Cassavetes frontman Robbie Horlick has been sitting on a few songs that he four-tracked more than four years ago. He brought them back home to Atlanta from the University of Pittsburgh, regrouped with a few old bandmates from his late '90s ska/punk band Go for Broke -- drummer Cary Henderson (ex-Blue Hour) and bassist Nick Weiler (Evol Intent, 404 Audio) -- and made studio recordings, but never officially released or performed them. "I always felt they weren't showable," says Horlick. Then he went to law school.
While studying for his J.D., Horlick spent his free time taking in shows by the likes of Ted Leo and the Unicorns. He and Henderson were typically armed with burned CDs of the four tracks they had recorded in the fall of 2001. The songs combine the nuanced basic chord songwriting of the Silver Jews or Pinback with Horlick's throaty bellow and the steady but loose beats of Henderson. They distributed the disc to friends here, across the United States and abroad under the name the Life and Times. "We were so proud of it that we wanted people to share it," says Horlick. "We were looking for a final piece to finally play it live."
Discovering that Allen Epley, former frontman of the post-hardcore band Shiner, had named his new group the Life and Times, Horlick and Henderson became the Brown Noise. (Weiler had since moved on to kingpin status in Atlanta's drum 'n' bass scene.) They also began auditioning bassists. In late 2004, they picked up Brandon Ivey, a refugee from local dour rockers Snowden, and later added Minnesota transplant Tyler Woodstrom on rhythm guitar and keys.
Five shows into their latest incarnation as Cassavetes, Horlick, Henderson, Ivey and Woodstrom are in the studio working on an eight-song full-length for the Headphone Treats label, run by Jimmy Ether of the Ether Family. Horlick assures those who got a peek at the Life and Times tracks over the past few years will recognize at least half of the record, which is due out in January.
Nearly five years, three names, a host of bandmates and some early shows under his belt, Horlick's recording project is finally available for public consumption.
"We were always on the threshold of being an entity," says Horlick.
Cassavetes plays the Star Bar with Jetty (CD release) and Linger Fri., Sept. 16, 10 p.m. $5. 437 Moreland Ave. 404-681-9018. www.starbar.net.