Thursday, December 30, 2010

Out with 2010, Rockin' In 2011

I simply cannot wait for 2011! Time to start a brand new chapter in our lives. Next year's going to be amazing, you guys... I can just feel it!

But what about 2010? A lot of big things happened this year for Echoreyn of Athens and pals as we gallivanted through our favorite city. In fact, I'd say it's about time for another year in review...

Echoreyn of Athens: 2010

January 2010: Atlanta band Stellate starts off our year with some undeniably awesome pop tunes at Georgia's New Years Eve Peach Drop.

January 2010: Just a couple weeks later, Echoreyn of Athens gets its first taste of the jazzy punk dance music that is ska.

February 2010: Of Montreal takes over the city for two nights in a row, giving us a legendary series of shows.

April 2010: Adult Swim teams up with local favorite the Modern Skirts to throw an absolutely massive block party.

June 2010: Nothing rocks our socks off here at Echoreyn of Athens more than Athfest! For a second year in a row, we spill every little detail of the magic that is Athens' biggest music festival.

September 2010: The Beat Geeks, breakout stars of the year, rock their first show at the Caledonia for a crowd of over a hundred people.

October 2010: Maintaining their streak of memorable shows, the Beat Geeks treat Athens to a second helping of their tunes as they open for the unbelievably famous Ludacris.

November 2010: The music scene marks the end of an era for Echoreyn of Athens as Crumbling Arches plays their final show.

December 2010: What would the holiday season be without another merry little Squidmas?

Wow, that was quite a year!

In other news, 2010 saw the end of several more of our favorite bands including Deaf Judges, Leading Edge, and the current incarnation of Chris McKay and the Critical Darlings. Fare the well, dear bands! I know you all will continue on to do amazing things!

And some bands just took their tunes in a brand new direction. Modern Skirts and Dead Confederate, I'm looking at you! More still, like Reptar, Oryx and Crake, and the Athens band, are just continuing to get all kinds of buzz around town. We'll definitely be keeping an eye on these guys!

But, hey, enough looking back... Let's look forward to the eve of a brand new year! Not sure how to celebrate? Well, my friends, you've got all kinds of choices!

First off, if you were lucky enough to be among those who got tickets, Of Montreal will be throwing a sure-to-be-INSANE sold out show at the 40 Watt for New Years Eve. Missed your chance for tickets? Well, don't fret! Over at the Caledonia Lounge, the Incendiaries will be playing with Free Mountain and Pride Parade too. In the mood for a free show? Well, blog favorite Venice is Sinking's got your back at Farm 255 where they will be rocking the night away with the Quiet Hooves. But what if you're in the ATL for New Years? Well, you're in luck, my pals! Big time blog favorites the Constellations will be taking over Smith's Olde Bar in the city as well.

Don't forget: for all your music news, reviews, and info in the new year, Echoreyn of Athens is the place to be! Raise your glasses, my friends. Here's to 2011!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Dear Santa (year two)...

Dear Santa,
I bet the North Pole is lovely right now. Athens is rather chilly at the moment, but it seems that we might be in for a snowy white Christmas this year! Whee, how exciting!

So Santa, I've been wondering... Has Athens been naughty or nice this year? I'm leaning towards nice since I hear that 2011 will be full of gifts for us like the reincarnation of the Georgia Theatre! Thanks, Santa! Oh, and on the subject of gifts, my Christmas wish is simple: Let 2011 be full of tunes and musical delights! Give me the chance to discover more new favorites, meet more ever-awesome fans of the scene, and rejoice in the visits from old favorites as well. Make this upcoming year the best year ever!

Love and striped knee socks,
Kristen a.k.a Echoreyn of Athens

P.S. Could you please grant all of the wishes that dance in the minds of the people of Athens and beyond this holiday season as well? That would be super cool. Thanks!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's a Jolly Holiday with Pictures!

