Posts Tagged ‘Georgia’

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One of the reasons the Drive-By Truckers have matured into one of America’s finest rock & roll bands is ambition; they’re solid players and write great songs, but just as important, they take storytelling seriously, and when they make an album, they strive to do more than just serve up a bunch of new songs. Most DBT releases aren’t specifically concept albums, but nearly all of them have a thematic consistency in which the individual songs cohere into a larger framework. With this in mind, it makes sense that the band would want to do something more elaborate than the run-of-the-mill live disc, and 2015’s “It’s Great to Be Alive!”, recorded during a three-night stand at the the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, California in the fall of 2014, is an oversized (over three hours on three CDs or five LPs) look at the band’s body of work so far, with a set list that reaches back before the beginning (“Runaway Train” was a tune Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley cut for their pre-DBT band Adam’s House Cat) all the way up to “English Oceans”, the album the group released just a few months before these shows.

The Drive-By Truckers have always prided themselves on a butt-kicking live show, so it’s a bit of a surprise that It’s Great to Be Alive! relies so strongly on dynamics, dialing back the tempo and impact of some of the tunes rather than making this set the full-on blowout some fans would expect. It’s Great to Be Alive! focuses less on the sweat and fire of a live gig than on the songs, as Hood and Cooley draw their portraits of folks trying to make the best of life’s situations, which is often a harder and more desperate task than one would imagine. The relatively subdued attack does make more room for Cooley and Hood’s vocals, and both are in strong voice here, and if these performances are often a bit less finely nuanced than the studio originals, nearly everything here sounds more passionate, and the musicianship is excellent, especially Cooley and Hood’s duelling guitar work, Jay Gonzalez’s keyboards, and Brad Morgan’s drumming, which is endlessly implacable and full of lean, thoughtful groove (if this band has a secret weapon, it’s Morgan).

If It’s Great to Be Alive! doesn’t rock with the usual fury of a Drive-By Truckers live set, the band knows when and where to kick out the jams (especially on the three uptempo Southern Rock Opera numbers on disc three), and this 198-minute marathon leaves no doubt that this constantly evolving band is still growing and shifting and putting new perspectives on its music. It’s Great to Be Alive! is a bit less than the definitive document of the live DBT experience, but if you want to know why this is a great band and how good it can be on-stage, this set will tell you just about everything you need to know.

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Originally released October 30th, 2015

“Go-Go Boots” is the ninth studio album by American rock band Drive-By Truckers, first released February 14, 2011, on Play It Again Sam Records. It was produced by record producer David Barbe and recorded during 2009 to 2010, concurrently with sessions for the band’s previous album The Big To-Do (2010). The Drive-By Truckers are a band that likes to do things the old-fashioned way. They proudly proclaim that they record their music “on glorious two-inch analogue tape,” they still think in terms of albums with two (or four) sides, and their sound is firmly rooted in the traditions of Southern rock and the blues. They also hark back to a time when rock bands made an album every year followed by a tour, and if the DBTs haven’t quite held firm to that schedule, since they broke through with Southern Rock Opera in 2001, they’ve managed to release six studio albums, a live CD/DVD, another DVD-only live set, and a collection of rarities and unreleased tracks, all while keeping up a demanding touring schedule.

Any band that busy is likely to believe it deserves a rest every once in a while, and in a sense, 2011’s “Go-Go Boots” feels a little bit like a working vacation. The album is notably short on full-blown rockers and sounds scaled back from the three-guitar attack that’s been their hallmark, often dominated by acoustic guitars and the muffled but determined report of Brad Morgan’s drums. The songs also find the band going back to the well on themes it has visited before — the man of the Lord with a broad but carefully hidden streak of corruption in The Big To-Do’s “The Wig He Made Her Wear” foreshadowed not one but two songs here, “The Fireplace Poker” and the title track, and the damaged ex-cop of “Used to Be a Cop” feels like a cousin to the haunted war veteran of Brighter Than Creation’s Dark’s “That Man I Shot.” But none of this adds up to an album that’s at all lazy. The craft of Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley’s song writing is as strong as ever, drawing believable characters and giving them lives that make dramatic sense, and Shonna Tucker just keeps getting better with the graceful and hard-edged “Dancin’ Ricky.” And if the music on Go-Go Boots is less physical than what the Drive-By Truckers typically deliver, it’s emphatic and passionate, with an impressive sense of dynamics and as much soul as these folks have ever summoned in the studio — they’ve rocked a lot harder, but they’ve never cut a more natural and telling groove.

