Tonight: Ceremony & Nothing

While Hardcore punk rockers Ceremony have been pumping out some pretty Brit inspired punk by way of the West Coast, openers Nothing could very well steal the show. But thats nothing for the West Coast's finest to be ashamed of, because if there is any justice in the world Nothing should be poised to break into bigger markets with their outstanding new album "Guilty of Everything" . You can read the full review of it here...

But the quick nickel version is these guys are the masters of the shoe gaze revival. They don't put you to sleep with the blankets of delay. These dudes inject just enough rock power into their day dream nation to get the blood going as you drift away. Formed by Dominic Palermo after some intense personal tribulations it's easy to see where their music provide an empowering release.

12 bucks at the door, which is a steal for two awesome bands

kicks into gear at 9:30 at the Mammal Gallery

91 broad st sw atlanta 30303

Album Review: The Healing's "Childhood Home EP"

Brit Pop has changed shedding the ties to the Smiths and the Beatles. The only thing really British to this London based band's sound is the care free attitude . Not  defined by their geographic elements , the Healing a blues base brand of indie rock holding more in common with the Black Lips without their rowdy punk rock elements. It is not all garage jangle as  the vocals and the chord progression remind me of Steve Miller's "Fly Like an Eagle". The vocals are very relaxed and the guitar shifts from the more indie rock lo-fi jangle to a more classic rock sound.

"Losing My Way" is  smooth, in a way that paints the song with a  lazy sheen a band like the Shins employs. The slacker attitude is balance by a simmering guitar tone that is blues slathered not unlike the radio rock of the  70's. This combination makes the songs very easy on the ears . The melodies are more often than not  graceful and subdued.  The first real rock elements that take the wheel to give the songs some gas in a way that rocks rather than reflect is on "Tonopah". It flows with a jazz like sense of motion similar to the Police . The guitar lines silky in their attack. The builds are not explosive, just dynamically louder. The sugary smooth vocals deliver this narrative in a tranquil yet emotive manner.

The vocals really hold together the tentative "Childhood Home". This song recalls the lonely desert nights that  Neil Young sings of, though the airy feel of the instrumentation is very minimal. The drums are faint leaving the vocals plead to keep the melody strung to the loose arrangement like a fragile spider web.

The drums also employ a very minimal approach to the beginning of "Shed One Tear". Though by the chorus they build. The dynamics of this song carry the ghost of  Elliot Smith's more drunken stabs at rock n roll. This and the previous song shed the blues elements, with the guitar break down in "Shed One Tear's middle section sounding more like prog . At seven minutes this is the albums longest song it give the band a chance to experiment a little and jam in the latter half of this song, which is a nice touch. The drummer shows he does have some chops despite the hesitation he seemed to play with earlier in the album. This jam like section is also used to make the most of the chorus when it kicks back in.

 These guys might take a few listens to really infect you with what you do. They hide their chops at times to like the songs breathe in the empty places.This is what gives their sound a more garage like indie sound, despite the very slick production that gives this album its distant warmth. If you like more laid back indie rock, that has a lot of thought put behind it's seemingly carefree jangle then these guys are worth you time for sure.

Track of the Week" Clocks and Clouds' "

We take on all kinds of music here from metal, to indie rock to electronica, so you know we are going to be excited when some of these get mashed together in a way that makes sense and does all the elements justice. Well the new single by this 3 piece from Minneapolis does just that. It starts with a racing drone that recalls Phillip Glass' work on the Hours Soundtrack.

I want very specific things from my music, which is why I tend to lean towards metal and what often gets called goth, but no matter then genre if it is going to stick with me it needs to have a very dark feel,a dynamic ebb and flow, as well as some balls to it. This trio comprised of a cello, violin and drum managed to meet all those needs within the span of this one song.

Said balls come in the way of the harsher effects they lace the beat with outside of the drum kit.

If dub-step elements should not discourage you as the woobly robotic farts hve never been put to better use. When juxtaposed against the chamber music, such tones are not left out in the open to just make you think the ghost of 2011 has left the building.The song is very precise,in a way the likes of Godspeedyoublackemperor might have taken for granted when entering into something more indulgent and sprawling.Clocks and Clouds, reins in such urges to serve the song. So the amount of songwriting awards they have won since there formation four years ago seems fitting.

The song has a lyric quality to it , so if instrumentals aren't really your thing .. and they aren't really mine either as to be honest they can bore me, well unless they are done right and this bands have scored well on that front. They keep my attention, not allowing themselves to just paint the background. Some of the morose melodies carry more of a classical cadence than something Mogwai might do.The builds in intensity is what retains the post- rock label here.

