Category Archives: 2015

The Acrostics (Auburn, AL)

the-acrostics-carousel

The Acrostics — Going Nowhere

A’cros’tic – (noun) a poem, word puzzle, or other composition in which certain letters in each line form a word or words.

You meet a lot of forgettable people in life, and but JR Collins is not one of them. He is a true character in every sense of the word.

J.R. is the leader and creator of The Acrostics and is quite infamous in some circles. Some of these circles date back to the legendary house party scene in Auburn, Alabama in the late 90’s and 00’s. While some of these other circles are spread from Los Angeles to Stockholm. As a member of two of the of the finest punk bands to ever come out of the Southeast – The Quadrajets, The Immortal Lee County Killers, J.R. helped pave the way for bands like The Dexateens, Pine Hill Haints, and The Drive By Truckers. While touring extensively and playing shows across the globe (24 countries on 4 different continents) with bands such as The White Stripes. Mudhoney, Man or Astroman?, and more.

After everything went to hell, as things mostly do with great punk bands, J.R. somehow ended up in the touring band of the mighty Jose Gonzalez for a time playing various percussions and contributing on backup vocals.

Most recently, at the urging of Southern Indie record label This Is American Music, J.R. started writing songs and just simply “creating something”. What he created was a lush home recording through an IPod of 9 songs written in Acrostic style. Yes, an iPod.
“Nightlife”, an urgent collection of thoughts, experiences, and storytelling that had to be put into song with has subtle nods to T. Rex, Nirvana’s “Bleach” and even Winger.

You can really sense that J.R., like some of us, is feeling the pull of middle age and he realizes that it is now or never, not “Now and Then” when he’s playing his songs (or just discussing them amongst the collection of freaks and weirdos that inhabit East Central Alabama). A sense of urgency can be a beautiful thing, and we feel “Nightlife” captures that immediacy in the best way possible. We feel honored to have been part of this ride even if we are “Going Nowhere”.

Lo-fi Southern Indie DIY Punk Rock.

Links

Facebook

Droves (Birmingham, AL)

droves-carousel

Droves — Dynamic Instruments

Formed in January 2009, Droves were originally the pet project of bassist Jason Barker (born Frank Ferrana), vocalist/guitarist Darryl Jacks, and drummer Patrick Sizemore (born Thomas Lee Bass). Barker was a veteran of the Birmingham scene, having replaced the vacancy in Plate Six two years prior. He butted heads with the strong-willed Jacks, however, resulting in his departure from the lineup several months later. Local guitarist Bob “David Hickox” Deal joined in his place, bringing the moniker “Drövës” with him. After altering the name and removing the umlauts (allegedly in tribute to German beer), the trio began efforts to recruit Brad Davis, vocalist for the Birmingham-based band Birdthrower. Davis initially refused the advances, only joining the band after his Plate Six cohorts announced their decision to transform their group into a new wave act. With Davis now on board, Droves became a cult favorite on the Birmingham circuit, infamously known for such theatrics as setting Sizemore’s pants on fire midsong.

Links

Bandcamp

Velouria (Birmingham, AL)

velouria-carousel

Photo by Jack Straw Photography.

Velouria — Twin Sister

“[…] a record of frenetic indie rock that pulls you in and shakes you to the core.”

— You Hear This?

Velouria is a five-piece dream pop/indie rock band from Birmingham, AL. They have spent the past two years developing an incredibly supportive following in the Southeast with their powerful blend of cathartic, emotional dream pop and dynamic, hard-hitting indie rock. Their latest album “Wither When Without” is available on Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify, and velouriaband.com.

Links

Website
Bandcamp
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

RMVBM (Auburn, AL)

RMVBM — Hobbies

“I love to have this type of music playing when my friends come over just so I can have something fresh to introduce to them. I like to think of RMVBM as the guys who birthed oxygen… let that soak in.”

— Fresh Plug

A breath of fresh air with an air of competition, RMVBM (Hop and Crash) is a pair of mask donning emcees based at Auburn University. Aside from rapping, RMVBM is capable of producing, engineering audio, drawing, painting, and scratching turntables. That, along with Hop being from Atlanta and Crash being from Brooklyn, presents a unique dynamic that is unparalleled. Although newly formed in July 2013, RMVBM has already shared the stage with acts such as Pen Pals, DJ Mafioso, DJ Rashido, Boog Brown, and Yamin Semali. They recently released their self-produced debut album, Rocket Man vs. Better Man.

