Monday, September 27, 2010

Kristen's Concert Picks: October's tunes dance into our ears!

Photo by Page Walker

The leaves are changing again, ushering in the fall season with their golden brown color. The smell of pumpkin spice wafts through the air as the days grow cooler. Ghosts and ghouls reign supreme, hidden amongst the mortals of the world. And the tunes! Oh, the tunes that fill our ears on these dark nights... These are the true delights of the month of October!

Fri, Oct 1: Futurebirds & Gift Horse @ 8 PM @ 40 Watt
Start off the month at the 40 Watt with this lineup of pure rock! The Futurebirds and GiftHorse... Awesome! I can promise you, you'll love it.

Fri, Oct 8: The Whigs & Bambara & Kuroma @ 9 PM @ 40 Watt
And speaking of rock, WOW, what a show this will be! Returning to Athens after touring the country for quite some time, the famous Whigs are back to show us what rock is all about. Joined by Kuroma, a band I've been dying to see for a while, and Bambara, a longtime favorite, this will be a show you just can't miss! You can grab some advance tickets here.

Wed, Oct 13: Ludacris & the Beat Geeks @ 7 PM @ UGA's Legion Field
THE BEAT GEEKS ARE OPENING FOR LUDACRIS during his sold out homecoming show!?! Incredible!

Thurs, Oct 14: Nutria @ 10 PM @ Caledonia Lounge
Here's another on my list of bands to see. Check' em out!

Thurs, Oct 14: Groove Tangent @ 10:30 PM @ Rye Bar
One of our favorite cover bands returns with some original tunes of their own. Let's treat our ears to their rockin' mix of songs!

Fri, Oct 15: Kenosha Kid @ 10 PM @ Caledonia Lounge
If you like jazz bands, Kenosha Kid's the one for you! Very nice.

Fri, Oct 15: Mud Scholar @ 11 PM @ Amici
Ready to laugh and have your sensibilities shocked out of you at the same time? Then Mud Scholar's very first show is the one for you!

Fri, Oct 15: Portugal. The Man @ 8 PM @ 40 Watt
Famous bands abound in Athens this month! Experimental rockers Portugal. The Man are coming to give our ears a treat in mid-October. Get your advance tickets here, and enjoy!

Sat, Oct 16: Abandon the Earth Mission @ 9 PM @ New Earth Music Hall
I loved these guys at Athfest. Their ethereal, electronic sound is out of this world, no question about it!

Mon, Oct 18: We Are Scientists & Twin Tigers @ 8 PM @ 40 Watt
And even more big names come to grace our stages! Rock out with We Are Scientists at the 'Watt, and while you're at it, take a spin with Twin Tigers too. Get your tickets right now at this link!

Thurs, Oct 21: The Beat Geeks @ Time TBA @ Bad Manor
The Beat Geeks own this month! They're dropping some hip hop dance tunes in honor of Power 100.1's birthday at Bad Manor just a week after they open for Ludacris. This should be wild! Get your tickets here before it's too late!

Tues, Oct 26: Madeline @ 9:30 PM @ Caledonia Lounge
Soft, dark tunes are Madeline's forte. Always worth a listen!

Sat, Oct 30: Reptar @ 10 PM @ New Earth Music Hall
Is it possible for a band to become an Athens legend in less than two years? Well, fun, dance-inducing band Reptar's certainly managed to do it! You just have to celebrate Halloween Eve with these guys!

How exciting! I can't wait to see all of these unbelievable bands! Oh, and if you know of a rockin' show that's not on this list, comment below and tell the world about it. Of course, as always, you can check back here often for updates on even more of the hottest October shows in Athens. Catch ya downtown!

Friday, September 24, 2010

With Lights and Screens: Misfortune500, Heypenny, and the Orkids

All photos courtesy of Page Walker

Wow, the luck just keeps on following me! I can't believe how many amazing lineups I've seen since I returned to Athens. This Thursday night was no exception. In fact, I'd say the Orkids/ Misfortune500/ Heypenny show has to be one of my top favorites!

Just after my friend Page and I stepped into the venue I affectionately refer to as my home (the Caledonia, of course!), Heypenny struck their first chord. Now, to be honest, I'd never heard of these guys before, but after this show, I know everyone
here will be buzzing about this Tenessee-based band! Surrounded by tons of TV screens that were cable-linked to their guitars to display digital art in time with their music, this band's show was a visual feast. These experimental indie rockers had a sound and style that could only be compared with kings of the Athens scene, Reptar. Complete with prominent keyboard tones and quite a range of falsetto, Heypenny had a clear sense of fun that permeated the whole room. And wow, their energy was unbelievable too! These guys used the whole stage as their playground, leaping up from their instruments to dance and move as they gave us tune after joyous tune. The next time they come to Athens, I know you'll want to check them out!

