LIGHTS, CAMERA, AUGUSTA ACTION
Augusta rap-rock act Jemani recently released a video for its decidedly twangy tune Glitterbone . The song represents a real expansion in sound for the band, best known for bringing the heavy. Inspired as much by Nashville as by nu metal, the tune and video feature some hard harp playing, instructions for a line dance and just enough of the hip-hop and hard rock that Jemani is known for to make it feel fresh and distinctive.
Particularly appealing was bass player Jason Guy's incarnation of the mythical Glitterbone, a self-aware rock parody and professional party starter. I know that Jemani has experimented extensively with its sound over the past few years -- it's particularly evident on Segregation , the ambitious double album the band released earlier this year.
My vote is for more in the Glitterbone vein. Hard, heavy and indignant have their place, but I love the idea of Jemani evolving into a really rocking Southern party band.
Check out the Glitterbone video at www.youtube.com/user/jemanike.
On the subject of music videos, a new one by indie rock act Dinosaur Jr. recently showed up on the Web. This is notable because some of the footage was shot during the band's April date at Sky City. Augusta landmarks visible in the video include the Lamar Building, the Jessye Norman Amphitheater, Springfield Village Park and a good stretch of Ellis Street. Footage shot at Sky City was left out, however.
The video has already shown up on hipster-centric sites such as Stereogum and Pitchfork. Check it out at www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgTJtdn6VjM.
CONFIRMED -- THE AVETT BROTHERS
The super-rocking string band the Avett Brothers, who sold out the Imperial Theatre in 2007, have signed to perform at the Jessye Norman Amphitheater on Sept. 18 as part of the Westobou Festival.
That's the good news.
The bad news is that it looks like the following Saturday, last year filled by John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett, will not be filled by a comparable act. I understand the fear that an arts festival might become dominated by popular music, but unless money became a significant issue, this seems like a misstep.
The Avetts will be very cool, but I believe there needs to be a strong anchor at the other end of the schedule.
HEAT, FILTH AND ROCK
I can pretend it isn't the case, but three days at a music festival is as much about dirt, sweat and tears (or beers) as it is the music. It's why I am always hesitant to embrace the concept.
I've also noticed that my patience for the crowds and chaos inherent in the festival experience lags with each passing year.
And yet, seemingly, I can't stay away.
By the time you read this, I should be on the road to Bonnaroo, the crusty summer music bonanza held each year in Manchester, Tenn. I'll be filing periodic reports from the festival site on my Pop Rocks blog at augustachronicle.com.
It will be a great way for you to get a sense of the sights and sounds of what has become one of the largest music events in the world without putting up with the smells. A crowd 80,000 sweating in the sun -- phew.
I told you so
Last week, I warned that those who didn't snap up tickets to Ed Turner and Number 9's August Abbey Road shows might be sorry. I was right.
As of Monday morning, more that 1,300 of 1,600 available had already been sold. That's 1,300 tickets in three days. I'm not telling Mr. Turner and company how to run their business, but since these shows do a lot of good for a great cause (the prevention of child abuse), how about adding another date or two?
Secret sound of Black Swan Lane
Although he has seemed conspicuously quiet over the past several months, Augusta singer-songwriter John Kolbeck actually has been driving to Atlanta to work with long-time musical partner Jack Sobel and Chameleons UK frontman Mark Burgess on an album, The Sun and Moon Sessions, recorded under the moniker Black Swan Lane.
Instead of his stripped-down folk and Americana tunes of the past several years, Black Swan Lane's sound is dark, atmospheric, dense and orchestrated. The Sun and Moon Sessions would not have seemed out of place coming from a British band circa 1985 (say Chamelons UK, for instance). The record is surprisingly contemporary by finding the things that were timeless about all those Echo and the Bunnymen albums and combining them with a sense of musical dynamics and lyricism.
Although recorded over an extended period and incorporating a rotating cast of musicians, Sun and Moon feels cohesive. Certainly there are standout songs - my favorite is the droning Weigh It Down - but individual tunes are clearly less important than the way each works as a cog in the collective whole. It would be interesting to see this band trot out some of these tunes live.
LISTEN UP: Click here to listen to a clip from Lie Still by Black Swan Lane.
Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or firstname.lastname@example.org.