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There are moments where Go-Go Boots recalls Exile on Main St., another album that makes much out of feel and the way musicians play off one another, and if this isn’t as likely to be regarded as a masterpiece, it’s also less self-obsessive, and reveals some sides of the Drive-By Truckers the band hasn’t captured in the studio before. After ten years of hard work, the DBTs are still learning, still growing, and still feeling out new ideas, and on Go-Go Boots they show that even when they’re relaxed, they’re still one of America’s best bands.

originally released February 11th, 2011

gyrate (2020 reissue)

And how about Pylon? You remember Pylon, right? Oh lord. Pull up a chair… While the B52’s were the first to break the seal on Athens, Georgia as a hotbed of artistic intrigue in the late-70’s, and R.E.M. would become the cities most famous sons, Pylon were arguably the city’s favourite band and deepest influence on their emerging peers.

In the late 1970’s Athens, Georgia was buzzing with a raw but sophisticated music scene.

The turn of the decade began producing new sounds from bands like the B-52’s, R.E.M. and art-rock luminaries, Pylon. before they were a band, Pylon were art-school students at the university of Georgia: four kids invigorated by big ideas about art and creativity and society. in 1980 the band released its first record, “Gyrate” and began touring across the country in support of the release. they would soon develop a following across the country. shortly thereafter, Pylon went back into the studio. they gleefully pulled their songs apart and put them back together in new shapes, revealing a band of self-proclaimed non-musicians who had transformed gradually but noticeably into real ones. Now more than three decades later, both studio recordings have been remastered from their original audio tapes and are set for release on New West Records

Athens, Georgia may have been the breeding ground for the B-52’s, but in 1978 it was, for the most part, still a sleepy college town with few places for bands to play when Pylon began to cohere. (It’s worth remembering that the B-52’s had almost exclusively played house parties before moving to New York and becoming a sensation.) Like more than a few great and original groups, Pylon came together without much of a support system or many first hand influences; they were young people creating their own art and making their own fun with it. While it wasn’t their first release (the epochal “Cool”/”Dub” single preceded it by seven months), 1980’s Gyrate caught Pylon on tape when they were still clearly fascinated with their own creative possibilities, though they were tight enough to sound elemental and straightforward rather than amateurish. The skittery chiming of Randy Bewley’s guitar and the expressive whisper-to-a-scream report of Vanessa Briscoe Hay’s vocals give this music plenty of brains, and the lean, minimal rhythms generated by bassist Michael Lachowski and drummer Curtis Crowe lend it all a strong, muscular body; at a time when America was just falling out of love with disco, Gyrate was a reminder that there was more than one way to make music for dancing. As smart as this music was, it was also fun and engaging in a way that many of their peers and followers were not.

Gyrate is full of joy and subtle, surreal wit, and if it sometimes sounds like the work of arty grad students, they’re still grad students who want to cut loose and get in the groove, and that’s exactly what they do. Gyrate is a classic touchstone of the American underground scene of the ’80s, and it sounds as fresh, challenging, and exciting as the day it was released. R.E.M. would become a lot more famous, but Pylon were the band that made the world aware that there was something remarkable happening in Athens, and this was their first triumph.

chomp (2020 reissue)

Before they were a band, Pylon were art-school students at the University of Georgia: Just four kids invigorated by big ideas about art and creativity and society. Pylon was less a band, however, and more of an art project, which meant they had very specific goals in mind as well as an expiration date. while their time together as a band was short lived (1979-1983), Although just a few years as their time together Pylon had a lasting influence on the history of rock and roll. Throughout their brief history, they were able to create influential work that would help foster the post-punk and art-rock scene of the early 80s. influencing artists like R.E.M., Gang of Four, Sonic Youth, Sleater-Kinney, Interpol, Deerhunter and many more claim inspiration from the band. in 1980 the band released its first record, “Gyrate” and began touring across the country in support of the release. The band would soon develop a following across the country and specifically in the bustling music scene in New York City. One of their earliest gigs was opening for the Gang of Four in the big apple. Following the critical acclaim of their debut release, Pylon went back into the studio. while in the studio they gleefully pulled their songs apart and put them back together in new shapes, revealing a band of self-proclaimed non-musicians who had transformed gradually but noticeably into real musicians. The resulting album, “Chomp” was barely off the press when Pylon were booked to open a run of dates for a hot new Irish band called U2 (after previously playing two arena shows with them in the month leading to the album release). Most bands would have jumped at the opportunity, but Pylon were skeptical. at a critical point in the life of Pylon, they opted to become a cult band rather than stretch their defining philosophy too far. “We fully intended Pylon to be an almost seasonal thing that we were gonna do for a minute and then get on with our lives,” says Curtis Crowe, drummer for the band. “but it just never went away. it still doesn’t go away. there’s a new subterranean class of kids that are coming into this kind of music, and they’re just now discovering Pylon for the first time. that blows my mind. we didn’t see that coming.” New West Records is proud to partner with Pylon to reissue “Chomp” back into the masses. beautifully remastered from the original audio sources and pressed on vinyl for the first time in over 30 years.

