Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Don’t call them cute!

Saturday, July 4th, 2009


Brooklyn couple Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino are dance-punk duo Matt & Kim, a highly touted act often described as “cute.” Though that description annoys them, it’s hard to deny; their enthusiastic personalities and contrasting physical features make one want to draw them into a bear hug. He’s tall and pale and wears Asics, she’s short and olive-complexioned and wears big hoop earrings. Even when they disagree it’s adorable.

“Matt’s pretty good at convincing me to do shit I don’t want to do,” imparts Kim, the duo’s drummer. “In the ‘Yea Yeah’ video he was like, ‘We’re going to have food thrown at us.’ I was like, ‘That does not sound fun.'” (Rest assured that watching the pair splattered with cream pies, pizza and ketchup was fun for the viewer, however.)

 By Ben Westhoff Creative Loafing

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Dead Confederates: Coming to life

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009


It’s been an eventful year for Dead Confederate. Since last September’s release of the debut LP Wrecking Ball, they’ve appeared on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and recently finished a tour with childhood heroes Dinosaur Jr. This weekend, the Athens quintet pulls double-duty closer to home, performing at both AthFest and Corndogorama.

Dead Confederate’s sultry psych rumble evokes a range of acts including Pink Floyd’s spacey atmospherics, the Black Angels’ primal drone, and My Morning Jacket’s Southern-fried guitar rawk. They came into existence in the late ’90s as the jam-oriented act Red Belly Band. After graduating from college, they set about pursuing music in earnest, embarking on a new sound, name and outlook.

“We fell in love with creating music all over again,” says singer/guitarist Hardy Morris. “We were floundering as a college band that didn’t take themselves too seriously. Then we started writing some songs that really mattered to us and it took on a whole ’nother level.”

By Chris Parker     Creative Loafing 

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Tattoo artist shows his skills in the music business

Thursday, June 18th, 2009


By day, Corey Davis tattoos images on clients at Atlanta’s City of Ink. In his spare time, he tailors his own image as a member of Mach 5 and reimagines Atlanta’s underground hip-hop scene as co-founder of the second annual Atlanta Indie Music and Arts Festival.

In Davis’ lexicon, “indie” is more than a musical genre; it’s a blueprint for success. “You can’t really depend on people to handle stuff like you really want to,” he says regarding his leap from performer to promoter.  “Nobody puts as much care into it as you would yourself.”

Davis’ own hustle developed as a result of promoting Mach 5, the duo he started six years ago with festival co-founder A. Ware when they were still North Springs High School juniors. “I studied advertising and design,” says the Savannah College of Art and Design senior, “so it helped me learn how to branch out and market myself as well as be an artist.”

By Grant Britt, Creative Loafing

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Prominent R&B Scenester to Star on “Desperate Housewives

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

It’s been leaked recently that former Xscape member Kandi Burresshas been slated as the replacement for DeShawn Snow on the next season of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Atlanta. I’m really excited about this new season! Kandi has a looooong history on the music scene in the ‘A.’ From her participation in the R&B singing group Xscape (which also included sisters LaTocha and Tamika Scott, as well as Burruss’ best friend Tameka “Tiny” Cottle)…to her high profile relationships with industry dudes, Kandi’s definitely no stranger to controversy. She’ll fit into the ‘housewives’ gang quite well cause her name has been around these here parts for a minute.

It’s been said that she was the main reason behind the breakup of Xscape because her *cough* ‘relationship’ with the group’s producer, which happened to be Jermaine Dupri, was the group’s final breaking point. Causing mad tension and cries of favortism amongst the other members. She’s been involved with one of the twins from Jagged Edge (another SoSoDef group) and was also involved in a high profile relationship with Gerald Levert for a while. That relationship ended after the couple couldn’t see eye to eye.

To read the FULL article, Click herePosted by ATLien, in “A” Town Favorites

Celebrity Helps Children in Atlanta

Thursday, March 5th, 2009


Dierks Bentley has had six No. 1 country hits over the past six years, along with plenty of respect and love from fans and critics, but isn’t terribly well known outside of country circles. And he doesn’t mind.

