Criminal Records, well, I love everything about this record store. From the people to the vinyl to the magazines and everything, I just love this place.
If I’m not at work or home, I’m at The EARL catching an amazing show. And the black bean burger, order it the next time you go there, you won’t be sorry.
I’ve seen a lot of memorable shows at the Drunken Unicorn. Definitely the most recent Youth Lagoon show will stick with me for a long time.
So, The Cottage is the greatest place on Earth. The most epic house shows happen here. It’s warm and inviting. The vibe is really chill and the folks that live there are just amazing.
I’d also like to mention the LIttle Advances House on Portland (RIP), so much win happened there.
Davy: I’ve really enjoyed this year’s batch of house shows. The parties at the Little Advances house were so fun, and The Cottage has suddenly become one of the best places to see a concert in the city. My fave venue this year, though, has been The Goat Farm. It’s just such a magical place. But, of course, there’s still no better sounding venue to see a show than at The Earl.
Since opening 529 has been bringing awesome shows. This year the team of promoters and bookers working there continues to up the ante. It does not take many people to get that intimate feeling you always like to have at a show, and the owner and staff are always extremely nice and seem to actually give a damn about their patrons.
Feed Your Head Music has been blasting the streets of EAV with music (no joke he sets his speakers outside) from 2pm-2am for a while now. He stays open that late so “feed” those leaving the bars with some choice vinyls. I archived and sold off most of my CD collection last year and have been increasing my vinyls, so this is my spot.
Even before I did my own event at the Goat Farm, I had been sucked in by whatever natural force is dwelling there. As an artists, just being on Goat Farm grounds makes you feel like you are home. The Pancake and Booze festival, one of my favorite events of the year, was held there along with countless other shows. The Goat Farms mission is to support the artists community, and without a doubt they do that.
Denton: I’ve got to agree with the Goat Farm love. It’s hard to beat that atmosphere. I hope the Thurston Moore show in February is a big success, because it would be nice to see more national touring acts in a space like that. Especially since Eyedrum doesn’t seem to be back up to full speed yet. The Earl is still probably the best small rock club I’ve ever encountered, and 529 brings through some great bands, too, but it’s always nice to have viable alternative spaces like The Goat Farm or The Cottage.
Atlanta is also lucky to have Variety Playhouse. It’s a large venue without all the hassles normally associated with a large venue. Drinks are affordable, the staff doesn’t treat you like cattle, and the sound is always stellar.
Most of my record shopping happens at Criminal. Their selection of new vinyl is the best in town, at least for my purposes. Wax ‘N Facts has them beat on the used stuff, though, as does Fantasyland (although I haven’t made it out to the new location yet).
I miss that Portland house, many thanks to everyone who came out to those shows.
Christina: I found myself staying in East Atlanta a lot this year, with shows at 529, The Earl, Eastside Lounge, and the Basement under Graveyard Tavern. My favorite place to hear local acts is 529 and for national acts is The Earl. House shows are the best with my favorite being the BeAtlanta House. I unfortunately have not been to The Cottage yet but hearing everyone rave about it that will have to change next year. Bret I like that you brought up Feed Your Head Music playing music outside and I think it’s the coolest thing. I love walking through East Atlanta while the music plays, it’s a great feeling.
Tim: I have to agree with everyone that The Earl is the best small club to see a show. We were fortunate to get some lucky shows there like St. Vincent, who might have been moved to a bigger venue. They keep things on time and the sound is great. Denton’s portland house had some great times though, and I’d like to mention that. This year’s late bloomer was The Cottage, but after Emily’s Wholly Roller show there, I can’t get enough of that place. You get to ride a tree swing in-between bands, so it’s awesome. The Goat Farm had a lot of great events but went under-utilized this year. 2012 will definitely change that.
Moe: As a father of a five-year-old with no disposable income and about to go knee deep in debt to start a business, anywhere that I can catch show is the best place ever. I have to take the opportunities when I can, so I’m just as likely to be at the Masquerade as any place else. With that said, you can’t beat 529 for intimacy and getting pressed up against the bands. I saw Torche there earlier this year and it was a balls out riot complete with sporadic High Life showers. The Earl has it all, though. Great sound, good sight lines and a killer calendar. I never have any issues getting up close to take pictures or video. Plenty of good angles to shoot from. If only we could get people to shut the hell up during sets, it would be perfect.
I’ve only seen one show at the Cottage. The Real Criminal Records Benefit a few weeks back that Emily set up. But let me tell you, it was glorious. I haven’t had that much fun at a show in forever. Granted it was my friend’s birthday and we were all lit, but still. If you haven’t been out there yet, make it one of your resolutions for 2012. Seriously.
As for music shopping, I live down the street from L5P so it’s Criminal and Wax ‘n’ Facts all the way. I usually hit Criminal when I know what I want and want to spend a little time looking around at magazines and whatnot. But if I’m going to do some serious crate digging, then it’s Wax ‘n ‘ Facts. There’s gold in them thar bins.
Max: I’ve always been partial to Decatur CD, that’s my favorite record store in Atlanta. I love The Earl, miss Denton’s house shows, Goat Farm (Thurston Moore will be great there), etc. Denton nailed it on the Variety Playhouse, while I still think the Fox is my favorite venue–Atlanta and beyond.
Adam: I buy most of my music online. I think bandcamp has been an amazing resource for bands to distribute their music. Other than that I like to buy a lot of local CDs at the shows I go to. Criminal Records is a great store but I can’t say that I have bought too many albums their of late.
As for my favorite places to hear music in town, I would say the Earl, the Goat Farm and for bigger shows, Lakewood Amphitheater…I love being able to sit on the lawn and chill to music among 1000s of other like minded folks. 529 probably has some of the best lineups but it can get pretty cramped on most nights. I also enjoy the nice selection of house shows Atlanta now offers. House shows are the best.
Rube: On the venue front, I cannot help but agree that The Earl and Variety Playhouse are jewels of Atlanta. As a Decaturite, I also spend a fair amount of time on the patio at Eddie’s Attic (it’s where we hold our monthly book club too). I hold out hope that the new ownership may inspire a new philosophy in booking and give me a reason to venture into the music room a little more regularly.
As the member of this forum closest to AARP eligibility, please allow me to reminisce for a moment and recall when one of the best places to hear music was at the record store. Sure, it still is but as the method of music distribution has changed I fear we are losing the culture of visiting the record store to find something cool. I distinctly recall being inspired to buy Dinosaur Jr.’s Beyond within moments of hearing it at Decatur CD. I also love my visits to Full Moon Records to catch a piece of music history playing on Ted’s turntable. Yes, I know the hours are infrequent and can be frustratingly erratic (i.e., not being open when they say they will be) but it is well worth your time to make the effort to visit on a weekend and listen to Motorhead or Fela Kuti while you dig through the $1 bins.
If you’re on the north side of town, where I worked for about 4 years, I’ve got to recommend the Sandy Springs CD Warehouse (Andy’s Tall Stax). They have a great selection of very fairly priced vintage vinyl and of course plenty of CDs. It’s where I picked up my copy of the Replacement’s fairly hard to find “unofficial” release, Inconcerated, and also found plenty of Frank Black’s solo work.