Friday, August 28, 2009

The West Georgian Week 2: Plexi 3 LP review

Artist: Plexi 3
Title: Tides of Change
Label: Bachelor Records
Release date: Spring 2009

Plexi 3, Milwaukee’s finest three-piece band, continues to crank out solid punk and garage-inspired pop with their first full-length L.P., “Tides of Change,” on Austria’s Bachelor Records.

The band features Wendy Norton on guitar and vocals, Adam Widener on bass and vocals and drummer Ryan King. Together they write two-minute garage-pop songs and play them live and in the studio with all the ferocity of yesterday’s punk and today’s powerpop bands.

The title track is the real gem here, as it is a great example of how the band mixes its influences to create a sound of their own. It features Norton’s vocals and nifty guitar playing, both of which are major selling points of the band’s first three singles.

Another Norton-fronted song, “Stop & Listen,” is a quick tour-de-force of punk goodness reminiscent of an earlier Plexi 3 tune, “Stabbing Fantasies.”

“Timebox,” a single the band released early this year on Full Breach Kicks Records and the last track on this LP, featured a nice surprise on its b-side in the Windener penned and sang tune “What Love is For.” The Monkees-inspired song was a welcome preview of things to come, as on this LP Norton shares vocal duty with Widener. He sings six of the album’s 13 songs, including an Everly Brothers cover and a sing-along with Norton called “Didn’t Really Matter.”

Norton still contributes heavily beyond her guitar playing on the songs fronted by Widener, as she adds surf-pop backup vocals reminiscent of The Beach Boys on “Heart I Had,” a song written by King, and plays piano on “’Til It Comes True.”

Widener’s vocal talents are not a surprise this time around, since the band let that cat out of the bag earlier this year. If there is a surprise, it’s “Little Vacation,” a pretty tune that’s mellow in a Joe Jackson or Helen McCookerybook kind of way.

Other highlights include “Menial,” a brutally honest assessment of the common worker’s life (“You’ll make enough just to get by/You’ll work for us until you die”) and “P.O. Box 9847,” a genuinely sweet love song (“Some say it’s a dying art/Sending mail from the heart”).

A quick glance at the liner notes might draw your eyes to a familiar name, as the band thanks Derek Lyn Plastic, a criminally underrated Atlanta songsmith. The band stayed at DLP’s place last summer when their vehicle broke down in Atlanta, and they were back at the songsmith’s home in May to contribute to a couple of tracks for his upcoming LP.

If you like garage rock, oldies or that old “Nuggets” compilation, do yourself a huge favor and pick up this LP/CD, as it is a fresh take on some timeless sounds.

The West Georgian week 3: Finally Punk LP review

I'm posting this early since I'm not sure when I'll be in front of a computer again.
Artist:
Finally Punk
Title: Casual Goths
Label: Army of Bad Luck
Release date: July 2009
Release number: ABL-014
Vinyl color: Some are pink

Finally Punk, an Austin, Tx. four-piece, have compiled every song from their three 7” singles and some unreleased gems for “Casual Goths”, their first proper L.P. on Atlanta-based Army of Bad Luck records.

The band is the sum of its parts, as Erin, Stephanie, Elizabeth and Veronica switch instruments and share vocal duties. It’s kind of like Atlanta’s Coathangers, another all-girl band capable of leaving their egos at the door and contributing as needed because no one is married to their instrument of choice.

Like most all-girl groups of today, Finally Punk are going to primarily be compared to the music of third-wave feminism and the Riot Grrrl movement of the early 1990’s, though their sound incorporates plenty of other influences.

There are shouty songs on this L.P. about personal and sexual politics, like “Indian Giver,” “Missile” and “Bald Cake,” but Finally Punk’s sound can and does go beyond the limitations met by most Bikini Kill clones.

The best of Finally Punk’s feminist manifestos is “Boyfriend Application,” which lies out that they don’t need boys or sex to feel socially secure (“You can buy some condoms, but it won’t get you nowhere”).

