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Friday, December 30, 2011

Bidding farewell to 2011... Here comes 2012!

2012 is upon us, my friends!

But before we welcome in the start of a new year, let's look back on our 2011.  Between all of the breakups, awesome shows, departing bands, and festival opportunities, this has been quite an eventful year in the scene!  Indeed, I'd say it's the perfect time to break it all down in another year end review...

Echoreyn of Athens: 2011

January 2011: We first experienced the awesome sound of Sam Sniper at a backyard party on one of the coldest days of the year.

April 2011: Rocking out with six bands in one night... Hey, it's just another night on the scene!

May 2011: People putting their lives on the line to party like animals?  At a Reptar show, you'd expect nothing less. These guys are hitting the big time!

May 2011: Echoreyn of Athens featured its first music video week!

June 2011: We caught tons of bands including Marcy Playground of Sex and Candy fame at Summer Side Show in Columbus, Ga!

June 2011: Yet again, Echoreyn of Athens goes wild at Athfest, capturing every insane moment and every unbelievable event!

September 2011: Of Montreal gives us a feast for our senses!

September 2011: Echoreyn of Athens miraculously nabs tickets to the rebirth of Music Midtown in Atlanta.  This year's festival featured the Constellations, the Joy Formidable, the Black Keys, Cage the Elephant, and Coldplay!

October 2011: We teamed up with Athens Music Junkie to seize the airwaves for a few hours at UGA's student-run radio station WUOG!

October 2011: Hitching a ride with the ever-awesome Misfortune500, Echoreyn of Athens gets a taste of the CMJ festival in New York!

December 2011: Hey, we can't forget the fourth annual Squidmas!

Also, don't miss our end of the year video wrap up above featuring live footage from tons of bands including never before seen shots of Coldplay at Music Midtown!

Wow, what a year 2011 has been! We bid our final adieu to one of Athens' most iconic bands, R.E.M., and waved goodbye to many others like blog favorite Bambara as they journeyed to their new homes outside of our town.  Indeed, I'd say that 2012 is ripe for the taking.  I hope you're listening, new bands and budding musicians!  Need some inspiration?  Well, this year saw Reptar blowing up the scene as well.  Maybe, if you're lucky, some of their magic will rub off on you too!

So what can we look forward to for Echoreyn of Athens in 2012?  Well, we're actually planning to bring the blog back to its intensely excited roots. This means we'll be dropping our structured publishing format in favor of returning to a more laid back form where we'll blog when we feel exceptionally passionate about something we've seen or heard.  If it's an unforgettable experience, you can bet you'll be reading about it here.  What about the monthly show picks?  Well, of course we'll keep that up!  We've got the details on all of the shows you won't want to miss this year.  And will we cover Athfest again?  Hey, you know there's no way we'd pass that up!  When June 2012 rolls around, we'll be your one-stop guide to Athfest before and after the massive festival just like last year.  We're simply keeping things fresh here and attempting to complete a few novels too in our off hours.  So don't hesitate to continue coming to visit us every once in a while.  We'll be here with all the most exciting details of the scene you know and love!

Enough looking back and thinking ahead...  Let's celebrate the here and now!  It's almost New Year's Eve, and that means it's time to party!  Not sure where to go?  We've got you covered!

Dying to jump right into the madness?  Then you can catch Reptar going wild on the Georgia Theatre stage! Is harder rock more your speed?  40 Watt will play host to the Whigs for the night as well!  But maybe you want to see the next generation of rockers before they hit it big.  Well, then Hendershots is the place to be when the Athens band and Tealvox ring in the new year! Aching for a bit of Of-Montreal-flavored excitement?  While the whole band isn't playing this year, you can party with the members of the band as Kevin Barnes DJs a dance set and Yip Deceiver and the Gold Party rock it out for the 21+ crowd at Go Bar! Or perhaps dancing through a cascade of money sounds like the perfect way to start 2012.  If that's the case, DJRX's set at Bad Manor will be your show of choice!

Whatever you choose to do, I hope you all have an incredible New Year's Eve.  Catch you in 2012, my friends!  

Monday, December 26, 2011

Kristen's Concert Picks: January's tunes will knock your socks off!

The cold winds of January are blowing deliciously fresh tunes our way.  Get ready to brave the cold for these incredible bands!

Fri, Jan 6: Tumbleweed Stampede @ 9:30 PM @ Caledonia
Kick off 2012 with some soulful dance tunes from Tumbleweed Stampede.  This show is definitely going to be tons of fun!

Wed, Jan 11: Yo-Yo Ma @ 8 PM @ UGA Performing Arts Center
Known the world over, famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma will be sharing his musical gifts with us to start off the spring semester!  If you haven't gotten tickets yet, though, don't get too excited.  Unfortunately, this once-in-a-lifetime show sold out very quickly so you might find it rather difficult to get your hands on one.

Thurs, Jan 12: Futurebirds @ 8 PM @ 40 Watt
You won't want to miss southern rockers Futurebirds as they take the stage with the Drive By Truckers during the first day of their three-day 40 Watt takeover.  This is the only DBT show that hasn't sold out yet, so grab your tickets while you can!

Wed, Jan 18: Lullwater @ 9:30 PM @ Caledonia
Craving a bit of hard rock with a folk edge?  Sounds like Lullwater's your band!  Check them out over at the Caledonia.

Fri, Jan 20: Bambara @ 9:30 PM @ Caledonia
Bambara is back!  Our favorite noise rockers are finally making their triumphant return to Athens near the end of the month.  Be there to catch them in action once again!

Sat, Jan 21: Easter Island @ 10 PM @ Caledonia
Easter Island is bringing us another taste of their soft, melodic rock on the 21st.  Excellent!

