Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Black Prairie

Black Prairie at Eddie's Attic, 9-17-2013
Black Prairie will be returning to Eddie's Attic on September 22, 2014.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fresh & Onlys at 529 Atlanta, July 26, 2014


So on a hot summer night with nothing else to do, why not crowd into the sweaty confines of the 529 in East Atlanta Village for a set by The Fresh & Onlys and their supporting bands?


The opener was a new band called Landline, performing only their second set together as a band.  However, the band features Philip Frobos of Carnivores and Frankie Broyles of Balkans and Deerhunter, so they're not exactly strangers to the 529 stage.  There was a fairly large crowd for their opening set, many of whom seemed to be there just for Landline. 


Touring with The Fresh & Only's are the Vancouver quartet, The Shilohs.  As would be expected, their live sound is a lot more aggressive than the laid-back music on their albums, which only serves to enhance the jangle-pop, classic rock sound of their songs.

The audience, perhaps a little addled by the heat, were lackluster in their response, which visibly annoyed the band ("Hey, c'mon guys, it's Saturday night!"), which only alienated the audience that much more.  An early reference from the stage to "Hotlanta" didn't help win the audience over, either.  By the end of their set, the lone call for one more song was greeted with a "you-got-to-be-kidding" stare from the band.


All was forgiven by the time San Francisco's The Fresh & Only's took the stage.  Like the members of Lineline before them, The Fresh & Onlys are no strangers to the 529 stage, having played there before in 2010 and 2012.  


They got the audience moving almost immediately, playing their stand-out Waterfall as the second song in their set.  Then after Waterfall, singer Tim Cohen announced that they were going to play their entire new album, House of Spirits, all the way through, which they proceeded to do to spirited effect.

In addition to the music, I was fascinated by guitarist Wymond Myles' gravity-defying pompadour, while my companion for the show was mesmerized by something about Cohen's "most ill-fitting pants in the history of rock and roll." 

The music straddled the line between garage psych-rock and lo-fi shoegaze.  According to Pitchfork, "House of Spirits finds the Fresh & Onlys in a gloomy place. It’s a spooky, desert-rock answer to the Cure’s Faith, another record awash in both reverb and metaphysical turmoil. 'The point of forgetting is so you can live,' despairs Cohen on the chilly Animal of One. 'The purpose of living is harder to find.' The Fresh & Onlys’ music has touched on downcast themes before, but in the past, these bummin’ sentiments were often tempered a touch of self-effacing humor. Here, Cohen’s gonzo imagery and weirdo-narratives feel more earnest in their evocation of hard times."


Their songs included plenty of noisy passages and opportunities for some friendly pushing and shoving in the audience, and even one lone crowd surfer toward the end of the set.


For those of you keeping score at home, last night's show was the first of my seventh decade of existence.

Monday, July 14, 2014


"As far as biological cause and effect are concerned, music is useless. It shows no signs of design for attaining a goal such as long life, grandchildren, or accurate perception and prediction of the world. Music appears to be a pure pleasure technology, a cocktail of recreational drugs that we ingest through the ear to stimulate a mass of pleasure circuits at once. Compared with language, vision, social reasoning, and physical know-how, music could vanish from our species and the rest of our lifestyle would be virtually unchanged." 
- Steven Pinker, "How the Mind Works"