SNOWDEN LIVE REVIEW

SNOWDEN:
Before ¡Forward Russia!, Snowden warmed up the crowd. I have seen Snowden on multiple occasions, and it’s always a pleasure to see them rock larger and larger stages.

SNOWDEN TAKE ANTI-ANTI ABROAD


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SNOWDEN have embarked on their first overseas voyage for two weeks of shows in Belgium and the UK. Having just completed several impressive ,
SNOWDEN continues to turn heads with their live performances and press acclaim for Anti-Anti hasn’t stopped. There isn’t a better time to get out to see SNOWDEN. For those of us stateside, don’t worry, the band will be back in a few short weeks to begin their US tour with Forward Russia. In the mean time, check out the album . The tour dates and some recent press are listed below.

11/10/2006 Antwerp Belgium @ Trix
11/11/2006 Brussels Belgium @ Recyclart
11/12/2006 Brighton England @ The Engine Room
11/14/2006 Stoke-On-Trent, Staffordshire England @ The Glebe
11/16/2006 London England @ Old Blue Last
11/17/2006 Leeds England @ Cockpit
11/18/2006 Glasgow Scotland @ Nice ‘N’ Sleazy
11/19/2006 Sunderland England @ Independent
11/20/2006 Sheffield England @ Corporation
11/21/2006 Birmingham England @ Jug of Ale
11/22/2006 London England @ Metro Club
11/23/2006 Southampton England @ Unit 22
11/24/2006 Cardiff Wales @ Clwb Ifor Bach

Be sure to always check the for the most current information and further details.

"For all the discussion of concept, geography, and songcraft, it’s the heart pulsing through the reverb that makes Anti-Anti a must-listen." – Stereogum

"Snowden lace their upbeat, catchy guitar stomps with thoughtful lyrics diametrically opposed to mindless hipsterism." – Entertainment Weekly

"Snowden dropped a clever, catchy rock record" – The Fader

"Jeffare’s mellowed, airy vocals…meander over the
ghostly, willowed music rather than jar them from it." – Beautiful Decay

"It’s clear [Snowden] aren’t willing to just turn on the cruise control through [their] show; the performance is more like a constant pulse between implosion and explosion with each member able to flail or pull back seamlessly" – CMJ

"Snowden’s wavering gloom should be a nice fit for your
collection." – All Music Guide

"The charm of Snowden’s debut is its understated authenticity: Underneath all the accoutrements, these are Jeffares’s bedroom songs, and it’s not hard
to extrapolate to their simpler days as anguished acoustic ballads." – Village Voice

"The original Snowden taught Yossarian that man is matter– kill us and we’re dead. It’s OK for stylish post-punk to matter, too, and Anti-Anti does so without forgetting to be fun." – Pitchfork

"[Anti Anti's] balance of gloom and grandeur is brilliantly executed, ultimately leaving the listener with an insatiable thirst for more of the same." – Drowned in Sound

"Anti-Anti is a solid, even impressive, debut." – Aversion

"Buzzing keys lead into a twitchy, danceable beat with a groovy bass line giving way to head honcho Jordan Jeffares’ inspired vocals." – Indieworkshop

"Pick of the month…" – Transworld Skateboarding

"The Cure never delivered gloom so buzzy." – URB

"Snowden’s music sounds like Interpol’s dark momentum getting tripped up on the Arcade Fire’s treacherous terrain – lacquered bolts of guitar judder over off-kilter percussion, and anomic vocals blear through the densely layered mix." – Paste

"[Anti-Anti is] one of the most melodic, addictive discs of 2006." – Denver Post

is available for , in stores, and digitally through , , , , , , , and .

1. Like Bullets
2.
3. My Murmuring Darling
4. Filler is Wasted
5. Black Eyes
6. Between the Rent and Me
7. Counterfeit Rules
8. Innocent Heathen
9. Stop Your Bleeding
10. Kill the Power
11. Victim Card
12. Sisters

INTERVIEW: SNOWDEN

I first heard of Snowden about a year or so ago while listening to some internet radio site. The song was "Kill the Power" – a moody yet danceable, instantly catchy post-punk number – and I was hooked. Further investigation led to the Atlanta-based band’s Web site (www.snowden.info) where I found the entire self-titled EP made available for free download. Fuzzy guitars, driving beats, thumping bass lines and a droning voice combined for an intriguing first listen that just begged to be expounded upon.

Thankfully, the four-piece soon followed up with Anti-Anti, their debut full-length available on Jade Tree. The 12-song disc is a dance-happy meets cool gloom blur of smoke and fuzzed-out melodies, powerful and thought provoking lyrics and flat-out strong song writing.

Jordan Jeffares, vocalist and main brain behind Snowden was kind enough to take time away from touring, marketing and setting up the release of Anti-Anti in order to answer a few of my inquiries via e-mail. Here’s what we discussed:

So first, the boring, typical – How did you all come together? How long has Snowden been around? Did you have any common interests that led you to form a band, etc.?

The band began when I was graduating from college in 2003. I’d been working on songs for years but only at that point did they ever get to anything decent. My brother helped me meet up with the first line up. We played for a year under that line up before vacation time started to run out for some of the guys so the line up changed to its current state the summer of 2004. I met Dave (Payne, guitar) through our first drummer and bassist. They were all jamming in a practice space.

When the other guys ran out of vacation time, Chandler (Rentz, drums) had gotten wind that we were looking for a drummer from other people in the local Atlanta scene. A friend in Austin turned me onto Corinne (Lee, bass).

And of course the dreaded "How would you explain your sound?" question. What are you trying to do with your music? Where are you now musically, and where would you like to go in the future?

I’m trying to stay flexible and open to my view of Snowden and where it’s going or been. There have been periods, especially in the very beginning of the band where I was trying really hard to make the music really different and it ended up making things too complicated. I constantly feel like good music is innovative, and since I want to make good music, I feel like I should always innovate.

I feel like I’ve finally found a style but I’m very wary of even thinking of it that way because I don’t want to lock myself into any paths. I don’t want to have to worry about a song fitting on an album. I want every song to belong to itself.

What are thoughts on "rock ?°»n’ roll" right now, and how do you separate yourselves from other bands out there?

The line between indie rock and ?°»rock rock’ used to be so clear, now there are ?°»indie’ bands on major labels and bland rock bands on ?°»indie’ labels. The terms that used to help you weed through music to get to the good stuff have fallen apart.

There’s only so much you can do to try to separate yourselves. You try to do it with the music. Then we try to do it onstage every show. I used to be of the mindset that you should get on stage and let the music speak for itself, until one day we started going nuts and then people started responding like they never had before.

What’s your live performance like? What can fans expect to see when they check out Snowden?

We go nuts. We all stomp and jitter to the music. I have lots of nervous ticks that my brother always makes fun of. At the end of the show we’re soaked through.

Is there any message or theme behind your music? What do you hope people get out of hearing your stuff?

There are messages in every song, both introverted and extroverted. A lot of them are collages of situations or feelings. There are stories about places, disappointment, and revolution. I try to be dynamic with my lyrics. I never want to be a boring songwriter who writes about love all the time.

What was it like writing and recording your EP? What are your thoughts about it?

The EP was a learning experience that should have been done better, but I’d only been doing music seriously for about 6 months at the time and there was no one looking out for us to make sure we didn’t mess up. So, I did everything wrong. We worked with a horrible engineer who ruined the first attempt at it. Then I did the best I could mixing it with a friend from out of town and pressed it up, only so that I would remix it 8 months later and start giving it away for free through the website.

I learned a lot from that EP. I learned not to rush things. I learned that an EP can be your ticket to bigger things if you can just wait and do it right and get people behind it instead of just trying to get something to sell at shows.

You decided to let people download the whole thing for free, how did that decision come about?

