AthFest day 3 – review + photos

[Editor’s note: click here for Lisa’s post on Athfest day 1 and click here for her take on day 2.]

I took a much needed morning off on the final day of Athfest, as the high temperature was around 100 degrees. I headed out at 4:30 p.m. and caught an excellent set by Five Eight, an Athens-based band that’s been around for more than two decades. The first few songs I caught sounded a lot like R.E.M.’s early work (not surprising, as Five Eight toured with them in the early 90s). They were incredibly enthusiastic and rocked out like they were the headliners. The lead singer played the first few songs in a suit jacket while bouncing up and down like a little kid — this alone would’ve impressed me since it was sweltering outside — and he ended up stripping down to shorts by the middle of the set. I really enjoyed their energy and performance, they were one of my favorites of the day.

1 Five Eight-7

Next up was the popular Darnell Boys on the smaller Hull Street stage — they probably needed to be on the bigger stage, as they are pretty well-known in Athens and the area in front of the stage was absolutely packed. The twangy five piece put on a good performance that was enjoyed by the eclectic crowd of all ages.

2 Darnell Boys (1 of 4)

I grabbed a quick bite to eat then headed back to the Pulaski Street stage for Monsoon, a talented Athens punk group fronted by Sienna Chandler, a young beauty in a red sequin dress, torn fishnets, and black high heels that she danced and jumped like a natural in. She had the punk scream down to a tee, but her speaking voice was amusingly childlike. The band’s been getting a lot of attention over the last few years and has gotten accolades from Yahoo Music and Atlanta Magazine, but Miller nevertheless seemed grateful to be on stage and made a point to thank Athfest, her family, her band members, and the audience for being there.

3 Monsoon (3 of 7)

Yip Deceiver! was next back at Hull Street. 80s synth pop is hard to do right, but the duo succeeded and put on an enjoyable show. Frontman Davey Pierce is a member of the indescribably unique of Montreal, but the side project lacks of Montreal’s weirdness and theatricality — no costumes or signs to be seen, just a synthesizer, drums, and Pierce’s passionate twirls. A lot of new wave style music has a tendency to run together and sound the same, and I had to laugh when Pierce announced he was going to play a sad song, because it sounded a lot like the (presumably) happy songs that preceded it. Nevertheless, I very much enjoyed the show.

Premiere: “FREEBIRD” by The Winter Sounds from their forthcoming album “MAXIMUM REALITY”

We’re thrilled to premiere The Winter Sounds’ “FREEBIRD” from their forthcoming album MAXIMUM REALITY, which will be released on New Granada Records. Check it out:

In conjunction with this release, the Nashville-based band is also offering their entire digital discography, which includes unlimited streaming and high-quality downloads of eight releases on Bandcamp, for just $21. Click here to take advantage of that amazing deal.

Even in a world where many bands can claim to defy genres, The Winter Sounds has a particularly hard-to-describe sound. The band has settled on “epic indie new wave dance folk and punk anthems,” but I’m not sure that even covers it. I find the evocative songs full of surprises and emotion.

Just take a listen to these other recently released tracks: “Nineteen” and a cover of the Wrens’ “Boys, You Won’t”.

You can follow The Winter Sounds on Facebook and on Twitter.

We also conducted a short q+a with band founder Patrick Keenan, who shared some background on the band and his thoughts on the forthcoming album. Enjoy.

hissing lawns: The Winter Sounds was founded a decade ago. Can you tell us a little about the band’s backstory and that wonderfully evocative band name?

Patrick Keenan:The name ‘Winter Sounds’ came after the first album (Land of No Output) was recorded. It felt good, seemed to fit the music, so it stuck. We started in 2006. When we first started touring, we’d print MapQuest directions to go from city to city. We’d book shows by day in coffee shops in random cities sometimes a few weeks or even a few nights out, trying to keep going. To find out about gigs, you’d look up a band’s MySpace page and see where they were playing….Indieonthemove.com was not yet a thing.

hl: Has that extensive touring contributed to the band’s longevity in today’s super-competitive market?

PK: I think “longevity” isn’t necessarily the right word for what we’re doing. I just keep doing it, so that’s my strategy. The band kind of lives in obscurity, really, so although I feel creatively dynamic, I am kind of lost as to how to “get the music out there” without touring. We actually haven’t done a lot of touring over the past couple years. The focus has been on the new album. I think, when we were touring a lot, the focus drifted to managing relationships and trying to financially survive. It didn’t make a lot of sense to “live” on the road like that. But it was fun. It took away from time spent writing, but it truly grew our fanbase in a way that can’t be duplicated.

hl: So what can we expect from the forthcoming album?