Moments later, it was time for Misfortune500 to wow us with their tunes. Now, naturally, I've been dying to see them live ever since I interviewed them about their Popfest show in August, so this was the fulfillment of dreams! And truly, it was. These guys blew my face off with their incredible alt rock sound! Without a doubt, they ruled the genre like no other band I've seen. The whole experience - the rockstar lights, the amazing tunes, the wonderfully dark style - was essentially perfection. Their music made me feel so alive! Honestly, I struggle to find words to describe the sheer awesomeness of it all, and that is something I definitely don't say too often. I was so sure that I would be able to keep from adding to my list of ten local favorites for a while at least, but it seems that I was very wrong. You can bet I'll be seeing Misfortune500 again soon!

Then the Orkids rocked out the night with those ever-exciting dance tunes of theirs and some brand new ones too! And, in a super crazy turn of events, they gave us some hilarious impromptu covers of Ace of Base's The Sign and R. Kelly's I Believe I Can Fly among others as well. The crowd was so into their music that when singer Sandra Gallardo pointed the microphone offstage, the words were clearly heard from every corner of the venue. What a spectacular ending to an unbelievable night!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Echoreview: Deaf Judges' High Honorable

All hail the Deaf Judges, one of Athens' best known rap/ hip hop groups! It's crazy to think that, as close as we are to Atlanta, groups of this genre are actually incredibly rare in this town. But even if they were surrounded by a huge crowd of rappers, Deaf Judges would certainly stand out. Their sound differs markedly from most of the hip hop and rap artists that pepper the pop music charts today. The Judges' intelligent and sometimes introspective lyrics put focus on the story and poetry of the words rather than just on one repeated line set to a dance beat. Their unique style always leaves fans begging for more at their shows.

In late June, they released the first of three albums this year that will showcase their talents. So how does the High Honorable stack up?

Kill Creek starts off the trend of smart aleck lyrics, intermixing these words with cool sound effects and borrowed lines from other mediums. Then Time Bandits flies in on the wings of a haunting ghostly chorus backed by sci-fi style melodies. Filled with amusing pop culture references, this one is definitely my favorite on the album.

Ghost Trap comes next with an old-time sound which hearkens back to days long past. How fitting for a song about the so-called death of hip hop! This tune transitions effortlessly into Women Got Weapons, a song which brings us straight back to the present day and to more common subjects. After all, what is a hip hop album without one track dedicated to all of the sexy women on the dance floor?

Now I'm not sure if The Big Heist is supposed to be a follow-up track to Weapons, but I have to say, as a short composition of violent and sexual human sounds mixed with piano and hints of an assortment of other instruments, it was really quite terrifying. That Ain't a Knife, on the other hand, returns to the storytelling style found earlier in the album, layered over a movement-inducing beat. I very much enjoyed this tune. Then Louie adds another old time track to the mix, influenced by several different genres and infused with sound bites from all kinds of songs.

The aptly-named tune The Getaway Beat finishes off the album with an uplifting track of ambient sounds set to an endless beat. Quite the compilation, I must say! I eagerly await the release of the other two albums. And if you'd like to check out High Honorable for yourself, don't hesitate to visit the Deaf Judges' website right here!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Which bands are your faves?

By now, I've seen and heard about a third of the bands in Athens, but I know there's just gotta be more amazing ones hidden amongst the rest. My ears are craving some new sounds! So what have YOU been listening to? Share with all of us the latest Athens and Atlanta bands whose tunes you've been digging. Has your band of choice got a new album or a new style? Are they just starting up and in need of some fans? Maybe they've been around for a while, but they're ready for some buzz. Or quite possibly, you're in a band, and you want everyone to know about it!

Either way, let us all know what kind of music they play, where we can check out their tunes online, and whether they're planning on playing nearby sometime soon. Seriously, what's fresh, my friends? Feel free to comment here, make a mention up on our facebook page, or even email me at to let us know. I'm dying to find out what you suggest!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Echoreview: Emergent Heart's One EP

These good causes just get me every time! Emergent Heart is a collective of musicians from our own town of Athens, GA as well as performers from as far as Virginia, New York, and Washington D.C. Conceived by Luke Johnson of the Premonitions and his friend Samuel Kim, this project quickly became attached to an organization near and dear to those of us here: Nuçi's Space. In case you are unfamiliar, Nuçi's Space is both a venue and a facility in Athens founded on the desire to help musicians through difficult times. Beyond this, Nuçi's Space also funds programs to help youth find their inner musician. Recently, Emergent Heart released "One", the first of a series of albums whose proceeds will go to the organization. So what's it like?

This EP starts off with What Do You Mean, a track that serves up a unique mix of several genres within one song, much like a mixed media art piece composed purely of sound. Layering a prominent beat over a sweet melody, this tune leads easily into the next. Enchanter, too, includes soft singing under a veritable party of percussion. Following this, the Future Doesn't Need Us has a low fi style that, while more conventional than the first two tracks, is definitely one of my favorites on the album. Then All Around You sneaks up on the listener with its deliciously dark sound. It is a most fulfilling end to the band's first EP.

While there is no single cohesive sound or style on the album, "One" provides a mix of tunes with a bit of something for all listeners. You can check it out for yourself on the Emergent Heart's website, and if you like what you hear, they urge you to donate the amount you would pay for the CD to Nuçi's Space right here. Enjoy and make a difference at the same time!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Let the Beat Geeks rock!

