I just noticed that Thy Mighty Contract have made their self-titled record, one of my favourite local albums from 2009, available for free via bandcamp. If you never managed to pick up a copy, you should definitely go download it:
- Posted by Davy Minor on January 6, 2011 at 8:59 am
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Most of the time in this city, bands rise and fall based on who they know and how exciting they are live. But for this list, I’ve considered only what is contained on their recordings. Over the course of the year I’ve given roughly 75 records from inside the perimeter a spin, and these are the essential twenty that I recommend listening to most. There are actually many records that I really liked that just missed the cut, so this was very tough to piece together, especially the final spots.
Looking at this list and comparing it back to my favourite local stuff over the two years before, it’s apparent that music in this city just keeps getting better. Atlanta’s independent music scene is running deeper than ever both in terms of quality and quantity of music being produced. Outside of Brooklyn, you’d need quite a compelling argument to convince me anywhere else in America has a better scene right now. Promising young bands keep popping up out of nowhere, and the veterans keep delivering the goods. It sure makes my job here a lot easier to have so much great music to blog about.
On a technical note, anything that has been released over the holidays I’m grouping in with my 2010 lists, and so a couple of albums on this list were released over the holidays last year. Take a gander:
20. Noot d’ Noot: Cash For Gold
19. Harken The Hands Askew: Thou
18. Slushco: Sometime Tonight
17. Sound On Film: The Eloquent Reginald
16. Thy Mighty Contract: Thy Mighty Contract
15. Club Awesome: Dynamos
14. Jungol: Places
13. Lee Harvey Oswald: Lee Harvey Oswald
12. The Selmanaires: Tempo Temporal
11. Tealights: Take Us By Sea
10. Deerhunter: Rainwater Cassette Exchange
9. Slushco: The Silver Surface Demos
8. The Orphins: Wish You Well
7. Mastodon: Crack The Skye
6. Lotus Plaza: Floodlight Collective
5. From Exile: Monolith
4. Nomen Novum: Paradises
3. Untied States: Instant Everything, Constant Nothing
2. Atlas Sound: Logos
1. Nomen Novum: November
In the Atlanta music scene, 2009 was the year of Nomen Novum. While most musicians take a whole year to scrap together enough decent songs to fill a good EP, the prolific Nomen Novum were able to drop two virtually perfect full-lengths, plus a great live EP, and they’re already posting new stuff to their myspace.
Although, all five records at the top of my list were legitimate contenders for Atlanta album of the year, and I would have probably been content with any ordering between them. The other 3 records to round out my top 5 each happened to be crafted over about 2 years, and the extra time and care in putting them together just right payed off. A big mistake I notice younger bands make is trying to push out a record too quickly on some arbitrary time scale and in the end get stuck with something that is less than what they are capable of producing. Atlas Sound, Untied States, and From Exile all spent more time than they probably wanted to on their respective albums, but the extra effort was well worth it in the end.
Looking back over this list after I finished it, I noticed that it is almost entirely dominated by veterans of the scene, and mostly by artists I was already familiar with before starting this blog. There is only one true first recording from its respective musicians to make the list. If I were to make a “Best Atlanta Artists of the Decade” shortlist, most of those artists would have an album included on this list, so I feel like it is a good snapshot of not just where the scene is at today, but where it has been heading for the latter part of the ’00s. There is so much diversity in sound and so much talent in this city, and if you have any interest at all in Atlanta’s music scene, don’t let anything on this list slip by you, because all twenty are well worth giving a listen.
- Posted by Davy Minor on December 13, 2009 at 10:20 pm
- 3 Comments
Before I begin awarding the sounds of 2009, I wanted to give a little props to the best eye-candy I’ve seen. These ten videos clearly stood out to me above the rest of this year’s offerings. They are definitely all a million times better than that garbage from Beyonce and Taylor Swift. So, enjoy:
10. Of Montreal: “An Eluardian Instance”
This video has just got a really nice, fun vibe to it. The special effects are utilized just right and the whole thing matches up with the music beautifully.
