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Telemarket’s Ad Nauseum: An Athens Love Letter In Loops and Cycles

Two things about the psych-garage rock band Telemarket’s new album are essential to its listening and could not be more true: the title Ad Nauseum perfectly encapsulates the project, and every piece of the album is very Athens in that townie way—“if you know, you know.”

Ad Nauseum is Telemarket’s debut full-length album, out on Aug. 25 under the Elephant 6 label affiliate Cloud Recordings. The project is intended to be a continuously flowing concept album, and its title nods to the overall theme of getting stuck in endless loops and ruts in life. The band—Adam Wayton (vocals, guitar), Will Wise (guitar), Jack Colclough (percussion), Hunter Pinkston (bass) and Josie Callahan (vocals, keyboard)—navigates existential quandaries and heartache with a touch of hilarity through a journey of fuzzy guitars, catchy hooks, dramatized transitions and plenty of feedback.

“A couple of the songs were written before any of the [COVID] shutdowns happened, but the feeling and overall concept of… like you’re living the same day over and over again was already ruminating with me,” says Wayton. “The shutdown happened, and it was like, OK, this is all magnified a hundred times more. The rest of the album kind of came together then.”

Patrick Dean

With a handful of the songs being live-tracked as a band before the COVID shutdown and the others being built from the bottom up as everyone was quarantined, housemates Wayton and Wise spent a lot of time focusing on the production of the album. The method of recording changed between songs, providing an opportunity to get creative in tying everything back together into a cohesive-sounding project. The two members are fans of the Philadelphia band Spirit of the Beehive, known for flowing songs into one another through selective transitions, which inspired the production behind Ad Nauseum.

Among the nuances of the creation of this album is Wayton’s love of numerology and lore building. After the songs were recorded and the band came together to make adjustments to what the final piece would look like, it was important to Wayton that the final product have 13 tracks and some repeating numbers. Although the number 13 didn’t have a specific meaning, Wayton explains Telemarket has played a lot of Friday the 13th shows and enjoys putting something fun together when they pop up. There’s also an idea of “having a lot of energy and not knowing what to do with it” tied into this, fueling an anxious energy that relates back to the theme. Not to forget the repeating numbers, the total album runtime comes in at 34 minutes and 34 seconds.

Perhaps the most special lore behind this album is the cover artwork by the late Athens artist Patrick Dean, which appears on this week’s Flagpole cover. In fact, a color version of this cover ran in the Aug. 25, 1999 back-to-school issue of Flagpole over 20 years ago this week. Wayton has been a big fan of Dean’s work since he first came to Athens about 10 years ago, and Dean’s series during the COVID shutdown of pieces about unrest, police brutality and the pandemic really resonated with him. It was at that time that Wayton reached out to Dean about creating an album cover, but Dean’s health was declining, and he was unable to create something new, although he did want to be a part of the project.

Patrick Dean The artwork ran on the Aug. 25, 1999 back-to-school issue of Flagpole.

After Dean’s death, Wayton found this piece of art in the Georgia Museum of Art’s archives and was able to work with Dean’s team to make the cover still happen. As a result, Ad Nauseum is dedicated to Dean and “his ability to find humor in the mundane,” which became a big inspiration behind the entire project. As the band was working through the album and listening to different versions, Wayton had set Dean’s artwork as a placeholder on the initial, private SoundCloud version before the cover had been officially decided. As the album took form, it moved closer and closer to fitting the idea of this cover.

“I loved the repeating nature of the different squares in the rooms, and kind of the chaos and how it felt like there was a bunch happening, but it felt very effortless because it was Athens. And I loved that it was Athens,” says Wayton.


One of the other very Athens pieces of the puzzle that is particularly meaningful to Telemarket is the involvement of John Fernandes and his label. Fernandes plays clarinet alongside the five-piece band on this album, and of course aided in releasing and distributing it. Wayton says that he loves Fernandes as a person and a musician, so having him be a part of the project was significant. Wayton and Wise have also been heavily inspired by Elephant 6 as a whole in their basement studio recording endeavors, a studio that happened to be built out by one of the former fiddle players for Widespread Panic.

“[The album] is definitely a love letter to Athens. It’s a place that definitely inspires creativity, but it’s also a place where it can feel like you’re in a rut,” says Wayton.

As a group frequently on the road and hitting stages around Athens, it should come as no surprise that Telemarket has lined up several events in celebration of its album release over the weekend. On Aug. 25, the evening before the release, Telemarket, John Fernandes and Nuclear Tourism will play acoustic sets inside the cozy Low Yo Yo Stuff Records starting at 7 p.m. Then the official show will happen at the 40 Watt Club on Aug. 26 with doors at 7 p.m. featuring Telemarket, Wieuca, Nuclear Tourism and Atlanta’s Karaoke. On Aug. 27, the band will take the show to Atlanta at Boggs Social and Supply alongside Oceaneater, Made Up and Floral Portrait.

WHO: Telemarket, Wieuca, Nuclear Tourism, Karaoke
WHEN: Saturday, Aug. 26, 7 p.m. (doors)
WHERE: 40 Watt Club