It just occurred to me that a band starting out has to give their music away, especially if they’re unsigned/unmanaged/unconnected. The measly few grand that you could make off selling your music is nothing compared to the exposure you can get by giving it away. I tell all young bands to give away at least half of their songs if not more. Especially in the blog age, it’s possible to do a blog campaign one week and have 50,000 people with your album on their hard drive/ipod the next week. You give it away today so that 1) people can learn about you and 2) so that you can sell them your debut LP next year.

You recently signed with Jade Tree, how did that come about, and what is it like now working with label support? Did it make things easier/harder when recording the full-length?

Jade Tree is about as indie as it gets. They’re very responsive and active but we still decide on everything and do most stuff on our own. We have a publicist now, and college radio will get serviced, but we do our own Web design, our own recording, I’m booking the support tour right now, we do our merch, everything.

What are your thoughts on the full-length? How would you compare it to the EP? If someone takes one thing away from this album, what would you hope that to be?

It’s more mature than the EP. Sonically, there’s more space between things and I learned how to use my voice. Like the EP it’s still moody. 8/12 are upbeat and the other 4 on the record are my favorites, the slow stuff.

"Victim Card" and "Kill the Power" are both songs on the EP which made the full-length as well. Was there anything particularly special about those two songs that helped them make the cut? Does it indicate what sort of direction you might be heading with your sound?

Those are both songs that really characterize our sound. Those songs are where we are right now, no question. "Victim Card" was originally a slow song that I rewrote because we didn’t have enough upbeat stuff for our first show. On the full length it’s the slow version and we close almost every show with this version. "Kill the Power" most indicates the direction we’re going. It’s got that weird powerful rhythm and the distorted bass line and all that.

What is next for you guys, and is there anything else in particular that you’d like people to read about?

I want people to read about our European tour and how we’re blowing up in Turkey and why hasn’t America caught on yet?!?!

DISCOVER: SNOWDEN

Snowden are a rare breed of indie-rock band, the sort that creeps slowly into your system, their songs gradually filling the creases of your brain and the cells in your blood. There’s little to no fanfare about Anti-Anti, their debut album – its release at the tail end of August wasn’t met by streaming accolades and purple prose proclaiming the four-piece as The Next Big Thing. But it’s a debut that really deserves widespread attention, so catchy and meticulously crafted are the songs it houses.

The Atlanta-based band began as the bedroom project of singer and guitarist Jordan Jeffares, but has since grown, welcoming Chandler Rentz (drums), Corinne Lee (bass) and David Payne to the Snowden fold. Although they’ve attracted enviable comparisons to a wealth of renowned names – Interpol, Editors, Spacemen 3, The Cure – there’s a lot more to Snowden than what immediately meets the ear. Accessible though the songs are, there’s a darkness in Jeffares’ lyricism that allows the band to, rather contradictorily, shine. You can dance to their pulsating rhythms, but try not to splash the blood on the floor up and over your ankles.

DiS sent a few questions the way of Jeffares just prior to the release of Anti-Anti, the review of which can be found here.

One of the press release quotes that accompanies your Anti-Anti album reads, “Finally, a label has discovered how awesome this band is”. Was the process from the band’s formation to the eventual signing with Jade Tree a long one, then? Just how long as Snowden existed, in one form or another? It began in a bedroom, no?°¦?

I’ve been writing music since I was 17 but it wasn’t worth a damn until I was 22. That was 2003, my senior year of college when I became a bit of a recluse and I wrote the first Snowden songs. We played our first show the summer of 2003.

What led you to Jade Tree? Did the label approach you? Was Anti-Anti already completed prior to signing? Did any other labels express an interest? Did you look for labels overseas at all?

A friend of a friend of a small label here in Atlanta tipped off Jade Tree and they told us they liked the demos and wanted to see us live. We flew one of them down and set up a last-minute show. We were tired of waiting for a label to ?°»just happen’. The talks with Jade Tree took longer than expected, so I went into the studio with the intent of making Anti-Anti whether or not the deal was inked. The record was actually completed before the deal was signed, though.
At that time we were looking for labels everywhere. I didn’t want to release the record without a label. That equals throwing your release away for most bands. We probably still couldn’t get a demo listened to at Matador or Sub Pop even now, though. It’s impossible to get heard by our dream labels. People don’t realise how lazy labels are when it comes to discovering music.

What role did blogs play in your rise to this level – i.e. overseas recognition and an upcoming release on a respected indie. Is the internet a bigger player than ever in the make-or-break cycle of building bands up and/or knocking them down?

We have relied heavily on the internet from day one. In the beginning, we gave away the first EP and a couple of big New York blogs started talking about us and we started to pick up steam. Most print media has always been a slave to high profile/big money labels and publicists. Blogs survive on being the first to break bands. They have no wait time. When they see something they like, it goes up and 10,000 people download a track. It’s less schmoozing amongst incestuous media types and more of people posting music they dig and not worrying about if the band is ?°»hot’ and will help sell ads.

Semi-related, do you actually pay attention to press about the band, either critical or otherwise? If so, will you be keeping an eye on the reviews that come in for Anti-Anti? Do you have any particular hopes/expectations for the album’s performance/reception? Will negative press bother you particularly?

I try not to read reviews and press. I’m afraid that I will try to alter the music or compromise my ideas if I know what people are saying. Of course I hope that people will like it. I don’t make the music to exist in a vacuum. I’ve never understood the point of negative press, though. Why waste the space on crap when you could be exposing music you love?

What kind of comparisons has the band attracted, and do you consider them to be favourable? “Anglo-friendly” is another quote from the press release – do you think British-born music has informed your music more than American rock and roll?

From what I’ve gathered people aren’t dropping a lot of references when they talk about us. I think what the Anglo thing implies is that the music is a bit moody and mature. There’s no sexy carefree swagger on this album like you would expect from classic American rock, I suppose.

Do you hear any singles on Anti-Anti? I’ve been telling anyone that’ll listen that there are a good half-dozen singles on the record, songs that could, conceivably, pick up decent radio coverage. I’m aware that there’s a very limited singles market in the States, but would you/Jade Tree look to release digital one-offs at all?

I too think that there are multiple singles on the album. I hate the concept of this album resting on a song or two. The album has too many faces to be represented in just one song. We would definitely consider digital one-offs.

The bands you’ve previously played with are an obvious talking point: each is wholly different from the other, it seems (Xiu Xiu and Arcade Fire = notatallthesame!). Do you see/hear yourself as a band that can slip easily onto many a bill?

I think our music is all over the place. We have almost a whole album’s worth of slow songs that we could play with softer acts. A lot of the acts we’ve shared the stage with are really just playing small clubs, trying to bring in crowds for budding artists. All of the big acts we’ve opened for were just starting to grow when our people in Atlanta put us on those bills.

Do you hear any echo of shoegaze in your music? It’s been suggested, but I don’t really hear it?°¦

That’s just how people talk about the atmosphere, the multiple layers, the reverb. All of that is essential to our sound.

Finally, are there any UK dates on the horizon?

We are doing three weeks in England from November 11th to the 30th. We are beyond excited.

SNOWDEN [i]ANTI-ANTI[/i] REVIEW

Interpol is certainly a reasonable reference point for Snowden, but that specific comparison is also shorthand for the current wave of post-punk descendants. This Atlanta four piece shoves its way into that crowd on their first full length, Anti-Anti. Featuring bottom heavy sonic noir constructions with inventive, danceable beats and wicked cool effects driven guitar, it’s an incredibly satisfying album. Kind of gives me the same feeling I get from the sound of throwing rotten peaches against the side of our rusty old tin shed- that explosive, exhilarating bang.

I’ve been playing this almost exclusively for a week now and I’m still amazed by the way singer Jordan Jeffares pulls off the incredible feat of delivering his melodic monotone in slow motion. As a kooky challenge, try singing along to “My Murmuring Darling” and you’ll see what I mean. But most of the songs are tightly wound dance punk anthems and there are a slew of keepers, including the sublime title track, the menacing “Like Bullets,” and the jittery “Counterfeit Rules.”

The more I listen to Anti-Anti, the more I like it. And I liked it a whole lot to begin with.

