Music

Atomic 7: . . . Gowns By Edith Head

Jason Thompson

Atomic 7

. . . Gowns By Edith Head

Label: Mint
US Release Date: 2003-01-21
UK Release Date: 2003-01-20
Amazon
iTunes

Quick, jot down a list of the best guitarists ever. You have ten seconds or less. I'm counting. You should be about finished. All right, so drop your pens and pencils. If you happened to list anyone that Rolling Stone or Spin would have on a similar list, thank you and have a good day. We will not need your services any longer. The Old Regime has been plowed time and again, but you know what? A lot of those guys aren't even recording any more. So for those of you with visions of Electric Ladyland in your minds, just cool it. This is all about the Obscure Regime.

I know, you can't stand the hipsters who wag their fingers at you and offer to be cooler than everyone else in the current room because they have some recordings you've never heard of and probably couldn't give two shits about because you're content to be wowed by the likes of Beck, Page, Clapton, Vai, Vaughn, etc., who have all made some good music (with a perhaps appended to Vai's contributions) but who are also now standing with one foot in the collective grave of old timers with six strings who have found comfort by living in the past and turning out an obligatory album once each decade. And that's fine. While you're sipping on your Cosmopolitan in the corner as Truth plays for the tenth time since you first bought it years ago (you wanted to opt for one of Jeff Beck's more fuse-oid albums, but still wanted to maintain your rock cred), just know that there are indeed some fingerpickers from Elsewhere that could be rocking your ass off right now. Now wipe that drink ring away from your fine mahogany mantle and get hep.

Allow me to introduce you to the fine sounds of Atomic 7 and their latest platter that matters �Gowns By Edith Head. If you have to ask who Edith Head is, perhaps you really should just stick to Led Zeppelin II. If you're asking who Atomic 7 are, so be it. Perhaps you remember a guy by the name of Brian Connelly. No? Did you ever watch The Kids in the Hall? Well then you're already a Connelly fan. For it was his then-group Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet that penned and played that show's famous opening theme (otherwise known as "Having An Average Weekend" -- quick, head to Kazaa and grab it before you spill that Perrier, and don't forget to thank me for pointing it out). Connelly has also played about with Neko Case & her Boyfriends, so perhaps you're familiar with that get up as well. Anyhow, Brian recently gathered together double bassist Clinton Ryder and drummer Mike Andreosso to form Atomic 7. What do they play, you ask? Glad you asked. Let me fill you in.

Firstly, I'd like to turn your attention to Connelly's guitar playing. All of the tracks on this album are instrumentals, so you'll be hearing a lot of that guitar. Hear all those riffs and refrains? Those groovy lines that would undoubtedly knot the fingers of some of those Hall of Famers you love so much? Sounds retro? Well, what the hell have you been listening to these past decades? And here I thought you'd be down with it because it is a nod back to those olden days when the guitar meant a little more. Now just listen to it and enjoy.

Atomic 7 are laying down the kinds of grooves that Shadowy Men and similar artists such as Man or Astro-man? have played in the past. That sort of b-movie surf guitar meets spaghetti Western mixed with a dash of irony. But it's also more than that. This group goes beyond the cool kitsch factor by throwing in all sorts of other genres to groove within the reverbed rhythm of the Gretsch. You'll be snapping your fingers along in no time. As soon as the first notes of "Chock Full O' Notes" touch your eardrums, in fact.

And if your attention span has courted the likes of "Stairway to Heaven" more times than you can count, then you're in luck here. Most of these tunes don't go longer than two minutes. That means you get a lot of music for your money. Nineteen tracks in all. And with various song titles such as "Your Ironic T-Shirt", "She's Got Haggar Party Slacks", "Save Your Fork There's Pie", and "You Ain't Havin' Fun Till You're Dialing 911", a good time is guaranteed, indeed.

Listen to this trio work for their money with ease as different scenarios play out in your mind. "Your Ironic T-Shirt" could fit well in a spy flick or a Horror Beach Party scenario. "She's Got Haggar Party Slacks" does Southern Culture On The Skids one better and manages to do a variation of the Temptations' "Get Ready" while bringing the hammer down. "Day of the Deadbeats" explores a crusty Mexican siesta vibe. A round of margaritas for all as your comfort is imbued by the rich tequila. Showdown at high noon between the bandito and the man in the white hat. This time the good's going down and the bad guys win.

The ever-lovin' lickety-split rhythm of "Her Sassy" is a high point. Kind of like "Hey Good Lookin'" meets the coconut crème pie crowd at the local truck stop on Highway 9. Blaze a dusty trail, eighteen-wheeler. And for those of you who actually bought into all that "space age bachelor party" bullshit that was so prevalent during the late '90s, you'll certainly be bobbing your head and Manhattan to the cool strains of "Swinger's Ear". Henry Mancini could have done no better, I promise.