Thurs, Jan 26: Yo Soybean @ 8 PM @ WUOG
Yo Soybean's southern rock adds a hint of badass to every occasion.  Sample their sound on WUOG 90.5's Live in the Lobby radio show or even venture out to UGA's Tate Center to see them rock it out!

Sat, Jan 28: Packway Handle Band @ 8 PM @ Georgia Theatre
From what all of my friends tell me, Packway Handle Band is bluegrass with a side of amazing.  This is certainly a worthy band to finish out the first month of 2012!

What a January this promises to be!  If you've heard a hint of any other unbelievable Athens shows coming up, be sure to let everyone know about them in the comments below.  Hope you all have a spectacular month to start off an incredible new year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Dear Santa... (2011)

Dear Santa,
Wow, it looks like it's already that time of year again!  I can't deny it, 2011 has certainly been a wild ride of ups and downs, especially for the Athens music scene.  Here's hoping our town, filled with some of the nicest (and okay, the naughtiest too) people the world has to offer, will have an exciting year in 2012.

You see, Santa, my biggest Christmas wish is that our own little music scene here revitalizes itself with new bands, new fans, and new sounds for the new year!  Help those of us in this famous town and beyond have even more awesome experiences and make more amazing memories.

Love and fuzzy hats,
Kristen a. k. a. Echoreyn of Athens

Monday, December 19, 2011

Farm 255: Fresh food, fresh tunes

Right down the street from the 40 Watt Club, nestled in the midst of several other venues including the Caledonia Lounge and MAX, you'll find Farm 255.  The chill atmosphere of this place welcomes you in immediately, and the midsize outdoor stage, adorned with lights and surrounded by picnic tables, lends a festive air to the venue.  Ready to groove?  A patio, perfect for dancing to your favorite band's latest tunes, sits before the stage.

Inside the venue, you'll discover Farm 255's full bar which doubles as a restaurant during the day, the ideal place to eat fresh produce and listen to musicians rock it out.  In the winter time, bands even have the choice to play indoors after the tables are cleared away.  Had a bit too much to drink already?  Tucked into the back corner of the venue, you'll find two single person bathrooms complete with giant mirrors.  As restrooms go, these are certainly some of the nicer ones in downtown Athens.  Stepping back outside, the awesome sound of the latest band rocking into the night paired with the venue's decent acoustics follow you home as the show hits its last note.  Definitely a great place for those who like to sample the town's music scene!

Farm 255 at a glance: 

Ages: generally 21+

 Cost: Free

Venue Website: 

Venue Phone Number: (706) 549-4660

Venue location & Google Map: 255 W. Washington Street, Athens, GA 30601

View Larger Map

Reviews of recent concerts/events at Farm 255
Hans Darkbolt
Dangerous Ponies/ Sam Sniper

Have any thoughts of your own about this venue? Dying to know something specific that I didn't mention? Be sure to comment below! Also, to read about all of the venues I've reviewed, visit my venues page!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Rockin' December sights

We've got a bunch more pics from two awesome shows up on the Echoreyn of Athens facebook page today!  Missed the Athens band rockin' Bad Manor or the merry event that was Squidmas 2011?  Want to relive them all over again?  Check out these visuals!  A few of our very favorites are below:

Chase and Justin of the Athens band rock some tunes

Larry of Doctor Squid brings the Squidmas cheer

Holding up a lighter for Beau of the Athens band

See all of the pictures from these shows and tons more in our latest Facebook album.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Good luck, my friends!

I know for many of you, it's that dreaded final exam time again!  Some of you may have already even started your test-taking journey while others will be finishing up this semester over the next week.  Either way, I heartily wish all of you good luck!

Need a study break full of Athens music goodies?  Just like always, you can get your fill of live footage over on our Echoreyn of Athens YouTube channel here!

Want some new tunes to download for your very own instead to help you with your studies?  I'll list some of this year's best free and pay-what-you-want offerings below!

Dead Confederate
the Athens band
Rainbow Ghost
Hans Darkbolt
Sam Sniper
Doctor Squid
the Warm Fuzzies

I'm sending good vibes your way.  I'm sure you'll all do an awesome job on your finals!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Squidmas full of festive cheer!

Wow!  I've been waiting for Squidmas for twelve whole months, and now it's finally happened.  Every year, these celebrations full of holiday cheer and massive amounts of festive wonder just get better and better, and this year's show, the fourth annual Squidmas event, blew it out of the water!  This time around, the bands took over the Melting Point stage and rocked their Christmas-flavored hits for a crowd of extremely eager, red-and-green-clad fans.  So much fun!

 Newcomers to the Squidmas scene, 50s inspired band Groove Tangent kicked off the night with their very own version of Jingle Bell Rock.  Then they eased us into the shocking news that it's really our moms putting the presents under the tree rather than Santa with a clever little tune.  I've got to say, for their very first Squidmas show, they sure did an awesome job changing up their songs to add a bit of holiday spice to them!  But the band didn't stop there.  They brought a slew of guest musicians onstage, recruiting some of their most talented friends to to help them rock the songs.  My favorite of these guests had to be Meghan, whose amazing voice gave their version of Santa Baby just the right measure of sultry sweetness.
 She also joined the band for a gorgeous harmony during their take on Feliz Navidad which featured two of their brilliant pals on trumpet and sax as well.

 Soon after, the Warm Fuzzies gave it a go with some rock-infused holiday covers of their own.  I truly enjoyed their amped up versions of some of the most well-loved, traditionally soft and slow Christmas songs.  And remember those free, new Fuzz of the Month tunes the band keeps releasing?  Sprinkled throughout the set, these melodies gave us bit of that quirky Fuzzies style that we know so well.

