Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Two Shows You Must See.

I normally try to focus on bands from Atlanta, but I have to point out two shows that will take place in May that you should make sure are on your mandatory things to do list. These are both touring bands, so it's nice to have a crowd in a city other than your own. Atlanta is known for its Southern Hospitality, so if you can manage, come out and show them there's some truth to that.

May 20th: This is a Saturday night. Head up to The EARL early enough to catch the opening band, Army of Me, who comes from Washington, DC and has just recently signed with Atlantic. I've been listening to them for about the past six months and they really are super. I haven't seen them live, yet, so I'm excited about this show. They'll be opening for the Whigs that night, so, like I said before, go early! Bring $8 so you can get in the door. Also, bring your ID because you have to be 21.

May 30th: And the moment I thought I would have to wait longer for is here! Yeah, I know, it's a Tuesday, but it's the Tuesday after a holiday, so you'll probably need some stellar music to get you through the week. Margot and the Nuclear So and So's will be at the EARL opening for Film School. Honestly, if gas didn't cost an arm and a leg right now, I'd personally go pick up every single person I know and bring them to see Margot. If you'd like a little preview, refer to my past post about them, or listen on MySpace. Literally a life-changing experience, and I cannot wait to see this again. You're going to thank me profusely later for letting you in on one music's not-so-best kept secrets at the moment. Read Jamie's thoughts on the album here. $8 cover, doors at 9 p.m.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


When I let it be known that you could send me your music and I would write what I thought about it, I got a few in the mail. Thank you to the bands who have sent music to me so far. I'm sorry if it's taken a while, but even with not sleeping, I barely have time to get everything done. So, here are my thoughts on the first CD. If you want to send me something, email me at Thanks!

If there were any CD I could have with me on a road trip (my definition of "road trip" is many hours in the car with my family, which is completely undesirable), it would be Winter. It's amazing how much lead vocalist Harrison Hudson sounds like a younger Johnny Cash on top of the twangy guitars. This is like a down-home album. It's the stuff that pick-up trucks and nights at the local barn social are made of. Of course, on the road trip from hell, it's the one thing that keeps your sanity while you look out the car window and wish you could jump out to pet the cows grazing in the passing fields. Don't get me wrong with those descriptions in thinking this is a pure country album, because it's not. There's a definite aura of rock music underlying, which would have me classifying this as an alt-country album in every sense. It fooled me a little, because seeing HH live a few times, it's much more rock than what I heard on this CD, and aside from that, I still liked it.

Monday, April 24, 2006

It Has To Be Said.

Saturday night had me at the Loft to catch The Futurists opening up for The Rewinds. I got there a little early and managed to catch the last few songs of a band called The Californias. I wasn't in the best mood to begin with, but this display of pop rock was greatly entertaining. Even though I got the feeling I was at a prom or a wedding reception from the cheeky performance and prompting by the band for the audience to get up and dance, there were a few extras The Californias threw in to make it fun. For instance, there were yellow and white balloons attached to all the instruments on stage, and for the grand finale, bubble machines were blowing out bubbles into the crowd.

The music isn't really my thing, but I have to respect them for being awesome performers and remaining completely enthused despite the somewhat sparse crowd. I checked them out on MySpace, and noticed that Jellyfish (whom I happen love) is in their top 8, which I can also respect because it's more evident of where they're going with their music. This is kind of something you have to see if you haven't done so yet. I don't see any upcoming dates on their calendar, so keep your ear out.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Big Things Come In Small Packages.

When I say small packages, I mean that the guys I saw playing onstage at Smith's last night are so damn skinny. They seriously are the poster children of 'starving musicians.'

Opening up was Second Shift. Wow. Um, yeah, you need to see these guys live. They're incredible. Jonathan Baker, the lead singer, has this super marvelous stage presence that I've really only seen in one or two other bands in Atlanta. I could not take my eyes off him because he was all over the stage, twisting and turning to each beat hit, and each string shred. Watching him is like having a very animated one-sided conversation where he sucks all the energy out of you and exudes it through himself. Simply amazing. The music is fast-paced, and if you're not in a party mood before seeing Second Shift, or listening to them, you're guaranteed to be once they've smacked you in the face with this showing of nasty sick rock music. Prepare to see panties fly at this band in the future, because it will happen.

