Posts Tagged ‘Georgia’

“Fingerless Gloves” sounds restless and chaotic, with Kevin Barnes cycling through three different aesthetics – warped hyperpop bounce, macho riff rock, classic fey Of Montreal synthpop – within just the first 30 seconds. It holds together through sheer force of will and a gleeful “fuck it” playfulness, and it makes you feel like you’ve been zapped into the brain of someone who thinks and feels much faster than you do. In terms of the Of Montreal catalogue it’s pretty similar to the bonkers energy of Skeletal Lamping, but there’s a different charge to it – less frazzled, more at peace with an identity full of apparent contradictions. There are songs in which ping-ponging through genres and tones is an expression of an unstable state of mind but “Fingerless Gloves” sounds more settled in a sense of identity, and like a statement of pride in being fractured and strange. I mean, check out how triumphant Barnes sounds at the climax, screaming “I Feel So Safe With You Trash!!!!” over super-charged video game thrash metal. That’s some maniac joy right there.

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Recorded at Sunlandic Studios March to November 2020

Releases March 5th, 2021

all songs written/performed/mixed by Kevin Barnes

Atlanta-based indie-rock all stars Manchester Orchestra composed of rhythm guitarist-singer-songwriter Andy Hull, lead guitarist Robert McDowell, bassist Andy Prince and drummer Tim Very will shortly release their lush sixth album “The Million Masks of God”. It is a true pleasure and joy to finally share the first piece of music from our sixth full length album “The Million Masks of God”. It’s near impossible to put into words what this album means to us on a personal level. I’m amazed and grateful at how so much hard work from so many incredible people ended up working together to finally get us here. I’m so happy it’s here. This record, what it’s about and what it represents holds a particularly intimate place in our hearts. Writing it, creating it, building it, destroying it and rebuilding it together over the last two and a half years has been the most gratifying challenge of our career so far. I hope that you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed creating it. Thank you for your continued support of our band. We can’t wait to go on this next journey together.

This exclusive vinyl variant is 140g on “sea blue.” The Million Masks of God is limited to only 500 copies, 

Releases April 30th, 2021

Mamalarky spent two years working on their self-titled debut album (released last year via Fire Talk on November 20th). Raw and cerebral, the LP looks to a range of influences from their collective musical nerdiness. ”We might have a vocal melody that sounds like the lead steel guitar from Santo & Johnny, played over production that aims to be noisy and weird like Deerhoof or Sheer Mag, all the while steeped in the greats like Stevie Wonder or The Four Seasons,’ explains Livvy. The album itself was cobbled together in a mix of DIY ways: home recordings with Livvy’s roommate Joey Oaxaca (White Reaper, Mo Dotti), singles with Daniel McNeill (White Denim) and a “final wrapping-up” with engineer Jim Vollentine (Spoon, Skating Polly). The result is an album that’s as musically fun and explorative as it is catchy and sweet. Or as Mamalarky puts it “We want to provide an experience that’s exploratory and trippy, but far removed from the problematic and corny psych stereotypes carried out by all those 60s dude bands.”

“Any song on Mamalarky’s self-titled debut deserves to be a single.” – Vice

“Mamalarky are a band that emanates cool factor.” –  

The harmony is beautiful and slightly strange. The drums are really strong, the vocalist is really skilled. The guitars and synths are really tasteful. Basically, the sound overall is really original, and really satisfying.

Mamalarky spent two years working on their self-titled debut album. Mamalarky  debut album out October 14th on Fire Talk Records.

Acclaimed musician, singer, and songwriter Jay Gonzalez has announced the upcoming release of his new album. “Back To The Hive” arrives everywhere via Gonzalez’s own Middlebrow Records on Friday, March 5th; Perhaps best known for his role as guitarist/keyboard player with the mighty Drive-By Truckers, Gonzalez is heralding “Back To The Hive” with an official video for “(I Wanna) Hold You,”. 

A self-professed “sucker for short pop songs filled with hooks and devoid of filler,” Gonzalez’s second full-length solo album, “Back To The Hive” sees the multi-talented artist continuing to push power pop into new shapes, reimagining the sound of classic A.M. radio through his own kaleidoscopic approach.

Recorded in his hometown of Athens, GA by longtime collaborator Chris Grehan, the album sees Gonzalez joined by a number of old friends including drummer Joe Rowe (The Glands) and former Drive-by Truckers Matt Lane (drums) and John Neff (pedal steel guitar) on a collection of strikingly diverse songs. From the straight-ahead pop of “(I Wanna) Hold You” and the buoyant “Trampoline” to the emotional Robin Gibb tribute, “Crying Through The Wall,” “Back To The Hive” is both invigorating and inventive, imbued with adventurous arrangements, timeless song writing, and a lifetime of pop passion.