Finally Punk shows their songwriting talents (they share those duties, too), by seamlessly going from the before-mentioned shouty songs to more musically complex and aurally pleasing tunes like “Know Age” and the beautiful “Primary Colors.”

Other influences you can hear come from the wide, and sadly uncharted by most, world of female-fronted post-punk bands from the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. The aptly-titled “5-year-old Angst” utilizes the angry conversation over chaotic bass and drums formula created by Inflatable Boy Clams, while the mellow “Coffee, Tea and Misery” is reminiscent of the godmothers of post-punk, The Raincoats.

On one song, “Pregnant,” they tie together personal politics with post-punk influences, as a song that unsurprisingly is about being pregnant starts off mellow like The Raincoats and then becomes chaotic, modern and crucial like a Mika Miko song.

“Penguin” is the best song on the album, and it brilliantly mixes the lo-fi dance beats of Delta 5 with squeaky toy sound effects. In fact, it’s probably the best use of a squeaky toy in a song since The Clash recorded the forgettable “Shepherd’s Delight.”

There’s even a song about Johnny Depp thrown in for good measure and other fun stuff like “Perks” (“Turn this house into a house party!) and “Australia,” which references peeing on a rattlesnake.

In case it was not obvious that these girls listen to all the right bands, there’s a cover of Nirvana’s “Negative Creep.” It’s not as good as the original, but what is?

Since Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is commonly believed to be about Bikini Kill drummer Tobi Vail, does that make Finally Punk a Riot Grrrl-inspired band inspired by a Riot Grrrl-inspired band?

This like other Army of Bad Luck releases, comes with a CD version of the album for the car or your MP3 player. It’s one of the latest great releases of 2009, so purchase a copy at http://www.armyofbadluck.com/.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Video of the week: Kid Congo Powers

He's been in the Cramps, Gun Club, and Bad Seeds, just to name a few, and now Kid Congo Powers is Atlanta bound. Check him out Sept. 26 at The Star Bar with Derek Lyn Plastic and the incomparable Subsonics.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Real country music plus powepop equals a good night in East Atlanta

Gentleman Jesse put on another good set, including new songs that hopefully will be on a new LP, but it was visitors from Brooklyn that stole the show Saturday at The Earl.

Opening was The Impulse International, ending a week-long tour where it began and impressing the handful that came out early enough to catch their set. The band has a slew of awesome powerpop releases, including a new album on Dirtnap Records, but they do not play out often because their singer lives in Florida and the rest of the trio live in Brooklyn. Here's hoping their 2010 tour comes through Atlanta a time or two, as this trio is awesome live and deserves to perform in front of a larger audience.

The Weight were next, featuring the much-hyped Joseph Plunket, and played what can best be described as legit country and western style music with lyrics about topics like Wesley Snipes. Believe the hype, but I don't have to tell you that if you've seen these guys before. They are simply amazing, even if you are not used to listening to that style of music.

Gentleman Jesse and His Men were on last, and, as mentioned before, they continue to wow with their newer material while sparking singalongs with tracks from their debut Douchemaster LP.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Big show tonight

Gentleman Jesse and His Men will play with The Weight tonight at The Earl. Also on the bill will be The Impulse International, a powerpop band featuring members from Brooklyn and Florida.

Barreracudas steal show featuring San Francisco punks

The Barreracudas and G.G. King put on a good show Tuesday at 529 when they shared a bill with fellow Douchemaster band Buzzer and their tourmates, The Impediments.

Why a band as awesome as The Barreracudas would have to open for anyone is beyond me, but they started the show right with their growing batch of songs. Highlights included that funny song about dog food, the song that kind of sounds like "Dancing With Myself" and the songs from the band's Douchemaster single.

People who got drunk early may have been confused by mop-topped Milton. Yes, he wore a wig that made it look like Paul McCartney never left town.

The Impediments were next. They share two members with fellow San Francisco punks Buzzer, including a talented young guitarist who looks like he isn't a day older than 19. Their sound is similar to that of Buzzer, though they take a more pop approach to punk.

