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!