Jay Gonzalez first arrived in Athens, GA from his native Westchester County, NY more than two decades ago. Together with his good friend and bandmate Chris Grehan, he set to work experimenting with his own brand of power pop while also playing in such esteemed local outfits like The Possibilities. Gonzalez officially joined Drive-By Truckers in 2008, first as keyboard player and later taking up the mantle of guitarist in the ground breaking band. 2011 saw the release of Gonzalez’s first solo album, “Mess Of Happiness”,

Gonzalez’s approach unmistakably evokes similarly restless classics of early ‘70s shut-in singer-song writing, like Todd Rundgren’s and Emitt Rhodes’s but so very few musicians pull off this style of ornate song writing with such lightness and apparent effortlessness.

Taking inspiration from such unified conceptual works as The Who’s “A Quick One (While He’s Away)” and The Beatles Abbey Road” side two medley, Gonzalez followed up with 2015’s The Bitter Suite EP, a seamless five-song opus through and through with emotional ups and downs, constant tempo changes, and a kaleidoscope of instruments and sounds performed almost exclusively by Gonzalez.”

Gonzalez was introduced to Portland, OR indie rock supergroup Eyelids by fellow Drive-By Trucker Patterson Hood and in 2017, contributed instrumental work as special guest on the band’s acclaimed second album, Or. A series of tours – with Gonzalez backed by his crack live band, The Guilty Pleasures – followed, affirming the friendship and like-minded musical association. Indeed, 2019 saw the release of “Jay Gonzalez Sings Eyelids Sings Jay Gonzalez”, a limited edition 7” single for which each artist wrote an original song for the other to perform and record.

Jay Gonzalez’s new album, Back to the Hive, arriving March 5th

Drive by Truckers‘ penchant towards political observation and criticism is as evident as ever in “The New Ok”. The album’s title spins the ‘new normal’ cliché, often used to describe the apathy towards and acceptance of the dysfunction caterwauling from the politically powerful. Indeed, the album overtly opposes ICE and the caging of children at the border. More so, Drive by Truckers use their album to lend support to the Black Lives Matter movement while questioning white-identity politics and rejecting far-right discourses. Drive by Truckers are not content to examine contemporary political angst as a singular historical moment.

“Sarah’s Flame”, for example, contextualizes Sarah Palin’s role in paving the way for Trumpism, leading up to the white supremacist march through Charlottesville, North Carolina. The New Ok’s strength is derived from its overtness. Drive by Truckers do not hide their intent in symbolism or purple lyricism. By utilizing a conversation-style delivery, their purpose is apparent. Whereas The New Ok is decidedly a bleak portrait of the now, Drive By Truckers urge their audience to acknowledge the deceitful political artery that led society to 2020, then prevent the devastation from further continuing.

DBT released The Unraveling on January. 31st 2020 and set out for what was supposed to be a full year of touring. We completed the first leg of the tour at DC’s beloved 9:30 Club on Feb. 29th. We all went home for a brief break before resuming at Vogue in Indianapolis on March 12th. We were two songs into the soundcheck for that show when we were told that the entire tour was to be postponed indefinitely due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We packed up the trailer and headed home where we’ve pretty much been ever since.

To call these past few months trying would be a dramatic understatement. Our lives are intertwined with our work in ways that give us our best songs and performances. It is a life that has often rewarded us beyond our wildest dreams. Speaking for myself, I don’t have hobbies, I have this thing I do. To be sidelined with a brand new album and have to sit idly while so much that I love and hold dear falls apart before my very eyes has been intense, heartbreaking, anger provoking and very depressing. It has gone to the very heart of our livelihoods and threatened near everything that we have spent our lives trying to build.

The original idea for this album was to put out an EP utilizing some great tracks we had from the Memphis sessions that “The Unraveling” was culled from. We actually had a wealth of music recorded in those sessions. Not inferior outtakes, but songs we felt strongly about that didn’t further the narrative of the album we decided to release. We also wanted to include some new songs written during this endless summer of protests, riots, political shenanigans and pandemic horrors. We ended up with a full album that hopefully balances out the darkness of our current situation with a hope for better days and nights ahead.

