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"Three5Human:A Swig From The Acid Bottle"

Three5Human
A Swig from the Acid Bottle
(Anaphora Music)
US release date: 1 May 2007
UK release date: Available as import
by Christian John Wikane


Three5Human’s name stems from two centuries ago when black Americans were counted as “three-fifths” a person towards representation in the House of Representatives. The music on A Swig from the Acid Bottle is a catharsis of such social injustices that, sadly, haven’t so much vanished as become ingrained in the U.S. consciousness.  Toni Martin and Tricia Meade, the creative force behind Three5Human, succinctly characterize the capricious climate of race relations on “Corporate Killers”— “I met a man from Washington / With the power to change it all / I asked if I could be of help / But being black seemed to make him stall”.

“Being black” also made music industry executives “stall” when Martin and Meade courted major labels a few years back. The Atlanta-based duo was constantly referred to record companies’ “urban” departments, even though their music was, and is, clearly immersed in rock. A Swig from the Acid Bottle, Three5Human’s third album, is a gripping patchwork of political and personal treatises that rebuffs the short-sightedness of anyone who would confine Three5Human to an urban/R&B box.  Those major label executives might have heard Three5Human but they didn’t listen.
Needless to say, A Swig from the Acid Bottle is not the happiest record you’ll hear in 2007. War and “big, bold-faced lies” are among the topics Meade and Martin explore on the album’s 12 tracks. “Baby Eyes”, “The Ones”, and “Corporate Killers”, for example, focus on the fallacies engineered by governments and corporations in the name of democracy. Scrawled across the CD inlay is a provocative declaration: “Vietnam, Iraq. Symptoms of the same disease: unchecked ambition.” Three5Human make a convincing case for this particular argument on a pair of tracks, “Blood on the Ground” and a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Front Line”.  Martin’s voltaic guitar work is a suitable backdrop for the horrors of war. He wrings the rock out of Wonder’s 1982 hit, which tells a Vietnam vet’s traumatic story about serving in the cross fire. “Blood on the Ground” brings the story to the present day and itemizes the symptoms of “unchecked ambition”: misery, poverty, suicide, genocide, and a divided nation.

“Baby Eyes”, however, is the antidote to the very palpable angst on “Front Line” and “Blood on the Ground”, empowering the listener to transcend the strife that so defines 2007. Fronting a driving rhythm section, which includes Tres Gilbert on bass and Joey Williams on drums, Meade encourages:

You can believe that you have the power
You can receive if you surrender this hour
You can believe that there is real love
Break the chain and fly free as a dove

Though the music and subject matter indicate otherwise, the message on “Baby Eyes” is pacifistic. Three5Human do more than point fingers, they offer a solution to the problem, which gives the visceral discordance of the other tracks a bit more weight.

Taking a detour from the politically charged material, Meade and Martin offer “Perfect Dream”, the most accessible song on A Swig from the Acid Bottle. Penned by Meade, “Perfect Dream” beams Three5Human’s sound through a prism of radio-friendly pop. It has the type of melody that lingers long after hearing the song, and offers a reprieve from the blistering rock of the politically oriented material.

The most riveting performance on the album features Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls. (The Indigo Girls were early champions of Three5Human and invited Meade and Martin on tour. Amy Ray also guests on “Genocidal Youth”.) The tactile contrast of Saliers’ crystalline voice with the raspiness of Meade’s on “Disco Ragdoll”, a thunderous ballad of a song, is particularly gripping as the vocalists posit, “Does anyone wonder / Where did she go? / Is she still among us? / Will she be missed / If the answer is no?” The way Saliers and Meade weave their voices around the melody, with such different techniques, is one of the highlights of the album.

