Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s pop life

Posted By on Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 1:00 PM


As the heavenly chorus that opens A Sunny Day in Glasgow's second full-length, Ashes Grammar, fades into focus, it's clear that something has changed for the Philadelphia-based dream pop explorers. Every note and nuance is brighter than the shoe-gaze hues, electronic/acoustic drones and noisy melancholy of their debut, Scribble Mural Comic Journal. Founding member Ben Daniels explains that the differences are less a matter of artistic intent than they are the result of extenuating circumstance. "I did the first record by myself in my apartment with one microphone and by plugging my guitar into my computer with no amps because I couldn't bother my neighbors," Daniels explains. "This time we rented a giant dance studio warehouse sort of thing to record. It's a totally different approach when you can play really loudly while working out a song."

Daniels and his twin sisters Lauren and Robin were the group's core line-up for Scribble Mural.... But ASDIG is the brainchild of brother Ben. "When I started writing songs with melodies and words, I asked my sisters to sing because I can't sing," he adds. "They agreed, but their hearts weren't into it. I kind of forced them to do it."

Continue Reading "A Sunny Day in Glasgow's pop life"

(Photo Courtesy Ever Nalens)

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Atlanta’s beat generation: Drumma Boy, Chris Henderson and Zaytoven

Posted By on Tue, Dec 1, 2009 at 1:00 PM

CHRIS HENDERSON: The beat-maker behind Jamie Foxx's "Blame It" works at the office
  • CHRIS HENDERSON: The beat-maker behind Jamie Foxx's "Blame It" works at the office

Nine times out of 10, a hot beat sells a song. It rarely matters which rapper or R&B star is on the track – as long as it bangs, casual fans could care less whose auto-tuned voice is featured. With beat-making techniques more accessible and innovative than ever, the past decade has often been trumpeted as the golden age of the producer.

Though Pharrell and Timbaland seemed to usher in an era of celebrity beat-makers in the early part of the decade, most prolific producers remain largely anonymous. And many Atlantans are great examples of these oxymoronic, unknown celebrities.

The city is crawling with the technicians responsible for some of the most popular songs on the radio. More successful than some of the South's favorite rappers, they have become rich off of their work and have the deluxe cribs, whips and other luxury toys to show for it. They're the toast of their industry, but you probably wouldn't recognize folks such as Drumma Boy, Christopher Henderson and Zaytoven on the street. Unlike the artists they make music for – including Kanye West, Jamie Foxx and Gucci Mane – they can go to the grocery store without being mobbed. And in most cases, they prefer it that way. Here are their stories.

Continue Reading "Atlanta’s beat generation: Drumma Boy, Chris Henderson and Zaytoven"

(Photo Courtesy Media Savvy PR)

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Jay Reatard plays Criminal in-store

Posted By on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 10:22 PM

Jay Criminal instore flyer

Later that night at the Earl Reatard and Co. play a again with local punk bands GG King and Small Reactions opening the show.

$12. 8:30 p.m. The Earl, 488 Flat Shoals Rd. 404-522-3950.

"Wounded" mp3

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Tom P.’s hustle

Posted By on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 5:37 PM

But he still considers himself D.I.Y. as heck. "I'm not like some corporate media mogul with a bunch of financial backing," he says. "I'm literally a table waiter trying to pursue this dream."

It's a testament to Tom P's personality that he tends to bowl people over, both in conversation and on stage. Born Thomas Peters, he's been rapping since he was 12. By the time he was a junior at Decatur High School, he was organizing his own events and, when required, getting quite hands-on in the process. For one planned show, he and his friends had to rent port-a-potties, hire their own staff and build a stage for the rented warehouse.

Continue Reading "Tom P.'s hustle"

(Photo Courtesy Tom P)

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Roll Call: Pelican

Posted By on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 4:48 PM


Who are you?

Trevor de Brauw, guitarist and merch. person for the uncanny Pelican.

