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"Atlanta Metal" doc breaks stereotypes

Emily Harris' SCAD thesis raises the bar on local metal

5121c Music Metal3 1 33
Photo credit: Emily Harris
COUCH TRIP: Emily Harris (center) with the members of Sybaritic

Heavy metal is often thought of as a boys' club — misunderstood and uncouth — like the music's most sinister muses. But Atlanta's metal boom has had as much social and sonic diversity as any other music scene. One of the first stabs at documenting this black-clad underworld addresses these misconceptions head-on. The forthcoming documentary film Atlanta Metal is part of photographer Emily Harris' thesis project for her M.F.A. in Photography from SCAD Atlanta. With the film's Jan. 11 debut inching closer, and a GoFundMe campaign nearing its $2,000 goal, Harris' three years of work is coming to a head.

Harris started the project as an outsider. "I got the idea for the project while taking a documentary photography class, and I wanted to revisit my youth and hang out with metal heads who were in high school," Harris says. "I found a group of kids in a band called Homicidal who, at the time, practiced out of the lead singer's mom's garage up in Canton, Ga."

Harris continued making contacts and discovered other acts spanning various extreme metal styles. With bands' lineups constantly changing, Harris' photographs and live footage capture groups that have since split up or changed personnel. "That is the importance of documenting something, and the reason I love photography so much," she says. "It captures a moment that you can never get back. So if these bands disappear at least they can say, 'Hey, I have a document of my time there.'"

Harris filmed the project as the local scene was taking off, which she credits partially to the clubs and promoters willing to host metal shows that were previously held in warehouse spaces or at Jack's Pizza. Amos Rifkin, who books metal shows as A Rippin' Production and plays drums for Death of Kings, echoes her sentiment. "There's definitely an audience for it now," Rifkin says, adding that he's seen a lot of underground rock styles come and go in Atlanta during his years drumming in bands such as street-punk purists A.P.A. and glam-punk guttersnipes the Heart Attacks.

As a woman carving a niche for herself, Harris challenges misconceptions about metal audiences by just being herself. "The metal scene is still male dominated, although it has become more integrated since the '90s when I first got into it," Harris says. "It is harder for a female to be taken seriously, and we have been trying hard to battle against the stereotype of the 'groupie' or the 'girlfriend,' So in the documentary, I discuss how women have struggled with this, and how metal heads as a whole have struggled with negative stereotypes."

When Harris' film debuts next month, gender-based stereotypes will be in the crosshairs, as much as Hollywood's depiction of metal heads as underachieving, basement-dwelling stoners. Not only will her years spent documenting the local scene earn her an advanced degree, it will elevate Atlanta's metal scene to a larger, academic conversation — no longer viewed as just a boys' club.



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Article

Friday June 8, 2018 10:47 pm EDT
Despite living far from the city, 'TEEMING' provides melody-rich songwriting | more...
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  string(2177) " Music Profiles1 5 11  2018-06-13T18:09:50+00:00 Music_Profiles1-5_11.jpg     'Easy, Sleazy, and Greasy' blends classic honky-tonk and rockabilly song structures 6562  2018-06-08T15:11:57+00:00 Andrea Colburn and Mud Moseley increase focus  laureneleathers@gmail.com Lauren Leathers Bobby Moore   2018-06-08T15:11:57+00:00  Guitarists, singers, and songwriters Andrea Colburn and Mud Moseley’s debut album Easy, Sleazy and Greasy brings welcome levity to the sometimes uptight world of traditional country music. Comedy and country music go hand-in-hand, based on the calculated nonsense of Roger Miller, the self-deprecating persona of Mel Tillis, or the shameless vulgarity of Wheeler Walker Jr. The duo took cues from each approach, resulting in the absurd series of calamities in "Sad Country Song," the darkly comedic breakup anthem "Garbageman," and the lewd yet hilarious "Pepperoni Sue."

For Moseley, irreverence wasn't the aim when he first started writing country songs with Colburn. "It happened because we're both sarcastic people," he says. "It seems to be that we either write sad songs or ones that are kind of puns. I think it ends up being easier to write if you put some humor into it."

The duo's self-described "surf western" sound blends classic honky-tonk and rockabilly song structures with both members’ punk, garage, and classic rock reference points. Colburn first wanted to play guitar after discovering Led Zeppelin as a teenager, and she cites Mazzy Star, alongside Hank Williams and early Willie Nelson, as musical influences. Moseley says they have enough new songs to fill a new album, marked by an increased focus on the surf half of "surf western." It'll be the next progression in a modern, countrified sound, built on a songwriting duo's shared appreciation for story-driven lyrics and bawdry humor.

