Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Out like a coffin. In like a troll.

Coffin Bound is no longer scheduled to appear at tomorrow's Trashcans show at Lenny's.

Never fear, though, as these guys have stepped up to the plate. If you went to that recent Jacuzzi Boys/Woven Bones show at Lenny's, you're likely a fan of The North Trolls. If not, tomorrow night would be a good time to discover a new band.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Lots of Black Lips

If I was selfish, I'd totally not post this because I'm co-sponsoring a show that same night at Lenny's.

Wednesday, July 1st (at the Drunken Unicorn)
Benefit Show for BOBBY UBANGI!
The Renegades - featuring Cole, Joe and Ian of THE BLACK LIPS
Baby Dinosaurs Vs. Extinction
Pizza Party - Featuring Jessica Juggz
Trip Hop Cowboy

The Black Lips will play again Thursday at a sold-out show at The Earl and Friday as The Spooks with Zoroaster and more bands to be named at a WRAS benefit. A second benefit for BJ is Saturday at 529 and will feature The Carbonas in what will likely be there last show until at least next summer.

On another note, Pizza Party is Jessica Juggz' new band made up of pizza place employees performing songs about, you guessed it, pizza.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Knife's crew continues to show promise

Knife and the recently reformed 4th Ward Daggers put on a solid show Wednesday at 529, while Derek Lyn Plastic debuted a new lineup.

The 4th Ward Daggers, now featuring Joey on bass, continue to show promise. They now have harmonies to go along with old-fashioned pop songs that were already good enough to be lodged in your brain for the rest of the night.

DLP had an off night, but that was because Warren, their new guitarist, seemingly was not ready to play live. In spite of multiple broken strings and an overall sub-par show, DLP did perform a lot of new songs that should sound badass on their debut LP. Matt Manning, playing his second show as DLP's bassist, was the bright spot, as he is the perfect fit for this band.

Speaking of songs that get lodged in your brain, Michelle and Rachel DJed all night, playing everything from The Go-Go's to G.G. King. In fact, when I first walked in they were spinning "Drug Zoo."

Friday, June 26, 2009

We sponsor shows now

Skank Juice is also playing, and hopefully another band or two will be added to the bill.

Carbonas (with Josh) in Virginia

No disrespect to Chris, Will, BJ, or Jeremy, but this is the best Carbonas lineup.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Silly new Howlies video

The Howlies have a new video for "Aluminum Baseball Bat." This reminds me of wacky, pop-punk era Vandals (who deserve a mention on "The Day Farrah Fawcett Died") crossed with a modern tribute to the golden age of rock and roll. It's fun stuff, even if it would have been more effective as a three-minute song.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Corndogorama cometh

Corndogorama is this weekend in East Atlanta, and it looks to have an awesome lineup, including Dead Confederate, Noot d' Noot, The Electric Cycles, Hip to Death, Hawks, The Howlies, Abby Go Go, and Twin Tigers.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's not too early to plan your extended holiday weekend

July 1: The Trashcans and several TBAs will play the first ever "7 Inch Atlanta Showcase" at Lenny's. Keep checking this site for more details, and please contact me or Nate (atltrashcans@gmail.com) if you are interested in playing.
July 2: The Black Lips plus support at The Earl. Apparently tickets are almost sold out.
July 3: WRAS Festival at The Eyedrum. Rumor has it The Spooks will be on the bill.
July 4: The Carbonas' triumphant return to Atlanta at 529 with The Customers, Predator, and Barreracudas.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Shining Path, Trashcans steal the house show

The Trashcans shared the bill Friday at the Watch Yr Head House with a couple of awesome young bands.

The house is located off Memorial and has a basement in which the bands play and a barn-style garage for chilling in between sets.

Following a two-piece band I totally missed out on seeing was The Trashcans' second show ever. Their debut came only two nights earlier with Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction at Kenny Crucial's birthday party. Despite a funky sounding (in a bad way) guitar amp and a ceiling-hanging microphone even tall folks like Jack have to tippy-toe to reach, things went well for Atlanta's newest trashy garage rock band. "Witch's Titty," an old Barberries song, may be their best song so far, but there's no reason to believe the first batch of Trashcans originals will not be terminally stuck in our heads in no time like "Americana Junkie" and "Habitual" were last summer when half of these guys were Barberries.