Buzzer was on third, and there was bad news, good news, and great news about their set. The bad news is they did not play a single song from that fabulous Douchemaster single that came out last year. The good news is they apparently put the kibosh on playing those songs after the before-mentioned young and talented guitarist recently joined the band, and I cannot imagine them being half as good without the guy. The great news is though they played songs I had never heard before, I loved every second of their set and hope to hear recorded versions of these songs.

G.G. King closed out the night with Will Greene on drums, which apparently is a permanent lineup change. Greg and the guys played all the songs you'd know ("Drug Zoo", "Adult Rock", etc.) minus "The Letter" and a couple of new ones.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Video of the week: Jay Reatard's "It Ain't Gonna Save Me"

Great song, but the opening of this video is nightmare territory. I no longer lament having been the poor kid who never had a proper birthday party.

As an added bonus, here's more of Jay sitting and being wheeled around:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ubangi review from The West Georgian

Artist: Bobby Ubangi
Title: Inside the Mind of Bobby Ubangi
Label: Rob's House Records
Release date: Summer 2009
Release number: RHR-053

Atlanta punk scene mainstay Bobby Ubangi released a solo LP of two-minute garage-pop classics on Rob’s House Records this summer with help from some longtime friends shortly before losing his lengthy battle with terminal lung cancer.

Ubangi, 34, was diagnosed in August 2008 with cancer. At the time, he was not expected to live past Christmas, but he defied the odds until July 1, 2009. He is best known to local music fans as the former guitarist of Atlanta-based punk bands The Carbonas, Lids, and Gaye Blades.

Between the diagnosis and his death, Ubangi recorded and released on local labels three singles and an LP, partly to help cover his doctor bills and other expenses as he was no longer healthy enough to hold a job.

The final productive months of Ubangi’s recording career are remarkable when you consider the lack of official releases by his earlier bands. In the eight years prior to his diagnosis, Ubangi played on a Lids single and LP and two Gaye Blades singles. When touring and partying were out of the question and music provided of the few escapes from a painful and fleeting life, Ubangi doubled his musical output.

Ubangi’s solo LP, Inside The Mind of Bobby Ubangi, features the three-chord guitar playing and simple yet catchy hooks that brought The Lids some notoriety in the garage-punk world and guest appearances by some of his most famous friends.

The opening track, “Another Girl Like You,” was originally released as a single on Atlanta’s Douchemaster Records and is a near perfect two-minute pop song which is about a girl who apparently was too much for Ubangi to handle.

Another insanely catchy cut is “Make You Mine,” which features Steven Hutton of The Customers on lead guitar and Mike Beavers of Predator and G.G. King on drums.

“Dry” features Gentleman Jesse Smith, another former Carbona, on lead guitar, and I would like to believe Ubangi was pretending he was a cowboy when he penned its lyrics.

Other guest appearances include Cole Alexander and Jared Swilley from The Black Lips on “Some Kind of Love,” Gentleman Jesse bassist Warren Bailey on “That’s Alright” and the incomparable King Khan on “Spacesh*t.”

Ubangi chips in with more than just great lyrics, nasally and very Southern vocals and simplistic guitar playing. He plays organ on “Where the Old Folks Go (To Get Down),” which borders on sounding like Southern rock, and he shakes a mean tambourine on several tracks, including the memorable “Busty Summertime.”

The album was recorded in Womack’s Atlanta home, lovingly known as Nuts! Studio, as he reached a point that he did not get out much because of his condition.

Ubangi’s bravery in surviving longer than his doctors expected and his friends’ willingness to put on “Bobby Ubangi Preservation Society” benefit concerts once he was unable to work showed unity in a scene some want to portray as divided.

In fact, a benefit for Ubangi was held July 1 moments after he passed, though some local musicians found it impossible to perform after the passing of a longtime friend. Proceeds from that night and a July 4 concert and all-day carnival in East Atlanta headlined by The Carbonas went toward Ubangi’s burial fund.

If you like simple, Ramones-inspired punk and garage rock, check out this LP. Though only 600 copies were pressed, it is still available through Rob’s House Records, www.robshouse.com.

