Ahead of the release of their 6-song Part Time Punks Session EP, Athens-based Pylon Reenactment Society has unveiled a new live video from the EP. The original track “Beep” comes off the forthcoming release. The footage was directed by Bill Cody (Athens, GA: Inside/Out) and his crew, who filmed them performing at Athens Popfest for his upcoming documentary Athens, GA…30 Years On. It was edited by Tony Brazier, especially to showcase the song ‘Beep’,
Pylon Reenactment Society formed in 2014 from the ashes of Pylon, five years after the band’s celebrated history came to a sudden end in 2009 with the death of guitarist Randy Bewley. This was one of the most influential bands at the outset of what became known as the ‘Athens, GA music scene’, along with other frontrunners The B-52’s and R.E.M. ‘Beep’ was originally written by Pylon for their second album Chomp. The new incarnation is fronted by Vanessa Briscoe (now Briscoe Hay), whose inimitable vocal textures and phrasing defined the band’s sound for most listeners. Pylon was, and always will be comprised of Hay, Bewley, Michael Lachowski, and Curtis Crowe.
Lyricist/singer Vanessa Briscoe Hay remembers being both fascinated and frightened by the idea of The Doomsday Clock, which has been maintained by members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board since 1947 as an analogy for the threat of global nuclear war or total annihilation of life on this planet by manmade causes. The lyrics for ‘Beep’ were inspired by The Doomsday Clock, which has changed 22 times since that time, moving both backward and forward.
The ‘Part Time Punks Session’ EP was recorded in December 2016 just hours before playing the Part Time Punks series at Los Angeles’ Echoplex. “I was struck by the energy of the performances and the quality of the recording. It reminded me somewhat of Pylon’s recording of ‘Gyrate’. That record had also been done very quickly with the band playing together and a minimum of overdubs,” says Pylon Reenactment Society front woman Vanessa Briscoe Hay.
In Pylon’s prime, they were every Athens band’s favorite local band. Their musical naïveté, southern upbringing, art school smarts, and house-party roots exploded together to create something quite improbably amazing, simultaneously hitting the listener on a mental, physical, and spiritual level.
Pylon Reenactment Society happened when Athens’ artist Jason NeSmith, head of the music committee for the first annual Art Rocks Athens, was organizing an event exploring the 1975-1985 Athens art and music scene. He asked Hay to perform a short set of Pylon songs. Since NeSmith’s band Casper & The Cookies had previously recorded and performed with Hay as Supercluster, it was natural for them to back her at this event. The response was very positive with the group then opening for Fred Schneider (The B-52s), touring with indie darlings Dressy Bessy, and performing shows in conjunction with the release of the ‘Pylon Live’ album.
What started as a one-off gig transpired into a tight touring unit. In addition to Hay and NeSmith, the band is rounded out with Kay Stanton (Casper & The Cookies) on bass guitar and backing vocals, pianist Damon Denton (Big Atomic) on keyboards and Joe Rowe (The Glands) on drums.
“Every song had a different approach to in the way it was created. We were artists before we were musicians and it affected the way we wrote, lived and performed,” explains Vanessa Briscoe Hay. “Very humbling to have such an affect on others.”
30 Years ago, the original feature documentary ‘Athens, GA: Inside/Out’ arrived in theaters. Featuring bands like The B-52’s, Pylon, R.E.M. and the Flat Duo Jets, the film inspired artists and musicians all over the world. Now, the producers of his film are back with ‘Athens, GA: 30 Years On’, featuring old friends and new discoveries. Based on the French film ‘Le Jolie Mai’ and featuring bands like Pylon Reenactment Society, Tunabunny, Elf Power, Lingua Franca, David Barbe, New Madrid and more, as well as townspeople of all stripes and persuasions. The new ‘Beep’ video will be shown at the screening of ‘Athens, GA: Inside/Out’.
The Part Time Punks Session EP will be released via Athens-based Chunklet Industries and can be ordered via Bandcamp at https://chunklet.bandcamp.com with distribution by Revolver USA/ Midheaven https://midheaven.com/label/pylon-reenactment-society. It is slated for digital release on October 6 and on 12” vinyl, as a limited edition of 100 on color disc, on October 20. A limited number of cassettes will also be available at shows only.
1. Feast On My Heart
Fri, Oct. 6 Augusta, GA – Maxwell Performing Arts Center/Westobou Festival (with screening of “Athens GA Inside/Out”)
Fri, Oct. 20 Athens, GA – The World Famous
Sat, Oct 21 Atlanta, GA – The Earl
Courtesy of Part Time Punks
Michael Stock/KXLU 88.9 FM Los Angeles, CA
Recorded & Mixed at the Cave Studio (L.A.) by Josiah Mazzaschi
Executive Production: Henry Owings
Producer: Vanessa Briscoe Hay
Graphics: Michael Lachowski & William Gridley
Distribution: Chunklet Industries
Mastering: Jason NeSmith at Chase Park Transduction (Athens, GA)
All songs written by Pylon
Additional lyrics on “Feast on My Heart”: Craig Woodall