Pylon’s 1980 debut album, sounded like the work of the best sort of enlightened amateurs, musicians who were still fairly new to what they were doing and making the most of their simplicity, which worked brilliantly in their favour. 1983’s Chomp was a somewhat different affair; Pylon were a more accomplished group with far more practical experience under their belts, and instead of the streamlined hands-off production of Bruce Baxter, the second album was produced by Chris Stamey and Gene Holder of the dB’s, and engineered by Mitch Easter. As a consequence, Chomp sounds fuller and less minimal than Gyrate, with Vanessa Briscoe Hay overdubbing vocal harmonies on some tracks, keyboards popping up here and there, and Randy Bewley adding some new flash to his James Brown-style chicken scratch guitar. However, if Pylon were capable of doing more on Chomp, they also knew what not to do. The textures are more complicated, but the music still feels efficient, with no wasted gestures in the songs or performances. The grooves are as potent as ever, with bassist Michael Lachowski and drummer Curtis Crowe anchoring this music with lean, funky rhythms that sound edgy while still filling the dance floor.

The added production polish and instrumental niceties add atmosphere without weighing down the songs, and reinforce how tuneful the material is despite their clean surfaces. “Crazy” is a beautifully ominous pop song that Pylon lacked the sophistication to pull off when they made Gyrate; if their early music was full of sharp angles, “Crazy” showed they could create something more accessible without compromising their vision in any way. Pylon would break up the same year Chomp was released, and it’s fascinating to speculate where their broader musical range and studio smarts would have taken them if they’d stayed together (they would periodically play reunion shows, and even cut a third album, Chain, in 1990.) However, if Chomp closed the book on Pylon’s first era, it was a grand finale, an album that stands apart from their debut yet is just as brilliant in its own ways.

Bathe Alone is the dreampop solo project of multi-instrumentalist Bailey Crone based out of Atlanta, Georgia. Bailey plays everything from drums, guitar, bass to vocals on the project and aims to create songs you can “lay on the floor and stare at the ceiling to.”

A couple of months ago, we were introduced to Bailey Crone’s dazzling world called Bathe Alone. The moniker is fitting since Crone’s shoegaze-infused approach is a whole-of-body experience akin to swimming in one of the planet’s most lavish lagoons, as demonstrated on the scintillating “Calm Down”. The Atlanta native, though, can also create soundscapes that feel like an out-of-body experience, shooting listeners to the stars and beyond. So sit back and enjoy the intergalactic ride that is “Curbside”.

With hints of the shoegaze greatness of Lush, Crone at first seduces with a soft, melancholic approach. The lightness of the music is both intoxicating and relaxing, and the gliding mood is interrupted occasionally by the fireworks that ignite from her reverb-drenched guitar. Her voice, though, is angelic, floating through space just like we are. Just as our minds begin to fade away, Crone awakens our senses as her guitar sears and electrifies. This moment is not frightening nor menacing, but rather it represents the start of something new and exciting. It is us entering a new dimension that is full of awe and wonder. It is us awakening to the realization that the next great shoegaze artist lies before us.

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“Curbside” is Bathe Alone’s heaviest offering from her upcoming debut LP Last Looks. The song is a duet in many ways between DI and analogue. There’s clean crisp digital drums delicately intertwined with dirty, grungy, almost trash-can sounding acoustic drums. Then there’s Bathe Alone’s signature clean reverbed-out DI guitar playing alongside a nasty, fuzzy amped guitar with tons of room mic to get that grit. The vocals were inspired by Billie Eilish, where her instrumentation can get intense yet her vocals remain eerily relaxed while layered with tons of harmonies.

