Record Plug: Warm Red

When you’re out and about this weekend, hitting up records stores, coffee shops, or just grabbing a beer somewhere, be sure to pick up a copy of the September issue of Record Plug Magazine.

For this issue, I had the chance to catch up with Warm Red before their show at the Earl a little earlier this month, and to talk about their debut album, Decades of Breakfast (State Laughter). Press play below.

Also, this issues features cool write ups on AthFest (Sept. 24-26), Skin Jobs, Entertainment, the upcoming Southern Surf Stompfest (Oct. 2), and a whole lot more.

The website is here, but print is where all of the stories live, and copies are strategically placed all around metro Atlanta and Athens. … I grabbed my copy at Drip Coffee in Hapeville, but I saw it at Wax-n-Facts and Wuxtry as well.

Keeping scrolling downward to read my Warm Red feature story, and check out those killer live shots courtesy of Mike White at Dead Designs photography.


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Mastodon unveils new video for ‘Pushing the Tides’


Before the weekend gets underway, be advised that hometown metal titan Mastodon has rolled out a new video for the song “Pushing the Tides.”

It’s the first look and listen to the upcoming ninth album, Hushed and Grim, out October 29 via Reprise Records, just in time for Halloween. It’s a scorcher, too—a new number with a touch of that old Leviathan vibe right out of the gate.

The album was produced by David Bottrill (Peter Gabriel, Rush, Tool) and features a guest appearance by Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil. More info coming soon. In the meantime, press play and click the album cover below, courtesy of Paul Romano (Remission, Leviathan, Call of the Mastodon, Blood Mountain, Crack The Skye), for pre-order info.

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New Music: Takénobu’s ‘Got to Get By’

Nick Ogawa (left) and Kathryn Koch. Photo by Steve West

For your weekend listening stack, Takénobu returns with a new song titled “Got to Get By.”

This latest release is the third single from the upcoming self-released album, Always Leave a Note, due out September 3.

Here, singer and cellist Nick Ogawa and wife, singer and violin player Kathryn Koch, strike a balance between their music’s dramatic pop inflections and the sense of lingering unease that came with life amid a global pandemic. Naturally, the title serves as a mantra of endurance and catharsis. The strength of their songwriting and their earnest delivery also show off new depth and direction, offering a hint at the direction of the new album.

Press play below.

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GUEST EDITOR: Tom Cheshire in conversation with Jordan Berardo of Golden Frown

Jordan Berardo aka Golden Frown.

Ladies and gentlemen this is Golden Frown, this dude has songs.

Jordan Berardo aka Golden Frown, sounds like Roky Erickson partying with Joey Ramone on certain nights, other nights he sounds like Jay Reatard partying with Neil Young. It doesn’t matter, because his songs always sound great. They sound like snippets of a psychopath and dreams of a child, and echoes in the desert. This is a very honest conversation we had on a Saturday morning.

Hope you enjoy. 

Tom Cheshire: Good Morning. 

Jordan Berardo: How you doing? Give me a minute. I just woke up, it’s a.m. Alabama time. 

What is a normal day for you these days? What do you do, what is the songwriting process. 

Life feels great these days. Every day I wake up feels like a gift. Making music is a gift, and I take advantage of it. Cleaning up my act was a gift. There’s no turning back now. My only goal is to be a musician, so when I wake up, I live and breathe music and writing songs.

Can you talk about your past, your drug use?

I’m very transparent about my past. No one is perfect. I started meds when I was 14. I started self medicating in 2000. I’ve made my mistakes, I’ve had my addictions. I died in 2007 from a methadone overdose and came back to life. I’ve died eight times because of my addiction. The last time I died was the beginning of my new life. I was on heroin. I got off it and all drugs and began my new life as a musician. I started writing songs. I use my past to help me with my songs. I will write 15 songs in a day some days, and I talk about my struggles, tell my life story.

Tell me about these songs. 

These songs aren’t love songs. They are what happen in my mind. They are stories I learned from. My music is a love song to the road, the romance of life.

Sounds like you’re in a relationship with your songs. 

I am. Nothing can touch you when you’re on the highway. No one can touch you when you’re in the moment, writing songs. My romance is the music. I’m in a relationship with my songs and with the road. I just sit down and the music just comes out of me.

Tell me about the lyrics. 

Well the lyrics are my story about my past, but I write them all freestyle off the cuff in the studio. I come up with the music on the guitar, that’s all written out. Then I get in the studio in front of the microphone and in five minutes I have a brand new song.

