Friday, January 29, 2010

Updated links

I've updated some of my links. Feel free to let me know if I've left out any sites of interest, record labels, or local venues, as I feel like none of the lists are complete yet.

I've decided against having a growing list of links to bands' Myspace pages or websites, as if you read this blog on occasion you already know who my local pals are and who I follow from other cities and countries.

Video and photographic evidence that Wednesday's show at The Drunken Unicorn melted people's faces

Funds were raised last Wednesday at the Drunken Unicorn for the release of Bobby Ubangi's final record, a split 7" on Die Slaughterhaus Records with Bobby and the Soft Spots and Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction, at a show featuring Clay Reed of the Subsonics, The Customers, Predator, and Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction.

Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction, who haven't played out much as of late, opened with their typical (in a good way) fun in the sun punk set. I've covered this band a lot, and there's not a lot of new things to say since they don't practice often enough for their newer songs to be concert-ready. What is worth pointing out, though, is Hayley works in Jacksonville, Florida nowadays, and she drove straight to the show from work. Now that's dedication! Also, Morgan seems more comfortable with herself on stage than she used to be. She's still not quite as fearless as Miss Jessica Juggz, but then again who is?

Here's some videos from their set, including a cover of G.G. Allin's "Gimme Some Head."

Predator was next, as they are back to playing out seemingly twice a week. The songs you're used to hearing from these guys ("You", "Little Prince", etc.) and some newer tunes ("Honest Man" from their debut Rob's House E.P.) made for yet another good set of straightforward three-piece punk rock.

The Customers pulled double-duty Wednesday, beginning the night at The Earl opening for The Thomas Function and ending it at the Drunken Unicorn. Their Replacements meets Roky Erickson brand of punk is worth seeing at least once per night, and a few of their friends went the extra mile or three by going to both The Earl and The Drunken Unicorn.

After The Customers' set, Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction played a two-song encore, mainly for the benefit of people who did not show up early enough to see their full set.

Closing the night was The Subsonics' Clay Reed doing his solo act. I figured this would either be acoustic rock or, at the very least, a one-man garage band act. Instead, Clay sat on an amp and shredded for a long, long time. It would not be unfair to say that most of the people near the stage by this point were the guys who were in line for the bathroom. In a way the scene reminded me of stories of old punk bands who while on tour would play obnoxiously long cover songs freeform jazz style, especially if they did not have a captive audience on hand, though I suspect Clay would have played this set if the crowd's eyes had been glued to the stage like they would have been at a proper Subsonics gig.

Guest review: Kevin Borke covers last weekend's Monotonix/Coathangers/Hawks show

There were two things I was told before heading into the Monotonix / Coathangers / Hawks concert at the Drunken Unicorn this past Saturday. First off was that Monotonix was fucking nuts and the other was to watch my camera equipment. I didn't really know to what degree to take these statements since I've seen my fair share of brutal shows, but both were about as accurate as one could get.

The evening started out with The Hawks, a band who I had heard nothing about much to the dismay of people I talked to in the crowd. Word on the street is that they're becoming one of Atlanta's newest standout bands. Musically it falls into the garage rock, punk sphere...and that is not to say that it is generic or derivative because their front man is so engaging it's hard to not be pulled into their set. Their front man has enough energy to force the crowd to have a great time. Their set ended with what seems to be a typical display of complete nakedness and attaching strings of firecrackers to his clothes and lighting them off amongst the crowd. I definitely look forward to seeing them again, although not the lead singer's penis. I could maybe go without that, but all the other stuff is fair game.

Next up was the Coathangers which readers are probably well aware of so we can skip the intro. The band played with a fresh vigor that I hadn't seen in a while. They had their busiest year in 2009 and they really appeared to be in high spirits on stage. They debuted a new song, which sounded great. It seemed on par tempo wise to Getting Mad And Pumpin Iron with bits of Tumor Boy style melody. I talked with The Coathangers before the show and this seems to be one of a handful of songs they've been working on so let's hope there's an official release with some new material sometime in the near future.

Wasting no time, Monotonix set up right on the floor. I'm sure people that have seen them before have heard it all before so don't rely on me to describe it in any new or witty fashion so let's cut to the chase. Simply put, the Monotonix is the best live band I may have ever seen. Setting up on the floor, forcing the crowd to engage with the band, this 3 piece Israeli metal / punk band ripped through a set that felt like it was 30 minutes, but was probably closer to an hour and a half. Through the night they moved all their equipment through the Unicorn somehow never really stopping for a break in song or energy.

