A lot of things lived happily together in the underground music of the '80s. Flouting Reagan-era politics, the punk, pop and new wave of the time all treaded a common "alternative" ground. Such terms were seen more as flags of camaraderie than separation, and it's this sense of commonality that eNTERTAINME.nt endeavors to bring back to underground music.
Since November 2002, vocalist Trey Ehart and drummer Barry Watts have slowly forged a dark and vertiginous rumble that draws from myriad goth-tinged and post-punk influences that don't fit neatly into any one category. With its current lineup featuring keyboardist Andy Imm, guitarist Rahn Genaro and bassist Steve Ghillay, the group's stage presence evokes the vampire thugs from The Lost Boys, with an edgier and distinctively modern exterior.
But the ghoulish appearance is a misrepresentation. A roundtable discussion of influences yields a wide set of touchstones: Everyone from Joy Division to Bauhaus to Turn Pale to the Doors gets name-checked as the group dispels the gothic tag.
"There's a very punk ethic in what we do," says Ehart. "We improvise, we do things on the fly and it's not a precious thing. It's more of an attack."
After releasing its debut 7-inch on Atlanta's hardcore bastion Stickfigure Records, the group inked a deal with local indie Luminal Records. Walking hand-in-hand with indies is where the group is happiest.
"I would never sign to a major label," says Ehart. "There's no quality control there. Modern rock music is in the toilet. It's a rat race ... it's entertainment."
eNTERTAINME.nt plays the Earl Wed., June 16, 9:30 p.m. $5.