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"Madness is everywhere. There's an old saying: You can run but you can't hide. There is no place to hide, my friend."
-- Solomon Burke
CD Reviews
Diplomacy PDF Print E-mail
Written by David T. Lindsay   
ImageDiplomacy [NR]: With the Americans on the outskirts of Paris in August of 1944, the order is given to level Paris to the ground to halt an Allied push into Berlin. Director Volker Schlondorff provides a whirlwind face-off between the newly assigned Nazi General Dietrich von Choltitz and the Ambassador of Switzerland, Raoul Nordling who has been sent to deliver the ultimatum: “Surrender Paris as it was!” What may seem like an overlong winded debate takes on the scope of an elaborate chess match as the Nazi justifies killing 3 million citizens, blaming the Allies’ presence for severing neutrality. It’s both a fascinating lesson in negotiating skills and an exercise in philosophic maneuvering.
Nots (Nov.14 issue) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jhoni Jackson   
ImageIt's Really Confusing!
Nots Never Stop Changing

For a band that’s only three years in, Memphis-based Nots has seen enough lineup changes to make your head spin. When you hear the frantic filter they’ve put on the bulk of their crude punk tunes, though, the nutty number of shifts seems kind of appropriate.

Still, music outlets are retelling their formation in all sorts of wrong ways – claiming they began as a duo and listing long-gone members as if they’re still active. Fact-checking is part of a journalist's job, of course, but when a group’s current setup’s still relatively new and the old just a quick glance behind, someone’s bound to report erroneously.

“We've always had three people in Nots,” founder Natalie Hoffman clarifies. “Whenever we first started, we actually played with a girl named Carly [Greenwell]. She’s one of our good friends. She actually lives in New Orleans now. She played bass – she played really melodic bass parts, so we kind of wrote in a more melodic fashion. And she was a really good singer, so we’d even try harmonizing and stuff.”

When Greenwell left Tennessee, however, drummer Charlotte Watson took on the role of bassist.  

“Then we got our friend Laurel [Ferndon] to play drums, and she’s on both of the singles,” Hoffman explains.

Greenwell’s tuneful gifts had steered Nots into a safer-on-the-ears territory. When Ferndon came into play and Watson changed roles, though, they got more “aggressive,” Hoffman says. Goner handled their debut single last October, another in July and is also doing the honors on their first full-length, We Are Nots.

But by the time they were beginning to assemble songs for that record, Ferndon was already gone, and Madison Farmer was in.

“It’s confusing and it’s funny. A lot of people are asking about it. People are like so, wait, what? But it’s cool,” Hoffman laughs.

Out this month, their inaugural LP is a couple steps higher on the ladder of Raincoats and Slits-inspired punk. It’s hasty but complex with pummeling drums, Hoffman’s nearly grating shouts and loads and loads of dizzying synth. Nots walk a fine line between erratic and energetic, like on the assaulting opener, “Insect Eyes.” For anyone uninitiated, expecting polite and head-bop inducing choruses is sorely mistaken. This is a noisy, gritty bunch that makes sticky, likeable tunes, then shoves them into a blender with whatever rotten ingredients they feel like.

Nots had never included synth before, and this spastic variety really does the trick. Strangely, the player they enlisted, Alexandra Eastburn, was entirely new to keys. She and Hoffman met as students at the Memphis College of Art.

“We’d always talk about getting together and making weird music,” she says. “We’d talk about making sound collages and stuff, but it never really materialized. It was just kind of hanging out and having fun. But whenever Nots was working on the album, it kind of struck me that it would be really cool to add another element to the band. I knew that Allie didn’t know how to play synth but it felt right to add her,” she laughs. “And she luckily got it!”

The Muffs @ The EARL, 11/22/14 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steven Seachrist   
First, I'm really sorry if you missed the S&S birthday party featuring the Muffs. I'm old and I've been to countless shows, and this one ranks damn near the very top. I knew I would like the Muffs from listening to their fantastic albums for so many years (could it be 20 years already?) but I did not know I would love them like I did last Saturday night. Kim Shattuck and her crew drew from a seemingly endless well of catchy, punky power pop. How much Muffs is too much Muffs? We damn near found out.

