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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

A new direction for Atlanta Music Scene blog

So you might have noticed a bit more activity on the Atlanta Music Scene blog lately.

That’s very perceptive, because we planned it that way!

Considering that Atlanta has such a tremendous and diverse music landscape, we’ve decided to re-dedicate ourselves to coverage, and I’ll be your conductor on this ride.

Starting now, you’ll see several postings a day about music – local and national, concert reviews and breaking news, maybe even a goofy video or two to distract you during a boring workday. You’ll still receive all of your hot ticket info from Shane Harrison, too.

On Tuesdays, I’ll give you a heads-up about new releases for the week and on Fridays, some kind of fun list. We love lists, and know that nothing starts a livelier debate than, say, deeming Starship’s “We Built This City” the worst song ever. See? You either just nodded vigorously in agreement or screamed an obscenity at your computer, didn’t you?

Count on more of that.

There will be times you agree with me and times you despise me. I’m happy with either reaction. I just ask that you keep things civil in the comments section and for God’s sake, please keep those comments relevant to the post. If you want to turn a musical musing into a political debate, my colleague Jim Galloway has the perfect outlet for you (though he would appreciate civility, too).

If you’re curious about my music-writing background, here’s the CliffsNotes version: I’ve been at the AJC since September 2010, where I frequently wrote about music, but primarily handled the Georgia Aquarium, Zoo Atlanta, Fernbank Museum of Natural History and random lifestyle and entertainment stories.

In my previous life, I held the esteemed “pop music critic” and “columnist” titles at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, where I worked for 14 years. I saw approximately 1,200 concerts – many of them in D.C. and Virginia Beach since, let’s be honest, Richmond doesn’t attract a fraction of Atlanta’s musical offerings – worked alongside some lifelong friends and loved many minutes of it.

I’m originally from South Florida – my first job while in college was as the assistant pop music/radio writer at the Sun-Sentinel – but my family hails from Brooklyn so yep, I’m a northern soul.

Sorry.

I’ve played the drums since I was 12, but that activity is on hiatus since my husband and I live in a shoebox apartment with our two cats — and we happen to like our neighbors.

Given my upbringing, I’m a big fan of Billy Joel and the Jersey trinity of Springsteen, Sinatra and Bon Jovi.

Sorry again. At least for part of it.

But my musical tastes go beyond those guys. Whether it’s U2 or the Rolling Stones in a stadium or Shelby Lynne or Dar Williams in a club, I’m interested. If you rummage through my car, you’re likely to find a Beatles CD crammed next to stuff from Janelle Monae, Lady Gaga, B.o.B., Foo Fighters, Keith Urban, Barry Manilow, Duran Duran, Beyonce, Adele, the Black Keys and Drake.

Here’s what else you should know about me: I like gambling, pro football (go Dolphins!), cats and Howard Stern. But I do not like pina coladas, or, for that matter, getting caught in the rain. Especially not in this humidity.

But that’s enough about me. This is also your chance to tell me the types of stories you’d like to see covered. I can’t promise anything, but I’m always willing to listen.

Let’s rock.

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By Melissa Ruggieri, Atlanta Music Scene

70 comments Add your comment

Priscilla Padron

June 20th, 2012
7:23 am

Thank you for focusing on the music scene. I think Atlanta is a wonderful town for music, and lots of times it’s inexpensive: Friday jazz at the High Museum is a real treat, thanks to WCLK and the High, Java Monkey in Decatur has free music for customers and passers by, and Emory University has great classical soirees some Fridays at noon during the academic year. Then there are the clubs and the Atlanta Symphony to fill in the high-end music fan. I think we’re lucky. I’d just like to see the musicians get paid better!

FloydFan

June 20th, 2012
7:29 am

We barely mentioned that Roger Waters brought his “Wall Live” show to Philips last week. It’s only one of the biggest tours of the year. How about some coverage of up-and-coming local acts who people can see around town for very little money?

Andrew Vanderheide

June 20th, 2012
7:41 am

I miss the oldies on 106.7 FM. If Atlanta can get another oldies station please advertise its existence on TV and in the AJC so all will know. Thank you.

Fred ™

June 20th, 2012
7:45 am

Glad you are focusing on this Melissa. Atlanta radio sucks so bad I haven’t listened in 10-15 years so there goes the main source of concert info right there. Shame a city the size of Atlanta doesn’t have a single REAL rock and roll radio station and some DJ’s that progressed beyond the Beavis and Biutthead “I can say penis on the radio and interview a stripper hehe I’m cool,” type of mentality.

Look forward to more posts.

