A few months ago, after returning from Europe, Bachman almost immediately embarked upon a self-organized national tour, which brought him to Atlanta, where the 24-year-old Fredericksburg, Virginia, native played at WonderRoot in front of about a dozen people. Three audience members including the soundman were WonderRoot volunteers; two more attendees were Susan Archie, the Grammy award-winning art director (Screamin' and Hollerin' the Blues: The Worlds of Charley Patton), and her partner at whose house Bachman was staying that night; one was Josh Rosenthal, founder of Tompkins Square Records on which Bachman's latest album, Seven Pines, was released late last year; and one was Clay Harper of Fellini's and Coolies fame who was with a couple of friends.
Charmingly unassuming, somewhat prepossessed, and sweetly sincere almost to a fault, Bachman didn't seem to care one way or another about the size of the audience or the venue. Instead, he pulled out a well-seasoned Guild D-55 six-string acoustic guitar and proceeded to pick, strum, slide, and thrum his way through a playlist of songs ranging from dark twangly Appalachianesque ballads to mesmerizing raga-like improvisations (on a couple of tunes, he switched to a lap slide guitar). The tiny basement space was permeated by heady essences of John Fahey, Leo Kottke, Jack Rose, Glenn Jones, and other pioneers and proponents of the modern American Primitive style, as the audience was transported into an openly tuned, hollow-bodied, sensual vibrational dreamland.
For those who are wondering, they are exactly how they sound: jeans cut into shorts. Not to be confused with japris or cut-offs. We were given strict definitions of what these are:
Jeans: Denim, reaches the ankle.
Jorts: Denim, above or at the knee.
Japris: Denim, between knee and ankle.
Cutoffs: Any leg garment that has been cut shorter than its original length, the material and length are not implied by this phrase.
WREK Program Director and Goldsoundz host Maria Sotnikova, who co-founded Jortsfest with Michael Leon of Under the Couch, describes the concert series as "a variety of the local music scenes. We booked a bunch of indie pop, garage, and punk bands that we were either friends with or found on Bandcamp."
Whatever you do, don't call Brooke Alford a violinist. Sure, the Marietta-born/Princeton, N.J.-based musician plays the violin, but she considers herself an "artist of the violin," and even goes by the moniker "Viosocalist." So what's the meaning behind these titles? Good question. It's one of many that surround the talent, whose jazz-meets-soul-meets-pop sound is on full display with her recently released second album, aptly titled The Viosocalist, and who also splits time as a fitness model. To help unravel some of her mysteries, we consulted with Alford, who will be in town for a live performance on Thurs., Aug. 15, and compiled this handy trio of frequently asked questions.
What does being a Viosocalist entail?
Pronounced VIO-SOUL-KA-LIST, the term, according to Alford, means: "A violin player who soulfully sings through the violin." It's an artistic approach she came up with early in her career. "When I was starting to hone in on my own voice on the violin, I wasn't listening to a lot of violin players, as far as in arenas outside of classical. But getting into my artistry, my goal was to pull out other voices that the violin could bring and have other influences, such as saxophone players, vocal artists, trumpet players, guitars, and every other instrument outside of the violin."
Indie electro-pop group Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun headlines the latest show in the Red Bull Presents Sound Select concert series. The Atlanta-based four-piece brings its percussive synth pop home this Friday for the first time this year, performing its signature blend of ethereal vocals, courtesy of Lauren Gibson and Micah Silverman, and loud, thumping dance club beats. They'll perform in a curated lineup alongside Savannah punks CUSSES and locals the Electric Sons. TTM, TTS appeals to a variety of popular tastes, so expect a packed house and plenty of Red Bull.
Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun, CUSSES, and the Electric Sons play the Earl on Fri., August 16. $3. 9 p.m. 488 Flat Shoals Ave. 404-522-3950.
