The Atlantas
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The Atlantas

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"The Atlantas: “One of the Best Bands No One’s Ever Heard of”"

A coy and unaccompanied drum beat shuffles the song into motion, and then a radiant synthesizer bursts into the mix like a blinding glimpse of the sun. The track is “Transcendicity,” the latest single from a band called The Atlantas, and it unashamedly summons the ghosts of sounds and movies that color every memory you made in childhood–that Joy Division record you listened to until your ears went numb, that Atari set you wish you’d never thrown away, the John Hughes flick that still sneaks its way into your Netflix queue now and then.
“Movies are a huge part of my music. I write and sequence the album as if it were a soundtrack,” says Preciado, whose taste in movies spans a range from kung fu flicks to zombie movies to “weird Japanese and Korean movies like Old Boy or Wild Zero.” And his musical influences? Oh, a little Flock of Seagulls here, some Daft Punk there, maybe some Zeppelin, Depeche Mode, or any garage rock band you care to name.
Preciado actually is the band’s sole member but prefers to be known as a “one man band” rather than merely a “solo” artist, because that’s, like, so last season, you know?
“Also, I like bands. I don’t like solo artists!” Preciado insists.
Yes, that too, Gerardo.
Though Preciado mans all instruments he does allow some helping hands to make their quiet cameos here and there—best buddy Ricardo Torres on bass, local player Jorge Figueroa whose hissing, cymbal-drenched drums usher in the glittering and nostalgic wonderland of “Transcendicity.” Then there’s brother Roberto Preciado, who plays drums, directed the video for “Transcendicity” and, most importantly, “has the ability to grow a ZZ Top beard in a couple of weeks.”
“That is very impressive,” Gerardo says, just in case you were wondering.

But this is an Atlantas record, and so, naturally, absolutely nothing else on the record even remotely approximates anything described above. “Transcendicity” sails across the record’s neon sky like the trail of a comet and just as quickly (few tracks on Lux linger beyond the three-minute mark; the songs are here and gone as quickly as the footsteps of a stranger walking to his apartment down the hall in the middle of the night and slamming door behind him). And when it’s gone, the songs left behind make it patently clear that you’ll be waiting around a while for the next sighting. But if the rest of the record is the music playing in some waiting room between sonic adventures, it’s a waiting room you’d pay to live in.
That record is Lux Speculum, the third LP to bear the Atlantas name that Preciado adopted after his previous band, Atlanta, dissolved. Its ballsy, bipolar, unhinged little set of songs excavates the full range of an emotional urgency that withstands the album’s many moods.
“I want to be a band that I would like to hear and be surprised by,” Preciado says. “Like when ‘Mothertrucker’s’ garage rodeo fiesta turns into the SEGA Contra Video Game Soundtrack. Or ‘I Am The Universe,’ which has 40 (I’m not kidding) channels—just for guitars!—segways into ‘Love Will make You Happy Then Make You Want To Die’ which is just one guitar, poorly recorded.”
That lone guitar in “Love Will Make You Happy Then Make You Want to Die” may be “poorly recorded,” but it is also the gut-punch at the heart of a record that plays like the musical equivalent of a back-and-forth MMA match that culminates in a busted spleen and a canvas smeared with the loser’s blood. The rage and excess of opening numbers like the bruising “Mothertrucker” or “Statues of our Stature” quickly gives way to the apocalyptic fatalism of “Love Will Make You Happy . . . ” only to slap you back to your senses with the hand claps and crunching guitars of the decidedly more energetic romp “Anunnaki.”

That’s how it is when you have the balls to acknowledge such maligned influences as U2 or an aesthetic kinship with peers such as that bleakly unimaginative dumpster fire of a “rock” band, Muse. Fortunately for Mr. Preciado, any nod to U2 that his music betrays occurs only somewhere off in the distance of his songs, and never does his music smack of the syrupy desperation that Muse’s claim is staked in. Preciado pays homage to The Edge on soaring, guitar-driven tracks like “Statues of our Stature” or the sublime “The Beyond” from the band’s previous album Revelator with a restraint that preserves the man’s integrity even while he wears his influences like a crown. The gush of rhythmic echo that drives a nail through the latter track has that Roger McGuinn-marries-a-hair-band sound with which The Edge graffitied the walls of rock ‘n roll history. (Now, if only the guy didn’t always have to do it with Bono looking over his shoulder all these years.)
Preciado concedes that he spends a lot of time looking over his shoulder himself, checking on those many influences he credits for the music he makes. But by now he probably realizes that he’s always looking behind him when he does so. Preciado’s interpretation of The Edge’s genius is equal parts adoration and innovation—just enough to claim stunners like “The Beyond” entirely for himself—and “Transcendicity” reimagines the forebears that made it possible (Flock of Seagulls, Depeche Mode) instead of merely walking roads so well-trodden by now they’ve turned to mud.
Gianmarc Manzione
gmanzione@culturespill.com - Culture Spill


Discography

Lux Speculum (2010)
Metropolypse (2009)
Revelator (2008)

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Bio

"I'm not a solo artist, I'm a one man band" says alternative garage rocker The Atlantas a.k.a. Gerardo Preciado, sole survivor of 00's indie band Atlanta.

After the first incarnation of the band broke up, "I just kept writing and recording music by myself, then it became something else". That "something else" is a bizarre mix of 70s kung fu films, europop visuals and stadium rockin´anthems.

Influences range from early Black Sabbath (Devil's Son, Born Again), eighties U2 (The Beyond, Man From The Sun), to current alternative rock contemporaries Muse and The Killers (Hologram, Transcendicity), which is not to say he does not have some unusual sounds of his own, "Revelator", bears no resemblance to
anything on the radio today."It’s based on the experience of waking up and being unable to move, they call that 'Se te subio el muerto' which means that a spirit of the undead climbed over you on your sleep, it is often accompanied by horrendous hallucinations, "which I’ve had on a couple of occasions".

It took about 18 months to complete the first album, 'Revelator', "every penny I ever earned went into the project". A year later, a much dirtier, darker album followed, 'Metropolypse', an 8-track, end of the world, stadium ready concept extravaganza, all in under 25 minutes!.

The Atlantas return this november with "Lux Speculum", lead off single, "Transcendicity", sounds like a battle beetween Depeche Mode and U2, set in post-apocalyptic 1984, while "Mass Dreams Of The Future", an instrumental track, could easily had been part of an 80's John Carpenter Soundtrack, this is the band's most diverse album to date, going from country (Love Will make You happy Then make you Want To Die) to garage rock (Mothertrucker) and everything in beetween, cementing their place in history as one of the best bands no one's ever heard of.

The band has released music videos for “Revelator” and “Hologram”, both directed by brother and drummer Roberto Preciado, the latest, “Transcendicity”, an unnofficial video editing old documentaries on metaphysics, has already turned some heads on the web.

The Atlantas lives in the desert of Sonora, Mexico, and along with his brother, is currently working on his first feature film.

www.theatlantas.com