Snowden @ Southpaw, Brooklyn 8/26/06

Brooklyn’s Southpaw is the sort of rock club that the "locals" take inordinate pride in pointing you to as you ask for directions (below the numbers on 5th Ave. in Park Slope, if you care). And due to the threat of drizzle — and a set at Sin-e a few nights earlier (keeping the Manhattanites at bay)– these proud denizens of the Slope were precisely the people Snowden was playing for: the foot traffic of a burgeoning neighborhood, the brave souls that spent their Saturday night wandering in to check out whatever act was gracing their beloved stage that night; a casual man-on-the-street crowd, Pitchfork and blog love bedamned. Good thing, then, that Snowden’s Anti-Anti is such a kick ass record.

Rarely have we come across a band that belongs in NYC any more — and this ain’t the sort of astute observation solely built on lyrics that speak to "a princess in a window in SoHo." Snowden sounds like the band you’d want to hear if you wandered into a bar just off Essex below Houston. There’s that indifferent vocal tone, carrying infectious melodies over a warm, lo-fi kick drum sound, overdriven bass and arty, reverb-doused guitars. With each slowly-building song structure, each set of handclap-laden drum-and-vocal breaks, and each chiming, dance-wave guitar ride out, the band’s keen sense of craft is obvious. Yet these devices — and Jordan’s urban-weary tone — can’t mask the substance beyond the style.

The irony is that the group lay their heads in Atlanta, a deception as simple as it is dangerous; this band is far from feigning a fad. Lyrics that paint tales of disingenuous lovers and disheartening social scenes shouldn’t be this danceable, and the songs are just too good to dismiss. Snowden has just released one of the best debuts we’ve heard all year. Take these tunes as Exhibit A.

Snowden – "Between The Rent And Me" (MP3 Link Expired)
Snowden – "Anti-Anti" (MP3)

True, the record has twelve songs when it could have ten, and some songs stretch to five minutes when they should be four. But seeing Snowden live — where there’s new urgency injected from beefed up kit work and their solid stage presence — made short shrift of that critique. We wanted even more.

"But do they have soul?" was a concern voiced via IM when we were rounding up troops for the trek to BK. You bet your sweet ass they do. For all the discussion of concept, geography, and songcraft, it’s the heart pulsing through the reverb that makes Anti-Anti a must-listen.

Snow Patrol

Snowden dropped a clever, catchy rock record called Anti Anti this past Tuesday. They’re touring behind it (Boston tonight, BK tomorrow, and then the rest of the country after that), check them if you can (and check their tracks out on MySpace). We talked to songwriter Jordan Jeffares a few days ago, and you can read what he had to say about the state of ATL indie rock, remixes, and Fleetwood Mac after the jump.

Where are you right now?
I am at my loft here in Atlanta. We’re downtown.

How did the group get started?
Well I had been writing music all through 17, 18,19, and towards the end of school I bought a couple of pieces of gear and was kind of deciding that I wasn’t going to kick into the 9-to-5 thing right out of college, and instead devote all my time to music. And I did. While at my senior year of college at UVA back in 2002, 2003, all I did was sit around and finish up school and record tons and tons of music. I wrote a lot of the early material of Snowden back then. My brother is a promoter here in Atlanta, and he started playing some of the demos to people who were coming out here at nights around town.

Was your brother promoting parties or shows?
He was doing parties and he was doing shows here and there. He was mostly doing rock dance nights at all the mid-sized indie places. Everything from the Earl to the old Echo Lounge, before they shut that down, those were all the places that UVA had and everybody used to come through. And then he built up a night at this dive bar, and he runs a website now called kissatlanta.com, which is picking up a lot of steam. He’s kind of like a budding tastemaker down here in town.

At this point when you were writing demos, was it mostly a one-man operation?
Yes.

When you were writing those songs, what was inspiring you? What were you trying to get at musically?
When you are sitting alone writing music, you’re sitting there trying to get results really fast because its not five guys in a room cranking out something. So you’re sitting there with just drums and just bass and then maybe one guitarist, and through each of those steps I was unconsciously trying to make these parts strong enough that they could almost stand on their own, until I thought of something to go on top of it. That’s why I’ve got these really weird drum lines and so much distorted bass and lots of reverb and everything, because you never knew when you would be able to stop, and when it was going to be able to sit on its own.

What other music were you listening to at the time?
Back when I was doing all that writing it was 2002, so at that time I would be at the store at midnight whenever a Radiohead album came out, and Broken Social Scene had just cracked at that time, and I was still listening to all my old favorite records. I was always a huge Hum fan, and a lot of noise rock like Ride. I was really into those and old Cure, but I was never trying to emulate anything – those were the things that were staples in my collection.

When your brother started playing demos for people, were you doing shows at the time?
No?°¦I knew no one anywhere in any scene. I was going out in Athens at the time trying to meet people, because everyone was like, ?°»You know this is where its supposed to be at.’ And I now found out years later that was a really slow time in Athens. So I was going out every night to the North side of town over by Prince Avenue looking for Elf Power, and trying to find the guys from I Am The World Trade Center, and trying to find anyone from Elephant Six. It was just completely dead, so I would just go and play some pinball and go home and try and write some more music, hoping that one day things would snap. Back then I was a complete recluse, and my brother was the guy that knew people – fate pretty much assembled the band in the beginning. We pulled the band together the beginning of 2003 and we played our first show the end of that summer. That was the first line up, which lasted for a year, until we started getting on the road and going up to New York and back several times a year. Eventually vacation time started to run out for some of the guys and one of the girls just couldn’t take any more time off of school, so we had to change the band.

What was the response like going out of town?
Well, we were blown away that we were being invited up here to do a show by a cool club in New York. We didn’t know about Pianos at the time, but it was cool that the guy immediately grabbed our CD, and he didn’t care how many people we were going to bring to a show. He just wanted to get us up there and help us, he wanted to be the first guy to bring us up. So it was awesome to come from Atlanta – where we were really having to work really hard to build ourselves up cause Atlanta is kind of a hard town to draw people out to where we were – and go up to New York, where we had bloggers that were already writing about our music and coming up to us at our first two shows. It blew us away how many people were into music, and how many people were writing about music, kind of like the beginning of the explosion of the blog thing. It was really exciting that people talked about music so much up there, and that s all they did.

When people wrote about the band, were they picking up on the kinds of things in the music you hoped they would?
Back then I didn’t have any goals other than trying to get the music out, so it was very simple and juvenile because I was so new to everything. I had never played in a band before and never played music on stage before, so I just tried to keep an open mind and take things as they came, because I knew nothing about how anything worked. Which ended up us completely blowing our first release and everything. But no, I wasn’t looking to arouse anything preconceived, I just wanted to take it as it was. I still am not crazy about talking about the music, even though I know it is a necessary thing. I’m an idealist, like ?°»Why can’t it stand on its own?’ – but you live with it and you do what you gotta do.

When did you start writing material for Anti-Anti?
There was never a planned point, I released and EP at the end of 2003 right after we had gotten the band together and we just wanted something to sell at shows and to give out at radio stations and stuff. So it was just known that whenever we did an LP, it was just going to be the best songs that we had written up to that point. I didn’t know that it was going to take three years for that to happen.

So you didn’t have any particular concept in mind for this album?
No I just kept writing songs and bumping off old ones, and it finally got to one point where I was kicking songs off of the tentative list, the heavy hitters that I thought were going to be singles on the new record. We just kept writing, and got over 35 songs over three years. The songs that made it to the record were for the most part the songs that were written last, because the sound was developing – but there were two songs on the record that were written back in my bedroom in 2003 not knowing anybody. They managed to stand the test of time and make it on the record.

Now that it’s all laid down to CD, can you see any common themes in the songs you ended up keeping? Is there like a running motif to this record?
Yeah the record is – even though I hate this fact, it ended up being a very personal record. You know I’m not going out here to try and spill my guts or anything, but in the lyrics, I’m trying to let myself out as quietly as I can, and try and do it in a way that’s symbolic. Even though it is personal, trying to make it all feel very impersonal, trying not to talk about myself as an individual but trying to speak by using imagery of places and feelings, and trying to project myself onto inanimate things and feelings. It’s hard to verbalize but that’s what’s going on.

