Garage rockers return to the fray

Like bastions of two eras of architecture dotting the city's skyline, the Black Lips and the Subsonics are separate but equal Atlanta fixtures -- a garage-rock yin and yang. In the case of the Live at the Clermont Hotel split 7-inch (Rob's House), one band's contribution wouldn't exist without the other.

Subsonics guitarist/vocalist Clay Reed huffs a humble laugh before dismissing the architectural metaphor. "I think we're more like a billboard that no one has bothered to change for 15 years and the sign is all fucked-up," he offers.

Since releasing its self-titled debut in 1992, the trio of Reed, drummer Buffi Aguero and current bassist Rob Del Bueno has cultivated an avant-garage rock and punk kerrang that wraps a fast-paced and fiendish strut around tales of lust and street hassle.

On the single, songs such as "Hello Beauty" and "Pistol" are noirish counterparts to the Black Lips' fun-loving "Bad Kids" and "Lean." As a result, the Subsonics steal the show from the higher-profile Black Lips.

Live at the Clermont marks the Subsonics' return from a public hiatus. "Before the Clermont, we hadn't played out for a while because we had a couple of crummy shows," Reed said. "Sometimes if you get a taste of sour milk, it turns you off from milk altogether for a while."

The sourness has passed and the group has returned to the public eye. Reed casually acknowledges that a new Subsonics record will be released. "I am working on it right now, 24/7. It's all up here," he laughs as he points to his head. "That's where it all is."

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