Nelward ‘Smash Thru’ feat. Adron

Photo courtesy Nelward and Adron.


Electronic pop songwriter Nelward (born Nick Elward) puts a new spin on embracing inner demons with Eat Your Dreams. “Smash Thru,” stands apart from the seven-song EP’s pastiche of ‘80s pop and early aughts hip-hop, R&B, and IDM productions styles. The song features a guest appearance by Atlanta’s favorite expat songstress Adron, bending vibrant ‘80s pop to ward off what Nelward calls “toxic positivity.”

Electronic pop songwriter Nelward (born Nick Elward) puts a new spin on embracing inner demons with Eat Your Dreams. “Smash Thru,” stands apart from the seven-song EP’s pastiche of ‘80s pop and early aughts hip-hop, R&B, and IDM productions styles. The song features a guest appearance by Atlanta’s favorite expat songstress Adron, bending vibrant ‘80s pop to ward off what Nelward calls “toxic positivity.”

“When I was younger people at school and work would tell me to ‘cheer up,’ even when I wasn’t necessarily sad,” Nelward says. “The idea that we have to perpetually project happiness instills an idea that feeling bad is not okay, which can make mental health issues worse.”

Of course, all of this resonates loudly in the era of quarantine. Adron even recorded her vocal parts from her home in Los Angeles, and the two collaborated remotely. What’s more, many of the EP’s songs — “The Werewolf,” “My Balloon,” and the title track — feed off the normalized sense of dread that 2020 has wrought. But “Smash Thru” is a personally cathartic number. With lyrics such as, “I had a hard time as a kid / And saw some shitty therapist / Who told me ‘Just don’t worry bout it! It’s just you,’” the song takes shape as an empowering number, tackling lifelong issues.

“I like people to interpret my lyrics on their own,” he adds. “But in general, Eat Your Dreams deals with feelings of hopelessness that did not begin but were exacerbated by the circumstances of 2020.”

Press play on Eat Your Dreams below.

Antagonizers ATL are back with ‘Black Clouds’

Antagonizers ATL. Photo by Todd Huber.

Antagonizers ATL are back with a new single, titled “Black Clouds.” It’s the first song to appear from the Atlanta street punk outfit’s sophomore album, Kings, due out in early 2021 via Pirates Press Records. The song picks up where the group left off with its 2016 debut, Working Class Street Punk. The message is powerful and direct: Build strength through self-reliance, and always maintain that time-honored PMA (positive mental attitude) no matter what obstacles life throws in your path.

The band’s indomitable spirit reemerges bolder than ever in “Black Clouds,” which comes to a head with the lyrics: “I see those black clouds overhead / Try to follow me until I’m dead / I close my eyes and laugh inside / Only the weak run and hide / I’m gonna swing to the left, swing to the right / Duck and dive ’till I’m out of sight / No damn clouds gonna hold me back / I’m on the move and I’m on the attack.”

“It can mean many different things to many different people,” says the group’s singer and frontman Bohdan Zacharyj. “We are all in different boats, just trying to stay afloat. No matter how hard you fight and how far you get ahead, there is always someone or something trying to keep you down. Use that as fuel to propel you farther, faster, and make you stronger.”

Zacharyj goes on to say the lyrics, “’Close my eyes and laugh inside’ serves as a moment for self-reflection, and a reminder to always stay the course,” he says. “When a horse wears blinders over its eyes it cannot see those who want it to fail.”

The 10-song album was produced and engineered by Matt Washburn of Ledbelly Sound. The group’s lineup has also shifted and expanded since releasing Working Class Street Punk. Bass player Wynn Pettitt and drummer Don Tonic join vocalist Zacharyj along with keyboard player Billy Fields, guitar player Richard Hendersön, and rhythm guitar player Eric Antell.

For “Black Clouds,” Matt Henson from Tacoma, Washington street punk outfit NOi!SE, joins in as a guest vocalist, underscoring the camaraderie and respect shared between the two bands. Henson, who is originally from Marietta, met Zacharyj when their bands played a show together in Seattle. They bonded over their mutual experiences in the Army’s Airborne Division, and even shared the A-side on a four-way split 7-inch for Pirates Press Records in 2019.