Released September 9th, 2020
Bailey Crone – Songwriter, vocals, guitar, drums, bass
Damon Moon – Synth, guitar

Pylon performing in a homey space

For alternative music fans, the college town of Athens, Georgia, means R.E.M. and the B-52’s . Through the 1980s, the city was synonymous with a kind of against-the-grain music epitomized by those two bands’ very different styles. In 1987, Rolling Stone named R.E.M. “America’s best rock ’n’ roll band.” Drummer Bill Berry denied it. The best band in America, he said, was Pylon.

In its original incarnation, Pylon only lasted for five years. But no single band did more to define what it means to be an Athens band than Pylon. Formed as a performance art project by four art students who mostly did not know how to play their instruments, Pylon created a startling, original sound by combining formal experimentation with a danceable beat. Beyond their music, band members’ commitment to making art in their small, Southern college town helped transform what had been a tiny network of art students and their friends into one of America’s most important and enduring music scenes. This is how in that period when what would become alternative was new, Pylon broadened the very idea of what a band could be.

In Athens, Georgia, people got into bands the way people everywhere get into most things—through their friends.

As a high school student in suburban Atlanta, future Pylon bassist Michael Lachowski had taught himself photography by reading the Time/Life photography series and building a darkroom in his parents’ house. He met Randy Bewley, future guitarist, in the photography studio at the University of Georgia where the sculpture major from suburban Atlanta had a work-study job. Outside class, Lachowski made drawings, prints, Super 8 films, and sculptures, as well as photographs. Bewley made photographs and other two-dimensional work and later switched his major to painting. As Lachowski remembered, this kind of experimenting with genre just seemed normal at UGA: “We had an exuberant group of people; creativity was prized above all else; everybody was just putting out work. It led to us going out of the boundaries of our disciplines. A lot of us in the art school were trying out different media with a punk rock message, which is just go in there and do it. You don’t need training, or authority or legitimacy. Just figure it out.”

At the UGA library and at Barnett’s News downtown, Lachowski and Bewley followed the art and music news in publications like the Village Voice. After the B-52’s started playing New York City regularly in 1978, Bewley and Lachowski read about people they actually knew. Bewley wanted to form a band, too. Lachowski resisted. His problem with the idea was not that they were not musicians. The fact that they had no experience playing instruments was no different from the fact that they had no experience making prints or installation art before they went to art school. They could learn. Instead, Lachowski hesitated because making music seemed unoriginal: “I thought it had been done already.” But then the friends had an idea. As the band’s singer Vanessa Briscoe Hay remembered, “They’d been reading New York Rockerand it seemed like it would be an easy thing to have a band and go to New York and get some press and come back. And that would be it.” Once they got the press, they would quit. Instead of a band, they decided, they would create a kind of performance art.

Bewley bought Lachowski a bass at a pawnshop and found a guitar for cheap at a flea market. Sometime that winter, the two friends started practicing regularly in Lachowski’s off-campus studio, a second-floor space on College Avenue right across from the university. Lachowski worked from a bass instruction book. Bewley played his guitar with an alternate tuning because he did not know the standard one. Plugged into little Pignose amps, they practiced by alternating positions, with one holding the groove and repeating a phrase while the other experimented.

In the future, these long jams would give birth to a remarkable independence between the bass and the guitar parts. At the time, they sounded like “endless riffs.” Curtis Crowe, their landlord, who lived upstairs, remembered hearing “a never-ending series of hooks—no bridges or chorus, just hooks” echoing and vibrating right up through the floor. One day Crowe reached his breaking point: “So I kinda went ahead and knocked on the door lookin’ real timid and said, ‘Hey, mind if I drag these drums in here for a little bit?’ ” The band’s future drummer “had every song memorized before I ever went down.”

When Bewley and Lachowski decided to find a singer, it made sense to them to ask art students whose work they liked. Bewley’s friend Vanessa Briscoe Hay—then Vanessa Ellison—had started out in arts education before switching her major to drawing and painting without telling her parents. After she graduated, she got a job at the local DuPont nylon factory, through word of mouth at the art school. Bewley was still in school, but Lachowski got a job there too after he graduated. Bewley told her about a performance art project he, Lachowski, and Crowe had created that involved making music. Bewley wanted Briscoe Hay to try out for the role of singer. She told him she wasn’t really a musician. Bewley insisted they were all amateurs. What mattered was they respected her as an artist.

The audition at Lachowski’s studio turned out to be oddly formal. On a music stand, her future bandmates had placed an orange vinyl notebook full of typed lyrics. They would play a song, and she would try to make the lyrics fit, sometimes cracking up in the attempt. “They couldn’t really hear what I was doing,” she remembered, but “they liked the fact that I put forth some honest effort and they liked the way I looked, and they liked me as a human being.”

