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Friday, April 29, 2011

Kristen's Concert Picks: Here come the rockin' tunes of May

It looks like it's time to trade in those knee socks for your favorite pair of flip flops. The flowers are in bloom, and the taste of freedom wafts through in the air. May is here, you guys! In celebration of the sunny days of summer, some of our favorite bands are rockin' stages all across Athens this month. Check these shows out!

Sun, May 1: Bambara @ 1 PM @ Melting Point
Kick off the month with
Music Business May Day, an
all-day affair featuring tons of prominent bands with at least one member of each act involved in the MBUS program. Blog favorite BAMBARA will be bringing their rock-filled, ear-ringing brilliance to the stage once more at this show as well. Don't miss it!

Tues, May 3: DIP @ 2 PM @ WUOG
If you're in the mood for some indefinable madness and you're craving some songs with word dip in them, DIP is your band. Their shows are always an experience, that's for sure!

Tues, May 3: The Premonitions @ 10 PM @ Caledonia Lounge
The Premonitions sound just like you'd expect from their name. If you're a fan of dark, cross-genre tunes, you'll wanna catch this show!

Tues, May 3: Matt Daniel @ 10 PM @ Rye Bar
Matt Daniel (formerly of Leading Edge) returns to the stage to give us another taste of his own keyboard and guitar-infused original songs. Enjoy!

Thurs, May 5: The Orkids @ 9 PM @ MAX
If you haven't caught the Orkids yet, you've been missing out for sure! Their upbeat pop tunes will leave you smiling and dancing, I guarantee it. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at MAX (formerly Max Canada)!

Fri, May 6: Aman Amun @ 9 PM @ New Earth Music Hall
Back for a visit from the NYC, longtime blog favorite Aman Amun is here to give us an introspective and immersive electronic experience. His tunes and displays will completely engage your senses as he opens up for critically acclaimed El Ten Eleven. And since his New Earth shows are always incredible, this is one show you just can't miss!

Fri, May 6: Doctor Squid & Grinnin Bear @ 10 PM @ 40 Watt
Wow, this is quite a lineup! Doctor Squid's joy-inducing pop rock meets the fun, folksy sound of Grinnin Bear at BombsBombsBombs album release show. Too awesome for words!

Sat, May 7: Spring Tigers @ 9:30 PM @ Caledonia Lounge
I caught Spring Tigers at Athfest last year, and I quite enjoyed their electro-pop sound. Check 'em out!

Sat, May 7: Mud Scholar @ 10 PM @ Go Bar
Lyrical douche-pop is Mud Scholar's game, and he excels at it. If you're a fan of the lewd and the crude, this blog favorite is coming straight from New York to give us a hilarious serving of tunes you could never take home to mom. You've got to hear it to believe it!

Fri, May 13: Misfortune500 @ 8 PM @ 40 Watt
Wow, this month is just overflowing with blog favorites! I'm absolutely in love with the dark, rock style of Misfortune500. Seriously, I'm not quite sure how they manage it, but they sound even more amazing every time I see them perform. Also, awesome rockers the Winter Sounds are taking the stage at this show as well, so it's sure to be brilliant!

Fri, May 13: Yo Soybean @ 10 PM @ Caledonia Lounge
Got to love Yo Soybean's folk-infused southern rock sound! Don't miss out on your chance to dance your way through their tunes.

Well, looks like we've got the first half of the month well covered! This is going to be such a party, you guys. Know of another rockin' show not on this list, perhaps one representin' in the ATH during the second half of May? Let the world know about it in the comments! Also, don't hesitate to click the Monthly Concert Picks button regularly to find new shows that we've added to this list as well. My friends, it's time to celebrate!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rockin' the scene

What's new on the scene this week?

Well, for all you Athfest enthusiasts out there who, like me, just can't wait to immerse themselves in the tunes and bands of the massive festival, we've got a bit of news for you! Those spectacular people who put on Athfest for us have updated their website to include a more complete schedule of bands for the outdoor stages. I'm sure we can look forward to seeing all those slots filling up soon!

Also, starting tomorrow, we're in for an exciting weekend here in the ATH-town. Thursday night at MAX (formerly the Max Canada) there will be a massive celebration featuring dark rock band Gift Horse, wild adventurers Co Co Ri Co, a brand new band with members from Eddie the Wheel, and Lame Name, a collaboration brought to us by several talented musicians around town including Hardy Morris of blog favorite Dead Confederate. It's gonna get crazy up in there!

And don't miss your chance to experience the insanity that is Reptar at their album release party in Athens this Friday. YES, THEY'RE PUTTING OUT A CD! Want to know more? Check out their Facebook event right here!