You’ve developed a wonderful working relationship with Peter Mavrogeorgis (Tav Falco’s Panther Burns, Twisty Cats) who is recording you and producing your record.

Peter has been amazing. We have a lot in common. We are both artists and eccentric. I love the way he works. He knows exactly what I need. He’s such a great musician and has such a great ear. We have a great system down, so why change it or fix it, if it works already. We have two albums done already and we are writing more.

Tell me about this record. When will it be out?

This will be a four-song EP and it’s coming out July 23. I am calling it Gone Are the Lemon Trees and I think it’s the best stuff I’ve written in my life. The title is a Kinks reference.

I love it and can’t wait for you to share it with the world. Anything else you want to share with our readers.

Everybody loves an underdog. Ruff Ruff Mother Fuckers, and that’s me. I’ve come out of the darkness and now I’m alive. My story is a second chance story. Please give me a chance, and listen to the songs. I’m going to continue writing songs every day, and perfect my craft, and hit the road and play these songs. Check me out, this dude has songs.

Thank you Jordan, and long live Golden Frown.

Golden Frown’s four-song EP Gone Are the Lemon Trees is out July 23.

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Teenage Bottlerocket’s Miguel Chen talks life after the pandemic, internet drama vs. the real world, and what’s in store with ‘Sick Sesh!’

TEENAGE BOTTLEROCKET: Kody Templeman (from left), Ray Carlisle, Darren Chewka, and Miguel Chen. Photo courtesy Fat Wreck Chords.

Teenage Bottlerocket is on the road again. Originally hailing from Laramie, Wyoming, the rapid-fire pop punk outfit is on the heels of releasing a new single, titled “Ghost Story.” Bass player Miguel Chen took a few minutes between gigs to talk about playing live punk rock shows as the pandemic winds down, the music’s power to unite people, and what’s in store with the group’s next record, Sick Sesh! (out August 27 via Fat Wreck Chords).

Were you nervous, or feeling anxiety about taking Teenage Bottlerocket out on the road while the pandemic is still winding down?

Absolutely, we felt nervous all around. Our first concern was how do we get back out there and do it in a safe way? And how do we do it without a lot of backlash? We worked with a lot of promoters trying to figure it out. Once that started to settle into place a second wave of anxiety came with this one particular show where we were giving a … let’s call it a discount. Essentially, tickets for the show were $1,000, but if you showed your vaccination card it was like $20.

Talk about a conversation starter!

Yeah, it was a crazy promotional thing, but it blew up. The next thing you know we’re being interviewed by CNN about it. We’re on the front page of Apple News, all of this crazy stuff. People just saw the headlines: “Teenage Bottlerocket,” “No Vax Tax.” That angered a lot of people. So we went on the news and tried to explain that it’s just this one show. There are many other shows doing different things. So yeah, definitely anxiety from all angles.

Honestly, though, this has probably been the smoothest running tour we’ve ever had. Turns out it was all imaginary stress and drama, or internet stuff that seemed so real. But when you get out into the real world, it’s just not there. 

That’s interesting to process. The internet has been everybody’s window to the world for like a year and a half. People have been stuck at home, staring at their phones and computers. All of the sudden “no vax tax” becomes the frontline.

That was just that one promoter’s idea. Obviously it worked well, that show sold out super fast, and everybody there was really happy. For us, if that’s how they want to put on a safe show, we’re all about it. But it turned into a whole big thing. 

Does it feel like audiences have been bottled up and are ready to just go nuts like never before?

A thousand percent, yes. And funny enough, the last real tour we did was a lot of these same cities. Lots of shows in Florida just before the pandemic shut everything down. We played Atlanta on that tour. And here we are, passing back through Florida, heading for Atlanta. For a lot of people we were the last show they saw before everything shut down. Now we’re the first show they’re seeing as everything opens up. 

Have you had epiphanes or realizations along the way about the dynamics or the value of getting out on stage and playing live punk rock shows again? 

Yeah, and it all connects back to what we were just talking about with the internet. There’s this space that exists within music, and particularly surrounding live music. On some level it reminds us that we’re not all as different as we think we are. We’re all connected in some really meaningful ways. And I think that this whole thing where everyone has existed on the internet for the last year and a half has deepened some divides and made people lose that common ground. I have the feeling that getting back to live music and live shows is going to heal that aspect, and help people realize that we’re all the same on some level. 

Have you noticed your audiences becoming more diverse?