ScottM

June 20th, 2012
7:55 am

Roekest

June 20th, 2012
7:56 am

Jersey Trinity? That’s enough for me…..well, maybe not Bon Jovi. But Bruce and Frank is enough. Try to squeeze some Tom Waits into something. Rock on

RootsTunes

June 20th, 2012
8:05 am

Take the cover off of the roots country/folk scene around the Atlanta area. There are some really great bands here in a genre that is really picking up steam nationally and around the world. Local bands like Rolling Nowhere, Waller and I Want Whisky are really worth checking out!

Mac

June 20th, 2012
8:09 am

Why is there no sustainable Industrial, EBM, and Goth scene in metro Atlanta?

Steve From Dalton

June 20th, 2012
8:09 am

Deeper playlist on radio. It seems there are about 200 songs you hear and that is it. Also, work in more album tracks for the Beatles, Stone, who etc..

Powerdrive

June 20th, 2012
8:31 am

Mac and Fred nailed it on the head. I mainly listen to Georgia State’s 88.5 nowadays, since college stations play real music and talk MUCH less. Great selection, especially at night.

dre

June 20th, 2012
8:36 am

“Why is there no sustainable Industrial, EBM, and Goth scene in metro Atlanta?” Because Evanescence, the only good goth band, isn’t from here.

Jorma

June 20th, 2012
8:43 am

Hated We Built This City when I first heard it. But then, I got past the lyrics and got to like it. It rocks from a musical standpoint, and the vocals are terrific despite the lyrical premise. My Airplane friends still hate though.

Chuck

June 20th, 2012
8:55 am

Jorma, that’s one of the worst songs EVER. Period. Why did you even bring it up?

Niki

June 20th, 2012
9:13 am

I’d suggest you do a list, one week, of songs people should play instead of clicking go on LMFAO. Let’s face it, no one really wants to “Party Rock” anymore!

The answer

June 20th, 2012
9:16 am

The AJC and local radio stations need to pair up and really promote the local scene. I wouldn’t just concentrate on Atlanta, but the region. Modern Radio stinks; and it will until it gets more listeners. Only way to increase local advertising is to increase listener-ship. 88.5 is a blessing for us, but they haven’t the media money or Wattage to carry the torch alone.

We are not Nashville or Austin. Atlanta is actually both, plus a whole lot more diversity!!!

Cecilia

June 20th, 2012
9:16 am

I miss the 106.7 Oldies station and so do many who tuned in to find it had changed to all news. I would like to have another station take up the slack. 106.7 had a nice format and not stuck in one decade.

HappyHippy

June 20th, 2012
9:22 am

OMG…ever since “We Built This City” popped up on the Muppets soundtrack, I’ve had to hear it almost every day. I try to skip it, but I never get away with it and the kids freak out. Gah! Why Muppets, WHY?

That said, bring on the musical coverage! I’d love to see more ground-level reports on the local scene. There’s some really cool stuff happening here that just never gets covered.

FM Fats

June 20th, 2012
9:41 am

New Jersey? What exit?

C sharp to D major

June 20th, 2012
9:46 am

Thanks for bringing something that needs to be discussed to the masses in Atlanta & the burbs. Music has been my mainstay for many moons in Atlanta since 1988. I have seen or heard hundreds of bands with all different kinds of sounds & originality. Of course, some lacked the originality, but that’s life I suppose. I have played guitar in 5 different bands since 1991 with some having little to no success.

The music really is/was never the issue with the struggling scene. It has always been people accepting other styles of music & giving some chance to music other then the “3 minute pop” mindset. Listening to 5 minute plus songs may be hard for some people to comprehend, but try explaining that to teenagers who just wanna make out in the back seats of cars to mindless radio while they could be playing demo tapes (remember those?) & supporting the Atlanta scene club/venue wise. There attention span couldn’t handle anything other then that. I know im getting away from the point of the scene, but it all adds up.

The answer had a good point about college radio. I listen to 88.5 mostly on Friday evening for it’s “Punk Show – I Don’t Care”. Back in the day of my youth I listened to college radio exclusively – 88.5 & 91.1 – to name just two.

Melissa, did you ever get to see the Bad Brains or Minor Threat around the DC area back in the day?

Brannon

June 20th, 2012
9:50 am

Welcome to Atlanta, Melissa, (albeit a couple of years after the fact)!

So, Melissa, for the sake of full musical disclosure, do you XM ?
(I do.)

Underground Sound

June 20th, 2012
9:52 am

Not to be catty, but the list of CDs in your car is very mainstream. There is nothing wrong with that, unless one is supposed to be an informed music writer. I really hope you’ll dig a bit deeper on your blog. ATL is full of all kinds of interesting clubs, bands, scenes and music shops, but you’d never guess that from the AJC’s coverage of our “scene.”

