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.

With ‘Dirt Yard Street’ Clay Harper is at home in the world

Clay Harper. Photo by Kali Vermes.


Just five words — “I believe this is home.”

The title track that opens Clay Harper’s latest album, Dirt Yard Street, culminates with an intimate mantra repeated over and over again. The song is a quiet salvo that brings a lifelong journey for the beloved singer and songwriter to a place of peaceful acceptance. It’s also the beginning of a new chapter for Harper. Every lingering note and every story told throughout Dirt Yard Street feels like a snapshot capturing a night-in-the-life from long ago, when desperate and beautiful characters wandered hopelessly into the blackness of night on the unforgiving streets of Atlanta, GA, New York City, and Paris, France—all cities where Harper has lived and struggled, but never felt settled.

Forever searching for a place to call home, Harper has navigated a long career championing the underdog with bittersweet songs filled with lyrical dramatics that exist outside the realm of punk, new wave, and rock ‘n’ roll. Over the years, he has teamed up with countless gifted musicians, who’ve helped him bestow his words with colorful musical arrangements—each performer leaving a lasting impression on him. The characters that live in Harper’s songs have always been a world-weary bunch. With Dirt Yard Street, their broken spirits ascend to a higher level; the dark horses become vessels for reconciliation. As the album proves, though, when finding resolve in life, the only way out is through.

Dirt Yard Street is also a companion, of sorts, pushing beyond his 2018 CD, Bleak Beauty. If that album is taken as a meditation on death and losing the love of his life to cancer, leaving an awful lot of unfinished business behind, Dirt Yard Street is about finding new balance in life and moving forward. Each song takes a lingering and glassy-eyed look back at characters with whom he has crossed paths over the years, who now personify abstract emotional states—grief, wonder, strength, and defeat. For as rich as this all sounds, Harper seems reluctant to spell out the haunting nuances and thick atmosphere of Dirt Yard Street using such simple terms.

“The theme of the album, if you want to boil it down to that, is about trying to find your place in this world, where you are at home,” Harper says. “How do you accept that instead of continually plotting to change it?”

Harper’s songwriting has never shied away from the dark side of the human condition. In 1988, his band the Coolies released Doug, a bombastic rock opera that tells a tale about a skinhead who murders a transvestite who works as a cook. As the story unfolds, the antihero finds a life of fame and riches after selling his victim’s cookbook, only to fall victim himself to the indulgences that fame brings. Doug was the follow-up to the Coolies’ 1986 debut album, Dig ..?, a 10-song LP featuring nihilistic punk covers of Simon & Garfunkel songs, released by DB Recs, early home to Pylon, the B-52’s, Kevin Dunn, and more.


Other albums are steeped in broad strokes of off-the-wall themes that extend beyond the music. His 1998 collaboration with brother Mark Harper, titled Not Dogs…Too Simple (A Tale Of Two Kitties), falls somewhere between a children’s album and a rock opera and features contributions from Ian Dury, Moe Tucker of the Velvet Underground, Cindy Wilson of the B-52’s, and illustrations by cartoonist Jack Logan. A 2000 collaboration with Kevn Kinney of Drivin N Cryin titled Main Street is a soundtrack to a film that does not exist, complete with vignettes of turbulent dialogue piecing a story together.

“Clay can delve into extremely dark material while maintaining a sense of sweetness and innocence,” Kinney says. “He is cinematic in how he writes songs that tell stories, and he’s not afraid to try radically different things! There have been times when he played a song for me, something he’d played for me before, but as a reggae song. Now it’s played with a harp, or in a totally different way. He has an ability to see how multifaceted a song is, and how its meaning can become something totally different.”

Kinney and Harper have been friends since they met in the Atlanta music scene circa 1985. They’ve worked together on many releases. Kinney is credited as a co-writer of the song “Come To My House,” on Dirt Yard Street. The song, which is built around the structure of Zen philosopher Alan Watts reciting the words “I love you.” Taken at face value, “Come To My House” exposes Harper’s desire for a lasting connection with others, while pushing away from superficial relationships.

