Posts Tagged ‘red & black’

Eureka California at the Red & Black

Athens-based band Eureka California doesn’t boast supreme vocal abilities or particularly complicated instrumentation, yet it succeeds in spite of this.

With the band’s latest album release “Versus,” they exhibit the versatility to embody the original punk movement of the ‘70s as well as its rebirth in ‘90s grunge, while simultaneously making listeners comfortable in the garage-rock scenario that the band thrives in.

Although almost all of the album carries a similar sense of hopelessness and an understanding that society is much less than perfect, it is extremely dynamic otherwise.

The second track “Sign My Name With An X,” feels as though it could have been played at the classic New York City punk club CBGB with an instrumentation that is best described as loud, gritty and in-your-face. With only three unique lines of lyrics, “Oh I’ll show you where I hide/Cause I guess you couldn’t guess/Sign my name with an X,” the track is simple and straightforward at its core, which is characteristic of the punk movement.

On the other hand, “I Will Write Mine Over Potomac” contains a self-aware characteristic of grunge. From the lines, “Is this the way the future’s meant to be/It looks a lot like yesterday to me,” to “Cause sometimes you just want to go/Where nobody knows your name,” the track carries the sense of disenchantment with both society and the future that could also be found in tracks done by the poster-child of grunge, Nirvana. This track also contains a beautifully picked introduction that separates it from others in the album and adds a simplicity to the song.

The ability of the band to represent two unique genres in one album without feeling disjointed is certainly something to note.

Another important success to note in “Versus” is the band’s ability to keep the album relatable, especially to those living in Athens. The track “Fear and Loathing in the Classic City” not only gives a dark narration to the fears of the average 20-something trying to get established, but also ties it back to Athens fairly directly. This song is also the closest thing to acoustic on the album, and it actually works surprisingly well.

Also in the category of relatable is the song “Sober Sister.” Although quite upbeat, it offers a fairly disheartening description of what seems to be the downtown scene that Athens is known quite well for.

Though Eureka California’s latest album carries a similar sense of hopelessness throughout, the album remains dynamic. With it’s often relatable, albeit dark, lyrics, the album is likely to attract listeners from the Classic City as well as elsewhere.

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Mind Brains at Red & Black

For decades now, Athens has been considered a town with a thriving music scene. Throughout the length of this reputation, which started with bands like the B-52s, the sounds of the Classic City have been associated with the weird and the peculiar.

Local act Mind Brains’ self-titled debut does not stray from this motif of eccentricity and may even push the envelope a little. The album, which was released via Orange Twin Records on Jan. 20, works hard to both frighten and impress the listener.

Using the broadest of terms, “Mind Brains” can be described as a heavily experimental and psychedelic record, although this categorization can’t be said with much confidence.

On its Facebook page, Mind Brains describes its style as “Mind Brains! Yes? Happy! About!!!,” showing an intention to confuse fans as to what type of music they are really listening to. The record backs up this effort too, as its style is ambiguous and fluidly changes throughout.

Songs change from dark and terrifying tracks like “Body Horror” and “The Era of the Late Heavy Bombardment,” to peaceful and melodic anthems such as “Happy Stomp” and “The Morning Before the Morning Before the Dawn.” Listening to the album in order is an emotional journey that may sometimes be difficult to complete.

However, in listening to the lean 34-minute album in its entirety, the cleverness of Mind Brains’ low-fi take on psych-pop begins to emerge.

Each song becomes easier to appreciate in comparisons to one of a completely different mood, and in this way, the album succeeds.

It is on the tracks that really combine these extremes that give the greatest satisfaction, as they serve as a safe haven within the chaotic changes. Songs like “Whistle Tips” and “Bouncy Clocks” emerge as the album’s best numbers, showing the beautiful, true colors that Mind Brains has intentionally buried.

Mind Brains will perform at Flicker Theatre & Bar on Jan. 31.

