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Keith Kozel & The Foxedos

A few months back, The Foxedos, a local anti-folk trio made up of Superhorse frontman Kozel, ARTillery Punch’s Ricardo Ochoa, and Splitfinger’s Sebastian Edwards, made their debut at this downtown coffeehouse and performance venue. The idea was to provide an outlet for some of Kozel’s material that fell outside the constructs of his other, more established musical endeavors (including GAM and Hall Monitor). Primarily based around the folk and blues idioms, his naive, bedroom compositions were ably rendered by Edwards and Ochoa – both of whom are versatile enough to shuffle between several instruments ranging from theremin to bass.

When the opportunity for a standing monthly gig presented itself, the group expanded their vision to include a variety of other local artists. Now, every third Thursday they act as the de facto backing band for a rotating cast of frontpeople drawn from Savannah’s extensive and varied underground music community.

The basic format remains the same: stripped-down renditions of material that would either go unheard otherwise, and/or drastically retooled arrangements of tunes which may be familiar to local scenesters, but which have never been publicly performed in this way. It’s a novel idea that forces musicians out of their own self-imposed comfort zones and paves the way for the sort of happy accidents and unexpected epiphanies that only occur when art meets the unknown head on.

This month’s installment showcases guitarist and singer Jonathan Proctor – long an enigmatic, yet highly respected fixture on our indie-rock scene. As the main songwriter behind late-’80s cult faves Bughummer, his aggressive, disjointed, (pr)emo pipe bombs were well ahead of the curve, and helped pave the way for such later success stories as the now-thriving Engine Down (featuring former Bughummer bassist Keely Davis).

Though later efforts such as The Flam (featuring GAM bassist Mike Walker) and his ongoing outfit Big Shot Shot Down, this multi-talented artist – he’s also an accomplished comic book illustrator – has maintained a flair for penning angry, obtuse rants set to frenzied shards of Orange amp feedback.

For this upcoming gig, I’m told he’s offering up a gentler (and more trancelike) side, aided and abetted by keyboardist Joe Cannon of Puma Reflex, a retro synth act from Dayton, Ohio, which was briefly based in Savannah and still maintains strong ties here.

When pressed, Kozel says the sound the group has achieved in rehearsals bears more than a passing resemblance to the long-gone (and recently reformed) Louisville, Ky. post-punk outfit Slint - but, no matter what the set ultimately sounds like, it’s a rare chance to get more up close and personal with one of Savannah’s most underappreciated songwriters than he’s ever allowed an audience to do so before. Thurs., 8 pm, The Sentient Bean.

Gravy, Subversivo!

This double-bill of uncompromising prog-rock veers in two very different directions, but there’s enough common ground between the two acts to make the night work well as a whole.

Both are dead-set on doing their own thing their own way, regardless of how insular or off-putting it may seem to crowds who’ve been weaned on groups that dote on them like fawning manservants. That’s not to suggest that either group is anything less than extremely entertaining. The hyper, Zappa and Mike Patton-inspired funhouse-mirror antics of Gravy and the sardonic, film noir and surf freakouts of Subversivo! are never anything less than a blast to behold.

Just don’t come expecting to be led by the hand into anything resembling a typical “rock show.”

Both artists are part of the loosely-knit Sofro collective, which basically means they share server space, and try to gig with each other as often as possible – spreading the message that doing exactly what you want is usually the single best maneuver a band can make if they ever want to make something of themselves.

Besides a financial success, that is.

Much as I respect and truly enjoy each of these groups, I can’t figure out for the life of me how much farther either can go up the touring band food chain. They’re simply hamstrung and hog-tied by the take no prisoners attitude they have about their art. That’s not a bad thing. In fact, I’m more than a little in awe of it. I just wish average folks were more accepting.

Mountains sometimes shift, and things do change in this ruthless world from time to time. Don’t kick yourself and regret never checking these bands out when you had the chance. They deserve much more than this town has ever given them. Sat., The Jinx.