Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Pendletons Debut

What young, crowd-pleasing rock band from the hip and legendary Athens, Ga., music scene could resist a review of their debut CD by a 63-year old deaf guy? Fortunately for The Pendletons, ROLLING STONE beat me to it. Picking the Pendletons’ first single “Sad Songs” for the ROLLING STONE “Hot List” in their 40th Anniversary Issue, the magazine asked, “Holy shit! Who are these guys?… who sound like Vampire Weekend on a semester abroad with Arctic Monkeys. Check them at myspace.com/pendletons and prepare to be impressed.”

The Pendletons' frontman Adam Saunders is the son of my dear friend and Pine Lake neighbor Sunny Saunders. She sold me a copy of the band’s CD, "Oh! Me!," with full measure of maternal pride as I walked around the lake for my daily physical therapy. Sunny is among those who offered prayers for me when I was in a coma for three weeks. She provided my wife a CD of Jessye Norman to play for me in the hospital, probably the last sounds I ever heard with my own ears. After my cochlear implant, a miracle but not exactly return to hearing as I remember it, I particularly miss music. I hear the sounds but not the difference between notes or instruments. I asked Sunny about anything like “Peter And The Wolf” that could help me practice identifying what I heard. She introduced me to “The Young Person’s Guide to The Orchestra" by Benjamin Britten. Perfect. Sunny teaches music at College Heights Elementary in Decatur, as well as having private violin and piano students. She played violin in the Sao Paulo (Brazil) Symphony for ten years and in the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra for 16 years before its final performance in the fall of 2006

Not surprisingly, her son Adam was raised with a horsehair bow in his hand. Sunny says, “Adam plays violin beautifully but is not especially fond of the whole classical music scene (wonder why?). Adam asked for a guitar around age 8 or 9, but I told him he had to do violin until age 12.” Nonetheless he got a guitar from a friend, taught himself to play it, and immediately started writing songs and formed a band. His mother says, “The first song he wrote that I remember was called "I Can't Wait Till I'm the Boss of Myself." The best part about being his mom is that I get to hear the songs ACOUSTIC in my living room when he visits.” Adam also sang in the Atlanta Boy Choir under Fletcher Wolf from six years old until his voice changed.

All songs on the CD, “Oh! Me!,” were written and performed by The Pendletons, Ben Dupriest, Matt Giordano, Colin Moorehead, and Adam, with a little help from their friends K.C. Commander on cello and Aaron Jolie on horns. Here are some more reviews of their CD, "Oh! Me!":

“The Pendletons are the latest impressive rock act to call Athens, Georgia their home base, but their southern charm comes from a different place. Instead of relying on the rock roots that could come so easily to them, the quartet injects raw Brooklyn riffs into the mix to create a compelling cocktail.” – Stereo Subversion

"The Pendletons skirt the line between catchy indie pop and indie rock...Think of a slightly toned down Franz Ferdinand or a more exuberant White Stripes sprinkled with the vibrant color of Ted Leo." --Flagpole (Athens, GA alternative weekly)

"The foot-tapping single "Put That Record On" will be a local anthem in no-time, while "Sad Songs" will wear out the rewind button and "Told You So" shouldn't be missed..."Oh, Me!" is ready to find some serious press in the Southeast and hints that these guys could be good to know in a couple years."-- Red and Black (UGA Student Daily)

The Pendletons will make a video for their single “Sad Songs” in Atlanta on Nov. 28 at The EARL. They encourage fans to come out prepared to throw beer cans at them, jump on stage, and be rowdy, just like any other Pendletons performance. Adam Saunders spent the summer in an LA studio with another Athens band The Whigs, cutting all the bass parts, as well as guitar and vocals for the upcoming “Mission Control.”

Copyright 2007 by William C. Cotter


Tina said...

Well, I am completely left behind !
But good luck to the Pendletons in all their endeavors anyhow.
Would wearing a headset help you with music?

Paw Paw Bill said...

Actually, I do have an audio cable that connects directly from a CD or tape player to my external hearing device. This does improve the quality as it is pure electronics to electronics, without the sound traveling through the air. Although this is the best that I hear music, and I am told it will improve with time as my brain learns to interpret what I hear, at the moment what I hear, even of old and familiar music, is far from musical.

Tina said...

What about music played on a single instrument? Would that help you distinguish the sounds?
Like solo guitar, piano, or harpsichord ?

Paw Paw Bill said...

Actually, yes. My best music comprehension is solo work, certainly not unknown, but most of the music I have listened to all my life has been combinations of sounds, orchestras, singers with bands, etc. I just cannot make sense out of more than one sound at a time. This is also why I cannot engage in conversation while the television is on, or for that matter, while the dish washer is running. I hear all the sounds, but I cannot tell them apart.

jackie said...

Paw Paw, I wish your friend's son's group well. Where did they get the name Pendelton? Showbiz is such a hard road.

Paw Paw Bill said...

The name is that of an Atlanta Braves third baseman. I regret that I left out that tidbit, but thanks for giving me the opportunity to correct this exclusion.


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