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I wrote “Watching the Orange Clouds” the weekend after George Floyd’s murder as I watched the whole country rise up in a chaotic firestorm of anger and calls for a righteous change. I wrote The New OK a couple of months later during the heat of the federal occupation in my adopted hometown of Portland, Oregon. We had to record them by sending each other tracks until we had all that we needed for David Barbe to mix the finished songs.

The Distance is a song I wrote in 2011. We had an unfinished demo from early in the English Oceans sessions that we took and finished for this album. Again, it’s a song I’ve always loved but it didn’t fit in with the album we were working on at the time. I kinda consider it an epilogue for our early days of touring in our 1988 Ford Econoline. You could almost call it a sequel to “Let There Be Rock”. “Sea Island Lonely” was written in the back of a car taking me to a super early flight after a show in Southern Georgia. It was one of my favourite takes from the Memphis sessions, a total accident that we completed with horns.

“Tough To Let Go” came to me in a dream. I woke up and immediately wrote it down. We also put horns on that sucker. When I dreamt it, Jason Isbell was singing it. I literally checked with him to make sure that I hadn’t actually stolen it from him. He said I hadn’t, but it was his favourite of my songs from the Memphis sessions.

Cooley wrote “Sarah’s Flame” in early 2019. I’ll let you guess yourself who this Sarah is whose metaphoric spark lit the tiki torches of Charlottesville. This national nightmare didn’t just happen overnight, that’s for sure. “The Unraveling” was a song I wrote several years ago and had always wanted to record but just couldn’t make it work with my singing voice. At some point during the Memphis sessions, I asked Bobby Matt if he would give it a try and he knocked it out of the park. At some point, when we decided to call the last album by that title, we thought it would be cool if we saved the actual title cut for a future record (shades of Led Zeppelin’s “Houses of the Holy”).

As we were finishing in Memphis, Barbe told us to go back in and track our cover of The Ramones’ classic “The KKK Took My Baby Away”. He said we’d be glad we did. That’s yet another reason why he’s been our producer for two decades now.

Finally, in putting it all together, in keeping with the timing of its creation and release, we decided to include The Perilous Night which I began writing on the day the Electoral College voted Trump into office and completed the week after the Charlottesville murder of Heather Heyer on the day that the sitting President said that there was blame on both sides. This is a radically different mix from the mix of the single we released in 2017.

Here’s to the hope that we can make 2021 a better year than this one has been. In the meantime, here’s to The New OK!. Patterson Hood The DBT’s – September, 2020 Released October 2nd, 2020

Image may contain: 3 people, text that says 'THE COATHANGERS -THE DEVIL YOU KNOW- AVAILABLE 3.8.2019 SUICIDE SQUEEZE RECORDS QUICIDE QUEEZE'

On December 4th, Atlanta punk rockers The Coathangers acknowledged an upcoming 15 year milestone for their previously out-of-print self-titled debut album by releasing a Deluxe Edition of the collection with Suicide Squeeze Records, featuring remastering of the tracks and bonus material. A timely and punchy music video has also been released for one the tracks, “Nestle in My Boobies”, drawn from footage of a sweaty live performance in 2011. Watching the video now definitely promotes a vicarious thrill, aware that no concert like that one could occur at this time, but that also highlights The Coathangers’ particular magic as a band, always conscious of the value of capturing specific, unique, moments in time in all their glory. 

Coathangers singer/guitarist Julia Kugel recently discussed this reflective moment in time for The Coathangers, what life was like for them around the time of recording that first album, how they fit into the musical scene at the time in their hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, Oddly enough, we were planning on taking this year off. But we were so lucky to get to play that Coachella show with Blondie. Our only show of 2020 was the highlight of my fucking life, all of our lives! That’s pretty much 2020 in a nutshell, asking, “What the fuck?” But we hadn’t been home much in 12 or 13 years, so we were going to take some time off anyway. 

we never called ourselves Punk, because that’s kind of un-Punk to do that! When people would shout at shows, “They’re not Punk!”, I would shout back, “I never said I was Punk Rock, bitch!” I think we’re Punk in attitude and inspired by it, but there was not a formula of sound that we tried to follow. Punk is fast, though, fast and short, and that shit’s awesome, it pumps you up! The best description we ever got was “Psycho-Pop”, so we called ourselves Psycho-Pop, No-Wave, and a bunch of others. We used to throw things out at people just to confuse them.

