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Friday, January 17, 2014

Cheap Time's changing sound returns to Atlanta

Cheap Time's current lineup: (from left) Ryan Sweeney, Jeffrey Novak, and Jessica McFarland
  • Cheap Time
  • Cheap Time's current lineup: (from left) Ryan Sweeney, Jeffrey Novak, and Jessica McFarland

The latest incarnation of Memphis, Tenn. trio Cheap Time, who crafts a mix of U.K. glam riffs and manic post-punk sounds, plays the Star Bar tonight (Fri., Jan. 17) for the second date of a lengthy U.S. tour that lasts till March 1.

Since 2006, Cheap Time has been the creative vehicle for songwriter and guitarist Jeffrey Novak. Over the years he's been backed by a changing cast of musicians, initially performing with Be Your Own Pet's Jemina Pearl and Nathan Vasquez. Across four albums and numerous lineup changes, the group's sound has changed with each step, starting out as the Redd Kross inspired, pop-loving punk band heard on "Handy Man" b/w "Wildlife," a 2007 single released by Atlanta's Douchemaster Records.

The band's records took on more of a powerpop vibe for a spell, before the current lineup of bassist Jessica McFarland and drummer Ryan Sweeney dug even deeper into Novak's personal vinyl stash for inspiration.

Cheap Time's recent sound is best represented by Exit Smiles, which was released in November by In The Red Records. Though Novak's snotty vocals on the new album are often reminiscent of defiantly odd post-punk singers like Howard DeVoto (Buzzcocks, Magazine) and Mark Perry (Alternative TV), his riffs are derivative of earlier, more pop-accessible glam rock crossed with Aussie punk pioneers the Saints.

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