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The Tombstones

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Today we celebrate the all-too-brief life of an amazing musical entity, the Tombstones. In the humid caldron known as the Atlanta music scene, Stevie Tombstone and his original minions, Curt Rowlett, Jack Ross and Pat Parker, formed back in 1985. They managed the improbable feat of appealing to an amazingly wide cross-section of scenesters. The disenfranchised punks, the surly rockers, the black-glad goths -- all dug the Tombstones' grave tales. Heaven, even the urban hillbilly crowd were drawn to 'em! They were devilishly delightful. Or "hella good," as the trendy kids used to say.

Just like Johnny Cash, the Tombtones had one foot in the flames of here, and one in the clouds of um, up there. Now, my dear tortured souls, we can rejoice -- but only briefly -- because the black-hearted sweeties at Saustex Media in Austin, Texas, have compiled some of the band's impossible to find material from '88 and '92 and released it for the first time ever on Twang from the Grave, a (hopefully heat-resistant) compact disc. Now you can all play it as you shovel coal, pitchfork newbies in the ass, and generally, you know, raise hell.

For you record geeks, the classic EP Preachin,' Prayin,' Guitar Playin' is included here in its entirety. Originally released on Atlanta's late, lamented Twilight Records, the songs resonate with a raw and hungry despair and twang-heavy guitar. Old faves like "Likkered Up" and "Her House Is the Way to Hell" will live on in eternal damnation with the release of this welcome-as-a-cold-drink-in-you-know-where collection. And there's even good news for the living! The now Austin-based Stevie T. and the Tombstones are gonna perform a few shows to support the new release. OK, now back to your never-ending misery and suffering.

Stevie T. and the Tombstones play the Masquerade -- in Hell, of course -- Fri., Oct. 7, 8 p.m., with Betty Rebel, and the Screamin' Demons. $10. 695 North Ave. 404-577-8178. www.masq.com.

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