Aug. 08, 2012 - Issue #877: Corb Your Enthusiasm
The Atom Age
Tue, Aug 14 (8 pm)
With Down By Law, the Old Wives
Pawn Shop, $20
Garage rock of the '50s and '60s gets a revival from the Atom Age, a horn-tinged five-piece from Oakland, California that's taking listeners back to the good old days of rock 'n' roll.
The group formed thanks to connections with other bands and Craigslist in late 2008 and began to pick up steam in early 2009. Along with other punk-rock heavy-hitters of the era, the Atom Age has always been very vocal about one inspiration in particular: a band called Rocket From the Crypt.
"They're kind of overlooked so we kind of try to wear it on our sleeves and get it out there as much as we can," says guitarist and vocalist Ryan Perras. "They just have all that stuff we love: great songs, high-energy, a unique sound and they just really brought it. They're still the best live band I've ever seen."
Perras was first introduced to Rocket From the Crypt in high school, and says he missed the boat in a sense since they were from a different generation, as the oldest person in the Atom Age is 25.
"I was able to see them luckily right before they broke up at their second-to-last show in New York City," he adds. "I snuck in, but I've always been kind of obsessed with them and loved them."
Now, the Atom Age is taking that inspiration and making its way in the garage scene with its own unique, high-energy sound. Its sophomore album, The Hottest Thing That's Cool, is a more streamlined approach to the genre, as opposed to its debut album, Kill Surf City, which Perras says was more pop-tinged than the band had envisioned.
"There's a couple of songs that hit the nail on the head for our sound, but we wanted to shape up our sound a lot and have the album all sound like it's the same album versus having more variety," he explains. "That isn't always a bad thing, but I think for us we wanted to keep it streamlined and keep it more focused, so we were definitely very strict about picking songs."
However, vintage-inspired garage rock can be a tough sell in today's music industry, which Perras has turned into lyrical inspiration for some of the band's songs, along with daily life, love, and trying to make it all sound just a little bit cool.
"Everyone seems to be very artsy and wants to explore, and a lot of bands that are called garage rock are not garage rock. They sound nothing like bands in the '60s," Perras says. "They have no energy and just because you distort your vocals and put an echo on it doesn't mean you're garage rock."
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