Harper’s 2013 CD Old Airport Road builds story elements based on recordings he made from a telepersonals phone number—prostitution ads. In the album’s opener, “Ole Ray,” Atlanta’s Empress of the Blues, Sandra Hall, blurts out, “Hey motherfucker!” over and over again. From there, the album hangs in a balance of absurd hilarity and utter tragedy

“I have always looked at things in multidimensional ways,” Harper says. “I used to listen to movie soundtracks when I was a kid. Often, there were little clips from the actual movie between songs. I always loved that.”

The goal for many of his recording projects was to introduce additional forms of art—layers of entertainment—under the guise of a simple record. Bleak Beauty marked a sea change, taking shape as a truly identifiable work of art. On the surface,the album functions like a straight-ahead song-to-song listening experience. But the honesty and eloquence poured into each number is palpable. Songs such as “The Kindness Of Strangers,” “Let Me Sleep, I’m So Tired,” and “I’m Not High” embrace a real-time exploration of personal heartache to a degree that reaches deeper and higher than most contemporary musical experiences.


Dirt Yard Street picks up where Bleak Beauty left off; the music is set in motion by sparse and lilting dulcimer strings picked by Tom Gray, who is best known for fronting ’80s new wave band the Brains and the alternative Americana act Delta Moon. Harper and Gray have been friends since the ’80s, and Gray has played on several of Harper’s projects over the years, including many released throughout the ’90s on Harper’s Casino Music, which was owned and operated by Harper and producer, cover artist, and former road manager of the Clash, Kosmo Vinyl. Casino Royale was a vinyl offshoot label used primarily as a vehicle for the “Clay Harper 45 of the month club” subscription series, featuring mostly singles by Harper, along with one-off 7-inches by Drivin N Cryin and the New York City band Jack Black.

Over the years, Tom Gray’s band Delta Moon has also cut several tracks as Harper’s rhythm section. With “Dirt Yard Street,” the two artists keep the song bare-bones and ease their way into a spacious and warm resonance. Harper’s voice drifts over Gray’s bronze dulcimer and Dobro strings, opening the door for songs with titles such as “All the Mail Comes To Neighbor,” “Life On a Windowsill,” and “Somewhere There’s a Fire Waiting.” Each one moves with a ghostly traipse, carved out of heavy emotional atmosphere and texture.

Every song tells its own story, but when taken in as a whole, the album undulates with memories and ideas drifting in and out of focus, like a soft, poetic dreamscape echoing Harper’s life. It’s not nostalgia he’s after. But from the first few notes of “Dirt Yard Street,” Harper revels in his powerful and evocative reminiscence before moving on.

“Clay knew precisely what he wanted on the dulcimer, and I stuck to that,” Gray says. “Then he turned around and gave me free rein on the Dobro. I had no clue about what he had in mind for the album’s bigger picture. We focused on the song.”

As the album unfolds, different configurations of musicians, including Gray, pianist Chris Case, saxophone player Eric Fontaine, bass player Jordan Dayan, guitar players Mark Harper and Keith Joyner, backing vocalist Marshall Ruffin, banjo player Rick Taylor, and violin player Ana Balka fill out the arrangements for each number.

The basic idea for each song is formed before other musicians come in to help bring the material to life. Lyrics are Harper’s forte, and there’s a deliberate sound that he wants to achieve with each piece of music. “He is a fan of slow and sparse, slower than some folks are comfortable with,” says Chris Case, who plays on many songs throughout Bleak Beauty and Dirt Yard Street. “The arrangements are simple, but they require a lot of restraint to play well. I try to always keep in mind the characters he is describing—his directions are mostly about the story,” he adds.

