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Baristas get big break

'Champagne Wishes' and caffeine dreams for local acts

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On April 3, Starbucks Entertainment will issue Off the Clock, a compilation of songs from Starbucks "partners" (or employees) with musical careers. Two Atlanta acts are featured on the disc, which will be on sale at Starbucks locations around the United States and Canada: pop-rock group Trances Arc and singer/songwriter Claire Bradley.

Trances Arc guitarist Bradley Hagen, who works at the Starbucks store in Ansley Mall, explains the group was selected from 800 Starbucks employees/musicians.

"With the death of record stores [in] the digital age, it's a great opportunity to have point-of-view sales, just people walking in off the street and seeing the disc on the countertop," says guitarist Jay Propst. "Just grabbing someone's attention that has never heard of us and is at Starbucks to buy coffee will hopefully help us acquire some new fans."

For Off the Clock, Trances Arc provided "Champagne Wishes," a mid-tempo ballad it first recorded back in 2003. "I wrote the song about my sister, who was trying to go to medical school and was constantly getting rejected," says lead vocalist Eric Toledo. "It's an uplifting song about persistence." The band included the track on two EPs, 2003's Save the World and 2005's Buona Fortuna, before adding it to the Off the Clock comp.

Currently, Trances Arc is finishing an untitled album for release this summer. "We hope to do some touring up the East Coast this summer and spread the good word," Toledo says. In the meantime, you can see Trances Arc perform at Park Tavern on Friday, March 31.

IN CASE YOU DIDN'T KNOW ...: If you purchased a ticket online to a show at the Drunken Unicorn or 10 High, then chances are you bought it through Ticket Alternative. First formed in late 2003, the Atlanta-based company has quietly become a viable competitor to Ticketmaster, the mighty (and widely loathed) ticket sales company.

Company president Iain Bluett and CEO Jamie Dwyer started Ticket Alternative out of Dwyer's bedroom. Business is booming: The duo has 12 employees crammed into a Peachtree Street loft, and is actively looking for a larger space to house the mushrooming business. Ticket Alternative logged more than $1 million in sales in 2006, and hopes to gross more than $3 million this year.

"Our service charge is 10 to 15 percent off the ticket price, as opposed to the 50 to 60 percent Ticketmaster charges," Bluett says. He explains that the company's success isn't due to slow and steady growth. "It's a viral thing," he says. You can learn more about Ticket Alternative through its two websites, www.talive.com and www.atlantamusicguide.com.

RANDOM NEWS: R&B quartet Jagged Edge now has a home at Island Def Jam, thanks to top executive Jermaine Dupri. ... Chris Brann's celebrated deep-house group Ananda Project will release its third album, Fire Flower, sometime this summer. ... When will Bobby Valentino's album drop? After more than six months of delays, Special Occasion is now set for May 8.

CD RELEASES: Country-rock band Sodajerk celebrates its second release party for Sodajerk 2 on Thursday, March 29, at Eddie's Attic. Little Country Giants and Mic Harrison also perform. ... Metal band Attila introduces Fallacy on Friday, March 30, at the 7 Venue. Abacabb, Thick as Blood, Written in Red, Terranigma and They Came as Lions open. ... Gauzy rock wunderkind Deerhunter issues its Cryptograms + Fluorescent Grey CD+EP package on Friday, March 30, at Lenny's Bar. Kill Gordon and the Coathangers open. ... Folk-blues dynamo Mudcat presents Get Your House in Order on Friday and Saturday, March 30-31, at the Northside Tavern. ... Natty jazz ensemble Jaspects brings Double Consciousness on Saturday, March 31, at Apache Café. Janelle Monae and Scar join in the fun. ... Ska-rock group Groove Stain issues The One on Saturday, March 31, at Vinyl. The Bastard Suns and Liquid Jungle open.

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