The Head: Power pop punks



The Head (photo by John Boydston)

 Live review: The Head at The EARL in Atlanta, 8/2/12

The phrase “support local music” has not been uttered recently. It needs to be. Those bands that sell millions of albums every year had to start somewhere. Usually, there’s a grass-roots movement to garner exposure for some local group that you feel “has it.” Well, Atlanta’s The Head “have it.” Last night’s turn-out was less than stellar, though. Sure, it was a Thursday night. Yes, it had just rained like hell. Okay, the Olympics are on, I get it! Still, none of these excuses could justify missing such a great night of rock music.

The Head, consisting of twin brothers Mike (bass, lead vocals) and Jack Shaw (drums, vocals) along with Jacob Morrell (drums, vocals) have a recipe for success. They just need more taste-testers. This power pop trio has an energy level exceeding Red Bull 5. Their songs are expertly crafted with smart lyrics and terrific musicianship. What’s not to love? With two full-lengths under their belts, 2009’s Puckered and last year’s Hang On (produced and engineered by Don McCollister), The Head has a proven track record. “Tony” is the latest single and is about as close to a perfect song as you’ll find.

Are you ready for the zinger? The Head offer up all their music for free via their website. Now, if and when you actually see them live, you can grab everything they’ve recorded (in a variety of CD and vinyl formats) along with free t-shirts. All they ask is that you leave your email. Gotta build that fan base.
Among the standout tracks were “Separate Bodies,” “Only One,” “Tony,” “I’m Lost” and “Gotta Fall.” Some of the band’s influences that bleed into their music are The Stone Roses, Pavement, Big Star and even Carole King (their words!). There are definitely some 60s influences ingrained in these tunes. Put The Head on your list of must-see bands. It’s worth it.
Opening the show was Atlanta’s power indie rock collective Summer Dare. These guys complemented the evening well with a bit harder edge, but still heavy-hooked, catchy stuff. Summer Dare also supplied fans with their self-titled EP for free. This is the only way to go. They also provide the EP as a free download on Bandcamp or their Facebook page.

Paul Melancon hit the stage next, with a bevy of musicians and sweet sounds. Obvious influences include The Beatles, E.L.O. and Neil Finn. Indie pop was meant to sound like this and Melancon has cornered the market with his sound. It was a lively set of harmonies, wit and talent. Sitting in on drums was Pete McDade (Uncle Green/3 lb. Thrill), who had the skins turned up to 11. It’s unclear whether he’ll play any more shows with Melancon, but it was a match that worked.
Melancon’s self-depracating humor kept the crowd giggling in between songs, but once the music started, they were swaying and tapping their toes. One of the foremost local singer-songwriters of the indie-pop persuasion, Melancon has released two widely lauded solo CDs. You can pick up Slumberland and/or Camera Obscura on the Music page of his website, iTunes or CD Baby.

Also known for astute covers of excellent songs, Melancon posts a video of a cover every Monday on his website. Check out his triumphunt version of E.L.O.’s “Mr. Blue Sky.”

Now, get out there and support your local bands!

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