We had one particular show in Tallahassee where we all noticed that the crowd was really young. Our band exists in a weird space between the old and the new. So we played this really awesome place in Tallahassee called the Bark; it’s  a really Queer-friendly, LGBTQ-friendly, and diverse collective, where we all recognized that we have these types of fans. We are lucky in that we didn’t get stuck with just like the punks who are stuck in the ‘90s. We’ve been embraced by the 2000s punks too! We talked with this one fan at that show—I’ve actually had this conversation two times this year—where they said, “I’ve been listening to you since I was nine or 10 years old because you’re my parents’ favorite band.” That’s really fun, but the younger generation will always inherently bring a bit more diversity, and hopefully that continues forever.

You have a new album, Sick Sesh!, out in August. Are these songs a product of how the band spent its time during quarantine, or were they in the works before everything went crazy?

We definitely had plans to do a record before everything went nuts. Our system has always been to do a record every two years. The plan was always to go into the studio late 2020 and release a record in 2021. It just kept getting shifted back because of all his stuff. Under the original timeline the record would already be out. But you can’t release a record if you can’t tour around it. So we sat on this thing for quite a while. Andrew and Jason at the Blasting Room remixed and remastered it quite a few times because I think they were just like us, bored without the usual workload. 

I’ve always thought of Teenage Bottlerocket as a band that’s super tight, super concise, shotgun blast-style songwriting. …  Point being there’s never anything in the way of the song. With so much time to work in the studio, did that affect the record? 

I think all of the extra time and effort went into stripping it down or making it a little more raw. A lot of bands, given that much time in post-production, might’ve gone the opposite direction: give it more polish, make it more radio friendly. Our approach was, “This sounds too clean. Tone back the production a little.”

I have found that the more time you spend stripping something down, the more you realize that, oftentimes, things that feel essential aren’t essential at all. As a journalist I’m always under pressure to cut, cut, cut. It’s a painful process, but once you have time to reflect you can see that there was too much in the way of what you’re trying to say.  

Do you watch Top Chef? I think about that a lot. The chefs who always kick ass are the ones who know how to edit themselves—take ingredients off the plate and present something simple, and do it well. This is Top Chef Bottlerocket. [laughs]

There is a new single out, called “Ghost Story.” Much of the press points out that you wrote the lyrics. Does the group have one principal songwriter, or is it generally a group effort?

Generally Ray writes the songs that he sings and Kody writes the song that he sings. Brandon would write a song once in a while. Over the last few years—since we lost Brandon—I’ve tried to step up a little more and bring songs to the table. I’ve got three on this record: One called “The Squirrel” and another called “Moving On.” Kody sings on one of them. Ray sings on two of them.

Is the band rolling out a lot of new songs on this tour?

We’re doing “Ghost Story” every night because, obviously, it was sort of intentional to release that song before going on tour, and people already seem to know it, which is a great feeling. We’re trying to play one other new song each night, which is fun for us. So many of the songs we’ve been playing for a long time. It’s nice to play new songs that are fresh and that we’re excited about. But the crowd wants to hear “Skate Or Die” or “Don’t Want To Go,” or “Radio,” things like that. So as much as part of me would love to do a show where it’s only the new record, you just can’t do that. 

How many songs do you power through each night?

I’d say we probably play 25 songs each night.

That’s a workout!

Yeah, but it’s our only workout, so we need this! 

While we’re talking about songs, when I hear “I Want To Be A Dog,” I am instantly thinking about Iggy Pop’s song, “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” These songs are polar opposites of each other, but was there intentional mirroring going on there? 

Tony wrote that song, and I’m sure there is. We’re all Iggy Pop guys. One time we played Riot Fest with Iggy Pop, and me and Ray saw him backstage. I was frozen—scared to do anything. Ray just puts his fist up in the air, and says, “Fuck yeah, Iggy!” And he gave us a fist bump back. We were both so pumped after that. 

But, yeah, I’m sure there’s a loose connection there. Obviously we tip our hats to our influences. You know “In The Basement,” back on “Warning Device,” is obviously like a Ramones song.

While I’m thinking about “I Want To Be A Dog,” I remember we filmed it and got the edit back, and there’s all these dogs taking a shit. We thought, “There is no way our publicist will let this fly. She’s going to shoot it down, make us edit it. So we hit the send button, and nervously waited for her reply.  She just wrote back, “I love it!” And that was it. The video was released. Then Erin, one of the owners of Fat Wreck Chords wrote, “I really could have done without all of the dog poop, guys.” So we’re all like, “Sorry …” [laughs].

