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Georgia Music News 10/12/15 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Clark   
ImageThe Casket Girls are one of the freshest groups to emerge from Georgia over the past ten years. Mixing a tongue-in-cheek theatrical streak with dreamy girl group harmonies, Southern Gothic sensibilities, upside down nursery rhymes and wistful, lo-fi bedroom laments, nobody else really sounds like them. With a few other releases in the works for later this year and next, The Piano Album (available Oct. 17th via Graveface Records) is a digital-only lark that strips down their approach without abandoning the essence. No false advertising or embellishments here – it’s simply sisters Elsa and Phaedra Greene on eerie vocals while Ryan Graveface plunks away at the keys, all of it adrift in a river-fog of reverb. Sure it’s not as instantly gripping as their more fleshed-out recordings but it’s striking how much of their intrinsic magic alights the spirits here. Given a little added instrumentation, you could totally imagine “Beyond a Shadow” and “Sixteen Forever” on one of their other albums. (Speaking of, you get fantastic piano versions of two songs from True Love Kills the Fairy Tale as bonus tracks with the download package.) And was “Mermaid Cottage” inspired by their Savannah neighbor, Dame Darcy?

Air Wolves are clearly devotees of murky, dreary Factory Records post-punk but their recordings are so low-fi that they may as well’ve been tracked in a tub of cheese dip. This can be a positive in some respects, because it obscures the majority of the vocals so much you can’t make out the lyrics which, when discernible, tend to be infantile and terribly written. But most of the time, it just means the entire band sounds like utter shit. Their new CD is called Life is a Bloodsport, and if that’s the case, this album must’ve been recorded in the aftermath by the losing team.

The Welfare Liners sound like a band that should only be listened to while wearing special goggles that turn everything sepia-toned and put straw hats and overalls on everybody. Do they make such devices? If not, then just drink a gallon of cheap whiskey while eating nothing but pork rinds and it’ll probably achieve the same effect. The Athens-based hillbilly revivalists’ new album is titled Just Stars for Light.

Twin Trances Chris Strawn and Chris Brooks – lock balls and crack walls on their new, heavy doody, self-titled LP. As an outlet for aging angst, the barrel-fisted bash ‘n’ sludge does the trick nicely, but they’re no Speaking Canaries.

Valdosta native Billy Joe Royal – known for charting in the ‘60s with the Joe South-penned songs “Down in the Boondocks,” “I Knew You When” and the original version of “Hush,” and later reborn as a minor country star in the ‘80s – passed away in his sleep at his home in Morehead City, North Carolina on Tuesday, Oct. 6th. He was 73.

Promoting his debut album All We Need, Raury performs on The Late Late Show with James Corden on Thursday, Oct. 15th…

Nihilist Cheerleader will plug in their pom-poms Tuesday, Oct. 13th on Live in the Lobby… Drag queens For a Good Time, or at least one of them, infect the same show on Thursday, Oct. 15th… Offering full sets from local acts, Live in the Lobby airs every Tuesday and Thursday at 8 p.m. on UGA’s student station, WUOG, 90.5 FM, except when it doesn’t.
R&R High School (Oct.15 issue) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kaitlin Turner-Simotics   
ImageG.L.O.S.S. (Girls Living Outside Society’s Shit) is a five piece punk outfit hailing from Olympia – they are trans, queer, and first and foremost: pissed. Rightfully pissed. Throughout the five-song EP released earlier this year lead vocalist Sadie delivers a raw and emotional rage that’s clearly been building up from years of focused hate and discrimination that comes along with being a part of any group labeled as societal pariahs – but G.L.O.S.S. specifically addresses real problems trans folk face… by rockin’ out. It’s hard enough having the courage to reconcile your physicality with the mental and emotional image you carry of yourself inside. And then to start a hardcore/thrash punk band about it? I’m impressed to say the least. Transfolk in the punk community (and any other music-based community for that matter) should really be uplifted and discussed more often. Even though the honest lyricism is clearly the main takeaway of their music I would just like to say, on record, that these songs truly do go off on their own, too. Each one is filled with unapologetically brash and aggressive shredding guitars paired with those tight drums… y’all… they clearly are not playing around. When the lyrics are added these tracks become rapidly self-assertive, self-aware, and extremely important for the punk scene as a whole.

