Mustached country buck Alan Jackson has nothing to do with underground music, but one of Jackson's songs helped inspire the name of experimental post-hardcore trio God's America. Former Blame Game guitarist/vocalist Ian Deaton and drummer Lindsay Childs began playing together in summer 2005. On July 4, Jackson's 9/11 lament "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)" accompanied a fireworks display they attended. The chorus rang out: "I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell the difference between Iraq and Iran/But I know Jesus and I talk to God ... ." For Deaton and Childs, the scene was both disturbing and hilarious. "I said ... this really is God's America," Deaton recalls.
With the addition of vocalist Sarah Case, God's America unveiled its debut recording, a fluorescent pink cassette packaged in a grocery bag. Flouting good-ol'-boy values and wrapped in recycled consumer debris, the cassette is a punk objet d'art that pushes the DIY spirit from the medium to the music within.
Each unnamed song is bound by an underlying din, possibly from the recording, possibly from being a cheap cassette tape. Deaton's guitar swells with the body of an organ while Childs' percussive blasts tumble over Case's frustratingly muffled voice. The sound is primitive but methodical.
In Blame Game, Deaton was part of a tight group of accomplished musicians pushing the limits of their abilities. In God's America, that dynamic has changed. Both Childs and Case are newcomers to making music. Defined structures come together under a haze of rounded features and slow tempos.
In this equation, gender chemistry is a visible factor but never the focus. "It wasn't a conscious decision to have two girls in a band," Case says. "We're just friends, and we work well together from that."
Deaton sees a deeper significance. "They aren't concerned with prowess," he admits. "I've always hidden behind being crushingly loud with my big fucking guitar," he growls." We were having problems with sound and they said, 'Just turn it down a little.' I did and now everything sounds so much better."
God's America plays Lenny's Thurs., Feb. 16, with Airoes, Dry Lungs and Me & Him Call It Us. 9 p.m. $5. 307 Memorial Drive. 404-577-7721. www.lennysbar.com.
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