That’s funny, but the more I’ve watched that video the less jarring it becomes. Plus anyone who owns a dog knows that’s what dogs do at the dog park. 

Yeah, you get desensitized to it pretty quickly. [laughs]

Teenage Bottlerocket and their Fat Wreck Chords labelmates MakeWar join Atlanta’s Breaux for an evening of outdoor music on the loading dock at Boggs Social & Supply. Thursday, July 1. $17 (adv). $20 (day of show). 7 p.m. (doors). 1310 White Street SW.

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High Key Disco feat. Treasure Fingers & Jeremy Avalon every Tuesday night at MJQ

Jeremy Avalon (left) and Treasure Fingers. Photo by Sao Hennyshot

High Key Disco is a weekly residency featuring Treasure Fingers and Jeremy Avalon—two of Atlanta’s premier DJs spinning electronic music, funk, and disco in the cafe at MJQ. $5. Every Tuesday night from 11 p.m.-3 a.m.

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Tears For the Dying evokes shocking, B-horror vibes with new single, ‘Mortuary’

Tears For the Dying‘s singer and multi-instrumentalist Adria Stembridge is living in Athens these days, methodically working with two new musicians—bass player Zakki Kartoffel and guitar player Morgona Widow—to solidify a new lineup. 

The group’s latest single, “Mortuary,” has been making the rounds since May. Stembridge tracked the single by herself earlier this year, but with lyrics such as “Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, purified flesh chase you tonight. No eyes to see, just slash and dine, screams on dead ears, kill to survive! Screaming bodies in the mortuary. Screaming bodies in the laboratory,” it’s no less vexing in its creepy and death-afflicted goth-punk and metal imagery.

“I loved the main guitar riff but wanted to add an extra strings track that subtly alludes to the B-horror movie soundtrack technique of shocking the audience with a sharp musical stroke,” Stembridge says. “I feel like everyone is zombied out, given the huge number of zombie movies and shows over the past decade or so, but I haven’t heard many modern goth/deathrock bands explore the vibe in music.”

Stembridge worked with legendary March Violets guitarist-turned producer Tom Ashton (Vision Video, Entertainment, Hip To Death) at Subvon Studio in Athens to record multiple versions of “Mortuary.” One is a raw, guitars-only mix, and a third version is synths-only. Keep an eye out for different versions of the song to appear later this summer.

With the new lineup in place, Stembridge, who has handled much of the guitar and bass playing duties in the group, will now focus mainly on guitar and voice.

A new album is also in the works.

In the meantime, the group’s first show back from the pandemic is Fri., Aug. 13, at Flicker Bar in Athens. Tears for the Dying will also appear at the forthcoming VOTH (vegan goth food + dark music festival) on Oct. 15.

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Neon Christ: A brief history of ‘1984’


Back in May, I had the privilege of hanging out after hours at Wuxtry Records’ Atlanta shop to interview Randy DuTeau, Jimmy Demer, Danny Lankford, and William DuVall of Neon Christ for this documentary film, directed by Nicol Eltzroth Rosendorf.

We talked about the formation of the group and their history together amid Atlanta’s early ‘80s hardcore scene, and the all-analog remastering process that yielded NX’s recently released discography LP, 1984 (Southern Lord/DVL Records).

If you weren’t able to track down a copy of the Record Store Day red vinyl edition of Neon Christ’s 1984 LP, no worries. A second press is set to arrive in September, pressed on black and coke-bottle clear vinyl. Both versions are available for pre-order at the Southern Lord Recordings store.

If you weren’t able to track down a copy of the Record Store Day red vinyl edition of Neon Christ’s 1984 LP, no worries. A second press is on the way, pressed on black and coke-bottle clear vinyl. Both are up for pre-order at the Southern Lord Recordings store.

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Free Parking w/ Kevn Kinney returns Tuesday, June 22

Free Parking is back!

After taking a few weeks off to play some Drivin’ N Cryin’ shows in real life Kevn Kinney is back on the internet—back in the attic—this Tuesday, June 22, to perform a round of solo acoustic numbers, tell some stories, and maybe play a cover or two, maybe some new songs. Maybe some guests. … There are no rules here.

It’s free to watch, donations are accepted. Music starts at 8 p.m. Eastern and goes till about 10 p.m. Tune in via Drivin’ N ‘Cryin’s Facebook page and leave a whole bunch of ❤️ 👍 😂 ❤️ 👍 🤑 ❤️ in the comments.

If the virtual experience leaves you wanting more, and your up for a day trip, Kevn has some solo shows coming up in July.