Featured Fest: Another Totally Lame Death Fest 2015

Death Fest

A.T.L. Death fest is upon us! 1 night, 3 venues, 15 metal and hard rock bands equals a music lovers greatest night. This is the return of the last brutal Death Fest in 2013, which was a great opportunity for touring bands traveling to Maryland Death Fest to play a show in the South.  This go around features band from all over the south but also bands from Texas, South Carolina and even all the way from Iceland. So come out and get your metal fix. Advanced wristbands are only $20 bucks and that gets you in to all three venues.  Or be lame and buy a one venue ticket for $12 at the door.  Presale tickets can be bought HERE.

Tuesday May 19th, 2015 : 529, The EARL, The Basement
529 – Wasted Theory, Savagist, The New Masters of Evil, Crawl, Beeravore
The EARL – Marrow of Earth, KOZA, Ancient VVisdom, Sólstafir
The Basement – Ancalagon, Grinchfinger, Burnt Books, Enthean, Beneath Oblivian

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Interview: CLAWS

clawsCLAWS are celebrating the release of their debut album Feel it All this Friday May 1st at 529.

Some bands hit me by surprise. They emerge on the scene out of nowhere or maybe it is my own unawareness. CLAWS can be categorized as a band unknown to some but they aren’t novice. Graham Marsh, one part of pop duo CLAWS, has produced for an extensive list of well known musicians before deciding to embark on his own project. Amber Renee has a voice that stands out among so many female vocalists in the spotlight.  CLAWS will be a vital part of the Atlanta music scene but they will also do so much more. They were kind enough to answer a few questions about their musical background, the upcoming album release show for Feel it All, and their take on the Atlanta Music Scene.

Listen to the album Feel it All at the end of the interview and come out to 529 this Friday to what it sure to be a great night!

Tell me about CLAWS. (How long has CLAWS been a band, who’s in the band, type of music.)

Just a little background on us:
CLAWS is an alt-pop duo comprised of sultry siren Amber Renee and four-time Grammy winning producer & multi-instrumentalist Graham Marsh. After a decade of working at the highest levels of the music industry with stars like Cee Lo Green, Bruno Mars, and T.I., Graham became disillusioned with the pop music world. At the height of his commercial success in 2012, he quit his job as Cee Lo Green’s right-hand man to pursue a music career that would fulfill him creatively. As if by a greater design, he soon met Amber, a grad school dropout moonlighting as an alt-pop singer at Atlanta venues like Eddie’s Attic and Smith’s Olde Bar. The pair began writing together in the Summer of 2013 and realized that this was the collaboration they had each been searching for. CLAWS completed their debut album Feel It All one year later, which includes the talents of several Atlanta legends, including Preston Crump (Outkast, Goodie Mob), Keisha Jackson (Outkast), Kennard Garrett (Case), and Slick Barnes (India Arie, David Anthony).

As for the band, it’s just the two of us. But when we perform live, we usually play with our keyboardist Kennard Garrett and background vocalist Slick Barnes. We’ve been together for two years and we describe ourselves as alt-pop. In case it helps, we were recently described as “possess[ing] the edge of the Black Keys with the accessibility of Purity Ring and the magnetic force of The xx” by Yaqui.co.

Graham, what has it been like going from being a producer to being in a band or is this not the first project you’ve been apart of?

The central difference is that when I’m working on other people’s records, I’m facilitating their visions. With CLAWS, I get to develop my own vision with Amber, so creatively, it’s a different process.

You have an album release coming up, what was the process like recording and is this CLAWS first full album release.