And then it was time for the creators of Squidmas to show everyone how it's done.  With a "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown," Doctor Squid launched into a set that had every person in the venue dancing and singing along.  Honestly, I don't even think it's possible to keep from joining in the fun at a Squidmas celebration!  And, most unbelievably, this one had the events of past years beat with even more brand new holiday mixes of some of their latest songs including those from their album Doctor Squid Changes the Channel, released at this very show.  I'm still amazed at just how easily all of their biggest hits seem to meld with some of the most beloved Christmas songs.  I will never understand what magic they employ to make that happen.  All I know is that I can't get enough of it!  The crowd clearly felt the same way, as cheers grew louder and louder after every song they played culminating in a chant of "Doctor Squid" and "encore" that brought on yet another tasty musical morsel.  They've done it again.  Doctor Squid has given us the best Squidmas yet!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Echoreview: Doctor Squid "Changes the Channel"

Doctor Squid has carved out quite a fanbase for itself here in Athens.  Not one to remain content coloring within the lines, this band redefines fun with their undeniably catchy pop rock and their massive yearly holiday events.  Even if you think you've never heard a Doctor Squid song before, it's more than likely that, when their hit On My Way - better known as the Whoa song - starts playing, you'll sing along.  This Monday at the fourth annual Squidmas celebration at the Melting Point, they'll be releasing their long-awaited second album Changes the Channel.  So how does this one measure up?

Through Your Eyes sets the tone for the album with a much slower and softer tune than many of their earlier hits.   However, singer Larry's Weezer-like voice quality and near falsetto sound brings this laidback tune straight into the classic and distinctive Doctor Squid style. Following this, Regret It and Let It, an upbeat and bouncy fan favorite from their live shows, dances in.  Always a crowd pleaser, there's something about this one that also makes it seem like a perfect choice for just laying back and basking in the happiness of a good day as well.

Another familiar one for fans of their shows, Carry On gives a rock-filled introspective take on picking up the pieces and moving on from a hard situation.  It almost feels like something from a 90s sitcom but only in the best way possible in that it brings on positive vibes and good memories.  The very poppy and very indie As Soon As I Discern, though featuring a definite difference in sound, has quite a similar feel to it.  Undoubtably one of my very favorite tunes since I fell in love with it at one of their live shows many months ago, the next track You Got It has a surprise in store for longtime fans.  To add this song as a cohesive piece to the new album, the lyrics were altered quite a bit which will definitely take some getting used to.  However, either way, I just can't get enough of this one.

Come Around stands apart from every other Doctor Squid song I've ever heard.  More of a melancholy and mature ballad layered with rock and flavored with wonderful harmony, it brings another level of unexpected depth to the record.

Rock Solid, a fun return to their staple of passionately-yelled vocals, and If You Do, another bouncy favorite from the band's live shows, bring with them our next dose of the catchy and dance-inducing Doctor Squid style that never fails to put a smile on everyone's faces.  Likewise, To the Snow and Askew follow in the band's awesome and well-loved method of creating soft and slow pop tunes that burst into satisfying rock choruses.  I absolutely loved the style of Askew in particular.

The second to last tune Keeping Me Away starts off with a sound that is rather alien... Is there a musical saw in the house? It quickly morphs to become a softer pop song that, when joined with a rock style, gains a beat that begins to feel like a call to action.  Through Any Eyes, the perfect bookend track for the first song Through Your Eyes, capitalizes on Doctor Squid's unique style to create a very strong conclusion to the album.   A powerful anthem for moving on and standing on your own, this tune provides a wonderful ending to the record's cohesive lineup of songs about letting go and starting over.

This album is certainly quite a bit calmer, softer, and more subdued than their first one, but in many ways, it is also much more solid and well-put together.  Without a doubt, this record displays their incredible growth as a band.  And even when the subject matter is sadder or darker than one might expect, there's something about hearing this band's music that never fails to make the listener feel great.  Dying to get your hands on a copy of Doctor Squid Changes the Channel?  Don't miss their album release show this Monday with the Warm Fuzzies and Groove Tangent over at the Melting Point in Athens.  What a Squidmas this will be!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kristen's Concert Picks: December's tunes light up the night

Whispers of snowfall swirl through the cold air as the final month of the year dawns on us.  December comes to Athens bearing gifts in the form of tons of incredible shows.  Enjoy!

Fri, Dec 2: Yo Soybean @ 10:30 PM @ Farm 255
If irreverent southern rock is your style, you'll definitely want to start off your month with Yo Soybean over at Farm 255!

Sat, Dec 3: Athens @ 8 PM @ Bad Manor
There's no doubt about it, the Athens band's pure rock style will leave you in awe.  Don't miss their sure-to-be awesome show at Bad Manor!

Mon, Dec 5: SQUIDMAS @ 8 PM @ Melting Point
It's a Squidmas miracle, you guys!  An incredible lineup of three of our blog favorites - Doctor Squid, the Warm Fuzzies, and Groove Tangent - will be rocking the Melting Point stage this year in celebration of the fourth annual Squidmas.  Plus, Doctor Squid will be releasing their latest album Changes the Channel at the show!  Trust me, you'll want to be there!

Tues, Dec 6: Groove Tangent @ 9 PM @ Caledonia Lounge
Craving even more Groove Tangent?  They'll be sharing their sweet 50s style with the crowd at Caledonia the day after Squidmas!

Tues, Dec 6: Futurebirds @ 8 PM @ 40 Watt
This one's for anybody who loves southern rock.  Headliners of this year's Athfest, the Futurebirds return to rock the 40 Watt early in the month!  Then they take the stage again at the Georgia Theatre on the 30th!