Do you feel that the people who’ve heard the songs get that?
I really do and that’s just it. Whenever we are talking about what the next single is going to be or what we should do a video for or what one of the tracks on the record, I don’t even try and make those decisions or talk about that, because?°¦I can’t. Because all of this stuff is what I do for a living fifty or sixty hours a week, I’m not able to talk about it or think about it that way, but people are getting it, and coming back unanimously and saying the same thing. Multiple people saying that the record is, not criticizing it, but saying you can see all the uncomfort in a lot of ways, both musically and lyrically. People say it’s a sad record.

Not as much sad but it’s a very bittersweet record in a lot of places.
Yeah and that’s like me and like a lot of people, so I think that’s very accurate.

I think my favorite cut on the record is probably “Counterfeit Rules” with the riff that repeats, but never kind of loops back perfectly, it just sort of rewinds onto itself. What was the process behind writing that song?
That song was luckily one of the songs that comes and ends up being finished in absolutely no time, I think I wrote the lyrics in two and a half minutes. Like I was sitting in a coffee shop to sit and read, and stuff never comes that fast for me but that one came so fast. I ran home and had a little riff that I had been working on, and the song was done in a day. That’s one fiftieth of the time it usually takes me to finish a song, so “Counterfeit” was a wonderful thing that literally just fell out. I’m very politically minded, although I try not to just press it too much, I try to hide it a little bit, but that song is a very political song.,

What’s the single for this record?
Jade Tree thought that “Anti Anti” would be the single for the record because its memorable and it sticks out at parts. It’s a weird song and the chorus is really catchy.

What is it like working with Jade Tree – how did you link up with them?
There’s a small label here in Atlanta called Stick Figure Records that is run by one guy who is very passionate about it. He was distributing our first EP and he was supporting us and throwing us on shows and getting our name out. He said that he knew the guys from Jade Tree Records and we were like, ?°»Oh man that would be, great can you get our demo listened to?’ He was friends with Tim and Dan, and Tim loved the record and wanted to see us live. We didn’t feel like paying for gas to go up to New York to play, and back then gas was cheap, now it would be four hundred dollars to get there and back. So we just went ahead and flew him down here for one show, we threw a show together as fast as we could, literally in one month, we went to one of the venues that we’re friends with. We were pretty tired of waiting around and trying to break out of Atlanta, so we got him down there as fast as we could. At that exact same time, we had some bigwig lawyers that wanted us to do a showcase in New York. While we were negotiating with Jade Tree we went up there and did one big showcase with them. They didn’t see anything that was marketable, and that’s there loss.

Is it weird for you to have to think of your music as something that’s marketable?
Hmm. I don’t look at the system as something to be defeated, its unfortunate but Jade Tree are very modest people, and they have very modest bills to pay. Music is art and it should stand alone, but I have to literally put food in my mouth. We’re not looking to make money here, we’re looking to make more music, and I can’t make more music unless we’re at least moving something. This is a component that is undeniable, and I hate thinking of it that way but luckily, I don’t write art noise rock, nor do I want to. Luckily I get to make what I want to make and it just so happens that enough people are interested in it that I can hopefully get to make some more of it.

One thing I wanted to ask, is that the Snowden songs are so inherently rhythmic, have you had anyone take stabs at remixing them?
Yes we have, we’ve had, I think we’ve had four attempts and one success, and we’re finishing up a remix right now of one of the tracks. I’m [remixing] “Anti Anti.”

What was the other successful one?
“Black Eyes.” A friend of ours here in town, he’s a DJ, he used to be an electronic DJ but now he does rock and?°¦bump and grind stuff. The mix is getting posted on a big remix site pretty soon. His name is Le Castlevania. You know its just, we’re definitely not dishing up tons of money for a MSTRKRFT remix or anything, its just something fun to do. There are people that are working on remixes, people that love the record, and so we’re not sitting here trying to force this whole remix thing, it just happens that we’re friends with a lot of people that like electronic music.

What other stuff from that scene are you into? I’m a huge MSTRKRFT and Diplo fan, I love that style of production that they’re doing right now. Those are the people that are cool to me, my brother’s a lot more into it than I am but those are people that I consistently ask him about.

Are you into any of the hip-hop coming out of Atlanta?
Not really.

What about any other local groups?
The coolest stuff going on in Atlanta right now is a band called Deerhunter. they’re about to be out on a cool label that they were dying to get onto. They have done some dates with the Liars, and they might be going to Europe with the Liars. But they are getting out of Atlanta and they make some awesome music, and it is very rare to hear what they are doing here in Atlanta. Another band is called the Seminaries. We do a lot of shows with those two. There’s also a band called Service Radio that’s doing some great stuff, some psychedelic, Beatles White Album type stuff.

Have you been playing more shows in Atlanta these days?
No, probably less. No we used to play every show we could get when we were a young band, now we try and keep it down to a show once a month if that, every six or seven weeks. Once the record comes out we can look at it a different way because we’ll finally have material people haven’t heard.

What’s the plan for the next couple months once the album is out?
We’re trying to get on the road as much as possible, if we could get on the road for all of fall we would. We are trying to solidify a booking agent, and tentatively we’ll be going to England in November, and doing Europe next February. We’re doing a full US tour starting August 22 around the country, and then we’ll take a little bit of time off, tour again around CMJ and that’s it. If we can squeeze in one more run at the end of the year we’ll probably do that too.

I’ve heard the Zombies cover you’ve done, are there any other covers in the touring repertoire?
We do others – that’s the only one we’ve ever played out loud, and that was one of the first songs that ever even put us on the map because people love to spread that one around. It’s maybe bigger than any of the other songs on the EP. We did that in the beginning and I’ve also done a Fleetwood Mac cover.

What song?
“Dreams” – that gets played around here quite a bit but I have to figure out how to release that, maybe get it pressed up or something and get it sent around, but that’s it.

What kind of angle did you take on it?
Total electro. I mean if I want to do that type of stuff, I have to do it completely separate from Snowden, so I did. Sometimes I need to completely not do rock for a song, and it’s easy. I just had a strong picture of what I wanted to do. I cranked it out in an afternoon and it came out really cool.

SNOWDEN AUGUST 24th 2006

“New York crowds are infamous for being quiet between songs,” lead singer/guitarist Jordan Jeffares of Snowden announced from the stage of Sin-e, “They actually want to hear the bands?°¦that’s so rare.” The Atlanta-based band deserved the hushed awe they got each time they paused between songs just a little too long for people to maintain cheering and clapping. The band could easily coast by on the quality of their songwriting, which falls into that whole indie pop vein, leaning heavily towards the darker rock side of the genre. However, it’s clear they aren’t willing to just turn on the cruise control through the show; the performance is more like a constant pulse between implosion and explosion with each member able to flail or pull back seamlessly. They complained a little about being tired after a long drive, but by the end Jeffares was so covered in sweat from the energetic performance that they couldn’t have been too tired!

SNOWDEN BREAKS OUT


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Hotlanta is not normally known for it’s glacial indie rock but if things continue to roll for the boys and girl in SNOWDEN, Outkast will have to bow to the cuts on the sparkling Anti-Anti. As the weeks and months leading up to the release of the band’s Jade Tree debut melted away, it became readily apparent that the group was onto something legit. Now on the eve of their tour and only a day after their record hit stores SNOWDEN is officially the "most blogged about band on the internet" according to . In addition, SNOWDEN‘s debut single Anti-Anti is also the most posted mp3 on the blogs this month. Not bad. But that’s not all the love only continues from , , , , and .

SNOWDEN started their yesterday, so bring them some banana bread and go see what the hype is all about.