9. Untied States: “Unsilvered Mirrors”
There are so many neat little video tricks in this one and the whole thing captures the mood of the song expertly. I love when it snaps into the end section with the band playing.
8. St. Vincent: “The Strangers” Lake Fever Session
This video wins solely on the rarity of capturing St. Vincent playing an acoustic, stripped down version of one of the year’s best songs. Totally gorgeous.
7. The Flaming Lips: “Watching the Planets”
Yeasayer tried their best to up the ante on nudity with their recent experimental video, but having a clothing-less mob feeding a naked Wayne Coyne to a vagina monster pretty much trumps anything. Warning, it’s very NSFW.
6. Mastodon: “Divinations”
I loved Mastodon‘s science fiction video for “Oblivion” too, but this one got the edge due to how brutal Brent Hinds is as a caveman.
5. Clues: “You Have My Eyes Now”
This one is just simply hilarious.
4. Grizzly Bear: “Ready, Able”
Grizzly Bear have a ton of amazing videos this year, both official and fan made. But this weird claymation vid is easily my favourite.
3. Here We Go Magic: “Fangela” Black Cab Session
Taking bands and having them perform stripped down versions of their songs in various settings is all the rage these days, and one of the best in the business right now are the Black Cab Sessions. This version of “Fangela” is just pure magic.
2. Bibio: “Top Soil”
Bibio has such a distinct sound, and this video matches his audio style with the perfect visual enhancements.
1. Thy Mighty Contract: “Conjugal Freelance”
I laugh my ass off every time I watch this. I absolutely love everything about this video and it was an easy choice for my best of the year.
- Posted by Davy Minor on December 6, 2009 at 5:10 pm
- 2 Comments
Thy Mighty Contract @ Corndogorama 2009
There seems to be a lot of neat videos from Atlanta bands hitting the web lately, and I totally love this one. It was put together by Thy Mighty Contract‘s own Max McDonough, and it skillfully enhances an already rad song from their self titled debut record:
- Posted by Davy Minor on September 21, 2009 at 2:29 am
- 3 Comments
The Orphins were one of the very first bands to get me interested in Atlanta’s music scene. They were really the first band where I thought, I would get into this act even if they weren’t local. When I picked up their 2004 full-length release, Drowning Cupid, I listened to it non-stop for months. I had been anxiously awaiting a follow up for 5 years now, and just as I had begun to lose hope and start to believe that The Orphins may just have become a forgotten relic of the scene’s past, they have reemerged with an outstanding new record. Where Drowning Cupid had an almost monochrome feel to it, Wish You Well sees the band becoming much more dynamic and varied in their approach. The sound is still unmistakably their own distinct brand, but there is a maturity present that greatly compliments what they do. All and all, it was well worth the wait. Wish You Well is also the first release on Atlanta’s newest local label, Adair Park, which will also be putting out This Piano Plays Itself‘s next record. Here’s a taste of the newest tunes from one of Atlanta’s greatest bands of the last decade:
I interviewed Orphins‘ guitarist/vocalist Thomas Barnwell via email, so check it out:
Me: 5 years have elapsed since your last album, I’m curious about the
reasons for such an unusually long break between records?
TB: We had a number of pitfalls. We originally did the recording with Keith Vogelsong from Goodnight records who put out our first record, and he was going to put out our second one. Believe it or not, we started recording this record about a year after Drowning Cupid came out. We tracked everything and tinkered with it for about 6 months before deciding that it really wasn’t the sound we were going for. We wanted everything to sound big, meaning loud vocals, thick bass, and heavy drums. We really wanted it to represent what we do live more than the last record did. The first recording of Wish You Well had a very clean and polished sound to it and the instruments sounded overly isolated.
So we began the process of re-tracking the instruments, when our producer, Keith, suddenly decided to move to New York. We tried for awhile to mix and produce from afar but realized the process was too tedious.