When the band debuted on March 9th, 1979, in the second-floor space downtown above Chapter Three Records, it was hard to imagine its members would soon be local stars. All the songs they played were originals, except the theme song from Batman. Briscoe Hay stood on a mirror with her back to the big windows that looked out on old campus and concentrated on the words. Bewley and Lachowski looked at their hands. Only Crowe seemed at ease. In Athens, everyone danced at parties, and yet the audience at that first Pylon show and a second at Crowe’s loft stood strangely still. As Crowe told a critic in 1981, “Nobody knew what to do, so they were real polite.” In a letter to a former professor, Lachowski added a list of comments he had heard after their first few gigs: “too art oriented,” “conceptual,” “they sound like a bunch of artists who got together and decided to have a band,” “Michael, your music sounds just like your art,” and “they’ll like what you’re doing in New York (as if to imply that they don’t really in Athens).

At their third gig, though, at a house in the country, everything changed. As Briscoe Hay recalled, “The B-52’s showed up at that party, and they started dancing and running around like crazy and everybody else did too.” After the show, Briscoe Hay said, Fred Schneider and Kate Pierson “were very supportive.” They said, “You’ve got to play New York.”

To get that date, Pylon had to make a demo. Someone bought some Kmart cassette tapes, and the four art students recorded themselves playing a few songs at Lachowski’s studio. Then Schneider gave a tape to Jim Fouratt at Hurrah, a punk dance club where the B-52’s had been playing lately. The timing was perfect. “Rock Lobster” was a New York hit, and the B-52’s reached the peak of their underground fame in the weeks before the release of their first album that July. Fouratt actually called the members of Pylon in Athens, read through a list of coming bands, and asked them who they wanted to open for. Bewley and Lachowski picked Gang of Four.

In New York, a huge crowd filled with other musicians turned out at Hurrah to see Gang of Four. Briscoe Hay borrowed a whistle from the doorman and blew it during the song “Danger.” People in the front shook Bewley’s hand after the set and badgered him with questions about how he came up with his strange tunings and original chords. After they got back home, the September 1979 issue of Interview arrived with Glenn O’Brien’s review that gave as much space to Pylon as to the Gang of Four:

Pylon, the first Athens band to hit the town since the B-52s. A tough act to follow—but Pylon is also a credit to their community. There’s not much resemblance to the Bs. Although the guitarist has real classy taste in licks that is sometimes reminiscent of Ricky Wilson’s. Pylon has a charming chanteuse up-front—sort of Georgia Georgie Girl who manages to carry off several difficult postures, including kooky, endearing, sincere and wry. And not all the songs sound the same. These kids listen to dub for breakfast. Recommended.

Interview was not New York Rocker, but O’Brien’s coverage was better than the band members’ dreams, even if they had to look up the meaning of the word dub. Their project was a success, but they did not want to quit. They were having too much fun.

In making their performance art rock, the four members of Pylon drew on what they had learned in art school about the ways that tensions between materials, mediums, and expectations could animate art. Middle-class kids holding down working-class jobs, they turned the factory into a style. Posters featuring orange safety cones and music full of machinelike repetition punctured by whistles and screams contradicted audience assumptions that small Southern towns produced only county and folk sounds and handmade things.

Their name referred to “the kind in the road, not the architectural one or the ones that hold up electricity,” as Lachowski wrote a former professor. “We chose Pylon because it is severe, industrial, monolithic, functional. We subscribe to a modern techno-industrial aesthetic. Our message is ‘Go for it!, but be careful.’ ” Working the contrast between flat, machinelike minimalism and ragged, Southern-accented amateurism, their songs used a four-on-the-floor disco beat to mash together punk’s emotional excess and industrial repetition and detachment. The bass throbbed and the drums boomed as guitar licks cut across the rhythm section without being leads. The vocals varied from deadpan recitations of short phrases to howls, and Briscoe Hay rarely flirted with the audience. Instead, she belted out vocals while bouncing up and down and shaking her head like a dancer in a Charlie Brown television special. Sometimes, she blew a shrill whistle midsong, like a referee or a cop.

