Archive for the ‘Atlanta’ Category

Photo Credit: David Abbott

Based out of Atlanta, Georgia, Collective Soul is a quintet that has been weaving huge threads in the fabric of rock music for nearly thirty years.  Fronted by Ed Roland, they seem to have found their longevity in the cohesion of their current roster.  “I mean, this is the band for the rest of my life. This is it, man,” Says Roland, in the band’s bio. The band’s eleventh album, Vibrating, is hotly anticipated after the chart success of its predecessor, Blood.

But when I think of Collective Soul, I think of their grunge rock classic “Shine,” a tune that always gets a volume boost whenever I hear that telltale riff and Ed Roland’s punctuated “yeah.”  Alt-rock anthem “The World I Know” wraps you up tightly every day on mainstream rock radio.  Underplayed classics “December” and “Heavy” remain retro treats whenever they pop up on the dial.  But I didn’t follow them after the 90s because I broke up with rock and went into other musical directions, so I missed everything from 2000’s Blender all the way through their smash success See What You Started By Continuing.  So it’s a treat to come back down to earth with fresh ears and listen to some mainstream rock.

Vibrating starts with “Cut The Cord,” which is a speedy guitar number that has me wondering if this is a welcome wagon for new listeners like me, coming in from our radio memories.  And it’s a warm welcome, indeed.  Ed Roland’s voice is crisp as ever.  He’s got this crystalline vibration that is so uniquely his own.  It is like ice on the wound permeating through Vibrating’s lyrical themes of love, reflection, and a desire for healing.  The pace continues into “Reason” and I can suddenly imagine how dope Jesse Triplett’s guitar must sound like in a large setting, and I could kick myself for having missed them at the Paramount in Long Island earlier this month.

Vibrating Cover

Vibrating’s songs are tender but still have a little bit of that heavy edge to remind you where they come from.  Standout tracks like “Take” and “Undone” are sweet and full of that hopeful tone that make Collective Soul songs stand out from the rest of the noise.  “Rule #1” is flavor bomb on the deep end of the strings.  Then there’s “All Our Pieces,” where Collective Soul starts settling into more of an Americana type sound.  I think there’s a little something for the soft rock and the grunge rock fans to share on each track.  

Collective Soul fans have been anticipating this release for three years and I think they’ll realize that it was worth it.  It’s great to see a band with this many iconic songs still growing into themselves and uncovering new territory.  But I think a casual rock listener like me would find a treat in Vibrating just as well.

Collective Soul Official WebsiteCollectiveSoulTV Youtube

left to right: Eric Dover, Roger Joseph Manning Jr., Tim Smith

From the minds of melodic masters comes a new bag of dreamy alt-rock tunes. The Lickerish Quartet is comprised of Jellyfish alumni Eric Dover, Roger Joseph Manning Jr, and Tim Smith (the fourth member of the quartet must be WE, the listeners). Unlike Volume 1 and Volume 2, THREESOME: Volume 3 is spacier and dreamier, and perhaps a little dark. Written pre-2017 and subject to pain-in-the-ass COVID logistics, these guys outfitted their home studios to record, mix, and finalize this collaboration, and the results are gorgeous.

The EP takes off with pop-rock bopper “Fortunately.” The song is a call to awaken from the fear of the underworld and live in your choices in the present. The keys and harmonic background vocals give it a really dreamy affect. There’s some sinister imagery in the song (“a powerful child who tortures then grieves.” sticks out to me) but it juxtaposes with the sweetness of the melody to create a kind of feel-good agnosticism, if that’s a thing.

The second track, “New Days,” is a spaced out hippie jam that sounds like the grandchild of ELO’s Mr. Blue Sky with touch of indica. Heady and woozy, the lyrics seem to tell of reflection and periods of transition that come and go in one’s life. The way the lyrics have a monotone affect really help the bridge come alive. This one is meant to be enjoyed while laying on fresh grass during a “purple orange” sunset, after an afternoon fadoodle (if ya catch my drift).

It took me a minute to dig the third track, “You All Alone,” because it does that thing where the drums sound out of sync with the song and it takes a few bars for it to snap into place and start rocking. But from there, the different flavors of sound marinate and that’s when the song really starts to soar. Suddenly there’s a surprise turn and the tune ends with an unexpectedly dramatic energy. I didn’t expect it to become my fave of the EP, but this one really grew on me.

The EP ends strong with “In The Meantime,” a familiar lamentation for anyone who feels caught stagnating in the world as it is while darkness looms on the horizon. The lyrics ask, “Where do we go in the meantime? When all of our love’s by the wayside/Turning my cheek to the sunshine we go down without a fight.” Perhaps delicately political, perhaps not, this tune feels a lot like waiting to hit bottom so we can start climbing back up again. Is it powerlessness or patience? It is hard to know.

