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Strange Desire delivers on the promise of Bleachers’ first single


Check out Punk Rocky from my blogger (and real-life) friend, Mo! Jams all day.

Originally posted on Punk Rocky:


Feel good vibes are a staple of rock sing-a-longs: Don’t Stop Believing by Journey, We are the champions by Queen, We are Young by Fun.  Now we have a new offering from Bleachers, the new project of Fun guitarist and Steel Train front man Jack Antonoff. Their debut album Strange Desire is filled with the same anthemic choruses that helped Fun skyrocket to chart success, but grounds the sentimental aspects in more experimental noise and electronic textures.

Back when I was in the midst of freaking out over my comprehensive exams, I fell in love with their single “I wanna get better.”  The song had the perfect balance of pop songwriting and trappings of the noisy indie world Antonoff occupied before Fun made it big.  The rest of the songs follow suit, occupying the 80s fantasy-land of John Hues movies. “You’re Still a Mystery” is the triumphant prom scene, “Shadow”…

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My first impression of Beau Williams is pretty much summed up in a series of hospitable remarks. It was a house show and right before Crusade played, he praised the other two musicians like only a true fan could. When that’s the first thing you hear out of a musician’s mouth a musician, you can only assume his or her music is equally honest. His latest single, “I’m a Bruiser” (available to stream from SoundCloud) verifies this. The tone of the song invites you to lean in and listen, as if Beau himself were confiding in only you. Lately, I personally have been drawn to what I call ‘hollow’ songs. These are tunes that come from a place of immense hurt, but listening to them ends up being a cathartic experience. I think it’s because in those two or three minutes, maybe more, the singer is the only person in the world who understands exactly what you’re dealing with. And with influences like Bon Iver, Death Cab for Cutie, and Wilco, Crusade has indeed acquainted itself with this trait. The natural human emotions aren’t the only fuel for original songs. Beau once wrote about a friend’s her grandfather who used to make moonshine. His specialty was Watermelon Wine. He heard those words and said, “I could totally make a song about that.” He’s currently working on an EP entitled Are We Not There. If “I’m a Bruiser” is the typical sound of songs on the album, then please Beau, set up a pre-order system. You can see Crusade if you’re a Nashville local- for example, August 9th at Ugly Mug coffee shop.

Favorite line from “I’m a Bruiser”:

“I’ll love you from Egypt to the Natchez Trace”
Maybe it’s because I actually know where Natchez Trace is… maybe it’s not.


Go like Crusade on Facebook

Tweet at ‘em @Crusade_music

Weekend Picks- Nashville

Well, it’s raining all night so I’m just stay in and pretend it looks like this:


House show at 1217 N 6th Street
Crusade, Hosts, and Manteau de Miel

I don’t think house shows need much of an intro. But, I will note that the Facebook event clearly states it’s BYOB, so if that’s important to you then…  It’s also free which means it’s the perfect price for me. Remember two weeks ago when I interviewed my bud Miles of Hosts? Yeah, read that and then go to this. See you there!

3rd & Lindsley
Isaac Hayden with Zeke Duhon and special guest Sam Brooker

Lightning 100 presents this show in their Sunday night series. If you like acoustic singer/songwriter tunes, you hopefully already knew this was happening. Isaac just released a new single, “Cruel World” and Zeke’s working on an EP so it’ll certainly be a fresh night. I’m excited! Tickets are $10. Grab yours here!






AthFest In Review – Guest!

Hello, all. AthFest was the most. I was sweating from 5:00 PM when Seven Handle Circus began and didn’t stop until my friend Benjamin Butler closed out the day (at Cine) around 2:00 AM. I love every minute of it. Sadly, I was only present for one day of the festival. But, three cheers for Kelsey Butterworth, a good friend of mine who’s great to have meaningful 4 hr-long car rides convos with. And hey, the Harry Fox Agency just recently started following her on Twitter which I think, proves that she knows what’s up. So, here is AthFest in review from her!

Ahh… another year, another splendiferous Athfest. Every Athenian music festival has its own style – Slingshot is the worldly newcomer where anyone can get their freak on; Americana is the rootsy, flannel-robed porch chiller of a weekend; and Athfest is the perfect intersection between Athens the college town and Athens the townie haven. This year’s felt bigger than ever, with hundreds of artists, vendors, and bands on display. No matter your age, no matter your locale, it feels like coming home. There were so many fantastic things to see, they could not all have possibly been seen by one mere mortal. Anyways, let’s dive in!

Everyone’s favorite part of Athfest is the free music because it’s, well, free. The Pulaski Street stage was hopping all weekend with incredible performances from folks like Dana Swimmer, Judah & the Lion, Elf Power, and Family and Friends. FAF, a relatively young band comprised of UGA students, blew the crowd away with their sincere energy and unironic stoked-ness. The group’s happiness was contagious from the moment they all jumped off risers in the opening number. Their Mumford Sharpe and the Magnetic Sons sound was well received despite the constant interference (also experienced by Kishi Bashi and basically everyone who played the Pulaski stage – c’mon, sound crew!), and any passive audience members were immediately converted.

Local promotions startup, the UGA MBUS student-run Shiny Eyes Entertainment, held a showcase at Ciné on Friday night with sets by relatively smaller groups like Little Chief, who continued the awesome new trend of multiple band members freaking out on their one and only drum set. UGA student Sam Burchfield had his expertise for blues and funk well on display, reminding us all that we can expect great things from the Clapton lookalike.