PK: MAXIMUM REALITY is the fourth full-length from the Winter Sounds, recorded off and on over the past 3 years with our buddy Derek Garten at Prime Recording in Nashville, TN. The album is tender and epic all at the same time. Its definitely a pop album, but I think it will be hard to pin down a more specific genre.

As of my writing this, the album is fully mixed! We are gonna do a special sale on Bandcamp to help with mastering and some remaining production costs. For $21 you can buy nearly everything we’ve recorded including the two new songs “FREEBIRD” and “Nineteen”.

AthFest day 2 – review + photos

[Editor’s note: this is the 2nd post about AthFest with words and photos from the intrepid Lisa Sammons, daughter of our own Larry Jack. Click here for her post about day 1.]

Went out early Saturday for The Welfare Liners, a twangy five piece string band. I loved their cover of “Squeeze Box”, but they also played some good originals.

1 Welfare Liners

Next up was The Welcome Home, a young Athens-based group that got their start playing sorority and fraternity parties. They’re now starting to play at concert venues and they looked thrilled to be at Athfest. The crowd was small that early in the day, but very enthusiastic, with many phones out filming the guys on stage and lots of people singing along.

2 The Welcome Home2

I headed back downtown for Trae Pierce & the T-Stones, and man, am I glad I did! I feel like my write-up doesn’t sound believable since I’m complimenting so many performers, but I saw several great acts at Athfest. The promoters did a fantastic job of attracting talent and I was particularly impressed by how lively the performers on the outdoor stages were considering the heat. We were roasting out in the crowd and we were just standing there, I can’t imagine being on stage performing and still having the energy to bounce around in near 100 degree temperatures.

Trae Pierce & the T-Stones were a particularly active group — they drummed on the stage, they jumped down into the photographers’ pit and drummed on the rails, they drummed on each others’ drumsticks, basically they just hopped around & drummed on everything for a good portion of the set. They knew how to ham it up for the crowd and their energy was contagious, all the spectators were on their feet dancing. Trae played a wonderful rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” à la Jimi Hendrix and he teased the crowd at the end, pretending to throw his bandmates into the crowd to crowd surf (it was probably best that he didn’t go through with the toss, since there was a good four feet barricade between the stage and the crowd).

3 Trae Pierce and the T Stone Band79

Q & A with Markus Kuhlmann of Clouds and Satellites

Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work. – Stephen King

A cowboy, a speed freak, and a college student are sitting at a bar when Markus Kuhlmann walks in through the front door. The cowboy says, ‘Hey, that’s Markus from Waits & Co.’. The speed freak interrupts and says, ‘No, Man. That’s that dude that fixes my drinks over at the Coffee Fox.’, and then college student says, ‘No, he plays drums for Nightingale News’. Markus walks over to the bartender and tells him he’s here to do the sound check for the Clouds and Satellites show later that night. It’s a bad joke, but it’s true.

Here is a man of many talents and one on a mission. Coming out of South Carolina and showing us Georgia folk the meaning of hard work, here is Markus Kulhmann. He’s a down-to-earth guy who greets everyone with a smile and then puts his shoulder to the wheel to roll out some awesome bluegrass music. But he doesn’t stop there. No. Not only can he play the backwoods, he also harbors the soul of a punk rock, shoegaze, hair-band artist who knows the meaning of a driving riff. Just check out some of his work on his Clouds and Satellites Sputnik Demo if you don’t believe me.

So, who is Markus Kuhlmann, what all does he have his fingers in, and can he really play just about anything? I sat down with him to find out a little bit about his past, the bands he plays with, a few hard knock lessons, life on the road, and life outside of music.

So, without further ado, here it is for you as well.

hl: When did you start playing music?

MK: My Mom was a music major/ piano teacher. So, I started taking piano lessons in kindergarten. I didn’t like piano lessons. I always thought guys shouldn’t be playing piano for some reason. I was good, but as I got older, I just didn’t think it was cool. Most piano teachers always wanted to teach songs, and I wanted to learn to play for myself so I could play the stuff I was hearing on the radio. So, that’s why I didn’t really take to piano.

During that time I was air drumming all the time and driving everybody crazy. My brothers were embarrassed, and my parents just took to the “I don’t know” attitude. So, they finally got me a drum kit when I was twelve. I still have that kit.

Markus Kuhlmann

Markus Kuhlmann

New Music Monday – 6/27/16

Welcome to our 4th New Music Monday, a new feature that we launched at the beginning of June. Each week, our contributors are teaming up to share new songs, records, and videos that they recommend. Click here for previous NMM posts. If you want more info on any of these bands, it’s obviously easy to click on through the embedded media. Enjoy!

