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Mastodon's Brann Dailor discusses album cover with Skinner

'Once More 'Round the Sun' is due out June 24.

Image Mastodon continues to stoke the fires of anticipation for its upcoming sixth studio album, Once More 'Round the Sun, in advance of its June 24 release. On the heels of last month's launch of the leadoff single "High Road," the band has released a video showcasing the creation of the album's cover art. Available via Juxtapoz, the short features a conversation between drummer/vocalist Brann Dailor and Oakland-based cover artist Skinner, discussing Dailor's original vision for the image and the artist's longtime appreciation for the group.



A special double-LP vinyl version of Once More 'Round the Sun will feature a quadruple-gatefold jacket, along with four exclusive lithographs of the album artwork and a CD of the album, which was recorded in Nashville with producer Nick Raskulinecz (Rush, Foo Fighters, Alice in Chains).

In addition, Mastodon has teased a second track, "Chimes at Midnight," with a 47-second clip of the song's intro, which recalls the cinematic sweep of the instrumental track "The Sparrow," from 2011's superb The Hunter. Fans who preorder Once More 'Round the Sun at the band's website will receive an instant download of the song on June 3. Meanwhile, check out a live bootleg of the track.



More By This Writer

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Paul Simon's Graceland, August 2010

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Marvin Gaye's What's Going On, September 2011

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Bob Dylan's Nashville Skyline, November 2012

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Johnny Cash's Live at Folsom Prison, May 2013

Berkeley cooked up a pot of refried beans and asked the Flying Biscuit to donate some grits — both of which were served on cardboard. "We forgot, or ran out of, spoons," he recalls. "So people were actually slopping the food up off the cardboard with their hands. Total prison scene. And the energy for that show was incredible. You can hear the audience of prisoners often on that recording, and we asked our audience to get into the role. They certainly did."

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Paul McCartney's Ram, January 2014

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Dalton works with Rhiannon Clark and the Collective's music director Matt Lipkins to choose curators to select albums and the lineups to do them justice. Berkeley, who currently resides in New Mexico, and Dalton took a few minutes to revisit the Collective's landmark shows and discuss the project's appeal.

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__Paul Simon's ''Graceland'', August 2010__

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Bob Dylan's Nashville Skyline, November 2012

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Johnny Cash's Live at Folsom Prison, May 2013

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Paul McCartney's Ram, January 2014

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A massive sculpture of a giant squid looming over Argosy's back room, musical-themed children's books, bicycles fitted with projectors working in tandem to create one moving picture — not to mention 2011's ambitious and detailed "Boxcar Fair" puppet show/music video. Listing the creative endeavors of Little Tybee's singer/guitarist Brock Scott sounds like the itinerary of a traveling carnival. Earlier this month, the ringmaster took to Instagram to announce a new brand with multiple uses.

For Little Tybee, the creation of On the Grid Creative is a simple stone with which to kill two complex birds. One being the organic decision to break with indie label Paper Garden Records to self-produce its own creative undertakings. The other being a desire to encompass the entire spectrum of creative work Scott does under one moniker.

Scott says the decision to self-release Little Tybee's next self-titled album, due out midsummer, was a natural one after years of resourcefully finding new ways to connect with its audience without industry funds. "I don't think there's anything wrong with record labels and the model they have set up, I just don't think most bands can afford to give away the rights to their music or have them watered down," Scott says. "If you can figure out stuff for yourself then you keep the power. I think that's what the future of the music industry's going to be."

As for the business aspect of running a record label, Scott has no interest in taking on other bands as "clients," at least not at the moment, and will continue to concentrate mostly on Little Tybee, its subsequent solo projects, and collaborating with as many local artists and musicians as he can.

But to call On the Grid Creative a vanity label would be doing it a disservice. "I don't think it's fair to call it a record label really; it's more of a creative agency or a curated trust," Scott says. "It's naive to think that a record label should be just about the music."

As a longtime resident of the Goat Farm Arts Center, there is no shortage of opportunities for Scott to take on unorthodox ways to expand Little Tybee's narrative. And with all the projects he has going on at one time, it makes sense that he would want to organize them into one easily identifiable entity.

By utilizing a broad network of Atlanta creators, including artists such as Ashley Anderson, Jason Kofke, and Nick Benson, Scott wants to focus specifically on content and incorporate all artistic mediums while pushing boundaries. He says, "Some bands don't really give enough credit to their audience and they assume it's just a stark wall they're pushing their music on, but people love density and nuance and minutiae."

Conventional record label or not, Scott hopes to continue creating an immersive world through On the Grid Creative. And to harness the kind of varied talent that will inspire even the most lackadaisical of us all to become the masters of our own imaginations.

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Article

Tuesday June 10, 2014 04:00 am EDT
Everyday Robots is a lifeless blur | more...
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  string(4376) "Stop me if you've heard this one before: The artist known as Morrissey, former frontman for the short-lived '80s band the Smiths, is a wretched human being who inflicts his every grievance on anyone unfortunate enough to buy one of his albums or hear one of his songs. Or at least that's how his detractors see it. To them, Steven Patrick Morrissey is the "Pope of Mope," pathologically obsessed with his own misery, as evidenced by such despondent songs as "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" and "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now."

"I think that's really an oversimplification, and I think it's based on a few select lyrics that really speak to that," says local musician Bret Busch. "There's certainly that dark, melancholy side to Morrissey's music, but there's a lot more content to the songs than being miserable. There's actually a lot of humor in his lyrics."

Busch is in a unique position to comment on Morrissey's songwriting. As the frontman for Smithsonian, a Smiths tribute band made up of Atlanta music scene veterans, he knows a thing or two about bringing the singer's thoughts to life.

But Busch felt a connection to Morrissey long before he began covering Smiths tunes. Despite the fact that the singer, who was famously celibate during the Smiths' heyday, never explicitly announced himself as a spokesperson for gays and lesbians, "it was pretty obvious from the lyrics and his flamboyance and all that that he was gay," Busch says. "For me, growing up gay, that was something exciting to latch on to and to hear in music that was being played and heard on MTV alongside everything else."

