17 April 2009

You've Got to Hear This!

Not much gets me from idea to blog these days—but Splotchy and his Green Monkey Music Project always rouse the challenge in me. Volume 18 boasts a cool theme, thanks to Allen Lulu: The Unheard Monkey Mix—bands you may not have heard, but should be listening to. We music freaks stopped working on the perfect mix tape and came up from the parents’ basements to play: Grant Miller, Zombie Barbara and Tim Russell, as well as Splotchy and Allen.

And me, of course.

I went local for this GMMP. Georgia has a rich music history—probably one of the strongest in the nation. It’s the home state of the innovators: James Brown, Ray Charles, Little Richard, and R.E.M. Otis Redding, Gladys Knight (who went to my dad’s high school), the Allman Brothers, Sam Moore (of Sam & Dave fame), The B-52’s all started in Georgia. Athens’ Elephant Six groups are among those changing what we listen to today. I could go on in all the major genres—country, hip hop, alternative.

But let’s get to the reason we’re here: Georgia music you should be listening to. Here are six of my favorite Atlanta and Athens bands.

The Whigs :: Right Hand on My Heart

The Whigs, from Athens, are finally getting much-deserved attention, so hopefully you’ve heard a tune or two. “Right Hand on My Heart” was my birthday theme song last year; Favorite Boy and I played it quite a bit during our Asheville jaunt. The Whigs also performed it on Letterman not too long ago. A most excellent rock song.

The Selmanaires :: Nite Beat

The Selmanaires are the pride of indie Atlanta, playing together since 2002 or 2003. I stupidly just missed their show a couple of weekends ago.

What The…? :: 7 Women (A Guy Can Dream)

What The…? is my favorite new discovery in a couple of years. Eskimo Bliss’s Kim introduced me to Lee, the band’s groovy guitarist gal, on Facebook a few months ago, and I was hooked. How cool is What The…? This Atlanta band has played the Cavern Club, kids! Be sure to check out their most excellent e-jukebox.

Beretta76 :: Hit Parade

I’m stretching it a bit with my local theme. Beretta76 is a Phillie band, not an Atlanta one—but guitarist Pete Rydberg grew up here. He went to high school with All Things Dan, and Dan turned me onto the band a few months ago. Damn good band. Hope they play some gigs down here in the near future.

The Good Graces :: Real to Me

I mentioned above that What The…? is my favorite local find of the last couple years—but that declaration must be shared with The Good GracesEskimo Bliss’ Kim's band. Kim, in fact, owns her own record label, Eskimo Bliss. (Cool backstory: Kim won a nice jackpot during a trip to Vegas, and used that cash to start the label.) We heard several of her bands recently at a label showcase, but The Good Graces is still my favorite. Kim sings, plays guitar, and writes lovely songs.

Tin Cup Prophette :: Speak or Spill Down

Don’t you love it when you go hear a favorite band and fall in love with the opening act? Tin Cup Prophette is my latest opening crush, starting last week's show for Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3. This Athens band has a distinctive, interesting, lovely sound. Karen and I rushed to the Variety Playhouse lobby to snag the CD/T-shirt combo after their set. Our beloved Scott McCaughey stood at the edge of the stage before his set to catch them; he seemed to like them a lot as well.

A shoutout here for CD Baby—the best online indie music store around—that carries Beretta76 and What The…?. CD Baby also has the best damn acknowledgement e-mail in the business:

Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.

A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing.

Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.

We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved "Bon Voyage!" to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Tuesday, January 13th.

I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did. Your picture is on our wall as "Customer of the Year." We're all exhausted but can't wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

So. Click above. Download. Listen. Dance around your cubicle. Click over to Slotchy: The Unheard Monkey Mix for all six playlists. Buy their records and get ready to tell your friends “I started listening to them before they got big.”

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