Case goes on to say that Harper represents the best parts of this city. “He is fiercely independent, and not afraid to mix it up with the unsung and unwashed. His lyrics tend to be little character studies of people on the edge, homeless drunken sunrises, down-on-their-luck lovers. I’m always like, ‘Oh yeah, I know these people.’”

In May of 2018, Case joined Harper, guitar player Marshall Ruffin, and bass player Jordan Dayan for a month-long residency at Avondale Towne Cinema. “My favorite time was when we were working up a track for those Avondale shows and he was like, ‘Hmmm … It’s too happy right now. I need it to sound like somebody who’s drunk outside the liquor store in the morning waiting to open so they can buy a rope.’ That’s direction I can work with!”

The Ottoman Empire: Lester Square.

Another player on the album, Ana Balka, moved to Atlanta from San Francisco in May of 1993. She met Clay and Mark, who needed a violin player for their band, the Ottoman Empire. The band’s album Lester Square had already been recorded with Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl playing violin, and Pearl had recently left town for work. Balka took up violin in the group and played several shows throughout the winter and spring, and then she left town as well.

The Ottoman Empire’s 2004 album, Ottoman Gold, was produced by Eric Goulden, aka Wreckless Eric, who scored his most famous hit with the 1977 single “Whole Wide World” for Stiff Records. Wreckless Eric played throughout Ottoman Gold and took the lead vocal on the song “Stages.” He and Harper continued working together over the years on several albums, including Harper’s 1997 CD, East of Easter.

In his impressionistic way, Harper relives the story of traveling to Paris and getting to know Wreckless Eric in the early ’90s in the song called “Life on a Windowsill.”

“I had always been a fan of Wreckless Eric,” Harper says. “I got to see him play at the Agora in ’78, when he came through with the Stiffs. I loved those records; they really made an impression on me, but then he disappeared. At some point I went into Wax N Facts in Little Five Points and I found his Le Beat Group Électrique LP, which had just come out, and it was mind-blowing. It was low-fi, nothing like I was expecting, and I wouldn’t stop listening to it. I thought, ‘Okay, I gotta go find him!’”

Harper made a pilgrimage to Paris, where he met guitar player Martin Stone. The late guitarist Stone had played in the Pink Fairies, Savoy Brown, and alongside the Residents’ guitarist Snakefinger in the bands Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers. He was on a shortlist to replace Brian Jones in the Rolling Stones, and as it turns out, Wreckless Eric had been playing guitar with him. Harper and Stone became friends, but he did not meet Eric on that trip.

Later, he found out that Stone and Eric were playing a show together at a club near the Bastille called Au Père Tranquille. So he made a second trek to Paris, and they became friends. “‘Life On A Windowsill’ is all me and Eric walking down the Rue Saint-Denis, which used to be the hooker track in Paris,” Harper says. “It’s all changed now.”

Harper’s residency at Avondale Towne Cinema coincided with the release of Bleak Beauty and brought together people from all areas and eras of his life. “I think on the second Tuesday of that run Clay introduced me to Murray Attaway of Guadalcanal Diary and suggested we work something up for the final Tuesday, when people were covering some of Clay’s songs from throughout the years,” Ana Balka says.

Attaway and Balka hit it off immediately and shared in the chemistry that the weekly mix of themed music and spoken word performances conjured up. Their contribution to the final night of the residency included a take on “Train” from the Ottoman Empire’s Lester Square and a mashup of “Poverty” and “Coke Light Ice” from the Coolies’ Doug.

Kevn Kinney (left) and Clay Harper during the May 2018 residency at Avondale Towne Cinema. Photo by Ana Balka.


“It’s important to make events reflect, pay respect, and bring together the art community of Atlanta,” Harper says. “That was the goal. Not, ‘I like that band … I hate that band,’ but more like, ‘Let’s see what’s happening’ and then maybe … let’s do something!’”