Fri, Dec 9: Modern Skirts & Lera Lynn @ 8 PM @ Georgia Theatre
This show's got some of Athens' best!  Don't miss powerful singer Lera Lynn as she joins pop rockers Modern Skirts and Easter Island for a show that is guaranteed to be memorable!

Sat, Dec 10: Manray & Lazer/Wulf @ 9:30 PM @ Caledonia Lounge
Hard and darkly melodic noise rock will rule the night as Manray and Lazer/Wulf take the Caledonia!

Sat, Dec 10: Venice Is Sinking @ 9 PM @ 40 Watt
It's time for another helping of soft and sweet tunes from Venice Is Sinking.  Can't wait!

Fri, Dec 16: Abbey Road Live @ 9 PM @ Melting Point
Beatles fans rejoice!  Abbey Road Live is back to give you all your favorite covers in the middle of the month.

Sat, Dec 31: The Whigs @ 9 PM @ 40 Watt
These local rockers have made quite a name for themselves, and now they're back to ring in the new year with style!

Sat, Dec 31: Reptar @ 8 PM @ Georgia Theatre
Want an absolutely insane New Year's Eve?  Well, then, you'll want to head on over to the Georgia Theatre bash featuring one of Athens' wildest bands, Reptar!  Be sure to buy your tickets early for this one!

Wow, that looks like quite a December!  As always, check back often for even more can't-miss shows as the month progresses, and be sure to let the world know about any other great upcoming concerts in the comments below.  Happy winter, you guys!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Eating!

Hope you all have an incredibly delicious and extremely enjoyable Thanksgiving!
Love, Kristen

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fun, film, and family!

Can it really be the end of November? How has the year gone by so quickly?  Well, somehow it's already the week of Thanksgiving which means that many of you are away visiting your families and preparing yourselves to enjoy a bit of time off and a selection of tasty foods.  Well, how would like a serving of scrumptious tunes to go with your delicious meal?

First off, I'll start with something you may be familiar with: the Fuzz of the Month!  Every month, local joy-inducing band the Warm Fuzzies gives out a newly released free song on their website.  How awesome is that!  Go ahead and get yourself a taste of their latest tunes right here.

Lucky for us, the Warm Fuzzies aren't the only band sharing some free tunes right now!  Doctor Squid has gotten in on the action as well.  Every week for the next few weeks, they'll be debuting a fresh new song, and they're releasing the latest one today!  You can get your hands on these songs over on their website.  Best of all, you'll be able to catch both of these bands in action on December 5th at the fourth annual Squidmas event over at the Melting Point.  I just can't wait for this year's festive celebration of tunes and cheer!

And finally, if you're craving even more awesome songs, we've just uploaded a bunch of the videos that we've recorded over the past few months onto the Echoreyn of Athens YouTube channel.  Feast your eyes on tons of live show videos, like the Constellations one above, from this year's Music Midtown and more!

Hope you all have an amazing week!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Georgia Theatre: The iconic venue re-imagined

Steeped in history and newly rebuilt, the Georgia Theatre is undoubtably one of Athens' most beloved venues.  A brightly lit marquee greets you as you step up to the box office to purchase your ticket for the night's events.  Doors to the indoor venue do not open till 8 PM for shows, but the Georgia Theatre is more than just a place for bands and music;  it's also a rather chill rooftop restaurant!   Entering through the side door, you'll find a spacious elevator that takes you up to an open air patio with nice views of the surrounding downtown area.  Craving a bite to eat?  Well, this White Tiger-style dining experience features an affordably priced menu of sandwiches, salads, and sides.  While the menu does not offer a huge variety of choices in food, there is certainly a decent selection which includes several vegetarian options as well.  Best of all, the food here is quite good.

Looks like it's time for the show to start!  As you head inside, you'll discover that the Georgia Theatre has three interior levels, the top two featuring limited seating and overlooking the main floor.  From the road, the doors open up to this lower level where you'll find a rather large dance floor and quite an impressive raised stage.  Ready to grab a drink?  Opposite the stage, two full bars line the back of the venue on the main floor and bars are accessible from the upper levels as well.  Returning to the dance floor, you'll find that this venue was truly and expertly made for bands that attract masses of fans.  Even if you find yourself lucky enough to be among those in the very front of the crowd, the stage has an overhang which enables fans to have extra space and breathing room, a definite plus for the most well-attended shows!

Time for a bathroom break? Well, since the Georgia Theatre tends to get rather crowded, you'll probably want to make your way there before the show starts.  Located in the basement of the venue, you'll find some of the most massive bathrooms in Athens - pristine industrial-style rooms built with huge crowds in mind.

Returning to the main floor, you'll most likely find even more people in front of the stage than there were when you left.  Afraid you'll get much too hot as you show off your best dance moves in the middle of such a crowd? Don't be too concerned.  Giant fans that resemble helicopter blades (yes, everything is huge here) cool the dance floor, keeping all of the fans comfortable throughout the rockin' show.  Gotta love the new Georgia Theatre!

Georgia Theatre at a glance:

Ages: shows 18+, football games 21+

Cost: varies

Venue Website:

Venue Phone Number: (706) 850-7670

Venue location & Google Map: 215 N. Lumpkin St,, Athens, GA 30601

Reviews of recent concerts/events at The Georgia Theatre

Have any thoughts of your own about this venue? Dying to know something specific that I didn't mention? Be sure to comment below! Also, to read about all of the venues I've reviewed, visit my venues page!