A whole lotta Juggz

The Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction Myspace page says the band is sharing a bill tonight at the Highland Inn with Pizza Party and Mourdella. Jessica Juggz is going to perform with all three bands. That's what the locals like to call "pulling a Dave Rahn."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The West Georgian column is back!

Check out this space tomorrow to read 7 Inch Atlanta's take on Bobby Ubangi's lone solo LP.

Also be on the lookout for a review of tonight's Buzzer show.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Woven walls of sound

Artist: Woven Bones
Title: Janie
Label: Needless Recs
Release date: Summer 2009
Release number: NLR.02

Austin-based punk trio Woven Bones, who have a 12" EP coming out next month, weaved a couple of memorable walls of sound for this, their third second 7".*

The title track is a grimy, shoegaze-style tune that sounds like the love child of The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Cramps. Singer Andrew Burr sounds very Southern in an endearing way when he belts out, "And I know, what's going on" on this tale about a cheating ex-girlfriend.

On the b-side, "Let It Breathe", the barrage of bass and simplistic drumming is slowed down to a crawl on that, surprisingly enough, might remind you of The Doors.

* I'm assuming the Hozac single came first and the split with Jacuzzi Boys was the band's second release.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Disco Kidzzz on the way

San Francisco punks Buzzer will join tour mates The Impediments and local acts G.G. King and The Barreracudas Tuesday at 529. They are also playing a Vacation in-store Wednesday around 7 p.m.

Buzzer first created buzz last summer when they released a solid 7" on Douchemaster Records. Read about it here.

Satan's Youth Ministers, Impulse International steal show at The Drunken Unicorn

Though The Trashcans did not get to play*, Friday's show at The Drunken Unicorn was fun, thanks in part to Satan's Youth Ministers' first Atlanta appearance.

Satan's Youth Ministers, a psychedelic rock group from Sheffield, Alabama, put on one Hell of a show. Though they sounded like a rock band straight from the 1960's, their songs were about relevant topics like Xanax poppers, folks who are addicted to television, and Bear Bryant, whose death in the early 1980's has not sunk in for thousands of Southerners.

Their lead singer was a Southern-fried Andy Animal, as he was a big fellow who was not afraid to stalk around on stage like a cock-rock sex symbol. He also did not mind disrobing, as he went from a polyester and mascara-wearing minister of Satan to the fourth ugliest drag queen on Ponce early in the set. As he pointed out to me after the set, when a muscular guy strips it's showing off. It's instant comedy when a chubby guy does it.

The Impulse International played second, and they were another nice surprise. Their punk and powerpop-inspired sound falls somewhere in between The Buzzcocks and The Strokes, and they really brought it on the first night of a week-long tour to promote their new Dirtnap Records CD.

Their bass player was from our sister city, Brooklyn, and he leaped around some on stage as if he was Paul Simonon. The singer and guitarist had a dinosaur tattoo, and that'd be awesome even if his band wasn't.

The Humms from Athens closed out the night. Their old-fashioned garage sound and obvious love for The Cramps were on display, as was the jiggly ass of what looked like a UGA sorority girl. For what it's worth, the dudes who came in late for the dance party that followed seemed to get more out of the dancer than the people who were there for rock and roll.

By the end of The Humms' set, the dancing girl was in her underwear, the bass player was naked and half of the audience was on stage.

The night was insane. Sadly, this insanity was seen by very few people. Fortunately, you can see The Impulse International this Saturday at The Earl with adult rock mainstay Gentleman Jesse and The Weight. Satan's Youth Ministers will bring their polyester and backwards messages back to Atlanta Sept. 12.

* I'm not going to get into what happened, as I only know one side of the story and I'd be biased toward my friends.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Video of the week: Dum Dum Girls at Woodsist Fest in Brooklyn

Here's Dee Dee with members of Blank Dogs, Crocodiles, and Crystal Stilts. I'm not sure if this supergroup is permanent or was thrown together for this show. Either way, expect a glowing review of the 12" that features "Catholicked" in the near and soon.