Have a crazy one, my pals!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Echoreview: Pholksinger Josh & Friends' Watermelon Mountain

Released just last week, Pholksinger Josh and Friends' latest album Watermelon Mountain showcases the unique and varied talents of this "gangsta folk" musician and his comrades. Featuring a richer sound than that of his previous album Southern Dirt, Josh Rosenstein's time spent in the Carolina mountains has clearly had an influence on the band's already established harmonica and banjo-laced spoken word style. So what do these new tunes hold in store for their listeners?

The album begins with Bound to Die, a tune that flows like water behind Josh's speech-based rhythm. With the addition of a chorus of singers faintly chiming in, the song proves to be rather upbeat and quite enjoyable for a tune about death. A lovely instrumental melody with a sweet, rollicking sound bridges the gap before Pathetic Love Song I Said I Wouldn't Write plays. A newer take on the song that I've seen Josh perform many times, this track features a poppy yet touching sound that, when joined with Hannah Samet's melody in the background, makes this tune fuller and very solid. I love this one! Similarly, Hannah's backing tune in the love song Manifesto that appears later on in the album adds a well-placed feminine touch to the band's sound.

Following Ocmulgee, a minimalist school-themed tune that showcases a hint of the softness and maturity that has become an integral part of Josh's voice and that sets these songs apart, Cornbread & Butterbeans rolls in, giving listeners a traditional folk song sung by an ensemble of Josh and his musician friends. Then, harkening back to a sound much closer to that of his former album, Whiskey & Time proves to be much less composed than the rest of the tunes while still featuring the solid backing track that is characteristic of this record's style.

The title of the next track, Too Many Pretty Girls in Athens Town, just says it all. This song highly amuses me if for no other reason than the regular mentions of iconic places around the UGA campus. Familiarity like this is always quite a crowd-pleaser. Then the darker yet poppy New England Girl washes into the listener's ears. As Andrew Small's triumphant addition to the record, this tune features a mature sound that most definitely makes it one of my album favorites.

In the mood to dance? The very upbeat Lay Me Down had me moving my feet so much, I just had to get up and do a little jig in my room while listening to this one! Such fun. Then the sweet melody of Split End added a sense of calm to the record, growing and winding behind Josh's words as he spins yet another tale of love and loss.

In a rather bold move, Josh ends the album on a political note. He has always used his music to take a stand on the issues, and this time he's taking on budget cuts for education in Stand Up/ Fight Back! Although I would have enjoyed hearing the ensemble scream out on the track in the throes of passion along with him, this song lends a moderately strong conclusion to the record.

All in all, Watermelon Mountain proves that Pholksinger Josh's choice to solidify his newer sound with a full band was a great one. The album truly highlights not only Josh's knack for lyrical speech but the talents of his friends, especially those of Hannah Samet and Andrew Small, as well. Want to hear these tunes for yourself? Well, we'll let you know the next time Pholksinger Josh and Friends plays a show near you, and we'll also tell ya once these tracks make their way into iTunes too. Happy listening, folks!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Puttin' on a smile with Grinnin Bear

Every band that's been on the scene for a while knows that the later the set, the more fans there are ready to hit the dance floor. It's the sad truth that, most of the time, when a group finds themselves first on the bill, they can expect to be greeted by a small crowd of seated listeners and an air of nonchalance. But local band Grinnin Bear beat the odds by a landslide at Sam Sniper's awesome album release show on Friday night. They may have been the show's opener, but don't let that fool you. They grabbed our attention from the very first song. Wow, they rocked it!

The band's hard and modern take on a twangy sound had all the people in the audience bobbing their heads and moving their feet to the funky rhythm. Indeed, their latest tunes were quite the toe-tappers. Man, they were fun! And there's no doubt about it, Hannah Samet is the master of the fiddle. I've seen her play before many times with Pholksinger Josh, but she truly emerges in all her glory as the female vocalist and fiddle player of Grinnin Bear. And all the members were up there onstage, playing their hearts out and having a great time! This band caught me by surprise, but boy, am I glad they were there to kick off the weekend's festivities. I can't wait till I get a chance to hear them again!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What's the word?

The Athens music scene is spilling over with news and unbelievable events this week! You're just about to experience CD releases, TV debuts, and Athfest news... Hold on tight!

First up, TONIGHT's episode of NBC's Parks and Recreation (9:30/8:30c) will feature the debut of a brand new track from our massive blog favorites the Beat Geeks! We've been following this party band's progress from their very first show this past September to their rockin' stint as the opener for Ludacris till now, and we knew they had star potential from the start. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Keep an eye on these guys! Oh, and be sure not to miss your chance to move your body to their tunes this Saturday at Bad Manor as well.

After you catch Parks and Rec, head on over to the 40 Watt TONIGHT for The Orkids/Tealvox show. Can't wait for this one! Tealvox's sound is made purely awesome rock, and the Orkids will leave you dancing and singing along to their catchy pop tunes. I'm so glad these two are touring together! It's truly a match made in scene heaven.

