With our Sounds Like Summer/Cream anniversary parties, we at the Scene hope to issue a time capsule of local music 

Nashville Sounds

Nashville Sounds

From my humble perch as the Scene's music editor, I've seen shoals of artists come and go from Nashville over the past few years — from the countless first-name-last-name singer-songwriters who populate the concert calendars at places like The Bluebird and Douglas Corner to basement-dwelling teenage punks, home-studio experimentalists, hip-hop artists and the sort of flash-in-the-pan Top 40 country clowns we largely ignore. But no matter how many promotional CDs cross my desk, two things never change: the sheer diversity that Nashville's music scene boasts, and the fact that I'd prefer artists to send me downloads of or links to their music rather than hard copies.

Since Aug. 25, 2006, we at the Scene have done our best to document the cream of Music City's crop via our music blog, Nashville Cream. And each summer, we celebrate the Cream's birthday with some sort of blowout — performers at past Nashville Cream anniversary shows have included The Features, JEFF the Brotherhood, Tristen, My So-Called Band, PUJOL, Natural Child, Nikki Lane, Wild Cub and many more. Beginning last year, we rolled our Cream party in with the Scene's annual concert series, Sounds Like Summer, in order to offer multiple shows at the venues on Cannery Row. This year, as the Cream turns 8, we'll return to Cannery Row's Mercy Lounge and The High Watt for two nights of concerts — and this time, we'll be doing it for free.

One role we hope this year's Sounds Like Summer/Cream party lineup plays is that of the time capsule. In bringing together a dozen local outfits — and one out-of-towner — we aim to showcase some of that aforementioned diversity. Our Night 1 docket will feature rock 'n' rollers including party-ready psych-soul conquistadors Fly Golden Eagle, Brooklyn-transplant blues punks Clear Plastic Masks, dream-poppy shoegaze youngsters Shy Guy and groovy psychedelic daytrippers Ranch Ghost, not to mention similarly psychedelic Bostonites Quilt. Rounding out Friday night's bill will be a pair of dudes who occupy opposite ends of the folk spectrum: Stone Jack Jones, who creates a deeply dark and brooding, hypnotic sort of storyteller folk; and James Wallace, who — with his backing band the Naked Light — makes a sort of sharp, multifaceted folk-pop mélange.

While Night 2 will feature its share of rock 'n' roll as well — most notably from country-rocking Byrds acolytes Promised Land Sound — soul is mostly the name of the game. Self-described "soul-jazz" outfit The Coolin' System will celebrate the release of their brand-new Refrigerate After Opening, while powerhouse crooners Alanna Quinn-Broadus and A.J. Eason will lead their outfits (Alanna Royale and A.J. and the Jiggawatts, respectively) through what will doubtlessly be sweat-drenched and dance-inspiring blowout sets. Rounding out Saturday's festivities will be Magnolia Sons, who split vocal duties among a handful of crooners and shoot for Motown-styled soul-pop, and singer Courtney Jaye, who makes lush and glossy '70s-inspired roots pop.

It's a mixed bag, to be sure, but that's just the point. There's no dearth of talent, technical proficiency or resources in Music City; our hope with this year's Sounds Like Summer parties is to take note of some of the folks who do it differently and, frankly, better than most.

Email music@nashvillescene.com.

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