Monday, November 14, 2011

More than Music: Creative Merch and Promotions

There's no doubt that the tunes bring the fans to shows, but what keeps them coming back for more? How can bands ensure their fans will share their latest rockin' discovery with all of their friends? Sometimes it takes a little more than music. Here's where a bit of creativity and some great merch can make all the difference!

After choosing a name, recording a few songs, and playing a couple of shows, most bands take the next logical step and arm themselves with EPs and t-shirts to sell to the masses. Many even give out something small, like a button or a sticker, to potential fans for free to keep their name fresh in fans' minds. This is, indeed, one of the best ways to get your name out there! But some bands have forged their own path with regards to merch and advertising. Putting their creativity and ingenuity to good use, they've thrown a whole new spin on the idea.

My first true experience with merch tables and band promotions was at this year's Summer Side Show in Columbus, GA where I was lucky enough to be traveling with a band who were masters at the art. The very first thing Misfortune500 did when they arrived at the festival was set up a professional-looking merch tent complete with nicely arranged tables and well-displayed items for sale. After all, you've got to think big to make it big! Displays like these lend bands the illusion of great fame, and that really does wonders when you're playing for an unfamiliar crowd. They also took account of their audience for the festival. Hot weather? Well, then there's no better idea than selling water bottles with the band name on them! Other bands around the park also embraced the festival layout, guiding potential fans to their tents with signs and even writing messages on their friends' chests. Definitely eye-catching!

Here in Athens, I've seen some amazing promotional ideas as well. Several years ago, the Warm Fuzzies released their tunes on a bubblegum-scented CD. No fan is ever going to forget a band like that! I can vouch for the fact that, even weeks later, my friends and I could't get enough of telling our pals about them and letting them get a whiff of that sweet song-filled goodness.

Reptar, on the other hand, mixed it up in the early days with their t-shirts, making handmade pieces of one-of-a-kind art using just fabric paint and old clothes they'd found. Back when Allison Weiss lived here, she opted to go for printed t-shirts instead, but they certainly weren't any less memorable with sayings like "Allison Weiss is ok I guess." Ye Olde Sub Shoppe even went so far as to print headshots of one of their unwilling friends on their shirts. Having a sense of humor about their merch is an awesome way to keep the fans amused and excited!

Some bands step even further outside of the box when making their merch. Screamin Eagle, a soft indie pop band from Florida, sold small, hand-drawn books filled with the notions and themes they'd shared in their songs. It was such a unique move that you can bet I've never forgotten their show!

And hey, a band can even stand out in the way they sell their merch. Bambara and Misfortune500, among several other bands I've seen, have begun accepting credit cards at their shows as well. How is this possible? Well, all you need is an iPhone, a small addition to swipe cards, and an app to make your merch table into a legitimate portable business! You can't deny it. That is pretty cool!

Just remember, whether a band is selling sunglasses and beer koozies or earrings and bracelets, they should always make sure their fans leave with their minds full of unforgettable memories and their hands full of incredibly creative merch!

To read about all of the ingredients that make up a live show to top all others, click here!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Echoreview: Rainbow Ghost's Tell Us How You Really Feel EP

You know me. I'm always on the lookout for the newest sounds emerging from our town! Rainbow Ghost, a brand new local music project, is about as fresh as it gets. Sweet and sincere, Rainbow Ghost's indie synth pop style and honest lyrics are definitely worth a listen. So what are his tunes like?

The Tell Us How You Really Feel EP begins with the track What Went Wrong, a pop rock-fueled melody on the tribulations of being a loner and having to watch everyone else make friends, grow up, and get married. Being quite an introverted person myself, I can totally relate to this tune, and beyond the lyrics, I fully enjoyed the musician's beautiful use of the piano towards the end of the song as well. With regards to the sweet style of this tune, I have no doubt it would be a big hit among fans of the local bands Doctor Squid and the Warm Fuzzies. Falling Apart flows from the previous song with a soft, almost video game sort of feel. Impressively radio ready for a track from such a new music project, this tune is really the perfect song for pensively looking out the window as rain falls softly outside. I've gotta say, I absolutely love this one!

An awesome transition leads into Brittle, a more upbeat, often repetitive song for anyone who has ever felt fragile or broken before. Reminiscent of some of the sweetest Venice is Sinking tunes, I definitely could relate to this one as well.

The album ends on a quiet note of hope and desperation with the soft guitar strumming of Maybe It's Time. Speaking of the struggle to take control and make changes, this gorgeous and endearing melody concludes the record rather perfectly. I must admit, it's a rare time when I feel like an entire EP is a success, but from start to finish, Tell Us How You Really Feel is a sweetly melancholy, truthful, and cohesive collection of soul-baring melodies.

Want to sample Rainbow Ghost's sound for yourself? You can download all of these tracks over on his website here. Enjoy the tunes, my friends!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Bands, don't forget to submit your songs!

Can it really be time to prepare for Athfest 2012 already? Well, don't freak out just yet! We've still got many months till our town's biggest music festival takes place. However, now is the time for bands to choose and submit their songs to be considered for inclusion on this year's Athfest CD. The songs can be brand new, previously unreleased tunes (these are generally preferred) or melodies featured on your latest album. Truly it's a great way to get your music heard by quite a wide audience of just about every fan of the local scene this summer.

Want to submit one of your own songs? Here's the form! Good luck, you guys!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Always a Sight to See!

Oh, the things you see on the road! Up on our Facebook page, you'll find our latest pics of everything from shows around town to our CMJ roadtrip with Misfortune500 to the Wild Rumpus Parade. Some of our top favorites are below, but you can find 'em all right here!