Morrissey's sexual identity has certainly played a key part in his mystique, but it's only one element of his persona. Although his songwriting has evolved over his career, at its core it continues to reflect a deep-seated alienation, a sense of being eternally at odds with the world and everyone in it, manifested in everything from "a shyness that is criminally vulgar" to a longstanding political disaffection evidenced in the title track to his upcoming release World Peace Is None of Your Business.

What's more, despite his critics' tendency to paint him as an eternal victim, Morrissey consistently exhibits a steadfast sense of self. Even when he intones "For once in my life, let me get what I want/Lord knows it would be the first time," his baritone delivery underlines the lyrics' wistful resignation with an unyielding determination.

The singer's literate shout-outs (referencing John Keats, William Butler Yeats, and Morrissey's spiritual forebear Oscar Wilde in "Cemetery Gates") and acid-tongued barbs (whether slagging members of the British royal family or likening the cast of "Duck Dynasty" to "serial killers") testify to an unshakable understanding of who he is, what he wants, and what he believes, and a refusal to compromise those things.

"He's certainly made a career of being very polarizing, and people love him or hate him," Busch says. "He has to know that he's provoking people with some of his statements. But his political beliefs — vegetarianism and animal welfare — I think those are 100 percent genuine, and those just happen to be extreme views in many people's eyes."

Morrissey may be better known for his views, and for things he may or may not have done, than for his music these days: He's recently made headlines for collaborating with PETA for an animated video decrying factory farms; for revealing that the Twitter account in his name isn't his; and for allegedly demanding that Scottish band PAWS cancel its set opening for We are Scientists, scheduled at the same time as his show in another room at the same venue. His last album, Years of Refusal, was favorably received upon its release five years ago, but his inconsistent recording and touring schedules have diluted his influence over today's instant-gratification pop-cultural landscape.

For diehard fans, the kind who rushed the stage at his tour opener in San Jose earlier this month, none of that matters compared to the relatable impact of timeless lyrics about love, longing, and loss.

Those lyrics "continue to resonate with people," Busch says. "Especially as you grow up and you're trying to figure out love and romance and your place in the world, and feeling that you're an outsider. There will always be people who feel that way.""
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"I think that's really an oversimplification, and I think it's based on a few select lyrics that really speak to that," says local musician Bret Busch. "There's certainly that dark, melancholy side to [Morrissey's music], but there's a lot more content to the songs than being miserable. There's actually a lot of humor in his lyrics."

Busch is in a unique position to comment on Morrissey's songwriting. As the frontman for Smithsonian, a Smiths tribute band made up of Atlanta music scene veterans, he knows a thing or two about bringing the singer's thoughts to life.

But Busch felt a connection to Morrissey long before he began covering Smiths tunes. Despite the fact that the singer, who was famously celibate during the Smiths' heyday, never explicitly announced himself as a spokesperson for gays and lesbians, "it was pretty obvious from the lyrics and his flamboyance and all that that he was [gay]," Busch says. "For me, growing up gay, that was something exciting to latch on to and to hear in music that was being played and heard on MTV alongside everything else."

Morrissey's sexual identity has certainly played a key part in his mystique, but it's only one element of his persona. Although his songwriting has evolved over his career, at its core it continues to reflect a deep-seated alienation, a sense of being eternally at odds with the world and everyone in it, manifested in everything from "a shyness that is criminally vulgar" to a longstanding political disaffection evidenced in the title track to his upcoming release ''World Peace Is None of Your Business''.

What's more, despite his critics' tendency to paint him as an eternal victim, Morrissey consistently exhibits a steadfast sense of self. Even when he intones "For once in my life, let me get what I want/Lord knows it would be the first time," his baritone delivery underlines the lyrics' wistful resignation with an unyielding determination.

The singer's literate shout-outs (referencing John Keats, William Butler Yeats, and Morrissey's spiritual forebear Oscar Wilde in "Cemetery Gates") and acid-tongued barbs (whether [http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/morrisseys-15-most-outrageous-quotes-20130306|slagging members of the British royal family] or [http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/jimmy-kimmel-and-morrissey-feud-over-duck-dynasty/2013/02/27/55e59212-8124-11e2-a350-49866afab584_story.html|likening the cast of "Duck Dynasty" to "serial killers]") testify to an unshakable understanding of who he is, what he wants, and what he believes, and a refusal to compromise those things.

"He's certainly made a career of being very polarizing, and people love him or hate him," Busch says. "He has to know that he's provoking people with some of his statements. But his political beliefs — vegetarianism and animal welfare — I think those are 100 percent genuine, and those just happen to be extreme views in many people's eyes."

Morrissey may be better known for his views, and for things he may or may not have done, than for his music these days: He's recently made headlines [http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6092169/morrissey-teams-with-peta-in-animated-video-against-factory-farmed-chickens|for collaborating with PETA] for an animated video decrying factory farms; for [http://time.com/103854/morrissey-twitter/|revealing that the Twitter account in his name isn't his]; and for [http://pitchfork.com/news/55123-morrissey-allegedly-demands-cancellation-of-show-taking-place-at-same-time-as-his-in-nearby-venue/|allegedly demanding that Scottish band PAWS cancel its set opening for We are Scientists], scheduled at the same time as his show in another room at the same venue. His last album, ''Years of Refusal'', was favorably received upon its release five years ago, but his inconsistent recording and touring schedules have diluted his influence over today's instant-gratification pop-cultural landscape.

For diehard fans, the kind who rushed the stage at his tour opener in San Jose earlier this month, none of that matters compared to the relatable impact of timeless lyrics about love, longing, and loss.

Those lyrics "continue to resonate with people," Busch says. "Especially as you grow up and you're trying to figure out love and romance and your place in the world, and feeling that you're an outsider. There will always be people who feel that way.""
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  string(4646) "    Exploring this charming man's career with Smithsonian's Bret Busch   2014-05-28T08:00:00+00:00 The man, the myth: Morrissey   Kevin Forest Moreau 1223849 2014-05-28T08:00:00+00:00  Stop me if you've heard this one before: The artist known as Morrissey, former frontman for the short-lived '80s band the Smiths, is a wretched human being who inflicts his every grievance on anyone unfortunate enough to buy one of his albums or hear one of his songs. Or at least that's how his detractors see it. To them, Steven Patrick Morrissey is the "Pope of Mope," pathologically obsessed with his own misery, as evidenced by such despondent songs as "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" and "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now."

