Five Perfectly Acceptable Reasons To Turn Down A Gig

By Johni Jackson

It’s tempting, especially as a new band, to say yes to every show you’re offered. You want to take advantage of every opportunity you get to make a mark in your local scene. But even groups just starting out can’t or shouldn’t accept every gig they’re extended.

Sometimes a show can actually be detrimental to your efforts.

With the exception of opening for another band or artist with a significant following, which is a blessing you should always enthusiastically respond to with a resounding yes, here are a handful of situations in which it’s totally reasonable to turn down a gig.

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Guide: Staff Record Store Picks

GET BENT is proud to have on staff a slew of talented and knowledgable writers in a bunch of cities across the USA. In honor of Record Store Day, we’re pooling our collective knowledge to let you, our awesome readers, in on our favorite hometown record shops that are still standing strong, slinging wax, corrupting the youth, and keeping the dream alive from sea to shining sea. But this is by no means a complete list, so tell us about your favorite local record shop in the comments!

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Wild Beasts Get Serious About Pop on Present Tense

Words and Interview by Jhoni Jackson Having been signed by Domino Records 10 years ago, the guys in Wild Beasts have spent nearly all of their 20s heavily immersed in indie rock. The Kendal, England-bred band completed three albums and a slew of singles during that time, and for the bulk of it they toured…

Getting Great Album Art On A DIY Budget.

Getting Great Album Art On A DIY Budget.

Getting Great Album Art On A DIY Budget.

By Jhoni Jackson from the SonicBids Blog.

If you’re not a studied designer, the thought of commissioning an album cover may be a little overwhelming (especially considering how strongly we’ve emphasized its importance!). Nobody freak out, though. Simply by reading this, you’ve already shown some enterprising spirit – and that’s just the kind of moxie…

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Review: Koko Beware - Something About the Summer

By Jhoni Jackson

This Athens, Ga. ensemble clearly likes Miranda July. Their first EP, ))<>((, is an obvious reference. And while their debut LP, Something About the Summer, only boasts one nod to the same motif (“Back and Forth Forever”), the influence still prevails. It’s magnetic in that quirky-cute way, but a dash of unforced, totally natural weirdness keeps Koko Beware from the cringe-worthy territory claimed by the likes of doe-eyed Zoey “my vintage dress is so original!” Deschanel.

Lead track “Pretty Girls” employs the alternating guy-girl vocals and gurgly surf-style guitars that underscore the album, and the off-kilter chords and vocals add that crucial dash of strange. “Feed Me” is a bit more melodic and easier on the ears, but the highly discernible lyrics of the jointly sung chorus—"Feed me baby/ Feed me baby, oh yeah"—again give a little oddness to an otherwise typical tune. Lovey-dovey, cutesy-cuteness is what makes “Beach Babe” similarly sticky, but even more so. It’s one of those perfect little gems for mixes, the kind you’ll repeat over and over until you can’t take it anymore. “I Just Wanna Dance” is just as infectious. By this point in the album, the shoulder-shaking pop of Koko Beware is sturdy. The female vocals hold court on “Stay”, giving the track a girl-group vibe that’s reinforced by background oohs and ahhs. But as with the rest of the LP, nothing’s quite perfect—and that’s partly why it works. There’s something genuinely off in every song, making it irresistibly endearing.


Recap: Atlanta Mess-Around

Shotgunning beers in the parking lot

By Jhoni Jackson

The Atlanta Mess-Around isn’t the kind of fest you want to read a detailed play-by-play of. What you want is an excellent collection of photos that captures the eagerness of the fans, the desperation of the players and the bewildering extent to which everyone partied—you know, literal displays of the excuses as to why a writer who’s actually enjoying themselves absolutely cannot report back every minute detail. We’ve got that gallery for you, plus some tidbits from the lineup in chronological order—but no in-depth critique of anything. That’s not what the Mess-Around is about. It’s about watching the bands you love and the ones you just found out you love, hanging with out-of-town friends and getting good and smashed in the process.

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Guide: Spring and Summer Festival Roundup 2012

By Jhoni Jackson

Compiling a list of fests is agonizing, and not because it’s a tiresome and tedious procedure. It’s because there’s no way in hell you can make it to most of them, much less all of them. It’s tragic, really. If anyone makes it to more than five of these stellar shindigs, you deserve to be knighted.

Or at least bowed down to Wayne’s World style.

Save this post for future reference—we’ll be updating lineups and adding more fests as new information is released.

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Review: Fergus & Geronimo - Funky Was The State Of Affairs

By Jhoni Jackson

Making a successful concept album is a two-prong feat. Not only does the concept need to be captivating to some degree, but also it needs to be consistent. Fergus & Geronimo’s Funky Was the State of Affairs, the duo’s second LP for Hardly Art, achieves neither.

They certainly tried, though. The second track, “No Parties”, plants the LP’s primary notion in your noggin: “Overconsumption” makes for “mental destruction.” But the complaints are tainted with silliness. They’re prefaced with “It kind of bums me out inside…” and sung in a British accent. The 25-second lead-in, “Planet Earth is Pregnant for the 5th Time", states the title in a voice muffled enough to sound like a lost Apollo 11 report from the moon. Somebody named Heather Strange is the subject of “The Strange One Speaks.” She tells us she’s looking for someone who’s “cerebral capabilities haven’t been fried by LCD screens yet.” Listen close enough to hear what sounds like a laugh at the start. “Roman Tick” is a brief highlight that, despite its detriment to the overall theme, is a welcome relief. A familiar garage-pop riff carries the tune and the vocals are inflected with a tinge of that (presumably) false British accent. Surf-glazed “Spies” works in favor of F&G in the same way: It’s a needed break from the absurd asides that do more than pepper the album—they ruin it altogether. It’s as if F&G were afraid to go full-throttle with the concept, tempering it with tongue-in-cheek touches.

The problem is that a concept album doesn’t have to be unlistenable—and it certainly doesn’t have to be a 16-track album wherein more than half are minute-or-less abstractions on how TV and materialism murder original thought and creativity. The latter is a decades-old, already well-bred belief that likely won’t benefit from devoting an entire LP to it. Had F&G aimed for that more decidedly, maybe there’d be at least a few redeeming qualities to Funky Was the State of Affairs. But they didn’t, and there’s not. Considering how memorable and tuneful the pair can be—see the Tell It (In My Ear) 7-inch and songs like “Powerful Lovin’” and “Baby Don’t Cry” on debut LP Unlearn—this one sounds like they were mostly concerned with blasting free of a garage-pop pigeonhole rather than actually making a worthwhile concept album.

Fergus & Geronimo - The Strange One Speaketh / Roman Tick by hardlyartrecords