Although no trademark fires were started the crowd did lift the lead singer into the air on a drum stool to beat on another hoisted drum. This seems to be on-par for their live show and in no way would I ever think this would get old considering just how awesome it is. I have to say that the Monotonix have managed to put together a live show that is one has to experience to believe. The crowd pounded on drums, carried equipment and the morphed into this ball of energy that I've yet to see anyone else accomplish. And not in any destructive way, it wasn’t a mosh pit full of steroid pumped meat heads but a music fueled beast that seemed to never stop...feeding off the energy of the band and the band feeding off the crowd in some odd climax of synergy. The best part of the evening had to be the point where the band moved into the bar area only to be kicked out because, I dunno if many people have noticed but as the night goes on the bar at the Drunken Unicorn turns into a dance club of sorts for white people that wanna be black or something. It was dark so that's probably a horrible description but I do know that at one point 'play that funky music white boy' was blasting out of the speakers in the bar. So having three Borat looking metal guys bust into the party and climb over just about everything they can find is definitely not condusive to the vibe the bar crowd were trying to have. Their songs seem to be influenced by the hard hitting Zeppelin style metal of the 70's...very powerful guitar chords, primal drumming and sharp belted out lyrics from their dynamic lead singer.

I know it will be a while before the Monotonix play Atlanta again, but they are not to be missed, and the Hawks I can see doing quite well in the Atlanta scene...and the Coathangers, well they're one of my favorite bands on the market right now and can do no wrong in my eyes.

Vivian Girls freebie courtesy of Gorilla vs. Bear

The Vivian Girls have a new 7" coming out next month recorded by their pal King Tuff and released on their own Wild World Records label. Gorilla vs. Bear has posted a free preview of the b-side, a cover of The Chantels' "He's Gone".

Psychedelic throwdown on Spring Street

Great local DJs plus Athens' incomparable Kurt Wood? Check. A solid local act in The Barreracudas? Check. Food? Check. A mesmerizing light show? Check. This will just about have it all.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Bobby Ubangi Preservation society returns

I don't think The Customers are playing this since they are also listed as one of The Thomas Function's opening acts at The Earl. This is still a must-see, in my opinion, even if a much-hyped band will be performing elsewhere the same night. Plus it's for a good cause because we all know that Soft Spots/Baby Dinos split is going to be awesome once Mark can afford to have it pressed.

Balkans post a free mixtape

Here's The Balkans' first-ever mixtape, which they posted yesterday on their blog. It mostly is rough cuts of songs that have yet to be finished, but it's still worth a listen if you dig these guys, and the best part is it's free.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sayonara, Stolen Hearts

As I mentioned in my previous post, The Stolen Hearts are the one band whose first and last show was covered by 7 Inch Atlanta. In between last Febuary and this past Saturday, The Stolen Hearts played shows ranging from my first time seeing Plexi 3 live to my last time seeing the late Jay Reatard. Other highlights included The Dating Game at the Star Bar and a 7" single that included poptastic local favorite "Heart Collector".

The three ladies in the band did great, considering none of them had performed on stage live prior to the first Stolen Hearts gig. Ashley did especially great, and here's hoping she lands with another band or goes solo, as it'd be a shame to not hear her croon any more powerpop gems.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Booze steal the show

The Booze's return stole the show and packed the house Saturday at the Star Bar. The night also featured out-of-towners Tres Bien and The Greatest Hits and Atlanta's own Biters and Stolen Hearts.

Pennsylvania's Tres Bien opened so The Stolen Hearts wouldn't have to curtain-jerk at their last show. They played 60's inspired pop that is enhanced live by the facial expressions and antics of a very charismatic frontman (seen below). You're doing something right when a basic description of The Hiss suits your band. Bringing Randy Michael on stage during one song and covering a rock and roll standard in "Heatwave" helped their cause, too.

I ended up far away from the stage by the time my Stolen Hearts friends performed swan song, so the best I could do picture-wise is this shitty shot of Greg.

As I told Greg, Michelle, and Rachel (who is leaving us for Austin, Texas in a couple of months), there's only one band in the history of rock and roll that I can say I saw their first and last show. It wasnt' their best show, but their set wasn't out of place on a night full of good rock and roll, either.

Next on deck was Seattle-based powepop band The Greatest Hits. It was my second time seeing them live in Atlanta, the first with Leif Pacemacer on lead guitar. Adding Leif to a band that already had a frontman like Nils Forever makes for a solid glam-powerpop marriage.

Next to last was The Biters, who now are at full-strength with Joey behind the drum kit. Tuk has big goals for this band, and after seeing them live I think he definitely has the right pieces in place. The highlight was bass player Josh David singing Slade's "Squeeze Me, Please Me". The stars did not completely align for the band, as Tuk's vocals could have been cranked up a little louder by the soundman, but they did all they could to properly set the stage for The Booze.