Itching to get your hands on some brand new albums? Well, this weekend, you're in luck! Sam Sniper releases their very first CD We're Not Coming Back This Way (as reviewed right here) this FRIDAY at the Caledonia, and Pholksinger Josh and Friends will be dropping their latest record Watermelon Mountain this SATURDAY at Go Bar (review coming next week). Two CDs in one weekend? Awesome.

And finally, we've got to share the big news coming our way from the people who'll be giving us Athfest 2011. We've got our headliners! Prepare your ears for the tunes and sounds of Centro-matic, Guadalcanal Diary, Chickasaw Mudd Puppies, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, and rockin' blog favorites Futurebirds. The anticipation begins! I can't wait for Athfest 2011. For more info, check out the official website here.

Party it up, my friends!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Six bands, one awesome Friday night

Nights like Friday night don't come along too often on the scene, that's for sure. By some miracle of spectacular timing, I managed to catch two awesome shows that night featuring six rockin' bands. Now, I've got to admit, having been involved in the Athens music scene for quite a some time, I've become much harder to please than I once was. So naturally, I was incredibly surprised to find that every band I caught that night was worth a listen.

Groove Tangent kicked off the evening for us at Nu├ži's Space. I'd seen them a few times last year when they were still just a cover band, but since then it seems that they've found and mastered their own original sound. This time around, their tunes were cohesive and solid, and they took the stage like they owned it. One of my favorite things about these guys is the sense of humor they inject into nearly every song and every show. For instance, apparently they played a ridiculous cover medley of various versions of Rebecca Black's Friday at their last show. Wish I could have seen that (although I definitely don't want that song to get stuck in my head again)! This humor quietly sneaks into their original tunes too along with a very old school, almost 50s style rock vibe that is clearly influenced by the songs they chose to play when they were solely a cover band. These songs, keyboard-filled melodies from the heart with great harmonies, have already become fan favorites as well. Several people in the crowd were mouthing the words along with the band. Truly, I think I enjoyed their originals even more than any of their covers, and that's coming from a girl who still remembers their unforgettable take on Lady Gaga's Love Game!

Next up, John French and the Bastilles mixed acoustic guitar, electric guitar, viola, drums, and voice to create a dark, very polished sound. With a taste of southern rock layered over soft pop, the band gave us a set of calm and beautiful melodies. If I were to compare them to any group in Athens, I'd say their style most closely resembled that of blog favorite Venice is Sinking. The sweet voices of the male and female vocalists just meshed together perfectly. And, of course, I can't help but say that I just loved the female singer's hardcore outfit too!

After longtime favorite of mine Doctor Squid had played through their infectious set of hit tunes and crazy 80s covers, I headed over to the Caledonia, hungry for more tunes. As I walked into the Lounge, fog swirled before me. Through the fog, Atlanta band the Balkans fed the crowd dark, hardcore rock that complemented the band that followed them, top favorite noise rock trio Bambara, most excellently.

Then Dip finished out the night with the most insane, dance-inducing madness party ever. If you've never seen this band before, I can assure you that their shows are a mind-blowingly ridiculous experience! The inspiration for their name was clear. Every single one of their songs had the word "dip" in it, and drug references were frequent and unabashedly thrown around. Really, their set was like one big WTF moment. I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a bit of fun during their show.

There's truly never been a night on the scene this rockin'!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Echoreview: Sam Sniper's We're Not Coming Back This Way

At first, the country twang of Sam Sniper's melodies might seem like your standard Americana fare. But then whispers of pop and rock slide in with a hint of electronica to give their sound a style like no other. While Sam Sniper shares many of its members with local group Yo Soybean, this band has got more of an experimental and irreverent vibe that makes it an altogether different and quite intriguing creature. Already a fan favorite at their live shows, Sam Sniper releases their debut album We're Not Coming Back This Way next week. But how do these tracks compare?

Well, the record gets a strong start with the twangy, sweet ballad Heart, Beat. Although the track is much slower and a bit softer than I would have expected from the live versions I've heard of this largely acoustic tune, it proves to be an excellent beginning to the album. Then after a short, almost eerie transition track styled after a video game tune, the dark, rhythmic Cancertowne plays its way into our ears. Nearly unclassifiable, this song features southern pop and country rock influences as well as an electronic touch. Whatever the style, though, this song never fails to leave me dancing!

The next song When All Of Our Sins Are Good is an impromptu style, lo-fi creation that sounds like a bunch of men just began singing a melody of woe on the front porch. To be honest, I wasn't really feeling this track on my first listen. However, coupled with its polished followup song Bitter Heart's Radio, which runs with the same tune as the one before it, the effect is quite unique. It's almost as if the listener was in on the whole process from the song's conception to its place as a widespread country pop hit single. This second track also has female backing vocals that add a united strength to the tune.