So, after awhile of sitting around wondering what we should do, round three of the recording consisted of us buying some nice mics and pre-amps, re-tracking everything ourselves, and mixing the album at my house. It perhaps became a bit of a record that we didn’t know when to stop working on. We almost had too much freedom to do what we wanted to with it, and with no producer to answer to, the process went on and on. Daniel took it upon himself to really learn how to mix properly, and I think he really did a great job. It was a long exhaustive process, but we finally landed on something we really liked, and we learned how to record an album in the process. We sent the final tracks to Goodnight Records who had apparently dried up since it’s move to New York. So we sat on the record for a few months until I spoke with Gavin from Stickfigure who decided to released it on his indie label called Adair Park.
So we recorded it almost three times and took a long time to polish it. Other than that.. jobs, school, relationships, other bands, houses.. all I can say is that life took over for a minute.
Me: You are also in Thy Mighty Contract. Do you approach writing music differently for TMC than The Orphins, and if so, could you describe the differences in how you approach each?
TB: I intentionally go for a different sound when I write for Thy Mighty Contract. While The Orphins play on The Pixies, Deerhoof, The Smiths, and The Flaming Lips side of my music tastes, with Thy Mighty Contract I look to stuff more like Emperor, Mika Miko, At The Gates, and old hardcore acts like Union of Uranus for inspiration. When we started Thy Mighty Contract, I decided that if I was going to be in two bands, I wanted them to sound distinctly different from one another, because what’s the point in being in two bands that sound exactly the same? I tend to do a lot more piecing together of songs bit by bit in Thy Mighty Contract, where as in The Orphins, its not uncommon for one of us to write a song completed with lyrics before we even present it to the band. Neither band has a real definitive way in which we write songs. In both bands, everyone tends to bring stuff to the table. On Wish You Well, a number of the songs were written by Daniel on his computer as midi tracks.
Me: You’ve been involved in the Atlanta music scene for at least a decade now, how has the scene changed over that time and how do you feel about it right now?
TB: The scene seems to come in waves, with lots of great moments. 2001-2003 was a great time for music in Atlanta with lots of house shows and excellent bands. 6 months ago I thought the scene was really happening with bands like Vera Fang and Fagstatic. We still have a ton of great bands, but overall the tide seems to be out at the moment.
Me: What do you think about the current state of music and the music industry as a whole?
TB: We have always either done our releases on small labels or as DIY releases, so I am kind of disconnected from the formal music industry. I can tell you that I know CD sales are suffering, and therefore labels are suffering, and small labels especially seem to be hit hard by the lack of CD sales. Because of this, small labels are more reluctant to put stuff out unless they think it really has a chance of doing well. Actual physical CDs seem to be becoming an unnecessary counterpart or gesture when it comes to musical releases since everyone listens to the music on their computer and their mp3 players anyways. We print CDs more so we can have something to send to radio and press, and to have something that someone can buy at our shows. But from what I can tell, music sales really seem to happen more online these days. I think we are at a strange time in which all labels, big and small, are going to have to reevaluate how they do what they do.
Me: What do The Orphins have planned next and do you have any new projects on the horizon?
TB: No new projects on the horizon for me. Two active bands is enough for now. The Orphins have an EP in the works we want to record and release to keep the flow of new stuff coming. We want to get out there and play some out of state shows once the new record picks up a bit. Thy Mighty Contract is planning to record again, and we hope to release that recording by the end of the year. And most importantly… no more 5 years break.
The Orphins play The Other Sound Festival this Saturday at Criminal Records following Yo La Tengo‘s in-store performance.
Photo by Clint Miller
- Posted by Davy Minor on September 15, 2009 at 5:04 pm
- 1 Comment
All photos by Clint Miller
We got a later start yesterday than I would have liked and didn’t make it to Corndogorama until The Goldest began their set. I loved their EP, but in previous occasions thought their live show was a bit lacking. This time they sounded really good.
I got some lunch at the Australian Bakery, which has served as our Corndog home base for escaping the heat and grubbing, and then caught Sonen. Their set at last year’s corndog was lackluster, but this year it was not enjoyable at all. The vocals were very loud in the mix, and these two so called “vocalists” have no business singing. It was hard to even give the music underneath much of a chance with how bad the vocals were.