My camera died before the Booze's set, but since it seemed half of Atlanta was crammed in the Star Bar by that hour, I'm guessing you all know what they looked like. Randy Michael is back from London and has reclaimed his place as one of our city's brightest stars. His band is more popular than I ever realized, as lots of folks were singing along with each 1960's brit-pop inspired tune.

Friday, January 22, 2010

This might be worth a roadtrip, especially if you're going to choose school and work over SXSW

X from Australia, The Spits, Poison Idea, Ty Seagall, both bands I blogged about earlier today, and Woven Bones are among the bands booked this stacked weekend in May.

Video of the Week: Glass Widow

Why doesn't Atlanta have a Girl Cave???

Make room in the modern shoegazing pantheon

Artist: Brilliant Colors
Title: Introducing...
Label: Slumberland Records
Release date: 2009

Add Brilliant Colors to your list of crucial modern female-fronted, shoegazing-inspired garage-pop acts (that's a mouthful).

This all-girl trio, like many fine bands not from Atlanta or Brooklyn, hails from San Francisco and already had a Captured Tracks release on their vitae before joining other indie heavyweights at Slumberland.

Album highlight "Absolutely Nothing" should be a college radio hit, though it probably isn't, because it brings a 1980's pop sensibility to the modern shoegazing table. It is followed by the comparable "English Towns", which sounds like the Vivian Girls minus the charming harmonies and with the bass amp turned all the way up.

Other keepers include "Yell In The Air" and its tongue-tied chorus, the heavier "Over There" with its punky riffs, and post-punk shoutalongs "Mythic" and "Motherland".

If there's one weakness, it's the fact that this is not exactly a variety platter. Brilliant Colors don't try to mix things up too much on their debut, but fortunately they are damn good at what they did try to pull off.

Brilliant Colors have earned through their debut long-player a spot longside contemporaries like the incomparable Vivian Girls. Where do they fit in the modern shoegazing pantheon? Somewhere in between Dum Dum Girls' dreary outlook and The Girls At Dawn's peppy girl-group worship. That, of course, puts them in good company.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

These guys must really like the South

Artist: Rock and Roll Adventure Kids
Title: Hillbilly Psychosis LP/CD
Label: Totally Trash
Release date: 2008

After months of enjoying this release, I'm still not sure if this group of California garage-punks last seen around these parts as Nobunny's backing band are mocking the South or showing some weird sort of reverence toward our region. Either way, this is good rock and roll.

This one starts off strong with a raucous cover of Tamrons' "Wilman" (which has also been covered by genuine Southern boys The Black Lips) and doesn't stop for a breather.

Originals offered by The Rock and Roll Adventure Kids include the scummy surf rock of "Birdy" and the trashy Chuck Berry riffs meets Jerry Lee Lewis' howling found in "Elvis Carborator Blues" and "She Said". Other standouts include "Country Boy" and "Boogie Board", which totally could be on the soundtrack to a dance at a local barn, and the surprisingly slowed down, blues-inspired "Rambling Man".

The real gem, though, is "Panties in My Pocket", which mixes all the before-mentioned influences: the blues, simple rock and roll reminiscent of Chuck Berry, the flamboyance of Jerry Lee Lewis, and a bizarre fixation with Southern stereotypes.

Great rock and roll from start to finish

Saturday will be a night of returns and farewells, as Joey will be back behind the kit for The Biters and Randy Michael is back in the states and will be performing with The Booze. Saying goodbye will be The Stolen Hearts, who had a good one-year run that produced a fantastic Douchemaster single and shows with the likes of Plexi 3 and Jay Reatard. Also on the bill are Tres Bien, who are new to me, and Seattle powerpop powerhouse The Greatest Hits.

Too bad this will cause many of us to miss The Coathangers, Hawks (who do stuff like put their dicks in your face), and Monotonix (who do stuff like put your face on their dicks).

Monday, January 18, 2010

A future garage-punk standout?

Artist: Useless Eaters
Title: Hear/See
Label: Shattered Records
Release date: Fall 2009

Useless Eaters is the trashy Killed By Death inspired punk rock vision of Seth Sutton, Memphis' newest teenage prodigy. With records like this one on the late Jay Reatard's Shattered Records and another put out by Goner, Sutton may become one of the planet's top garage-punk names during the coming decade.

His Shattered Records release begins with a loud blast of "I don't give a shit" that's called "Hear/See". It's a straight from the gutters punk song with traditional rock and roll riffs that should please the senses of even the most stubborn punk rocker.

"Smoke Alarm" is surprisingly poppy, but its "Burn it to the ground!" chorus will remind you that you're listening to the sonic vision of someone who named his band after a Vomit Pigs song. "Just a Person" is set apart from the other two songs on this release by some nifty yet simple guitar work.