If you want a deeper scope of adventure than what the single offered but want more of what you heard here then check out their ep the Creation of Matter which can be found here...

I get all kinds of artists sent to me over the inner webs to me and rarely are there those who demand repeat listens like these guys have this afternoon. So grab and glass of wine or your cigarette lighter and your you-know-what and prepare to let this project take you for a rather exotic ride.


Album of the Week: Dog Society's "In the Shade"

Music of today dates it self according to whatever trend it is attaching it self to, then fades off into over-saturation and short attention spans. Rare is band that breaks the barrier of  bandwagons already staring at their expiration dates. An exception to this rule is  New York's Dog Society. They find the magic moments of timelessness running psychedelic sounds of  the 60's to the rawness of the 90's grunge.  This is the band's third album so they have mastered shifting smoothly from one to the next within the span of a song. The frequent radio friendly tinges puts these guys closer to the Foo-Fighters than say the Melvins.

By the third song "Emerge" they have collided 60's Liverpool with 90's Seattle. Blending swirling ambiance with rock drive. Rhythmic quirk takes this sonic marriage on an even more surreal journey with  "In the Shade" falling some where between  Belew era King Crimson and the more shoe gazey moments from the 90's. Later "the Laughing Song" revisits this sort of thing , but with more grunge to it's punch.

Even the album's more ballad like leanings come across like a lost track from Failure's " Fantastic Planet" album. The drugged and dreamy tempo, allows the lethargic vocal to float along this kaleidoscope river of sound. They find some great guitar tones on this album, not fearing their effects pedals , but not hiding behind them either.

The attitude of  "Dear Brother" carries the slink of  Smashing Pumpkin's "Gish" days. The bass player comes out from behind the drums in the mix to push the groove to the forefront. The vocals don't carry the Billy Corgan sneer and still retains their own dazed and confused personality. "The Killer You Can't See" is another ballad with a more elusive U2 like introspection to it. The chorus doesn't aim for the arenas like Bono, instead it opts for a more T-rex coolness.

They most frequently revert to more recent stonerish leanings Dave Grohl acquired after jamming with Queens of the Stoneage. This helps the band hold onto the 60's vibe an still rock out. "No Reason" is a perfect example of this in action. They touch on this in the albums closing moments, though it is not as freshly baked as the desert bong worship here and builds into something as celebratory as a funeral in New Orleans .

When the acoustic guitars come out on "Under a Faithless Sky" you are ready for any stylistic turn they might take. What I  mind most interesting is the ground they cover while maintaining their own sound. Sure this album doesn't shy from winking towards it's influences, but clever song writing keeps these song moving  before you are able to put a finger on it. This album is well crafted and highly recommended to any fan of rock music modern or otherwise. The guys in Dog Society have found the third time is indeed a charm.

Album Review: Xombie's "Capital X"

Once upon a time in the 90's rock and rap were odd bed fellows. This morphed into Nu metal which made such occurrences seem like a cheesy trend like the  hair metal of the decade before, as acts like Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park were really no better than boy bands. This might make us forget  some artists like Public Enemy, Anthrax and Rage Against the made it work, until over-saturation kicked in. Another band that is making it work is this  five piece from New York is ready to make you forget the sour taste nu metal left .

Xombie brings back the purity of this coupling. Sure "Rock Bottom" might have a similar cadence as "Here Comes the Boom" by P.O.D, they still have thrown t out the bulk of the circus  tricks that brought the genre down. Not hiding behind down tuned chugs, they explode right from the opener  which takes you by surprise and makes you forget the 90's element.

Clean vocals back the aggressive rapping on "Miss Behave" this coupling of vocal styles is more post-hardcore than anything resembling the boy band antics of Linkin Park. The guitars are consistently this albums' strong suit.They know how to create dynamic builds and breakdowns and work with the songs, rather than burying the vocals or making a swap of distortion the drums can't maneuver. The guitar in "Rotten Apple" hold more in common with Iron Maiden than say the Deftones.

