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Concord America arrives with 'Guns Out'

Garage-punk trio celebrates good fortune

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Garage-punk trio Concord America has come from seemingly out of nowhere over the last year, going from a local opening act to signing with a label and being on the receiving end of hefty Internet hype. The recent influx of attention has energized the band, its members eager to keep moving forward and connecting with a broader audience.

What some call six months of good fortune is partly the result of the Atlanta trio's networking skills. Nashville-based manager Jessi Tichenor (Madhouse Management) first met the band when it played on tour with her former group, Plastic Visions. Not long after the group signed with Madhouse in December 2013, Tichenor put the group in contact with her friends from South Carolina's Post-Echo. The band inked a one-year deal with the label in February, which so far has netted it the Suns Out Guns Out EP. Those same connections have garnered attention in recent months with tracks and a music video debuting on national outlets such as SPIN and Noisey.

Concord America was born in the summer of 2011 when two employees at Johnny's Pizza — drummer John Restivo Jr. and singer/guitarist Ben Presley — realized their respective musical projects felt liked dead ends. "We decided to jam and we hit it off from the start," Presley says.

Presley asked Restivo to play drums in a new band. "Ben said he wanted to start a band and call it Concord America," John says. "When I asked him what it meant, he said it was the best band name ever. He sounded confident, so I went with it." Restivo's younger brother Vinny stepped in to play bass. The two brothers have been playing music together since their early teens.

A penchant for change has helped Concord America keep things fresh from the start. What started as three friends cranking out blues-tinged rock quickly morphed into a modern garage-punk and '80s college-rock sound that culminated on their 2013 album, Shag Nasty.

Recently, the band's sound has owed more to regional garage-punk contemporaries such as the Jacuzzi Boys and Black Lips. The trio plans to adopt a more Southern sound for its next record.

"We are all from the South, and we want our music to mirror our lives," Vinny says. But before any new country-style recordings comes touring. Summer dates include several appearances on the road with Athens' New Wives. Despite all the recent attention for its Post-Echo debut, the band is still building its audience every time it steps onto the stage. "We're finally starting to meet more friends in other places," Vinny says. "We're going back to places and seeing 25 people instead of 15 people!"

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