Monday, December 26, 2005

New Year's Rockin' Eve.

Minus Dick Clark, of course. Wondering what to do and where to go? Well, here's a list of happenings around Atlanta that you might be interested in.

  • At MJQ/The Drunken Unicorn, you have The Gates of Berlin and Snowden for a mere $10 cover. There will also be DJs and some sweaty dancin' fools up in there. Both bands have quite the following in Atlanta, so this is sure to be a show to please. I'll be at this one, wearing bells.

  • For a similar style, you can check out A Fir-Ju Well, Dropsonic, and Anna Kramer at the EARL. Haven't seen Dropsonic, but I know A Fir-Ju Well will put the rock hurt on your face with their stellar tunes. Bring $10 to get in and have yourself a couple PBRs.
  • The other place I wish I could be is Smith's Olde Bar to see the Judies, Lazyeye, and James Hall. The Judies' lead man Warren will mesmerize you with his superb stage presence and squirmy rockstar moves. It's $12, and you can find all of this talent and the best sound in Atlanta upstairs.

  • More of a hard rock fan? Then you might want to head over to Velvet Underground (right there attached to the Hard Rock Cafe) for Family Force 5, Last November, and Echovalve. All three of these bands have received much attention for their super live acts from all over the place, so you won't be disappointed. All of this is available to you for $10.

  • If you want to see some DJ action, then you should be at Vinyl for the Heathen Chemistry blowout. It's $60, but you actually get drinks and breakfast! Woohoo.

  • Finally, for those who want to swing their heads back and forth in a banging motion, Mastodon will be at the Masquerade.
And, for reference, here is the phone number for Checker Cabs. Just remember that they'll be busy as hell and you should give them time to come and get your drunk ass. 404-351-1111

Saturday, December 24, 2005

And The Guiltiest Pleasures of Them All.

Yesterday I put up my top 5 albums I couldn't live without. I also have five albums I catch a load of hell for loving. I've had the pleasure of seeing every one of them live this year, and I was probably the oldest person at each performance, which is why I call them guilty pleasures.

1. Almost Here - The Academy Is...
Ah, yes. This is one that I play continuously. I especially like it while I'm working out because it's very upbeat and has really sassy and snide lyrics throughout the track list. Checkmarks is still my favorite track, considering it gives the rest of the world a different view of the heartache of a rockstar. Speaking of rockstars, William Beckett is the epitome of the word. Seriously, if you ever have a chance to see him, it's a thing of pure beauty. Luckily, if you can mark off February 16th, you can catch him at the Masquerade shaking that sweet ass of his for all the ladies, myself included.

2. Commit This To Memory - Motion City Soundtrack
If you like overly saracstic lyrics and tones with a Moog chiming in the background, then you'd love this album. I think listening to it made me realize I don't need mental help nearly as bad as lead singer, Justin Pierre, which is blantantly obvious in Everything Is Alright. I like to put this in the player and then make faces at myself in the mirror while singing along. As dark as some of the subject matter is, I manage to still focus on the pure rock of it all. I saw them live twice this year, and I can confidently say that there is no other keyboard player who can rock your face off like theirs. If you don't believe me, go to the Masquerade on March 15th and witness it yourself.

3. Before The Robots - Better Than Ezra
I admit this one with no hanging of the head...I have been a fan of Better Than Ezra since Friction, Baby back in '94. It's been a long while since they've gotten any recognition for an album since then, but now they seem to be slowly climbing back into the saddle with this one. A Lifetime was released in May and still gets airtime on 99X. What I like most about the album is that it takes you on a roller-coaster ride of different types of songs...almost like there is more than one genre represented throughout. My two favorites are the ballad-like tune Overcome and the booty mover Juicy, which was featured on Desperate Housewives.

4. Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge - My Chemical Romance
I'm not normally into the whole emo/screamo thing, but after checking out I'm Not Okay (I Promise) on 99X, I decided, what the hell? I'll buy it. And I did. And I listened to it non-stop for about 3 months. It's still in the rotation, too. I loved this one so much that I got my hands on MCR's first full length, which I also love. There are numerous great tunes out of Three Cheers, like the better known Helena, all the way to I Never Told You What I Do For A Living. I won't say anything good about their live act, because there isn't anything good to say, but the music speaks to me, so I'll take it.

