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  • Guest Collector: The Whigs

    Wed, 23 Apr 2008 12:58:59

    Guest Collector: The Whigs - The Whigs show off their true allegiance

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    Athens Georgia has remained a bastion of quality music since R.E.M. first kicked off the college-rock genre there back in the early '80s. Today, ATO Records signees The Whigs are yet another band from the city who find themselves in the critic's good graces. Formed back in 2002, they play a brand of loose-fitting garage rock, stuffed with chunky riffs and smart lyrics. 2008 has proved to be a busy year for the trio, with the release of their sophomore album, Mission Control, late night TV appearances and a steady stream of tour dates. Intrigued by their sound, we asked the band to break down the albums that helped shape the music they make.

    The Velvet Underground - Loaded

    I realize that Velvet Underground and Nico is probably “cooler” and a more influential record, but Lou Reed’s pop knack is my favorite VU characteristic and shines brightest on Loaded. The bookends of “Who Loves the Sun” (which sports the most wicked bridge I’ve ever heard) and “Oh Sweet Nothing” are about the strongest start and finishes of any album I’ve come across. In the middle, Lou Reed sprinkles monster hits “Sweet Jane” and “Rock and Roll” over the finest sonic accomplishments of the band’s career. “New Age” and “Train Coming Round the Bend” are personal favorites.

    Elf Power - A Dream In Sound

    The Elephant 6 Collective was a major reason I wanted to move to Athens and make music. Elf Power’s “ A Dream In Sound” is the most overlooked of the Elephant 6 records both in its production (Dave Fridmann) and in the strength of its songs. Lyrically, it is arguably Andrew Rieger at his finest, as heard on the enchanting “Jane.”

    NirvanaIn Utero

    While I like Nevermind well enough, In Utero has always been the Nirvana record that keeps them alive to me. It has so much more teeth than Nevermind, and is one of my favorite guitar records of all-time (See “Milk It”).

    The GlandsThe Glands

    Easily our favorite and most inspirational Athens band. This record changed our brains around and hasn’t worn out its welcome despite the constant listens since it came out in 2000.

    Built To Spill - Keep It Like A Secret

    Doug Martsch is my favorite guitar player and while Perfect From Now On is probably my favorite BTS record, this one is the most inspiring for its injection of classic BTS jams into the more concise “There’s Nothing Wrong With Love” format. This record is also a dagger to the theory that pop songs have to follow the standard verse, pre-chorus, chorus, etc. formula. Also my favorite Phil Ek production, sonically speaking.

    Pearl Jam No Code

    Pearl Jam has always been an inspiration in their music, longevity and the way they’ve handled themselves outside of their art. Released on the heels of the commercial success of Vitalogy, No Code is my favorite Pearl Jam record for its confidence and distinctness amongst the rest of their catalog. The only album with a lead vocal by Stone Gossard and one of the two albums featuring Jack Irons on drums, it is the band at its loosest and most intimate.

    PavementWowee Zowee

    For a playful band that never took itself too seriously, Wowee Zowee represents the band’s greatest attribute (their spirit) better than any of their other records.

    Modest Mouse The Lonesome Crowded West

    This record came at a time where I was nauseated by every other disc in my collection. I was so happy to have an album that didn’t sound like anything else I owned that it took me a little while to realize how much I enjoyed the songs, lyrics, and the lonely vibe that permeated the compact disc. “Teeth Like God’s Shoeshine” might be my favorite first track off any record with the exception of the following pair.

    The Who Who’s Next

    The first Who album I owned and an embarrassment to anyone who has ever tried to make a “big” rock record. The second big yell in “Won’t Get Fooled Again” is the best set-up rock yell I’ve ever heard thanks to the drum lead-in by Keith Moon. Of course once Keith hands it over to Roger Daltrey, he crushes it like the soda cans I used to put on my bicycle tires.

    RadioheadO.K Computer

    This record taught more about the importance of space in music than any album I own. I still have trouble counting the band’s entrance in “Let Down” and will argue that “Airbag” features the most sickening bass-line of any rock track.

    —The ARTISTdirect Staff

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