It's high time there were more pictures up on our Facebook page! We've got images from shows upon shows, celebrations of ghoulish nights and joyous, festive delights. Rather than describe them for you, here's a small taste of what you'll see on the Echoreyn of Athens page right now:

Kite to the Moon featuring Chris McKay at the Wild Rumpus After Party

The Modern Skirts at WUOG

Yo Soybean at 40 Watt's Cowboys and Aliens show

Doctor Squid rocks Squidmas 2010

Dying for more? Visit our Facebook page for nearly 60 new pictures of bands from Athens and beyond! And hey, if you like what you see, don't hesitate to tell us by clicking that convenient little button next our name. Happy Holidays, my friends!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Here comes the graduate!

And now, the moment of truth has come. It's time to get a little personal. As you read this, I'm most likely standing amongst my fellow students wearing a cap, a gown, and purple striped knee socks and awaiting the words, "Congratulations, graduates of Fall 2010!" This is still as utterly terrifying as it was two days ago. Here I am at the brink, at the edge of it all. It's happening too fast! Aren't I still four years old? What happened to elementary school, my teen years, school days? How can I really be done?

Barring that minor freak out moment, things are looking good though. I've got a place to live here in Athens that fills me with glee. Yup, that's right, my pals and readers of this blog. I'm staying here! Echoreyn of Athens will continue to live on. Gotta have my music scene!

And to answer that nagging question that makes every graduate (except for my friend who went to work for Google) cringe: no, I do not yet have a job. But, hey, I'm sure that one will come soon enough too. And, well, if you happen to know anyone who is looking to hire someone with experience in website and mobile app building, 2D and 3D animation, social media management, data mining, or writing of any type, I'd love you forever if you'd let me know.

But, really, here I am, standing at the beginning of the next chapter of my life. And I'm not alone. Graduating with me are some of the greatest people I've ever met. I can hardly believe that so many of my friends chose this, such a rare graduation date, to start their new lives as well. What a time! What a moment.

Here's to the future!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Music Scene: Movin' on up

Ch-ch-changes! So, here's the truth of it all. Being a graduating senior is just plain scary. This whole thing called life looms before me like some spectral, monstrous presence. Whispers of jobs and bills and paychecks haunt me in my dreams. This time period in my life can be summed up in just one word: terrifying. BUT I'm not the only one who's growing up, moving out, and taking life by the horns. Several of the bands of Athens are with me on this too!

Longtime favorites of mine, the electro-experimental experience Aman Amun and douche-pop innovator Mud Scholar will both be relocating to New York within the next few weeks. Boy, am I jealous of the people of New York right now! Don't fret, though! These two will be returning to Athens for a visit or two in some musical form this Spring. Can't wait, that's for sure!

Who else is on the up and ups? Why, the ever-popular Beat Geeks, of course! These hip hop pop kids are once again making a name for themselves in a big way. You know the show "Men of a Certain Age" on TNT? Well, on Monday, their song Strobe Lights was featured on the show! Now that, my friends, is cool. I swear to you, in a few years, these guys are going to take over the world!

Know of any other local rockers moving out, stepping in, or making it big? Be sure to let us all know! After all, our lovely scene is so dynamic, sometimes it's hard to keep up. Happy listening, everyone!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It's a holly jolly Squidmas!

It's that time of year again when reindeer antlers miraculously sprout from the heads of Athens music fans, elf hats are a common sight to behold, and Santa Claus himself makes his way to 40 Watt. What could possibly bring about so much festive joy? SQUIDMAS, of course! There's nobetter way to ring in the holiday season, that's for sure. As yearly Athens music events go, Squidmas is second only to the magic that is the 150+ band show Athfest in my mind. And joy upon joys, the third (official) annual Squidmas last Tuesday night definitely did not disappoint!