We, the people of Athens have been begging and pleading for more dance bands, and our pleas have finally been answered! Introducing the Beat Geeks... You haven't truly moved till you've heard their sound!

I swear to you, everything singer Luke Galloway of the Novanauts (Kalvinova) touches is utter brilliance. I wouldn't say if it wasn't true. Based out of Atlanta, the Beat Geeks, his latest project with Bobby Drake and K Poindexter, had their debut show in Athens this Thursday, and WOW! It was purely unbelievable. After just one show, these guys are well on their way to giving the Black Eyed Peas a run for their money. Everyone in the Caledonia was enthralled by the Beat Geeks' tunes, throwing their hands up in the air, jumping to the beat, and singing along to the words of their amazing single Sweat (Lose Control). Judging from the crowd's reaction, I can honestly say that the band's original tracks are all ready-made hits. In between those songs, they showed off even more of their talents with some mind-blowingly awesome covers of Usher's OMG, Mike Posner's Cooler than Me, and yes, even Antoine Dodson's internet sensation Bed Intruder.

And seriously, the fans just couldn't get enough of the Beat Geeks' R&B/dance pop style! As the show wound to a close, the room was filled with shouts of "encore" and "one more song." Encored during a debut show? It's unheard of! Because they haven't even had the chance to create enough songs to keep these ravenous fans at bay yet, they played their to-be-released single Where the Party At for us one more time. Such fun! I'm not kidding you... if you like to dance (and I know that you do), you just can't miss another spectacular Beat Geeks show!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Owning the stage: Tealvox, Athens, and Holdcell

Oh, city of Athens, why must you give me such unbelievable shows? Ever since my return to the music scene last week, I've struggled not to write about all of the amazing bands I've seen. You see, I try not to write too much about the same bands which is why I never mentioned the sheer awesomeness of Aman Amun + his live band or why I never even hinted about the fact that Bambara's newest song left me speechless for a whole minute. After tonight's show,though, I can't help myself. I just have to cave in and tell you about Saturday's Tealvox/Athens/Holdcell show.

Tealvox set the bar incredibly high with their polished rock sound as the night began. There's no doubt about it, these guys have definitely stepped up their game since I last saw them. Stage presence was the order of the night, and Cody, Phil, Michael, and Andy had it in droves. So impressive! It always amazes me that these guys continue to be so much better than bands years older than them. Best of all, they're working on some brand new songs. If you haven't checked them out yet, trust me, you need to give their tunes a listen.

Then it was Athens band's turn to rock. Talk about stage presence... I've never seen a band with as much energy as these guys have! The crowd
was with them the whole time, and they had their fans going crazy. There's no question that these kids belong on the stage. Following the success of their last music video for their tune "She Don't Even Know," they gave us a new pure rock version of the song to pump up the crowd before filming a brand new music video for their original song "Animals." I've gotta say, their originals are definitely my favorites. During the shoot, they had a giant inflatable monkey soaring over the crowd and dancing along to the tune in the arms of some of the fans. It was a madhouse! Then, to top off their set, they attempted to destroy an electric guitar onstage. It took some effort and a bit of jumping, but they finally succeeded in killing it, like so many kings of rock before them.

Now I have to admit I'm always skeptical of bands I've never seen before, especially bands that try to hold their own after two awesome first acts. Holdcell, though, knew just how to do it. Giving us some of the hardest of hard rock, those lucky audience members who stayed through the end were rewarded with a super loud but brilliant show. Hair was flying everywhere, and that was just from the Athens band whose members were rocking out to Holdcell in the front row. Word has it, this band is a big influence for the Athens guys, and I can see why. Their sound was all-encompassing. As far as stage presence goes, these guys were masters of the art. Emblazoned with a Holdcell tattoo, drummer Chuck Smith spun and threw his drumsticks in the air keeping the beat while Lee and Evan Hackney gave us their all on guitar and bass. So good! I would definitely love to see them again. What a show!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Just a Few Things...

Well, my friends, it seems that it's another sad week for music enthusiasts. The well-loved Paste magazine announced on Wednesday that it has sent out its last print issue. Paste is the latest in a long line music publications that are slowly disappearing or moving to the realm of the web. The world is certainly changing. I truly wish all of Paste's writers the best of luck in their future endeavors.

On a brighter note, the music scene in Athens never stops! You can check out pictures from some of the latest shows up on our facebook page right here. Like what you see? Let us know while you're there!

And hey, ready to make more memories on the scene? Exciting things are in store for us here in Athens over the next few weeks. The aptly named Athens band will be shooting their newest music video this Saturday at the 40 Watt, so if you want be a part of it, don't miss this show! And speaking of music videos, the cannibalistic wild men and women of the Coquet Coquette video that's sweeping the 'net will be bringing their own unique brand of crazy back to the Watt next Saturday. Yup, that's right! Of Montreal is returning to give us some rock madness on the 11th as well. Awesome!

Catch ya around the scene!