The Balkans, Atlanta's best barely-legal band, were next, and these kids show reckless abandon live. Two of those kids have no qualms with rushing backwards into the crowd, and they do this while barely missing a note. They broke out the sparklers on this night. Some other type of firework apparently set something on fire during the last song. No, The Balkans are not The Black Lips, but there's no reason they can't have the kind of fun the Lips had when they were young and playing sloppy shows in local basements. At least they focus their energy on lo-fi music and pyrotechnics and not breaking into people's cars like some asshole(s) did outside during their set.

Shining Path were next, and this group of Alabamians lived up to the hype. This hype I speak of came from none other than Derek Lyn Plastic and the guys and girl from Plexi 3, so I had high hopes. By the middle of the first lo-fi, out of tune in a good way song, Shining Path had me hooked. They had the musical approach of The Trashcans and the youth and entusiasm of The Balkans, so they pretty much mixed every good thing about the previous two acts save The Trashcans' sense of humor.

7 Inch Atlanta favorite Coffin Bound had to cancel, which left Reigning Mother to close. Were they talented? I suppose so, but it all sounded a bit too much like classic rock for my taste. The five-string bass was the first warning sign that we were in for a long set of Ted Nugent and Allman Brothers sounding rockers.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Knife and Derek's new bandmates highlight this week's Pillow Talk

Michelle and Rachel's Pillow Talk DJing set this Wednesday at 529 will include live music from Knife and the 4th Ward Daggers and Derek Lyn Plastic. Come out and see two old favorites who both have a new lineup.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Too sad to surf

Artist: Vivian Girls
Title: Surf's Up EP
Label: Wild World
Release date: December 2008

This EP, which shipped around Christmas time last year, suits the summer, as the Vivian Girls go from wowing fans with Beach Boys-like harmonies to covering a Brian Wilson and Mike Love-penned b-side.

The first track, "Surfin' Away," has a deceptively upbeat title, as it is a slow, sad tune. Cassie Ramone pulls off some expert guitar weeping, which accentuates the song's apathetic theme. Why so many people insist that these girls cannot play their instruments well is beyond me.

"Second Date" sounds like a mellow, shoegazing version of a 1960's girl group classic, though it's an original tune. It, like its fellow a-side, does not stray from the can't-miss Vivian Girls formula of solid lyrics and beautiful harmonies.

Speaking of beautiful harmonies, it would be safe to say The Vivian Girls grew up on The Beach Boys and have been influenced by a band that also harnessed a can't-miss formula. The original song was the b-side to "Barbara Ann" and bore some striking similarities to The Beatles' "Ticket To Ride." This song suits what the Vivian Girls do like a glove, so it comes across as if they are playing one of their own compositions instead of reworking a classic to fit their mold.

This, like everything else the Vivs have released, is highly recommended.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Coffin Bound, Balkans, Trashcans tonight at house show

The Watch Yr Head House (click on the name of the place to see a keen Google Maps shot of it) tonight will host Balkans, Coffin Bound, $hining Path, The Trashcans, and Reigning Mother.

The Black Lips and Mika Miko get UK press

The Guardian in the UK has posted 11 pictures of Mika Miko, The Black Lips, and a familiar face or two. Check them out here.

In other Black Lips news, Creative Loafing revealed today via Paste that "Bad Kids" is going to be on the (500) Days of Summer film soundtrack. At least they have common ground with The Smiths now, right?

For the record, the best Mika Miko picture ever is still this:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rock and Roll Kills is back

Tuk and friends are once again providing rock and roll and cheap drinks once a week, as Rock and Roll Kills has taken over a gay bar. They are also part of Ladie's Night each Thursday at The Bureau. As you may recall, Rock and Roll Kills took over The Graveyard once a week last summer.

Dinosaurs, Trashcans, and lots of grown-up music at The Star Bar

While soul aficionados were dancing upstairs, The Trashcans were debuting and Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction were making their return to Atlanta last night in the sweltering downstairs area of The Star Bar.