Here's a video of "Hear/See". That guy on bass was pretty good...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Did It Myself video of Shining Path

The Black X Society's First Annual Report

Two of the region's best barely-legal bands played to a small yet interested crowd Saturday, as Montgomery, Alabama's Shining Path and Atlanta's Balkans shared the Drunken Unicorn stage.

I missed almost all of Teenage Illiterates' opening set, but saw enough of their old-school punk revival take to want to see them perform again.

On second was future In The Red artists Shining Path and their brand of garage-punk. All four teenage members can sing and play bass, guitar, and drums. They somehow manage to put on a good show every time they are in town in spite of equipment issues or fighting (like an obviously staged reaction by one band member to a thrown chicken sandwich). It's the type of chaos I'd imagine you old-timers saw at early Black Lips gigs. Here's a peek at the band doing cool-looking guitar thrusts:

Balkans headlined and wowed a heavily young and female audience with their brand of punked-out surf rock. The last couple of songs, which included the fantastic "Violent Girls", blew me away.

Those Darlins kick off the 7 Inch Atlanta concert calendar in style

Tennessee's Those Darlins on Friday kicked off 7 Inch Atlanta's 2010 concert calendar in grand style, performing in front of a surprisingly large crowd at The Earl.

Opening the festivities was local act Chickens and Pigs. Based on their name, I always figured this act was some silly hot rods and sailor tattoos rockabilly band with talent in spades but little to no originality. I was way wrong, as this is a folk singer with a very Southern sense of humor performing with a couple of ladies. This act I misjudged was more than just good. They turned out to be the second best band on the bill.

Up next was Those Darlins' tour mates, Alabama's Pine Hill Haints, who gave me an opportunity to cruelly and wrongfully misjudge another act. When I first saw this unit hit the stage with one washtub bass and two styled pompadours, I figured Dollywood must have a hiring freeze or something. By the third song, I was tapping my feet to lightning-fast, well-played Appalachian music.

The main event was worth the wait, as Those Darlins brought it live. They also brought a large, and older, crowd. As you can see, I could not get close enough to take decent pictures of Kelley Darlin and her Fraggle-like headdress that didn't show the backs of people's heads.

All three ladies are talented, as is their drummer, who helped sing one song I hadn't heard before.

A raucous set strengthened by the crowd singing along to album tracks and Nikki Darlin spitting beer in a girl's mouth and crowd-surfing during a cover of "Shakin' All Over" inspired an equally intense encore.

I would call Those Darlins the South's best-kept secret, but since I heard one stranger tell another that he was there because he heard about them on NPR, I'd say the word is out.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Jay covers Kurt

I've been scouring the internet for Jay Reatard updates and I've seen a few moving comments by youngsters who feel they now know how some of us in our late 20's and early 30's felt when Kurt Cobain passed. By chance, I also found on Jay's blog a new post by its webmaster that included a download of one of Jay's final recordings, a cover of Nirvana's "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle."

Tennessee's finest introduce cowgirlpunk

Artist: Those Darlins
Title: Self-titles LP/CD
Label: Thirty Tigers
Release date: June 2009

Murfreesboro, Tennessee's Those Darlins, who will be in town tomorrow night for a show at The Earl, were overlooked by this blog and others when it came time for folks to put together their Best of 2009 lists.

The band features three ladies who first met at a Rock 'n Roll Camp For Girls singing and strumming, a guy drummer, and influences ranging from powerpop to the Bakersfield sound.

"Red Light Love" opens the album with an absolute gem. On first listen, "I've got a red light love, hoping every day/ he don't green light go, go, go, go away", should make you say out loud, "Now that's a pop hook!" Well, at least that's how I reacted listening to this on the way home from their November gig with G.G. King and King Khan and BBQ Show. By the third or fourth listen, this one should be your favorite Southern-fried pop tune.

Remember how there were bands 20-some-odd years ago in California who played cowpunk? Well, Those Darlins introduce something fresher and more exciting, cowgirlpunk, with the rest of this album. Tales about drinking, mama, tin-roofed shacks, and other very country topics told as well as Dolly Parton would tell them are on this album, as are the very punk concepts of personal politics ("Wild One") and finding humor in our own sometimes nonsensical lives ("The Whole Damn Thing", which is about drunkenly eating a whole chicken that had been in the frige for God knows how long).

The album also has covers by the Carter Family ("Cannonball Blues" and "Who's That Knocking at My Window") and Uncle Dave Mason ("Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy"), showing the girls' appreciation for the region's bluegrass and Appalacian music traditions.

This band will make you appreciate country music, possibly for the first time, while serving enough punk and pop sensibilities to keep you from thinking you've raided your parents' record collection.