 “I really enjoy being a regular dude,” he told Buzz, ringing us from Spokane, Wash., to promote a charity concert he’s holding with hot, up-and-coming NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne at Wild Bill’s tonight in Duluth (

 The charity helps chronically ill children. In return, Kahne helps Bentley raise money for Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville.

 “You build up some celebrity currency,” Bentley said. “You then find ways to spend it as wisely as you can.”

The Real Smooth Jazz

Friday, June 20th, 2008

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For me, the only smooth jazz is the one with a sultry jazz vocalist causing the audience to hang on to every note.  That is what is happening at Churchill Grounds every Tuesday during the Danny Harper jam session.  The show is full of great local talent in the band and out front on vocals.  Led by noted Atlanta-based trumpheter Danny Harper, who was a student under jazz legend Donald Byrd, the jam session has become the testing ground for musicians young and old to sharpen their talents in front of an appreciative audience.  It’s not uncommon for even national and international jazz stars to stop by while in town to play during one of the sets. 

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The night I was there we got a heavy dose of some really nice vocalist.  There was a great rendition of “Georgia on my Mind”, with a jazzy twist of coarse.  This is always a crowd pleaser.  There was some really good scatting.   Not every one can pull this off successfully.   Most of the songs were standards with one exception being an original piece performed by a spoken word artist name “Focus”.  The title of his piece being “With the Price of Gas”.  How timely.   

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The really cool thing about this jam session is it feels like a family type atmosphere.  All the musicians know each other and they treat the audience like old friends.  No stuff shirt types here. did jazz trivia and gave away concert tickets during the break.   It added an interactive element to the evening that changed up the pace in positive way.  The ambiance is dark and cozy.  I noticed several younger couples on dates.  The show went till almost 1am.  Only the bravest of souls were still there by then.  The music was hot till the very last note.

In all, I would highly recommend Churchill Grounds’ Tuesday night jam session with Danny Harper.  It’s a hip jazz spot that has a little something for everyone.  Smooth vocals for the average music lover and great musicianship for the die-hard jazz lovers.  It’s the jazz spot in Atlanta.

New Local Music Venue

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

The East Atlanta Icehouse Cometh
Originally posted on April 27th, 2008 on Drive a Faster Car

While glancing through the new Creative Loafing, I happened across this help wanted ad:

“New music venue, East Atlanta Ice-House, currently hiring all positions. Apply in person at 543 Flat Shoals Ave., 12-5pm M-F.”

Which is slightly ironic as I had completely glossed over this article in CL a couple of weeks back.  Either way, the empty shell of the Echo Lounge is set to be reopen as a new venue & restaurant called the East Atlanta Icehouse.  The name derives from the fact the building originally used to store ice back in the 20’s.  They plan to “host a variety of home-grown and worldwide musical styles, as well as a diverse roster of live dj’s.”

According to their website and MySpace page, they should be open in May.  In fact, they already have a show booked on May 7th with Hal9000, Young Antiques & The Hitchcocksand another show on May 18th with VieTNam and The Subliminator.  Not sure if and when they’re going to start booking national acts (one local promoter I spoke with said he has no plans to work with them), but at least this town will have another 500 – 800 capacity venue.  ‘Cause we definitely need it. 


Monday, April 7th, 2008


This month, April, is Jazz Appreciation Month, I’m told. The Smithsonian Institute has a hand in this, I’m further told. So I started wondering about it. I thought, “Baseball is a huge industry in this country. Everybody’s making millions of dollars from it and the American people really love baseball. And the regular season starts in April. So why not make it “Baseball Appreciation Month?” I realized, of course, that nothing would ever make me care any more about baseball than I do now, which is not at all. And nothing, I mean nothing, will make the American people care more about jazz, what little they care about it in the first place.

So why a Jazz Appreciation Month? I’ve been trying to find a good answer to this question, but it doesn’t seem to be anywhere. One would think, in a child-like way, that the month of April was to be set aside strictly for the consideration and patronizing of all things jazz-music. “Come on, baby, it’s jazz month. We need to be good citizens and go to Churchill Grounds.” Jazz musicians would receive in the mail a button they can wear on their jackets, so all through the month of April we’d get discounts at the stores and little old ladies would help us cross the street. Restaurants could prepare special menus for jazz musicians. On the house, of course. Parents would point us out to their kids: “Look, honey. It’s a jazz musician.” For one month, we could be APPRECIATED.