1. Like Bullets
2.
3. My Murmuring Darling
4. Filler is Wasted
5. Black Eyes
6. Between the Rent and Me
7. Counterfeit Rules
8. Innocent Heathen
9. Stop Your Bleeding
10. Kill the Power
11. Victim Card
12. Sisters

Please consult the SNOWDEN for current dates.

SNOWDEN [i]ANTI-ANTI[/i] REVIEW

The maudlin, streetwise and worldly nature of Jordan Jeffares strikes you immediately like a slow but well placed blow in ‘Like Bullets’. It is as though through his Atlanta outfit Snowden, he has said to all the emo bands; ‘you’re thoughts may become clearer if you slow down enough to be able to notice them yourself’. A rumbling and slightly ambient accompaniment creates a musical gravel pathway for Jeffares to vocally meander down. The downtrodden lyrics dug up from the recesses of the heart are life grappling emo to be proud of, or ashamed of, if you are a musical snob;
"I push the pull too but when I see you move I know it’s just business as usual. We can walk like bullets and talk like bullets In and out your face but you’ll never notice."
There is an increasing pub crawl aspect to the vocals as the album progresses, Jaffares’ voice appears like it is emerging out of an increasing alcohol pit that adds to the downtrodden feel, such as in ‘My Murmuring Darling’. It is apparent through numbers like ‘Black Eyes’ that this foray is not so much a soul searching journey, but a hanging out to dry of it, as it has been stained by the world’s ways. The instrumental arrangement becomes quite chilling and sombre for the aforementioned track and helps to give Snowden a The Cure meets Sonic Youth vibe, shrouding matters in reflection. Marching percussion grabs hold of you and drags you into the fuzzy guitar led, lurid web of backstabbing and deceit in ‘Counterfeit Rules’. This lends itself to the sharp narrative of the vocals, enabling Jaffares to be at his most convincing. That poignancy is not recaptured on the remainder of the album, but what remains is still enough to keep you tuned into the mindset of this cohesive, haunting and troubled outfit.

ARTIST OF THE DAY: SNOWDEN

Who? Atlanta is known better for Elephant-6 art rock than darkly dreamy dance rock, but Snowden, like E6, partake in their geographical heritage by originating partly from a bedroom operation. Jordan Jeffares (guitars/keys/vocals) began self-recording tracks out of his room before his brother, impressed with the demos, put him touch with musicians David Payne (guitar), Corinne Lee (bass, keys, vocals), Chandler Rentz (drums, vocals). Their debut full-length, Anti-Anti, may have just dropped, but the quartet have already toured with Unicorns, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and Arcade Fire.

What’s the Deal? "I try to hear your voice through the drone but I don’t," Jeffares sings on "Filler is Wasted," inspiring an onslaught of gorgeously chiming shoegaze fuzz. Unlike his presumed lover in the song, though, Jeffares voice soars above the hauntingly icy bass lines and chilly atmospherics. Bombs and death rays, corporate decay, and failed or failing love are just some of the bleak themes the band explore, and their album’s title track might offer the best solution to the hopelessness of it all: "I can’t be a rug, without my fashion drugs / Inebriation leads revelation."

Fun Facts: You’d think it’d be a bad idea to name a band after a literary character who dies gruesomely, but this didn’t stop Snowden from culling their moniker from a figure in Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. And the name has suited the quartet well, as they got their demo into Jade Tree’s stereo through a six degrees of separation style ex-wife’s-cousin’s-sister’s-girlfriend’s connection.

Band of the Week: Snowden

Hometown: Atlanta, Ga.
Members: Jordan Jeffares (guitar, keys, vocals), Chandler Rentz (drums, vocals), Corinne Lee (bass, keys, vocals), David Payne (guitar)
Fun Fact: At Snowden’s last show in Indianapolis, the band played for a bartender and five people. Payment came in the form of shots.
Why They’re Worth Watching: The band members are young, but Snowden fuses brooding melancholic lyrics and lush, expansive soundscapes with precision and maturity.
For Fans Of: Joy Division, Interpol, Starflyer 59

Two years ago, Snowden frontman Jordan Jeffares couldn’t imagine his musical career reaching beyond the confines of his Athens, Ga. apartment. A senior at the University of Georgia, Jeffares spent his last year of college a recluse to society in almost complete isolation. After devoting most of his time to studying and writing the music that would eventually evolve into his band’s set list, Jeffares recruited a gang of musical Atlanta suburbanites, and Snowden, deriving its name from Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, began to materialize beyond the written page.

Acclaimed for its dark, lush atmospherics draped over precise, post-punk-inspired guitar work and Jeffares’ deep, brooding vocals, the band has drawn heavy New York media attention. Fans are usually surprised at the band’s Dixie roots. “We definitely are not a Southern rock band,” Jeffares clarifies. “People want to be able to describe things, and it’s very easy to get pigeon-holed because people want things to be understandable and to be able to lump things into a category.” Snowden’s first full-length release, Anti-Anti, sees the band taking cues from bands like The Cure and Radiohead, without mimicking their music. “One of the things I love about these bands is their continual sound progression,” says Jeffares. “On this album, I try and jump all over the place, make each song completely different and never cross my tracks again.”

Some will classify the band as post-shoegaze, but Snowden aims to defy the concept of genre, choosing instead to preserve its independent integrity and strict DIY ethic. “If we have to be called a certain genre or we have to be related to the same bands over and over again, that’s fine for a while, because no one knows who we are,” says Jeffares. “But hopefully we’ll get out of that and be able to stand on our own.”

American Gothic Types Shoot Pink Bullets, Paint It Black

Aside from their hometown of Atlanta, there’s nothing Southern about Snowden—no songs about driving cars, no twang, and absolutely no drawl. Instead the quartet, like contemporaries Editors and Sound Team, drips Anglo touchstones: a stony reservedness, heavy reverb, and slightly affected Brit accents. The mood is a little Gothic, but that of buttresses and gargoyles or pale skin and eyeliner, not Cormac McCarthy or Harper Lee.
So the band doesn’t bring the heat, but instead offers an icy veneer, an effect accomplished via multiple avenues. In hypnotic opener "Pink Bullets," it’s the stoic, stalking bassline; on stomper "Filler is Wasted" and rangy "Counterfeit Rules," it’s the fuzzed-out guitar tones. On the hooky title track, it’s a simple lead-footed kick-drum beat; on the electro-tinged "Between the Rent," singer-songwriter Jordan Jeffares offers detached vocals and obstinate lyrics. The charm of Snowden’s debut is its understated authenticity: Underneath all the accoutrements, these are Jeffares’s bedroom songs, and it’s not hard to extrapolate to their simpler days as anguished acoustic ballads.

NEW BAND ON THE RUN

Snowden may not apply its black eye shadow as heavily as like-minded bands Interpol or The Cure, but the sonic similarities are unmistakable.

The Atlanta-based quartet, which releases its debut album, "Anti-Anti," today, has cobbled together one of the most melodic, addictive discs of 2006. Uncannily agile drumming propels its gauzy, atmospheric guitars and layered vocals to a plane where indie rock, post-punk and shoegazer co-exist.

How did a young, relatively obscure act like this come out of nowhere and sign to Jade Tree, the label of The Promise Ring, Jets to Brazil and My Morning Jacket? We spoke with Snowden leader Jordan Jeffares last week as he prepped a five-week tour that will bring Snowden

Q: How did you guys hook up with Jade Tree?

A: It was a really weird connection, one of those "ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend’s sister who knows a guy" things. That’s just what got our demo listened to, and after that it pretty much sold itself.

Q: Are all the songs on "Anti-Anti" brand new?

A: Four of the original demos became actual songs on the record ("Like Bullets," "Filler Is Wasted," etc.) Some of those tracks I did almost four years ago, but I couldn’t get the same energy when we rerecorded them in Austin with Eric Wofford (My Morning Jacket, Vauxtrot). With some things you just catch them better at one time than another.

Q: Are you concerned about how the album’s going to be received?