AUSTIN, TEXAS - MARCH 12: Katie Pruitt performs at Ray Benson's Birthday Party at GSD

Georgia native Katie Pruitt was liable to offer up a pretty different set depending on when you saw her. Wielding her electric guitar, the arrangements were built around jazzy, fluid dynamics, her intently detailed lyrical vignettes giving way to the tumultuous release of an instrumental break that seemed to unleash all the emotions left unsaid by the narrator. The twang in Pruitt’s voice became more of a grounding device when she switched to her acoustic,  she appeared as the winning “Artist on the Rise,” and sounded more like she’d taken the country ballad form and turned it inside out.

Katie Pruitt spends much of her debut album Expectations wrestling with the ones that encircled her growing up and realizing that they only have as much power as she gives them. That’s a big deal for someone who grew up gay in a Christian household in Georgia, feeling shame for being different and hiding it, and fear that revealing her true self would result in rejection from her family and friends—sentiments tempered by the late-blooming knowledge that even at her lowest she had a support system to help raise her back up. Pruitt channels those feelings into the 10 songs on Expectations, an album that leans heavily toward modern folk, with elements here and there of rock and pop: The title track, for example, has an ’80s radio-rock feel with gleaming guitars and a sleek rhythm. The real draw here, though, is her voice, which can sound delicate and feathery. She’s also capable of sudden, robust power, and she can switch from one to the other in a flash

On Wednesday night, I stumbled into a bar on 6th street and Janis Joplin’s spirit appeared in the voice of one Katie Pruitt, a Nashville-based singer/songwriter from Atlanta, Ga. whose powerhouse voice and wise, beautiful modern love songs absolutely blew me away. Pruitt is far and away the most passionate performer I’ve seen this week, delivering her songs with that same likable, strong-willed intensity as Brandi Carile. She sounds a bit like Carlile, too, seamlessly matching up her edgy Americana grit with soft country tones. Her song “Grace Has A Gun,” written about a unfavorable ex-girlfriend, is witty, sad and potent. “She had a gun under bed,” Pruitt sings. “And that wasn’t the most terrifying thing about her…at all.” Later on in the set, another clever sound byte sticks out: “You’re way too generous with all the fucks you give,” she sings. Pruitt is unapologetically herself, and her energy is a welcome addition to the Americana sphere. Like Joplin, she tells stories of broken relationships and she sings with her entire face, from her core. It left me speechless. I’m quite certain we’ll be seeing a lot more of her.

An indispensable part of growing up is that moment when a new experience — a story, an image, a person — puts its first crack in the foundation of your worldview. Across 10 tracks, Katie Pruitt’s debut album, Expectations, is an excavation of all those fractures and the latticework they leave behind. The 26-year-old singer-songwriter deconstructs the idea of who she should be as handed down by her family (“Georgia”), her Catholic school (“Loving Her”), Hollywood (“Wishful Thinking”) and the South (“Normal”). It’s a lot to squeeze into one album, but there’s a heady sense of momentum to these songs, led by Pruitt’s diamond-cut voice, biting turns of phrase and masterful arrangements. On the other side of everyone’s expectations, Pruitt emerges as the bold author of her own future.

Starmaker

Honey Harper—born William Fussell—grew up by a swamp in Georgia, and his father was an Elvis impersonator, which gave him a childhood rich with strange memories that shaped his gentle, romantic country songs. Harper describes them as “celestial cosmic country music” or “glam country,” in the vein of Gram Parsons or a lamé-wrapped Townes Van Zandt. His debut full-length, Starmaker, isn’t made for tailgating or cranking from an F150; it’s for psilocybic camping trips in Joshua Tree, stargazing, and reflecting on bygone days. Twirling, misty tracks like “Suzuki Dreams” and “Strawberry Lite” sound like they’re messages from long ago, just now reaching us after a long journey through time and space. 

Honey Harper’s Starmaker, co-written with the singer’s wife, Alana Pagnutti, plays off the pun in its title to explore the risks inherent in having ambitions of stardom, speaking to the desperation of reaching for but not quite grasping something greater. Harper luxuriates in his songs’ heartfelt solemnity, letting their lush arrangements and lavish harmonies swirl like galaxies. The contrast between Harper’s twangy, processed vocals, acoustic guitar, and synthetic warbles on the opening track, “Green Shadows,” epitomizes his distinctive style of chamber-pop-inflected country, conjuring the image of a pickup truck taking off into space. From the plaintive orchestrations on “Suzuki Dreams” to a crying flute on “Vaguely Satisfied,” every dazzling element of Starmaker coalesces, and every moment is filled with awe.

From Honey Harper’s debut album “Starmaker”, out now!

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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