ImageWhile still sticking with the motif of queer punk this month I’d like to bring up a new release from Argentinian “tropical punk” band, Kumbia Queers. This is a group of six girls who initially started out in 2007 playing covers of The Cure and twisting them to the rhythm of cumbia. Kumbia Queers was without a doubt one of my favorite acts I saw during the third Burgerama Festival in OC, California and perhaps one of the most fun live performances I’ve ever experienced, so when I saw that they’d released Canta Y No Llores I had to give it a listen. With Kumbia Queers you kind of know what you’re gonna get, I think, but I must say, I was not disappointed. The album delivered and it was nice to hear something new from them but I definitely think their previous release, Pecados Tropicales was stronger as a whole, with more punk elements than this newer release. That being said I would still definitely take and/or teach a Zumba class with Canta Y No Llores playing in the background.
Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Sewell   
ImageIron Maiden
The Book of Souls

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Remember back in the day when the “grown-ups” and authority figures kept saying that this rock ’n’ roll thing would die out one of these days? Well, those people are all dead, and rock ’n’ roll remains. The thing is, rock is no longer exactly music that is by and for the young. Rock is fucking old and rock fans, well, they’re not looking so sexy and surly these days, either. C’est la vie and what you gonna do?

As we know, rock bands are, more often than not, lasting entities. And if a band of olde has broken up, the question is not if the band is gonna get back together, but when. Those at the top of the heap reunite for the money – even though they probably hate each others' fucking guts. Moderately successful bands reunite for the moderate money – and to relive the moderate glories that moderately successful bands experience. And on the local level (at the bottom of the heap), bands just reunite for the, ahem, glory – the glory of playing shitty dives for sparse to nonexistent crowds. Again, c’est la vie. There’s no fool like an old fool (and, baby, I’m one too).

And then there’s Iron Maiden. The Maiden never broke up and for the most part retained the same members of its classic lineup for the entirety of an around 35 year reign. And reign Maiden did – and does. The band pretty much defined heavy metal.

Sure, there were a few years in the mid-90s when singer Bruce Dickinson stepped out of the picture. But Dickinson’s been back for over 15 years and whatever “creative differences” the band may have had have long been resolved. Dickinson proved irreplaceable. He is the definitive heavy metal singer and Maiden is the quintessential heavy metal band, period.

This leads us to the existential question that immortal, top-of-the-heap acts like Maiden invariably ask themselves – provided they have enough brain cells left, that is. (The members of Iron Maiden, or at least Dickinson and bassist extraordinaire Steve Harris, seem to have more than enough marbles intact to ponder the imponderable in this way.) And the question is (drumroll, please): why bother making new music? After all, huge bands like Maiden and the Stones and U2 make the real money by touring. These guys are surely rich as hell. And they can get even richer the easy way – by delivering a greatest hits package by rote in concert for the rest of their days.

So why does Iron Maiden record new material? Because they can. And why does Iron Maiden choose to record a (!) double album over 90 minutes long? Because they want to. Apparently a side effect of these guys’ creative Viagra is priapism. But hey, length, girth and stamina are sought after attributes, right?

Yes, The Book of Souls is a long fucking album – perhaps too much to digest in one sitting. And sure, there’s some self-indulgence going on here – a lot of it, in fact. But Maiden’s hardcore fans, and there are a lot of them, will lap this stuff up. And furthermore, why should these guys have to self-edit when they do what they do so well?

What we have here is 11 songs, all of them epics, all chock full of the soaring vocals, searing guitars and (most of the time) galloping beats that we expect. And as long and indulgent as the songs are, Maiden has still managed to sideline the prog tendencies that weighed down their last album, the (at 76 minutes long) comparably short The Final Frontier. The Book of Souls is a cornucopia of metal delivered by masters of the craft. It is what it is, because it can be. And as mere mortals, ours is not to question why. 
The Libertines - Anthems for Doomed Youth PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Sewell   
ImageThe Libertines
Anthems for Doomed Youth

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Uh, The Libertines? Weren’t they that band that did “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?” (Nope, that was Jet.) Then I guess they were that Swedish band that all dressed the same and played a slick kinda garage rock, right? (Nope, that was The Hives.) Oh yeah! They were that band with the guy that dated Kate Moss who got busted about a thousand times! I never actually heard them, but I remember they got a lot of press. What did they sound like, anyway? Didn’t they break up a long time ago?