A: Everyone that’s heard it has had nothing bad or even mediocre to say. Let’s hope the guys at Pitchfork think the same. I didn’t want them to review it – I don’t trust them – but they have such an incredible amount of pull. They can still make a band (like the Arcade Fire or Clap Your Hands Say Yeah), they just can’t destroy it. Pitchfork hits such a targeted audience and hits it so well that it’s not like Rolling Stone or something, where people expect their writing to be bad.

Q: Are you bracing for the inevitable Joy Division and Radiohead comparisons?

A; I’m not a huge Joy Division fan, and I’m not into the dark ’80s electro as much as some people, but that stuff’s all there. A lot of the bands that I love continue to defy themselves and that’s what I try to take from my influences.

Q: I’m guessing this upcoming national tour is your biggest to date?

A: Yeah. We’re not even in a full-size van but a minivan with a trailer. We’re comfortable but we’re going to be hurting after a while.

Q: How involved were you with the tour preparation?

A: I booked the tour because at the level we’re at now, it’s a pretty concentrated operation. I’m not sure what I would do if I didn’t know what was going on with (the band) all the time.

Q: Are you touring with a bigger act to show you the ropes?

A: No, since I’m putting it together without a booking agent it would have been harder with another band. I’m already booking the next tour, where we’ll be able to do something like that. We’re going to England in late October and Europe the beginning of next year.

Q: How was the hype mill at this year’s South by Southwest?

A: We played three shows that ranged from awesome to free pizza. Since then we’ve been trying to get a booking agent so we can get on the road and stay on the road.

SNOWDEN [i]ANTI-ANTI[/i] REVIEW

Visiting Snowden’s MySpace page, two things struck me immediately and made me smile. Under "influences" it says, "Everything. We’re very impressionable." That and seeing among their visible (MySpace) friends indie popsters Of Montreal. It’s not that there are pronounced similarities between the two bands, though both, in their own ways, produce catchy pop that is both highly accessible and unique, a rare combination. But the timbre of lead singer/songwriter Jordan Jeffares’ voice is pleasantly like that of Kevin Barnes.

On the surface Anti-Anti (Jade Tree-Pedro The Lion, My Morning Jacket, Girls Against Boys, among others) could be mistaken for dance-rock, especially in terms of percussion with steady, often syncopated drum beats that relent throughout nearly every track and hypnotic, ambient guitar sounds and effects. But beneath the surface and hovering above the heavy reverb are emotive lyrics and vocals that range from tortured and dark to exuberant and hopeful. Some of the tracks on Anti-Anti were recorded by Erik Wofford (The Black Angels, Explosions in the Sky, My Morning Jacket) at Cacophony Recorders in Austin. Jeffares also recorded and mixed tracks for the record.

Snowden’s sound has been compared to The Cure, Interpol, and many others. None of the comparisons quite work, but the kinds of sounds that evoke those comparisons are apparent throughout the record. Yet there is something about the combination of dark dance beats, droning, muscular guitars, and, at times, tragic vocals delivered without irony that is very difficult to categorize (or stop listening to!). Particularly infectious and hypnotic are slow rockers like track 3, My Murmuring Darling and track 9, Innocent Heathen. Like the more up tempo shoegaze dance rockers on the record, dance-like beats are prominent, yet the dark resignation in the vocals and ambient guitars combine so that the "slower" tracks are as likely to induce toe tapping and other bodily grooving about as the jumpiest tracks here.

Snowden, (named after the vital, tragic character in Joseph Heller’s Catch-22), was formed in Atlanta. The rockers are: Chandler Rentz-drums, vocals, Corinne Lee-Bass, keys, vocals, David Payne-guitar, and Jordan Jeffares-guitars, keys, vocals. They are on tour now, coming to a city near you. With the whole thing drowned in (or swimming in) a sea of reverb, distortion and ethereal effects it is easy to see why some have referred to them as a shoegazer band. But with Anti-Anti, they have made serious strides in developing a sound and territory that is their own.

THE NEW NEW WAVE?

Atlanta band Snowden has done some serious work in its three years. Drawing comparisons to bands like New Order, The Cure and Ride, Snowden’s not your typical Atlanta act. The band concocts a swirl of heady, reverberating guitars, lacing them with keys and dark vocals, coming together with a tight rhythm section to create a sound that is heavily laden with influences yet stands on its own.

Snowden most recently signed with Jade Tree Records, home to acts like My Morning Jacket and the Promise Ring. In good company. Snowden will tour throughout the coming summer, building support for an August release of
the full-length album, Anti-Anti.

Flagpole caught up with band founder/vocalist Jordan Jeffares and guitarist David Payne for a quick Q&A. Until August, you can head over to www.snowden.info to check out some tracks or catch the full lineup, including Corinne Lee (bass, keys) and Chandler Rent (drums), with local act Boulevard at the 40 Watt this weekend.

Flagpole
How did you end up with Jade Tree?

Jordan Jeffares
We signed to Jade Tree in March ?°»06 after a pretty long dance that started in August ’05 when one of the owners came down to see us. We had reportedly won him over, but he still had to sell us to his colleagues. [Jade Tree] were moving to a new way of business with new distribution as well, so they were in the process of rethinking how they wanted to move forward with the label at the same time they were talking to us.
I was a little freaked out by all of this but at that point we were reaching a critical point as a band. We had not released a record in almost two-and-a-half years, and we needed to do something. In the end, the one co-owner that loved us at Jade Tree turned into the whole label being excited, so that was good to hear.

David Payne
There was definitely a great feeling after the deal was done, though. We’ve worked really hard to get to this point, Jordan especially, and knowing that we landed on a label we know is going to really get behind our record is something we’re very grateful to have.

Flagpole
Was it difficult to reach your status in Atlanta, or were locals supportive from the start?

David Payne
We didn’t have any crowd to speak of when we started, but with a lot of networking and promoting we’ve been able to build enough of a following in Atlanta to pack rooms out consistently.

Jordan Jeffares
Atlanta is a very hard scene. All people seem to say in unison is that it’s hard to get people out to shows in Atlanta. Luckily, we’ve always done well, but never without a lot of work.

Flagpole
Receiving comparisons to acts like The Cure and New Order, you’re uniquely non-derivative in comparison to a lot of the post-punk acts appearing these days.

Jordan Jeffares
The reason I don’t think that applies to us is because I’ve never written the music using a lot of those conventions. If I heard something that I thought was derivative, I changed it.

David Payne
Yeah, it’s really hard when we get that inevitable question, “Who do you sound like?” I feel stupid no matter how I answer that. I think we sound unique, but have a lot of moments that draw from different styles, without being overly derivative about it.

Flagpole
How has the road treated you so far?

Jordan Jeffares
I still have a wound on my hand that is healing from the last bout on the road. I just bought a van and trailer, which makes everything much easier than the pickup truck we used to travel in. We learned on our last time out that we can play the same bloody, sweaty show for seven people in Indianapolis as we can play for 150 in Philadelphia. We didn’t know what playing like that for 11 days straight was like.

David Payne
Despite everything, though, we’re very fortunate to able to get out and play shows in other cities. You start to miss your bed a little, but you also get used to the routine of playing a show, driving to another city the next day and doing it all over again. Our record is going to be available in the UK, and I’m hoping people latch on to it over there as well. I would love to go over there and play some shows.

SNOWDEN "ANTI-ANTI" CD (JT1115) OUT TODAY


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Jade Tree is proud to announce the release of SNOWDEN‘s first full-length for Jade Tree, Anti-Anti. The album integrates the ethereal guitar resonance and dynamic percussion reminiscent of bands like Ride, New Order and Suicide, with the volatility of contemporaries such as The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The debut album, produced by Erik Woffard (The Black Angels, Explosions in the Sky, My Morning Jacket), captures the Atlanta, GA four-piece elevating their trademark sound into an unpredictable mix of dirty pop soundscapes. Anti-Anti (JT1115) is the definitive call of SNOWDEN, a brand of post-shoegaze melodies amidst a sea of reverb heavy distortion and hypnotic, layered complexities. is available for , in stores, and digitally through , , , , , , , and .