The only demerit about A Swig from the Acid Bottle is that its ferocity, while very compelling, lends itself to a very specific mood. Like System of a Down, though, much of Three5Human’s music is propelled by anger and raising awareness about issues that listeners might not otherwise consider or be exposed to. There’s no shortage of passion emanating from Meade and Martin’s performances and, ultimately, that’s what sells A Swig from the Acid Bottle. Anyone who cares about music, especially as a force of change, is strongly encouraged to take a “swig” from Three5Human’s choleric cocktail.
 
RATING:8
- Pop Matters


"A Swig From The Acid Bottle"

A Swig from the Acid Bottle
Welcome to the November issue of Black Grooves

Welcome to the November issue of Black Grooves. This month we’re giving a shout-out to the Black Rock Coalition, which recently commemorated its 20th anniversary. We’ve got the skinny on the latest CDs by BRC co-founders Vernon Reid and Greg Tate, and have added some other new releases by artists that fall under the black rock umbrella, including Van Hunt, Ben Harper, and Three5Human (fronted by Indiana’s own Trina Meade). Rounding out the issue is a DJ Quik “best of” compilation, a new offering from the Roots, some jazz from the Deep Blue Organ Trio, and several sets paying homage to great musicians of the past, including Nat King Cole, Will Marion Cook, John Coltrane, and Joe Carter.

Title: A Swig from the Acid Bottle
Artist: Three5Human
Label: Anaphora Music
Catalog No: AML 139140
Date: 2006

Remove Three5Human’s new CD from its case and you’ll uncover the proclamation that “Black sound Black music encompasses far more than crunk and R&B.” And A Swig from the Acid Bottle certainly practices what it preaches—this group’s third album is aggressively, unapologetically ROCK. Frontwoman Trina Meade and guitarist Tomi Martin, the core of Atlanta-based T5H, have both toured and done session work with the likes of Madonna, Eric Clapton, OutKast, TLC, and Mick Jagger, and their musicianship doesn’t disappoint. Powerful vocals from Trina combine with solid guitar work from Tomi to deliver a driving wall of sound, capably supported by bassist Tres Gilbert and drummer Joey Williams. The group’s lyrics have a distinctly social/political edge, which might be expected from a band who takes their name from the 1787 constitutional amendment to count slaves as three-fifths of a person.

Performing live, T5H have a raw energy that commands attention and doesn’t let up. In support of their new album, T5H is touring this fall with the Indigo Girls, and Amy Ray and Emily Saliers both make guest appearances on Swig (featured in “Genocidal Youth” and “Disco Ragdoll,” respectively). At a recent show in Indianapolis, a homecoming of sorts for Indy native Trina whose family cheered from the audience, T5H ably set the tone for the evening and then returned to join the headliners for several rousing encores. Trina demonstrated a particularly impressive range and mature talent as she moved seamlessly from her stance as a “Black Rock Queen” in the opening set, to an achingly memorable turn in the Michael Stipe role on the Indigo Girls’ “Kid Fears,” to a soulful solo on a joint cover of Gladys Knight & the Pips’ “Midnight Train to Georgia.” You definitely need to see Trina and the band live to fully appreciate what they have to offer—this is one opening act you don’t want to miss!

Posted by Sunni Fass - Black Grooves Magazine


"A Swig From The Acid Bottle"

Three5Human
A Swig from the Acid Bottle
(Anaphora Music)
US release date: 1 May 2007
UK release date: Available as import
by Christian John Wikane



Three5Human’s name stems from two centuries ago when black Americans were counted as “three-fifths” a person towards representation in the House of Representatives. The music on A Swig from the Acid Bottle is a catharsis of such social injustices that, sadly, haven’t so much vanished as become ingrained in the U.S. consciousness.  Tomi Martin and Trina Meade, the creative force behind Three5Human, succinctly characterize the capricious climate of race relations on “Corporate Killers”— “I met a man from Washington / With the power to change it all / I asked if I could be of help / But being black seemed to make him stall”.

