Tuesday, April 6, 2010

(Guest Post!) Method Actors

Ooooh. Guest post. Sexy.

I grew up in a suburb of Atlanta, sort of halfway between Atlanta and Athens, and I graduated from the University of Georgia in the late ‘90s.

Wait, the guest post is about Georgia? Yeah. Still a little sexy, I hope. … No? Yeah, that’s fair.

Anyhow, as a result of my geographic fate, growing up I was lucky enough to be exposed fairly regularly to a lot of the bands in the now classic ‘80s Athens scene. R.E.M. like everyone else, but I also absolutely LOVED Pylon in high school.* Watching the documentary Athens, GA - Inside/Out now makes me weirdly sentimental.

* By the way, it makes me really happy to see that fellow Atlantan and Clatter poster boy Bradford Cox is such an ardent supporter of Pylon.

I only knew the Method Actors, who interestingly started out as both Pylon’s management and opening band, by name. So reading that someone reissued a lot of their early stuff made me really curious. Okay, really excited. But then, I strangely possess a lot of Georgia music pride. Seriously, I run a lot, and yet there are exactly two bands on my “running mix” – OutKast and Mastodon.

This Is Still It didn’t even sort of disappoint. Consisting of just two dudes – guitar and drums – both singing these weird almost operatic-tinged vocals (don’t worry, nothing like Geddy Lee), it doesn’t seem like The Method Actors should work. But Vic Varney and David Gamble took a minimalist approach to create a very unique form of new wave. Their songs basically boil down to a bunch of spastic jangle guitar rock that seems to have little use for the tropes of much of the rock music that preceded it. Similar to Pylon, at times they almost seem like a danceable no wave band. Imagine if DNA was a little more interested in song structure, or, say, being tolerable to the masses.

If you ever thought The White Stripes were groundbreaking in the sounds they could wrest from just a guitar and a drum kit, well, I present to you The Method Actors. They managed to fill a LOT of space with very little. Hopefully This Is Still It will cause the music world to remember The Method Actors as more than just a footnote in the history of Pylon and the Athens scene (themselves too often just considered footnotes in the history of R.E.M.). The Method Actors were easily unique enough to be remembered in their own right.

Zach Cincotta is an entertainment and business attorney representing awesome bands, record labels, and other small businesses. You can contact him here and follow him on Twitter here.

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