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Photo courtesy of Mark Jaworski
The Front Bottoms come from New Jersey.
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
More than 50 bands are descending on Blacksburg this weekend for the second edition of the I Got Brains Fest.
Two venues — the Cafe at Champ’s Restaurant & Sports Bar and 130 Jackson — will host music marathons on Friday and Saturday. At the top of the respective bills are The Front Bottoms (Friday at 130 Jackson), The Reptilian (Friday at Champ’s), Into It. Over It. (Saturday at Jackson) and Signals Midwest (Saturday at Champ’s).
Lemuria, Candy Hearts, Allison Weiss and Loma Prieta are other featured acts.
The Front Bottoms, from New Jersey, are no strangers to Southwest Virginia, having played The Bazaar in 2011. Since then, the act has released a new album, “Talon of the Hawk,” which sounds prog-rock. The music, though, is not. It leans toward indie-pop with angsty, smart and sometimes smart-aleck lyrics.
The band has received plenty of good reviews, including from its appearance at the 2012 CMJ Festival in New York City.
NPR.com’s Bob Boilen wrote that he had rarely “seen such passion from a club audience for a band I knew nothing about. [The venue] was filled to capacity and from back to front, people were singing every word. The few that didn’t may have been busy stage diving to the punk-ish folk he was strumming and speak-singing. Communal and joyous.”
The Reptilian, from Kalamazoo, Mich., does come across as prog, but more primitive-prog, with shifting time feels underneath keening, screaming vocals and sometimes-ringing-sometimes-stinging guitars.
Into It. Over It., from Chicago, brings a sound similar to but rawer than fellow Second City rockers Fall Out Boy.
Weiss, from Brooklyn, N.Y., goes the pop-flavored indie-rock route.
Organizers Jonathan and Kimmi Ashwell, of Blacksburg, are owners of Flannel Gurl Records, an independent record label. They also promote rock shows in the New River Valley.
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