The downstairs festivities were in honor of Kenny Crucial, as the Atlanta mainstay shares a birthday with Paul McCartney and Igor Stravinsky.

Kenny's party did not start until fairly late, so everyone who got there at a decent hour was treated to the funk and soul sounds of The East Ponce Soul Faction. Seeing professional musicians at The Star Bar was very odd, as hearing their mellow if not boring music at a place I associate with local bands like the ones headlining downstairs made it feel like I was in a coffee shop. As a funk/soul novice/ignoramus, I had to tell myself the songs sounded like the musical numbers from The Mighty Boosh minus the comical lyrics just to find the silver lining.

Jeffrey Butzer and his band opened the party downstairs, and they played a more exciting brand of music for grown-ups than the Family Funk did upstairs. The group played an exciting mix of surf rock and songs that sound like they were lifted from old Hollywood Western films. An electric stand-up bass on a tripod and a guitarist who faintly resembled Elvis Costello added to Butzer's visual presentation. Everyone who was sweating it up downstairs seemed to enjoy the set, especially this one guy with a Tom Skerritt mustache who was dancing like a madman during the last couple of songs.

Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction were next, as they played a fun though disappointingly brief set to end their two-month break from playing locally. One notable difference came during "Playa Hermosa," as Mark played bass on the song instead of dancing with Morgan. I said in jest after yet another strong performace of "Coke Dick" that the band had made up for the absence of dancing Mark Naumann. All kidding aside, it's great to have a 7 Inch Atlanta favorite playing local shows again after a short hiatus.

Mack Messiah, Crucial's alter-ego and band, played next and exceeded my expectations. Crucial wore a Garth Brooks microphone and was seemingly close to whamming his head on the low-lying ceiling every time he leaped during a song. In one of these songs, Crucial sang about wanting someone to pass him the joint. It was like a mid-tempo Derek Lyn Plastic song (though it was not as good as the real thing).

Rabbit (formerly known as Verlaine) played their loud, three-piece artsy rock next, but it was overshadowed by what was going on upstairs. The lovely Ruby Velle and The Soulphonics headlined the soul party upstairs. Few things are more Southern than soul, and no one in town tackles this reviving genre as well as Ms. Velle and The Soulphonics. They did a lot of covers of soul standards, but they also performed a few Velle originals.

The final band of the night, downstairs or upstairs, was The Trashcans, featuring Nate from Cars Can Be Blue on drums, Jack and Alex from The Barberries playing guitar and doing most of the singing, and their friend Ryan on bass. They play the sloppy, fun garage rock you'd expect from what's pretty much the new Barberries. Several originals and one Barberries tune, "Witch's Titty," made up the set, and each song kept the crowd who had stuck around well past 1 a.m. dancing. Jessica Juggz and Morgan even provided vocals on one tune.

By the end of the long night, $5 had gotten attendees a chance to hear everything from classic soul to Trashcan-style garage-punk.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cars Can Be Blue videos that are, well, interesting.

Several Fringe Binge names announced

Scope out this lineup for the Third Annual Fringe Binge, July 17-18 at the Star Bar.

Lots of the usual suspects are playing along with Poison Arrows (who'll probably be going by a different name by then), Dalton's insanely genius Peter Stubb, and Paul Collins' Beat.

Reactionary Records Presents
3rd Annual Fringe Binge
Paul Collins Beat
All Night Drug Prowling Wolves
Poison Arrows
Giant Tigers
GG King
The Jaguars
Electric Cycles
Peter Stub
many many more

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Stolen Hearts establish themselves with excellent EP

Artist: The Stolen Hearts
Title: Heart Collector EP
Label: Douchemaster Records
Release date: May 28, 2009
Vinyl color: The first 100 were white

The Stolen Hearts establish themselves as a key part of Atlanta's new wave of punk and powerpop groups with this, their debut EP.

Like most of their contemporaries, this band brings some familiar faces to the stage, as Adrian Barrera (The Hiss, Barreracudas, Gentleman Jesse) and Greg King (The Carbonas, Frantic, G.G. King)are the band's guitarists. Fellow Stolen Hearts Ashley, Rachel, and Michelle are in their first band, but by no means are they weak links of this powerpop quintet.

