“Bill Taft is more likely to be found surveying the acoustics in burned-out buildings in the seedier parts of town over anywhere else to host the next Hubcap City (From Belgium) recording. Since early 2000 the former Smoke/The Jody Grind banjo player, guitarist and vocalist has crafted a self-described “militant acoustic” sound that draws just as much inspiration from Woody Guthrie as it does Einsturzende Neubauten. Along side Cat Power / Tenement Halls’ percussionist Will Fratesi and guitarist Matthew Proctor the group has remained tucked away on the darkside of Atlanta’s ever-present urban wasteland, finding balance between chaos and order.
For its untitled debut E.P. all three members carried their equipment through a hole in a fence surrounding an abandoned building nestled between Cabbagetown and East Atlanta to record. Making use of only one microphone and a minidisk the group captured a rickety, epic and totally unplugged collection of songs that oscillate between Taft’s folkish fortitude and the sturm and dang of urban decay that resonates with a warped sense Americana.
“We went to the Alan Lomax school of recording for this one”, crows Taft. “He went all of the world recording folk music with just one mic. and had great results. It’s important to put the material into a sonic context”, he continues. “We recorded in a real environment. It’s hard to get that messed up sound out of an acoustic guitar because it’s so bright and clean sounding”, he continues. “Take an acoustic guitar into a wasted environment like that and it really brings out the wasted aspects of the music”.
The group has a few other locations in mind for future recordings. “I’d love to do something in Oakland Cemetery and there are a couple other buildings we’ve seen around”. He continues, “It seems like everyday I see some wretch of an old building that looks perfect”.” – Chad Radford