“I have found Matt to be a good friend over the years, and I thought this part on the record would be a perfect match for his vocal style,” Zacharyj says. “His band NOi!SE does a great job shining light on the armed forces, injustices, and fostering overall compassion for each other, and for humanity over all.”

Another song from the album that remains to be released, “Hold On, Hold Strong,” features a guest appearance by Monty NeySmith of the group Symarip. Keep an eye out for more information on their collaboration coming soon.

In the meantime, press play on “Black Clouds.” The song is also available as a picture flexi 7-inch free with any purchase from Pirates Press Records.

Warm Red ‘Comes Out’ fighting!

Y’all are in the mood for a fight, right? “Comes Out” is the third single released from Warm Red’s stellar debut, Decades of Breakfast (State Laughter Records). Stephen Lewis, Toni Gary, Bryan Sherer, and Jacob Armando … come out swinging all manic and muscular … kind of.

The video was shot and edited by Joshua Gary of Funguh Productions, and captures a brutal backyard mashup of wrestling, boxing, and biting, rendered in VHS fidelity—in SLP mode, of course.

With its gloriously grimy rhythm section and frontman Gary’s clipped caterwaul, Warm Red pushes the influence of the Jesus Lizard, the Birthday Party, early Public Image, Ltd., and Pere Ubu to new highs of confrontation.

Check them out on Saturday, October 10 , when they join Thousandaire to play The EARL’s Live Stream #1, a benefit to support the bar, venue, and restaurants staff who’ve been affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Stoic Clown, aka Josh Feigert of State Laughter, will be DJing before, between and after the band’s live sets.

Donation packages range from $5-$50. The virtual doors open at 8:30 p.m. No ticketing fees and all buyers will receive a private link to watch the show on October 10

In the meantime, pick up Decades of Breakfast below. The band is donating its portions of the album’s sales to Solutions Not Punishment.

Geographic North offers up ‘A Little Night Music’ for the Halloween season


October is here, and Geographic North has unleashed its third Halloween compilation of ethereal and otherworldly sounds. A Little Night Music: Aural Apparitions from the Geographic North is a double cassette featuring more than two hours of music. London-based cellist Oliver Coates plays the part of Rod Serling on this trip into deep dark fringes of the ambient underworld. Coates’ “Them (Prologue)” featuring Malibu, and “Then There (Epilogue)” bookend 31 songs by artists from around the world, including Clarice Jensen, Fennesz, Mary Lattimore & Paul Sukeena, and more. On the Atlanta front, Algiers, Fit Of Body, Lotus Plaza, and the Geographic North House Band keep the ghostly ambiance in motion.

All proceeds from both digital and physical editions benefit Feminist Women’s Health Center, an Atlanta-based nonprofit providing safe, accessible, and compassionate abortion and gynecological care to all those who need it.

A1. Oliver Coates feat. Malibu – “Them (Prologue)”
A2. Geographic North House Band – “Chapter 1: The Fang of a Parting Mist”
A3. Zelienople – “Dense Cover”
A4. Carmen Villain – “Dissolving Edges”
A5. Meitei – “Okue”
A6. Michael Valentine West – “The Way of Five”
A7. Clarice Jensen – “GOM”

B1. Geographic North House Band – “Chapter 2: Howl at the Crypt’s Entrance”
B2. Malibu – “Isle Of Us”
B3. Like a Villain & Vantzou – “From Below”
B4. Gregg Kowalsky – “Three Sisters Spring”
B5. Lotus Plaza – “Gossamer”
B6. Ki Oni – “Dream World”
B7. Fennesz – “Fortress”
B8. M. Sage – “Forking Paths”

C1. Geographic North House Band – “Chapter 3: The Phantom Penumbra”
C2. Mary Lattimore & Paul Sukeena – “Peach”
C3. Danny Paul Grody – “Elijah”
C4. Alex Zhang Hungtai – “El Khela”
C5. Ilyas Ahmed – “Without a Trace”
C6. Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – “For Mothers”
C7. Nick Malkin – “An Hour Pulled Lengthwise”
C8. Fit of Body – “Tracy’s Toast”
C9. Algiers – “Spooks”