The opening seconds of "Heart Collector" sound similar to a classic girl group song, and the band does not stray far from that formula after things kick into high gear. This should come as no surprise because '60's rock aficionado Randy Michael recorded the entire EP and former Booze bassist Wes Flowers plays organ on this track.

Ashley's no-longer-hidden talent as a vocalist is the real treat here, though this song is so catchy you'll probably be singing over her by the third spin.

"Fire" begins the flipside, and it is deceptively upbeat for a song with such vengeful lyrics. A beautifully-sung cover of The Sponsors' "In and Out" wraps up this release.

If you like girl-fronted pop, do not drink away all of your money at this band's next show, because you need a copy of this EP.

Dinos return, Trashcans debut at Crucial's b-day bash

Some familiar faces will return to the Star Bar tomorrow night at Kenny Crucial's birthday bash, as Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction will play their first Atlanta show since April and The Trashcans will debut.

The Trashcans are Nate from Cars Can Be Blue, Jack and Alex from The Barberries, and a guy named Ryan who is not the former Barberrie. You can hear a few of their tunes on their Myspace page.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Gentleman and an artist

Picking Gentleman Jesse and Dan Melchior over X was a better idea than one might assume, as both expert songsmiths and their bands performed Saturday at Eyedrum to celebrate the closing of Melchior's art exhibit.

Melchior, an artist in every sense of the term, played a short set of his expertly-crafted tunes. The combination of his British accent and the storytelling quality of a couple of his songs was strangely reminiscent of John Cooper Clarke. Of course, Clarke was a beat poet in an era influenced by different drugs than his 1960's counterparts, while Melchior is a jam-band guitarist who writes post-punk influenced lyrics. Even some of the tedious songs with excessive guitar solos were enjoyable enough to show that Melchior, a Durham, NC resident via the UK, is truly a multifaceted artist.

Gentleman Jesse and His Men closed, and they for the most part put on their standard show (dancealong powerpop with Adrian Barrera's wit filling any down time between songs). The good news is the band played at least four or five brand-new songs in addition to the pair of yet-to-be-recorded tunes we already knew and loved. Does this mean a new LP that, like its predecessor, will have to be re-pressed numerous times is around the corner?

Considering this show was $7, which is probably the going price for a domestic beer at Variety Playhouse, it was a bargain when compared to the evening's other option.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

One swan song and one rebirth

A packed crowd Friday at 529 got to see the swan song of one talented Atlanta act and the rebirth of another, as Vera Fang had quite the send-off at a show that also included an appearance by the recently-reformed Knife and the 4th Ward Daggers.

I missed the first two bands, as Sleep Creeps and Great Circle played early. It's a shame, because Sleep Creeps has some mellow, female-fronted tunes on its Myspace page. Great Circle apparently is nothing but two guitarists, including Paul from Abby Go Go. I'm sure we'll all be hearing more about them in the near future.

Knife and the 4th Ward Daggers was on third, as they played only their second show of the year and their second with Joey, their new bass player. He fits the band and their classic pop sound like a glove. Even a few screw-ups toward the end of the set were not enough to derail the band's best gig in a long time. Here's hoping for more 4th Ward Daggers in the near future, and even a single or, if we cross or collective fingers, an LP.

Closing the night and their run as a band was Vera Fang. They had not played since last November or December, but they were generous enough to give their fans an official final show.

Vera Fang had a lot going their way when they were active, as they had an amazing drummer, great tunes and an art-punk sound different than every other Atlanta band. For their final set, they seemingly performed all of their songs, including songs from their Army of Bad Luck 7", "Zebra Dunn" and the last song they ever performed together, "Let's Go To Spain." The show drew a large crowd despite the rain and the G.G. King show at Wonderroot, and it'd be safe to say most everyone was glad they came out and gave Vera Fang the send-off they deserved.

Love City Rockers

Artist:Love City
Title:Love City EP CD

This four-song sampler from Philadelphia's Love City should pack enough high energy, organ-driven rock to get you excited for their upcoming Certified PR Records 7".

