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Editing everyone else’s Athfest coverage made me want to write about my own experience, especially since there are a lot of bands we haven’t covered yet. So here you are, stories from the Athfest trenches as told by Music Director, Brett Bennett. (more…)

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Wuogger Will Guerin has some thoughts on Athfest, covering Athens favorites like Reptar, New Madrid and Dana Swimmer. (more…)

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We sent field reporter/wuog staffer/all around Athens cool kid, Zac Turner out to report on THREE days of Athfest. He is very tired now and never wants to listen to music again. Honor his hard work and listen to what he thought about Dead Confederate, The Rodney Kings, Never and MORE….. (more…)

Packing for Summer Camp

By Brigette Adair Herron (of Tunabunny)

I never went to summer camp. There are no camp songs or ghost stories from my memory that I can look back on. There are certainly no memories of warmth or togetherness around the campfire like I used to see on TV. I did watch “Ernest Goes To Camp” once, but I much preferred “Ernest Scared Stupid”. In the summertime when I was a kid I watched a lot of TV, I played the drums, and I was bored. I was so unimaginably bored! But from boredom comes great innovation, and that is one strategy that I can share with you.

Having grown up in Athens, GA I come from a long tradition of bored local kids making up their own fun, embracing their inner weirdness, and generally not worrying about what people might think. It was this spirit that I believe inspired the early days of WUOG, and that continues today. So if you are staying in Athens this summer, you live here full time, or you just think of Athens as your groovy adopted home, then this playlist is for you. I may not know anything about summer camp, but I sure as hell know a lot about being fabulous, putting on a pair of gold hot pants and gearing up for an unbearably hot and humid summer. You’re going to need two things: confidence and glitter.

1. Divine – I’m so Beautiful

When Divine sings, “There ain’t nobody better than me, Can’t you see, LOOK at ME!” she is so right. This song fills me with a happiness that is so infectious it has never failed to lift me up from my lowest low. The true brilliance of this song is that while it starts out as very Divine-centric (I’m so beautiful), as the song goes on it slowly adds the lines, “we’re all beautiful, you’ve gotta believe that we are beautiful,” which is so powerful—transitioning from the love and acceptance of the self to a more universal love for all of humankind. It is at times pleading (You’ve gotta believe that I am beautiful!) and at other times completely confident (everyone is welcome to this point of view). Divine, otherworldly in her cosmic magnificence, never to be stopped—not even by death, she’s got a synthesizer that won’t quit and she does it better than New Order. There is no one better. She brings the gift of freedom, and now it belongs to you.

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The typical, popular Athens music narrative tends to start with B-52s, Pylon, bands mentioned in Party Out of Bounds, and continues to R.E.M. and Athens Inside Out Bands. Then, the narrative jarringly jumps to Elephant Six.  Often less mentioned are bands such as Mercyland, Porn Orchard, Bliss, Magneto, and Roosevelt, who formed part of a local Athens hardcore/post-hardcore scene. Besides Mercyland and Porn Orchard, these bands are largely undocumented, their existence betrayed by a couple of tracks on a compilation, FUEL: Seven Bands From Athens, Ga. , put out by Self Rising Records.  The compilation is indicative of an active, fervent scene, albeit one without many outside resources or media attention.  I sat down with Joe Rowe, the drummer of Bliss, to talk about Athens in the 90s.  Rowe currently leads a bands called The Goons and has played with bands such as The Glands.

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No filter is needed when a lyric like “get fucked up six days a week” comes out as something other than a congratulatory ego stroke. The undressed, scuzzy guitar hooks that recall the brilliance of Yuck’s self-titled album sound frustratingly easy to come by, unforced and involuntary. (more…)

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I met Jay Stanley, Twin Studies frontman, at a Best Coast show at the Variety Playhouse. He asked what I was reading (Vonnegut) and told me he was in a shoegaze band, the now defunct Quiet Hours. He ended up sharing the stage with Bethany Cosentino that night – not as a performer in the traditional sense, but as a member of an impromptu dance duo that allowed themselves on stage for some (most likely) drunken antics.

Not exactly the temperament you’d expect when facing “Precious Places” – a melting film of blinding lights disarmed by the word you can never fail to say in a review about shoegaze – reverb. Making it hard not to picture the swirling tapestry of the Cocteau Twin’s album cover, Heaven Or Las Vegas when you listen – embracing the cozy sweater that blankets warmth with its completeness – but pairing just enough discordance against the cooing female vocals to establish some sort of reality.

Check out “Precious Places” in the video below and if you’re still thirsting for some more fuzzy dream-pop head on over to the band’s Facebook or Soundcloud page.

-Will Guerin

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33l5jx9cNiY[/youtube]

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A few weeks back we featured Nobra Noma’s “Loafergaze” as our local song of the day and today, just to be confusing, we’re taking it back to Atlanta with a similarly named solo project, Nomen Novum. Even though both men denied much knowledge of each other during their respective Live in the Lobby interviews, I think the public can rest assured that yes, this is some kind of messed-up conspiracy that traces it’s way back to gray, spindly bodies floating in formaldehyde in Roswell, New Mexico. I can only imagine what perverse things went on when the depraved duo opened up for Twin Sister back in May.