D1. Geographic North House Band – “Chapter 4: A Daunting Crescent Moon”
D2. Félicia Atkinson – “Sequoia”
D3. Louise Bock – “Flummox”
D4. Takagi Masakatsu – “April 18”
D5. Forest Management – “Eastbound, Sometime”
D6. JAB – “Save Room 5”
D7. Oliver Coates – “Then There (Epilogue)”

Don’t Look Now: Aural Apparitions from the Geographic North (2018)

Death on the Hour: Aural Apparitions from the Geographic North (2016)

www.geographic-north.com

‘Creature’s Surfin’ Shindig’ in Flagpole

My review of Missing Fink RecordsCreature’s Surfin Shindig compilation LP is in this week’s Flagpole Magazine. It’s the culmination of the landlocked Augusta, GA label’s dedication to probing the outer limits of where rockabilly, punk and surf sounds collide with sci-fi cinema and monster movies from the 1950s.

There’s a ton of great stuff on this comp. Didi Wray, Fred Schneider and the Superions, Messer Chups, and more. Check it out at Flagpole!

Video premiere: Hip To Death’s ‘Burning Heart’

HIP TO DEATH: Photo by Daniel Vasquez


To herald the arrival of the autumn equinox, Hip To Death has unleashed a new video for “Burning Heart,” the first single and video from the group’s second proper album, TMI America. “Burning Heart” is a fiery and noirish affair, steeped in texture. The triple threat guitar assault from John, Kasey, and James Breedlove is thick with time-stretching distortion, billowing around a searing lyrical mantra: “This burning heart’s for you. Our love will always be this true. Cut my leather skin. Waste my weathered skin.”

Drummer Mike Pazdzinski and bass player Todd Caras drive the song forward with tight, constrictive rhythms.

The album was recorded on a 4-Track in husband and wife John and Kasey’s home in Roswell, GA. Later, the tracks were mixed and mastered by the Athens-based Leeds U.K. transplant Tom Ashton of gothic post-punk luminaries the March Violets. Ashton runs SubVon Studio in Athens, GA, and his touch rings loud and clear with “Burning Heart.” Each grinding moment unfolds with a stylishly murky traipse that evokes the sounds and vision of mid-’80s U.K. goth, while embracing the dark and aggressive immediacy of the here and now.

“We were definitely going for a different kind of sound on this record,” John says. “It all seemed to come naturally, though. I’d been a fan of the March Violets for a while, and I really loved the work he did with them. His guitar work on “Snake Dance” is rad, along with everything else they did. I learned from our good friend Trey Ehart from the band Entertainment that Tom was in Athens. I talked to Tom over the phone for an hour or so, and I instantly took a liking to his attitude. We vibed right from the get go—he’s a super positive dude. I hired him just to master the album, but he dug the songs so damn much that he ended up putting his touch on it and mixing and mastering the whole album. We all love what he did. He really listened to what we were going for, and he killed it!”

The video was directed by Kasey Breedlove, and features a cameo from Atlanta-based photographer, art teacher, and model Rose Riot. Press play and zone out.

TMI America is available now on Die Indy Records.

Faye Webster: ‘Better Distractions’

Faye Webster is back with a new single, titled “Better Distractions.” The song was recorded at Chase Park Transduction in Athens, and produced by long-time cohort and engineer Drew Vandenberg. It’s also Webster’s first offering since her 2019 album, Atlanta Millionaires Club (Secretly Canadian), and the single, titled “In A Good Way.”

The “Better Distractions” video is courtesy of Matt Swinsky and Eat Humans.

Drifting through lyrics such as: “Got two friends that I could see, but they got two jobs and a baby. I just want to see you,” the song builds on Webster’s signature lush and melancholy indie rock delivery.

“I wrote this song kinda without knowing I was writing it,” Webster said in a press release. “It’s a kind of free association, just thoughts running straight from my head onto paper untouched. I also think it’s [the] best my band has ever sounded on record.”

On Tuesday, October 6, Webster and her band , featuring pedal steel player Matt ‘Pistol’ Stoessel, drummer Harold Brown, bass player Bryan Howard, and keyboard player Nick Rosen are playing together for the first time in 2020 at Chase Park Transduction. The show is streaming live via Noonchorus, and will be rebroadcast for the following 48 hours.. $12 (+fees). 9 p.m.  Buy tickets.

