Originally created 03/09/06

Invitation to festival is high point for Elf Power



With a new album and a high-profile overseas gig coming up, Athens, Ga., act Elf Power is feeling empowered.

The band, which plays Saturday at The Soul Bar on Broad Street, was recently invited to the invitation-only All Tomorrow's Parties festival in England in May and will release a new album, titled Back to the Web, on April 25.

"We've had our peaks and valleys," said Andrew Reiger, a band founder. "Times when things were great and times when they were so-so. But this certainly feels like a high point."

Formed in Athens in 1994, the band is often lumped in with the like-minded Elephant Six collective, which included bands such as Olivia Tremor Control, Neutral Milk Hotel and Apples in Stereo. Though Mr. Reiger conceded that the open-door policy enjoyed by those acts had a great deal to do with Elf Power's distinctive blend of rock and psychedelic pop, he said being in and of Athens also plays a part.

"That definitely has a lot to do with our sound," he said. "I mean, when I was in high school, I was listening to bands like R.E.M. and Pylon and the B-52s. It certainly motivated me to move here."

Elf Power was invited to play the All Tomorrow's Parties festival, held annually at a holiday camp in England, by the New Mexico band The Shins, one of six festival "curators."

"It's sort of strange, because we played with them about a year and a half ago," Mr. Reiger said. "They are also a band that's been around for a lot less time than us. It's interesting, because they told us we were a big influence on them. It's cool, though. Looking at the other bands they've chosen, they seem to have good taste."

Mr. Reiger said that although the Shins have a neat matched set of albums, Elf Power is on its eighth.

"I feel like we have an identity," he said. "We have a unique sound. But looking back on those albums does give me moments of pleasure and moments when I squirm. But that's good. It's an honest representation of who we were and who we are."

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com.

Club Concert

WHAT: Elf Power, with The Cubists

WHEN: Saturday

WHERE: The Soul Bar, 984 Broad St.

COST: $5

CALL: 724-8880