"I think that's really an oversimplification, and I think it's based on a few select lyrics that really speak to that," says local musician Bret Busch. "There's certainly that dark, melancholy side to Morrissey's music, but there's a lot more content to the songs than being miserable. There's actually a lot of humor in his lyrics."

Busch is in a unique position to comment on Morrissey's songwriting. As the frontman for Smithsonian, a Smiths tribute band made up of Atlanta music scene veterans, he knows a thing or two about bringing the singer's thoughts to life.

But Busch felt a connection to Morrissey long before he began covering Smiths tunes. Despite the fact that the singer, who was famously celibate during the Smiths' heyday, never explicitly announced himself as a spokesperson for gays and lesbians, "it was pretty obvious from the lyrics and his flamboyance and all that that he was gay," Busch says. "For me, growing up gay, that was something exciting to latch on to and to hear in music that was being played and heard on MTV alongside everything else."

Morrissey's sexual identity has certainly played a key part in his mystique, but it's only one element of his persona. Although his songwriting has evolved over his career, at its core it continues to reflect a deep-seated alienation, a sense of being eternally at odds with the world and everyone in it, manifested in everything from "a shyness that is criminally vulgar" to a longstanding political disaffection evidenced in the title track to his upcoming release World Peace Is None of Your Business.

What's more, despite his critics' tendency to paint him as an eternal victim, Morrissey consistently exhibits a steadfast sense of self. Even when he intones "For once in my life, let me get what I want/Lord knows it would be the first time," his baritone delivery underlines the lyrics' wistful resignation with an unyielding determination.

The singer's literate shout-outs (referencing John Keats, William Butler Yeats, and Morrissey's spiritual forebear Oscar Wilde in "Cemetery Gates") and acid-tongued barbs (whether slagging members of the British royal family or likening the cast of "Duck Dynasty" to "serial killers") testify to an unshakable understanding of who he is, what he wants, and what he believes, and a refusal to compromise those things.

"He's certainly made a career of being very polarizing, and people love him or hate him," Busch says. "He has to know that he's provoking people with some of his statements. But his political beliefs — vegetarianism and animal welfare — I think those are 100 percent genuine, and those just happen to be extreme views in many people's eyes."

Morrissey may be better known for his views, and for things he may or may not have done, than for his music these days: He's recently made headlines for collaborating with PETA for an animated video decrying factory farms; for revealing that the Twitter account in his name isn't his; and for allegedly demanding that Scottish band PAWS cancel its set opening for We are Scientists, scheduled at the same time as his show in another room at the same venue. His last album, Years of Refusal, was favorably received upon its release five years ago, but his inconsistent recording and touring schedules have diluted his influence over today's instant-gratification pop-cultural landscape.

For diehard fans, the kind who rushed the stage at his tour opener in San Jose earlier this month, none of that matters compared to the relatable impact of timeless lyrics about love, longing, and loss.

Those lyrics "continue to resonate with people," Busch says. "Especially as you grow up and you're trying to figure out love and romance and your place in the world, and feeling that you're an outsider. There will always be people who feel that way."             13078484 11225974                          The man, the myth: Morrissey "
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Article

Wednesday May 28, 2014 04:00 am EDT
Exploring this charming man's career with Smithsonian's Bret Busch | more...
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  ["title"]=>
  string(20) "Shaky Knees grows up"
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  string(5715) "Elbowing its way onto an already-crowded festival calendar, last year's Shaky Knees Fest left a sizable (and rather muddy) mark on Atlanta's outdoor music landscape. Heavy rains rendered the Masquerade Music Park and Historic Fourth Ward Park a giant mud puddle, as thousands of fans in ponchos and rain boots swarmed the inaugural two-day event for the chance to watch Jim James, Drive-By Truckers, J. Roddy Walston and the Business, Band of Horses, and the Lumineers in a smaller and more intimate setting. The homegrown festival returns May 9-11, sporting several new additions: an extra day, a change of venue, and an expanded roster highlighted by a number of post-punk, college rock, and indie heavyweights such as the National, Modest Mouse, Alabama Shakes, Spoon, the Replacements, Iron & Wine, Jenny Lewis, and Violent Femmes, among others. Before the weekend kicks off, festival founder Tim Sweetwood took a few minutes to talk about Shaky Knees' evolution, its place in the festival firmament, and staying true to his vision.

How is this year's Shaky Knees Fest different from last year's, stylistically speaking?

I would say we obviously got a lot of notoriety from last year, so the difference in year two and year one is the industry and bands and everyone who wants to be involved is hitting us up, rather than me hitting them up. The incoming versus the outgoing has increased exponentially.

You've also added a third day. How did that come about?

I think that came from the increase in incoming business. But it also came from the fact that I always wanted it to be three days, but it's just hard to establish a festival with three days in the beginning. There are some cost benefits to it, as well. If you're producing a festival and paying for production and all the aspects two days, it doesn't cost double to do one more day, so you might as well keep it rolling.

How did the inaugural festival do, from a commercial and from a general standpoint?

It went fantastic. There were no complaints, really, on any aspect of the festival. And as everyone knows, it poured down rain, but that gave the festival some nice character. I think the only disappointment for people was there were only 20 dry minutes the whole weekend.

What surprised you most about last year?

I think honestly the camaraderie between the artists, and the praise for producing a festival the way I wanted to produce it. I was scared last year that there are so many festivals out there nowadays. But I feel the difference between my festival and other festivals is I'm not trying to, for lack of a better phrase, kiss the ass of the person attending the festival. I'm trying to create something unique and satisfying. It came from programming the bands I wanted, and the fact that I didn't fly in three production people from Seattle — I used all local people to work on the festival. All that stuff.

How do you see the festival's identity? Has it changed from what you originally intended?

I don't think the overall aspect has changed. I think it's grown to where I've been able to adapt and add a little more of the genres I wanted. I've always been a big punk fan, and I was able to bring in punk bands and more legendary bands that I've always admired. ... All of these big festivals think the best way for them to have success is to make it a 360-degree experience. I want to do the genres that are true to me in my heart, and I think people get off on that. A big festival where they have anything from Eminem to Pearl Jam, that's crossing a lot of genres. And I didn't want to do that.

