Live Music: Burnt Books, Dr. Jungle Cat, Company, Movie Star Junkies

Great live music to check out this week


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w/ The Unawares
Thurs. Aug. 22
8 p.m.
Tin Roof

Life has been pretty low-key as of late for the crew of headbangers in Columbia-based Burnt Books. They released a killer self-titled debut earlier this year — it was produced by Kylesa’s Phillip Cope — but other than that, it’s been pretty mellow. Well, there was one little thing. “Our summer has been pretty uneventful except for our van blowing up about two weeks ago,” drummer Troy Thames says. Apparently, Burnt Books and guitar strings aren’t the only things Thames and crew set on fire. (They’ve since gotten a new van.) The Capital City heavy metal outfit was formed by the members of two Cola Town bands, Tunguska and Thank God. When Thank God went on indefinite hiatus, Thames and Matt Thompson started jamming with Joey Parker of Tunguska. That led to more group jam sessions, adding in Parker’s bandmate Chuck Sligh and Zoe Lollis, Burnt Books’ singer, banjo player, and secret weapon. “We have been watching each other’s bands for many years, but it’s really great to be playing together now. Even though we all have different influences, we still feel like we create a very honest sound,” Thames says. These scattered inspirations include the Subhumans, Code Orange Kids, Lagwagon, and Watain. “We haven’t played many shows, but we have started writing for a new record. We have about five new songs,” Thames adds. The band plans to release their next album on vinyl and cassette tape, an old-school and definitely badass touch. —Kalyn Oyer THURSDAY

Fri. Aug. 23
9 p.m.
Royal American

Nashville’s Dr. Jungle Cat mixes up classic rock, indie, ambient, and soul to create one tasty ear-candy treat. Dr. Jungle Cat’s five piece group consists of butterfly-meets-chainsaw lead singer Caitlyn Crawley, bass player Dillon Marlowe, drummer Jay Major, lead guitarist Nate Hurlbert, and rhythm guitarist/uke player Erich Atkins. Dr. Jungle Cat began to form after Atkins and Hurlbert’s group, Trans Am Radio, broke up in 2009. “I was persuaded to put a band together for a one-time show. I taught the selected group a handful of songs, and shortly after, the odyssey of Dr. Jungle Cat began in early 2012,” Atkins says. The combined crew has been keeping things close to the den since then, hosting house shows once a month for touring bands in their basement, a little venue they call the Jungle Gym. Guests include The Winter Sounds, The Weeks, Somebody’s Darling, Cheers Elephant, and England in 1819. “We have taken many great leaps as a new band. We want our reputation to be not only a friendly band, but a band with enormous sound,” Atkins purrs. Party on, pussycats. —Kalyn Oyer FRIDAY

BIZARRO BEAT | Movie Star Junkies
w/ The Pallisades
Sat. Aug. 24
9 p.m.
Royal American

If you’re looking for a truly one-of-a-kind show this week, then you absolutely have to catch the Movie Star Junkies at the Royal American. Hailing from Italy, these bizarro beat mad scientists craft decidedly out-there rock that sounds like a back-from-the-dead combo of ’60s garage, surf, Old World roots, Doolittle-era Pixies, and a blotter tab of Bungle, all while the boys in the band pray to Australia’s patron saint of gloom, Nick Cave. The Movie Star Junkies latest release Still Singles is one of those classic records that sounds like a drove of pigs puking into a mess trough while systematically being tasered by a squealing Ned Beatty lookalike from Rigel VII with a penchant for singing Milky Way sea shanties. Horrible right? But on repeat listens, to paraphrase Dan Savage, it gets better ... a lot better. From the Batman theme song-esque, Man or Astro Man psych-surf romp “Le Trout” to the gypsy-carnival jazz hands of “Northern Lights” and the Tom Waits-style graveyard groover “I Love You More as Dead,” Still Singles is one of the most delightfully weird albums of the past decade. Give it a spin and then check out the band’s Saturday night show. —Chris Haire SATURDAY 

Downer Indie | Company

Album release show w/ Can’t Kids, Cusses
Sat. Aug. 24
10 p.m.
Tin Roof

Bird Skulls, the new EP by local indie-rock band Company, is drenched in dark atmospherics and bearing some eerie production touches by Ryan Zimmerman (Brave Baby), Dan McCurry (Run Dan Run), and Joel Hamilton (Mechanical River), the 20-minute collection by songwriter Brian Hannon is well-suited to the relentless rain and gray skies that kicked off our summer. The EP’s four songs were written after the death of former Company drummer Kelly Grant, and the loss hangs heavy in the lyrics. On the track “Mt. Pisgah,” Hannon sings, “Took you to my brother’s graveyard/ His body rests below the earth/ To heal these wounds, now we must labor/ But you will not share the work.” Hamilton’s fingerprints are all over the standout track “Curse,” which he produced. With Hannon’s fey vocals echoing over ominous synthesizers, nylon-string guitar strums, and sampled drums, it is Company’s most powerful and haunting statement to date. Bird Skulls is streaming for free on the Exit Stencil Recordings Soundcloud page, and it is also available on iTunes and Spotify. CD copies will be available for purchase at the show. —Paul Bowers SATURDAY


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