At 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11
Loco's Grill & Pub, 301 W. Broughton St. $8
This isn't exactly a CD release show, but there's reason to celebrate: This week, the six-man Athens band's self-titled EP is being re-released, on vinyl, through Autumn Tone Records (that means a bigger audience) and on iTunes, and they're within weeks of dropping a new 4-song disc, Via Flamina. All of this comes hot on the heels of Hampton's Lullaby, the ‘Birds full-length CD, released on Autumn Tone and the recipient of orgasmic reviews all the indie world over.
Futurebirds appeared at Loco's in December, and their atmospheric alt-country - with a spooky midnight mood-set from the My Morning Jacket school of psychedelic sinew - started a Savannah buzz that hasn't stopped yet. "It was a blast," says drummer Payton Bradford. "And we'd played Savannah once before, with Dead Confederate. Our bass player Brandon is from there, and we have a lot of friends in Savannah."
Futurebirds features guitar, banjo, bass, drums, mandolin and four distinct lead vocalists (echoes of The Band), but the thing that gives the band its distinctive dreamscape vibe is the omni-present steel guitar played by Dennis Love. "We don't do a lot of high-falutin' guitar solos," says Bradford, "but pedal steel is our solo instrument, our texture instrument. It just adds a lot of stuff. It's the glue. And a lot of songs we come up with might sound awesome, but once we add the pedal steel to it, we feel so much better about it."
The band has been in existence since the fall of 2008, and through constant touring (including a spectacularly well-received run at last year's SXSW in Austin) has amassed a reputation and a devoted (read: rabid) following.
Futurebirds may well be the Next Big Thing out of Athens. "We're all out of school," Bradford explains. "Right now, this is all we're focusing on, entirely. It's all writing, recording, touring. That's pretty much what we're doing." See futurebirdsmusic.com
At 10 p.m. Monday, Feb. 14
Wormhole Bar, 2307 Bull St. $5
"We used to go to all the open mikes together," Beck once said about the semi-legendary New York ant-folk hero Paleface. "He taught me Daniel Johnston songs on the sidewalk and let me sleep on his couch. He was a great songwriter, a generous friend, and a big influence on my early stuff." Managed by the punk overseer Danny Fields (The Stooges, MC5, The Ramones) Paleface had a pretty good run for the roses in the 1990s, but was sidelined by alcoholism.
These days, he's part of a duo with his girlfriend, Monica "Mo" Samalot, who plays drums and sings harmony (she has a plaintive, almost Regina Spektor style; check it out on the title track of the newest Paleface album, One Big Party).
So who is this Paleface guy? Well, his music is upbeat and his lyrics literate and clever - as if Matthew Sweet had a sit-in gig with the Avett Brothers. The Avetts, as a matter of fact, are old-time Paleface pals, and have recorded several of his songs. Paleface and Samalot guest-performed with the ‘Bros. last October at Radio City Music Hall, and through them he got a record deal with the indie label Ramseur. See palefaceonline.com.