Live, Pylon’s act could be shocking or jolting or heavy. It could also be deep. In fusing pop and rock forms with an avant-garde sensibility, the band members asked what art could mean in the midst of industrial decline, production-line mass culture, and rising political conservatism. And they tentatively offered an answer. “Be careful, be cautious, be prepared,” the lyrics of their song “Danger” warned. But be creative, too. “Everything is cool.” “Turn up the volume.” “Turn off the TV.” “Now, rock and roll, now.” “Read a book, don’t be afraid.” “Function precedes form. Things happen.” Pylon pushed people to think as well as dance, to put their minds and bodies back together. Playing live, the four art students could pound their awkwardness and their amateurism and their artistic vision into something transcendent. If people in Athens revived on a local scale that old dream that music could make a new world, it was because they were living it.

Pylon nurtured the creativity the B-52’s had helped spark in Athens before they left for New York. Pylon’s performances, shows by other bands, and art installations by Lachowski and others transformed the open space behind the Victorian house at 265 Barber Street where Lachowski lived into Pylon Park, one of the emerging scene’s important gathering places. The band also played the club Curtis Crowe started, the 40 Watt Club. In the summer of 1980, Briscoe Hay had to quit her job at DuPont when the B-52’s invited Pylon to open for them in New York’s Central Park. By the end of the year, band members found they could live two or three months in Athens on their New York City guarantees. Pylon became their job.

Over the next three years, Pylon toured the Midwest and Canada with the Gang of Four and played a string of dates in England. In January 1982, they sold out the large Memorial Hall ballroom on the University of Georgia campus. In April, when the 40 Watt moved from Clayton Street to a bigger venue on Broad Street, they headlined the back-to-back closing and then opening shows and packed both rooms. In Athens, Pylon ruled the scene that the band’s members had done so much to create.

If Pylon seemed wildly successful from an underground perspective, outside Athens, New York, and a few other cities, audiences often did not seem to know what to make of the group. Band members made enough money to live cheaply in Athens, but they weren’t exactly comfortable. To reach the next level, they hired a professional booking agent. He landed them a gig most bands would have been giddy to get: the opening slot for U2’s U.S. tour in support of their recently released album War. When they took the stage, crowds impatient to see the Irish band ignored them. As Briscoe Hay recalled, “People were heckling … ‘Where’s U2?’ and ‘Get off the stage.’ ” What everyone said was great felt instead like failure. It certainly was not fun. Maybe they did not really want this kind of success. Maybe their performance art–turned-band was exactly what they said it was, “temporary rock.”

At the beginning of 1983, Briscoe Hay told a local Athens paper, “I think if it ever became miserable, we would just disband,” and in retrospect she was hinting at what was to come. Band members decided around this time to break up at the end of the year, after they fulfilled their bookings, but they kept their decision secret. In Athens, most people found out when posters went up for “Pylon’s Last Show” with opening act Love Tractor.

A recording of that farewell show released in 2016 finally gave those of us who missed it a chance to listen in on this essential moment in Athens history. From the opening note of the first song, “Working Is No Problem,” Pylon played 22 songs with hair-on-fire intensity that did not let up until the five-song encore finished. Over the course of approximately an hour and a quarter of music, the crowd roared out its encouragement. Sometimes the fans sang along to lyrics like “Everything is cool” and even occasionally to guitar hooks, like the woo-woo of “M-Train.” At other times, they just yelled. No one wanted the evening to stop.

Interviewed afterward about the breakup, band members reflected on why they had started making music “as another form of artistic expression.” “We accomplished what we set out to do,” Lachowski said. “It’s not that we are miserable, it’s just that we’ve seen all we’re going to see and don’t want to put any more time into it.” “What was frustrating was not trying to live like other bands, but trying to convince everybody that we didn’t want to do it that way,” he explained. “We were the only ones that understood why we were not out there with the other bands trying to make it big.”

A critics’ darling, repeatedly named the best band in Athens, Pylon carried its art piece so far that it broke up on the cusp of stardom. “We’ll become a cult band now,” Bewley predicted on the eve of Pylon’s last show. “This is a type of suicide that’ll make us more popular in the long run.” And he was right

Randy Bewley, Vanessa Briscoe Hay, Michael Lachowski, and Curtis Crowe of Pylon

Box Set Includes:

  • The studio albums Gyrate and Chomp – newly remastered from the original tapes
  • Extra – a collection of singles, B-sides, rarities and live recordings
  • Razz Tape – the first-ever Pylon recording, a 13-song unreleased session that predates their 1979 debut single, “Cool”/”Dub”
  • Plus a 216 page, full-color, hardbound book featuring a treasure trove of never before seen images and artifacts from the band’s personal archives, and writings by R.E.M., Kate Pierson of The B-52’s, Corin Tucker & Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney, Steve Albini, Jon King & Hugo Burnham of Gang of Four, and many more
  • 47 tracks in all, including 18 unreleased recordings

