Sometimes, you have to learn to be happy exactly where you are. And, thankfully, once in a blue moon, musical acts like Axxa/Abraxas emerge and remind me again why I’m so proud to be living in Athens, Georgia. The project of University of Georgia alum Ben Asbury is a unique blend of music and art that never ceases to inspire with its melting pot of 60s pop, 70s psych and post-punk. On March 4, all of this wonderment culminates in the release of Axxa / Abraxas’ self-titled debut album.
I suggest starting with the album’s first two singles (below), “I Almost Fell” and “On The Run”, especially if you’re a little weary of heavy psychedelia. Their sound is quite different from the rest of the album, yet still fits ideally between the other eight tracks. “I Almost Fell” is what would happen if A Flock of Seagulls was transported to the 70s, while “On The Run” dips deeper into straight rock n’ roll. This track is simultaneously reminiscent of the Doors and today’s surf punk bands – an odd but strangely satisfying combination.
The rest of the record proves to be much more expectedly 70s, a lot more lyrically inclined. “Ryan Michalak (Is Coming To Town)” opens the album in an instrumental haze of violin before jumping into a fuzzy-voiced tale about – what else – an old friend returning. Harder tracks like “So Far Away” make me feel like I’ve turned on an old Cream record, while more thoughtful tunes like “Painted Blue” tell me, “Close your eyes so your mind can see.” Groovy, no?
If at all possible, try to pick up a physical copy of the album – Asbury was in part picked up by the Captured Tracks label because of his demos’ stunning D.I.Y. silkscreen art. But don’t take too long eyeing this inevitably gorgeous cover art. You’ll want to get to listening to this psych masterpiece, stat.
Kate Foster is a hodgepodge of seemingly unrelated titles: writer. Blogger. Beauty and fashion junkie. Cat devotee. Art history buff. Harry Potter nerd. Cheesy 90's television fan. Sometimes-gamer. Seasonal sculptor. Mostly she’s a music enthusiast. While her heart and soul belong to 50's and 60's crooners like Etta James, Sam Cooke and Elvis Presley, one shouldn’t be surprised to find her listening to Lady Gaga or Jay-Z. Most days, though, she’s in an indie-punk mood somewhere in between - she counts the Pixies, the White Stripes, M83, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs as a few of her favorites. And while you’ll typically see her bobbing her head calmly at concerts, occasionally she pulls out all the stops for bands like the Black Lips. She treasures her bruises like a child. After graduating from the University of Georgia with degrees in Journalism and Art History, Kate aspires to move to New York City. There, she hopes to continue to write. She also plans on pretending to understand the art at MoMA and stuffing her face with cronuts and one dollar pizza. Kate’s heroes range from Oscar de la Renta and Mindy Kaling to Ernest Hemingway and Rupert Giles. She practically inhales iced coffee on a daily basis. Her favorite color is yellow, and like Buddy the Elf, she considers candy a major food group. She has dreams almost every night involving the coolest architecture and interior design, and has no idea what it means. Seriously, what does that mean?!
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