“Being black” also made music industry executives “stall” when Martin and Meade courted major labels a few years back. The Atlanta-based duo was constantly referred to record companies’ “urban” departments, even though their music was, and is, clearly immersed in rock. A Swig from the Acid Bottle, Three5Human’s third album, is a gripping patchwork of political and personal treatises that rebuffs the short-sightedness of anyone who would confine Three5Human to an urban/R&B box.  Those major label executives might have heard Three5Human but they didn’t listen.


Needless to say, A Swig from the Acid Bottle is not the happiest record you’ll hear in 2007. War and “big, bold-faced lies” are among the topics Meade and Martin explore on the album’s 12 tracks. “Baby Eyes”, “The Ones”, and “Corporate Killers”, for example, focus on the fallacies engineered by governments and corporations in the name of democracy. Scrawled across the CD inlay is a provocative declaration: “Vietnam, Iraq. Symptoms of the same disease: unchecked ambition.” Three5Human make a convincing case for this particular argument on a pair of tracks, “Blood on the Ground” and a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Front Line”.  Martin’s voltaic guitar work is a suitable backdrop for the horrors of war. He wrings the rock out of Wonder’s 1982 hit, which tells a Vietnam vet’s traumatic story about serving in the cross fire. “Blood on the Ground” brings the story to the present day and itemizes the symptoms of “unchecked ambition”: misery, poverty, suicide, genocide, and a divided nation.

“Baby Eyes”, however, is the antidote to the very palpable angst on “Front Line” and “Blood on the Ground”, empowering the listener to transcend the strife that so defines 2007. Fronting a driving rhythm section, which includes Tres Gilbert on bass and Joey Williams on drums, Meade encourages:

You can believe that you have the power
You can receive if you surrender this hour
You can believe that there is real love
Break the chain and fly free as a dove

Though the music and subject matter indicate otherwise, the message on “Baby Eyes” is pacifistic. Three5Human do more than point fingers, they offer a solution to the problem, which gives the visceral discordance of the other tracks a bit more weight.

Taking a detour from the politically charged material, Meade and Martin offer “Perfect Dream”, the most accessible song on A Swig from the Acid Bottle. Penned by Meade, “Perfect Dream” beams Three5Human’s sound through a prism of radio-friendly pop. It has the type of melody that lingers long after hearing the song, and offers a reprieve from the blistering rock of the politically oriented material.

The most riveting performance on the album features Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls. (The Indigo Girls were early champions of Three5Human and invited Meade and Martin on tour. Amy Ray also guests on “Genocidal Youth”.) The tactile contrast of Saliers’ crystalline voice with the raspiness of Meade’s on “Disco Ragdoll”, a thunderous ballad of a song, is particularly gripping as the vocalists posit, “Does anyone wonder / Where did she go? / Is she still among us? / Will she be missed / If the answer is no?” The way Saliers and Meade weave their voices around the melody, with such different techniques, is one of the highlights of the album.

The only demerit about A Swig from the Acid Bottle is that its ferocity, while very compelling, lends itself to a very specific mood. Like System of a Down, though, much of Three5Human’s music is propelled by anger and raising awareness about issues that listeners might not otherwise consider or be exposed to. There’s no shortage of passion emanating from Meade and Martin’s performances and, ultimately, that’s what sells A Swig from the Acid Bottle. Anyone who cares about music, especially as a force of change, is strongly encouraged to take a “swig” from Three5Human’s choleric cocktail.

RATING:8
— 4 May 2007 - Pop Matters


"Rock Steady/Harder They Come"

Rock steady
Three5Human
BY MOSI REEVES
Published 01.03.07
HARDER THEY COME: Three5Human's Bottle rocks it.

When you hear Atlanta rock band Three5Human's new album, A Swig From the Acid Bottle, it's easy to categorize the band under "black rock." But what does that term mean?

Black rock first emerged in the 1980s through several bands and sympathetic music critics, many of whom banded together as the Black Rock Coalition. Its most famous member was Living Colour. The collective's co-founder, Vernon Reid, built bridges between experimental jazz (John Zorn, Ronald Shannon Jackson), hip-hoppers (Public Enemy, the Roots) and his popular hard rock band Living Colour with his stunningly virtuoso guitar techniques.