Next, Nomen Novum played one of the better live sets I’ve seen them do. They started out with some guitar loop build up songs and then moved to more electronic stuff near the end. While the duo churned out the tunes, they were joined by a dancer for this set who even contributed some neat sound effects using blades of grass.
- Posted by Davy Minor on June 28, 2009 at 1:10 pm
- 37 Comments
Last weekend to celebrate Record Store Day, Criminal Records had a serious party going on all day long. I picked up some sweet 7″s like the split Sonic Youth/Beck, The Grizzly Bear live, and the Loney Dear/Andrew Bird. I also stuck around long enough to see who I think was the best band on the lineup, Thy Mighty Contract. Below are some videos of their performance. Also, Kim Criminal got videos of pretty much everyone, so you should check that out here.
- Posted by Davy Minor on April 23, 2009 at 3:21 am
- 1 Comment
Thy Mighty Contract @ We No Fun
Atlanta supergroup Thy Mighty Contract just released their self-titled debut album last week on Room 10. Thy Mighty Contract is made up of members of Blame Game, Fagstatic, I Would Set Myself on Fire For You, The Orphins, Narcolepsy, Gold Standard and SIDS, and the project manages to blend some very distinct styles into a delectable new flavour which amplifies each of the member’s individual strengths. In terms of supergroups, it doesn’t get much better. It’s great to hear some more of Thomas Barnwell’s signature guitar sound as it seems like I have been waiting an eternity for a new Orphins record. Orphins‘ Daniel Upton also mixed this album, so their fingerprint is very present, but Lindsey Harbour’s vocals take the thing in a completely different direction. Her voice has this weird, almost Kim Gordon-esque character to it behind the punky yelling and screaming that I absolutely love. The record is a brutal but beautiful blast that seems to end too soon. Here’s a few cuts:
Here is a video of them at Corndogorama last year:
You can catch Thy Mighty Contract live on the following dates:
4/18 @ Criminal Records (Record Store Day)
5/8 @ 529
6/16 @ Lenny’s
And finally, Hawks‘ Mike Keenan designed the artwork:
- Posted by Davy Minor on March 24, 2009 at 4:46 pm
- 1 Comment
- Posted by Ohmpark Staff on February 10, 2009 at 11:39 am
- 2 Comments
There isn’t a whole lot of big national acts coming through the A yet this year, but there are a ton of great local shows to check out and some interesting out-of-towners. The best shows in Atlanta January 12 – 18:
Ghost to Falco, Recompas, Dan Hole Pond @ Eyedrum
Devil Worshiper, Thy Mighty Contract, Yukon, 4th Horse Men, So So Death, DJ Crackhouse @ Lenny’s
Hanna-Barbarian, Twin Thunder, Small Reactions @ WonderRoot
The Goldest, Sealions, Beige @ The Earl
The Sneaky Hand, Miles From Pangea, Beatrix Kiddo, Champagne Summer, Veris @ Lenny’s
Longwave, Today The Moon, Tomorrow The Sun, It’s Elephants @ The Earl
Black Skies, Brass Castle, Overhead Ground @ Drunken Unicorn
The Mighty Hannibal, Noot D’ Noot @ Eyedrum
Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction, Can Can, Pegasi51 @ Drunken Unicorn
Anna Kramer & The Lost Cause @ 529
- Posted by Davy Minor on January 12, 2009 at 10:26 pm
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Supergroups can range anywhere from terrible (Velvet Revolver) to ridiculously awesome (Loose Fur, Swan Lake). So far from what I have heard of Thy Mighty Contract, made up of members of Atlanta institutions such as Blame Game, Fag Static, The Orphins, I Would Set Myself On Fire For You, and Narcolepsy, they are definitely leaning in the awesome direction. I think one of the coolest things about this collective is how well each different sound seems to compliment the others. Their self-titled album should be available later this summer, but until then, you can catch them tonight at WonderRoot. Here’s a track from the forthcoming record to jam:
- Posted by Davy Minor on July 8, 2008 at 6:25 pm
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