When frontman David Norberry isn’t out burying bodies of whistleblowers…well that is pretty much all he does. Sometimes though, he tries his hand at music – pillowy, pop-friendly synths has generally been his calling card in the past. This time, he’s teamed up with the more experimentally minded, Atlanta-based, easily suede (say the name out loud for its full, punny effect) and sanded down the sugary vocal hooks that dotted If You Look For It, It’s There. Still catchy and joltingly danceable, but blurred behind a hazy fog of static that the whispery vocal lines drifts in and out of. A numbed background playing the perfect veil for the glowing keyboard that cuts through.

Check out “Heathered” in the video below and be sure to hop over to Nomen Novum’s Facebook page.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tULDcGW31u0[/youtube]

WUOG ATHFEST

Editor’s note: Here it is! Our coverage of Athfest 2013. From 7 of our best writers here’s a list of show reviews in alphabetical order for your reading pleasure. We had a lot of fun this year and hope you enjoy living vicariously through our words. Photo albums will be up this weekend.

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Laughfest Headliner Brendon Walsh

Laughfest

Any music festival worth its salt has a comedy portion that everyone decidedly ignores and Athfest is no exception. What’s great about Laughfes though is that it isn’t crammed into a tent in the middle of the day – where tired and sweaty hordes pour in halfway through a set, lose interest, and promptly leave. Instead, Laughfest had had its own night in the Georgia Theatre, allowing the performers to actually connect to an audience and make the evening a great time for those in attendance. Host and producer Chris Patton is to thank for that, so if you see ‘im, thank ‘im. All of the openers were locals, and as I know all of them personally and will likely talk to their faces soon, I am quite happy to report that they all did great. I was a little worried when I looked around the audience and noticed a lot of people from Greek row and older, likely more conservative people, as much of the material was liberal-minded and penis-centric. Turns out though, everyone was on board for the comedians’ perspectives, and the show went as well as I so badly wanted it to. I guess humor is universal or some sentimental schmaltz like that. Jake Brannon’s and John-Michael Bond’s affably self-defeating observations got great applause from the audience.

Thankfully for the show, an older man with a very particular look chose to sit on the front seat: he had a duck dynasty-worthy gray beard, a red western shirt, shorts, flip flops, and sunglasses. He fit right into Luke Fields’ routine about how he can know everything he needs to about a person by how many machetes they own. Beard-guy had two. His cell phone also went off during Caleb Synan’s set, leading to a hilarious exchange with the man and his family. Even the headliner, Brendon Walsh, got to have some fun at beard-guy’s expense, but beard-guy was more than on-board for all of the ribbing. He even tried his darnedest to start a standing ovation for Brendon when he finished.

Brendon’s stand-up his heavily rooted in personal anecdotes, anecdotes regarding how fun a person he is in everyday life. He told stories of pranks he has pulled, both on his friends and complete strangers, he’s had his share of awkward confrontations with authority, and he gave us tips on which songs to pick for karaoke (“Master of Puppets” or “Zombie,” though anything from sporadic whaling or 4-minute long guitar solos will do). He even got some fun jabs at Athens in, claiming that, like Austin, it’s a place where 20-year-olds go to retire. Between the local references and the audience participation, it was a nice intimate evening of comedy, and it made me excited for all the Laughfests to come. Laughfests that, I hope, will continue to grow in popularity each year. – Lawson Chambers

Sprockets

This was my first year rubbing elbows with what seemed like all of Athens’ musicians, filmmakers, directors and sponsors under the stars at The 8th Annual Sprocket’s Music Video Festival at the 40 Watt Club. I volunteered at the first screening of the music videos, which invited all the guests to vote in the “Audience Choice Award.” Other awards for consideration were “Best Georgia Video: and “Best Music Video.” The winners were decided on by a panel of five glitteringly decorated film judges. It was a great event with the audience becoming more expressive as the time and drinks disappeared as we watched great pairings of sight and sound.

My personal favorite was a video for a TWST-1 song featuring Seek Selekta called “Tribo Fuego.” It was a thrilling short-shot and slow motion video featuring images of beach-habitating tribespeople swinging fiery pendulums with blinking smoldering eyes spraying through surf and sand. Directed by Brian Charles Lehrer, it captured both the futuristic and organic elements of its selected song and was a great watch.

Of equal note was the winner of Best Music Video – the video for Grape Soda’s “Obvious Signs.” This was a mix of live-action and graphic art from the mind of director Craig Sheldon and drawn by Lauren Gregg.  The storyline was rad so I won’t spoil too much but it involves a deer that plays in a Grape-Soda off-shoot band called Ghost Soda. The playful nature of Grape Soda’s music looked great with the cartoon style but it also was fun to see Athens’ staples like The 40 Watt and the Caledonia Lounge name-dropped and included in the background.

I also laughed out loud at Flickskinny’s “True Tour Stories.” This year’s video featured the stories of Hand Sand Hands and one other artist. A voice over is first recorded by the artist about something funny/terrible that happened to them on tour. The creators of the Flickskinny comic, Jeremy and Clint, then take the stories and, in their own words, “crudely animate them.” This was a perfect break in-between videos and Jeremy and Clint really did a great job bringing all possible jokes to their greatest potential. -  Andrea Amszynski