With his slicked-back '50s hairstyle and propensity for tattoos, Angel Sluts vocalist Harry Koniditsiotis might be an unlikely candidate to front a shoe-gazing pop band, but anyone who's wandered into a Twin Pilot gig at Midtown watering hole Murphy's knows that he can certainly toe the line.
"When the Angel Sluts were on tour last June, our guitar player, Allen Morrison, and I would sit in the van talking about doing a band that sounded as radically different as possible, and the idea for Twin Pilot came out of that," says Koniditsiotis, who also runs the self-described "cheap-ass recording studio" 5 and Dime.
Last year, he and Morrison solidified the Twin Pilot lineup, recruiting bassist Chris Seaton, keyboard player Jason Dawson, and drummer Ryan McAlister. "The band sounds like something between Mazzy Star and My Bloody Valentine," Koniditsiotis says, adding, "most people have that reaction -- I can't believe these are the same musicians [from the Angel Sluts]."
On "Stay" (available at www.MySpace.com/TwinPilotTN), Koniditsiotis' deep growl is reminiscent of a blissed-out Ian Curtis, with Morrison's restrained, jangly riffs propelling the tune forward, while "That's What I'm Doing Tonight" channels equal parts Lucero, Harlan T. Bobo, and Peter Murphy.
"In the past, it's always been a complete pain in the ass to have this many people in the band," Koniditsiotis says of the quintet, which barely fits onto Murphy's tiny stage, "but so far, Twin Pilot has worked pretty easily. Allen and I share a house, and most of the rest of us live within blocks of each other."
For the last few months, Koniditsiotis has also been directing his energy into a third band, The Turn It Offs.
"This is something me and Bryan Leonard from The Six String Jets decided to do, a group along the lines of the Angel Sluts and Six String Jets, a trashy rock-and-roll thing."
The Turn It Offs (with McAlister on drums and Captain Cody on bass; go to www.MySpace.com/TheTurnItOffs for details) are playing Thursday, February 22nd, at Murphy's with Staags! (a new offering on the Midtown garage scene, with Quinn Powers on guitar and lead vocals) and The Bloody Hollies. Twin Pilot's next gig is Sunday, March 18th, at the Hi-Tone Café.
Recent Memphis transplant John Paul Keith -- he came this way via Knoxville and Nashville -- has played with groups such as The V-Roys and Stateside, backed alt-country pin-up boy Ryan Adams, and done time in The Pink Hearts. Now, after nearly a year in town, he's formed his first Bluff City band, The One Four Fives, with guitarists Kevin Cubbins and John Whittemore and rhythm-section extraordinaires Mark Stuart and John Argroves. Expect lots of Chuck Berry covers and twangy western obscurities from the group, which debuted at Newby's last weekend. Their next local gig is at the P&H Café on March 17th. For more information, check the One Four Fives' Web site, www.MySpace.com/TheOneFourFives.
Still not sure what the International Folk Alliance Conference is all about? Head over to Midtown record shops Goner and Shangri-La for free in-stores from Folk Alliance performers this weekend.
Promoting the release of City Lights, his Memphis International debut, Ron Franklin will be playing at Shangri-La on Friday, February 23rd, at 6 p.m. Call 274-1916 or check www.Shangri.com for details.
Also on Friday, former Plimsouls frontman Peter Case (last seen in town during the 2006 Ponderosa Stomp) is performing at Goner at 5 p.m. Following Case: Tommy Erdelyi, who, as Tommy Ramone, played drums on and co-produced some of punk's greatest albums. Erdelyi currently plays in the bluegrass duo Uncle Monk, due to hit Goner at 6 p.m. Friday. The music continues throughout the weekend, with Harlan T. Bobo and Shawn Cripps scheduled to play at 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. Go to www.Goner-Records.com for more info.
Whether you're in your car or at your computer, be sure to tune in to WEVL-FM 89.9 to hear music from Franklin and other Folk Alliance performers all week long. Station manager Judy Dorsey says that she'll have plenty of volunteers on hand to ensure that guest artists get their turn in front of the mic.
And don't forget to mark your calendars for WEVL's spring concert, slated for the Hi-Tone Café on Friday, March 9th. With the River City Tanlines, Harlan T. Bobo, recent guest DJ Jack Oblivian and his group The Tennessee Tearjerkers, and "Memphis Beat" host Buck Wilders on tap for the entertainment, this is one night of Memphis music that's not to be missed. To find out more or listen online, go to www.WEVL.org.