Another transition track THIS breezes in next, featuring spoken poetry set against an eerie melody and the sounds of a night in the lonely country. Despite its marked difference from the rest of the album, I truly enjoy this one. Then THIS melts into Comfortable Hypocrisy, which is without a doubt my favorite track on the record. A rolling backing tune moves this song along as its brilliant lyrics wind themselves through the night until those nature sounds fade back into the listener's conscious.

Now in spite of my general resistance to all songs country, My Home, a rather traditional-sounding country song that graduates into an unexpected electric guitar solo with an almost schizophrenic rap section, is one of my other favorites as well. Captain Boughman comes next, rounding out my series of favorites and bringing with it a mysterious organ-style vibe layered on top of a country melody that gives birth to an eighties rock feel. It sounds insane, yes, but it just works!

A slower, introspective ballad, the next tune Country Blue sounds like the type of song you would listen to as you watched the rain pour outside your window. Then Love on the Run brings a classic sort of country rock to the mix before gaining a bit of a pop rock edge underscored by a romantic blues-style solo.

Loneliness ushers in the final three softer and slower melodies with an electronic keyboard tune accented by a bit of that old country twang. Then Best of Me lends a calm, acoustic sound to the album as one single voice joins with many to build a moving rhythm. Finally, following the trend of slow and soft tunes, the title track features a return to the lo-fi, blues-infused sound. This final song, highlighted by lyrics that frame the album's tunes with mentions of endings and an emphasis on a single repeated line: "not coming back this way", certainly provides a peaceful, fitting conclusion to this lawless, eclectic journey.

While most of my favorites from this album can be found near the beginning of the record, We're Not Coming Back This Way as a whole is a well-executed, cohesive album and definitely an awesome addition to any music collection whether you're a country fan or a fan of unique, expertly blended genres. To check out Sam Sniper for yourself, you can catch them at the Caledonia Lounge on Friday, April 15th for their album release party. Best of all, every person who attends gets a free CD! You won't want to miss it!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Echoreyn of Athens turns 2 and gives gifts to you!

Let's celebrate two years of Echoreyn of Athens: All About the Music! Today is our humble little blog's birthday, and there's no better way to rejoice in all the bands, tunes, and shenanigans that have filled those years than with a giveaway.

That's right! We've got a few of our favorite Athens music CDs that we want to give to you! All you have to do is be the first person to email us at with the correct answers to the following five trivia questions about the Athens and Atlanta music scenes. All of the answers can be found here on this blog. Happy searching and good luck!

1. What local dance-inducing band opened for Ludacris during UGA's Homecoming show this year?

2. What year did Athens (the band) rock the stage at the Flagpole Athens Music Awards?

3. Which artist had signed with Virgin Records shortly before giving Echoreyn of Athens its first shoutout from the stage in 2009?

4. The Georgia Theatre is expected to reopen by what date this year?

5. What local band is making their triumphant return to the stage at the Melting Point on April 6th with several new members joining their version 3.0 lineup of musicians?

Hope to hear from you soon! Don't miss your chance to get your hands on these free tunes!

Friday, April 1, 2011

It's the end of the scene as we know it?

Today, the Athens City Council, in a surprise move that stunned citizens across the state, announced that they are imposing a new sound ordinance on the city that will effectively ban the playing of live music in nearly all venues. According to the Athens News, when questioned about the new policy, one official said, "If you can hear a drum beat when you're standing outside the door of a venue, then it's too loud and the noisemakers will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law." WHAT? How can they do this!?! Unsurprisingly, the owners of the Farm and Little King's have reacted angrily to the new policy, calling it ghastly and absurd, utterly unfathomable.

Band members naturally have not taken this news well either. I overheard one spiky-haired individual, clearly a guitar player, on the sidewalk earlier today telling his friends that he should have listened to his mother and gotten that corporate job at Merrill Lynch. Other band members have not been so quick to give up. Several toned bassists stripped off their skinny jeans this morning to perform an impromptu naked protest in front of a couple of the city government buildings that were unrelated to the creation of the policy in question. Police were quick to inform them of their mistake, and they soon relocated to a house party off of Prince Avenue. But, in even bigger news, many musicians around town have banded together in a movement to essentially relocate the Athens music scene to a small town in rural Delaware. "I was a fan of the rural Delaware scene before it was cool, " one keyboardist who preferred to remain anonymous explained.

I just can't believe this is happening. It's insanely horrible!

In unrelated news, PBR distributors have pulled their signature beer from Athens bars, citing a sudden lack of market interest.

But let's end on a positive note, you guys! Here's one awesome thing we've all gotta keep in mind...

IT'S APRIL FOOLS DAY, MY FRIENDS! Hope you have a wild one!