August 13, 2010
The Constellations could have called their debut album "After Hours." Sure, Martin Scorsese already used that name for his 1985 black comedy, but the two works share much in common. Both are widescreen spectacles rife with seedy scenes and eccentric personalities, propelled by a manic energy that hustles the audience deeper into the unexpected. But Southern Gothic was a better choice. Because The Constellations' stomping ground is...
The Constellations could have called their debut album "After Hours." Sure, Martin Scorsese already used that name for his 1985 black comedy, but the two works share much in common. Both are widescreen spectacles rife with seedy scenes and eccentric personalities, propelled by a manic energy that hustles the audience deeper into the unexpected. But Southern Gothic was a better choice. Because The Constellations' stomping ground is Atlanta, GA, and in the wee small hours of the morning, A-Town can get awfully bizarre. The record is all about what happens in Atlanta from 2 AM until noon. Your tour guide on this madcap adventure is the magnetic frontman and vocalist Elijah Jones, the ringleader of the twisted circus that is The Constellations, who spent two years writing and recording the album with producer Ben H. Allen (Animal Collective, Gnarls Barkley), along with some storied cronies from the local scene. Not that they set out with specific intentions. Far from it.
"All of us wanted to do a record about Atlanta, but we never said it in words," recalls Jones. "But the deeper we got into it, the more we realized we were writing a concept album." Atlanta has been providing the backdrop and soundtrack for Jones life since childhood. Now he wanted to share his hometown's underbelly with the rest of the world.
"Atlanta is a huge city, but it still has a small town feel to it," explains the singer. "Everybody knows everybody, you run into the same people at the same bars every week. So it's still kind of Mayberry, but with all the yummy stuff that comes along with being a big cityand all the bad stuff, too."
"Atlanta is strange," he adds, "because we're all basically pushed together." The hip-hop heads, punk rockers, and indie kids all rub shoulders and mix it up. Southern Gothic reflects that inclusive diversity in its far-reaching sound. "The record was designed to sound lyrically and melodically very thought out, and sonically very disorganized," comments Allen. One expects nothing less from a singer who cites Tom Waits and Cee-Lo of Goodie Mob and Gnarls Barkley as his musical heroes, working with a producer who name-checks Fela Kuti and Gorillaz among their record's key influences.
We know this is a bit different than what we normally do at the Triple Nickel, but we think these guys are DAMNED good and hope you'll take a chance like we did! The Constellations are on Virgin Records. They're stopping by the Triple Nickel on their way to the Mile High Music Festival outside Denver. They remind me of a mix of the Gorillaz and Gnarls Barkley. Their debut album even features Cee-Lo [from Gnarls Barkley and the Goodie Mob] on one of their tracks. Speaking of their debut, you can listen to it in its entirety here. Check out one of their music videos, too. --//////--
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