5. The Everglow - Mae
You won't find the explicit lyrics sticker on this album, since it's coming from a former (and maybe still recent?) Christian rock band. This is my mellow-rock retreat, the something I can listen to that seems to produce a reaction equivalent to Calgon, because it just takes me away. I could listen to Suspension on repeat for about an hour before deciding maybe I'm being psycho about a song. Of course, the live show I caught this summer just drilled their album even further into my brain. Holy wow can those guys tear a stage apart and surprise the poo out of me. Kudos to them for being an unforeseen favorite in my collection.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Five in '05.

So here are the five albums I could not have lived without this year. I'm going to count backwards because it seems so much cooler that way.

5. Breakaway - Kelly Clarkson. I'm sure this completely destroys my credibility, but unfortunately, it's the truth. If you can dig Kanye West, then I feel like I'm allowed to have Kelly Clarkson bottom out my list. Basically, this album has a shallow song that can fit into any angry feeling I've had over the past year. From Since U Been Gone to Behind These Hazel Eyes (mine are blue, by the way) to Gone, Breakaway covers it all. It's sassy. It's angry. It's man-hating. But throughout all of it, the songs still manage to remain upbeat and leave me walking away feeling somewhat empowered. A must in any young woman's collection, and yes, a must in mine.

4. Live It Out - Metric. Here's the sleeper of the list. I call it a sleeper because I think only a few people know about it. I love jamming out in the car to Poster of a Girl, mainly because the lyrics brilliantly fit my mood the majority of the time, and also because it leads into Monster Hospital, which manages to get me screaming "I fought the war but the war won't stop for the love of God" each time I hear it. I eventually manage to move on to The Police and The Private only to do the same head bobbing flail while behind the wheel. The beats in every song are all right on and make me love Metric even more than I did when I first heard them.

3. Strange Geometry - The Clientele. I already posted a big ass-kissing bit about this album right before seeing them live for the first time, so you had to know this would be on my list. My favorite thing to do when I can pull myself away from the world is to sit on the couch with coffee and some great work of literature and spin Strange Geometry. I don't know who this 'K' is that seems to be the subject of a couple songs, but I would like to meet them to thank them for inspiring Since K Got Over Me and every other song on there that keeps me calm and still, an abandonment from my normal routine.

2. Hot Fuss - The Killers. I'm not sure if this one came out last year or this year, but either way, I only discovered how incredibly awesome it is back in May, and I'm sorry I didn't give it a chance earlier than that. How often do you find a CD you can listen to all the way through without poking those little arrows to go to the next song? If you say often, I envy the fact that you're not a snob like me. The radio tends to stick to Somebody Told Me, All These Things That I Have Done, and Mr. Brightside. My all-time favorite is Midnight Show, even though I'm sure this is the reason I have almost been caught speeding down I-20 a few times. What? He said, "Drive faster!" So I did. And I still do. This one won't be retreating back to the jewel case for a very long time.

1. Silent Alarm - Bloc Party. This poo is so hot that I got heat rash when I picked up in the CD store. If you don't own this yet, shame on you! Listen to the masses on this one, it will not disappoint. Somehow they manage to create songs that have short lyrics, but hit hard and fast, all up in your face. Positive Tension and Banquet are on constant repeat over here, as is This Modern Love. I'm tortured by the beauty of it. Then they go and re-release this album completely remixed. Help! The mere idea of adding more beats and mixes to this already perfect track list sends me into a tailspin. There's nothing silent about this band, or their debut full length release, so get up and move to it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

It Ain't Easy Bein' Sleazy.

So it looks like my birthday is fast approaching. Luckily, there is a show that night! How appropriate that I ring in the big 26 with the blues.

Jon Harris and the Sin Hounds will be playing at Blind Willie's Thursday, December 29th. They'll be recording live, so you know it's going to be on, which it always is anyways. I have seen them a couple of times before and am quite the fan. They have many originals, but always seem to cover Whipping Post, which is a personal favorite of mine. I've also witnessed a Doors cover a couple of times, which goes to show you that the roots of Jon Harris' influences are in high taste and classic.

On stage, Jon is able to work the crowd with little movement. It's all in the emotion of his voice. He is able to work as an actor through his music, it's something you can feel in the way he sings. You can tell somewhere down the line that he's experienced all of the heartache he vocalizes, and if he hasn't, then he sure as hell has me fooled.