Headlining was Bain Mattox. I've caught Bain once before when opening for Better Than Ezra, and I really enjoyed it then, and this time was even better. They just released Prizefighter not too long ago, so most of the songs came from there, but they did play some older stuff that I knew from checking them out about a year ago. The vocals never strayed from being right on, and I love it when I see a lead singer manage to put on such a powerful performance while actually playing an instrument. Although they are little bit poppy compared to what I normally listen to, I have discovered that I love this band. The songwriting is pretty brilliant, and the music is just so catchy that you can't really ignore it. I think the song that got me initially hooked is "Thorn," and if you want to listen to it, they have a sweet little mp3 player on their website. You can tell they have fun with what they're doing onstage, as well. Last night they called up Hoffman and Baker from Second Shift to do a cover of "American Girl" by Tom Petty, which had Bain down in the crowd with his guitar. A very nice touch, if I do say so. They're about to embark on a little tour with Edwin McCain, but next time they're in Atlanta, I'll be there.

The Beggar's Guild.

Tuesday night, I went and saw The Beggar's Guild at the Drunken Unicorn. It was an early show, but there was a good amount of people considering the time and date. Listening to their stuff online peaked my interest because it's a different sound than most bands you would catch at the Unicorn. T.J. Edmond is the lead guy here, and I have to say that his look fits well for the music he is making. He can hold an audience with the story-like lyrics he sings to the self-described rock/folk/pop tunes. There is a definite alt-country feel in some of the songs (especially the ones on their website), but the great thing about this band is that they are also able to incorporate a heavier rock into their set. It's not a high energy type of music or show, but I'd be perfectly happy sitting at one of those cute little tables at someplace like Smith's Olde Bar or, on a much grander lever, in a setting like Chastain just listening to this. Edmond manages to transfer his passion for music to the crowd, and it's highly endearing. In fact, I may just catch them at Smith's, for they're playing there on May 1st.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

I Need Shock Therapy.

Last night, I think everyone in the city of Atlanta who is a regular live music goer was smooshed in at the Drunken Unicorn to see Snowden, who just signed with Jade Tree Records, and The Selmanaires. Snowden had a super set that had them feeding the audience all kinds of teasers from their pending August album release. I think my favorite part of the set was the cover of "I Would Die 4 U" by Prince, which they nailed and showed that it was the perfect song choice for them (am I sounding too Simon Cowell here?). The insane number of people in the crowd, coupled with the heat and beer consumption had me there only until halfway through The Selmanaires set, but in that time, I certainly enjoyed what I was hearing, and I can understand now why they are so well-loved by the music community. Thumbs up to them.

But, you know I couldn't go to a show with three bands and get satisfaction from all of them, didn't you? The opening band last night was one that I have seen before opening for Boulevard at the EARL. I didn't like them then, and I don't like them now. The band is Shock Cinema. When I walked into the Unicorn, they were on a darkened stage with no lights, and I noticed that my most favorite movie, Mommie Dearest, was playing on a projection screen behind the band. I got excited that maybe the whole movie would be playing and not just snippets so that I could mutter, "No wire hangers!" under my breath to drown out the monstrosity of mediocre sound floating from the stage. Maybe I'm just not "indie" enough to appreciate electronic music that is completely overshadowed by singing that is not so much singing as it is talking/screaming into a microphone to the point where it sounds like a cat giving birth. Right at the end of their set, one of the guys came to the front of the stage and started throwing out some kind of rap, and I couldn't really pinpoint exactly where that was supposed to fit in...if I wanted to hear rap, then I'd go to Club 112. Anyways, I'm going to be sure to steer clear of this in the future.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

What To Do With Leftover Easter Candy.

On Tuesday, April 18th at the Drunken Unicorn, there are four bands playing, so you should probably scarf all that chocolate the Easter Bunny brought you for your caffeine high and come out. Harrison Hudson and Jil Station will be the last two bands to play, and to tell the truth, both of them get better each time I see them. Jil Station just put up the first leak off their new album on MySpace, and you can certainly hear the maturity the band has accumulated since their EP days.