First on the bill was the brand new local band Flesh and Blood. Although they are certainly newcomers on the scene, most of the members are no strangers to Squidmas, having performed at last year's celebration under the name, Romanenko. Now, you know what's cool about Flesh and Blood? There are three women in this band and just one guy. As I've said in the past, this is such a tragic rarity in Athens. And, wow, do they know how to rock! It's no surprise that sales of this year's Squidmas album went towards helping women rockers enter the music scene. Power to them all! Flesh and Blood played through their set, one amazing song after another, each infused with hints of lovely darkness. How can there be so much brilliance in just their
second show? It seems the bands of Athens are certainly stepping up their game lately. I've no doubt that I WILL be seeing them again!

Craving that warm fuzzy feeling? Well, at Squidmas, we were all in luck because cheer-inspiring rockers the Warm Fuzzies were up next. Amidst their Christmas covers, they gave us a brand new original song about wishing for an alien for Christmas. Pure awesome! But, really, nothing could beat the holiday version of their hit song Hey Milunka. Calling the song Hey Santa, they had everyone in the crowd smiling with this take on the tune. Joy!

And then the moment had arrived... The band we were all waiting for stepped onstage... I mean, really, what is Squidmas without a nice, healthy dose of Doctor Squid? Now these guys topped
themselves this year with a set that would make Santa's own head explode with excitement. How can they possibly throw a better Squidmas every year than the year before? HOW DO THEY DO IT? Intermixing their hit songs with countless beloved Christmas tunes, they gave us a set only Doctor Squid could. Seriously, this band is the only band in Athens that could release a whole full-length album of original Christmas mixes that tons of people would buy without hesitation. And these guys never fail to throw a party at their shows! Their signature slow-to-speed style is just perfect for the madness that is Squidmas. By the end of the night, they had a massive crowd of fans leaping about, clapping wildly, and even crowdsurfing to their tunes! It was a thing of beauty.

Truly, I think we can sum it all up with a few words from Jessie of Flesh and Blood who, in the most epic way, declared that "never before and never again will there be holiday spectacular such as this that is Squidmas!" Squidmas is my favorite.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Attention, bands! Facebook masters the music scene...

Now let's be honest here. What non-musicians still use MySpace instead of Facebook? Anyone? Yup, that sound you hear is the chirp of a lone cricket.

Reigning king of the social web scene in the late 90s, MySpace has been good to us in the past; I won't deny it. For bands, it has always been a one-stop showcase for their tunes, photos, and fans as well as a great excuse for band members to forego the whole "building a website" deal. In the beginning, it was the perfect place for a budding band to spread the word about their songs and their style and give their fans freebie jams for download. As Facebook became the place to be, MySpace decided, hey, why continue to keep the features that made us awesome? Running with this vein of thought, they completely abandoned the whole indie-bands-give-out-songs-for-free concept in favor of supporting only national acts. Now, years later, in a last ditch attempt to get people back on their site, they've revamped their look and offered to import your information from your Facebook page so that you won't even have to make an effort to be on their site. Sadly for them, we all know it's too little too late. Let's have moment of silence for MySpace, please.

In response, Facebook has decided to blow our minds by giving us all of the features we need to rock a completely amazing band web presence from the comfort of the most popular social site on the web. Need proof? Check out rising Athens/Atlanta stars, the Beat Geeks' Facebook page. These guys have it all there! Using a few Facebook apps, namely the Reverbnation Band Profile and iLike Music tabs, the Beat Geeks have managed to provide all the information that MySpace gives fans in a simple, easy-to-navigate way. Pictures, videos, shows, updates... all of these are right there for your viewing pleasure.

The best Facebook features? Both the Band Profile and Music tabs offer bands the ability to give their fans free tunes again. Take that, MySpace! Hey, it IS the best way to get your music out there when you're just starting out. Even better, everyone knows that the best way to spread the word about a show is to make a Facebook event, right? After all, everybody and their grandmother will see it there! Now, bands can make one from their handy dandy Facebook fan page which means that even more people will have a chance to check out their tunes. AWESOME. Seriously, the only thing Facebook doesn't have are those crazy backgrounds... and ever since one bands' MySpace page nearly blinded me with its blinking neon colored background, I've been thinking that this might be a good thing.