Listen, I'm the first person to tell you I like all genres of music. I'm a big metal head. I like old-school hip-hop. Because I'm a promoter, I know that there are certain people you target, and certain people that go to certain shows. ... People may not know who Hayes Carll is, but if they come early, they'll probably like the early bands. I don't want people coming for the National, and Killer Mike is playing at 3 p.m., because that's a whole different group of people. If I put the Replacements on there, I want to put them with a band like Modest Mouse, where they probably have a similar feel and were probably influenced by them, too. A 19-year-old kid who listens to electronica probably has no clue who the Replacements are.

What prompted the move to Atlantic Station?

The move is primarily based on the fact that I wanted to grow, but not become a 50,000- to 60,000-people-per-day festival overnight. The Old Fourth Ward Park was a great place to do it last year. It could just only hold up to 9,000 people a day, and now I'm going to Atlantic Station, where you're looking at 15,000 to 20,000 a day, and that was a natural progression. And I still want to always be in Atlanta. I don't want to expand outside of 285. And it's a fairly viable, workable space. Everyone knows where it is and how to get to it. Plus, there's a 5,000-space parking lot, it's right off the highway, there's easy access, so some of those elements factored in as well.

Does the move present any challenges to your stated goal of making Shaky Knees an intimate experience?

No, and I would encourage people to go the website and look at the map, because it's almost more intimate than last year. I've set up the festival, from a physical standpoint, very old-school. There's basically two main stages that literally sit next to each other, where they go back and forth, and just around the corner is the same setup: two stages that go back and forth. You don't have to walk three or four football fields away to get to the next band. If you want to, you can sit in front of one stage the whole day."
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(5790) "Elbowing its way onto an already-crowded festival calendar, last year's [http://shakykneesfestival.com/|Shaky Knees Fest] left a sizable (and rather muddy) mark on Atlanta's outdoor music landscape. Heavy rains rendered the Masquerade Music Park and Historic Fourth Ward Park a giant mud puddle, as thousands of fans in ponchos and rain boots swarmed the inaugural two-day event for the chance to watch Jim James, Drive-By Truckers, J. Roddy Walston and the Business, Band of Horses, and the Lumineers in a smaller and more intimate setting. The homegrown festival returns May 9-11, sporting several new additions: an extra day, a change of venue, and an expanded roster highlighted by a number of post-punk, college rock, and indie heavyweights such as the National, Modest Mouse, Alabama Shakes, Spoon, the Replacements, Iron & Wine, Jenny Lewis, and Violent Femmes, among others. Before the weekend kicks off, festival founder Tim Sweetwood took a few minutes to talk about Shaky Knees' evolution, its place in the festival firmament, and staying true to his vision.

__How is this year's Shaky Knees Fest different from last year's, stylistically speaking?__

I would say we obviously got a lot of notoriety from last year, so the difference in year two and year one is the industry and bands and everyone who wants to be involved is hitting us up, rather than me hitting them up. The incoming versus the outgoing has increased exponentially.

__You've also added a third day. How did that come about?__

I think that came from the increase in incoming business. But it also came from the fact that I always wanted it to be three days, but it's just hard to establish a festival with three days in the beginning. There are some cost benefits to it, as well. If you're producing a festival and paying for production and all the aspects two days, it doesn't cost double to do one more day, so you might as well keep it rolling.

__How did the inaugural festival do, from a commercial and from a general standpoint?__

It went fantastic. There were no complaints, really, on any aspect of the festival. And as everyone knows, it poured down rain, but that gave the festival some nice character. I think the only disappointment for people was there were only 20 dry minutes the whole weekend.

__What surprised you most about last year?__

I think honestly the camaraderie between the artists, and the praise for producing a festival the way I wanted to produce it. I was scared last year that there are so many festivals out there nowadays. But I feel the difference between my festival and other festivals is I'm not trying to, for lack of a better phrase, kiss the ass of the person attending the festival. I'm trying to create something unique and satisfying. It came from [programming] the bands I wanted, and the fact that I didn't fly in three production people from Seattle — I used all local people to work on the festival. All that stuff.

__How do you see the festival's identity? Has it changed from what you originally intended?__

I don't think the overall aspect has changed. I think it's grown to where I've been able to adapt [and add] a little more of the genres I wanted. I've always been a big punk fan, and I was able to bring in punk bands and more legendary bands that I've always admired. ... All of these big festivals think the best way for them to have success is to make it a 360[-degree] experience. I want to do the genres that are true to me in my heart, and I think people get off on that. A big festival where they have anything from Eminem to Pearl Jam, that's crossing a lot of genres. And I didn't want to do that.

Listen, I'm the first person to tell you I like all genres of music. I'm a big metal head. I like old-school hip-hop. Because I'm a promoter, [I know that] there are certain people you target, and certain people that go to certain shows. ... People may not know who Hayes Carll is, but if they come early, they'll probably like the early bands. I don't want people coming for the National, and Killer Mike is playing at 3 p.m., because that's a whole different group of people. If I put the Replacements on there, I want to put them with a band like Modest Mouse, where they probably have a similar feel and were probably influenced by them, too. A 19-year-old kid who listens to electronica probably has no clue who the Replacements are.

__What prompted the move to Atlantic Station?__

The move is primarily based on the fact that I wanted to grow, but not become a 50,000- to 60,000-people-per-day festival overnight. The Old Fourth Ward Park was a great place to do it [last year]. It could just only hold up to 9,000 [people] a day, and now I'm going to Atlantic Station, where you're looking at 15,000 to 20,000 a day, and that was a natural progression. And I still want to always be in Atlanta. I don't want to expand outside of 285. And it's a fairly viable, workable space. Everyone knows where it is and how to get to it. Plus, there's a 5,000-space parking lot, it's right off the highway, there's easy access, so some of those elements [factored in] as well.