Feel It All is CLAWS’ debut album. As a duo, we write all of the songs together. Amber writes lyrics and melody, and Graham does all of the music and production. Our process for recording this album was unique, in that we were able to collaborate with a lot of Atlanta legends to bring our vision to life. Preston Crump played bass, who worked on Outkast, TLC and Goodie Mob records. Keisha Jackson, the daughter of Millie Jackson and Outkast’s traveling background vocalist, did backgrounds and a feature on Feel It All. Grammy nominated musicians Slick Barnes (India Arie) and Kennard Garrett (Case) also played pivotal roles in the creation of the record—Slick wrote and sang backgrounds while Kennard played keys and arranged strings on several songs. On the technical side, along with Graham, we had some really amazing mixing and mastering engineers involved, including two-time Grammy winner Ralph Cacciurri (Outkast), four-time Grammy winner John Frye (T.I., TLC, Outkast), five-time Grammy winner Miles Walker (Katy Perry, Rihanna) and six-time Grammy winner John Horesco (Mariah Carey, TLC). It was a really incredible experience working with so many talented people. We’re all friends, so there really is nothing better than being creative in a room full of people you love and respect.

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Featured Show – Savagist, Hello Cobra – 529 – April 24, 2015

savagist

Savagist, Bleed the Pigs, Forest of Tygers, Hello Cobra play 529 on April 24th, 2015.

There may be a lot of messiness going down in east Atlanta on Friday night but once that is over mingle over to 529 continue the night with some heaviness.  Atlanta’s own Hello Cobra starts off with their instrumental math rock that confuses the crowd every once in a while with how heavy they get. They will make you love music as much as they hate it.  Forest of Tygers and Bleed the Pigs will be in town from Nashville. I honestly hadn’t heard of Forest of Tygers before the announcement of this show but I’m super excited to see them after checking out their album. The brutal band from Athens, Savagist will end the night.

Come out to 529 this Friday and get a good healthy dose of heavy that the south has to offer.


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Vinyl Spotlight: MTN ISL

MTN ISL/Bodyfather 7″ Splitmtnisl-bodyfather-split

Next up in the vinyl spotlight series is from MTN ISL. Yes, this is a split with the insanely talented Atlanta punk band Bodyfather and yes, it came out last June but I wanted to feature it now because MTN ISL deserves the recognition. This split, featuring the song “Salt Lick”, follows their first album release god become animal in 2013. The artwork is by HeGoat FID and the vinyl itself is described as doo-doo brown. Their words, not mine.

Moving on, MTN ISL is a hard band to describe because they are loud, melodic, and technical. No doubt about it they are one of my favorite Atlanta bands to see live. MTN ISL, Muuy Biien, Null, Bataille play at 529 on April 22, 2015. They have opened for bands like Floor and Whores. and it is nice to see them headlining a show.

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Featured Show: JD McPherson – The Earl – April 15, 2015

Featured Show: JD McPherson – The Earl – April 15th

JD McPherson

JD McPherson is the definition of a musician born in the wrong era. Him and his band provide a breath of fresh air to the modern music created today. Rock and roll, R&B, soul, retro, rockabilly whichever terms chosen to describe his music doesn’t say enough because they create something so special. After releasing their second full length album Let The Good Times Roll earlier this year the guys have been on an extensive tour and finally announced an Atlanta date. They will be playing at the Earl on April 15th and after seeing them twice before their live shows are not one to miss. Hope to see you there!

JD McPherson and John Paul Keith play The EARL this Wednesday, April 15th.

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Vinyl Spotlight: Book Club – One-Way Moon

Vinyl Spotlight: Book Club – One-Way MoonBookClub

Book Club is a local folk band that has been featured on Promising Chord for many years. One-Way Moon is the follow up to Book Club’s debut full length album Ghost which was released in 2011.  It has the same feel as the last album with beautiful stories, that can also be heartbreaking, told through simple yet charming melodies.  The vinyl packaging is one of the best I’ve seen from the gold foil on the sleeve, which was designed and illustrated by Rachel Horlick, to the clear with black splatter record.  Absolutely beautiful and is a perfect example why vinyl is not only great to listen to but packaging is also a very special form of art. Give the album a listen below.

Book Club along with Hope for agoldensummer are playing at the Earl this Thursday, April 9th.


