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Dragon*Con, Jay (Reatard) Day and a boatload of new releases

The annual migration of the geeks arrives in Atlanta once again on Labor Day weekend. Amid the procession of Dragon*Con madness embodied by stormtroopers, sci-fi celebs and nerdy girls decked out in "Slave Leia" metal bikinis, you can find live music at Dragon*Con, too, but it's never been a strong selling point — unless you're into filking (sci-fi folk singing) or steampunk's Victorian-era garb and goggles.

This year, Black Tape for a Blue Girl is classing up the stage at Dragon*Con, adding some depth to the show. Since 1986, the group has operated under the direction of principle songwriter Sam Rosenthal, who runs one of the country's longest-standing independent goth labels, Projekt Records. For those who are unfamiliar, Black Tape for a Blue Girl is a progenitor of the ethereal "darkwave" sound, and throughout the '90s the group dwelt in bleak, droning washes of brittle, personal explorations — sort of a dark and dramatic counterpart to My Bloody Valentine and Cocteau Twins.

These days, the Black Tape's lineup has expanded to a full band (featuring Brian Viglione of the Dresden Dolls), and its latest release, 10 Neurotics, moves away from the drones of yore to embrace elements of cabaret and rock that lends itself to a stronger live performance. "Thematically, I set out to write first-person narratives of people on the edges of society," Rosenthal says. "Many of the characters come from the fetish world, but the stories talk about relationships, desires and insecurities. They explore the continuum between the erotic and the neurotic." And that's Dragon*Con in a nutshell.

Rosenthal will also be speaking on a panel about the state of the Goth scene at Dragon*Con, since he has kept Projekt Records up and running since 1983. The group's vocalist Athan Maroulis will also speak on a panel about the life and music of David Bowie.

Jay Day takes over Lenny's on Sat., Sept. 4, with a tribute to the late Memphis punk icon Jay Reatard. Several bands, including Customers, Sarin McHugh and the Everymen and Hip to Death are playing a handful of Jay Reatard covers along with some original numbers. There's also a pre-Jay Day show at Criminal Records on Thurs., Sept. 2, with Hip to Death and Mourdella previewing their Jay Reatard covers.

In new release news, Zac Brown Band's You Get What You Give (Atlantic) is out this month. Dropsonic's self-produced new album, VI, should be here by the end of the month. Punk stumbler Derek Lynn Plastic moved to NYC just in time to drop a trilogy of albums, titled The Smell of My Room, and a singles compulation dubbed The Insides and Outsides of Plastic Surgery (NMG Records). The Booze's latest, Our Favorite Booze, is out via German label Screaming Apple. It's a vinyl-only release, compiling songs from the group's first three albums, Easybeats in Modern Time, Straight, No Chaser, and Rebirth of the Cool.

And last but not least, noisy, arty doom-afflicted hardcore youngsters Savant have a one-sided 12-inch EP out via Green Line/Bonfire Records titled La Mancha. The B-side features a coolly minimal silk-screened illustration of a windmill, and the group only made 100 of them. Get one before they're gone.




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