Opening up will be Arkitekt and The Beggar's Guild. I went and checked out the tunes from The Beggar's Guild, and I really dug them. I'm sure it's not a secret that I have been on a HUGE Old 97s kick here lately, and this band somewhat resembles that folky sound that I have grown to love from the 97s. I'm anticipating that this show is going to be a very good and happy start to the first full week back at work.

Be there or be lame. Here's some info:

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Second Shift.

I'm sitting at home tonight, but the main plan was to go see Sovus Radio at the Drunken Unicorn. Instead, I'm checking out the tunes from the band headlining over there tonight that I will eventually end up seeing (finally) next Friday at Smith's Olde Bar with Bain Mattox. That band is Second Shift. Amazing how I haven't made it to see them out anywhere yet, considering the fact that I see their guitarist, Wes Hoffman, literally everywhere I go.

After listening to "Who Are You Foolin'," I'm digging it. This song is has a little bit of an 80's pop feel to it that reminds me of that song "Mercedes Boy" by Pebbles in the way that it is sung, which is certainly not a bad thing since it announces that this is one of those catchy tunes that could be a hit for the band. I especially liked the next song "Bethany" off their Boozed and Bruised EP as well with it's slightly sassy lyrics and velvety rock vocals. The guitars in this song could be slapped onto an 80's hair band compilation and fit right in, but coupled with Johnathan Baker's voice and updated drums, it fits perfectly into the alternative genre.

It looks like Second Shift is playing with The Films in SC tomorrow night, and I'm morbidly jealous that I can't be there, because I really love The Films, and I have a pretty good feeling I'll feel the same about Second Shift's live show, which I have only heard wonderful praises about. This music definitely gets my approval, whether it be one of those infamous guilty pleasures of mine or not. Like I said before, April 21st @ Smith's with Bain Mattox. I will be there.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


What do you get when you combine a large venue, body odor, the stinch of pot, and dreaded-hair hippie-types? A Ween show.

I ended up at the Tabernacle last night to witness a sold-out show given by a legend of underground rock called Ween. Keep in mind here that I'm not a fan of Ween, nor do I know any of their material. As I walked into the bottom level of the Tabernacle, I was hit with a cloud of smoke that was not produced by that of a cigarette, if you catch my drift. It was enough for a contact high, I'm sure. As I looked around, I observed an alarming number of dirty hippies noodling to the tunes. I know, "dirty" hippie sounds so cliche, but when I hit a couple points in the night when all I could sniff was the musty stink coming from the group of guys in front of me that looked like they hadn't showered or brushed their hair in about 2 months, I decided that the hippies there were, in fact, dirty. I felt like I was at a Widespread Panic show (yes, I've actually been to one, and that was one too many), except the fans were more mixed than what you'd find at WSP. There was an awful lot of noodling going on in addition to the raised hands and obvious "I've taken many drugs tonight" looks on some of the faces of Ween's die-hard fans.

Aside from the atmosphere, which I decided is what Hell will look like for me when I leave this earth and join the other do-badders, the music and show was pretty energetic for a group of guys who aren't exactly spring chickens. Amazingly enough, I could still understand the lyrics after they had played through about the second hour and were admittedly more effed up than earlier in the performance. I found myself laughing at the raunchy nature of all the songs toward the end. I had no idea it was that pronounced, because, like I said, I've never really listened to it. I just remember a lyric that went something like, "get on your knees you big booty bitch, and start sucking." I'm pretty positive that this is the reason most of the people there last night enjoy this kind of thing, because it's not like they're ones to be easily offended. I'm one of them. While I didn't particularly enjoy the vast majority of what I heard, there were a couple of songs I felt like I wanted in my collection. Unfortunately, I have no idea what they're called. Oh, well.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

I Can Die Happy.

I took this picture. I should be a photographer. Not really.

Now the only thing I have to look forward to is June, when Rhett Miller indicated he will grace Atlanta again. My, my, this guy is one hell of a show. So nice to look at while he's strumming the guitar and mastering the obligatory leg kick, too. He opened up with one of my favorites off the new album The Believer, "My Valentine," and played the Jon Brion cover, "I Believe She's Lying" in addition to pretty much the rest of the album. My compadres were probably sick of me yelling out, "Oh my God, I love this song!" in a drunken slur by about the third song.

