Saturday, September 25, 2010

Another batch of reviews!

Here's some new-ish 7" I am digging, and you should, too.

Mermaids: "Holiday" b/w "Whirlpool" (Pretty Ambitious Records)
Mermaids' two-song debut takes the fun-in-the-sun leanings shared by many contemporary bands back to the garage. The beach parties this combination of Atlanta scene veterans and promising youngsters evoke with their music have more dancing, beer, and girls than the ones you'd picture while listening to the snoozecore of (fill in the blank) Beach(es). "Whirlpool," the b-side, is a nice, quick punch of 60's-inpsired pop, while the lengthier "Holiday" will totally drench you with harmonies and the steady drumming that has made Ryan Fetter Atlanta's current go-to drummer.

Knaves Grave: "I Don't Wanna Be Yr A.A.R.P." b/w "Shitty Sunrise" (Army of Bad Luck Records)
Atlanta's Knaves Grave plays guitar-driven, pop-inspired punk, and if you've seen them live, you know they play it loud. These songs, the a-side especially, are summertime anthems in a year when it apparently is going to stay hot until Christmas. Both tunes scream "I don't want to grow up" both lyrically and musically. Me either.

Step Dads: debut 7" (NMG Records)
Derek Lyn Plastic screaming his way through songs with titles like "Grim Reaper," "Power Slut" (Supertramp was already taken), "I Hate Haiti," and "Love Jail." Nothing else needs to be said, except that Paul Harper (Deerhunter, Facehugger) wrote and played all the guitar parts, which totally shred. "I Hate Haiti" is probably the catchiest of all the Derek Lyn Plastic-related songs released this year, so don't be scared away by the title. There's obviously a chuckle or two to be had here, but that does not take away from the fact that these guys recorded a damn good hardcore record.

Magnums: Young Romans 7" (NMG Records)
Here's another Derek Lyn Plastic production, with a different Facehugger vet in David Spence on guitar and yours truly on vocals. Spence shines with Spits-inspired guitar weirdness on "Young Romans", but the b-side tracks are the keepers. "Baa Baa White Sheep" is about the type of people you'll have to contend with if you, like me, make a career out of being a college student. "Fetishists Anonymous" through humor reveals that pretty much all of us get off to weird stuff. The next time I insult one of your bands while hiding behind a computer screen, remember that I'm the one who rhymed "electric shock" and "Willard Scott."

K-Holes: Swamp Fires 7" (11th Hour Records)
Former Atlantans, Georgiana Starlington/Wild Choir bandmates, and spouses Jack and Julie Hines provide the local ties to this raw garage rock unit from Brooklyn. "Swamp Fires" is bluesy, swampy rock with horns, while the more upbeat "Werewolf (With a Tan?)" is a female-fronted take on early rock and roll. Based on their two current bands, I'd be willing to guess there's a wide array of awesome records at the Hines residence.

That all was horribly biased.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Due to miscommunication between myself and the folks at The WOLF, the Best Coast interview did not air last night. I apologize to anyone who tuned in and was disappointed.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Best Coast is going to be on the show tonight, plus record reviews!

There's a lot to share, so this is a good day to start a new tradition of posting combination radio show updates and record reviews. I miss blogging but remain way too busy to update this site as often as I did back in the day. Still, I figure a weekly posting like this is managable.

Tonight on the radio show (10 p.m. on The WOLF Internet Radio), check out my slightly informative/slightly comedic interview with Ali, Bobb, and Bethany from Best Coast. It's not every day that I interview a band when they are coming off a sold-out show. but I was able to chat with the trio at Criminal Records a day after their Drunken Unicorn show. I gave Ali (shown above) one of my radio show flyers (the original one designed by Hip to Death frontman John Breedlove)while she was still a Vivian Girl and a few weeks before the premiere episode aired. Little did I know, she would someday be a guest on the show. The podcast version of tonight's episode, as well as a podcast featuring my The Girls at Dawn interview, will be posted in the next few days.

Speaking of Vivian Girls:

The Beets/Cassie Ramone split 7" (Psychic Lunch Records):

Not only do I get Ali on my show this week. I have also had records featuring her former Vivian Girls bandmates arriving at 7 Inch Atlanta headquarters the past couple of days.

The first to arrive was this split, which features Cassie Ramone's instantly-recognizable artwork and handwriting and came in a package along with a live Dead Ghosts LP and an Indian Wars/Fungi Girls split.

The Beets' side opens with a tune called "I Don't Know" that fails to really hook me in, but it is followed by a keeper called "Matters Nothing." The latter is pure satirical psychedelia that would make both Joe Jack Talcum and any of today's garage punk heavyweights proud.

Cassie's songs were the reason I preordered this slab of blue wax, and once again the second song is the strongest. "What Do They Know" is a mellow soundscape that shows off Cassie's vocals and allows her to flex her songwriting muscle. It's a nice taste of what direction she might go in as a solo artist, but by no means does it reach "Lakehouse" or "Tell The World" levels of amazing. "Where We Were" does approach those heights, as it borrows a little from Neil Young's acoustic output and The Velvet Underground.

All Saints Day "I'll Come Around" b/w "Only Time Will Tell" (Art Fag Recordings):
Here's another Vivian Girls side project featuring the band's bass player, "Kickball" Katy Goodman, and Gregg Foreman from Cat Power. The a-side has been floating around the blogsphere for what seems like half a year or longer, so you probably already know it pairs dreamy guitar and organ distortion with the girl-group inspired harmonies that set apart Katy and Cassie's primary band. The b-side does not stray far from this winning formula, though the vocals on this one are more beautifully haunting and Foreman's guitar work is more at the forefront (couldn't resist the bad pun there). Between this, her solo stuff that will come out soon on Hardly Art Records, and future Vivian Girls releases, expect to hear a lot more from Katy.

Gentleman Jesse and His Men "She's a Trap" b/w "I Won't Say Goodbye" (Douchemaster Records):
The latest by the Atlanta band most qualified to rock the free world is hopefully a preview of their much-anticipated sophomore album. If I did not know any better, I would think "She's a Trap" was inspired by the band's relationship with Paul Collins. We all know better, though, because Jesse Smith has been responsible for popriffic riffs and hooks since he started this band (if you don't believe me, check out their new Burger Records cassette). The flipside, "I Won't Say Goodbye," is a slowed-down tear-jerker. This one, like first album gem "Sidewalks," shows that Smith is as good at penning a sensitive ballad as he is at recapturing the classic powerpop magic harnassed by a talented few, including the before-mentioned Paul Collins. GJ has recently toured a lot and added Milton from brother band The Barreracudas as organist. If the next album is as good as this single, there will be plenty more out-of-town venues and festivals wanting to book these guys.

Gold-Bears debut 7" (Magic Marker Records):
Here's a local band that might still be flying under your radar though they already have this solid 7" under their belts. Gold-Bears have the pop sensibilities and jangle and fuzz of 90's britpop stalwarts like Boyracer, whose guitarist, Stewart Anderson, appears on standout track "Jezzer." The other songs are a distorted powerpop anthem for the working man called "Tally" and the slowed down, sentimental "HK Song." All three tracks are guitar-driven pop songs with vocals that convey emotion in spades without wavering. This may be similar to some of the edgier pop or shoegaze records in your collection, but Gold-Bears are to my knowledge the best(and possibly the only) Georgia band of their kind this side of Athens.