Georgia-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter Molly Parden has a new EP on the way, and she shared the video for the first single from the project. The Rosemary EP will arrive November. 13th on Tone Tree Music. But in the meantime we can enjoy “Kitchen Table,” the video for which is a dark series of high-contrast scenescapes. While spooky, it’s also strangely calming to watch. “Kitchen Table” has the lush, unhurried sway of a Faye Webster (whose backing band Parden once played in) tune and the delicate vocals of your favourite indie-folk singer. If Parden’s tender voice sounds familiar, that might be because she’s offered her pipes as backup vocals to more than 50 records since moving to Nashville in 2013. She’s also performed with the backing bands for Sam Outlaw and David Ramirez.

Molly has toured the world as a bassist, guitarist, and singer—joining the backing bands of Atlanta’s indie songstress, Faye Webster; west coast troubadour Sam Outlaw; and Austin Texas’s boozily existential poet, David Ramirez. While at home in Nashville, Molly paid her bills as a waitress, and in the studio with her voice—providing her uniquely fragile and captivating harmony vocals on over 50 records in just a few years. Though Molly rarely recorded or performed her own songs, the few songs she did release garnered millions of plays on online streaming platforms and a small body of devoted listeners throughout the world. Her growing number of fans and champions finally encouraged Molly to team up with long time friends Juan Solorzano and Zachary Dyke, both having made their marks on Nashville’s indie music scene as producers and multi-instrumentalists themselves, to properly record and release a record of her own.

The result was “Rosemary”—an EP of fragile indie tunes that are as haunting as they are comforting, beautifully raw and yet just out of reach. From the effortless, transcendent melancholy of “Feel Alive Again,” to the flirty pop nostalgia of “Who are We Kiddin’,” each of Molly’s songs enchants the listener with a disarming union of aloofness and intimacy—timeless tunes in a postmodern soundscape. If it weren’t for the persistent reminder of a distressed 808 snare loop, a tune like “These Are The Times” wouldn’t be out of place on one of Chet Baker’s classic records from the 50’s:

Molly – vocals
Juan Solorzano – electric, bass, acoustic
Tommy Perkinson – drums
Matthew Wright – keys

“Rosemary” EP out November 13th 2020

Pylon band photo

Athens, Georgia art rock group Pylon have announced a new 4xLP box set. “Pylon Box” arrives November 6th via New West Records. The set includes remastered versions of both of their studio albums—1980’s “Gyrate” and 1983’s “Chomp”—as well as the group’s first-ever recording, Razz Tape, and more. Listen to “The Human Body” (from Razz Tape) and a live version of “3 x 3”, and scroll down to see a teaser video for the box set. band that married post-punk, new wave, dance and funk, will be celebrated this fall with a new box vinyl box set that collects newly remastered pressings of their first two albums and adds two records of rarities and early recordings.

The songs on Gyrate and Chomp have been remastered from the original tapes and pressed to vinyl for the first time in roughly 35 years. 18 of Pylon Box’s 47 tracks are previously unreleased recordings. A limited number of box sets will be issued with coloured vinyl.

The set also includes an 11-song collection titled Extra, which features a recording from the group before frontwoman Vanessa Briscoe Hay joined the band, as well as a 200-page hardbound, full-colour book with archival images. It features writing by the B-52’s’ Fred Schneider and Kate Pierson, members of Gang of Four, Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein, Steve Albini, and more. Each copy of “Pylon Box” will be autographed by Pylon’s surviving members: Vanessa Briscoe Hay, Michael Lachowski, and Curtis Crowe.

Pylon spoke about the new box, their influences early on, and more. Here’s an excerpt of what Vanessa Briscoe Hay said about Razz Tape:

Chris [Razz] wanted to record us. He’d recorded us at Chapter Three or at a party or something. He was just a nut about wanting to record things. And so we said sure. I don’t remember that we ever used this for anything, but it was late summer or early fall because it was so warm. I remember that.

I was set up in the hall outside of where [Michael] and Curtis and Randy were. And he kept the tape machine in the hall, which was outside of Michael in my studio, and it was also the band’s practice space. He set the mic up for me in the hall. There were two mics in the room: one was for the drums and the other mic was shared by both the bass and the guitar. Y’all couldn’t see me; I couldn’t see you.