In further SNOWDEN news, the band is embarking on an extensive U.S./Canadian tour to coincide with the release of Anti-Anti throughout the remainder of August and into September, followed by an appearance at CMJ’s Jade Tree showcase. Having shared the stage in the past with such luminaries as Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Arcade Fire, Islands and Xiu Xiu, SNOWDEN‘s raucous live performance is not one to miss.

Furthermore, SNOWDEN has been making the rounds in the blogging world (, , , , , , , , , and more), and the press (with coverage in The Fader, Entertainment Weekly, Nylon, URB, Pitchfork, CMJ, Under the Radar, CMJ and Nerve.) Most recently, Anti-Anti was named Album of the Month in Transworld Skateboarding, and has been getting played by Steve Lamacq on Radio 1 in the U.K.

Anti-Anti is now available. Find out what everyone is talking about and get to know SNOWDEN.

1. Like Bullets
2.
3. My Murmuring Darling
4. Filler is Wasted
5. Black Eyes
6. Between the Rent and Me
7. Counterfeit Rules
8. Innocent Heathen
9. Stop Your Bleeding
10. Kill the Power
11. Victim Card
12. Sisters

Please consult the SNOWDEN for current dates.

SNOWDEN [i]ANTI-ANTI[/i] REVIEW

There isn’t one single element of the band Snowden that stands out from the others. In this case, that’s a good thing. Upon first listen of the band’s debut full-length album, Anti-Anti (they previously released a 6-song EP), you might think they hail from somewhere in Europe simply because of their dark, intimate sounds and deep, brooding vocals. Surprisingly, Snowden hails from one of the capital cities of the South: Atlanta, GA. Anti-Anti is a conglomeration of many elements, with a real focus on breathtaking drumming, precise guitar work, and sheer passion. It’s difficult to even begin to decide on one track that might be better than another. Every song has a personality of its own, and most of them have a ton of power and danceability. The band takes obvious influences from bands like Joy Division and My Bloody Valentine, grasps their intensity, and then creates a sound that could easily constitute an entirely new genre (some are calling it “post-shoegaze”).

The drums on Anti-Anti are so intense and exact that songs like “Stop Your Bleeding” could be mistaken for a techno mix heard in a dance club, and it tricks the ears into thinking the band is using a drum machine. The album’s title track is not only a great listen, but makes a statement about what’s going on today in just about every scene, no matter what town you live in. The song “Black Eyes” is a gorgeous, pulsing anthem of longing and doubt, with lyrics like “and you were dark and pensive/as your heels hit the floor with the blaring division/you didn’t have much to say/but you were beautiful anyway.” Snowden is an amazingly tight band, and every single track demonstrates their dedication to the music they’ve composed. You’ll find yourself playing the entire album front to back several times in a row. Their sound is passionate, polished, emotional, and revolutionary. It would really surprise this reviewer if Snowden’s Anti-Anti doesn’t at minimum make someone’s top ten list as one of the best and most groundbreaking albums of 2006.

SNOWDEN [I]ANTI-ANTI[/I] REVIEW

Snowden have played up and down the seaboard so often they’re mistaken for New Yawkers. Led by singer/songwriter Jeff Jeffares, the Atlanta four-piece mopes as cool as any number of Gotham brooders, and you don’t need Interpol to know which way the gloom blows. There’s even a round or two of throat-rent Casablancas on the surprisingly romantic "Stop Your Bleeding", while "Black Eyes" leaves something uptown, as drummer Chandler Rentz pounds dark and pensive. True, if dudes were actually NYC men they’d be copping This Heat by now, but that, along with crisply efficient songcraft, is Snowden’s secret.

Their name may come from Joseph Heller’s famously satirical Catch-22, and their record may be called Anti-Anti, but Snowden’s full-length debut is as flat-out passionate as you used to expect from Jade Tree. The title track is the manifesto, unabashedly enjoying its catchy/dumb intro and guitar smolder in a way that pleasantly betrays its origins far from the potentially stultifying self-consciousness of the only city that really matters, even as it bitterly mocks your "fashion drugs" and too-cool silence. "One time we believed, but now it’s passing and cliché," Jeffares’ deep voice tells me, "And she’ll say anything to make you move again." Fuzz-bass-smoked "Between the Rent and Me" cuts closer: "What do you think I am/ Or do you think at all?"

The haunting chill that pervades such easeful deaths as "My Murmuring Darling", the arms-crossed stomp that distances dance-rock revival revivifications like "Black Eyes"– they’re just an enjoyable front, see, like Orr’s stupidity in Catch-22. Pretty soon guitars cry out for grease and Jeffares cries out for change and before proper cynicism can be mustered for a track called "Kill the Power" it turns out, shit, dude’s been getting all political. When Anti-Anti isn’t calling a poseur a poseur, it’s just as likely to call a bloodthirsty motherfucker a bloodthirsty motherfucker. Slow, harmony-bloodied "Victim Card": "We’ve been losing for quite some time now/ Across desert sands and across the land." Elsewhere, nervous head-nodders could easily miss "the only thing to fear," as told on TV in paranoid "Counterfeit Rules".

Everybody knows that bashing Bush and/or hipsters is the surest ways to boost page views, but Anti-Anti isn’t that obvious, and Snowden don’t stop there. If the album’s dour dance party eventually grows a tad monotonous, finale "Sisters" spells out a different direction, all squeaky frets, lo-fi hiss, and double-tracked falsetto, like Jeff Buckley fronting XO-era Elliott Smith. "So many ways to break a man/ And one is not to touch him at all," Jeffares moans. The original Snowden taught Yossarian that man is matter– kill us and we’re dead. It’s OK for stylish post-punk to matter, too, and Anti-Anti does so without forgetting to be fun.

SNOWDEN [i]ANTI-ANTI[/i] REVIEW

American east-coasters with bedroom roots, Snowden began life as the solo project of one Jordan Jeffares. Soon, the songs he penned grew into fully-realised beings, and a band became necessary to transfer his compositions from four walls of his home to rather grander surroundings.

Finishing this briefest of histories, Snowden found themselves playing with the likes of Arcade Fire and Xiu Xiu, among many other significant others, in 2005, which brings us rather rapidly to this, the quartet’s debut album. Although previous pieces of critical prose have highlighted Anti-Anti’s leanings towards domestic aural doom-mongers such as Editors and Joy Division, and a number of shoegazing outfits, there’s not a great deal across these twelve tracks that truly echoes any particular UK-based miserablists. The overall mood, too, is a lot more jovial than such comparisons may imply: while certain songs do initially wallow in no little despair, punchy percussion and jabbed-at guitars soon provide effective pick-me-ups.

No fewer than half of these songs could, if given the right level of support and promotion to the correct individuals, rival the likes of DFA1979 and The Rapture so far as dance-floor space-fillers go: ?°»Black Eyes’ pulses and chatters, tub-thumps and twinkles, and is an absolute certainty to get the most statuesque of indie club-attending individuals up and out of their chairs. Its buzzing bassline alone is worthy of a hearty cardio-vascular workout, no pun intended. Likewise, ?°»Counterfeit Rules’ is drizzled in a degree of menace and hostility, but its toe-tapping backbone of incessantly skittering beats and rumbling bass tones combine to great effect. Each could follow one of Interpol’s crisper numbers, for example, in any club across this land and beyond.

Those craving something with a little more obvious depth, a mite more introspection, will have their appetites sated by ?°»My Murmuring Darling’ and ?°»Victim Card’. The former is a gently unfolding effort that opens with a Growing-style drone before breaking into hushed vocals and lyrics of dumbstruck love; the latter, meanwhile, features a guitar coaxed into moaning like a widow at a graveside. It sounds like a creature’s howl, like the unleashing of truly primal emotions through a terrifying noise.

Although never absolutely able to plough its own totally unique furrow, Anti-Anti is nevertheless a wonderfully-rounded, wholly satisfying debut. Its balance of gloom and grandeur is brilliantly executed, ultimately leaving the listener with an insatiable thirst for more of the same. Album number two can’t come quick enough.