There's the bucket seat rumble of "Artistry" that sounds like it could go well with a hell bent teens-on-speed flick now showing at the local drive-in. There's the "how does he play that so fast and precise" lightning fast slinging of notes on "Hairbone" that will make you want to cut a rug. And then there's that aforementioned "You Ain't Havin' Fun Till You're Dialing 911" that will certainly win you over with its mix of old and new, don't step on those blue suede shoes good times. Yes, Brian Connelly is a guitar god, though I'm sure he would probably just nod his head and keep on playing if you told him that.

So to sum up, you have your Atomic 7 here with their . . . Gown By Edith Head album. You have 19 instrumental tracks that will inject your brain with all sorts of Technicolor images while they play. You have Brian Connelly kicking you ass with his electric guitar in a way that it has needed kicking for a long time coming. You have Clinton Ryder and Mike Andreosso riding shotgun on the rhythm section and keeping up with Connelly, which should surely earn them a bonus in their paychecks. So go ahead and put down all those dusty old albums that they killed long ago on your favorite classic rock radio station and pick up this new band playing something old that is actually new. You can't go wrong. As long as you get rid of that turtleneck sweater and vow to stop shopping at Abercrombie and Fitch, that is.



Music


Books


Film


Television


Recent
Music

How Hawkwind's First Voyage Helped Spearhead Space Rock 50 Years Ago

Hawkwind's 1970 debut opened the door to rock's collective sonic possibilities, something that connected them tenuously to punk, dance, metal, and noise.

Books

Graphic Novel 'Cuisine Chinoise' Is a Feast for the Eyes and the Mind

Lush art and dark, cryptic fables permeate Zao Dao's stunning graphic novel, Cuisine Chinoise.

Music

Alanis Morissette's 'Such Pretty Forks in the Road' Is a Quest for Validation

Alanis Morissette's Such Pretty Forks in the Road is an exposition of dolorous truths, revelatory in its unmasking of imperfection.

Music

Hip-Hop's Raashan Ahmad Talks About His Place in 'The Sun'

On his latest work,The Sun, rapper Raashan Ahmad brings his irrepressible charisma to this set of Afrobeat-influenced hip-hop.

Music

Between the Buried and Me's Baby Pictures Star in 'The Silent Circus'

The Silent Circus shows Between the Buried and Me developing towards the progressive metal titans they would eventually become.

Music

The Chad Taylor Trio Get Funky and Fiery on 'The Daily Biological'

A nimble jazz power trio of drums, tenor sax, and piano, the Chad Taylor Trio is free and fun, funky and fiery on The Daily Biological.

Music

Vistas' 'Everything Changes in the End' Is Catchy and Fun Guitar Rock

Vistas' debut, Everything Changes in the End, features bright rock music that pulls influences from power-pop and indie rock.

Film

In Amy Seimetz's 'She Dies Tomorrow', Death Is Neither Delusion Nor Denial

Amy Seimetz's She Dies Tomorrow makes one wonder, is it possible for cinema to authentically convey a dream, or like death, is it something beyond our control?

Music

Maestro Gamin and Aeks' Latest EP Delivers LA Hip-Hop Cool (premiere + interview)

MaestroAeks' Sapodigo is a collection of blunted hip-hop tunes, sometimes nudging a fulsome boom-bap and other times trading on laid-back, mellow grooves.

Music

Soul Blues' Sugaray Rayford Delivers a "Homemade Disaster" (premiere + Q&A)

What was going to be a year of touring and building Sugaray Rayford's fanbase has turned into a year of staying home and reaching out to fans from his Arizona home.

Music

Titan to Tachyons' Experimental Heaviness on Full Display via "Earth, And Squidless" (premiere)

Featuring current members of Imperial Triumphant, Titan to Tachyons break incredible new ground in the realm of heavy music.

Music

Jerry Leger Teams with Moby Grape's Don Stevenson for "Halfway 'Til Gone" (premiere)

Reminiscent of Lee Hazlewood and the Everly Brothers, Jerry Leger's "Halfway 'Til Gone" is available on all streaming platforms on 6 August.

Music

The 10 Best Experimental Albums of 2015

Music of all kinds are tending toward a consciously experimental direction. Maybe we’re finally getting through to them.

Books

John Lewis, C.T. Vivian, and Their Fellow Freedom Riders Are Celebrated in 'Breach of Peace'

John Lewis and C.T. Vivian were titans of the Civil Rights struggle, but they are far from alone in fighting for change. Eric Etheridge's masterful then-and-now project, Breach of Peace, tells the stories of many of the Freedom Riders.

Music

Unwed Sailor's Johnathon Ford Discusses Their New Album and 20 Years of Music

Johnathon Ford has overseen Unwed Sailor for more than 20 years. The veteran musician shows no sign of letting up with the latest opus, Look Alive.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Jazz Trombonist Nick Finzer Creates a 'Cast of Characters'

Jazz trombonist Nick Finzer shines with his compositions on this mainstream jazz sextet release, Cast of Characters.

Music

Datura4 Travel Blues-Rock Roads on 'West Coast Highway Cosmic'

Australian rockers Datura4 take inspiration from the never-ending coastal landscape of their home country to deliver a well-grounded album between blues, hard rock, and psychedelia.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.