The North Carolina-based Foreign Exchange Music group - founded and fronted by the hip-hop/soul duo also known as the Foreign Exchange (rapper/singer Phonte and producer Nicolay) - has been dropping some of the indie soul scene's most acclaimed music for years. One of the company's most prolific artists is the producer/musician Zo! Coming straight out of the Detroit area, Zo! has dropped a bevy of retro-modern-flavored soul albums, including 2010's Sunstorm and 2011's ... Just Visiting Three, among others. His latest project, ManMade (which features vocal support by local notables such as Anthony David, Carmen Rodgers, and newcomer Gwen Bunn), hit stores back in May, and he's currently on tour supporting the album. Zo! makes is making his way to Atlanta for a live chat session on Fri., Aug. 9, and a live show on Sat., Aug. 10. Before passing through town, he hipped us to the making of ManMade and life as an indie artist.
What was the creative thrust behind your new album?
The entire concept is based around the daily work ethic you have to be an independent musician. This is actually the first project I've done where I was strictly a full-time musician and didn't have anything 9 to 5 during the entire creative process. Even the cover art for the album: It shows me, as an independent artist, doing pretty much everything on my own, with the backing of Foreign Exchange Music - walking to this dilapidated building, and I have to bring my shine to it.
This Saturday, June 8, Atlanta-based trumpeter Joey Sommerville takes the stage with jazz-funk legend Jeff Lorber (whose song "Rain Dance" provided the musical foundation for the hip-hop classic "Got a Crush on You"), vocalist Phil Perry, and more for the Rhythm and Romance Show. Check out the show, which is part of the Wade Ford Summer Concert Series, and see why Sommerville's jazz-meets-R&B sounds are winning him accolades (like the American Society of Young Musicians "All That Jazz Award") and fans nationwide.
$25-$75. 6 p.m. The Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre, 5239 Floyd Road, Mableton. www.ticketmaster.com.
Friday, May 31
This Saturday, May 11, Broken Water (Hardly Art) brings its nightmarish, droning soundscapes to Capsule in Grant Park. It's not all doom and gloom from this Olympia, Wa. trio, though, as evidenced by the '90s pop feel of "Drown," the first single from 2012's Tempest LP. Guitarist Jon Hanna, initially a bedroom songwriter with a laptop filled with potential songs, has come into his own with this band, backed by the equally impressive rhythm section of drummer Kanako Pooknyw and bassist Abigail Ingram.
Long before 2012's Sorry, a hardcore LP highly touted by a wide array of publications and websites, including Rolling Stone, Vancouver's White Lung made its name known to peers in 2010 with "Atlanta," a song named after the group's upcoming tour stop on Wednesday, April 10. Fronted by Mish Way, White Lung mixes socially conscious messages informed by feminism and punk's past with intense and melodic riffs. If their June 10, 2011 show at 529 opening for Milk Music was any indication, White Lung's live set is as memorable as its recordings.
This time around, the band returns to share the stage with Pussy Pussy, Dasher, and local hardcore newcomers Uniform, featuring members of Wymyn's Prysyn, Cheap Art, and Brain Flannel.
White Lung, Uniform, Pussy Pussy, and Dasher play 529 on Wed., April 10. $7. 9 p.m. 529 Flat Shoals Ave. 404-228-6769.
Small Reactions are an insane amount of fun. Like you and your 10 best friends letting loose after hours in the Chuck E. Cheese ball pit. Dancey Krautrock? Noisey indie pop? Boy-band dream team? I forgot about them until they roared back into my brain opening for Red Sea a few months back. Standing on the side bench at 529, I slack-jaw smiled my way through their whole set. Frantic and rhythmic guitar and drums, wild keys, and groovy groovy bass lines. On a tear in 2013 - going to SXSW, ripping up house shows, releasing a new single, landing killer support slots - and continuing to rise.
Can I get a Goddamn and hallelujah for Clinton Callahan on bass? Goddamn and hallelujah! Watching him melt your brain with his bass lines is a simple reminder that we all started playing music and singing songs because it's fun. Head swinging and butt shaking and feet sliding all over the place. Music doesn't always need to be this joyful, filling your veins with electricity, but when it is, it's a wonderful thing. Plus Clinton, Sean, Scotty, and Sam are the nicest guys - giving shoutouts to the five people watching them, or thanking you personally for reading their long (it's really long) Bandcamp info section is just plain nice. A little love goes a long, long way.
Come out this Tuesday and sing and move along with the crowd up front. There will be plenty of chances for standing around with our arms crossed this month; let's sweat it out it on the dance floor for this one.
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