8 / 10

Saturday August 19 at Drunken Unicorn- Snowden, The Selmanaires, Deerhunter

Noisy guitars of fuzz and echo thread through this group taking its name from Joseph Heller’s satiric Catch-22. Heady vocals and lyrics from principal songwriter Jordan Jeffares coerce even the most pretentious into tapping toes. Hands clap and drums trip over flashy rhythms while guitars stutter through unique melodic progressions. Snowden, largely follows the evolution of Jeffares’ post-collegiate home recordings in Athens and Atlanta. Impressed with his bedroom demos, Jeffares’ brother put Jordan in touch with likeminded players and the band was born. Having self-recorded and released its first EP, the group immediately charted all over indie radio in their home state of Georgia, prompting Jeffares and company to brave the long, monotonous drives up to New York for shows. The traveling quickly paid off with Snowden opening for groups such as the Unicorns, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Xiu Xiu and Arcade Fire. The group’s Jade Tree debut, Anti-Anti, expands studio credit to include some tracks engineered by Erik Wofford (The Black Angels, Explosions in the Sky, My Morning Jacket) as well as a few helmed solely by Jeffares. Although Snowden grew from a rather isolated situation and mood, ironically those same conditions are what continues to draw listeners in.

BAND ON EDGE

"We’re about to put in more [working] hours than we ever have," says Jordan Jeffares, Snowden’s guitarist and bandleader. As he speaks, clouds hover outside the Maasty Computers Internet Cafe where he and two other members of Snowden sit, portending a furious summer thunderstorm. Traffic congeals on the road nearby. "We’re about to be heard by more people in two months than in three years."

Formed in 2002, Snowden is finally issuing its debut album, Anti-Anti, on the respected indie label Jade Tree Records. The group will have its album release party at the Drunken Unicorn, a rock venue located next door to the café. Three days after the party, Snowden plays in Chapel Hill, N.C., the first stop on a 24-city national tour.

So on the eve of Anti-Anti’s release, Jeffares, guitarist David Payne and bassist Corinne Lee deliberate reaching a national audience for the first time. (Drummer Chandler Rentz couldn’t make the meeting.) It’s an event fraught with potential growth and existential worry. Is this the first step to achieving industry success on the scale of the Arcade Fire and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, two bands Snowden once performed with? Will indie-rock fans in other cities embrace Snowden as they did in Atlanta and New York? How will music critics receive Anti-Anti?

"A co-worker said that there’s a little snippet in Jane magazine about us, which is cool. It’s small, but it’s nice that someone at a nationally distributed magazine notices us," says Lee. "Of course, it took a lot of sweat to get here."

Anti-Anti itself complicates the journey. On the surface, it bears all the traits of dance-rock — syncopated drum beats that form a steady, danceable rhythm and icy, neutered guitar lines — a sound oft-criticized and ridiculed by indie-rock fans in recent months. The music serves as an aesthetically appealing vehicle for Jeffares’ impressive emotional depths. His voice sounds light and wispy, projecting a fragile quality against Snowden’s dark and muscular rock. On "Filler is Wasted," his words barely fit within the beat and sound more like an offhand lament than a traditional lyric. "This place gets in my eyes my clothes my nose/I try to hear your voice through the drone but I don’t," he sings.

"People keep telling me it’s an uncomfortable record," says Jeffares. "The past few years, when I’ve written a lot of material, were very uncomfortable times for me. Coming out of college [at the University of Georgia, with a degree in political science] and being completely directionless, and often trying to change my surroundings and change my mood, and failing most of the time. Then there are the usual things everyone went through: as cliché as it is, failed romance and successful romance, and different things at looking at those things." Sexual politics ("Innocent Heathen") and social alienation and unrest ("Counterfeit Rules") are frequent topics in his lyrics.

The disjointed and tortured poetry of Anti-Anti is more ambitious than the irony party most dance-rock bands promote. But will listeners appreciate the efforts Snowden makes to sound different from them? While acknowledging that the band started out somewhat imitative-sounding, it has since moved toward a distinct sound. "We’ve been trying to get away from anything sounding derivative," says Lee. "This album is a good chance to define the band in a way not [similar] to other bands."

"We’re playing a brand of rock and roll," says Jeffares. "To sit here and try and claim we’re reinventing the wheel is ridiculous for most bands to do, even though they try to. We sit here doing what we’re doing, keeping the concept of just trying to be innovative with the music [we] have."

Out of the Bedroom

There are so many things to be against these days, so many ways to be anti. Snowden takes it even further by giving us a way to be anti-anti. A one time bedroom project of Jorden Jeffares, Snowden is now a full band with an unmistakable, full sound.
After a couple of years of live dates and sharing the stage with the likes of The Arcade Fire, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Xiu Xiu, Elefant and The Unicorns they are ready to offer up their first full release, Anti-Anti. The album was recorded by Erik Wofford (Octopus Project, The Black Angels) and Jordan, who also serves as the primary song writer. Complex layers of heavy distortion juxtaposed with an underlying pop sensibility reminecent of post-modern heros New Order and the Cure help make this album one to look for. Snowden’s debut album on Jade Tree will drop 22August and their EP is available now for free download from their website {http://www.snowden.info/}.

SNOWDEN [i]ANTI-ANTI[/i] REVIEW

Atlanta’s Snowden unleash the latest in American post-shoegaze with Anti-Anti, their Jade Tree debut. The band recorded with the help of Erik Wofford (The Black Angels, Explosions in the Sky, My Morning Jacket) which clearly aided in attaining such a melodic, dark, and expansive sound. Principal songwriter Jordan Jeffares sounds affected like Paul Banks and Sam Prekop singing a duet. To his credit he commands a bigger and better sound with more balls when it comes to charging up the guitars. Anti-Anti is dreamy, punctual, and consistent while it hovers over a hypnotizing, dark cloud. Monotone vocals, overdriven guitars, and stop-and-go rhythms leave dents as Snowden channel some early nineties favorites (Ride, Kitchens of Distinction, Moose) without sounding anything like a “shoegaze” band.

Anti-Anti succeeds by allowing the guitars to soar in reverb-soaked pools, acting as the rhythm for the rest of the band to follow, see ?°»My Murmuring Darling’, ?°»Black Eyes’, and the heavy riff on the title track ?°»Anti-Anti’. The rhythm section begins to feel more open and free with constant changes and shifting structures. Jordan’s singing is definitely more rhythmic and static as he matches the intensity of every song in equal measure. This reversal of the noise-pop formula makes for an extremely clever and dynamic listen. But what I love best about this record is how it sounds like such a natural maturation of sound as it mixes genres that seem tired on their own (shoegaze and post-punk). For a debut album Snowden demonstrate a beautiful progression in sound and form that most American bands never achieve.

Rating: Highly Recommended

SNOWDEN [I]ANTI ANTI[/I] REVIEW

Today we bring you the latest installment of what seems to be our exhaustive journey through the catalog of Jade Tree records. (Hey, there are a lot of great bands on this label!).

Although only poised on the eve of their first Jade-Tree release, Georgia’s Snowden has managed to build up pretty impressive live resume from their humble beginnings in Athens and Atlanta. The band initially started making the trek to New York to open for such indie hotlist bands such as Arcade Fire, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and The Unicorns (R.I.P.). These shows quickly got the attention of Jade Tree execs who have welcomed the band on-board for an August 2006 LP.

Anti-Anti, the title track from their afore mentioned upcoming LP is full of the thick distortion, driving and simplistic rhythms, and hooky melody lines that so often prove the magic ingredients of indie-anthem stardom. You can check this track out courtesy of their site as well as a few more on their MySpace page. And if that wets your appetite then check this out?°¦the band has made their entire S/T EP available completely for free on their site solely for your listening pleasure. That’s right?°¦just YOURS. So what are you waiting for? Rush right over and pick up that freebie EP and then just count the sleepless nights till their full-length drops August 22th.