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Athens Intensified at Red & Black

Thursday, Sept. 11

Happy Happy Birthday to Me Records Showcase – Caledonia

Thursday, the Caledonia Lounge will host to a wide variety of bands as part of a showcase for Happy Happy Birthday to Me Records. The roster of artists include local big names such as Muuy Biien, Tunabunny and more. There’s no better time to see all the notable Athens bands than all at once. Ticket prices for 21+ are to be announced, $2 for 18-20 and the show begins at 8 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 12

Killer Mike – 40 Watt

Killer Mike, one of the most notable Southern hip-hop artists, half of the duo Run the Jewels and barbershop owner, is coming to the 40 Watt Club in a show presented by Athens Intensified. Mike’s debut on Outkast’s “Stankonia” LP, led him to be signed to T.I.’s Grand Hustle Records a few years later. Be sure to catch him ahead of the release of the new Run the Jewels LP in October. Tickets are $15 and the show begins at 9 p.m.

Saturday, Sept 13

Cibo Matto – 40 Watt

Cibo Matto, the New York City based Japanese trip-hop duo, received attention in 1996 when its debut album “Viva! La Women” contained a track listing of the names of food. The group disbanded in 2002 until the release of Cibo Matto’s third LP “Hotel Valentine,” a concept album about ghosts in a hotel, in 2014. The group’s Athens debut at the 40 Watt Club promises to be interesting. Tickets are $16 and the show begins at 9 p.m.

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Slopfest at The Red & Black

The 6th annual Slopfest at Little Kings Shuffle Club will kick off on Thursday, July 24 with a free pre-party. The pre-party will include music from several different local bands as well as a magic show.

In 2009, Slopfest was born after the death of Popfest. Derek Wiggs wanted to keep the spirit of the festival alive and created Slopfest as a tribute.

“Slopfest started when Derek was talking to people about how he was sad that Popfest was dwindling away,” said Madeline Hassett, an intern at Crashing Through Publicity. “I think this was after they had taken a year off doing Popfest and come back with a smaller one. They decided to try and imitate it with what became Slopfest.”

After a sloppy start, Slopfest has been fairly successful and doesn’t seem to have the same fate as its predecessor. Unlike other festivals, Slopfest has a carefree spirit and allows musicians to be who they are and play what they want.

“Slopfest is definitely associated with and has the spirit of Popfest. It ihas more of an indie/townie vibe than say Athfest does,” Hasset said.

Since its creation, Slopfest has developed quite the reputation and is now a popular festival for musicians in Athens and elsewhere. The festival has extended beyond Athens, bringing in some Atlanta bands including Forces, Seagulls, Tha Hugs, The Trespasser, Nashville’s Faux Ferocious, St. Augustine’s Early and a few others. For the first time, Slopfest will feature two touring bands from Louisiana, The Lovie Dovies and The Opposable Thumbs.

With 30 bands in the line-up including Deep State, Muuy Bien, Monsoon, Grape Soda, Double Ferrari and Cinemechanica, the festival should be jam packed with local talent for three straight days.

Tickets are $5 at the door or $8 for both nights.

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Muuy Biien at Red & Black

When cameras claimed the city on behalf of MTV Other’s web series “This is the Place,” punk outfit Muuy Biien was highlighted as a prime example of current Athenian music alongside local darlings Reptar and groups like Tunabunny and Manray. Since then, the band has shaken up local press for being kicked out of the 2013 Flagpole Music Awards, in true punk fashion, for continually disrupting the awards show after singer Josh Evans delivered a subversive acceptance speech for Best Punk/Hardcore artist (to the tune of “I don’t give a f*** about any of this”). Mentioned in a recent edition of CMJ for charting on WUOG 90.5 FM’s airwaves, the band first broke national press in a 2012 article by Canadian DIY news publication Vice Magazine, interviewed by Flagpole’s Gordon Lamb.

Touring for Muuy Biien’s latest album Do Yourself In was halted when Evans broke his hip skateboarding, but will resume, guitarist Xander Witt says, sometime around late or mid-July. Tour promotion for this album will be much longer and more extensive than last year’s three-day mini-tour in Florida with Custody Battle, where band members spent time off hunting for alligators on nature walks (no alligator sightings, alas). Songs on the new album are “dancey as hell,” a by-product of listening to a lot of James Brown, which Witt says will hopefully encourage people to “dance rather than punch each other.” As for maintaining a certain stage presence during performances, Witt suggests a simple formula: “Eight beers and wear all black.”

 

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