__Does the move present any challenges to your stated goal of making Shaky Knees an intimate experience?__

No, and I would encourage people to go the website and look at the map, because it's almost more intimate than last year. I've set up the festival, from a physical standpoint, very old-school. There's basically two main stages that literally sit next to each other, where they go back and forth, and just around the corner is the same setup: two stages that go back and forth. You don't have to walk three or four football fields away to get to the next band. If you want to, you can sit in front of one stage the whole day."
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  string(6031) "   shaky knees Atlanta music festival goes bigger and broader, while staying intimate   2014-05-06T08:00:00+00:00 Shaky Knees grows up will.cardwell@gmail.com Will Cardwell Kevin Forest Moreau 1223849 2014-05-06T08:00:00+00:00  Elbowing its way onto an already-crowded festival calendar, last year's Shaky Knees Fest left a sizable (and rather muddy) mark on Atlanta's outdoor music landscape. Heavy rains rendered the Masquerade Music Park and Historic Fourth Ward Park a giant mud puddle, as thousands of fans in ponchos and rain boots swarmed the inaugural two-day event for the chance to watch Jim James, Drive-By Truckers, J. Roddy Walston and the Business, Band of Horses, and the Lumineers in a smaller and more intimate setting. The homegrown festival returns May 9-11, sporting several new additions: an extra day, a change of venue, and an expanded roster highlighted by a number of post-punk, college rock, and indie heavyweights such as the National, Modest Mouse, Alabama Shakes, Spoon, the Replacements, Iron & Wine, Jenny Lewis, and Violent Femmes, among others. Before the weekend kicks off, festival founder Tim Sweetwood took a few minutes to talk about Shaky Knees' evolution, its place in the festival firmament, and staying true to his vision.

How is this year's Shaky Knees Fest different from last year's, stylistically speaking?

I would say we obviously got a lot of notoriety from last year, so the difference in year two and year one is the industry and bands and everyone who wants to be involved is hitting us up, rather than me hitting them up. The incoming versus the outgoing has increased exponentially.

You've also added a third day. How did that come about?

I think that came from the increase in incoming business. But it also came from the fact that I always wanted it to be three days, but it's just hard to establish a festival with three days in the beginning. There are some cost benefits to it, as well. If you're producing a festival and paying for production and all the aspects two days, it doesn't cost double to do one more day, so you might as well keep it rolling.

How did the inaugural festival do, from a commercial and from a general standpoint?

It went fantastic. There were no complaints, really, on any aspect of the festival. And as everyone knows, it poured down rain, but that gave the festival some nice character. I think the only disappointment for people was there were only 20 dry minutes the whole weekend.

What surprised you most about last year?

I think honestly the camaraderie between the artists, and the praise for producing a festival the way I wanted to produce it. I was scared last year that there are so many festivals out there nowadays. But I feel the difference between my festival and other festivals is I'm not trying to, for lack of a better phrase, kiss the ass of the person attending the festival. I'm trying to create something unique and satisfying. It came from programming the bands I wanted, and the fact that I didn't fly in three production people from Seattle — I used all local people to work on the festival. All that stuff.

How do you see the festival's identity? Has it changed from what you originally intended?

I don't think the overall aspect has changed. I think it's grown to where I've been able to adapt and add a little more of the genres I wanted. I've always been a big punk fan, and I was able to bring in punk bands and more legendary bands that I've always admired. ... All of these big festivals think the best way for them to have success is to make it a 360-degree experience. I want to do the genres that are true to me in my heart, and I think people get off on that. A big festival where they have anything from Eminem to Pearl Jam, that's crossing a lot of genres. And I didn't want to do that.

Listen, I'm the first person to tell you I like all genres of music. I'm a big metal head. I like old-school hip-hop. Because I'm a promoter, I know that there are certain people you target, and certain people that go to certain shows. ... People may not know who Hayes Carll is, but if they come early, they'll probably like the early bands. I don't want people coming for the National, and Killer Mike is playing at 3 p.m., because that's a whole different group of people. If I put the Replacements on there, I want to put them with a band like Modest Mouse, where they probably have a similar feel and were probably influenced by them, too. A 19-year-old kid who listens to electronica probably has no clue who the Replacements are.

What prompted the move to Atlantic Station?

The move is primarily based on the fact that I wanted to grow, but not become a 50,000- to 60,000-people-per-day festival overnight. The Old Fourth Ward Park was a great place to do it last year. It could just only hold up to 9,000 people a day, and now I'm going to Atlantic Station, where you're looking at 15,000 to 20,000 a day, and that was a natural progression. And I still want to always be in Atlanta. I don't want to expand outside of 285. And it's a fairly viable, workable space. Everyone knows where it is and how to get to it. Plus, there's a 5,000-space parking lot, it's right off the highway, there's easy access, so some of those elements factored in as well.

Does the move present any challenges to your stated goal of making Shaky Knees an intimate experience?

No, and I would encourage people to go the website and look at the map, because it's almost more intimate than last year. I've set up the festival, from a physical standpoint, very old-school. There's basically two main stages that literally sit next to each other, where they go back and forth, and just around the corner is the same setup: two stages that go back and forth. You don't have to walk three or four football fields away to get to the next band. If you want to, you can sit in front of one stage the whole day.           Shaky Knees  13078275 11076345                          Shaky Knees grows up "
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Article

Tuesday May 6, 2014 04:00 am EDT
Atlanta music festival goes bigger and broader, while staying intimate | more...
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  string(6924) "The Shaky Knees Music Festival descends upon Atlantic Station from May 9-11, filling up three days with performances by established and up-and-coming indie rock alike. From the wistful pop Americana of the National and Conor Oberst to the lo-fi indie rock of Modest Mouse and Minnesota garage-punk elder statesmen the Replacements, it'll be a weekend of music and sun on the asphalt. With so many acts gracing the festival's four stages, prioritizing who to catch and who to skip can be a juggling act. So this week, CL's music scribes lay out their top 10 best bets for the weekend marked by exuberance in the name of contemporary indie rock.

