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What's Next: Savannah's Cusses
The Cusses: Bryan Harder, left, Angel Bond and Brian Lackey

Together for less than a year, Cusses will debut the four-song EP Thurst with an April 24 show at the Tantra, with Mass Plastic and Howler.

Originally from North Carolina, drummer Brian Lackey considers Savannah home. Lackey attended SCAD in the 1990s - that's where he and Bryan Harder, Cusses guitarist, had several local bands together - and until 2009 was living in California.

When he returned to Savannah, with his girlfriend Angel Bond in tow, he and Harder immediately began playing together again.

Cusses is a heavy, wall-of-sound rock ‘n' roll band; Lackey absolutely pummels his drums, and Harder, a longtime veteran of thrash and punk outfits, is equally aggressive.

The music, however, is finely structured, with a melodic hint of power pop. A lot of the credit there goes to Bond, the group's vocalist (and occasional keyboard player), whose voice brings to mind the otherwordly Geddy Lee of Rush, another hard-hitting power trio with a well-honed sense of songcraft.

The band doesn't have a bass guitarist; Lackey uses an A/B pedal, tone control and two amps to make his guitar sound like a bass.

Cusses' distinctive sound, Lackey says, comes from a combination of influences. "I really like electro dance music," he says. "I produce it with another thing that I do. Since I'm the drummer, I really like doing that stuff.

"We want it to bite a big bunch of ears, instead of just a vein. So we're calling it ‘pop' like that - I've never done pop, really, so it's kind of fun to throw a little bit of that in there. Especially with her singing, I think it words good."

Thurst was recorded with Kevin Rose at Elevated Basement Studio.

And on a similar note:

Aspiring local filmmaker Brandon Zellars is looking to fund his first feature, 25 Uniform, and a quintet of local bands are pooling their talents to help him make it happen.

"Love Letters to Savannah," from 6 to 10 p.m. this Friday (April 16) at DeSoto Row, will include the Jeff Zagers, Croxton Black, Woodstop, the Fireworks Show and the aforementioned Cusses. Keith Kozel will spin vinyl and act as your emcee for the evening.

You can get $2 off the $5 admission if you write (and bring with you) a "love letter to the city you love to hate, or hate to love." They'll be displayed at the event, and some will be read out loud between performances.

Look for food and drink, too, at 2427 DeSoto Ave.

Chalk art ‘n' stuff

The annual SCAD Sidewalk Arts Festival is coming to Forsyth Park Saturday, April 24. The centerpiece is a chalk art competition - let's hope it doesn't rain that afternoon - and there's also a children's area, live music, and food vendors.

And how's this for a lead-in: Movies in the park! SCAD will screen Back to the Future in Forsyth Thursday, April 22; and the Disney/Pixar romp Up at 8 p.m. Friday the 23rd. The screenings are at 8 p.m., and like the chalk art festival, admission is free.

(Personally, I would've gone for Mary Poppins, which has a lot of whimsical, interactive chalk-art stuff in it. I believe Mr. Banks stuffily refers to this as "popping into paintings".)

Athfest again

Cracker headlines the 2010 Athfest, June 23-27 in beautiful downtown Athens. The band, fronted as always by David Lowery and Johnny Hickman, is touring behind the Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey album, which was produced by Athens-based studio whiz David Barbe.

Athfest takes place on two mainstages (there's a kiddie stage, too) and in area clubs, and this year features nearly 200 performers. Perpetual Groove, formed in Savannah but based in Bulldogs Central, is on the bill, as well as Athens favorites Modern Skirts, Packway Handle Band, Bubba Sparxx, Kinchafoonnee Cowboys and lots of others that have yet to be named (updates will be posted on, which is also the place to buy tickets).