We had some songs that we were trying out that were very recently written. “Read a Book” has the instrumental version; I hadn’t written the lyrics for it, yet. And we’d just written “Cool.” We just went through it. We just plowed through it. It’s not overdubbed, but that’s just what it is. And I cringe at some of the things, but the overall sound and feeling of it is very spontaneous. It’s a beautiful record just because of that and, of course, we threw out a bunch of those songs and they were never recorded.

Pylon formed in 1979 at the University of Georgia. They were contemporaries of Athens groups like the B-52’s, R.E.M., and others.
Pylon Box’ is coming November 6th, Colour Vinyl Version Limited to 500 Copies Worldwide.
This comprehensive set includes:

The studio albums ‘Gyrate’ and ‘Chomp’ – newly remastered from the original tapes, and available on vinyl for the first time in more than 30 years
‘Extra’ – a collection of singles, B-sides, rarities and live recordings
‘Razz Tape’ – the first-ever Pylon recording, a 13-song unreleased session that predates our 1979 debut single, “Cool”/”Dub”
Plus a 200 page, full-colour, hardbound book featuring a treasure trove of never before seen images and artifacts from the band’s personal archives, and writings by R.E.M., Kate Pierson of The B-52’s, Corin Tucker & Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney, Steve Albini, Jon King & Hugo Burnham of Gang of Four, and many more
47 tracks including 18 unreleased recordings
‘Gyrate’ and ‘Chomp’ are also available in exclusive coloured vinyl from New West Records (clear editions), Vinyl Me, Please (marble handpour editions), and from independent record stores (opaque red and teal editions).

”Like the Velvet Underground before them, Pylon could be your favourite band’s favourite band.”
NPR Music

Pylon Box Set

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Meet Me @ The Altar so lovingly summon the cues of ‘00s-era pop-punk and emo with an emotional intelligence and maturity that the genre’s most visible sad boys never really lived up to. Based in three different states after discovering each other on YouTube, singer Edith Johnson, guitarist and bassist Téa Campbell, and drummer Ada Juarez command their instruments with an attention to detail that belies the fact that they usually only get a day or two to practice in person before shows (and that was pre-pandemic). These three young women of colour create with a care befitting internet friends, paying homage to and carving out their own place in a genre notorious for gatekeeping its sound and sadness from anyone who isn’t a suburban white boy, and hold Paramore as a sacrosanct influence. The challenges of social distancing during the pandemic are real for any band, and must be especially for these three, but they’ve already overcome separation with ease.

Their strong online presence has been attracting fans to their comical personalities, but more importantly to their music. They released an EP titled “Bigger Than Me” in 2019 consisting of intricate guitar parts, fast paced drumming, and emotional lyrics.

The delicious, math-y first 20 seconds of their 2020 single “Garden” grow into one of 2020’s hardest, tenderest punk choruses.

Band Members:
Edith Johnson – Vocalist – GA
Téa Campbell – Guitarist – FL
Ada Juarez – Drummer – NJ
Kaylie Sang – Touring Guitarist
El Xiques – Touring Bassist

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As much as people want to dance, or want to mosh their brains out as post punk, surf punk, indie rock festivals (remember festivals?) people also want to chill, to sway to post punk and post rock psychedelia. The music of Reverends is dreamy and the saving grace at any house party.The track “8 Million” is such a song. It is by Atlanta psych rock band Reverends and upon first listen I thought a bit about California indie bands like Allah-Las, Mystic Braves and Cosmonauts (at least the chiller aspects of their surf punk sound) or a combination of all three. On 8 Million, Reverends provide the languid intoxication and chord progs that are classic for this genre and some of those progs have undoubtedly been played by those aforementioned Cali psyche bands. That is no sin, this genre like the blues borrows heavily. The point is how well you do it and Reverends do it so well, they keep the slow burn moving like a buzz when you’re high but provide guitars sounds that shape shift, squeal, turn into bent alien sounds of life and high life and jam nicely too. What else do you need when you just want to drift away?.

Band Members:
Dandy Lee Strickland – Vocals/Guitar/Keys/Etc
Kyle Jones – drums
Andy Watts – guitar/keys
Matt Boehnlein – guitar/bass/keys/vocals
Henry Jack – bass/vocals

“8 Million”, from Reverends’ album The Disappearing Dreams of Yesterday, released on Little Cloud Records.