Messin’ with Texas

ATL bands set to make most of SXSW

Next week, more than a dozen Atlanta and Athens bands will head to Austin, Texas, for South by Southwest, the premier music conference in the country. Snowden will be one of them. The quartet hasn’t been home much since last fall, when its album Anti-Anti was released. Instead, the group has embarked on a series of international tours.

“We’re out on our third tour in six months with a band called Malajube from Montreal,” says singer/guitarist Jordan Jeffares from somewhere in Washington. “This is the best one yet. We’ve only had one bad show, and most of them have been sold out.”

Jeffares didn’t have any expectations for Anti-Anti, which has drawn largely positive reviews. He’s carrying the same attitude to SXSW. “It’s so relaxed. You don’t get a sound check, you just get on the stage and play. Half the time you’re three sheets in the wind, anyway. There’s free beer everywhere, so no one really cares. I just go to have fun,” he says.

While Snowden heads to SXSW at the peak of its powers, Morning State hopes to generate some buzz. “We’re going to do a mini-tour out there through the South, and then we’ll play in Austin on the 17th,” says singer/guitarist Russell Ledford. His band will play during a showcase hosted by New York publicity firm Fanatic Promotion.

“We hope to get a booking agent interested, and a couple of things like that,” says Ledford when asked if he has any goals during the conference. “We’re hoping to take that next-level step, but nothing huge. We just want to broaden our base a little bit.”

You can find more information about Snowden and Morning State’s SXSW concerts on CL’s Bad Habits blog. There, you’ll find a definitive list of all the daytime, nighttime, and invite-only showcases featuring Atlanta acts. Visit and click on the SXSW tag.

CLOSED GATES: Gates of Berlin, one of the city’s more successful underground rock bands, broke up last month. Its final show was at Lenny’s Bar on Feb. 24.

Guitarist Philip Barlow notes several reasons for the breakup, including intra-band friction, and guitarist Devin Donnelly and vocalist Elijah Jones’ participation in the Constellations, a Gorillaz-style project headed by musician/Gnarls Barkley engineer Ben Allen. “That’s been taking up a lot of their time and focus,” says Barlow, who plans to focus on his graphic design career. He adds that drummer David Eidson will rejoin metal band Doomsayer, and doesn’t know bassist James Arnold’s future plans.

“I was one of the main instigators, personally,” says Barlow. “I said, ‘Hey, you guys are doing [the Constellations], keep on doing that. But I’ve got to pay off some bills and get a real job.’ So I threw in the towel, and then everyone else went that way, too. We had a good run.”

RANDOM NEWS: Young Jeezy has assembled a crew called USDA (as in United States D-Boys of America). It features prospects such as Atlanta’s Slick Pulla and Panama City, Fla.’s Blood Raw. The group’s debut comes out on Corporate Thugz/Island Def Jam this spring. ... Mastodon, Brass Castle and Killer Mike are among the locals on the Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters soundtrack. The album hits stores April 10, followed by the movie on April 13. ... Congratulations to Shamrock. The ATL MC won first place on the VH1 reality TV competition “The (White) Rapper Show.”

CD RELEASES: Contemporary jazz saxophonist Ron James & the Truth drops I Feel Ya on Friday, March 9, at Mocha Match Cafe. ... Modern-rock band Tentonic debuts its Sterling EP on Friday, March 9, at the Loft. The Modern Society and Trances Arc open. ... Eclectic beat freak Noot D’Noot issues its Goofer Dust mix tape on Saturday, March 10, at Beep Beep Gallery. DJ Dookie Platters opens.