The only wink to  funk is brief in  at the intro of "Polar Ice". The guitars find groove yet  never force the bass to do all the heavy lifting. Growling  chimes in  tastefully from the background. Rapping about alcoholism and drunk driving , they are not defaulting on whining about mommy issues, but making social statements.
Front-man Adam Crews never comes across as an awkward suburbanite with his flow. His vocal styling remind me of a cross between Atmosphere and Mike Muir of Suicidal Tendencies.  The hey on the hook to "Rotten Apple" is the first thing that reminds me of  anything resembling the nu metal of yester-year, but all other leaning toward P.O.D are scarce. The title track employs gang vocals and a section where the band drops out and lets Crews carry on his frantic freestyle, with a much more hardcore slant , though the exotic scales used in one of the bridges is more metal.

Up until the albums final moments on "Friday" they steered clear of using turn tables, but by the time they jump out of the punk chord progression, it's hard to hold it against them as the song is pretty funny and it's clear they are not doing this for the nookie. The drums to "Friday" bring back the ghost of body Count, the only other bands from the nu metal era , that come to mind are like  Rage Against the Machine and Hed Pe, two bands that handling the hip hop elements of what they did pretty seriously.

If you have ever like harder edged hip raps with rocking beats regardless of how closely it comes to metal, then this album is worth a listen. This guys can flow with the best of them and they look to have all the makings of starting their own wave of music. If you have zero tolerance for rap this will be a though sell, but if given the chance you will find these guys have created a sound that stands on it's own

Tomorrow: Strange Planet @ The Basement

Psychedelic, upbeat, refreshing; Strange Planet plays tonight at The Basement at The Graveyard Tavern. Their music is a mash-up of sounds that bring to mind various other teenage angst movie soundtrack worthy artists such as, but not limited to - Band of Horses, Goldfinger, Weezer and even Journey. All that being said, they're all phenomenal musicians to pull this sound off and that's why you don't want to miss their show tonight! 

Also on the bill are Waking the Bates, Fishhawk and Scale Model...

Show starts at 9pm. $7. 21+

Tonight: Marissa Nadler

Folk singer Marissa Nadler rolls into the Earl tonight , as she tours to promote "July", her first album for Sacred Bones entitled July. A review of the album can be found below.
I managed to catch  Marissa as she was heading out to discuss both tour and album .

Wil-So how's the tour so far ?

Marissa- It just started . I have already done a few groupings of date here and there, but this is the first show of this leg tonight. It's ever hot so far.

Wil- This is your first album with Sacred Bones, How familiar were you with the label and their artists before you signed with them? 

Marissa-Caleb from Sacred Bones reached out to me a few years ago. They have a very cool roster . I really like Zola Jesus a lot .

Wil- Sacred Bones is known for having artists involved in the whole goth or dark wave revival.How do you relate to that scene?

Marissa Nadler- My music has a dark edge, but I try not to pigeon hole myself . It is not punk or like a lot of the noise elements some of the artists they have use But growing up I think there was fifteen years where I didn't wear color, not that I get decked out in full goth regalia

Wil- One thing that really struck me listening to the new album were some of the incredible harmonies , did you already have them written or did that come for playing around in the studio.

Marissa- Thank you, I wrote them all before. They are part of the song , in the case of "Drive" the first song , I had it in my head to make them pop. The album was ready to go when I went in to record it.

Wil - Anything you learned or discovered during the recording process?

Marissa- I don't know. I'm happy with all the hard work.when I wrote this album , I had intense focus. I set out to write an album start to finish rather than it be a collection of songs.

Wil-Any lyrical themes that are prevalent ?

Marissa- The  record is all written in first person, so most of those aren't hard to figure out.

Wil- there is a country undercurrent to the album is that an influence?

Marissa- definitely , It cam e later in life as I grew up in Massachusetts so it's not easy to find. One of my best friends is a music writer and he introduced me to country . Tammy Wynette and a lot of those . They influence is that now my vocals are more relaxed.

Wil- What other female singers have inspired you?

Marissa- Patti Smith , the Horses album and Kate far as country goes Connie Francis.

Wil- When you play these new songs live are they evolving or staying intact?

Marissa- Shows like the Atlanta date tonight, I have a woman who sings with me , because with out the harmonies they feel empty.Rather than use a delay pedal or harmonizer , it's better to use a human voice. She is also a cellist so the songs stay intact the instrumentation changes. So it's me and Janelle. I play a twelve string acoustic and an electric , she's handling harmonies and playing cello. I think for these shows it s ok to be stripped down. Especially in places I haven't played before like Atlanta. I have been touring for ten years , so have learned to keep the overhead low to make it work.

Doors at the Earl open at 8:30 with Duet for Thermin and Lapsteel opening. Tickets are only ten bucks to catch her first Atlanta show.