Book Club’s One-Way Moon released February 17, 2015

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Interview: Eqo

Interview: Eqo – Album release with Alchemy and The Strays of York at Smith’s Olde Bar, March 27th

EqoEqo is a band I’ve just recently started listening to and I wanted to know more about them. With tons of press outside of the local scene they are the perfect example of a band gaining exposure and are on their way to doing great things in Atlanta and beyond. Daisy Bellis, frontman of Eqo, answered a few questions about creating positive music, Eqo’s new album Ananta and what they think of the Atlanta music scene.  Listen to their album below also!! Be prepared for an awesome night at Smith’s Olde Bar because all three bands are incredible.

Tell me more about Eqo? 

The current lineup is Kity Faya, Daisy Bellis, Kai Vaughn on guitar, Yosh on bass, and Jet on drums. Kity, Kai, and myself are the founding members and we formed in 2013. Yosh came around in the middle of 2014 and Jet is the newest member who came in January of this year.

We’re a new age progressive rock band. Most of our lyrics are influenced by new age concepts: collective consciousness, the emphasis of love over fear, flow, etc. Our sound is primarily progressive rock with elements of alternative, jazz, funk, and pop.

This Friday is the release show for your new album Ananta, tell me more about the album. What was the recording process like?

Yes! We’re very excited about the album release show! We finished recording the album in early 2014, but decided to wait to release it. We wrote every song on ANANTA on an acoustic guitar in an empty living room with the help of Angry Orchard and other substances. It was effortless. I think we were all in very similar places spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Eqo was pretty much all we had, so we just kept writing. Before we knew it, we had 9 songs written.

The recording process was great. Jason Andrews (Spotlight Sound Studio) is an amazing engineer to work with. He really tapped into our creative process and was able to push us to our highest potential, even when we didn’t feel we could make it. He believed in us, knew what we were going for while respecting our artistic freedom. We couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

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Interview: Amos Rifkin, A. Rippin Production

Interview: Amos Rifkin of A. Rippin Production

A Rippin ProductionThis is the start of a new series interviewing the people who promote and book shows in this great city of Atlanta. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to have consistent successful shows and A. Rippin Production has been bringing some of the best metal and punk bands to many of my favorite venues. Amos Rifkin, the man behind A. Rippin Production, talks about his company, what got him into promoting/talent buying, and how being a musician has only helped the success of these shows. Also, he confirms the return of Death Fest on May 19th, mark your calendars!

For a complete listing of upcoming shows, visit the A. Rippin Production site HERE

What made you get into booking and promoting shows? Being in a band it must come with the territory.

Surprisingly, I’d never had any designs on this kind of work outside of furthering my own bands. For the most part, my work life and life in music rarely crossed paths. Last March, department-wide layoffs were announced at the print wholesaler where I’d been working as a book buyer for the previous 5 years. My friend Liz Sowell suggested that I interview to succeed her as local promoter at the Masquerade, and it sounded more appealing the more I thought about it. I already had pretty decent knowledge of certain parts of the Atlanta music scene, as well as contacts in venues and bands all over the city. After a lengthy interview process, the Masquerade ultimately went with a different candidate, so I decided to turn the disappointment into something positive, and started doing booking and promoting on my own.koskee

There have been a ton of A. Rippin Production shows the past few months and every one that I have been to has been packed out and a good time. How do you get so many people out to the shows? Is there a formula or does it come down to good ol’ fashion flyering or social media?

Making sure every event is well attended is easily the most challenging part of this job. I definitely spend a lot of time physically putting up flyers around town, and 90% of the time I’ve designed the posters myself, using the full extent of my rudimentary Photoshop knowledge. My friend Lauryn Christy, former promotions director for WRAS, recently came on board as the Booking and Promotions Assistant, and she has helped IMMENSELY as far as maintaining a strong online and social media presence. We had been friends for several years but oddly enough only realized at the beginning of the year that she’d also been interviewing for the Masquerade local promoter position, so it’s seemed like a natural move to work together. In 2014 I averaged about 6 shows a month, but our average number of monthly shows has already doubled to 12 in 2015, so her help has desperately been needed recently, allowing me more time to focus on booking.

