranger" wraps up this near-perfect release with another brief yet memorable tune with melodic vocals complementing a catchy chorus.

What, besides Gentleman Jesse's 7", was better than this in 2007?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Solid since the beginning

Artist: The Pets
Title: Sticky Situations b/w Never Ask For Help
Label: Sweet Rot Records
Release date: Recorded in 2005

If you've heard The Pets' new LP, chances are it's sparring with releases like the new Cute Lepers album for the dominant spot on your personal playlist (or at least that's the case at my house).

Long before they recorded the new full-length or the 7" released by Douchemaster, Oakland's finest powerpoppy punk band got off to a strong start with these tracks recorded in their hometown.

The A-side, "Sticky Situations," opens and ends with a torrent of guitar and drum that wouldn't have sounded out of place on classic albums by fellow California bands or even The Damned. The lyrics sandwiched in between aren't too shabby, either.

With "Never Ask For Help," the B-side, the band goes the powerpop route as this is more like a sped-up Nick Lowe song than an East Bay punk classic.

While these songs are not likely to muscle past the LP on my before-mentioned playlist, they are certainly worth a listen if you are a Pets fan.

Don't just take my word for it. Buy your own copy directly from the band's MySpace page.