A good show in Carrollton for those who aren't making the trek to The Earl

Most of you are familiar with Today The Moon, Tomorrow The Sun. Treehouse Talk is easily the best Carrollton band I've heard, which is not an underhanded slight even if I am comparing them to the pathetic Velcro Pygmies and overrated Baby, Baby.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

This is worth checking out before you head over to the Uni to see Shining Path

Remembering Jay Reatard

When I did that thesis project interview with former Lids bassist and Die Slaughterhaus Records boss Mark Naumann in mid-December, we talked a good bit about his former roommate, Jay Reatard. Jay was drummer for The Lids on their last tour and, according to Mark, he handled the money side of things for both The Lids and Final Solutions and gave each band member a $5 per day stipend. It was kind of funny to hear Mark describe how he and B. Jay would spend most of theirs on cigarettes and would eat crackers when necessary while Jay and Alix Brown would always seem to be chowing down in the back of the van.

Though I had seen Jay live a time or two beforehand, the only time I properly met him was at Warren and Jayda's place after the show he did at Lenny's last Spring. I'll always remember him and Gentleman Jesse Smith urinating on a random wall and Jay suddenly saying, "Dude, don't piss on that cat". That's probably a you had to be there story, but I thought it was funny.

R.I.P. Jay Reatard. I'll be thinking about those of you who got to know him during his stay in Atlanta.

R.I.P. former Atlantan Jay Reatard

Here's the story from the Rolling Stone. I'll say more about Jay in a few hours.

Memphis garage rocker Jay Reatard, who broke out last year thanks to Watch Me Fall, has died at the age of 29, Reatard’s label Matador Records confirmed. According to Memphis’ Commercial Appeal, Reatard was found dead in his Memphis home at 3:30 am this morning and reportedly died in his sleep. “We are devastated by the death of Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr., aka Jay Reatard. Jay was as full of life as anyone we’ve ever met, and responsible for so many memorable moments as a person and artist,” Matador Records said in a statement. “We’re honored to have known and worked with him, and we will miss him terribly.”

“Since 1998’s Teenage Hate, Memphian Jay “Reatard” Lindsey, 29, has spit enough pissed-off, low-fi garage punk to become DIY royalty,” Will Hermes wrote in his three-and-a-half star review of Watch Me Fall. “There’s also choral sugar, dub effects, sweet guitar cascades and mad hooks. On the majestic closer, alongside a sad cello, he insists, ‘There is no sun.’ With sound this blazingly bright, who needs it?”

In 2008, Beck recruited Reatard to record a cover of Modern Guilt’s “Gamma Ray” for the B side of that song’s single. For last year’s Record Store Day, Reatard’s “Hang Them All” was featured on a split 7” with Sonic Youth’s “No Garage.”

I'll tell the world about today's big news

I figured they'd come around SXSW time. Get your tickets here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Add a Sunday roadtrip to your whirlwind weekend

There's going to be something cool in Athens, too. Here's the skinny from DJ Mahogany:

Hello Everyone,

I am very proud once again to team up with my hero Kurt Wood to spin some rare fun Northern soul tunes @ Ben's Bikes on Sunday night. Kurt & I are gonna have some rare tunes from the late 50s, 60s, & early 70s. If you're not familiar with the term Northern Soul, it's movement of music kids in the UK embraced in underground dance clubs of 45s that were never hits in the US. B-sides and choice album cuts were also embraced. So, don't expect typical hits & be prepared to have your mind blown. There's gonna be tons of food & drink for everyone to enjoy & great tunes for people to move to while being visually stimulated by the light show provided by the Eye Gate Light Show & the Whistling School For Boys.

There's no cover of course. We would love for all of you to come out & have a good time. If you've missed out before, make sure to come out this Sunday because it's gonna be a night to remember. Please help us to spread the word and we always thank you for your support.

Also, don't forget that Jan. 18th is Martin Luther King day, so hopefully a lot of folks out there have the day off from work/school/etc.
What better way to honor Dr. King than with a friendly evening of food, fellowship and fantastic soul music!

Upcoming show forecast

It's going to be a busy week in Atlanta. If you're not on a cruise ship like Derek Lyn Plastic is right now, you should get out and see some rock and roll.

* Noel Alone (Alex from The Barberries and Trashcans as a one man band) and The Uptown Bums from Texas are playing a benefit for Songs For Kids at Wonderroot tomorrow (Wednesday).

* Celebrate Colin from The Long Shadows' birthday Thursday at Star Bar with $1 PBRs. The free show will feature The Long Shadows, It's Elephants, and Street Violence.

* Friday will challenge us all to pick between the near-legendary Subsonics at The Star Bar and Those Darlins at The Earl. I, for one, am slightly leaning toward the latter.