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Interview: Dendera Bloodbath

Interview: Dendera Bloodbath playing Lady Fest Atlanta – March 20thLadyfest Atlanta

Virginia isn’t a stranger to the stage. She played in a rock band Verge of Bliss for years before developing her solo project known as Dendera Bloodbath.  Next weekend she will be playing at the Mammal Gallery as a part of Ladyfest Atlanta.  Ladyfest is a three day event and completely FREE however they will be taking donations throughout the weekend to benefit the Solutions Not Punishments Coalition at the Racial Justice Action Center. This festival not only features local music but also art galleries, workshops, panels, comedians and a lot more!! Check out the full schedule HERE.

Virginia was kind enough to talk to me about Ladyfest, the Dendera Bloodbath album release, and her take on the Atlanta Music Scene. Enjoy and see you at the fest!!

How did you get involved with Ladyfest Atlanta and how excited are you to be playing such a great event!?
I met Chelsea Dunn through a mutual musician friend and found out that she was planning a Ladyfest event here in Atlanta. She was previously involved with Ladyfest in New Hampshire so I had confidence it would be an awesome event.

Are there any other artists or features at Ladyfest Atlanta that are not to be missed?
Yes!!! I’ve been playing a lot of shows lately with my friend Mariah Johnson who fronts Woven In and she plays like she’s on fire. Friday night after bands play female comedians will be featured, so I’m looking forward to that as well. There will be some yoga and zine workshops, a tea party, and some different panels on feminist issues where you can network with other women about their experiences. Visual and performance artists also get a spotlight at this show. I’m also really looking forward to Marlee Mincher’s “It’s perfectly OK to want to kill someone”. I’m not sure what that entails yet!

Tell me about Dendera Bloodbath and how was it transitioning from playing in a rock band to this solo endeavor?
Toward the end of Verge of Bliss live shows we briefly experimented with using a laptop instead of a drummer. Trey programmed beats and sounds in Logic, and we had a 5 piece Chauvet lighting rig that we were schlepping around that synched with our cues. What I’m doing now is actually a big step back from that complexity-wise. Now my biggest challenge is being able to communicate with the sound tech about the two DI lines I run from my sequencer and synth.
As far as creatively, this project stemmed from the Salome concept album. Trey wasn’t interested in performing the material with Verge of Bliss so I started playing out on my own doing those songs. Back in 2011, when he and I split up and I moved out, I made [wr wr wr] to cope with all the alienating feelings I had.Dendera Bloodbath

You have an album release coming up, can you tell me a little bit more about that?
I’m very happy with this album, which is called Queen of the Cauldron Born and will be available on cassette at the Ladyfest show. Everything on that album is my blood, sweat, and tears. While it’s definitely not polished or auto-tuned it fully represents me and who I am.

 

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Vinyl Spotlight: Dropout – Turn Away from the Light

New series!!

Vinyl Spotlight: Dropout – Turn Away from the Light

DSC05142Since I’m obsessed with my record collection I thought it would be fun to showcase one local record release every month or so.  First up is the debut LP release from local hardcore punk band Dropout.  Turn Away from the Light was released in 2014 but the records were available in January. Dropout is one of the most insane and entertaining bands to see live and the production on the record really bottles up that energy.  Now let’s talk about the packaging.  Everything from the sleeve to the poster are incredible.  It helps that Dropout’s vocalist Stenvik Mostrom is an accomplished artist and he designed all of it.  The poster included needs to be on my wall and not hidden for no one to admire.  The record itself is on blood red clear vinyl.  Take a look and the album is at the bottom for your listening pleasure!!


Dropout’s Turn Away from the Light – Album released in June 2014. Vinyl released in January 2015.
Go see them on March 13th at the Basement with Abacus, Christworm, and Get Damned.

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