Tuesday, February 23, 2010

You Were Robbed - Athenaeum

"You Were Robbed" features artists and bands that should have gotten much more recognition and fame than they did. Check them out now...better late than never!

Athenaeum. Say what? ATH-A-NEE-UM. In Latin, it is a school in ancient Rome for the study of arts. The strange name is probably one reason this fantastic band never took off...DJs were too embarrassed they would mispronounce it!

Athenaeum formed in Greensboro, North Carolina about 20 years ago, pulling off their first EP in 1995, known simply as the "Green Album". Some of these songs made their way to the band's first major label release, 1998's "Radiance". They had immediate success with the radio-friendly tune "What I Didn't Know", but never matched it despite the record being full of additional melodic rock gems. Their self-titled follow up was an even bigger disappointment at radio. "Hourglass" was their final album, released in 2002 - while a compilation of rare and unreleased material, it plays like another ace studio album.

The band uses intricate harmonies and sophisticated songwriting to decorate the intelligent lyrics, and their melodies stick with you for days on end. They should have been huge. Maybe it was the name. Maybe some people couldn't get used to the deep vocal tone of Mark Kano, or maybe the second record being released the week after 9/11 had something to do with it. Whatever the reasons, it isn't too late to discover Athenaeum's wonderful brand of powerful pop rock.

Mark Kano has recently teamed up with Gavin MacKillop (who produced "Radiance") once again, and the result was a stunning solo EP called "Walking on Broadway". Check out our review of it here. Don't allow Mark Kano to be robbed again!

Fans of Toad the Wet Sprocket, Gin Blossoms, and Crash Test Dummies - if you've overlooked Athenaeum, you are missing out on a new favorite.

Mark Kano on MySpace. Official site.

Check out this brilliant acoustic version of their one and only hit, "What I Didn't Know":

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