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Chlorine
Lexington, KY
Peace With Nothing

Chlorine is the brainchild of Joey Elsinore of The Elsinores and Salad Influence. On this album, Elsinore fuses dark, lo-fi synths with post-punk/Husker Du-style songcraft; the results are wholly fresh. – Andy

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Mrs. Magician
San Diego
Bermuda

Ever wonder what happens when you mash up riff heavy surf rock with a bit of fuzzy garage rock and synths and then take the entire thing down the most melancholy path you can think of? As it turns out, you apparently get a contender for album of the year. – Petee

AthFest day 1 – review + photos

[Editor’s note: So who do you call when you want someone to spend the weekend seeing tons of music at AthFest so you can get reviews and photos for your blog in Savannah? Lisa Sammons, who happens to be the daughter of our own Larry Jack, graciously agreed to cover the festival for us, and this post is entirely by her. More to come!]

The music kicked off at Athfest Music & Arts Festival at 5 p.m. Friday with a nice acoustic set performed on the Pulaski Street outdoor stage by Kevin Kinney, singer/songwriter frontman of Driven N Cryin. The crowd was a bit sparse, as many attendees were still coming into town or getting off work, and tended towards the older side. Kinney repeatedly laughed off requests for Drivin N Cryin’s best known hit, “Straight to Hell”, saying he had heard it too many times, but ended the set with it.

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Next up was Athens-based T.S. Woodward on the smaller Hull Street stage. Woodward’s seven piece band had a unique sound thanks to the addition of brass that gave off a dancey jazz/Latin vibe difficult to describe. The mustachioed Woodward announced at the end of his set that he had recently set up a Kickstarter to fund the release of his first album on cassette.

TSWoodward-1

I took a brief break from the festivities and headed back up to the Pulaski Street stage for Family And Friends, a six piece group of Athens purveyors of “Georgia-style Indie Rock.” The crowd was full of enthusiastic college kids who sang along and cheered at the release of a giant shark balloon. This was Family & Friends’ second time at Athfest and they looked thrilled to be on stage.

FamilyandFriendsAthFest-4

Next up was The Howling Tongues, playing a loud and rocked out set in a small room at Cine, a popular independent film theater. The tattooed four piece from Atlanta seemed to have a great time and it was obvious the members had a lot of chemistry with one another. Frontman Taylor Harlow played it up for my camera and reveled in the small crowd’s attention.

Punk Mess 2 Preview

Rolling into its second year, Savannah’s annual punk, rock, garage, and noise festival, Punk Mess, is poised to be stronger than the first fest.

The lineup of over 20 bands spread out across two days and two separate venues shows just how far the homegrown festival and Dad Joke Promotions have come in a relatively short span. This year’s festival features a heavy onslaught of bands from Florida, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and more, supplemented by some of Savannah’s favorite local bands. With so many good catches, it’s a good thing that you won’t have to make any gut wrenching decisions as far as choosing between two bands since there won’t be any overlap in the schedules over the two days. Just for reference though, here’s a quick list and brief description of each band.

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The fun starts July 1st and tickets are still available!

Friday, July 1st at The Jinx

Without: 830

Swift and heavy local hardcore. Without’s style is rooted in traditional hardcore tinged with just a bit of sludgy, swampy brutality.

 

Feeding Tube – 9:00

Local Savannah gimp-core. I don’t think there are actually any references to gimps, but the mask and the vocalist’s wild antics make for a great show.

 

Exit Dust – 9:30

When atmospheric death rock meets the energy and vigor of punk, Exit Dust is the result and the results are very, very good.

Larry Jack’s Magical Music Tour – 6/23/16 – 6/29/16

Hey guys,

It looks like another good week of music ahead.  I will be at Athfest this weekend, but these are some shows I would be seeing if I was still in town.

Thursday 23rd
Jay Rudd and Cory ChambersMolly MacPherson’s
Part One TribeBarrelhouse South
Dead Oak, Jeff Two-Names & The Born Agains, ContinentalJinx ($7)

Friday 24th
Wet Socks, BreakersEl-Rocko
Bonnie BlueMolly MacPherson’s
Jahman BrahmanBarrelhouse South
Trae Pierce & The T-Stone BandCongress Street Social Club
Hivelords, Brick By Brick, Set And SettingJinx

Saturday 25th
Gringo StarThe Grey (12n)
WhaleboatRail Pub (5p)
Bradford Lee Folk and the Bluegrass PlayboysTybee Post Theater ($20)
Eric SommerSentient Bean ($5)
Charlie Fog BandCongress Street Social Club
HitmanMolly MacPherson’s
Lucky Costello, LucideaBarrelhouse South
Come & Rest, Dead Planets, Citadel, Amor ExitiumSulfur Studios  ($8/10)
Tray Dahl & The Jugtime RagbandJinx