* The Balkans and Shining Path, two extremely young and talented bands, are going to share the Drunken Unicorn stage Saturday with newcomers The Teenage Illiterates.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Thrash punk comes to the Sabbath altar?

Artist: BattleCat
Title: Self-titled 7"
Label: Army of Bad Luck
Release date: 2006
Release number: ABL005
Vinyl color: Blue and white swirls

On this early Army of Bad Luck release, BattleCat put on a three-song clinic of how to mix two bass players, the influence of Black Sabbath, and the darker side of sped-up indie rock.

According to their Myspace, which shows the band shredding while wearing shred-up newspapers, the group features members of Electrosleep Int'l, Airoes, Werewolf Union, Glass Hammer Physic, Portrait, Downpour, .wheeljack., and Black Aux.

A-side opener "Prelude to Easy Listening" is an ironically titled bass(es) and drum jam reminiscent of Sabbath, while "Beer Battered Wives Club" reminds me of the violent art student vibe perfected more recently by ABL labelmates Hawks.

On the flipside is "Alphabet Saints", which brings a thrash-punk vibe to the Sabbath altar. It's a welcomed but unholy marriage.

If you dig both Hawks and the more experimental side of Atlanta music (SIDS, Electrosleep Int'l, etc.), check this one out.

Up and comers on display on Double Phantom split

Artist: Abby Go Go and The Carnivores
Title: Split 7"
Label: Double Phantom Records
Release date: July 2009
Release number: DP009

This Double Phantom release from last summer offers a sampling of the much-ballyhooed Carnivores and the first officially released recordings by psychedelic shoegazers Abby Go Go.

On the Abby Go Go side, Tuscaloosa transplants Bon and Jon (and presumably former bandmates Dan and Paul) show that they've got the whole psychedelic revival thing down to an art. "The Lost Song" is a cross between a drug-induced hallucination that leads to an imaginary visit to the Dalai Lama. "Nothing All The Time" is good, too. Good enough to be passed off as a Shocking Blue demo.

The Carnivores flex their 1990's indie rock minus the pretentiousness meets garage punk without the shittiness muscles with "There is Evil", a beautiful song buried under distorted vocals and guitars, and the trashier and catchier "To Hell With Everything". Good stuff, though I would much rather see these kids live than listen to this side of vinyl.

If you want to take a listen to what some of Atlanta's young, up-and-coming talent can do, check out this release.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

"Appalachian Wave" supergroup takes indie rock back to the front porch

Artist: Supercluster
Title: I've Got The Answer b/w Sunflower Clock
Label: Self-released
Release date: 2009
Vinyl color: Blue marble

This two-song sampler of an Athens supergroup features musicians with resumes that include everything from Pylon to Lil' Wayne playing what has to be called progressive traditional music or, as the the band puts it, "Appalachian Wave".

Several of our new wave and punk-minded neighbors to the east like Vanessa Briscoe Hay and the late Randy Bewley of Pylon fame and Casper & The Cookies' Kay Stanton played on this hodgepodge of electric and acoustic instruments that, like Those Darlins' debut album, gives you the impression that the folks you're listening to love some of your favorite records though they also enjoy finer things in life like pickin' and grinnin' on the front porch.

"I Got The Answer" whittles down the sometimes self-indulgent indie collective sound to a three-minute pop song that should survive most anyone's attention span, while "Sunflower Clock" brings more psychedelic sounds to the mix.

With these two songs, Supercluster proves that not all collectives from Athens are dreadful.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The first appearance of the Die Slaughterhaus logo?

This is a compilation of The Patriots' The Guilty Walk Free compilation from the appropriately named Punk Records. Notice Suburbia star Chris Pedersen in the group photo. Apparently the band split when he signed on to be in Penelope Spheeris' charmingly corny punk film. The movie provided free advertising for Pedersen's former band, as it shows what later became the Die Slaughterhaus logo on a wall in the TR house and on one of the front doors of the kids' car. For a less Hollywood version of the slightly true story told in Suburbia, check out Aimee Cooper's Coloring Outside The Lines.

If you don't feel like sitting through the movie, you can always download both T.S.O.L. songs from the soundtrack free and legal. Here's "Darker My Love" and "Wash Away".