On A Swig From the Acid Bottle, Three5Human doesn't cover the same ground, even though its leader and guitarist Tomi Martin has crafted feedback-cloaked solos for OutKast (Speakerboxxx/The Love Below) and other Atlanta stars. Three5Human sticks to heavy rock of the kind made by Nickelback and Incubus, albeit with a strong sense of rhythm. Like the latter group, singer Trina Meade writes firmly structured songs with clear verses and choruses, and lyrics that bear inspirational messages. "You can look on, Baby Eyes/You can see through the pack of lies," she suggests on "Baby Eyes." Some of the cuts are full of unrealistic aspirations. On "Perfect Dream" she sings, "I'll get up and I'll go/To a place where perfect dreams are made of/And leave behind everything that makes me sad."

Meade's folksy, storytelling approach and Martin's hard rock makes for a "swig" that tastes slightly aged. This isn't emo or heavy metal, but meat-and-potatoes stuff. Three5Human's individualism lies in the nice funk vibe on "Front Line," a tale about a Vietnam veteran, and the country lilt that opens "Disco Ragdoll."

Close friends Amy Ray and Emily Saliers from Indigo Girls check in for guest appearances, and Smashing Pumpkins producer Jeff Tomei produced the album's 12 tracks. Heartfelt performances and songwriting carry A Swig from the Acid Bottle; it bears qualities everyone can appreciate.

 
average rating:  9 - Atlanta Journal-Constitution


"Bad Motherfuckers"

bad motherfuckers

I ended the evening, which by then had run into morning, at 10 High. I was there to see the incendiary rock band Three5Human.

I have caught several Three5Human shows and they are always spectacular. On the off chance that any industry types are reading this, here is the tip of the century - sign them now.

Trina Meade, the lead singer, has possibly the best set of pipes on the Atlanta rock scene. She also has incredible confidence on-stage and a fantastic sense of style. In short, she simply owns the stage.

In contrast, Tomi Martin looks extremely mellow while casually ripping out some of the baddest blues-influenced guitar solos I have ever heard. The rhythm section is equally skilled and provides a solid foundation for Meade and Martin. Drummer Melvin Baldwin’s heavy hitting drumming is awesome and somewhat similar in style to John Skinner of Spy or Sean Moore of the indefinately on hiatus 3d5spd.

Three5Human is the baddest motherfucking band in Atlanta. I highly recommend seeing them.

Propeller Skies(fanzine) - Propeller Skies


Discography

A Swig From The Acid Bottle/AnaphoraMusic
Flying Below the Radar/AnaphoraMusic
Sunlight&Toys/AnaphoraMusic
RADIO AIRPLAY
Greenville, SC
WBZT-FM, Real Rock 96.7
Weeknight Specialty Request Line (864) 250-1196

Pittsburgh, PA
WRCT-FM, 88.3
Request Line (412) 621-9728

Atlanta, GA
WKLS-FM, Project 9-6-1, 96.1
Weeknight Specialty Program Request Line (404) 741-9696

Clemson, SC
WSBF-FM, 88.1
Request Line: (864) 656-WSBF (9723)