Sunday 26th
Bradford Lee Folk and the Bluegrass Playboys BrunchRuth Chris Steakhouse (12:30, $49)

Tuesday 28th
Clouds and SatellitesFoxy Loxy Cafe (7-10p)

Wednesday 29th
Anders Thomsen BandEl-Rocko

Hans Chew at The Roasting Room Lounge & Listening Room – photos & links

I had the chance to reconnect with an old friend last night, and couldn’t have been more surprised at the talent that he’s become. Hans Chew hails from NYC these days, but comes from Tennessee via the haze & daze of the Atlanta early 90s scene that I came up in. That brief period brought about some of the performers that are now on the world stage including Catpower and Mastodon. Back in those days we were all just working in restaurants or swinging hammers, living in Cabbagetown (Atl, GA) doing what it took to make ends meet & continue to play music. I’ll put a post together one of these days that digs a bit deeper into that time & place.

Hans Chew has gone on to bigger things, recorded multiple albums, and tours incessantly. While it may have been a small crowd at Bluffton, South Carolina’s The Roasting Room Lounge & Listening Room, which has established itself as that neck of the woods’ premier music venue, there was no lack of professionalism & talent from the stage. It’s hard enough to draw a crowd from over the bridge, much less on a Wednesday, but hopefully we’ll get a chance to bring him to Savannah soon. Joining him onstage for a David Crosby tune was none other than another Atlanta underground legend Brian Halloran of Smoke, Opal Foxx Quartet, and currently W8ting4UFOS.

Here are a few photos, with more after the jump.

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Little Tybee, Culture Vulture, Kewl @ Tybee Social, El-Rocko, The Jinx – photos

I made it out to Little Tybee’s shows on Thursday at Tybee Island Social Club and on Friday at The Jinx, the latter of which was opened by Culture Vulture in their final local gig before their move to L.A. On Friday, I also caught the new band Kewl at El-Rocko Lounge.

So this post is a mishmash about all those shows.

Little Tybee is now touring extensively in support of their new self-titled album, which is an extension of the Atlanta-based band’s complex and beautiful orchestral pop/indie folk sound. They’ve got a big fan base in Savannah because half the band grew up here and because the music is fucking awesome. Really good crowds both nights (but pretty bad lighting for photos, so I didn’t try very hard).

Culture Vulture‘s eclectic instrumental fusion of rock, jazz, whatever will sure be missed on the local scene, but I’m pretty sure we’ll be seeing them again somewhere down the road.

Wet Socks drummer John Zimmerman turns out to be a charismatic — even a little glam — high-energy frontman, and he’s backed in the new project Kewl by some familiar faces on the local scene: Derek Lynch, Daniel Lynch, Kyle Brown, and Samford Justice. I’m looking forward to seeing where JZ takes the band. The newish El-Rocko appears to be booking live acts routinely, but the bar was not designed to be a music venue at all, so I’m hoping we’ll see some major changes to the space in the near future.

More photos after the jump.

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Black Water Choir, The High Divers, Young Mister super show at El-Rocko on 6/22

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Black Water Choir, the folk duo of Corey Hines and Alexis Ambrose, has returned to the stage after a dormant period and we are more than excited to see the haunting melodies these two produce. After playing at Bluffton, SC’s much acclaimed Roasting Room last Saturday, they are playing a last second gig at El-Rocko Lounge tomorrow night with a killer lineup, presented by Savannah blog Country Club Deserted.

indie label Hearts & Plugs hosts 3rd annual Summer Shindig in Charleston

The Charleston-based indie record label Hearts & Plugs will host their third annual Summer Shindig on June 25th in the parking lot at The Royal American.

The label has assembled a great lineup for the “flamingo themed” event:

  • Brave Baby
  • SUSTO
  • ET Anderson
  • The High Divers
  • Grace Joyner
  • Hermit’s Victory
  • Johnny Delaware
  • after party w/ Infinitikiss

Check out the official Summer Shindig mixtape:

Charleston is just a couple hours up the road from Savannah — much closer than Atlanta or Athens — so I’m hopeful that we can see more creative interplay between the two coastal cities. Saturday’s party runs from 5 p.m. to midnight, and you can find $20 general admission tickets here.

Susto at Savannah Stopover 2016

Susto at Savannah Stopover 2016

Brave Baby at Hang Fire in 2015

Brave Baby at Hang Fire in 2015

The High Divers at The Grey at Savannah Stopover 2016

The High Divers at The Grey at Savannah Stopover 2016