Jordan Lee's experimental pop project Mutual Benefit may not be the biggest name on the weekend roster, but his pastoral folk songs bring one of the most thoughtful daytime shows to the lineup. With a blend of vibrant strings (live shows include violin and banjo) and analog field recordings featured throughout his 2013 debut, Love's Crushing Diamond, Lee and his collaborators create uplifting, authentic swells of music to wash over a sunny afternoon. Fri., May 9, 12:45 p.m. Piedmont Stage. — Sonam Vashi

When the Whigs, who relocated to Nashville from Athens in late 2012, take the stage, the group will do so with its new album, Modern Creation, in hand. It's a melodic batch of 10 jangly garage-pop tunes recorded over two weeks with full-band live takes. The trio sounds less raw and nervy than on past albums, but more confident and comfortable. Fri., May 9, 2:25 p.m. Ponce de Leon Stage. — Chris Hassiotis

He's called "The Screaming Eagle of Soul," and once you've witnessed Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires' give-it-all performance, it's pretty damn obvious why that is. The man got his showbiz start years ago impersonating James Brown, and the Godfather of Soul's show-stopping stage presence informs much of Bradley's act. "My heart is overpowered. I just have to scream it out to get all that beauty in my heart out at one time," he told CL while passing through town last year. Impassioned, soulful, funky, sweaty, fiery, dramatic ... Bradley's show is not to be missed. Fri., May 9, 4 p.m. Ponce de Leon stage. — CH

If the National isn't the reigning king of indie rock, it's certainly a high-ranking member of the royal court. On albums such as 2007's masterful Boxer and last year's Trouble Will Find Me, the Brooklyn-based quintet displays a deft flair for mixing genres and crafting atmospheric textures behind singer Matt Berninger's baritone ruminations on regret, finding one's way in a complex world, and other heady themes. All of which make this set a strong, if somewhat melancholy, way to close out Friday night. Fri., May 9, 9:30 p.m. Peachtree Stage. — Kevin Forest Moreau

It's been a long and lonely five years since Modest Mouse released 2009's No One's First and You're Next. The indie rock stalwarts have been mostly silent since then with frontman Isaac Brock's focus on his own Glacial Pace label, signaling a looming hiatus. Yet the few details that have eeked out from the MM camp reveal exciting things to come. Even though the three core members of Modest Mouse are all approaching the death knell that is middle age, their consistent reputation for unpredictable live ferocity makes them the biggest must-see at Shaky Knees. Sat., May 10, 9:30 p.m. Peachtree stage. — Paul DeMerritt

A festival like Shaky Knees is made for a band like Phox — a band on its way up but still generally unknown around these parts. The Wisconsin act released its debut EP, Confetti, last year and it's a charmingly kaleidoscopic collection of nuanced pop songs. Both playful and heartfelt, the music, and Monica Martin's arresting voice, looks to folk, soul, and psychedelia, but creates its own identity in one of those interrupt-the-conversation-to-ask-hey-what-band-is-this ways. Catch 'em before the rest of the country catches on. Phox's self-titled first full-length hits next month. Sat., May 10, 5 p.m. Boulevard stage. — CH

Jenny Lewis has kept herself busy over the past few years following the demise of her longtime group Rilo Kiley. Since then, the California alt-country songwriter partnered with boyfriend Johnathan Rice on their collaborative record Jenny and Johnny, penned songs for several soundtracks, and toured with the Postal Service. Lewis has recently turned toward finishing up her first solo record in six years with the help of guest producers Beck and Ryan Adams. The untitled LP will likely be released in 2014, which means that Shaky Knees will be a ripe opportunity for testing out her latest batch of pop songs. Sat., May 10, 8 p.m. Ponce de Leon stage. — Max Blau

The Replacements were one of those influential bands that cast a shadow over the alternative/indie rock landscape far greater than its commercial footprint. Which means this reunion (singer/guitarist Paul Westerberg and bassist Tommy Stinson are the only original members) comes with heightened expectations. Of course, the band's greatest strength has always been subverting expectations, rambling through albums like Let It Be, Tim, and Pleased to Meet Me with a shambling, erratic grace. All of this is to say the group often sounded sloppy and/or drunk, while revealing moments of assured songcraft, buoyed by Westerberg's wistful yet scrappy lyricism. Sat., May 10, 8 p.m. Piedmont Stage. — KFM

"My father said if you're honest no one will complain," Kelsey Kopecky of Kopecky Family Band sings over the flirtatious, whistle-backed guitar riffs on "Are You Listening." There ain't much to bitch about when it comes to this Nashville six-piece. Along with co-founder and vocalist Gabriel Simon, the Kopecky's folk-rock jams are better experienced in the flesh. The group has been steady traveling and making tunes for the past seven years, but it was the exceptional 2012 debut, Kids Raising Kids, featuring the punchy "Heartbeat" and anthem-esque "The Glow," that caught the attention of fans and critics alike. While its members may not be connected by blood, Kopecky is a family band worth partying with when they hit the stage. Sun., May 11, 6:45 p.m. Boulevard stage. — Gavin Godfrey

Amid a massive bill of heavy hitters featured throughout this year's Shaky Knees lineup lies the Violent Femmes — a true American alternative rock classic. The Milwaukee trio harbors a spate of mid-'80s deep cuts, such as "Please Do Not Go," "Add It Up," and "Gone Daddy Gone," and when singer and guitarist Gordon Gano, bassist Brian Ritchie, and drummer Brian Viglione (also of Dresden Dolls fame) tear into the seminal "Blister in the Sun," it's nearly impossible not to do the whole clap-clap, clap-clap thing during the verses. When it comes to alternative rock, the Femmes are an institution, and after more than 30 years the group still puts on a must-see show. Sun., May 11, 7:45 p.m. Ponce de Leon Stage. — Kelly StrouP"
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  string(7144) "The [http://www.shakykneesfestival.com|Shaky Knees Music Festival] descends upon Atlantic Station from May 9-11, filling up three days with performances by established and up-and-coming indie rock alike. From the wistful pop Americana of the National and Conor Oberst to the lo-fi indie rock of Modest Mouse and Minnesota garage-punk elder statesmen the Replacements, it'll be a weekend of music and sun on the asphalt. With so many acts gracing the festival's four stages, prioritizing who to catch and who to skip can be a juggling act. So this week, ''CL'''s music scribes lay out their top 10 best bets for the weekend marked by exuberance in the name of contemporary indie rock.

