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Brillo's lists for 2001

Bands I've Discovered (and Really Like)

Eighteen months ago, I returned to the South (the Georgia/Alabama region) with very little current knowledge of indie music. See, I went away to academic hibernation for 9 years and fell out of touch. Since my southerly migration, I have enjoyed an immersion into local, regional, and even national indie bands. I decided for the end of the year, I would make a top ten list of the favorite bands I've "discovered" in that time. I believe they represent a smattering of mainstream indie rock-no fetishes, bizarre sub-genres, or odd obsessions here, just good ol' guitar roots rock. So, here it is, in alphabetical rather than hierarchal order cuz I just couldn't compare these apples and oranges that closely.

American Dream
  Harp and cello in a rock band-how can you go wrong? Seriously, if the mix is correct, this band produces one of the most intricate and rich sounds of any local live band. And, as proven by the high amount of EvilSponge reviews, American Dream is perhaps the hardest working band in Atlanta show business.  
Crooked Fingers (and Archers of Loaf)
  Having been a poor grad student in the deserted frozen tundra during the phenomenon of Archers of Loaf, I have the distinct misfortune to appreciate their work only posthumously. Luckily, though, Crooked Fingers offers a darkly sweet, if not as powerful, live substitute for Archers.  
    The Plan is a great mix of thoughtful lyrics, diverse melodies, and driving/funky rhythms that make them literally music to my ears and mind. And, they offer the most exciting frontman I've seen all year. It's like he has an epileptic fit onstage.  
  What can I say? These three guys produce a lot of sound, and it rocks. Besides, any band that counts down the New Year repetitively after every song (and hours after midnight) get definite bonus points for humor.  
Kelly Hogan (and the Pine Valley Cosmonauts)
  I followed The Jody Grind back in the day, but I was unfamiliar with Hogan's solo work until I returned. Her neo-country sound is solid, even if it does not take enough advantage of her vocal range and diversity. If you really want to understand the joy of her voice, see Hogan perform live, and hope she covers something interesting, like Journey.  
The John Doe Thing
  Back in the day, I was only a moderate X fan, but The John Doe Thing represents solid guitar work and sexy lyrics. The concert last fall was one of the tightest and most mature live shows I've seen as well.  
  Michael Bradley and crew have fostered an artful mix of goth and western rock. Love and death among the tumbleweeds…mmmmm…  
Red House Painters
  To paraphrase Mark Kozalek, they may be "stupid songs about my girlfriends and stupid songs about my cat," but the guitar work on their albums is exquisite. Married with deep mahogany vocals and sensual lyrics, the Red House Painters qualify as my favorite make-out band.  
    While I'm not as fanatical about The RATs as other Minions, songs like "Car and Driver" include powerful melodies and guitar work. And, their live shows offer an amusing look at drunk indie-fan geeks trying to rock-out like metalheads.  
The Woggles
  This band is a blast to see live. Just remember to wear your dancing shoes-and buy a neck brace. You'll need it after a night of head-bobbling.  
The Young Antiques
  My favorite garage-rock dance band in Atlanta. Their melodies are short, catchy, and just plain fun. For straight-on rock, I think they may be one of the most overlooked bands by other minions.  
Music I Don't Get
  Call me pedestrian, but I have also discovered that some obsessions within the indie community are just beyond me. Certain Minions drag me to shows that either put me to sleep (with nightmares about being stuck in the elevator from hell) or inspire levels of testoterone I thought impossible among pseudo-androgynous indie rockers. Here are a few such trends that just make me go, "Hmm?" This list is also not in any particular order, but the first two entries are bands while the last two are broad genres. You get the idea.  
The Drive-By Truckers
  I'm as proud of the South as anyone, but The Truckers sometimes just take it too far. Digging in dirt with tractors and glorifying Confederate soldiers are two Southern activities which might best be left in the 20th century, if not the 19th.  
    Superchunk are a pleasant band. Their sound is well-honed and complex. But, certain minions have come to find spiritual significance in this band which is beyond me. They are basically like ten other bands with a decent sound, whiny vocals, and one token woman. Besides, the vocals are just not my taste in whiny.  
My-Guitar-is-My-Tortured-Hot-Rod Bands
  Think of Yo La Tengo and Seven Percent Solution here. I would lump both of these bands into the "I like my guitar a lot. In fact, I make love to it every night onstage" category. Perhaps that should be its own sub-genre of music. I enjoy guitar-driven music as much as the next guy (and, I'm a gal), but there's really no need to stroke it longingly and forcefully while ignoring the audience for whom you are performing. And the other thing I don't get is this: why are all the men in the audience enraptured as if the concert were a life-altering experience?  
    Songs over fifteen minutes without even the decency to include lyrics just need to go. And, if you're going to perform live, bring more than a computer.  
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