June 20, 2012

But Wait… There's More

More AthFest Picks from Our Music Writers

Atlas Sound

Atlas Sound

You should have no expectations for what Atlas Sound will do or for how the act will look during AthFest. The solo project of Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox, Atlas Sound has had a different set-up every time I’ve seen him. I first saw the band as a trio at the 40 Watt, where Cox performed a loose set with Kranky Records labelmates White Rainbow and Valet’s Honey Owens. Another time, I saw a show that had Atlas Sound backed by Carnivores and Frankie Broyles in Atlanta. Most recently, I watched Cox on the roof of the Team Gallery in New York City, performing alone at the opening of a Ryan McGinley exhibit. He played with just a guitar and a sampler, his ambient drone and psychedelic croon bouncing across the downtown cityscape. -Christopher Benton (Friday, Pulaski Street Stage, 7:30 p.m.)


Guzik keep it simple, slow, heavy and loud—and that's the point, so go in prepared. They play fairly traditional, misanthropic doom metal, albeit with vocals closer to black metal screaming. Imagine a more atmospheric Iron Monkey and you won't be far off. The hypnotic, ever-shifting riffs that crawl forth from their gloriously over-driven full-stacks will invade your headspace, sink into your bones and ripple through your fragile form until you can feel every muscle nodding along in unison, and it's so satisfying that you never want it to end. Fortunately, these are very long songs. -Derek Wells (Friday, Caledonia Lounge, 9 p.m.)

The Incendiaries

The Incendiaries

Drawing from bands like Drive Like Jehu, Sleater-Kinney and the '90s Dischord Records roster, the four "ladies of pedigree" who make up Incendiaries play noisy, angular post-punk that grooves and howls with the best of them. Dueling guitars swap squiggly riffs and stabs of crunchy dissonant chords while the bass lays down jerky, syncopated rhythms atop steady, driving beats. Insistently shout-sung vocals push to the forefront, with multiple voices building on and complementing one another. All that might sound like a recipe for chaos, but Incendiaries' songs are remarkably controlled, lending them an intensity that smolders but never burns out. -DW (Saturday, Little Kings Shuffle Club, 11 p.m.)


Don't be fooled by the silly-sounding name – TaterZandra are as serious a band as they come. They play noise rock in a largely bygone style, reminiscent of Unwound, Rodan, and – their most frequent reference point – Sonic Youth. Making heavy use of unusual chords – singer/guitarist McKenna Mackie tends to switch among several alt-tuned guitars in any given set – they alternate moments of ethereal calm and melancholic beauty with screams of violent rage tearing their way out from vocalists (all four of 'em) and instruments alike. For those looking to escape the summer vibes found elsewhere, Taterzandra offer a compellingly shadowy alternative. -DW (Saturday, Caledonia Lounge, 11 p.m.)

Grape Soda

Grape Soda are the sublimely poppy post-punk duo of brothers Mat and Ryan Lewis. Mat's yelping, reverb-drenched vocal melodies are anchored by his electric organ hooks and Ryan's bouncy rhythms, and these elements combine with the helping of otherworldly psychedelic effects haunting the periphery to form songs that are deliberately simple, irrepressibly catchy, more than a little off-kilter, and brief enough to never overstay their welcome. You'll grin, you'll bob your head and you'll hopefully give in to the urge to dance. -DW (Saturday, Ciné, 1 a.m.)

Helen Scott

Beautiful melodies and a gauzy, echoey musicality are the touchstones of this fairly new combo. Emileigh Ireland arranges most of the band's vocal harmonies, a skill learned while growing up in a very musical household and studying second soprano. But there’s nothing overtly rigidly structured nor academic about Helen Scott. Their music is one of the best treats served up in Athens, and they cut a unique path in a world where it’d be so easy to just play copycat. -Gordon Lamb (Saturday, Flicker Theatre, 12 a.m.)

