Flagpole Music Awards: Upstarts


They’re the noobs, the openers, the little rookies that older bands can smash under their feet on the way to the top. Ironically, most of these bands nominated in Upstarts for the Flagpole Athens Music Awards will probably outlast their tormentors. These kids work hard for the (lack of) money and show tons of potential. Give ’em some love.

THE ARCS
Rock. Rock. Rock. Think that awesome Who stuff your older brother used to listen to before he got all indie-fied. Sometimes all you really need are three chords and a bit of attitude. The Arcs are more aboveground favorites in the social circles of Athens but here’s hoping the underground catches on soon.

BAMBARA
I absolutely HAVE to play Bambara every time I get inside WUOG. The band’s a favorite around many circles in Athens and I’ve yet to run into someone who couldn’t find at least one song they loved. A mix of psych rock, punk, and a tinge of grunge. They’re in Europe right now so catch ’em when they come back in July.

CHARTREUSE
A beautiful color and a very beautiful sounding band. I’m completely enamored of these soundscape bands but it takes a lot to make an impact worth listening to. Chartreuse is a bit more unassuming than your other ambient bands and experimental touches flit here and there. LOVE.

CREEPY
A very appropriate name. I don’t know why I keep coming back to Bowie-esque for the vocals since there’s a lot of distortion here. A combo of trance and fuzz, Creepy is something that has to be listened to on its own. Whereas some trance goes the western route or even towards metal, Creepy is in a category of its own.

GIFT HORSE

I really wouldn’t be surprised to see these guys following in Dead Confederate’s shoes and establishing Athens as the next rock hotbed. I’ve watched these guys with Sleepy Horses for a long time and every single time “Not the Only One” comes on, I get chills.Keep an eye out here on AMJ for a feature on the awesome Gift Horse.

THE INCREDIBLE SANDWICH
If you’re into grooving, take a bite of this sandwich. Sorry, couldn’t resist. But these guys run the spectrum from bluesy to jam to jazz all in one song. It’s perfect music to drive down the highway to. Great rhythms and a really soothing vocal. They’re playing the Melting Point on Wednesday so check them out if you can.

KUROMA
I seriously want to see the finally vote tallies for Kuroma. They’ve had a few, ahem, “PR Problems” lately but there’s no denying sheer talent. My friend Justin turned me on to the band early last year. A bit more melodic than I would’ve thought but hey, considering the pedigree of past bands that Hank has, it makes sense.

POWERS
“Bring earplugs.” – Powers Myspace. NO KIDDING. With members from at least two other “Athens’ loudest bands,” you just have to see them live to get it. Last time, they stood in a circle, four guitars and one drummer. And it was awesome. My ears are still ringing. Sloan’s got some tracks up on southernshelter.com if you want to listen.

THE WARM FUZZIES

Pop rock that’ll make you sway. They’re fun, plain honest. It’s catchy, slightly like Weezer but better. I hear them on several movie soundtracks to come. They play around quite a bit so check their site for the latest.

Okay, nearly done. Tomorrow is BEST LIVE BAND!!

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