To top it off, the venue is your typical blues bar. Smoky air, red lights, and nasty bathrooms make for the full enjoyable blues experience. You're probably not working the next day because of the holiday, so get your ass in gear and go to Blind Willie's. Look for me. I'll be the drunk one.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

CD Releases Galore.

So tomorrow night seems to be one of those nights when cloning sounds like a super idea. Help. I hate making decisions. I don't feel like rummaging around all the websites to find the cover, so do like I do, bring $10 and you should be fine.

So there's a total of five places to chose from on one Friday night. Something for everyone. Don't be lame--get out, spend a couple of bucks, and go listen to some good local music.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

My Music Space.

ASCAP/MySpace Atlanta Showcase

Last night at Smith’s Olde Bar, by far the best place to see a local show in Atlanta, ASCAP and teamed up to bring the music lovers of the city four incredible bands under one roof. The opener was picked out of many entries from the hundreds of bands that are present in the local scene. Kill Gordon won the spot and showed his peers why he deserved to be on stage last night with inarguably the best performance I have seen out of them, and trust me, I’ve seen just about all of them. The sound coming from the vocal side was beautiful, the guitars and drums released a temper of rock, and the large crowd in attendance fed off the intensity and humor Kyle Gordon served them. Go to Lenny’s on December 9th to see their CD Release show, and to, most importantly, buy the CD.

The Gates of Berlin set up afterward and worked the crowd up even more. Their sound is modern and edgy, with a twist of pop that’ll get you dancing around, and you won’t even question yourself about it. It’s okay, you’re not the only one who looks stupid…the guy next to you is doing the exact same thing. They have strong use of the keyboard present in their songs that gives them a burlesque/vaudeville sound in some instances, which totally adds to the show. At the beginning, I was somewhat reminded of Jellyfish, but that faded and more rock than pop shone through towards the end, just exhibiting the range that The Gates of Berlin can move along. Check them out again on New Year’s Eve at the Drunken Unicorn.

Up next was Sovus Radio, another band I thoroughly enjoy catching now and then. I can’t say enough stellar things about their EP that entered my possession a couple months ago, and seeing them perform the songs live gets me every time. They closed with Juniper Jealous, which is quite the favorite among the females; so needless to say, the icing on the cake they made was unspoiled. Ty Thompson’s vocals were extraordinary and perfectly raspy enough to capture the psychedelic nature of the group. Exquisite performance out of these guys, as usual. If you’re one of the few people who haven’t seen them yet, jump on the bandwagon. You can thank me later.

Last, but of course, not least, was the interesting musical styling of A Fir Ju-Well, a band that I must say has the best little promotional items for their shows strewn around Atlanta. I think I sat on one of them while at Criminal Records one afternoon. The most fascinating part of this band’s act is the constant changing of instruments (which includes an accordion) amongst the band members. It’s rather impressive to see them literally play musical chairs throughout the entire set in between their experimental rock sounds. This is the first glimpse I’ve had of them, and I would say their style lies fairly close to that of the Flaming Lips. Naturally, you need to experience this band and their talent first hand at a live show. You can do that on New Year’s Eve at the EARL.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Good To Be Evil.

League of Evil

Wednesday at the Earl in East Atlanta, League of Evil played their very first show, opening up for Kill Gordon and The Sound Team. League of Evil has a very mellow sound and feel to it that was perfect for opening up a Wednesday night show. It reminded me a bit of Pinback, coupled with an edgier Radiohead-esque style, which was shown in their quality vocals paired with distinctive guitar riffs. Lead guitarist and singer Christopher Simony hit a few high notes in some of the songs that were balanced out nicely with Chris Parizo’s bass licks. This band has a very laid-back approach that could compliment a chill evening out, but on the other hand, they also exhibit the ability to completely rock. League of Evil is very much all about the music and less about the cheesiness that some bands tend to fall into now.

The set list was much like a roller coaster, as League of Evil started off with a slower tune revealing a long intro and then trading off to a harder melody, only to return to something more placid again. It really let the listeners witness how much eclectic sound the band is capable of producing. The real crowd pleaser was the last song, called Sleeping Late Among the Early Risers, which I will have to agree is definitely their sweetest piece of music, reminding me a bit of something I’ve heard out of the Doves.

League of Evil only has one more upcoming show listed as of yet, and that is on January 21 at the Drunken Unicorn. You can check out a couple of their songs on either MySpace or their official website.