Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Paper Lions - Our First Peer-Rockstars


Here is the download: Paper Lions Album

I saw Josh Lott the other weekend at the Highland Inn, and he told me that after 14 years of living in Athens, he has made the move back to Atlanta and started law school. This is in a way the end of an era, as more and more old friends from Athens have left that town for good and now I know nobody there when I visit. As you probably know, Josh was the drummer for many bands including At the Price of the Union, The Walt Lariat (as bassplayer), Paper Lions, and later Teenage Methlab and Elf Power. Paper Lions was the amalgamation of two postpunk Atlanta/Athens heavyweights Some Soviet Station and At the Price of the Union, with Josh adding drums to the SSS strings of Jesse Smith, Chris McNeal and Justin Snyder (also formerly of the Kossabone Red). To me they were not so much like Some Soviet Station with a different drummer, but something else entirely. They were much more melodic and less aggressive compared to their previous bands, and with a little Jawbox in them along and some modern postpunk that would seem to fit right in with some of the edgier popular music today.

They were the first band from our immediate network that really made a run for it as a professional band. They quit their jobs, toured as much as possible, and put out a quality recording on a reputable label. They bought real equipment, had a real van, played real clubs (not DIY house shows), worked very hard on their songs and their musicianship, and generally put everything they had into their music. I remember every show I went to of theirs was packed, and they seemed to get very popular very quick, at least in Atlanta and Athens. I am not sure of the later history of the band, as I moved away while they were at their apex, but my understanding is that Kindercore Records who put out their album folded suddenly after a bad business deal and left Paper Lions with no label or records to tour under. Also the grind of heavy touring, etc. burned them out and they threw it in sometime in 2004 or so. They had all the elements of a great modern popular postpunk band, and could have taken it farther than any band before them, but somewhere along the way things went off track. Maybe that is not what they wanted in the end, or maybe the frustrations of the grind got to be too much. I know I couldn't do it myself, it's not an easy life. I wish them all the best, and success in their current endeavors.

Here is an interview they did for Performer mag back in 2003:

Here is the artwork for their album "The Symptom and the Sick":

8 comments:

  1. josh gave me a demo of theirs they recorded right before they broke up. i think they were doing some label shopping with it, but nothing really materialized. it is quite good though. i liked it much better than their album. its a bummer they didn't "make it," i know they really made a go at it. i figured they were destined for stardom. catchy punkish/indie songs, young cute boys, what more could you ask for? you can still visit me anytime in athens, james...haha.

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  2. After Some Soviet Station released our self-titled cd, this is the direction some of the new stuff we were trying to write was taking. I think I was really uncomfortable with this direction and really just wanted to maintain the intensity of the earlier songs while I think others in the band really wanted to move in this direction. I think my departure from and Josh's addition to the group allowed the band to move in the direction it was naturally tending. In hindsight, I think if SSS would have stayed intact, we would have put out another album of the same songs.

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  3. Now that I think of it, the SSS to Copa Vance to Lay Down Mains makes a pretty much seamless transition. All these bands had 100%full-on dynamics (i.e. raging) and that was pushed forward by you (Lee). If Lee played drums in Paper Lions, it would be totally different. Josh brought in the tight, compact closed hi-hat style from ATPOTU to bring the dynamics way down in the music and in a way make it more friendly to the mainstream pop-rock audience. Both PL and SSS were 75% the same band, but totally different in aesthetics.

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  4. hey, don't give that punk, lee, too much credit. he's just a drummer after all.

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  5. I brought this one to work the other day, and man was it great, especially the first four or five tracks. Fit right in there with my Juno, Jazz June and No Knife albums. A band that should certainly be held in such company.

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  6. Just today found a legit copy of this at a record store near UMass, weirdly enough.

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  7. Thanks for this post. I had found this album ages ago. I absolutely loved it. The opening track will probably end up on my next mixtape for my mixtape group. I couldn't find any info on Paper Lions. This post answered all my questions. Thanks again!

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  8. A few days ago I came across an old box of junk and in it was a burned disc of mp3 files. I was pleased to find PL's final demo EP. Great stuff! Glad I could find a little corner of the internet with some info about them.

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