There's something endearing about the Balkans' drummer Stanley Vergilis when he says he never knew the Balkans were a punk band until someone told him so after they played a recent house show. "We get a little wild when we play, but I always thought we were too reserved to be called punk," he offers.
"Reserved" doesn't capture the fast, percolating sound the Buckhead/Sandy Springs foursome of fresh-faced lads concoct. Together with Woody Shortridge (bass/guitar), Frankie Broyles (guitar/vocals) and Brett Miller (guitar/bass), the Balkans craft an energetic punk grind that waivers between bouts of sincerity and catharsis. A sense of chemistry binds the group's members, who met each other at Riverwood High School, where half are still riding out their wonder years.
The two songs on their debut 7-inch – a split with Trial By Fire on local label Die Indy Records – show off a palette of influences. The first song, "C++," is a short, instrumental punk jam. The second swan dives into a dreary, atmospheric round of shoe-gazer fog. But recent songs show the group drifting toward a fiery, precise rock terrain. Elements of surf rock give vague direction to "Zebra Print" and "Oh Dear." Each charges into obtuse, art-driven angles that transcend the kerrrang of '60s surf. "We haven't listened to a lot of surf music, but these songs are kind of like what we think surf music sounds like," Vergilis adds.
That approach culminates in a more precise sound than the garage plod of many of the group's Atlanta peers. But it's all a branch off the same punk tree. "I wouldn't even say that it's that tight," Miller says. "The energy is the same ... we're just not playing basic pop songs."
Beck and Alabama Shakes...that's about it. I'm sure there's an unknown or two I would…
Well, this years Music Midtown sucks!
I'm pretty sure he was 19.
3 people apparently love handing over an extra 40% in fees for nothing in return…
Dang. I thought they would name some actual headliners.