Each night, the program began with conversations between people who’ve been a part of Harper’s life: Kosmo Vinyl told stories about his work as an artist before, during, and after his time with the Clash. Lawyer Daniel Kane hosted a talk called “Meet the Convicts,” examining life in and out of the American prison system. Author Anthony DeCurtis read from and discussed his recent biography, Lou Reed: A Life. He also performed a live set, singing Lou Reed songs with Andy Browne of the band Lynx Deluxe and formerly of the Nightporters. Ponce De Leon Ave. impresario Tom Zarrilli explored the city’s art and performance scene from the late ’70s with a talk titled “So you think you know Atlanta,” with guests including Clare Butler of the Now Explosion. Other artists such as Evereman, The Real Frank Tee, Sad Stove, and more were also featured throughout the month.

“The whole month was a great example of the way he connects people and ideas, and isn’t afraid to go out on a limb to make things happen,” Balka adds.

For Dirt Yard Street, Balka was enlisted to play strings on two deep cuts on the B-side, “All the Mail Comes to Neighbor” and “Somewhere There’s a Fire Waiting.”

“Clay had a clear idea of the kind of sound he was looking for on ‘All the Mail …,’” Balka says. “An unembellished, straightforward and minimal tone. Which was what the song needed, and what seemed true, so that was easy. These songs aren’t looking for backflips or ornate flourishes. He wants textures to create an atmosphere and to hold up a narrative woven from some pretty heavy emotions.”

After they whittled down a few ideas together, Balka’s part in “Somewhere There’s a Fire Waiting” took shape in a simple line. “We work well together because, while I love sussing out whatever it is that a song I didn’t write needs from me—if anything—it’s also great when the writer has a clear idea of what they’re looking for,” Balka says. “When you hear it the same way they do and can make the right thing happen, that’s the best.”

For Harper, Atlanta is home for all intents and purposes. He co-founded the La Fonda Latina and Fellini’s Pizza restaurant chains with business partner Mike Nelson. When not writing and recording music he’s also involved in various other endeavors. In May of 2019, he partnered with Tom Zarrilli to open Gallery 378, a low-key art gallery and performance space in Candler Park around the corner from The Flying Biscuit Café. The gallery was established as a pop-up space for underdog artists, and has hosted openings by Avondale Estates painter Jim Wakeman, titled “A Slice of the Pop Culture Pie,” as well as openings by The Real Frank Tee, Lisa Shinault Fratesi, Rose M. Barron, Atlanta rock photographer Rick Diamond, and more. Drivin N Cryin played a full band set there. Kevn Kinney and Tim Nielsen, and Harper himself have performed live acoustic performances there as well.

Clay Harper: Dirt Yard Street.

The cover art for Dirt Yard Street features a photograph of a half-cluttered, half-bucolic neighborhood scene taken in Carrollton, Georgia. One of the houses in the background is where Harper’s family lived after moving there from Philadelphia when he was just a kid. “That’s where the album’s title comes from,” Harper says. “It was such a rough transitional period, you know? You look at these houses and you understand that whatever it was that happened in your life could have easily led you there. I was led there beyond my control, and I could be there. It’s not like it’s the worst place in the world to be, but that ain’t where I want to be.”

With two masterfully created albums behind him — Bleak Beauty and Dirt Yard Street — Harper is at home in the world.

— Chad Radford

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!

Eyedrum returns!

Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery has announced a new location opening in early 2021 at 515 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd., in a historic industrial corridor near the West End, Pittsburgh, Mechanicsville, and Adair Park.

In a press release issued September 29, Eyedrum states that this new location will feature a “flexible 3,000 square-foot interior including a small dedicated gallery, an outdoor stage, and a courtyard for programming.”

The press release also states that Eyedrum will carry on with its legacy as “a home to underserved, emerging artists, musicians, filmmakers, and writers. In times of uncertainty, members of the community need arts spaces now more than ever.”

In June of 2018, Eyedrum, along with fellow DIY arts and music space Mammal were forced to close after a nearby fire on Broad Street SW left one man dead. Soon after, both business were forced to leave their Downtown locations permanently.