Sleepy Eye Giant performs in the NYC

Endless clouds over Philadelphia

The Wild Rumpus parade in front of the Georgia Theatre

Check out the Echoreyn of Athens Facebook page for even more pictures! Have a spectacular weekend, my friends.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Kristen's Concert Picks: The sounds of November waft in

Golden leaves flutter past your window as cool breezes pull them from their trees. Coats and boots become a fashion staple, and the scents of fall waft through the air. November has arrived, my friends, and with it comes an awesome selection of tunes!

Tues, Nov 1: Betsy Franck & Klezmer Local 42 @ 4 PM @ Little Kings
Powerful southern rock and a fun take on Hebrew-inspired tunes? What a mix!

Thu, Nov 3: Kenosha Kid & Grogus @ 8 PM @ Georgia Theatre
Kenosha Kid, one of the best jazz bands in Athens, teams up with the dance-inducing sound of Grogus at the Georgia Theatre. Here's another can't-miss lineup!

Thu, Nov 3: Manray @ 9 PM @ Caledonia
Craving some dark, noise rock-flavored melodies? Then you'll definitely want to check out Manray at the Caledonia!

Wed, Nov 9: Spring Tigers @ 9:30 PM @ Caledonia
The electro-pop of the Spring Tigers will have you dancing in no time!

Wed, Nov 9: Magical Athens Talent Show @ 10 PM @ Go Bar
Our town is full of talent, and this show's got feats and acts of all kinds! Check out these crazy displays of skill, and help 'em raise a bit of money for Nu├ži's Space while you're there!

Thu, Nov 10: Groove Tangent @ 8:30 PM @ 40 Watt
You've been missing the awesome covers and the classic 50s style original tunes of Groove Tangent, haven't you? It's the 'Watt to the rescue! This Thursday, join the band for a Redcoat Band benefit that's sure to be tons of fun!

Fri, Nov 11: White Violet @ 9 PM @ 40 Watt
You won't be able to get enough of the solid, soft rock tunes of White Violet. Don't miss them over at the 40 Watt!

Sat, Nov 12: Powerkompany & Gold Party @ 9 PM @ 40 Watt
The sweet, ethereal melodies of Powerkompany join with the awesome electronic indie sound of the Gold Party to create yet another amazing lineup!

Thu, Nov 17: Perpetual Groove @ 8 PM @ WUOG
Headliners of last year's Athfest, you can catch this band at WUOG and then on the Georgia Theatre stage the very next day!

Thu, Nov 17: Gift Horse @ 9 PM @ 40 Watt
Soft, dark rock complete with artsy projections is Gift Horse's way. Enjoy!

Thu, Nov 17: Sam Sniper @ 9:30 PM @ Caledonia
One of my current Athens favorites, Sam Sniper's funky take on southern rock will blow your mind. Head on over to the Caledonia to catch these guys in action!

Sat, Nov 26: Easter Island @ 9 PM @ Caledonia
When you return from your celebrations of food and family, Easter Island will be taking the Caledonia stage to serve up some rhythmic, soft rock melodies. Perfect!

What a November this will be! If you know of another rockin' Athens show that isn't on the list, comment below and tell the world all about it. Also, don't forget to check back often to see what new shows are added to the list throughout the month. Catch ya at the shows!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Kristen's Concert Picks: Special Edition: Dance the night away on All Hallow's Eve 2011

Halloween has arrived in Athens, my friends! Are you ready for the ghouls, the ghosts, and all the madness? This year, our town is rockin' the biggest celebration of the holiday yet with a whole weekend and more of delightfully spooky shows!

Tonight, kick off your festivities early with an exciting Halloween show at 8:30 PM over at the Melting Point featuring sweet melody songstress Ruby Kendrick. And don't forget to dress in your favorite costume too... You'll have a chance to win some rare memorabilia during the show's costume contest!

On the 29th, you can make a full ghoulish night of it, starting with the 3rd annual Wild Rumpus Parade which kicks off at 8 PM at the corner of Clayton and Pulaski! Then head on over to the Wild Rumpus Afterparty at the Georgia Theatre featuring Packway Handle Band, Kite to the Moon, and many more bands. Or catch the sure-to-be spectacularly wild Of Montreal show at the 40 Watt at 9 PM! They'll be rockin' the entirety of their album Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer. How awesome is that!

Hoping to party all night on the 31st? We've got you covered! For those of you lucky enough to already have tickets, the Georgia Theatre booked STS9 for the whole eerie evening. But even if you're ticketless, you don't have to miss out on the celebrations! WUOG, UGA's student-run radio station, is hosting a deliciously scary Spookfest Haunted House of Infinity party at Farm255 at 10 PM as well. Looks like it's going to be chock full of fun!

Can't wait to catch you all around town festooned in your most ridiculously creative costumes and living out your most delightfully macabre fantasies. This is going to be an unbelievable Halloween!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Journey to CMJ 2011: the true story of a band on the road: Part 2

It was just after 8 PM when we finally passed through the gleaming Holland Tunnel and made our way into the Big Apple. Minutes outside of Brooklyn, we found our venue, a midsize bar filled with a bunch of recognizable bands that had also journeyed up from the southeastern states to rock the CMJ showcase. Towers of band equipment filled the small room backstage, so we piled Misfortune500's instruments and amps onto the sidewalk as we waited for their set to begin.