Augusta, GA
WCHZ-FM, Real Rock 95
Weekend Specialty Program

Lewiston, ID
KOZE-FM, Z-Rock 96.5
Weeknight Specialty Program

Montgomery, AL
WXFX-FM, The Fox 95.1
Weeknight Specialty Program

Auburn, AL
WQNR-FM, The Rock 99.9

Hattiesburg, MS
WUSW-FM, Real Rock 103.7
Weekend Specialty Program

Pandora Radio
Visit www.pandora.com

Rubyfruit Radio
Visit www.rubyfruitradio.com

NTG Radio
Visit www.ntgradio.com

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Let's Get It Started

When a mutual friend introduced Trina Meade and Tomi Martin they knew right away that there was a special chemistry between the two. Even so, as one of the most sought-after guitar players in popular music by every superstar from OutKast to Eric Clapton, Tomi was not yet convinced that Trina would be the lead vocalist in the band he wanted to form. That is until Trina decided to prove to him that she could not only sing like no other, but she was also blessed with the ability to write great songs. You can sense a nervous excitement when Trina describes how she won him over. “One day Tomi was composing songs for what would become Sunlight and Toys and I decided I was going to sit down and show him what I could do. I wrote lyrics right then and there, singing along with him as he played. The funny thing is I was actually in the next room within earshot! I was too nervous to sit right there with him.”

The duo wrote their first song at that moment and never looked back. Stereo Popsicle, which is what they were initially called, released its first CD shortly afterward, generating a lot of buzz and radio airplay on three of Atlanta's top FM stations, each playing different songs: 99X (Mr. Lonely), Star 94 (Georgia) and 96 Rock (Story). This showed early on the mass following for the band across different demographics and music formats, from Rock to Pop to Alternative, the music appealed to all (and this is the true test of great songwriting!).

Black What?

The band started to get some interest from the major labels, but the big label machine was not quite sure how to market and sell this phenomenon. People know Black. People know Rock. But, they don’t know Black Rock. Tomi says, “The label execs would take a look at us and send us down the hall to talk to the Urban Department.” The absurdity lies in the fact that anyone who listens to the band for more than 5 seconds will realize they don’t belong in the Urban Department. Trina describes the sound as “Rock with a whole lot of Soul.” Tomi continues, “It was pretty clear that they just listened to the buzz about the band and none of our music.”

Trina and Tomi were now faced with a choice: stay true to themselves and risk losing a deal or change their sound so they could get signed. So, how did they respond?

They changed their name to Three5Human.

So, What’s In A Name Anyway?

It’s only fitting that a band with politically charged lyrics has a political name. Unlike the U.S. Senate where a state’s representation in number is the same among all other states, representation in the U.S. House is based on a state’s population. Thus, states with large populations have more elected representatives in the House than states with small populations. The South wanted slaves to be included in its population so they could have more representation in the House. A compromise was reached between the North and South declaring that slaves would be counted as three-fifths of one person for the purpose of determining representation in the House of Representatives.

So, maybe now you can appreciate what a bold statement it was to change their name to Three5Human after getting major label attention with the non-controversial safe haven that was Stereo Popsicle. It was a big risk. But, it was real and that’s what Tomi and Trina wanted. In 2005 Three5Human released their first LP under the new name, which was aptly titled Flying Below the Radar. This CD earned Tomi and Trina serious industry attention as well, but this time the front runner was an artist-friendly indie label called Anaphora Music that set its sights on the band.

Now, We’re Ready

More often than not, an Open Mic Night audience will get a super-sized dish of cover tunes and possibly several marginal renditions of the same song. Trina preferred a differentapproach. One night she had the house band learn and perform her originals on stage. Joey Williams, a powerhouse drummer who had just moved to Atlanta from Chicago, was in attendance one such evening when Trina had the mic. She electrified Open Mic Night with her mesmerizing performance. A mutual friend introduced them after she was done singing and the first thing Joey said to Trina when she got off stage was, “Hey. I’m your drummer.” When Joey was brought on board summer of 2006 Trina and Tomi also contacted Tres Gilbert, notorious for his tasteful playing, to add his bass to the mix. It’s true: Great artists need to be surrounded by great artists to truly flourish. Now, we’re ready.

Three5human signed with record label Anaphora Music in 2006. Jeff Tomei, whose credits include Smashing Pumpkins, Matchbox 20, Edwin McCain, Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains, etc., was chosen to produce and engineer the band’s first CD with Anaphora Music. “I loved working with Jeff,” says Trina. “I had never worked with a producer of that caliber before so I didn’t know what to expect. He real