Two years later, Eyedrum’s announcement comes as a beacon of hope for an underserved community of artists and musicians. In a 2011 CL cover story that I co-authored with Wyatt Williams, title Eyedrum: An Oral History, we described that scene as “those willing to embrace music and arts that are as contemptuous as they were conscientious. Indie rock acts as varied as Oneida, Don Caballero, and the Black Heart Procession to Simeon Coxe of the Silver Apples to DJ Cut Chemist all performed there amid exhibitions with titles such as The Penis Show, Switch, and Liquid Smoke.”

With the recent closure of the Bakery in Oakland City, Atlanta needs a venue that this community can call home, now more than ever.

515 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd.

Eyedrum’s new home sits adjacent to Parts Authority, an automobile parts and supplies facility.

Deisha Oliver, a member of Eyedrum’s board of directors, says the gallery and performance venue is renting “a 3,000 square foot portion of 515. The building owner has been so kind as to do the needed build out of our portion of that space.”

To keep Eyedrum’s endeavors moving forward, an effort to raise funds is underway, with plans to facilitate virtual programming, and to support the staff and curatorial budget for the next five years. A new website is planned for launch soon, which will offer membership options.

In the meantime, click here to donate to Eyedrum.

More information will be available here as soon as it becomes available.

Read more about the history of Eyedrum.

Eyedrum: An Oral History by Chad Radford and Wyatt Williams 
Eyedrum Turns 20 by Chad Radford and Doug DeLoach
Breathing new life into South Downtown: Can Atlanta’s arts communities survive and thrive in an area primed for drastic change? by Sean Keenan
Can Downtown’s art scene survive developers? “We’re faced with a challenge posed by a city developing too quickly” by Sean Keenan
Downtown DIY heads out: Mammal Gallery and Eyedrum face the end of an era by Chad Radford and Sean Keenan

Kevn Kinney’s ‘Free Parking’ live on Facebook Friday, October 2

On Friday, October 2, Kevn Kinney of Drivin N Cryin is back to play another installment of his monthly “Free Parking” live-streaming sets on Facebook. Kevn will play some Drivin N Cryin classics and deep cuts along with some newer numbers he’s written. He’ll tell stories, tell jokes, and he might even offer up a few cover tunes, and he’s taking requests!

It’s a pay-what-you’d-like affair. Tune in from 8-11 p.m via Drivin N Cryin’s Facebook page.

In the meantime, press play below to hear my April 2019 podcast interview in which Kinney talks about reconnecting with Drivin N Cryin’s first LP, the group’s most recent album, Live the Love Beautiful, and looking within himself to find true happiness.

We’re Not Here to Entertain: Punk rock, Ronald Reagan, and the real culture war of 1980s America

The specter of nuclear annihilation that hung over the Reagan era feels somewhat quaint now, in light of just how much President Trump’s draconian administration, the global pandemic, and the oppressive grind of social media have twisted up the American psyche circa 2020. Still, the 1980s were a fertile time for punk rock’s cultural growth on American soil.

In We’re Not Here to Entertain: Punk Rock, Ronald Reagan, and the Real Culture War of 1980s America, author and Connor Study Professor of Contemporary History at Ohio University Kevin Mattson delves into the golden era of hardcore, punk and DIY culture blooming in the shadow of the Gipper. Countering the oppressive forces of a conservative White House regime, a community bound by the music of groups such as the Dead Kennedys, the Dils, Minor Threat, the Avengers, Hüsker Dü, Bad Brains, Black Flag, and more was compelled to enact empowering social change that still resonates around the planet.

On Tuesday, September 29, Mattson will join GSU history professor and author John McMillian (Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media in America, Beatles vs. Stones) and yours truly, music writer and editor Chad Radford, to discuss the book, the music, and more.

Tues., Sept. 29. 7 p.m. It’s free to sign in for our Zoom conversation. Head over to www.acappellabooks.com for details.

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.