Soon enough, I found myself watching band after upbeat band cycle through their short sets in front of a crowd composed mostly of friends they too had brought along with them. At times, the tunes of all the bands ran together in a blur of sound as the names of groups I'd seen before - Shallow Palace, the Winter Sounds, Sleepy Eye Giant - drifted in and out of my consciousness. Maybe it was all that time on the road, rushing to get to the city or the contrast of the quick pace of the New York streets with the bands' southern attitudes, but time seemed to just speed by as I stood there watching the show. What felt like mere minutes later, Misfortune500 was setting up and prepping their sound. Once they launched into their tunes, I began to feel a bit more alive as the numbness of traveling through eight states to get to this moment finally wore off. As always, I relished in every one of Misfortune500's dark rock songs, but much too soon, it was time for them to leave the stage. Atlanta's Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun followed them with a sexy, almost gothic sound that I quite enjoyed, underlined by thunderous drums. Then it was the aforementioned Sleepy Eye Giant's turn to give us a bit of their very whole and complete progressive rock style as we stepped back out into the cold city air.

Before ending our six hour jaunt in the NYC, the band and I, along with some pals of theirs, partied it up in a bar nearby around 2:30 AM. No 2 AM curfew for New York! Traipsing through the streets near Brooklyn, in the shadows of buildings that stretched far into the sky, I felt comfortable and revitalized. Yes, the lights were brighter, and people still filled the streets long into the night, but at that moment, I didn't feel so far away from home. In some ways, this little slice of the city wasn't so different from our own Athens town. One day, I'd like to visit this place again.

Then, with that small taste of New York still on the tips of our tongues, we drove back to Jersey, eager for one more nap in our cozy motel room before our journey home. The next afternoon, we began to make our way through the states we had traversed just days ago. I've always found that, for some reason, no matter where a trip takes you, the return journey always feels faster, and indeed, this notion held true this past weekend as well. Even with our stops for snacks and gas, the 13 hour ride back flew by. During one of our snack runs in Maryland, we caused quite a bit of a stir among some young teens merely by getting out of the van. At that moment, it hit me just how awesome it was to be traveling all the way to New York City and back with a band that looked and acted like a band. There's a camaraderie there that that emanates from such a band and fills onlookers, even ones unfamiliar with the group's music, with a sense of awe. It was quite inspiring just to observe such a thing.

The remainder of the ride passed relatively uneventfully as we crossed Virginia and slipped through the Carolinas, but that feeling of accomplishment, of satisfaction at having traveled so far together and seen so much in such a short amount of time... that feeling lingered. It was simply an incredible, unforgettable journey!

Journey to CMJ 2011: the true story of a band on the road: Part 1

What they tell you in books, what you see in the movies... those aren't the real stories. When the average person thinks of a band on tour, they imagine spacious tour buses, security guards, thousands of screaming fans awaiting them wherever they go, and massive drug-filled parties in ritzy hotel rooms that always seem to get trashed before the band leaves. That's just common knowledge, you know? For most fans of big name bands, it's hard to believe that there was ever a time before all of the autograph signings and dressing rooms, all the roadies and luxurious perks. I mean, all of this stuff just comes with the territory, right?

Well, unless that band embarked on their very first rock-filled journey under Disney's label or something similar, the untold stories of their road trips and tours are quite a bit different... and truly, just as interesting! This is a small taste of the true story of going on the road to the CMJ showcase in New York City with awesome local rockers, Misfortune500.

Hardcore as always, the band's plan was to do a straight-shot from Athens to Philadelphia in as little time as possible. In my cozy seat in the back surrounded by amps and luggage, I dozed off and on for thirteen hours between the road games and hilarious conversations that filled our trip. Until early evening, there really wasn't much of anything else to do besides watch the rows of trees speed past our windows and read the occasional road sign featuring names like Backlick and Dimwiddle. As the hours flew by, we knew once we reached our destination that we'd have a place to crash, but all the information we had was that we'd be staying with a man whom none of us had ever met, a man who called himself Bunny. Finally, right around 4 AM, while splitting headaches and an overwhelming sense of exhaustion engulfed us all, we arrived in the lovely Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and navigated our way to our host's house.

Now, Bunny's house was actually just as you'd expect a place owned by such a creatively named man to look like! Art exploded over every surface, and his adorable yet rather insane kitty leapt from statue to statue in the living room where we were to sleep. In the bathroom, a sprawling ceramic mural of a nude woman adorned the wall. Too tired to move, though, we hardly noticed these things as we curled up on the cold, wood floor of the living room beneath a towering nine-foot statue of a very pregnant Virgin Mary that watched us as we alternated between resting and pulling the cat off of our faces. You truly haven't lived until you've experienced a night like this one! And yet, every band who has spent time on the road has a tale to tell much like this one.

The next afternoon, after a short nap in a hard-to-find motel in New Jersey, we wound through the impossibly confusing streets, muddy fields, and toll roads that populated that state as we headed towards our ultimate destination, the NYC! Darkness had already fallen once again by the time we reached the city, but before entering through the Holland Tunnel, we caught glimpses of the Statue of Liberty shining in the distance. I have to admit I'm not normally a person impressed by iconic landmarks, but there was just something about seeing Lady Liberty for the very first time, even if just from afar, that left me a bit emotional and full of hope. I simply couldn't wait to see what the night had in store for us!

Stay tuned for the rest of the story as the band rocks CMJ and more!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Away at CMJ... Be back soon!

In the future, I shall refer to this year as the Year of the Festivals. I still just can't believe that today I'll be off to my fourth music festival since May. Yup, that's right, I'm going to CMJ in the NYC! I can't wait since it'll be my first time ever stepping into the city, and I'm even more excited about the fact that I'll get to experience the CMJ showcase with one of my favorite bands, Misfortune500. It'll even be worth having little to no internet access for half a week. :D If any of you are planning on rockin' out at CMJ too, hope I see you there! As for everyone else, I'll be back soon with some awesome coverage of the festival. Have a great weekend, my friends!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Echoreview: the Athens band's Animals EP

Recently released online, the Athens band's newest EP, Animals, is quite a step up from their earlier recordings. A few years ago, as young teens, they made a big splash on the scene with their rather impressive natural talent, but as they have matured, they've honed the quality of their craft as well. The band's classic rock style has gained a stronger, harder edge, and it's clear they've worked to produce a more cohesive sound. So what's the word on their latest tunes?