"I Can't Stop (The Ringing In My Ear)" is garage rock in the traditional sense, as it sounds more like The Animals than your run-of-the-mill zany garage-punk band. It's kind of like the songs you hear from the more grown-up 60's-inspired acts that play The Star Bar, only way better.

The last track "The Other Side," is another quality track that packs a surprising punch. If The Kinks had come along after punk rock, they would have wrote songs just like this one.

Sandwiched in between the before-mentioned tracks are "The Days" and "Seasons." Both are also solid garage rock tunes with clap-along drumming and dance-along organ parts.

You can pick this highly-suggested disc up for cheap at CD Baby.

Pretty Vanilla release new music with an old-fashioned appeal

Artist: Pretty Vanilla
Title: 7 Inches Deep EP
Label: Paper Tiger Productions
Release date: June 13, 2009

This hot-off-the-presses release by Vancouver's Pretty Vanilla is a nicely done nod to everything from bubblegum pop to T. Rex.

The first track, "Lost In The Soda Shop," is about longing for the old days, as lead singer Nikki Nice proclaims, "I'm pushing 36, but I want my teenage kicks!" That line reminds you of The Undertones, doesn't it? Everything about this track is reminiscent of the pop side of early punk rock, from the lyrical content to the familiar-sounding riffs.

"Radio Glow" is a nostalgia for the teenager trapped inside all of us influenced by classic punk and powerpop standards.

The flipside begins with the strongest track, "Paper Tiger." This sleazy as all get-out tune about one-night stands is a T. Rex rip-off in the best way possible. It's nothing you have never heard before, but that's okay, as these guys clearly did not set out to reinvent the glam-inspired pop wheel.

The final song, "New Love," is bubblegum pop at its finest. It's like The Baby Shakes with dudes. While it sounds like bubblegum pop musically, lyrically this is about scorned swingers instead of teenage lovers.

If I had to compare them to one band, it would be Seattle's The Greatest Hits, who they by chance will tour with in the near and soon. This tour will involve a July 24 stop at The Star Bar.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hip To Death debuts tonight

Tonight's free Star Bar show will feature the debut of Hip To Death, featuring John Breedlove from Trial By Fire.

News and Notes

• Gentleman Jesse and His Men's "All I Need Tonight" was NPR's song of the day two days ago. According to NPR's Ben Westhoff, the band combines "elements of pop-punk, garage-rock and early-'60s radio rock... the music doesn't blow people's minds so much as permanently lodge itself therein." Read more about it here.

• When The Customers and Predator played in New York last weekend, they saw a familiar face on stage, as Dave from The Heart Attacks is the latest addition to the Vilent Lovers Club.

• Vera Fang is playing their last show ever Friday at 529. The Knife and the 4th Ward Daggers will also perform. It'll be their second show with their new bassist.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mika Miko, Coathangers, Strange Boys combine for SOTY candidate

The visiting Strange Boys and Mika Miko and the home-grown Coathangers put on what has to be one of the best local shows of 2009.

The Strange Boys, who sound like some sort of modern garage rock blending of The Kinks and Creedence Clearwater Revivial, opened and played an awesome set. While several of their songs sound the same, that's okay since they do what they do as well as anyone. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," right? They even covered the before-mentioned CCR, as their high-pitched singer belted out "Lodi."

Up next was The Coathangers, as they departed Atlanta for a five-week tour with one of their best sets in recent memories. At sloppier moments, like on the closer, "Don't Touch My Shit," the band's energy mixed with an eager, packed audience made up for any potential downfall to a strong set. Highlights included a performance of "Nestle In My Boobies" enhanced by the best Thrill Cosby rap to date and "Pussywillow." Who would have imagined when we first heard songs like "Parking Lot" a few years ago that the band would someday have songs as solid as the latter in their repertoire?

The main event exceeded its hype, as Mika Miko played a tight set made up mostly of songs from their new We Be XUXA LP. They also broke out classics like "Business Cats" and "End of Time" and, during their encore, a cover of "Commando" by The Ramones.