Jordan Lee's experimental pop project __Mutual Benefit__ may not be the biggest name on the weekend roster, but his pastoral folk songs bring one of the most thoughtful daytime shows to the lineup. With a blend of vibrant strings (live shows include violin and banjo) and analog field recordings featured throughout his 2013 debut, ''Love's Crushing Diamond'', Lee and his collaborators create uplifting, authentic swells of music to wash over a sunny afternoon. ''Fri., May 9,'' ''12:45 p.m.'' ''Piedmont Stage.'' __— Sonam Vashi__

When __the Whigs__, who relocated to Nashville from Athens in late 2012, take the stage, the group will do so with its new album, ''Modern Creation'', in hand. It's a melodic batch of 10 jangly garage-pop tunes recorded over two weeks with full-band live takes. The trio sounds less raw and nervy than on past albums, but more confident and comfortable. ''Fri., May 9, 2:25 p.m. Ponce de Leon Stage.'' __— Chris Hassiotis__

He's called "The Screaming Eagle of Soul," and once you've witnessed __Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires__' give-it-all performance, it's pretty damn obvious why that is. The man got his showbiz start years ago impersonating James Brown, and the Godfather of Soul's show-stopping stage presence informs much of Bradley's act. "My heart is overpowered. I just have to scream it out to get all that beauty in my heart out at one time," he told ''CL'' while passing through town last year. Impassioned, soulful, funky, sweaty, fiery, dramatic ... Bradley's show is not to be missed. ''Fri., May 9, 4 p.m. Ponce de Leon stage.'' __— CH__

If __the National__ isn't the reigning king of indie rock, it's certainly a high-ranking member of the royal court. On albums such as 2007's masterful ''Boxer'' and last year's ''Trouble Will Find Me'', the Brooklyn-based quintet displays a deft flair for mixing genres and crafting atmospheric textures behind singer Matt Berninger's baritone ruminations on regret, finding one's way in a complex world, and other heady themes. All of which make this set a strong, if somewhat melancholy, way to close out Friday night. ''Fri., May 9, 9:30 p.m. Peachtree Stage.'' __— Kevin Forest Moreau__

It's been a long and lonely five years since __Modest Mouse__ released 2009's ''No One's First and You're Next''. The indie rock stalwarts have been mostly silent since then with frontman Isaac Brock's focus on his own Glacial Pace label, signaling a looming hiatus. Yet the few details that have eeked out from the MM camp reveal exciting things to come. Even though the three core members of Modest Mouse are all approaching the death knell that is middle age, their consistent reputation for unpredictable live ferocity makes them the biggest must-see at Shaky Knees. ''Sat., May 10, 9:30 p.m. Peachtree stage.'' __— Paul DeMerritt__

A festival like Shaky Knees is made for a band like __Phox__ — a band on its way up but still generally unknown around these parts. The Wisconsin act released its debut EP, ''Confetti'', last year and it's a charmingly kaleidoscopic collection of nuanced pop songs. Both playful and heartfelt, the music, and Monica Martin's arresting voice, looks to folk, soul, and psychedelia, but creates its own identity in one of those interrupt-the-conversation-to-ask-hey-what-band-is-this ways. Catch 'em before the rest of the country catches on. Phox's self-titled first full-length hits next month. ''Sat., May 10, 5 p.m. Boulevard stage.'' __— CH__

__Jenny Lewis__ has kept herself busy over the past few years following the demise of her longtime group Rilo Kiley. Since then, the California alt-country songwriter partnered with boyfriend Johnathan Rice on their collaborative record ''Jenny and Johnny'', penned songs for several soundtracks, and toured with the Postal Service. Lewis has recently turned toward finishing up her first solo record in six years with the help of guest producers Beck and Ryan Adams. The untitled LP will likely be released in 2014, which means that Shaky Knees will be a ripe opportunity for testing out her latest batch of pop songs. ''Sat., May 10, 8 p.m. Ponce de Leon stage.'' __— Max Blau__

__The Replacements__ were one of those influential bands that cast a shadow over the alternative/indie rock landscape far greater than its commercial footprint. Which means this reunion (singer/guitarist Paul Westerberg and bassist Tommy Stinson are the only original members) comes with heightened expectations. Of course, the band's greatest strength has always been subverting expectations, rambling through albums like ''Let It Be'', ''Tim'', and ''Pleased to Meet Me'' with a shambling, erratic grace. All of this is to say the group often sounded sloppy and/or drunk, while revealing moments of assured songcraft, buoyed by Westerberg's wistful yet scrappy lyricism. ''Sat., May 10, 8 p.m. Piedmont Stage.'' __— KFM__

"My father said if you're honest no one will complain," Kelsey Kopecky of __Kopecky Family Band__ sings over the flirtatious, whistle-backed guitar riffs on "Are You Listening." There ain't much to bitch about when it comes to this Nashville six-piece. Along with co-founder and vocalist Gabriel Simon, the Kopecky's folk-rock jams are better experienced in the flesh. The group has been steady traveling and making tunes for the past seven years, but it was the exceptional 2012 debut, ''Kids Raising Kids'', featuring the punchy "Heartbeat" and anthem-esque "The Glow," that caught the attention of fans and critics alike. While its members may not be connected by blood, Kopecky is a family band worth partying with when they hit the stage. ''Sun., May 11, 6:45 p.m. Boulevard stage.'' __— Gavin Godfrey__

Amid a massive bill of heavy hitters featured throughout this year's Shaky Knees lineup lies the __Violent Femmes__ — a true American alternative rock classic. The Milwaukee trio harbors a spate of mid-'80s deep cuts, such as "Please Do Not Go," "Add It Up," and "Gone Daddy Gone," and when singer and guitarist Gordon Gano, bassist Brian Ritchie, and drummer Brian Viglione (also of Dresden Dolls fame) tear into the seminal "Blister in the Sun," it's nearly impossible not to do the whole clap-clap, clap-clap thing during the verses. When it comes to alternative rock, the Femmes are an institution, and after more than 30 years the group still puts on a must-see show. ''Sun., May 11, 7:45 p.m. Ponce de Leon Stage.'' __— Kelly Strou____P__"
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  string(7269) "    CL music scribes call out their top 10 weekend picks   2014-05-06T08:00:00+00:00 Shaky Knees must-see acts!   Sonam Vashi, Christopher Hassiotis, Kevin Forest Moreau, Paul DeMerritt, Max Blau, Gavin Godfrey and Kelly Stroup 148317 2014-05-06T08:00:00+00:00  The Shaky Knees Music Festival descends upon Atlantic Station from May 9-11, filling up three days with performances by established and up-and-coming indie rock alike. From the wistful pop Americana of the National and Conor Oberst to the lo-fi indie rock of Modest Mouse and Minnesota garage-punk elder statesmen the Replacements, it'll be a weekend of music and sun on the asphalt. With so many acts gracing the festival's four stages, prioritizing who to catch and who to skip can be a juggling act. So this week, CL's music scribes lay out their top 10 best bets for the weekend marked by exuberance in the name of contemporary indie rock.