7" Atlanta's show review hiatus ends after tonight

The Trashcans are coming fresh off another stong performance at The Watch Yr Head House, and I have high hopes for Satan's Youth Ministers from nearby Alabama.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Poison Arrows are now Biters

Yep, they finally got a new name. Apparently the Illinois-based Poison Arrows were going to sue if Tuk, Joey, Josh, and Mikey did not start calling themselves something different. Check them out tonight at a free-all ages show at The Bureau on Edgewood. Doomed Youth are opening.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cover of the upcoming Girls At Dawn 7"

Here's a peek at the upcoming Girls At Dawn "Never Enough" b/w "Every Night" 7". It should be yet another great Hozac Records release. The band features former Atlantan and 4th Ward Daggers bass player Sarah Baldwin.

Suggestions, please

I'm going to do that 7 Inch Atlanta newspaper column in The West Georgian again this semester, though in the spring I was not happy with the results. I have been asked to not write about punk stuff every week, so instead of praising The Coathangers, Predator, Poison Arrows, Baby Dinosaurs, GG King, etc. every week I will only talk about 7 Inch Atlanta favorites every other week.

The only non-punk/garage/indie stuff I like and own that are new-ish is a Helen McCookerybook (The Chefs, Helen and the Horns) folk album and that Guitar Lightnin' Lee double 7" Die Slaughterhaus released earlier this year.

Does anyone have any suggestions for Atlanta-based rap, folk, alt-country, or anything else that has not crossed the 7 Inch Atlanta radar?

P.S. The first column of the fall will be out next week and will be a review of BJ's solo album.

Nobunny's 7" keeps his momentum rolling

Artist: Nobunny
Title: "Give It To Me" b/w "Motorhead With Me"
Label: Hozac Records
Release date: December 2008
Release number: HZR-024
Vinyl color: Gold edition of 200 with alternate sleeve, black edition of 700, red edition of 300, green edition of 500

The most recent Nobunny single, "Give It To Me," and its b-side are brief nuggets of great modern garage rock crossed with classic powerpop and punk.

On the a-side, Mr. Nobunny sings a lust-filled tune that honestly could pass as a Nerves demo without straying from the artist's can't-miss Ramones-influenced garage-punk formula.

"Motorhead With Me," the flipside, is a clap-along slice of great pop music with simplistic and addictive lyrics.

You've likely heard the Nobunny Loves You LP. If you have, you know it's a high complement to say these songs would not have sounded out of place on the full-length and, well, they would not have sounded out of place on the full-length.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wanda Jackson in Atlanta? Count me in.

Jackson, Los Straitjackets, The Woggles, numerous other bands, and a handful of films will headline this Sept. 6 event.
The World Famous Drive Invasion Returns for one Day Only!
On the Main Stage:
Los Straitjackets
Detroit Cobras
Wanda Jackson
Deadbolt
Woggles
Gargantua
Psycho DeVilles
On the Tralier Vic's Stage:
Go Devils
Penetrators
Grinder Nova
El Capitan

Our Films this year are:
American Graffiti
A Special Surprise Psychedelic Western
Zardoz
Frogs
Shanty Tramp

Dixie Fried 10. The south's largest Pre 64 Hot Rod Show hosted by the Atlanta Road Kings.

Gates at 11am - $28 - Kids under 9 / $5 - Sunday Night Camping.

Pre-Sale Tickets Aug. 15th at Ticket Alternative.

Vendor Spaces: starlightads@AOL.com

Monday, August 10, 2009

PJ Party with Predator and Cali. band

Predator and San Francisco garage punks Pipsqueak will play the Pillowtalk DJs' pajama party this Wednesday. As if bikinis were not enough.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

7 Inch Atlanta is asleep, but the city is still lively

I've been on vacation since Thursday, but I will be back and even more active with the blog in no time.

While I'm away, check out this show tonight, featuring two awesome local bands and a California powerpop staple:

Saturday should present a tough choice for those who are in town, as The Poison Arrows, Mick Jones (supposedly), and support will be at 529, while G.G. King, The Coathangers, Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction and Jessica Juggz' new band, Pizza Party, will be at Lenny's for the third annual Totally Titties breast cancer fundraiser.