The highlight may have been the band's two lead singers, as both of them were absolutely fearless and showed no signs of self-consciousness or stage fright. Do you tire of singers who look like they are about to puke throughout their band's set and do not know what to do with their hands? Does hearing shit like "I'm sorry guys, I'm so drunk," after every third song get old? Well, I doubt you'd have to contend with any of that at a Mika Miko show.

By the end of the night, I was not sure who I should envy: The Coathangers for getting to see Mika Miko multiple times during their tour or Mika Miko for getting to hear the new batch of Coathangers tunes several nights in a row. I suppose being jealous of tourmates The Strange Boys would settle that internal struggle.

Flips score big with '60's-style single

Artist: The Flips
Title: Self-titled 7"
Label: Bancroft Records
Release date: Winter 2009
Vinyl color: Pink

This debut effort from The Flips is a good garage-pop record utilizing the harmonies and storytelling lyrics of classic girl groups.

The band consists of six girls from various Milwaukee-area bands, including Wendy Norton from Plexi 3 and Natalie Clark from The Tuff Bananas both handling guitar and backup vocal duties.

The a-side, "That Girl Stacey," is a story of boyfriend stealing and backstabbing, as a guy named Bobby (nice name) gets stolen away from one of the girls by that good-for-nothing Stacey. The lyrics tell a straightforward story, like The Shangri-Las did with hits like "Leader of the Pack." The story is interrupted a few times by a catchy chorus, which is true to girl-group form. Musically, it mixes obvious 1960's influences with classic powerpop from the 1970's.

Two equally sweet, piano-driven b-sides called "I Still Wanna Be His Girl" and "Baby (It's Gonna Be Alright)" are also superb. The latter is especially pretty, as lead vocalist Betsy Heibler's doubled-up vocals sound best on this track.

This is not your typical garage-rock-played-at-punk-speed band, but it's okay to take a break from that formula for about six minutes while you put on this record.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Get excited!

about tonight's Mika Miko, Coathangers, and Strange Boys show.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Double Negative a highlight of Saturday's punk show

Chunklet presented another great lineup Saturday at Lenny's, as Double Negative were the highlights of a solid punk show.

Vincas, a melodic hardcore three-piece from nearby Athens, opened and they set the stage for a great night of punk rock. They are yet another example that Athens has in recent years been responsible for some solid hardcore bands other than American Cheeseburger.

Next was G.G. King, or at least most half of the band. Chris was in New York with The Customers celebrating their 7" release, and Mike was with him fulfilling his Predator duties. Will, Greg and Clay's former bandmate in both Quadiliacha and The Carbonas, filled in behind the drum kit, and Ryan of the Bukkake Boys handled bass. Greg was also double-booked, as his other band, The Stolen Hearts, were playing that same night at 529 with Digital Leather. Considering they had two fill-ins, the band sounded good as they played the three familiar songs ("Adult Rock", "In The Terminal", and "Drug Zoo"), a Box Tops cover, and a few other originals.

Bukkake Boys, the only band that plays live more often than Predator, were next. They play angry, no frills hardcore the way it should be played. Ruby fronts a hardcore band the way one should be fronted, as he is in full-gear throughout each set. On this particular night, they were as potent as usual.

Double Negative were next to last, as they lived up to their own hype while shredding through an energetic set. Though Raleigh, North Carolina's finest did not draw as big a crowd as they should have, they played their asses off for those of us who showed up. It's notable that their drummer, Brian Walsby, is an accomplished illustrator and the brains behind the Manchild comic book series.

A surprise fifth band, Bucket Flush, played around 1:30 a.m. after almost everyone was on their way home. Those who stuck around got a nice surprise, as these U.K. '82 looking Philadelphia dudes were a hoot. Most bands of their type take themselves too seriously, but these punk kids had no problem having a laugh with intentionally goofy songs about toilets and fucking Jesus in the rear. They could probably outplay most of the mohican-sporting kids out there who would not have so much fun at their own expenses. I suppose they are to their brand of punk what Hardskin is to Oi.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Mika Miko add to stong catalog, live sets with new LP

Artist: Mika Miko
Title: We Be XUXA
Label: Post Present Medium
Release date: 2009

Mika Miko's new LP is fantastic, as the band mixes post-punk influences with a modern West Coast sound to create a fast-paced romp through songs likely written to complement the band's highly-touted live act.

