Thursday, August 25, 2011

Former founder of Atlanta's Ultrababyfat goes solo at Muse

I've always been interested in female artists and all girl bands. I didn’t realize it until it was pointed out to me by my dad when I was a child that I gravitated toward Stevie Nicks, Blondie, and Madonna. That’s not unusual, I’m sure lots of little girls did. But once he mentioned it, I kind of embraced my interest in female musicians (not to say I don’t like male artists – Steve Earle, the National, Rancid, Interpol, Prince, and the Smiths are all men). The nineties were a particularly rich time for female musicians with women leading alt-rock bands like Belly, Throwing Muses, the Breeders, and Babes in Toyland and the punky riot grrrl movement that gave way to Bikini Kill and Sleater-Kinney. That was just in the US. Britain housed lesser known favorites like Sleeper and Echobelly.

There were a few predominantly girl groups rocking the Southeast back then. Ultrababyfat out of Atlanta (which did count a guy in its ranks) was a favorite of mine. A decade later Shonali Bhowmik, one of its founders, is touring as a solo artist. She plays Evening Muse (3227 N. Davidson St.) with Alex Kastanas tonight, August 25.
Bhowmik, who now serves as leader for indie rock outfit Tigers and Monkeys and is based in New York, recently released her solo debut, “100 Oaks Revival.” She says the record was inspired by her hometown of Nashville with blues and country tendencies, but if you were a fan of Ultrababyfat there’s still plenty familiar about it. It begins with the haunting minor chords of “All Her Things Come Easily” and turns a bit bluesy on “Hold My Place.” “Star Treatment” bounces along like one of the Avett Brothers’ piano-driven tracks and Bhowmik’s Southerness and the old playful girl group feel emerges. “Alligator’s Tale” rides a sort of Jack White riff. “What’s the Standstill” comes closest to the pop charm of Ultrababyfat. It features her former musical partner Michelle Dubois on backing vocals. Bhowmik’s raspy voice and touch of twang in her accent remains the defining thread. 

Bhowmik is also part of another girl group - the New York-based comedy collective Variety Shac with Heather Lawless, Chelsea Peretti, and Andrea Rosen. Its made short films with Fred Armisen and Ed Helms. 

The show is at 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $6-$8. 704-376-3737.

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