Now I don’t have any opinions about the people who dreamed up Jazz Appreciation Month. I’m certain that they meant well. And the Smithsonian Institute does have a really great museum. But the people who “appreciate” jazz do it all year ’round, and the ones who don’t will never even know that it’s jazz month, not really. “Hey, it says here on the calendar that this is Jazz month.” “Aw, they’re a lousy team. How do they rate a whole a month to themselves?”

In jazz time, every month is “jazz month,” all year ’round. It’s a jazz universe. And we don’t need a special month, or any museums, to justify our love for jazz. So for the life of me I can’t see what exactly this month is for. But I hope the people who are behind it
are at least getting paid something for their efforts. Who knows, maybe they’ll go out to hear some jazz! And at least they made it a month when the weather’s getting nicer.

Peters Street: The New Atlanta Jazz Scene?

Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

Peters Street is an avenue lying just to the west of Trinity Street in downtown Atlanta, and in recent years it has seen a revival of sorts. Located in the Castlebury Lofts district, it is accessible from the major downtown freeways. It is an example of the kind of urban renewal that is taking place in cities all across the U.S. There are a few new shops and restaurants on Peters Street and there are more to come in the near future. The location is becoming more and more desirable for people who are looking to relocate into the city.

What makes Peters Street significant is that it is the only street in Atlanta that can boast two jazz clubs within walking distance of each other, Studio 281 and its newer counterpart, the Star Jazz and Blues Lounge.

Of the two, Studio 281 stands out in Atlanta as being the only jazz venue that is dedicated to what Henri Davenporte, the owner, likes to call “straight-ahead” jazz music. He refuses to allow electric basses or keyboards in his club, choosing instead to feature only acoustic jazz. His club is equipped with a well-maintained baby grand piano and a set of drums.

It’s a small and intimate place, much like the clubs that lined 52 Street in the 40’s and 50’s in New York City, clubs where the music that came to be known as bebop was developed.

But Mr. Davenport has run afoul of an attitude that is persistent in this city. His high standards have alienated many local jazz musicians, musicians who have become used to playing sub-standard, mediocre jazz in restaurants where the music comes second to the food and “ambience.” And he is extremely vocal about the high standards he adheres to when it comes to the music that is played in his establishment.

In effect, he has caused a schism in the jazz community in Atlanta. On one side is the way things have always been, the old way that has become good enough not only for the relatively few patrons of jazz in this city but for the musicians as well.

On the other side, and in much fewer numbers, are those musicians who share Mr. Davenport’s vision of an Atlanta that can create and nurture a jazz scene that would rival that of any other city in the country.

These few musicians see Peters Street, and Studio 281, as the nucleus for the rebirth of a true jazz scene in Atlanta. As the area develops, and more of the finest players, composers and jazz fans are drawn to it, we may yet see the growth of an Atlanta jazz scene that the city could be proud of. And it is most telling that there are so many members of the old jazz establishment in Atlanta who would like nothing better than to see Henri Davenporte, Studio 281 and Peters Street fail in that endeavor.

Jay on SOJA

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008


SOJA, the Southeastern Organization for the Jazz Arts, sponsored a show on Monday night at the Star Lounge on Peters Street. Well, anyway they say they sponsored it. And there WERE members of SOJA at the show. The only thing is they weren’t doing any “sponsoring.”

At least they were generous enough to pay to get in. It didn’t seem the least bit odd to them that a member of the Atlanta Bebop Society, which is not affiliated with SOJA, was working the door that night, taking the money that SOJA recieved a percentage of. At one point on Monday night the leader of the band was reduced to handing out menus while the “sponsors” looked on. The piano on stage was…oh wait, there wasn’t a piano on stage. Now, when the Atlanta Bebop Society put on its Wednesday Jazz Nights at Club 29, we purchased a piano for the band to use. For there to be jazz there has to be a piano, a detail that wasn’t important enough, apparently, for SOJA to consider.

At least one member actually did something, getting up on stage and delivering a song, after treating the audience to an Elvis Presley impersonation. Funny. Self-congratulatory pats on the back all around for SOJA’s members then.

Sorry guys. It takes a lot more than that to sponsor a jazz event. (Hats off and best of luck to DC and his cool new club.)