The best of the bunch is "I Got A Lot (New New New)", a song with the less-than-perfect harmonies, heavy bass line, and post-punk riffs you're used to hearing if you dig legendary bands like Delta 5.

Another standout track, "Wild Bore", is not new to Mika Miko fans, as a shoddy demo version appeared on the 666 EP from 2007. The new version is far from shoddy, as it utilizes perfectly the two-vocalist attack that makes the band unique.

They pay homage, intentionally or unintentionally, to other punk and post-punk greats through "Turkey Sandwich," which is reminiscent of the wackiness of bands like Family Fodder. "Sex Jazz" sounds like the title of a Rip, Rig, + Panic song, but is less chaotic than anything by Mika Miko's Bristol-based predecessors. Another example, "Keep On Calling", hearkens back to the before-mentioned Delta 5.

The echo-heavy "Totion" also has a post-punk vibe, and it literally ends with a bang.

Other songs like "Sex" (a Urinals cover), "Beat the Rush" and the tambourine-shaking "On The Rise" are very straightforward and likely are better live than some of the band's more artsy offerings.

Here's hoping this 22-minute romp through 12 songs is an indication of how good this band will be live Tuesday at The Drunken Unicorn when they share the stage with The Coathangers and The Strange Boys.

Stalkers back with another solid single

Artist: Stalkers
Title: In Your Street Today
Label: New York Night Train Recordings
Release date: March 2009

Stalkers are back with more sleazy New York punk with this sling-along/clap-along single.

The title track showcases Andy Animal's instantly identifiable voice, as he belts out solid lyrics beginning with the memorable line, "Rock and roll saved my life tonight."

"Feral Children" lyrically is the intense, punk rock equivalent of "Bad Kids," but the feral children in this song are too busy "running with the dogs" to lament their white trash upbringing. This one is especially intense toward the end, as the band drives this one home and Andy begins growling like, well, an animal.

This single is every bit as good as "Sun's Coming Up," and that tune was an instant classic back in 2004.

Barreracudas pay homage to the classics

Artist: The Barreracudas
Title: New York Honeys
Label: Douchemaster Records
Release date: April 28, 2009
Vinyl color: The first 100 were on blue vinyl

The new Hiss' new direction involves taking an old approach to rock and roll, as evidenced by these two back-to-basics tunes recently released by Douchemaster.

Adrian Barrera, the band's namesake, and the rest of the final Hiss lineup teamed up to crank out songs that sound more like classic bands from the early 70's like The New York Dolls and Hollywood Brats than better-known Hiss tunes like "Triumph."

The title track, "New York Honeys," is a song with Johnny Thunders riffs played at punk speed and, based on a recent interview with Creative Loafing, lyrics about hip-hop inspired porn magazines.

The flipside, "Don't Get Me Wrong," is about misunderstood intentions. These songs about real-life fascinations and emotions are part of the new approach for a band that once wrote psychedelic, surrealistic lyrics.

The Barreracudas' current roster includes the before-mentioned last Hiss lineup and Barrera's Gentleman Jesse cohort, Warren Bailey, reprising his familiar role as a guitarist.

Even if The Hiss were not your thing, The Barreracudas deserve a listen.

Gringo (foreign television) Star(s)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Jacuzzi Boys, Woven Bones, Barreracudas, and North Trolls made for a great lineup

There was not a single weak link in last night's lineup, as two local acts and two visiting bands put on a great show at Lenny's.

Up first were local newcomers The North Trolls. They are a very solid powerpop group that mixes very southern sounds with pop/punk vocals. The drummer's voice is especially poppy, and when he handles lead vocals the band is like a cross between The Thomas Function and something like The Alkaline Trio. They are fast and loud, yet easy on the ears.

The Barreracudas, who are the last lineup of The Hiss plus Warren from Gentleman Jesse on guitar, were next. The band takes on the personality of full-time lead singer/sometimes guitarist Adrian Barrera, as his between-song banter (he was scared at one point he might have his period while wearing white pants) was not much wackier than the band's back-to-basics rock songs about porn, partying, and chowing down on dog food.

