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Seven Simons | Post

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Rock: Modern Rock Pop: Jangle Pop Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Post

by Seven Simons

The new album from Athens, GA's Seven Simons, featuring 3 newly recorded songs and 15 unreleased tracks from the band's heyday.
Genre: Rock: Modern Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Sky Blues
4:47 album only
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2. Rhyme of Fallen Leaves
4:10 album only
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3. Light Is the Empire
5:16 album only
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4. Mother Is a Mantis
5:12 album only
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5. World Number Anything
4:19 album only
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6. Miss Rural Electrification
6:00 album only
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7. Monolith
3:23 album only
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8. Scepters
3:14 album only
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9. Reprise (Scepters)
2:02 album only
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10. Those Are Pearls That Were His Eyes
3:31 album only
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11. These Incantations
3:04 album only
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12. Wedding Day
3:46 album only
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13. Nightshade
4:25 album only
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14. Soundings
5:16 album only
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15. Tapping the Fountain
2:57 album only
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16. Unrequited
4:05 album only
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17. Sky Stripped Bare
4:40 album only
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18. Enamored
3:42 album only

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
The Time is Now, The Time is Yesterday:
A Brief History of Seven Simons
By Robert Dean Lurie

Nathan Webb last sang on record nearly a quarter century ago, back when the Internet was largely a plot point in cyberpunk novels and phones never left the home. Now, in the song “Light is the Empire,” he sings of a loved one’s face bathed in the glow of a cell-phone screen, a moment of incongruous 21st Century beauty offered up in a voice only vaguely familiar to those of us who used to follow his band Seven Simons way back when. Above and around these shimmering notes one discerns phantom traces of all the albums Seven Simons never made.

Well, they did in fact make two fine records: Clockwork in 1988 and Four Twenty-Four in 1991. And now, with Post, one of the great lost bands of the Athens, GA music scene has returned to deliver new material alongside the very best selections from the wealth of music they recorded but never released.

The band came into being in 1986 as an Atlanta, GA-based power-pop trio comprised of drummer Jeff Sullivan, bassist William Mull, and guitarist/singer/songwriter Keith Joyner. By 1987, the group had picked up Webb as lead vocalist along with a new drummer, Michael Zwecker. That same year, they relocated to Athens, lured both by that town’s fabled music scene and the ready source of funds provided by University of Georgia student loans. To be sure, they took themselves a bit too seriously—“brooders before our time,” as Joyner puts it—but their chops were strong enough to attract the attention of R.E.M.’s manager Jefferson Holt, who signed them to his fledgling label Dog Gone Records. Shortly thereafter, the band struck up a partnership with Ian Copeland’s F.B.I. Booking and began touring incessantly, opening for Flock of Seagulls, The Fixx, The Connells, and others. Sadly, the melodically gorgeous Clockwork, while locally popular, never did secure the wide audience it deserved.

The core of Seven Simons was the songwriting duo of Joyner and Webb—a classic yin-yang combination of introvert and extrovert with complementary musical and literary tastes. Joyner initially wrote the lion’s share of music and lyrics, though Webb’s creative contribution grew substantially over the years. By the time they began recording Four Twenty-Four, their darker, denser sophomore effort, they had acquired a new rhythm section in John Gusty (bass) and Travis McNabb (drums). The song “White Fox” from that album, may be the definitive Seven Simons track. Distinguished by its vaguely Arabic guitar pattern, hushed vocals, and lyrics referencing manors, hearths, and the titular white fox “blitzing through the headstones,” it strongly evokes a sense of place. But what place? If it’s the South, then it is surely the South of literary imagination—Poe’s crumbling gothic South—not the actual geographic Southeast of the early 1990s. Seven Simons were, at heart, Romantics and fabulists—about as far removed from Bruce Springsteen’s blue collar realism as you could get, preferring to navigate their own peculiar brand of inner space.

We could speculate all day about what ultimately doomed Seven Simons. Following the failure of Four Twenty-Four to achieve commercial liftoff, the band’s once-sizable local following dwindled. Whatever the reason for that decline, the musicians at the center never stopped putting in the work. They wrote, toured, and recorded incessantly. They seemed to enjoy what they were doing, and Nathan and Keith both maintain that they would have continued collaborating had geography and life events not separated them. Keith was the first to go, enticed by an impossible-to-refuse gig filling in for Johnny Marr on The The’s Dusk tour. By the time he returned to Georgia, Nathan had graduated from UGA and had drifted west. In time, Nathan abandoned the music industry altogether, returned to school, and eventually got married and started a family. His wife and kids are about the only people that have heard him sing with any regularity during this century.

Yet the creative bond between the two friends never fully waned, and at Nathan’s wedding in 2013, Keith found himself wondering if they might have some unfinished business to attend to. “There was a moment that really struck me,” Joyner says. “Nathan pulled out a guitar and just began singing a simple folk tune. I had forgotten how beautiful his voice is, and it felt like home, you know? Familiar. I think that went a long way toward motivating me to make this new album happen.” Webb, too, had always felt frustrated about the fact that Seven Simons had never released many of their best songs. The two began tentatively exploring the idea of finally releasing what amounted to their “lost” album. Both lineups of the band got on board, and by the end of the year several of the musicians—including Webb—congregated in a Los Angeles studio to track as much of the new material live as possible.

“To be singing again in a studio after so many years felt great,” Webb says. “But it was also terrifying in a way. I had to relearn the process. I had to relearn how to sing into a microphone.” The results belie any such trepidations. Taken in its entirety, Post mounts an argument for Nathan Webb as one of the strongest vocalists to have participated in the Athens music scene, and for Keith Joyner as one of its most inventive guitarists.

Their career may have been cut short, but more than a few discerning industry professionals saw in Seven Simons the seeds of greatness. And it’s a testament to that erstwhile belief that a number of these people—longtime manager David Prasse; producer and multi-instrumentalist Don McCollister; former Mighty Lemondrop and Blue Aeroplane David Newton; and Travis McNabb, who, in the interim between his time in the band and now has played with everyone from Better Than Ezra to the Indigo Girls to Sugarland to Beyoncé—have all chipped in to help make Post a reality. The album is full of the music that animated that faith. And anyone who listens to it with fresh ears will hear what those of us who love this band never stopped hearing.

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