Georgia Music News 11/24/14 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Clark   
ImageR.E.M. and MTV have compiled a six-disc DVD set collecting the Athens band’s appearances on the network and its sister Viacom channels throughout its career, including full concerts (many with previously unreleased footage included here), award show appearances, their five-song appearance on The Cutting Edge from ’84, and a newly made documentary on the band’s shared history with the network. REMTV is scheduled for release on Nov. 24th. Meanwhile, another archival R.E.M. release is due on Dec. 9th, this one a vinyl box set of all of their I.R.S. Records 7-inch singles, including a couple that were only available as European imports at the time. 7IN – 83 – 88 will house the singles in replicas of their original sleeves.

David Lowery may live in Athens these days after spending a stint in Richmond, but he and his bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven will forever be associated with California, a point driven home with Cracker’s latest release, a double album titled Berkeley to Bakersfield. The album divides two of the band’s primary influences – hard edged, politically charged rock and twangy California country – into separately recorded and themed halves. The original lineup of Cracker – Lowery, guitarist Johnny Hickman, bassist David Faragher and drummer Michael Urbano – convened for the first time in nearly 20 years to record the Berkeley disc with help from Athens friends Thayer Sarrano and Marc Gilley, while additional Athens musicians including Sarrano, Bryan Howard, Matt Stoessel and Jeremy Wheatley figure prominently on the Bakersfield platter. Release date in Dec. 9th on 429 Records, but you can see Cracker perform the songs (along with the old favorites) ahead of time when they do two nights at the EARL, Saturday, Nov. 29th and Sunday, Nov. 30th.

Apparently one annual Record Store Day wasn’t enough, so now we have two. The “Black Friday” edition returns on Nov. 28th, and among the instant collectibles being peddled this go ’round are a few with Georgia ties. Of most interest to me would probably be the two James Brown-related titles. One is a box set of vinyl singles from Brown’s People Records from the early-mid ‘70s featuring Brown and associated acts like Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley and psych-funk all-stars The Devils. The other is These are the JB’s, the first-ever official pressing of the album by Brown’s smokin’ backing group, recorded for King Records in 1970 but unreleased until now. Other Black Friday exclusives include a vinyl repress of Little Richard’s second album from 1958; a 10” green vinyl 10” of OutKast’s debut single “Player’s Ball” featuring an extended version of the song; and a 12” picture disc for Mastodon’s song “The Motherload,” backed by an instrumental version of “Halloween;” and a new 12” vinyl EP from The Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Try Rock ‘N’ Roll, featuring cover versions of four rock and country songs. These all will be for sale first thing when participating stores open their doors on Nov. 28th. Expect a bump in eBay traffic soon after…

There’s a new photography exhibit on display through February at the main atrium at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport featuring shots of various Athens musicians, all taken by Jason Thrasher. The images – which include Michael Stipe, Thayer Sarrano, Don Chambers, Cara Beth Satalino and Patterson Hood, among others – are culled from a photo book in the works from Thrasher called Athens Potluck, which will consist of casual shots of Athens musicians in their homes.

100 Watt Horse will electrify the WREK studio when they play Live at WREK this Tuesday, Nov. 25th. Live at WREK airs most Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on 91.1 FM, the Georgia Tech station.

Radio Hour Playlist 11/23/14 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Susan Moll   
Ray Charles - "California Here I Come"
Beechwood Sparks - "Midsummer Daydream"
Idaho - "Hearts of Palm (live)"
Tycho - "Montana"
The Black Watch - "Dear Dead Love"
Pavement - "Range Life"
Miranda Lee Richards - "Seventh Ray"
Dave Alvin - "King of California"
Everest - "Far Off, Away"

Greater California - "Long Shadows"
Dillard & Clark - "Kansas City Southern"
Pillowtalk - "Devil's Run"
Gene Clark - "White Light"
Kak - "Lemonaide Kid"
The Loud Family - "Inverness"
Buck Owens - "Foolin' Around"
Jamestown Revival - "California (Cast Iron Soul)"
The Muffs - "Weird Boy Next Door"
The Byrds - "All I Really Want to Do"

The Stomp and Stammer Radio Hour
Sundays 3-5pm Eastern
WMLB, 1690 AM Atlanta

Thanks for listening!
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