Woven Bones, a three-piece from Austin, Tx., was next. They consist of primitive drumming and straightforward and at times psychedelic rock that sounds like a cross between The Velvet Underground and The Gun Club.

The night ended with the unabashed badassery of Miami's Jacuzzi Boys. Lead singer Gabriel got all big-eyed like an owl while belting out his band's South Florida garage rock tunes. One highlight was when the band took a break from semi-serious songs to perform a tune about fruits.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Artist: Facehugger
Title: And Here I Am CD EP
Label: self-released
Release date: 2008

This five-song EP is the first batch of recordings from electronic post-punk trio Facehugger.

In between two instrumental pieces appropriately named "Noise I" and Noise II" are three tracks that will give listeners a taste of Facehugger's simultaneously dark and upbeat sound.

"Missed Connection" and its upbeat riffs is followed by "Gone," which is hypnotic even if the lyrics are hard to decipher.

"Endgame" is very Gothic (in the traditional sense, thankfully),and it mixes all of the elements that make Facehugger interesting. The song displays what all three members bring to the band, as John Hannah rants frantically through the lyrics while keyboard player/drum machine programmer David Spence and guitarist Paul Harper perform the EP's strongest track.

This is definitely the traditional dodgy kitchen tape demo, but three of the songs are strong enough and sound decent enough to make Facehugger fans wonder how the band will sound on its upcoming split Army of Bad Luck 7" with Pleasure Cruise.

Since Abby Go-Go seems to get priority over Ominous Castle nowadays, Facehugger might just be the best band of its kind in Atlanta.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Customers release record, sparse crowd goes nuts for Predator

The Customers released their debut Rob's House 7" Tuesday at 529 in front of a meager crowd after Predator tore through another solid set.

Predator, broken strings considered, had another solid set, as the crowd that mostly was other musicians and Atlanta's most loyal show-goers got rowdy. If every local audience was a lively as this one was, Atlanta would not be labeled as the kind of place where music enthusiasts show up to keep their hands in their pockets and look bored all night. We even got mooned a time or two (I won't say who was the culprit) toward the end of Predator's set..

The Customers were up next, and though they did not put on one of their better performances, they still played a good though short set that should have fans excited about the new 7".

The new 7" can be purchased directly from Rob's House.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Hussy demo shows promise

Artist: The Hussy
Title: EP of demos
Release date: 2008

A lot can be said about this young, Madison, Wi. based duo, as based on these demos they surely will emerge in due time from a state already known for quality bands like Plexi 3 and The Goodnight Loving.

The best track is "One Time," as Bobby, their guitarist, sings the verses and drummer Heather joins in on the choruses of this fast-paced tune that sounds like a really good Kill Rock Stars release. You know, kind of like one of the newer Mika Miko songs. Maybe that's why this was picked last October by Tobi Vail as her "demo of the week." It's also the longest of the nine songs, clocking in at a whopping 2:13.

"Social Critique" is also a strong track, as it is lighting fast and beautifully sloppy like any good garage-punk song. This one will draw plenty of cliched "that's a lot of noise coming from just a drummer and guitarist" comments we already hear in Atlanta about groups like Jesse Nobody.

Another standout is "Drinking Song," as it's hard to go wrong with a song about drinking, especially one that features Heather's beautiful voice and ends with "cha cha cha."

The band explores what all they can do as dueling girl-guy vocalists on these demos, as they go from call-and-response on "Double Dare" to having Heather provide "yadda yadda yah" backup vocals for Bobby's equally adequate voice on "On The Cover."

This is a good demo, as the band tears through nine energetic songs in only 13 minutes. It's good enough to make you wish this duo would make a stop in Atlanta whenever they tour.

Busy week for The Customers

Tomorrow, they'll officially release the new 7" for their hometown fans with DJ Chad Radford. I'm unclear on whether or not Predator is playing.

Then it's on to New York City with Predator to play a killer show with The Electric Shadows and Ex-Humans.