Jordan Lee's experimental pop project Mutual Benefit may not be the biggest name on the weekend roster, but his pastoral folk songs bring one of the most thoughtful daytime shows to the lineup. With a blend of vibrant strings (live shows include violin and banjo) and analog field recordings featured throughout his 2013 debut, Love's Crushing Diamond, Lee and his collaborators create uplifting, authentic swells of music to wash over a sunny afternoon. Fri., May 9, 12:45 p.m. Piedmont Stage. — Sonam Vashi

When the Whigs, who relocated to Nashville from Athens in late 2012, take the stage, the group will do so with its new album, Modern Creation, in hand. It's a melodic batch of 10 jangly garage-pop tunes recorded over two weeks with full-band live takes. The trio sounds less raw and nervy than on past albums, but more confident and comfortable. Fri., May 9, 2:25 p.m. Ponce de Leon Stage. — Chris Hassiotis

He's called "The Screaming Eagle of Soul," and once you've witnessed Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires' give-it-all performance, it's pretty damn obvious why that is. The man got his showbiz start years ago impersonating James Brown, and the Godfather of Soul's show-stopping stage presence informs much of Bradley's act. "My heart is overpowered. I just have to scream it out to get all that beauty in my heart out at one time," he told CL while passing through town last year. Impassioned, soulful, funky, sweaty, fiery, dramatic ... Bradley's show is not to be missed. Fri., May 9, 4 p.m. Ponce de Leon stage. — CH

If the National isn't the reigning king of indie rock, it's certainly a high-ranking member of the royal court. On albums such as 2007's masterful Boxer and last year's Trouble Will Find Me, the Brooklyn-based quintet displays a deft flair for mixing genres and crafting atmospheric textures behind singer Matt Berninger's baritone ruminations on regret, finding one's way in a complex world, and other heady themes. All of which make this set a strong, if somewhat melancholy, way to close out Friday night. Fri., May 9, 9:30 p.m. Peachtree Stage. — Kevin Forest Moreau

It's been a long and lonely five years since Modest Mouse released 2009's No One's First and You're Next. The indie rock stalwarts have been mostly silent since then with frontman Isaac Brock's focus on his own Glacial Pace label, signaling a looming hiatus. Yet the few details that have eeked out from the MM camp reveal exciting things to come. Even though the three core members of Modest Mouse are all approaching the death knell that is middle age, their consistent reputation for unpredictable live ferocity makes them the biggest must-see at Shaky Knees. Sat., May 10, 9:30 p.m. Peachtree stage. — Paul DeMerritt

A festival like Shaky Knees is made for a band like Phox — a band on its way up but still generally unknown around these parts. The Wisconsin act released its debut EP, Confetti, last year and it's a charmingly kaleidoscopic collection of nuanced pop songs. Both playful and heartfelt, the music, and Monica Martin's arresting voice, looks to folk, soul, and psychedelia, but creates its own identity in one of those interrupt-the-conversation-to-ask-hey-what-band-is-this ways. Catch 'em before the rest of the country catches on. Phox's self-titled first full-length hits next month. Sat., May 10, 5 p.m. Boulevard stage. — CH

Jenny Lewis has kept herself busy over the past few years following the demise of her longtime group Rilo Kiley. Since then, the California alt-country songwriter partnered with boyfriend Johnathan Rice on their collaborative record Jenny and Johnny, penned songs for several soundtracks, and toured with the Postal Service. Lewis has recently turned toward finishing up her first solo record in six years with the help of guest producers Beck and Ryan Adams. The untitled LP will likely be released in 2014, which means that Shaky Knees will be a ripe opportunity for testing out her latest batch of pop songs. Sat., May 10, 8 p.m. Ponce de Leon stage. — Max Blau

The Replacements were one of those influential bands that cast a shadow over the alternative/indie rock landscape far greater than its commercial footprint. Which means this reunion (singer/guitarist Paul Westerberg and bassist Tommy Stinson are the only original members) comes with heightened expectations. Of course, the band's greatest strength has always been subverting expectations, rambling through albums like Let It Be, Tim, and Pleased to Meet Me with a shambling, erratic grace. All of this is to say the group often sounded sloppy and/or drunk, while revealing moments of assured songcraft, buoyed by Westerberg's wistful yet scrappy lyricism. Sat., May 10, 8 p.m. Piedmont Stage. — KFM

"My father said if you're honest no one will complain," Kelsey Kopecky of Kopecky Family Band sings over the flirtatious, whistle-backed guitar riffs on "Are You Listening." There ain't much to bitch about when it comes to this Nashville six-piece. Along with co-founder and vocalist Gabriel Simon, the Kopecky's folk-rock jams are better experienced in the flesh. The group has been steady traveling and making tunes for the past seven years, but it was the exceptional 2012 debut, Kids Raising Kids, featuring the punchy "Heartbeat" and anthem-esque "The Glow," that caught the attention of fans and critics alike. While its members may not be connected by blood, Kopecky is a family band worth partying with when they hit the stage. Sun., May 11, 6:45 p.m. Boulevard stage. — Gavin Godfrey

Amid a massive bill of heavy hitters featured throughout this year's Shaky Knees lineup lies the Violent Femmes — a true American alternative rock classic. The Milwaukee trio harbors a spate of mid-'80s deep cuts, such as "Please Do Not Go," "Add It Up," and "Gone Daddy Gone," and when singer and guitarist Gordon Gano, bassist Brian Ritchie, and drummer Brian Viglione (also of Dresden Dolls fame) tear into the seminal "Blister in the Sun," it's nearly impossible not to do the whole clap-clap, clap-clap thing during the verses. When it comes to alternative rock, the Femmes are an institution, and after more than 30 years the group still puts on a must-see show. Sun., May 11, 7:45 p.m. Ponce de Leon Stage. — Kelly StrouP             13078279 11077162                          Shaky Knees must-see acts! "
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Tuesday May 6, 2014 04:00 am EDT
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