I haven't seen his original band, the Old 97s, but this was the next best thing until I do, because he threw in a couple of songs from their catalog including "Barrier Reef" and "Rollerskate Skinny." He got me all excited that he was going to play my all-time favorite "Designs on You" by mentioning the song, but it turns out he's just a tease. The set was long and everything I could've hoped for in the event of losing my "Rhett Virginity." He sounded incredible, as most do in Variety Playhouse, but really showcased his vocal ability when the band (The Believers) took a break and he played "Question" and a few other songs acoustically under a lone spotlight.

If you haven't checked him out yet, and I know I always say this, but you should. Rhett Miller is by far one of the best songwriters out there today, and you are really missing out if you don't at least give him a chance. It's become a sick obsession for me, but one that I embrace. Join me, won't you?

Another I took. Giggity.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Limbeck. Rachael Cantu. Pasadena

Limbeck. They're funny.

I absolutely despise country music, unless we're talking about George Strait in his Pure Country days, however, I found a happy medium with the alternative country genre of music when I discovered (or, was fed) the Old 97's. Now, there are quite a few alt-country inspired bands, and last night I saw a couple play a wonderfully laid-back set to a decent-sized crowd for a Monday night at Vinyl.

Pasadena started things off with a sound that bordered on classic country twang and modern rock. Mostly, they look like a rock band, until they start playing. Even with a substitute guitarist (their regular guy was apparently on Spring Break in Italy...tough life), the band seemed very tight with their sound, and they obviously like each other. They ended their set with a cover of Tom Petty's "You Wreck Me," which makes me think they'd have no problem actually making money off of just covering Tom Petty's songs...that's how right on it was. This should give you an indication of how solid the music is. They're from Atlanta, so you can catch them in action April 22nd at 10 High if you're interested. There's a pretty good chance I'll be there.

Before getting to the legend that apparently is Limbeck, I watched a plugged-in singer-songwriter named Rachael Cantu perform a short set of beautifully written songs. Her voice is very soothing and calm, and I loved some of the guitar strums she had to accompany her vocals. Limbeck is smart for taking her out on tour with them, because she really added to a couple of their songs with her back-up vocals, which I was informed are also on Limbeck's album. They played a long set, and I had a great time tapping my toe on the wood floor of Vinyl and drinking my beer. There were a couple of times I wanted to take my partner and do-si-doe, but I actually enjoyed it. The music pretty much encompasses what 'feel good' is supposed to be, and it certainly works for them. I mean, how the hell do you get through a Monday night with a smile on your face? You go watch Limbeck at Vinyl. They're from California, but I guarantee you that they'll find their way to Atlanta on any tour. Why? Because apparently we have a 24 hour Chinese Buddha in Midtown that Limbeck is a huge fan of and looks forward to whenever they're here. If you didn't catch them this time, I'd look out for the next time they swing by.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Editors Are Right On.

A friend of mine was nice enough to pass along The Back Room by a band from the UK called Editors, which came out at the end of March in the US. At first listen to their single "Munich," there were a number of other just-above-the-radar indie bands that I am reminded of, including Bloc Party and She Wants Revenge, in addition to the better known bands like Franz Ferdinand, Interpol, and The Killers.

It's a very interesting combination of noises which keeps a sound that is distinctive to the band throughout the entire album. The guitars are distorted all over, and it goes good against the deep vocals that sound a little more like a stern talking to than actual singing. This is one of those albums you can blast while flying down the interstate, which is how I tested it out, or that you can pop in for the late night occasion that has you clearing your furniture out of the den for an impromptu dance party with friends. Either way, it works to set the mood for both situations, giving it a decent range of flexibility to add to your collection.

Editors are playing the 40 Watt in Athens on April 6th, but not coming through Atlanta, and I'm digging this CD so much, I'm tempted to drive my happy ass to Athens and make a night of it. They'll also be at Coachella at the end of this month for anyone who is lucky enough to spend money to attend that monstrosity.