Futurebirds

Baba Yaga, the second full-length album by Athens, GA's Futurebirds, marks a milestone in the continuous evolution of the eclectic ensemble. The 13-song album finds Futurebirds - Thomas Johnson, Carter King, Dennis Love, Brannen Miles, Daniel Womack, and Payton Bradford (who has since left the lineup to pursue a non-musical career path) - delivering an expansive yet intimate set that takes the band's trademark mix of earthily accessible songcraft and free-spirited experimentation into inspired new territory.

Like the band that made it, Baba Yaga defies easy categorization, boasting a beguiling blend of warmly catchy tunes, stirringly evocative lyrics, distinctive sonic textures and unexpected melodic twists. The music is both intense and uplifting, capturing a good deal of the soaring, primal, sweat-soaked spirit of Futurebirds' live shows, which have already won the group a rabidly devoted fan base and a reputation as a singularly inspired, bravely unpredictable performing unit.

Diarrhea Planet

"What's in a name? that which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet." - Romeo and Juliet

If Shakespeare was alive to get the led out, he would've listened to Diarrhea Planet, Nashville's favorite six-piece rock and roll band. Outfitted with a drummer and bassist that barrel forth with the power of a thousand locomotives and a four guitar arsenal able to unleash a meticulous torrent of expertly crafted hooks, riffs and solos, DP take everything you knew you loved about rock, punk and pop, jack it up way past 11, and leave you catching your breath and massaging the kink in your neck from all that head banging. Over the past few years, Diarrhea Planet have packed basements, bars and clubs with enough power to cause a blackout at the Super Bowl (no one's said they weren't not responsible for this year's fiasco), honing their chops and fine-tuning the 13 indelible cuts that make up their second LP I'm Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams, which will see release via Infinity Cat recordings.

Formed back in 2009 by frontman Jordan Smith, friend Evan P. Donohue, and drummer Casey Weissbuch, Diarrhea Planet was the trio's answer to the often stuffy, self-serious environment of Belmont University, where they were students. Soon after, the band tapped bassist Mike Boyle and third guitarist Brent Toler, and set about recording their debut EP Aloha — a boisterous, bombastic effort with enough massive hooks and chants to betray the fact it was recorded in a bedroom — which was self-released in 2009 and wracked up over 10,000 downloads. When Donohue left the band in 2010 to focus on his own music, they added friends and sure-fire shredders Evan Bird and Emmett Miller, who's 12 additional strings allowed Diarrhea Planet to start striving for the kind of joyous, stadium-sized tunes that's the stuff of pure rock and roll dreams.

On their 2011 debut Loose Jewels (Infinity Cat), The Planet showcased not just their knack for hooks, but also a unique approach to songwriting: In a nod to the grindcore acts he grew up listening to, Smith did away with the traditional, rigid verse-chorus-verse structure in favor of more piecemeal arrangements that move assuredly and effortlessly from one part to the next. Fleshed out by undeniable pop sensibilities, Loose Jewels was a 100-meter sprint of pure joy peppered with shred offs, fret-taps and a whole lot of whooping and hollering. On the road, the band showed what they were truly made of, unleashing power stance tableaus, on-stage theatrics and six-string tricks, while still hitting every necessary note with pristine precision. In the years since, they've shared stages and tours with Jeff the Brotherhood, Fucked Up, The Men, Wavves, Screaming Females and Titus Andronicus, who even shouted out The Planet on their last LP Local Business. Just recently guitar goddess Marnie Stern said she'd be the band's fifth axe slinger, and someone has to make sure that happens.

Back in December 2012, DP headed to Marcata Recordings, the barn-turned-studio in Upstate New York owned and operated by Kevin S. McMahon, a famed indie producer behind records by Titus Andronicus, Swans, The Walkmen, Real Estate and plenty more. The band wanted to go as big as possible, and set about cutting an album that delivered just that — I'm Rich traipses giddily across the rock and roll spectrum thanks to the band's ever-expanding understanding of how to utilize its four guitarists to maximum, orchestral effect. It's glorious, unabashedly fun, and bolstered by a musical and emotional maturity that reveals itself in the increasing complexity of the arrangements, musicianship, and lyrics.


This past March at SXSW, Diarrhea Planet set about solidifying a new wave of converts: Despite a busy schedule that saw them doing double duty on a few days — while also competing with the fest's deafening echo chamber and hyper-branded "secret" events — DP dominated every venue they played, and soon found their name on everyone's lips. How could it not be after such heroics like Miller and Bird scaling a rickety scaffolding at Cheer Up Charlie's for the final shred-off of fan favorite (and first DP song ever written) "Ghost With A Boner"? But while the over-the-top theatrics and goofiness provided good fodder, the music itself was just as impossible to ignore, even when their sets were packed with new songs unfamiliar to many audience members. With the impending release of I'm Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams and a sprawling summer tour, Diarrhea Planet are ready to conquer hearts, demolish ear drums, and remind you that while rock and roll's never needed saving, it's damn good to have a band that makes it as wholly life-affirming and flat out fun as it's supposed to be.

T. Hardy Morris

Venerable luminary of psychedelic grunge, T. Hardy Morris is set to release his debut solo album, Audition Tapes this summer on Dangerbird Records.

Morris is best known for his work with Dead Confederate, a band that he co-founded and has recorded and toured with since 2006. More recently, Morris formed Diamond Rugs, the raggedly righteous gang of rockers that also includes members of Deer Tick, The Black Lips and Los Lobos. Morris took some time over the past year to write a collection of songs that reflect the best qualities of his group projects while also exploring entirely new sonic territories. Audition Tapes exposes Morris' considerable depth as a songwriter and taps into his vast experiences as a performer, having toured extensively over the past 6 years with the likes of the Meat Puppets, Dinosaur Jr., Deer Tick, Manchester Orchestra, Drive By Truckers and many more.

Audition Tapes was helmed by Cosmic Thug (Adam Landry and Justin Collins), the Nashville-based production duo behind the aforementioned Deer Tick, Diamond Rugs and Middle Brother projects. Hardy says of the making of the album, "For obvious reasons, I knew I wanted to record Audition Tapes onto tape, and preferably in a small studio, recorded as live as possible, late at night. So that's pretty much what we did over in Nashville."

Audition Tapes finds Morris abundantly inspired, oftentimes invoking the grand spirits of Elliot Smtih, Alex Chilton or fellow Georgian Vic Chesnutt. On songs such as "Quit Diggin", "Hard Stuff" and especially the gorgeous title track, listeners are treated to intimate, fragile performances, so informal that we are invited to hear creaks and count-offs, finger taps on guitar strings and other warm and extraneous studio noise.

The whole affair is so perfectly imperfect that you feel as if you've stumbled upon it all on your own – a hushed secret. Dangerbird Records founder Peter Walker said, "This is the kind of songwriting and performance that you can really lean into – the record cuts through any sort of pretense and nails you straight in the heart from its first breath."

$10.00 - $12.00

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Futurebirds with Diarrhea Planet, T. Hardy Morris

Tuesday, July 23 · 8:30 PM at The Echo