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Published on November 9th, 2013 | by Ballard Lesemann


More Jangle-Pop Ahead for Atlanta Indie Band the Head

Top photo by John Boydston.

For fans of old-school power-pop and jangle-rock, it’s always encouraging to see and hear a young group come along with their own genuine enthusiasm for the genres — especially when it’s an open-minded pack of skillful players who are determined to create their own hybrid.

Atlanta -based power trio the Head — guitarist Jacob Morrell, drummer/singer Jack Shaw, and lead singer/bassist Mike Shaw — fully embrace the so-called “jangle” stuff that filled the college radio playlists in the late ’70s and early ’80s — especially the melodic, hooky, slightly bohemian pop/rock that came out of Georgia and L.A.

“R.E.M. is probably our biggest influence in terms of songwriting and band chemistry,” says Jack Shaw. “We listened to them like crazy when we started out, especially their early albums Murmur and Reckoning. We loved the Rain Parade, Dream Syndicate, and those West Coast pop bands of the ‘Paisley Underground’ scene. Their songs got right to the point. Their concise songs and their songwriting process really spoke to us.”


The Head (R to L): Jacob Morrell, Mike Shaw, and Jack Shaw (photo by Valheria Rocha)

Shaw started out learning the guitar before switching to drums when he was 11, learning mostly by ear. His twin brother Mike stuck with the bass guitar. The Shaw brothers hooked up with guitarist Jacob Morrell early in high school to form the earliest version of the Head (mostly playing covers of their favorite bands). They’ve been playing and writing songs together ever since.

“We were more of a garage band when we started out, really into the Velvet Underground and the Stone Roses,” Jack says. “We loved incorporating harmonies into the music, so we often get lumped in with the power-pop scene, but I think we’re a straightforward rock band.”

“Right now, we simply call what we do ‘classic rock ‘n’ roll’ — classic three-minute pop songs with a definite bridge in each song and lots of harmonies going on,” he adds. “We don’t try to extend songs for too long.”

All three members are currently 21 years old. Their management refers to them as “Atlanta’s youngest rock ‘n’ roll veterans.” They’re certainly not a cocky bunch.

The trio recently issued a finely-tuned, five-song EP titled Girls of the Yukon (the title comes from a 1980s Canadian Playboy spread). A review in Spin recently stated, “The bright-eyed Atlanta trio have mastered the beloved science of catchy, toe-tapping melodies plus rich vocal harmonies.”

The Head plans to do several road shows with Atlanta songsmith James Hall this winter, then they’ll hit the studio for more sessions as spring approaches.

“At every gig, whether it’s on a short tour or a one-off out of town, we take it as an opportunity to learn more about what to do and what not to do. We learn from our mistakes, and I think we get stronger that way. We know we don’t yet know what we’re doing, but we feel like we’re on top of the would.”

The Head shares the stage with Spirit Animal and Elim Bolt at the Royal American at 9 p.m., Fri. Nov. 9. Admission is $5. Visit theheadmusic.com and facebook.com/theheadrocks for more.



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About the Author

Ballard Lesemann

is a musician and writer. Born and raised in Charleston, S.C., he spent years playing in bands and working for Flagpole Magazine in the bustling music town of Athens, Ga. He returned to his hometown and served more than seven years as the Charleston City Paper's music editor. He's better at drumming than he is at playing guitar.

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