On July 27, 2009, local rock 'n' roll aficionado Ben "Forever Young" Todd and his buddy David "DeeDee" Steine launched a blog they decided to call Nashville's Dead — and they did it with a post titled "TESTING 1 2 3 OK I THINK ITS WORKING." They began writing about house shows, punk bands and inside jokes, soon moving from Blogger to their own domain (nashvillesdead.com). Since Nashville's Dead's inception three years ago, an incestuous amalgam of a scene has coalesced around Todd and his blog — he's booked shows and written about bands who share members and live together and hang out together, even going on to start a label. Nashville's Dead Records has since released singles by psychedelic and punk rock bands like Useless Eaters, The Paperhead and Ex-Cult (formerly known as Sex Cult), not to mention omnipresent local guitar-slinger William Tyler and Todd's own garage-rock outfit, D. Watusi.
No, Nashville's Dead isn't a bastion of journalistic integrity. Todd frequently writes about shows he's booked, or his best friends' bands — even his own band, from time to time. But Nashville's Dead doesn't claim to be an objective, news-reporting outpost. Todd is a cheerleader of local rock 'n' roll, championing all-ages shows and venues and youngsters with a DIY work ethic, and his site is a bulletin board for the indie and punk scene. In recent months and years, it's a scene that has attracted more heat than any of us ever anticipated — Nashville's Dead favorites have been signed to labels like Warner Bros. (JEFF the Brotherhood), Saddle Creek (PUJOL), and Kings of Leon's Serpents and Snakes (Turbo Fruits).
Tonight, Nashville's Dead celebrates its third birthday with a soiree at appropriately DIY local venue The Zombie Shop. The party will also function as a release show for D. Watusi's Dark Party, not only the first full-length from the proto-punky rock 'n' rollers, but also the first LP from Nashville's Dead Records. Also on the bill are local proggy hardcore rockers Gnarwhal, Memphis post-punk troupe Ex-Cult and full-bore local punk rockers Useless Eaters.
The big score for Nashville's Dead, though, will be tonight's headliners. The prolific Ty Segall, a ringleader of San Francisco's flourishing garage-rock-revival scene, makes fuzzy, grooving, lo-fi rock 'n' roll with his outfits The Ty Segall Band and White Fence. On Oct. 9, he'll issue his highly anticipated Twins, his first release of the year under the name Ty Segall, via Drag City Records. Tonight, Segall will be joined by fellow San Franciscans Thee Oh Sees, whose brand-new Putrifiers II (In the Red Records) features a lush and dynamic strain of psychedelic rock. Oh Sees frontman John Dwyer — an elder statesman of San Fran's rock scene — has released a vast assortment of music over the past 15 years as Thee Oh Sees and more, and it's all solid or intriguing in one way or another. But live, Dwyer and his gang of West Coast rock 'n' rollers put on one of the most boisterous and transfixing shows you'll see from a contemporary rock band.
In addition to the half-dozen acts on tonight's bill, Todd also promises a "brand-new secret 7-inch available at this show only," not to mention security provided by the Nashville chapter of the international freak-bike gang Rat Patrol — sort of a nonviolent, punk-rock, bicycle-chopping, post-hippie answer to a motorcycle gang. I know what you're thinking, but don't even say it — there will be fewer people and infinitely better vibes at Nashville's Dead's party than at Altamont.