So, for those who took one look at this post and said, TL;DR, here's the deal: It's out with MySpace, in with Facebook, my musician pals! Isn't it time the whole modern world heard what you can do?

Disclaimer: Echoreyn of Athens is in no way affiliated with Facebook. The site is just, undoubtably, the best place for fans to simultaneously check out their favorite bands while stalking their friends.

Friday, December 3, 2010

And so it goes: Deaf Judges' final show with Bambara and Gift Horse

Purple fingers. Frozen. Searing pain. But sometimes even frostbite is worth it.

Truth be told, it seems that I have a penchant for attending Bambara shows in the throes of some wild illness or absurd medical problem. Remember that time I had swine flu? This time it just might be internal bleeding (and mild frostbite)... but no matter my ailment, this band manages to cure it all with their mad awesome skills every time. Indeed, I could write hundreds of pages on the righteous and rad rocking of Bambara (and probably have at this point), but I'll try to keep it short this time. Really, though, this band's music never ceases to transport me to an alternate universe. The chords, the yelling, the beats, the noise... I just can't get enough of their sound! And I'm not alone. They nearly blew the heads off my two friends who had never seen them before. Oh, these guys will always be among my top favorites!

Minutes later, Gift Horse set foot onstage to give us a bit of a softer take on the rock. Much more subdued than their Athfest show, this set featured a video of a classical composer projected on the wall behind them, quite like the very first show of theirs that I saw way back in the day. I've also gotta say that I just loved the basist's eyeless Mickey Mouse tee. Hey, I can't help it. I'm a sucker for unique fashions!

As the night crept beyond the midnight hour, it was Deaf Judges turn for their last hurrah. One of Athens' favorite hip hop/rap groups and winner of the Flagpole Athens Music Award in that category several years running, it could have been something of a tearful farewell. That not how the Judges wanted to go out, though! These guys have made a name for themselves with their insane antics and their beyond clever lyrics. Repetition really isn't their style. They've got wit down to an art form. I think one of the members said it best when, as the microphone crackled with static, he said that their words were so hot, they were blowing up the mic. Oh yeah!

These guys started off the night wearing sunglasses, bandanas, and hard hats, and that was only the beginning! One of the rappers hopped down into the middle of the crowd and dropped some lyrics right there as the fans danced around him. Then, as the band rapped its way through their tunes including a few blasts from the past, the members began throwing out what they called artifacts: old tees, signed records, and more. And the prizes just kept coming! Near the end of their set, the crowd got a hold of the bright Teddy Bear piƱata that had hung over us throughout the show. Violently exuberant, the fans quickly dismembered the bear which rained candy all over the floor. One enthused crowd member even insisted on wearing the bear's skin as a hat as the Judges finished their set. As the fans bobbed and bounced, the Judges rapped through some of the most popular songs of the nineties before giving us one last taste of their original tunes. And then, it was over. What a show! Though the members will continue to share the beat through their other musical projects, Deaf Judges will undoubtably be missed!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Echo's Playlist: Week 7

My listening habits have become quite blasphemous this week! Most of the jams I've been rocking out to lately are much more likely to be heard on the radio than in the 40 Watt. Shocking, indeed. I think I'll have to blame my family for this one. But hey, I love them, and I'm not afraid to admit that I love these tunes too. And, joy of joys, a few Athens and Atlanta tunes have crept onto my list as well! Here are the songs that have made my life a walking music video this week.

  • Told You So by the Orkids: Free track from MTV's Needle in the Haystack
  • The Preachings of Priamides by Crumbling Arches: Song and album The Somnambulist on iTunes
  • Love is a Murder by the Constellations (Song and album Southern Gothic on iTunes)
  • LoveGame by Lady Gaga: Song and album The Fame on iTunes
  • Shake It by Metro Station: Song and album Metro Station on iTunes
Which tunes made your end of November playlist?