REVIEW: Concord America’s Shag Nasty
What do edgy punksters, the beach, and a be-grilled Marilyn Monroe doppelganger have in common? Yeah, you should be confused. But you should also be ready for some insanely awesome listening, because all of these elements – and a hundred others, for that matter – combine to form Atlanta band Concord America’s first full-length album, Shag Nasty.
These boys have been taking the Atlanta music scene by storm for over a year now, maturing steadily from tossing glitter into audiences everywhere to playing some serious rock-meets-punk-meets-beach-meets-grunge-meets-doo-wop with well-known bands like Foxy Shazam. We’re not kidding – everyone from your dad to your weird roommate that wears the same flannel shirt every day will be listening to this band soon. A lot of this comes as a result of the unheard-of chemistry between ConAm’s members: guitarist and vocalist Ben Presley, bassist Vinny Restivo, and drummer John Restivo. This – together with a rare knowledge of their craft, a lack of fear of dwelling into unknown musical territory, and some pretty huge imaginations – puts Concord America in the ranks with the best and brightest newcomers nationwide.
Now, with the release of Shag Nasty, more than just a handful of hard-partying Atlanta twenty-somethings will understand the trio’s power. The album kicks off with “Roller Derby”, a powerful, beachy anthem, only losing speed momentarily for an organ intermission or two that add insane dimension to the track. The fun continues through “Kids” with a chorus of Restivo’s retro “ooh-ahhs” until the mood becomes dark and sexy on “Low Beat”. This song is especially near and dear to our hearts as it exemplifies some very unashamed, Pixies-esque fast-slow-fast instrumentals, keeping us constantly somewhere between brooding and pumped up, all the while always ready to dance like mad men. And Presley’s voice? It’s positively skin-crawling (in a good way, we swear) as he belts out “Low beat, low beat…” more and more slowly and sensually.
“Shag” opens up the second half of the album, and we’ll be frank: it’s easily the best track of all. It’s simple, it’s whimsical, and it’s different from everything else ConAm has done. With nothing but a guitar, a few drums, a xylophone, and Ben’s hypnotizing voice as he drawls “Love is ____ baby, come and see. Love is ____ when you’re loving me” (insert “simple”, “stupid”, or “evil”), it’s a clean, sugar-sweet love song through and through. The romance continues through “Anniversary”, a fun tale of lovers that’s sure to be your summer anthem. As you ease toward the end of the record, “Skinny Rock N’ Roll Man” will satisfy fans of the Black Keys and a bit more bluesy acts, while “Love” is a very raw, slightly folksy tribute. It feels totally sincere, as it was recorded in the backyard of the Hoodau – the home shared by the ConAm boys – and, like the rest of the album, is filled with the kind of sheer time and patience that only a band with a rainbow amp and a slew of Goodwill outfits could produce.