Rockin’ Atomic

Rockin’ Atomic

The thing about the popular local burritto restaurant Atomic Burrito is that there is often a band, always a crowd, and usually the crowd is as diverse as it gets. Part of the secret to Atomic’s success, according to bartender and music booker Josh Lowry, is that the staff really loves music. Typically, the bartenders will make the call on which band plays the bar on the nights that they work, and the resulting live shows cover everything from country to hip-hop to garage rock. Lowry, who heads The Hillbilly Werewolf and Bucks and Gallants (recently recorded at Monkeyclaus), gave me some of his personal favorites, live
and otherwise.

Spencer Lathrop: Atomic bands?
Josh Lowry: The Spinns from Chapel Hill, who are an absolutely phenomenal garage band. They will be back at least once this summer. No matter what you are into, they make you a fan. Just last month, a band of young kids from Harrisonburg called The Nervous Habits played. They are sloppy and fast, but they really got it. Some good friends of mine from Chapel Hill, Jimmy and the Teasers, are a fun band. Jimmy is a real showman. He plays guitar solos standing on top of the bar.

New records?
My favorite band right now is The Black Lips from Atlanta. They get their inspiration from ‘60s garage music, but they have their own weird atmosphere. Their most recent record is called Let It Bloom. I like the King Kahn & BBQ Show, who are a couple guys who do a stripped down doo-wop sort of sound. Lo-fi, but with really good singing. And I like this one man band from Montreal named Bloodshot Bill. His new album is called Dig It Up. He is like Hasil Adkins, but with a lot more talent—just him, a bass drum, high hat and guitar. And The Exploding Hearts’ record from a couple years ago, Guitar Romantic. They had a very catchy pop sound and were being groomed for a major label, but there was a tragic car accident and only one of the guys survived.

Find out about music?
My “big brother,” who turned me onto music, was radio station WTJU. I listened to a lot of late night radio when I was in middle school. And I also bought a lot of albums in Plan 9 by looking at the album art. Now, I find bands by word of mouth, or through magazines whose reviews I trust, like Horizontal Action, which is half record reviews and half porn reviews.