Classic City regulars abounded as well – local heroes Reptar played a characteristically high-energy set full of Hawaiian shirts, righteous horn solos, and wild enthusiasm on Friday night. Though their stoner reggae punk is well known by most here in Athens, the group showed a masterful command over their hometown crowd.

Saturday night’s Pulaski stage show had Kishi Bashi once again show us the meaning of musical transcendence with his classical-meets-world-meets-indie-pop brilliance. Confetti was naturally involved, and we would like to nominate the Quiche & co. for the “Most Athens Thing To Happen At Athfest” award after their incredible cover of Neutral Milk Hotel’s “King of Carrot Flowers” suite.

Dana Swimmer

No, Dana Swimmer is not the name of a woman who sings lead amongst other instrumentalists. I love that they confuse people this way. It got me and is pretty hilarious to watch others be corrected. In my opinion, the name very properly characterizes the people who do make up this group as a single unit. I don’t know every member of the band, but I’d like to think ‘Dana Swimmer’ is the person they’d be if you were able to combine them all into one… not necessarily like an alter-ego, but maybe. Test tube baby? Eh… more like super nova rock star… or just the kid next door. Their Bandcamp points out that Dana Swimmer was born in a vacuum.

They’ve told me that a dream venue is Letterman… I mean, can’t you just imagine them dancing and being completely negligent of the audience just like Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes? Those performances are the most inspiring and actually, exhilarating to watch because you realize that this kind of show would exist regardless of any amount of people present. You almost wish you were the only there and could play a tambourine or something with them so you could too feel the magic that they are feeling. I can hear this in Jack’s voice… the literal voice of Dana Swimmer.

o My favorite line out of all their songs comes from I’m Still Your Man: “I’m a crashing plane. Where would I land? Where would I land?”
o You can see them perform at ATHFEST at the Hull Street Stage on Friday 6/20 at 6:00PM. It’s free so get yourself there!!

Check out “Oh Sista Oh” from their album Veloce

Like them on Facebook
Buy their album here
Follow them on Twitter @DanaSwimmer


“There are a lot of artists in Athens that haven’t found much recognition outside of town yet, but that make great music. That makes us want to work hard to stand out. It’s like friendly competition that gets everyone to improve by taking things seriously.”

“Our drummer Robert Smith and guitarist Will Ingram formed Wieuca in 2011 in Atlanta, but Wieuca didn’t really find an identity until after a few line-up changes (adding Sam and Jack) and moving to Athens in 2012. In 2013, we released There Is No Balance, our first full-length album which takes a characteristically noisy approach to the southern sound. We’re now finishing our second album ‘Beersheba’ which stays twangy and noisy but is also danceable and psychedelic.”

In seeing these guys a few weeks ago, I can say with certainty that they have all the physical elements of a great southern rock band: their live performance definitely exceeds the power of their recorded stuff (which is saying a lot because I really dig the albums via Bandcamp), you get the feeling that they aren’t performing for the showmanship; they are there for the music, and they aren’t afraid to freestyle. But then you hear “Mind Control” and understand that they want to take the idea of southern rock and fuse it together with an all new version of that [the jam band] kind of sound to make something incredibly organic. Wieuca is making their own culture. Listen to it for yourself here: http://bit.ly/1me9MMy

“Our songs are mostly a dry-humor take on our real life misadventures, occasionally with invented plot twists. Our lyrics are always conceptual and often take the form of narrative stories. Ultimately “There Is No Balance” tells a lot of stories about the unpredictable ways your life can be disrupted, for better or for worse, and the idea is to not let the negative things get you down.”

By day we’re hustling, but by night we’re on our grind

Who are they?
Robert Smith – drums, guitar
Will Ingram – guitar, vocals, bass
Jack O’Reilly – guitar, tambourine
Sam Kempe – banjo, bass, vocals, guitar

Buy “There Is No Balance” here: http://bit.ly/1fkqeSf
Follow the band on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wieucaband

Sam Burchfield

“I began as an immature and naive middle school dude in a garage band. Not much has changed, but it seems like more people are willing to listen now.” People are more than just willing to come early to a show to see Sam warm the crowd.

“Specifically speaking, what really fuels my songwriting is hearing great music. Whether it is live, or recorded, it always gets me going and motivates me to just play and ultimately write more.” You can see the evidence of this in the way Burchfield plays his own music. As soon as he begins to play, it’s like every muscle dances along in a different way. And I think this is one reason Athens concert-goers are so drawn to Sam. Consider for a second… if you like what someone is playing and its visibly evident that they are as emotionally invested in the music as you are, you end up building a kind of respect that attaches you to the performer in an indescribable way.

“I love that I haven’t limited myself to a particular style of music. I thoroughly enjoy playing a bluegrass tune and then jumping in to a funk groove.” That’s right, nobody puts Baby in a corner.

By day Sam is sitting in the cool shade of an oak tree drinking herbal teas and telling tales of my ancestors, the great bards of old, alongside my closest friends and musical companions, but by night he is sitting in the cool shade of an oak tree drinking herbal teas and telling tales of my ancestors, the great bards of old, alongside my closest friends and musical companions in the dark.

Follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Check out his website: www.samburchfield.com

And his YouTube channel for musical gems like this one:

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