Links

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Soundcloud

Mega Ran (Phoenix, AZ)

mega-ran-carousel

Mega Ran — Language Arts (1st Day of School)

“Random’s proven he can excel in storytelling, punchlines, poignancy, freestyling and, well, pretty much any other way you can measure an MC.”

— LA Weekly

Random, aka Mega Ran, or Random Beats. Teacher, Rapper, Hero.

If you put video games, the 80’s, hip-hop, soul music, jazz and standup comedy into a blender and hit “puree,” you’d have something close to The Mega Ran Experience.
Before being chosen as LA Weekly’s “Rapper Most Likely To Be Big in 2014,” The Penn State graduate and self-proclaimed “TeacherRapperHero” made waves by going way left of his backpack roots by combining 8-bit video game sounds and hard hitting hip-hop tracks, and has become a trailblazer in the budding genres of chiptune and nerdcore hip-hop, while maintaining a career as a middle school teacher. Ran’s first album “The Call” was a critical success, featuring tracks with some of the underground’s most respected heads.

Ran cut his teeth in the city of Philadelphia as a moonlighting emcee and producer, performing, freestyle rapping, producing and later engineering at a studio. After relocating to Phoenix, competing in the Scribble Jam emcee battle championships and taking an early exit, Ran almost quit before he was even started, when a creative lightning bolt struck, and a fire was lit.
Retro video games were the catalyst. Random began the transformation into Mega Ran, his alter-ego, an ode to the classic video game character Mega Man. After creating a tribute album and receiving an unprecedented level of support and blessing from Capcom to continue, Ran was reborn and became a trailblazer in the budding “nerdcore” and chiptune subgenres, while coining his own term to describe what he had done, “Chip-Hop.”

Various video game developer co-signs and admiration from the genre’s toughest critics have led to placements in TV, movies, university coursework, and of course, games. Random’s music and story have been shared on stages across the world, on television (ABC/NBC News, ESPN, Portlandia, Tosh.O, WWE Wrestling) and in leading music, gaming and tech publications, print and online.
Today, Random is no longer a teacher by title, but maintains a rigorous touring and recording schedule, traveling the world to entertain and educate through the gift of rhyme. With 3 million YouTube views, over $50,000 raised on Kickstarter, and a legion of smart art fans he calls “Team Mega” beside him, the future looks brighter than ever.
Now that’s Random.

Links

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Youtube
Bandcamp
Soundcloud

Jabee (Oklahoma City, OK)

jabee-carousel

Jabee — Dreams

“Through his transparency, it was clear to me that Jabee is one of those people who gets it.  He understands the world from a larger perspective, and his music and work reflect that understanding. He focuses on honesty within his music, and being authentic—and he encourages other artists to do the same.”

— Cellar Door Music Group

“Jabee’s music has the potential to change the world.” Chuck D personally said on air of his radio program and personal twitter. Jabee was outstanded to hear this from one of the most profound hip hop pioneers. Jabee is a rapper born and raised from Oklahoma City. While his Hometown is not Known for their hip hop culture, his accomplishments have topped locally and national attention. While on NBA lockout, Kevin Durant, had Jabee perform at his All star NBA game. Towards the end of 2013 Jabee was an opener for EL-P & Killer Mike on the “Run The Jewels Tour”. Following the RTJ tour Murs caught wind of Jabee and his music. He offered Jabee a one off LP deal on Mur’s label 316. Dropping in December of 2013 “Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt” was released. The album “Everything Was Beautiful And Nothing Hurt” debuted at #50 on the itunes charts and is still climbing with physical and digital sales.  With national attention and europe attention Murs then asked Jabee to be the main supporting act on the Ice box Tour. For the latter of the 2014 Jabee has been on the road becoming one of the fastest rising stars. as of June 2014, Jabee has appeared in home and sports bars across the country during the 2014 NBA draft. Jabee was a vocal and focal point for a leading role in the new NIKE x Kevin Durant Commercial “The Baddest”. soon after the NIKE commercial, Jabee received some news. Jabee had been nominated by Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS) for an Emmy, with funnel design group. Shortly after JABEE won a Emmy Award for his performance in “What if”.  A solo commercial he wrote and styled for the Science Museum of Oklahoma. Most recently Jabee was invited to Shade 45 in NYC to be featured and interviewed by Sway of “Sway in The Morning”. While on air Jabee was able to show his musical talent but also his likeness, humility, and performance range to the public. All while gaining high praise from Sway and his team at Shade 45 and MTV.     

Links

Soundcloud
Bandcamp
Twitter
Facebook
Website

The Burning Peppermints (Birmingham, AL)

burning-peppermints-carousel

Photo by Haley Hawkins.