Describe yourself in three words.

Pure, unrelenting, sarcasm.

Who - dead or alive - would you most like to meet?

The Marquis de Sade. I'd like to tell that fucker that reading The Misfortunes of Virtue was a total waste of my time in addition to being a huge bummer. Why couldn't he just cut that Justine a break? On a more positive note I would love to hit the vodka with my personal hero Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Who would you most like to slap in the face?

Sarah Palin. On television, preferably.

What song do you wish you had written?

"Game of Pricks" by Guided by Voices, quite possibly the most perfect song ever written.

Slayer or Metallica?

The question would be impossible were it not for the fact that Metallica's recorded output over the last 20 years has veered toward the lacklustre. From the perspective of someone who loves records of both bands with fervent intensity, I would rather sit through Slayer's newer material than Metallica's - I award their consistency by choosing them.

LP, CD or MP3?

Seriously? Do people still listen to CDs and MP3s?

If you could start one trend, what would it be?

There were a number of years where I tried to get people to refer to marijuana as das weedenheimer. I was hoping it would make it to the frat world and that I could then turn around and make fun of those people for saying something so incredibly moronic.

If you could end one trend, what would it be?

People DJing with MP3s. Or CDs for that matter.

With whom would you most like to play a game of spin the bottle?

My lovely wife. Ideally the bottle would contain a nice imperial stout

that we could then share.

"Glimmer" mp3

Pelican, Black Cobra and Dissapearer play The Earl. Mon., Dec. 7. $10 (adv). $12 (door). 404-522-3950.

(Photo by Marty Watson)

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Chad Rad's post-Thanksgiving weekend concert picks

Posted By on Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 9:27 PM


The Reactionary Records Fest. kicks off tonight (Fri., Nov. 27) at 529 and continues through Sat., Nov. 28 with a sampling of Atlatna's finest punk and indie rock bands playing for a cause. Help save Reactionary Records from going out of business! Locals acts Predator, Vegan Coke, the Balkans and long-defunct punk foursome the Frantic are playing the show. John Barrett's Bass Drum of Death from Oxford, Miss., will be performing as well. Pipsqueak is coming from San Francisco, and Cars Can Be Blue is driving in from Athens. All told, 23 bands are playing, and a handful of DJs are spinning records. $8 each night, $15 two-day pass. 8:30 p.m. Fri., Nov. 27, 8:30 p.m. Sat., Nov. 28, 4 p.m. 529, Flat Shoals Ave. 404-228-6769.

Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun, Carnivores, Abby Go Go. $7. 9 p.m. Fri., Nov. 27. The Earl. 404-522-3950.

Fishhawk, Psyche Origami, Teddy & The Bears, Social Ghost. $Call. 9 p.m. Fri., Nov. 27. Star Bar. 437 Moreland Ave. 404-681-9018.

Delta Moon & Joe McGuinness. $10. 8 p.m. Fri., Nov. 27. The Five Spot

1123 Euclid. 404-223-1100.

Gil Mantera's Party Dream. $8-$10. 9 p.m. Sat., Nov. 28 The Earl. 404-522-3950.

Music Hates You, Gollum, Burden Of Vision. $6. 9 p.m. The Drunken Unicorn. 736 Ponce de Leon Place.

(Photo by Chad Radford)

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Sade returns in 2010 with long-awaited CD, Soldier of Love

Posted By on Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 6:40 PM

CHERISH THE DAY: Soldier of Love drops Feb. 8, 2010.
  • CHERISH THE DAY: Soldier of Love drops Feb. 8, 2010.

My wife, excuse me, Sade returns after a decade with the album Soldier of Love scheduled to drop on Feb. 8, 2010.

According to, Sony label mate Maxwell (who has also collaborated with Sade bandmate Stuart Matthewman in the past) has heard a taste of the new project, to which he responded on his Facebook page: "Trust me, it's so monolithic it'll shake you in your shoes!"