Read Stomp and Stammer,check out flyers for shows in L5P and EAV, go to 529 and other smaller clubs. Dig around on garagerock.com or atlantametal.net, atlantamessaround.com. Find the stuff that percolating below the surface.

There is a lot happening here that isn’t on the radar of folks who think the Black Keys are a symbol of having unique taste.

Take your Jersey Trio and beat it

June 20th, 2012
9:57 am

Atlanta needs someone who is tuned into the local scene , with roots in the south. I don’t know , maybe someone from…..Athens….

Suburb of Bainbridge

June 20th, 2012
10:05 am

Athens had its day, two decades ago. Lets look to the future in a progressive music town, like Albany!

Brannon

June 20th, 2012
10:09 am

RE: “If you want to turn a musical musing into a political debate, my colleague Jim Galloway has the perfect outlet for you (though he would appreciate civility, too).”

Since Melissa brought it up, I absolutely HATE IT when a politician, especially one I don’t like or support, hijacks one of my favorite song and adopts it as his/her political campaign.

When that happens, that song is never quite the same for me ever again.

C sharp to D major

June 20th, 2012
10:10 am

Underground Sound – I agree totally.

Metal – Punk – Garage Rock – Alternative or whatever other categories there may be need to be looked at with some seriousness.

It starts with people like us though. We can type all day long about this scene, but until we go out there and support it – Atlanta will fail to be unique in any scene.

Music Fan

June 20th, 2012
10:17 am

Sounds like more of a music blog for the 50+ Chastain Wine and Cheese Club crowd, but still good to be covering some Atlanta music I guess…

MusicFabFan

June 20th, 2012
10:23 am

HIII… Congrats on the music blog.. I’m excited to read your work… I hope that we can count on indie music too… There are a lot of underground artist out there that can benefit from this type of exposure… I know of a few… I also hope that you are up for coming out to shows and seeing what Atlanta really has to offer on the music scene (I’m sure you do already)… Based on what you wrote, you seem to have a wide variety of tastes when it comes to genre’s of music.. EXCELLENT.. b/c I don’t…. but I’m open to finding out about new artists or established artists that just aren’t on my radar… MUSIC FAN FOR LIFE…

Deanna

June 20th, 2012
11:06 am

I’d like to learn about what local bands are hot. I used to be young and spent time keeping up with that stuff; but now that I’m older I don’t follow the scene as much anymore! Tell me what I’m missing in my middle age!

Varnk

June 20th, 2012
11:06 am

I guess I don’t understand what you mean by Atlanta music scene and then reveal that you have a bunch of pop in your car. It is like Dave FM calling a song “new” when it came out six or more months ago. Good luck, but the Atlanta music scene is REALLY sad for a town of this size but it makes sense considering this town leads the world in having too much confidence but not enough talent.

FM Fats

June 20th, 2012
11:10 am

What’s your take on the NPR intern column about downloading music?

Good Tunes

June 20th, 2012
11:24 am

If you haven’t been to the Northside Tavern to see Mudcat on a Friday or Saturday night then you are missing one of Atlanta’s best live acts. He plays a blues/rock blend that keeps people dancing and coming back for more. His guitar playing makes you move. His fans range from 21-81.

annie

June 20th, 2012
11:34 am

Good luck Melissa!! This has long been overdue! I look forward to your musings and will probably be bumping into you from time to time. ~ Annie

MAYNARD DWAYNE SLOCUMB

June 20th, 2012
11:40 am

Ol’ Maynard’s favorite bands never go out of style! Try Dr. Hook, Journey, Toto & April Wine! And when I’m a feelin’ lovey dovey, there’s always Air Supply & Gino Vannelli! Now that’s what I call music boy howdy!!! My favorite punk band? The Impotent Sea Snakes of course!!! Now am I a tuna with good taste or not?

Rob

June 20th, 2012
11:57 am

This is great. I hope you will do coverage on local bands and musicians.

You really need to do an interview with Wayde Powell. He has a studio called Asylum. He is the most talented musician ever.

Jason Davis

June 20th, 2012
11:58 am

It was odd that this past weekend, a huge sold out hip hop show with Ti, Rick Ross, Gucci, and then Usher, Nelly, Kelly Roland, Wayne was never mentioned, or covered by the ajc. It was all over MTV, VH1, national music trades and the radio station that put it on. if you are going to cover the music scene and Atlanta is the hip hop scene, like the Birthday Bash show, then you need to open your eyes to all forms of music.