The EP begins with the title track, Animals (Mama Said), which proves to be my favorite tune on the album. The song's thundering intro provides the perfect start to the record as it builds to an intense peak before all of the band's instruments blast onto the scene. Then vocals that almost resemble those of a young Michael Jackson leap and wind their way through the tune. Listeners might remember this song from the band's music video which debuted last summer and won a Flagpole Award for Viewer's Choice Video.

Softer and slower in its execution, Rainbow drifts in next. While the song comes off as being a bit forced at times, I just love the lyrics in this one. They're so full of hope! Then She'll Wait, another of my favorite tracks, enters the scene. I very much enjoy the rolling style of this song. Something about it just makes it easy to imagine the band playing this tune in arenas, surrounded by screaming fans.

Longtime listeners of the Athens band will probably recognize the final tune on this EP as well. She Don't Even Know, the song responsible for their very first Viewer's Choice Video award in 2010, concludes the album in a stripped down, much harder and darker version of the tune. While it differs markedly from its original incarnation, whispered lyrics and sparse but satisfying backing vocals definately make this song a strong ending to the record.

Want to get your hands on these tunes so you can hear them for yourself? Well, you're in luck! They are all available for download from Bandcamp right here. Enjoy!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sights to see & incredible things to come!

It's going to be an exciting next few weeks! Not only are we in the midst of Popfest here in Athens, but Halloween shows are looming in the near future as well. On top of this, many of our local bands are gearing up to head to New York for the CMJ Southeast Showcase, and, to my surprise, it looks like I'll be joining them. Wow, I've got a lot to do to get ready! To tide you over till we cover that awesome festival, let's reminisce about Music Midtown, shall we? Here's some of our very best shots from that magical event, and just like always, we've got over 50 more up on our Facebook page. Feast your eyes!

Coldplay's Johnny Buckland rocks the stage

A ball covered in water is tossed into the crowd to cool the fans off

The Black Keys set up their inflatables

A sea of 40,000 people gathers in anticipation

For all of the awesome pictures taken at Music Midtown, check out our full album here!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Popfest starts today!

Video created by Nick Gomez of Reeks of Failure & Kater Mass

Athens' biggest pop music festival officially starts tomorrow, but you can head on over to Transmission Merch for their kickoff party featuring David Barbe, Dead Confederate's Thomas Hardy, and the District Attorneys tonight! Check out the Popfest website here for more info. Have fun, everyone!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Keep your ears safe this October!

First off, I just want to say that yesterday's "Shameless Plugathon" on WUOG 90.5 FM was a wonderfully amazing experience. Thank you to all of those who listened in!

And now, to business. Did you know that October is National Protect Your Hearing Month? What, a whole month dedicated to ear care!?! Who comes up with these things?

But truly, though, protecting your ears is incredibly important, especially if you're a fan of the scene. Now look at that picture above. The first thing you'll probably notice about it is that it looks a whole lot like the one in the post below. Clearly, I just can't hide my great love of fedoras, and I've really got to work on changing up my expression in pictures. Alright, I'll give you that. But look closer. See those earplugs dangling around my neck? I don't go anywhere without them. For just a few bucks, I've got an instant necklace that ensures that I'll be rockin' out to my favorite tunes for years to come.

Having good hearing is of the utmost importance to a music blogger, and it's just as necessary for music fans and band members too! Don't believe me? Or perhaps you're worried about what your friends might think? Look around you! Those massively awesome musicians you came to see - the ones that have been around the scene for a while now - well, most of them are wearing earplugs too. Got to protect those eardrums so they don't miss their chance to hear the golden notes of their band's latest hit tune!

Still not convinced? Well, everyone likes free things! If you're a student at UGA (or a person who can pass for a student - yes, I'm onto you, ageless townies...), head on over to the SLC (right across from the stadium) and ask one of the kids at a help desk for a pair of earplugs. They hand 'em out as study aides, but there's no reason you can't grab yourself a few for your band of choice's next show. And hey, even if you don't want to wear them for your favorite band, there's likely to be some, shall we say, less than good bands making their noise up onstage during many of the shows you see too. The idea of losing your hearing is bad enough, but losing it to a terrible band would just be a complete tragedy now, wouldn't it?

So protect your ears with pride, my friends! Happy October!

Friday, October 7, 2011

EoA/AMJ WUOG takeover this Sunday!

This Sunday at 6 PM, Echoreyn of Athens and Athens Music Junkie are teaming up to give you two hours of our favorite local tunes on WUOG 90.5, the University of Georgia's very own student-run radio station! You're sure to hear everything from Bambara to R.E.M. and all of the rockin' madness in between. And hey, if you're a regular on the scene, you might even catch a song or two that you've fallen in love with at a live show. It's going to be a wild time!

But there's more! This weekend WUOG will give all the people of Athens the chance to determine which songs they want to hear on the radio. That's right, it's time for their annual Seize the Airwaves event! For a charitable donation of $10, which will go to a foundation created to combat AIDS, you too can nab one of the remaining spots to play your favorite radio-friendly tunes for the masses on WUOG's station.

And don't forget! Whether you're dying to find out what's new on the scene, hoping to hear your friends' bands on the radio, or just eager to rock out to some awesome Athens songs, tune in to WUOG 90.5 FM or visit their website at this link at 6 PM this Sunday!