Andrea Colburn and Mud Moseley play Star Bar on Sat., June 16. $10. 7 p.m. (doors). Star Bar, 437 Moreland Ave. N.E. 404-500-4942. www.starbaratlanta.com.    Stephen Crocker SAD COUNTRY SONG: Andrea Colburn (left) and Mud Moseley.                                   Andrea Colburn and Mud Moseley increase focus  "
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Friday June 8, 2018 11:11 am EDT
'Easy, Sleazy, and Greasy' blends classic honky-tonk and rockabilly song structures | more...
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  string(56) "Charley Crockett created his sound the old-fashioned way"
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In an era when what’s being called country and Americana music, more often than not, comes across as contrived, overly polished, and out of ideas, San Benito, Texas-born singer, guitar slinger, and songwriter Charley Crockett picked up his blues, hillbilly, and soul sensibilities the honest way. He is the real deal, a wandering troubadour making his way through an increasingly homogenized world of commercial music. With his latest album, Lonesome As A Shadow (Son Of Davy), Crockett follows a creative path that intersects with rap and soul music en route to hillbilly and blues purity, culminating in a collection of songs that draw from both classic and contemporary roots music influences.

After soaking up the musical and cultural climates of Dallas and New Orleans, Crockett caught ramblin’ fever, becoming a street musician settling into various cities around the globe — New York, San Francisco, Paris. At each stop, a mix of seasoned sidewalk and subway players and hard to please tourists taught him the perks of playing simple, sincere blues and folk songs. "Once I started playing those blues numbers in the streets, I realized that I could pour my soul into those simple songs," he says.

As a street musician, avoiding commercial sounds was in part a financial decision. "The musicians who are making the money and getting the tourists' attention are playing legitimate, old jug band music, the really old-time spirituals, early New Orleans traditional jazz," Crockett says. "That swing music. If you're sitting out there on the street next to them playing that homogenized stuff, you're not going to make any money. They're not going to stop for you because there's a way more authentic band down the street."

Crockett's love of soul singers doesn't come from his travels, although his initial reference points would sound at home on street corners and in urban subways. His path to traditional music came from honing in on the soul samples he heard rap and hip-hop artists using in their songs. Be it the Roots, Talib Kweli, or Mos Def, Crockett developed a love for the rhythms he hears sampled by contemporary artists, and has synthesized their sounds into his singular brand of country and Americana songwriting. "I was hearing those samples, and I'd be more interested in those original artists,” he says. “Maybe an Aretha Franklin would get sampled or Nina Simone or Wendy Rene or Joe Tex or somebody like that. I'd go find those soul records, and listen to that artists' whole catalog."

This dynamic is part of what makes Lonesome As A Shadow so easy on the ears. Crockett considers commercial music's past at times, with standout number "Lil' Girl's Name" owing more to early rock 'n' roll than the expected blues and folk reference points. Other songs, such as the classic Western story-song "Goin' Back to Texas," and the Bakersfield meets Bourbon Street feel of "Change Yo' Mind" come directly from Crockett’s street corner schooling.

With Lonesome As A Shadow, Crockett creates songs that are enticing for hip-hop heads, digging deep to find samples, and for country and blues purists alike — a little something for everyone.

Charley Crockett with Nikki Hill. $10-$12. 8 p.m. (doors). The Earl, 488 Flat Shoals Ave. S.E. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com.

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Tuesday April 24, 2018 10:52 am EDT
'Lonesome As A Shadow' comes straight from the streets | more...
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Col. JD Wilkes is an old-time Southern culture anachronism. The banjo picker and unpredictable front man leading the Legendary Shack Shakers' 20-plus year run of success also looks to his old Kentucky home as a filmmaker, author, and visual artist. Everything the irreverent and self-proclaimed "Southern surrealist" creates touches on regional music, from its roots in rural churches to its role in the creation of the "devil's music." Wilkes’ latest album Fire Dream continues this trend, with such standout tracks as "Wild Bill" and "Starlings" allowing both the local minister and the town drunk a chance to front your hometown's best string band. With Nikki & the Phantom Caller and the Waymores. $10 (adv.), 6:30 p.m. Sun., Feb. 25. Smith's Olde Bar (The Music Room), 1578 Piedmont Ave. NE. 404-875-1522. www.smithsoldebar.com.

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Article

Thursday February 15, 2018 05:00 pm EST
The Legendary Shack Shakers frontman sings about a surrealist South | more...
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Whether on stage or in the grooves of 2016's debut full-length, Gold, the up-tempo and fully aggressive sound wielded by Atlanta noise rock trio Whores. packs quite a punch. Pummeling rhythms courtesy of drummer Donnie Adkinson and bass player Casey Maxwell underscore singer and guitarist Christian Lembach’s heavy-hitting riffs and ire for society’s shortcomings. Songs with titles such as “Mental Illness As Dating Ritual” and “I See You Are Also Wearing a Black T-Shirt” read like crass inside jokes. However, they are real-world musings that rail against modern musical culture. As for the polarizing band name, it’s simply meant to remind listeners of the cruel, dehumanizing labels society flippantly assigns to “others.”

It's been seven months since Whores. played an Atlanta show. Catch them at the Masquerade before they head back out on the road for a stretch of shows in February with Washington, D.C's melodic death metal torchbearers Darkest Hour.

With '68, Pretty Please, Bataille. $15 (adv.). 7 p.m. (doors). Sun., Dec. 17. Masquerade (Hell). 75 MLK Jr. Drive S.W. 404-577-8178. www.masq.com.

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Friday December 15, 2017 04:50 pm EST
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