Bang! Arts

June 20th, 2012
12:01 pm

Come on out to the Goat Farm on Saturday, June 23rd, for the Big Bang Ball. All local bands and performance artists from 5pm til 1am. Acts include: Blair Crimmins & the Hookers, Lera Lynn, Villain Family, Cute Boots, and Adron. Sadie Hawkins performs solo and with Flight of Swallows, and there will be life sized puppets and even championship wrestling. It’s going to be a blast. http://www.bigbangball.com

The answer

June 20th, 2012
12:07 pm

Perhaps contacting the folks at PASTE magazine would be a big plus! They could work with the AJC too!!

Rob

June 20th, 2012
12:12 pm

Check out one of the best musicians in the Atlanta area.

http://www.reverbnation.com/waydepowell#

Rob

June 20th, 2012
12:13 pm

Whoops – didn’t mean to hit submit so soon. He wrote Ballad of the Gypsy King as an Ode to Hendrix. It is amazing. You can find it on the link below.

http://www.reverbnation.com/waydepowell#

betty

June 20th, 2012
12:31 pm

Have you considered Electronic drums for your apartment? I’m a mom to a budding drummer and would love your opinion of them!

OTP

June 20th, 2012
12:57 pm

Welcome! This sounds good. I would like to see better coverage, (reviews/photos), of the major music performances in Atlanta. I was saddened when I saw no real coverage of the recent ZZ Top show. That is just too big an act not to have coverage. To some of us, radio just does not exist any more; so, I am not too interested in that area.

B Bruford

June 20th, 2012
1:37 pm

@betty, electronic drums are perfect for an apartment. You just have to be careful not to turn the headphones up too loud and damage your hearing.

Music Lover

June 20th, 2012
1:39 pm

Welcome Melissa, I used to live in Richmond and remember your columns well. It would be nice like many others have mentioned to cover the alternative and “undiscovered” talent here in Atlanta. It would also be great if you covered many different varieties of music from rap to goth to pop to country and so forth. I for one look forward to seeing what you come up with. Also, a suggested monthly or weekly interview with an up and coming band/musician from the area would be great. I love hearing about what makes an artist tick and how their musical tastes influence their sound. Good luck!

Melissa Ruggieri

June 20th, 2012
2:00 pm

Hey guys – thanks for all of the comments. I appreciate the insight and the suggestions.

To answer a few of you specifically, Jason…would have loved to have gone to the hip-hop birthday show this weekend, but I opted to cover B.o.B. after the Braves game instead, since he’s a hometown guy on his way up and I have to miss his show next month with Cee Lo at the Gwinnett Center.

The only problem with this gig is that there is just one of me, so I can’t be everywhere – same with ZZ Top on Sunday, OTP. Sounded like a great show to attend, but if I covered every concert in Atlanta, I’d be working eight days a week. Not everyone might be a fan of the types of big acts that come to Atlanta, but this is a major city, the type that mainstream acts make sure to hit on their tours for a reason…because people go.

While I will often focus on some of the bigger shows/acts coming through town – don’t forget, we are a mainstream daily newspaper read by thousands whose only interest in music is what they hear on the radio and what they have in their CD collections and I can’t ignore that – I will do my best to tell readers about a new local act or even the national ones that fly under the radar.

I hope this space will morph into something completely random. Maybe a review of LMFAO one day (yeah, I know, I know) and an interview with an “undiscovered” talent, as Music Lover suggests, the next.

Hope you stay with me to check it out!

Underground Sound

June 20th, 2012
2:11 pm

The readers who are only interested in Top 40/CDs that they already own are already dedicated readers. If you want to bring in some new readers (young folks with disposable income – the target demographic of many advertisers) and create a blog that actually covers what is truly local – rather than just passing through – the focus of coverage will need to be shifted.

Underground Sound

June 20th, 2012
2:12 pm

betty – depending on what style your kid wants to play electronic drums will either be perfect or they will work as a bandaid unti s/he can get a proper “real” kit.

Buzzed

June 20th, 2012
2:44 pm

It would be nice to hear about the smaller venues where local music can be heard – and not just the trendy places….

Rodney Ho

June 20th, 2012
2:44 pm

Melissa, I’m sure, will try to cover a lot of bases, like I do on my TV/radio blog. I don’t expect everyone will read every item she writes but then again, the point is to make it compelling enough that there is something for you to read on a regular basis. And yes, “We Built This City” IS one of the worst songs from the decade I grew up in. That, and “Oh, Sheila” by Ready for the World, who were never ready for me to listen to… ever!

Yea

June 20th, 2012
2:57 pm

This is LONG overdue… There are some great local bands here and the loaf only covers it’s “buddies”.

Fred ™

June 20th, 2012
3:11 pm

Rodney IS a Ho lol. I mean, Hi Rodney………

Melissa, I can cover ANY show you can’t get to. Just give me a call……..