Friday, January 8, 2010

Guest review of Cole Alexander's Dec. 23 solo gig

My videographer friend, Kevin Borke, already has Coathangers music videos and that fantastic final Rob's House concert DVD under his belt. He can now add 7 Inch Atlanta contributor to his resume, as he sent me the following pictures and show review from Cole Alexander's Dec. 23 solo performance at 529:

With the notion of not being able to attend the New Years Eve Black Lips show I was damn excited to hear of a solo Cole Alexander show pop up. I've always been one to adjust my schedule to accomodate any Black Lips related shows...seen the Gaye Blades countless times, witnessed a couple rare Renegades shows, am well versed in the Spooks and can't even begin to fathom how many times I'd seen the Lips...but a solo Cole show was something completely different. It was my first time setting foot into 529 and the place is another really great venue in Atlanta. I thought we had enough places for bands to play but this is definitely a unique venue to experience given it's intimate and atmospherically welcome aura. In no way can I even begin to give a setlist given the erratic nature of the performance. And this is not to give a negative connotation but it felt much more like a friend playing a rough demo of song ideas, snippets and generally just having a good time playing in a different light. At times it was chaotic and abusive...brief shots of shouts and screams laid over sharp guitar and samples and effects that he kept punching up. At others it was cathartically melodic, one song making me question if he was covering Dylan. Which upon further research I believe was just a the full version of the song Cole plays in this video:

I'd probably guess that he played about 10 "songs" in total...some of them full fleshed out tracks and others shorter bouts of inspiration that's been collecting in his mind. Despite the minimal turnout which was obvioulsy due to an almost strict word of mouth promotion combined with the coldest we've seen Atlanta get all year, I hope this is not the last time Cole plays these types of shows. He's an immensely talented artist and it's very exciting to see his approaches to different types of musical fare that isn't explored in his other projects.

Video of the Week: Crusaders of Love tackle an all-time great

Atlanta's favorite French guys

Artist: Crusaders of Love
Title: She's a Rebel 7"
Label: Die Slaughterhaus Records
Release date: 2008
Release number: DSH033

French garage rockers Crusaders of Love are a favorite among Atlanta record labels, as this Die Slaughterhaus gem was released after the band's debut 7" on Danger Records and before the soon to be released Douchemaster LP.

The A-side, "She's a Rebel", tackles a typical songwriting topic with slightly distorted guitars in a song that is going to draw the obvious Black Lips comparisons.

A plethora of 1960's influences come to the forefront on the flipside, "...If You Want To Try". This is an excellent slowed down, slightly bluesy number, even if it fails to reach Coffin Bound levels of awesome.

This, like many brief 7" releases, will leave you wanting more, and an upcoming album that will include a King Louie cover should quench our thirsts until another Atlanta label wants to put out a Crusaders of Love single or album.

Pleasure Cruise in full force paired with Facehugger v. 1.0

Artist: Pleasure Cruise/ Facehugger
Title: Split 7"
Label: Army of Bad Luck
Release date: September 2009
Release number: ABL-016
Vinyl color: Blue

Two local post-punk bands teamed up for this solid release that captures one band in full stride and the other in the first of many experimental phases.

The Pleasure Cruise side is the highlight here, as they offer up a couple of sleazy, sexy dance tunes about cultural decadence. Both "Anna Nicole" and the superb "Pussy Disaster" utilize electronics and sampling to the point that when Pleasure Cruise's Ross and Sunni play live, it is more about the playlist than the setlist.

Sometimes, a 7" is a sign of things to come and gets fans excited about potential future releases. Predator's recent debut release is a perfect example of this. Other 7"s, like Die Slaughterhaus' recent Wet Dreams and VCR releases, are a snapshot of a time that has already passed.

The Facehugger side is the latter, as it captures the original three-piece lineup with guitarist Paul Harper (Deerhunter), keyboard player and percussionist David Spence (Derek Lyn Plastic), and singer and guitarist John Hannah. The band has since added a couple of members and subtracted John, whose mock Ian Curtis seizures on stage will be surely missed by fans and confused barflys. The ever-changing sound of Facehugger is part of what makes them exciting, but if you preferred the early days, this release is for you.

The electronic-goth sounds of "Missed Connections" is followed by the more memorable guitar and drum machine battle that is "The Madman". The best early Facehugger song, though, may be "Through The Airvents", which is relegated to the free CDR that includes two extra Facehugger songs and three additional Pleasure Cruise tunes (including a must-hear called "Kinky Business").

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A good one for your next summertime playlist

Artist: Japanese Motors
Title: Singlefins and Safety Pins
Label: Die Slaughterhaus Records
Release number: DSH032

Vice Records recording artists Japanese Motors offered a peek at their debut album with their lone Die Slaughterhaus 7".

The band mixes clever lyrics ("It's so hard to be a hippy when you're dressed to kill" is my favorite) and some nifty guitar work to create a California powerpop sound that would make legends like The Nerves and contemporaries like The Pets proud.

The a-side, "Singlefins and Safety Pins", is the kind of song that'll make you long for beaches and babes as you listen to it in your cold bedroom. The vocals early in the song will make you wonder if Jonathan Richman might have been in a band like this one if he'd been born on the West Coast.