The Burning Peppermints — Ned Schneeblee

“These are youth to watch…”

— Punk City Pages

Jake Wittig, Breely Flower, and Walker Scott come together to bring west coast sounds to Birmingham, Alabama, with an added southern flavor. Punchy and catchy tunes combined with an ever expanding visual experience make The Burning Peppermints an undeniable spectacle of energetic and fearless youth that will surely make you tap your foot, if you don’t keel over laughing first. Dressed in formalwear head to toe and playing at blood-pumping tempos, The Burning Peppermints simultaneously give the impression that they’re not messing around and that they’re only messing around.

Links

Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
Bandcamp

Coupler (Nashville, TN)

coupler-carousel

Coupler — Sideman

“…waves of ambient drones that slowly morph into a plundering groove reminiscent of krautrock pioneers Kraftwerk and Cluster.”

— The Nashville Scene

When Lambchop’s Ryan Norris began Coupler it was largely to answer one simple question: “If I were to have a project of my own, what would it be like?” After some contemplation and pulling together of loose strands Coupler was born. Central from the outset was the notion of creating a music both modern and ancient, with its origins at the moment when early man fashioned his first tools and began beating animal skins with bones and sticks, but realized with modern implements, a body music for the ages. Then came another question: “How do we cope with the relationship between ourselves and our machines in an age of technological fear?” And then an answer: “Through dialog.” It is with this idea in mind that Coupler take the stage not only in dialog but in communion with their machines. There is no fear. For if what separates man from beast is the ability to make tools why then should we fear losing control of ourselves to them? Don’t our machines, our tools, make us all the more human?

Links

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Bandcamp
Soundcloud

Muuy Biien (Athens, GA)

muuy-biien-carousel

Photo by Jason Trasher.

Muuy Biien — White Ego

“But the fact remains that there’s a whole catalog of stuff under the Muuy Biien banner, including the newest album This Is What Your Mind Imagines, and it’s safe to say the overwhelming majority comes straight outta Evans’ heart of darkness. His musical touchstones run the gamut from Black Flag to Rudimentary Peni to The Fall. In very real terms, Muuy Biien isn’t a “punk band” but a band of punks. If there were ever a case of the ends justifying the musical means, this is it.”

— Vice

Muuy Biien is the real thing. No college degrees, no connections, no future. Kids in their 20’s raised in the Georgia countryside, born to work in fast food—the band members met while all working at fried chicken chain Raisin’ Cane’s, eventually moving in together like some kind of white trash Monkees. But art springs forth from the unlikeliest of places (though you’d think everyone would know by now that being rich in Brooklyn doesn’t give you access to anything besides access. Or excess. Yet for all their antics—getting kicked out of local awards shows, self-mutilations both verbal and physical—the members of Muuy Biien are first and foremost artists. The power of DYI is palpable and real, but so is the sense of craft that hangs over it. Like the latest Laurel Halo, the album closes with a fractured piano instrumental. They might go anywhere from here.

Links

Bandcamp

Captain Kudzu (Opelika, AL)

captain-kudzu-carousel

Captain Kudzu — Movies

“With music loops that should have had the crowd tripping the light fantastic, Captain Kudzu brought the heat with his solo show. Among other songs, Gafford played his latest single, “Porch.” At one point, he let go of all inhibitions and began tribal dancing to the beat of his own drum (loop).”

— Corner News

Captain Kudzu, formerly a music project between Jackson Gafford and a friend, has now become Gafford’s stage name for his independent work as a producer, multi-instrumentalist, band leader, and singer-songwriter. An Opelika native, Gafford is currently recording his first album, while performing at venues within the Auburn-Opelika area.

Gafford crafts his sound by using the increasingly popular method of looping. He records a certain sound and then replays it to create a seamless repetition of music. He loops sounds as a simple as a drum beat to more complex guitar riffs. Gafford layers these sounds upon each other, slowly building his work, piece by piece, until he fills a room with atmospheric sound.

Most of the material was written this way but recently Captain Kudzu has grown from a one man show to a full band, Gafford enlisting his friends Abby Anderson (drums) and Shannon Wrenn (bass, vocals) for part of the live show and up coming album. Going to a Captain Kudzu show you’ll see everything from hip hop tinged ambient loops, to folk music, to fuzzed out psyche rock in a relatively short time span.

Currently Captain Kudzu is in the process of setting up a studio and recording a debut album, building a website, and filming videos and live shows so there is much, much more to come from this group of weirdos from Opelika.

Links

Facebook