Time and time again, the alumni of that beloved gelatinous aquarian pop group create sounds that make the mouth water. Smart lyrics and psychedelic pop sounds make THREESOME Volume 3 a great addition to an alt-rock playlist.

The Lickerish Quartet: THREESOME Vol 3TLQ WebsiteTLQ Instagram


Posted: October 15, 2014 by Soda in Atlanta, Moonwater

Moonwater-Invitation Album Cover

Moonwater-Invitation Album Cover

Artist/Album review
Artist: Moonwater
Album: Invitation
Release: 1995-Masquerade Recordings
Danny Whitt-Vocals & Percussion
Joe Gardner-Guitars, Vocals, & Percussion
Christian Nesbella (AKA Adam Matthews)-Bass
Jeremy Slotin-Drums & Percussion

In 1995 I was a young kid not yet old enough to even get into a lot of shows to see my favorite bands. Fake IDs, copied birth certificates, rub on tattoos were all examples of things that got me into these shows. And lucky for me a place called The Roxy in Huntington on Long Island didn’t really care who they let in, so this night in particular was easy.

I walked into The Roxy that night dressed in black, rocking a Pantera shirt wearing plastic star-shaped glasses with the lenses poked out, my long nappy hair in full swing fully expecting to finally see one of my favorite bands Saigon Kick who were currently supporting their latest record “Devil In The Details”.

I was not quite sure who was playing when I walked in, nor did I know who was about to come on stage. Some time passed and I was at my usual spot, front and center of the stage when walked out this tall and skinny delicious creature in skin tight pants with a monstrous floppy hat on and a crushed velvet shirt holding a bass almost hanging down to his knees. I was instantly intrigued, my friend Steph even said to me “These look like your kinda freaky people.” And they indeed were. Next came a half naked beautiful skinny little monster with bright orange hair full of piercings stopping in the middle of the stage, behind him sat what I thought was just a giant head of hair on a drum throne, and stage left was a thrifty, striped tight wearing guitarist lingering in the shadows. Moonwater started their set with a trippy sonic offering and once Danny Whitt opened his mouth I was almost convinced that he was a she. Bending gender and genre Moonwater offered up one of the most original sounds and performances I’ve ever seen, and it left its mark on me. Not knowing them or the music at the time they sent me into a seizure of joy. Upon completing their set I had swiftly fallen in love. My friend Sindee and I both ran backstage immediately. In the process I ripped a poster off the wall which still remains hanging in my home to date.

Backstage we had the honor to meet the whole band…I remember almost attacking Jeremy as he was breaking down his gear. Christian stole my friends purple lipstick and Danny was a mystical presence. Joe, although quiet was equally sweet and graceful as the whole band. I bought their record, “Invitation” which has gone on to be one of my absolute favorites and we were given some stickers as well. Not only was I there for one of my favorite bands but I now had a new one to obsess over, and I did just that.

Almost 20 years later I have the honor of being friends with most of the guys. Danny is now in the army, Christian (now going by birth name, Adam) lives in Knoxville in a wicked apartment clothed in leopard print and rock n’ roll still playing Bass regularly and Jeremy plays in a few cover bands…and as far as I know Joe still plays guitar but has laid kind of low.

As for “Invitation”. It’s an album that stood on its own years ago and remains completely fresh today, a beautifully produced record that cannot be pigeon-holed. It’s Alternative, It’s Rock, its Psychedelic…It’s Moonwater.

The album opens with a creepy instrumental followed by the first proper track entitled “Straight” which highlights instantly Danny’s gender bending vocals and the unique instrumentation of the band. “Straight” is followed by one of the most stand out tracks on the record, “He’s A Girl.” Which lets you know this band is not putting on an act…they are exactly who they are, open-minded cosmic hippies from the future! The whole record oozes a vibe that preaches individuality. As the final track on the record will tell you…”My friends I am alive.” Indeed they were. Hailing from Atlanta GA they worked hard to get “Invitation” heard. And for the lucky ones it was, loud and clear.

A record that I indeed call perfect, overflowing with wah-wah guitar splendor and a sexy bass tone that would rival Duff McKagan’s. Drum styling from a guy who says “I wasn’t playing that long when I made that record” would just shock you, and one of the most original vocalists going at the time…and maybe even still today.

I could truly write an essay on my love for this band and the offerings they have shared. I hope that those who may read this will hop on Amazon and spend the few bucks it would cost to make this record part of their collection because it truly transcends genre and music fanatics will appreciate the magic that went into making it.

(This article was originally published in Vellum Magazine Issue 11 May 2013 – Paper and digital version available through magcloud:

Vellum 11