The Pinx: ‘Electric!’ EP


Press play on “Victimless Crime,” the opening number from the Pinx’s Electric! EP, and guitarists Adam McIntyre and Chance McColl invoke the light, sweet atmosphere of Big Star’s #1 Record—a jangling alternative to the Southern rock clichés that typically lord over riffs of such magnitude.

“Hammer of the Dogs” is the standout cut here. The song’s boogie melodies, backed by bass player Charles Wiles and drummer Cayce Buttrey’s sturdy rhythms, push McIntyre’s voice to psychedelic heights. Amid such strutting blasts of heavy rock ‘n’ roll, “Hammer of the Dogs” brings anthemic hooks to the mix, propelling the energy of the rest of the EP’s songs: “Bad Behavior,” “It’s Electric,” and “See You Later.”

The ghosts of early Van Halen riffs haunt Electric!’s latter half, laying the foundation for the pure elation in lyrics such as “I trace the power line from your spine down to your heel. Lightning to ground is what I feel! All my life I’ve always wondered what’s in store. It is your touch that makes me heal” in “It’s Electric.” It’s a fitting thesis for a hard rock EP in 2020, and a soundtrack for going walkabout in the wilds of rural Georgia, where having a fist-raising good time and attaining spiritual enlightenment are one in the same.

The five songs on Electric! power forward with anthemic pop hooks like thoughtful kin to ‘80s hair metal, but without the raunch, existing out of time and completely in their own context. This translates into earnest depth, as each song could be a stand-alone single. There isn’t a whole lot of variety going on from song to song, but that’s kind of the point. These songs find the Pinx reveling in the blue-eyed instincts of accomplished musicians embracing rock ’n’ roll bravado without a hint of pretension or self-consciousness. The songs are primal, reeling with distortion and spiraling energy, giving each player room to run wild. And run wild they do.

Need more of the Pinx in your life? The group’s entire discography is now available via www.thepinxrock.com/music.

Nicol Eltzroth Rosendorf: ‘Big Other’


RadATL has big things in the works with Nicol Eltzroth Rosendorf‘s latest LP, Big Other. The album features four pieces that are bursting at the seams with droning beauty, anxiety, texture, and ambiance. Like author James Joyce’s 1939 modern fiction classic Fennigans Wake, every note and every nuance heard throughout the record contains the gravity of the entirety of the work.

Big Other features contributions from Jarboe (SWANS), Atlanta’s James Joyce (Cheifs, Noot ‘d Noot, Car Vs. Driver), Shannon Mulvaney (Maganpop, Anna Kramer, Clobber), Brian Halloran (Smoke, W8ing4UFOs), Billy Fields (Follow For Now, Dionne Farris, W8ing4UFOs), and Xander Cook, with liner notes by author Blake Butler.

Keep an eye out here for more coming soon!

Mastodon: ‘Fallen Torches’

Mastodon‘s latest single, “Fallen Torches,” is a longtime staple of the group’s repertoire, but has remained unreleased until now. The song—one of the first recordings made in the Mastodon-run Ember City Rehearsal Studios in Atlanta’s Capitol View neighborhood—is the opening number on Medium Rarities, a 16-song compilation gathering odds and ends from the past 20 years of the group’s history—7-inch singles, “White Walker” from the Game of Thrones soundtrack, instrumental outtakes, and various live recordings including a scorching rendition of Metallica’s “Orion.”

“Fallen Torches” also features a guest vocal growl courtesy of Scott Kelly of Neurosis. True to Mastodon form, the song could embody the perfect metaphor for American politics, the global climate crisis, human interaction eroding in the face of the internet … Or not. When taken at face value “Fallen Torches” is a white-hot neckbreaker driven by mammoth riffs and rhythms that rival the almighty white whale behind Mastodon’s classic 2004 LP Leviathan. Meaning lies in the ears of the beholder, albeit quite ferocious.

Medium Rarities is out September 11 via Reprise Records. In the meantime, check out another brand new Mastodon scorcher, “Rufus Lives,” which appears on the Bill & Ted Face The Music soundtrack.

Medium Rarities photo courtesy Reprise Records