Its b-side baby, "Better Trends", is a well-written powerpop song with the same fun-in-the-sun vibe. The best trend would have to be more songs like this one from Costa
Mesa's finest:

Monday, January 4, 2010

More about the Eberbaugh tribute album

Artist: Various Artists
Title: Ben Eberbaugh: A Rockin' Tribute
Label: Die Slaughterhaus Records
Release date: 2003
Release number: DSH004

This tribute album, now available free courtesy of Creative Loafing, captures several bands with local ties before their moments in the sun and includes a cut by J. Mascis and The Fog.

Let's start with the real eye-catcher here, which is Mascis' "See It As Always", a mix of fuzzy guitars and chillingly mellow vocals you'll surely dig if you are into Dinosaur Jr.

Another notable name on this release is Tilly and the Wall, a band with a couple of ties to Dunwoody that got its name known as one of the lead dogs in the Ohama, Nebraska indie scene. Their contribution, "Nights of the Living Dead", is a moving tale about the adolescent years of the Dunwoody kids who later formed bands like Tilly and the Wall, Rump Posse (who are on this compilation), The Black Lips, and several others.

Early Black Lips, Bradford Cox, and Carbonas tracks are also on this comp, as well as The Lids' fantastic "Too Late". The latter was the last recording Ben played on.

This audio history lesson also includes early recordings by Jack Hines (with FAF), Eberbaugh (The Blastoffs), and Gentleman Jesse Smith (Some Soviet Station). The Blastoffs song is great, as it begins as if it is going to be mock-Oi, but turns out to be a solid pop-inspired punk tune.

I've never heard of The Robins, but "Put That Pizza in the Woods" is nonsensical, hardcore fun and should be covered by Pizza Party.

If none of that tickles your fancy, there is plenty of other variety here, like the tracks by Athens' post-grunge champions Jet By Day and mellow kiwi-pop masters Tabitha.

There's some good stuff here, and it's free.

Ben Eberbaugh tribute available from Creative Loafing

I'd been wanting a copy of this, a tribute to an original Black Lip,. for a while, so thanks Chad and David Matysiak.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Still DIY after all these years

Right before I began my Holiday rounds, I dropped by the old New Street Gallery to interview Die Slaughterhaus boss Mark Naumann. As you can see in the photo, he lives the whole DIY aesthetic we hear so much about. From running a label he began with high school pals to making and selling Die Slaughterhaus t-shirts bearing the label's tattoo-worthy logo, Mark is still getting it done after all these years. He may not afford to put out records as often as some other local labels, but he's definitely as punk as they come.

Another peek at a scene's early days courtesy of Die Slaughterhaus

Artist: VCR (Vice City Rockers)
Title: Self-titled 7"
Label: Die Slaughterhaus Records
Release date: December 2009
Release number: DSH034

First Die Slaughterhaus brought us a glimpse at the origins of the Dunwoody crew that spawned groups like The Black Lips with the Renegades/FAF split. More recently, the label gave us a snapshot of an old Atlanta band with The Wet Dreams' 7". Now we get to hear Vice City Rockers, a mid-2000's New Jersey-area band with ties to LiveFastDie and D.C. Snipers, just to name a couple.

The music is as lo-fi as the picture sleeveless record itself.* The a-side, "Code C", is, according to the band's Myspace, a tale where "a bipolar special education teacher has (a) mental breakdown and students are forced to stay in classrooms until the police subdue her." It's sloppy, drum-heavy garage punk with keyboards lifted from The Spits.

"Strictly Business" sounds like Alvin and the Chipmunks on acid. Wait, no, the a-side is 33 speed and the flipside is 45. Watch out for that, as most records (with the Frantic LP and a few other exceptions) aren't going to sound right at the wrong speed. Duh. Played at the right speed, this is a brief garage rocker that lacks the bizarre charm of "Code C" and will be dismissed by many as a futile attempt to sound like The Black Lips.

The upbeat, mid-tempo "Gamblin' Man" is poppier than the other two songs and it recaptures the the lo-fi radiator music meets equally shitty garage-punk of the a-side.

This one is worth a spin or two, especially the song about a batshit public school teacher. Those were always fun.

* Mark tried to get these guys to send him artwork, but after months of not hearing from them he decided to sell the records without picture sleeves.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Video of the Week: Atlanta Punk History is a tale of familiar faces

I've got my future and a lot of borrowed money riding on my thesis, which will be about underground music in Atlanta. I'll share more details once I've got this thing figured out.

I'm thinking there's a place in the story Quadiliacha (G.G. King with Greg and Will swapping roles and a different bass player every few months).