The Dream Scene

The Dream Scene is Javier Morales. Although he’s a core member of several projects around town, this is where he really shines and where his luster isn’t inadvertently smudged by other people’s shenanigans. Morales composes extravagantly beautiful melodies that quite often require repeated listens to reveal themselves. Mere tourists will hear clang and bang, melodic swells and abstract impressionistic sounds. Fans hear layer upon layer of careful attention to detail, an uncanny ability to crease out interesting sounds from every conceivable instrument and a seemingly private world of beauteous wonder to which they’ve somehow been granted access. -GL (Saturday, Farm 255, 11:45 p.m.)

Quiet Hounds

Quiet Hounds

Although currently employing a gimmicky conceit whereby the members wear dog masks and “prefer to remain anonymous”—a trick which has only and will only ever work for The Residents—Quiet Hounds’ music is mainstream enough that perhaps individual personalities really don’t come into play that much. Their tunes are a mix of comfortable Americana and softly bombastic pop a’la Arcade Fire. They’re playing several shows this week so you’ll have zero problem catching them. If celebrity status ever befalls them they’re going to have a hell of a hard time in the 21st century maintaining their dogged stance concerning their anonymity. It’s one thing to let the music speak for itself but, you know, the music actually has to be saying something for this to work. Does theirs? Catch a show and make up your own mind. There are three to choose from this week. The AthFest showcase the 40 Watt Club on Friday, the Slush Fund day part on Saturday at Little Kings, and an intimate set at The National on Friday. And if you make to their well-hyped show at The National you can grab something tasty and sweet and tell all your friends you went through a dessert with some dogs with no names! -GL (Friday, 40 Watt Club, 10 p.m.)

Reptarz II

Some bands take things very seriously. Others take the piss. Sometimes you just can’t tell who is doing which. All of which is to say that Reptarz II speaks better for itself than anyone else could. Here’s a statement they sent me: "The Domestic Bemusement Park Department of Musico-Critical Outreach gladly presents Reptarz II. Reptarz II are happy objects—drastic happy—and no more a joke than anything else is." And you know what? I think I believe them. Although there’s a certain necessary sturm und drang passion to their new noise (think: no-no-wave), considering all their lyrics are lifted straight from the bouncy pop sunshine songs of popular Athens band Reptar, there’s also a long tradition of this type of collage. It’s an ear-churner, a palate-cleanser and a big fat smile all around. Good job, lads! -GL (Friday, Ciné, 10:45 p.m.)

The Rodney Kings

This is scuzzy, freak out garage-punk from people who would be denied driver's licenses in any reasonable society. Utterly free of fashion, scene consciousness and baggage of any sort. This is music that gets high on its own supply. It needs nothing. It’s primitive and soulful and punching and kicking. It’s the kind of music that will challenge you to a fight but doesn’t care—or need—you to show up for the brawl. It’s content to just keep punching itself in the face until it collapses into a bloody pool. So, basically, don’t miss ‘em. -GL (Saturday, Go Bar, 10 p.m.)

The Glands

The Glands are an interesting choice for a Saturday-night headliner. On paper, totally makes sense: long-dormant, much-loved local band comprising scene vets. But onstage? We'll see. The band—mostly broken up or on hiatus or whatever for about a decade—played a reunion show last summer at the Georgia Theatre, and while the tunes were strong, the band's stage presence did little to impress. But the Glands' strength was always the structure and off-kilter charm of their two albums, 1998's Double Thriller and 2000's The Glands. They're full of terrific hooks, catchy pop guitar and frontman Ross Shapiro's droll vocals delivering deeper-than-they-seem lyrics. In the late '90s their tunes worked well in small clubs, but seem to get lost the larger the stage—great for late-night front porches and late-afternoon drives, definitely, and hopefully the sounds will work equally well on Athfest's medium-sized outdoor stage and won't be lost in the atmosphere. Big outdoor stages beg for a captivating live performance to go along with big sounds—whether the Glands can deliver that, well, we'll find out this weekend. Here's to hoping they can pull it off, because if so, it'll be a winner of a set. - Chris Hassitois (Saturday, Pulaski Street Stage, 9 p.m.)