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Predator: Predator 7-inch EP

Posted By on Thu, Nov 26, 2009 at 4:30 PM


“Honest Man” tears open the first single from Atlanta punk trio Predator with a lo-fi whiz and bang that cuts right to the chase. The group channels every ounce of self-loathing it can muster into these three songs driven by three buzz-saw chords. The simple, syncopated guitar, bass, drum and two-part vocal mantras of “DLDD” and “No.” shape themselves out of necessity. By design, the chops, riffs, chants and drum explosions facilitate these short, fast songs that barrel like a freight train. And as primal and minimal as they may be, they may come to serve as Predator’s career cornerstone — the trio’s opening salvo toward hardcore heroism, bearing the torch of Minor Threat, Zero Boys and, closer to home, Carbonas. (Rob's House Records) 4 stars out of 5

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hopefully, She the Hard Way will "Breakdown" the femcee stereotype

Posted By on Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 8:23 PM

There was a time in hip-hop when a woman rocking the mic was described, first and foremost, as a woman rocking the mic — as if to say: "she's good for a female MC."

But right now in Atlanta, the fact that some of the best MCs happen to be female is almost beside the point.


It's impossible to ignore the combined lyrical assault of StaHHr (formerly StaHHr tha F.E.M.C.E.E.), Khalilah Ali, Rita J, Boog Brown and Sa-Roc — the five MCs collaborating with producer and DJ Sol Messiah for the upcoming album She the Hard Way.

But it's not like they want you to forget that they're women, either. Their first single, "Breakdown," drives the point home with Messiah sampling "Carry That Weight," from the Beatles classic Abbey Road album.

The above video, edited by Renaylon, features film snippets from blaxploitation-era star and brown bombshell Pam Grier (Coffy, Foxy Brown, and later, Tarantino's Jackie Brown) whose prototypical ’70s roles featured her seeking revenge — often by using her sex appeal as a double-edged sword to infiltrate prostitution rings before kicking mucho misogynistic, slave-master, pimp ass.

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Helen Thompson R.I.P.

Posted By on Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 4:30 PM

By Brian Poust

This past Sunday, we lost one of Atlanta’s most well loved, yet under appreciated R&B singers. Helen Thompson may not be a household name, but blues and R&B aficionados will certainly know her hit “Down To Big Mary’s”. That particular song was originally performed by the prolific Atlanta blues man Titus Turner. However, it’s Helen Thompson’s version which became more popular.

In the early 1950s, Helen was performing regularly at the Zanzibar Night Club in Atlanta, where she would sometimes perform with Tommy Brown. Helen met a talent agent named Al Green (not the singer) who arranged a recording session for Helen in Detroit for August 31, 1953. Helen’s first record was “Down To Big Mary’s” backed with “All By Myself” (States S-126) written by Helen and Detroit band leader Maurice King. “Down To Big Mary’s” became a pretty big hit, and was mentioned as an up and coming record in the November 21 issue of Billboard Magazine in 1953. Helen began touring America and released a follow up single, “Troubled Woman” backed with “My Baby’s Gone” (States S-138).  Unfortunately, these four sides are not commercially available in one place, but “Down To Big Mary’s” can at least be heard at YouTube.

While Helen’s singing career seemed to be hitting on all cylinders, she was dealt a heavy personal setback when her mother died. Helen returned home to Atlanta to care for her family. While she made only occasional local appearances as a singer after returning to Atlanta, she kept herself familiar with other local singers coming up and was known to throw parties where some of Atlanta’s most talented singers would perform. Helen’s daughter Barbara specifically remembers Tommy Brown and Barbara Hall performing at her mother’s parties. It is as if when Helen returned to Atlanta, she didn’t just take care of her own family, but the local family of musicians as well. While her singing career was cut short, Helen continued to work very hard in a supportive role behind the scenes.

In her latest years, Helen suffered from heart problems and other ailments, which she eventually succumbed to on Sunday.

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