Yeah, the above pretty much explains how The Libertines are remembered stateside – provided they’re remembered at all. But the band was huge in the UK and Europe for a bit. And then guitarist/vocalist Pete Doherty’s, um, “personal demons” got the best of him.

First he’s recording a damned good debut album (2003’s Up The Bracket) with The Clash’s Mick Jones helming production, then there’s a couple of popular singles, then he’s anointed as the “savior of rock ’n’ roll” by the NME, then he’s got a pocket full of cash, then he’s dating Kate Moss, and next thing you know Kate has dumped him. And all of this chaos is followed by more chaos: a decade of arrests, jail stints, rehabs and iffy solo projects for Doherty.

Oh yeah, there’s also the other guitarist, Carl Barat, who had his own problems and his own iffy solo projects – minus the arrests, jail stints and Kate Moss, that is.

When the Libertines emerged in the early oughts, the world was their oyster – for a minute. They did a sassy, punky skiffle thing with a hint of reggae, actually just the merest tweak of The Strokes’ formula done London style. Their timing was impeccable. The world was ready for guitar rock (again) for a moment. The songs were catchy, memorable and chock full of the bad attitude that makes good rock ’n’ roll.

Barat and Doherty were the Mick and Keith of the band (respectively), and they played it well. They loved and hated each other, milking the inter-band drama for all it was worth in the UK press. And they were so damned cute! Barat was the conventionally good looking one, while Doherty was the little boy lost, the disheveled, Dickensian imp with those bloodshot, puppy dog eyes.

Barat and Doherty switched off on vocals – and it seemed they were singing to each other. And for all intents and purposes, the entirety of their oeuvre (just two albums and a couple of toss-off EPs) was nothing more than a bunch of love/hate mash notes. But most of it sounded really good.

Eleven years have transpired since the Libertines’ second (and at the time final), eponymously titled album, which featured “Can’t Stand Me Now” and “What Katie Did,” both sung by Doherty, and “What Became of the Likely Lads,” sung by Barat. It’s as if Barat and Doherty sang their own denouement wrapping up their rags-to-riches-and-back-to-rags saga neatly. Their moment had come and gone – but what a glorious moment is was!

So what’s the point of the band getting back together to rehash it all again, 11 years later? That one’s obvious: These guys want money. After all, celebrity lifestyles and drug debts and rehabs and legal representation don’t come for free.

Anthems for Doomed Youth sounds like The Libertines – which is to say it sounds pretty good. But rehashing the “will they or won’t they?” romance of Pete and Carl again, 11 years later, just isn’t getting it for me. Surely there’s something else that has transpired in their lives in the last decade to write about? (Well, thankfully Doherty hasn’t written too much about rehab ’n’ redemption, anyway.) Apparently not.

Anthems is a big budget affair, and Libs’ patented, aargh, “shambolic” sound is bolstered by horns and multi-tracked vocals that do beef it up a bit. The problem is, Anthems is Libs-by-numbers. It’s as though Doherty and Barat are playing old roles for a sequel – which is exactly what’s going down. We already know what became of the likely lads.
The Intern PDF Print E-mail
Written by David T. Lindsay   
ImageThe Intern [PG-13]: Anne Hathaway is Jules Ostin, the founder of an online fashion boutique that has overwhelmingly taken off, so much so that investors now think it would be a good idea to bring in a CEO with more experience or risk the company not being able to meet its new challenges. Simultaneously, a senior intern program has been instituted to bring in retired persons with experience to participate. Jules doesn’t sleep, misses all her kids’ school activities and birthday parties and is bad at remembering her employees’ names or giving credit when it’s due. Robert De Niro plays Ben, a 70-year-old looking to contribute and blend into the workplace who gets tagged as Jules’ intern. This Nancy Meyers film has been criticized as ultra-feminist, so why do I like it so much? Because unlike most comedy, it tackles some issues that are increasingly ignored, such as with the advent of “Take Your Daughter To Work Day” and Disney’s tunnel-vision of providing multiple “princesses” all at the expense of young boys’ development, is it any wonder that men don’t mature these days, or meet the expectations of career women?
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