Unlocked: Read the Young Statues guide to what’s good (and familiar) about Athens
For the final installment of Young Statues’ Unlocked spotlight, frontman Carmen Cirignano shares some of his favorite places in Athens, Georgia where the band recorded its new album, The Flatlands Are Your Friend. He also describes why and how his favorite spots remind him of home in Philly.
I spent six weeks away from Philadelphia recording this record. Luckily I got to do it in a place that is now starting to feel like a second home: Athens, Georgia.
Athens, like Philadelphia, is an amazing city with a rich cultural history. Naturally, there were a lot of similarities. Here are a few of my favorite places that reminded me of home while in Athens.
Normal bar is a tiny, dimly lit spot in a section outside downtown Athens called Normaltown. It has a really cozy atmosphere to it, perfect for unwinding after a long day of recording. The boiled peanuts are hard to avoid, they’re so good!
The Grit is my favorite place in Athens, hands down. It’s an all vegetarian restaurant that has become a favorite for everyone in Athens, vegetarian or not. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, my favorite thing being the Golden Bowl. Blackbird in Philly is a go-to spot for me, so to find something so similar in the Grit was perfect. They knew my name and order by the time we were almost done recording – we may have gone every day.
Also in Normaltown, Ike and Jane is a donut shop and cafe that satisfied our sweet tooth. A peanut butter glazed donut with sriracha drizzled on top may sound weird, but it was delicious. They also have a slew of really great traditional donuts and it reminded me of Federal Donuts in Philly. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day so to have Ike and Jane was a treat.
We have a lot of great music venues in Philly, and it’s only gotten better in the last few years with the opening of Union Transfer. Athens’ best spot for a live show has to be 40 Watt, a place that is so rich in history it’s credited for helping launch punk rock and new wave music in America. Bands like REM and Drive By Truckers made a name for themselves playing this venue and you can feel the history being in there. It was inspiring to be there having heard some of the stories of how the music scene in Athens built up to what it is today. A venue is crucial in creating a great show experience, so it’s fitting that a place like Athens has 40 Watt.
I love coffee, to the extent that sometimes I lie in bed trying to fall asleep at night and I’m thinking about what kind I’m going to have in the morning. Basically dreaming about coffee. The best place I found in Athens was Hendershot’s. There is no comparison to ReAnimator, but Hendershot’s definitely helped me to forget how much I missed it. Occasionally there would also be acoustic acts playing which was cool. It’s definitely a very comfortable place with a great vibe. Highly recommended.
The Flatlands Are Your Friend is the featured album in this week’s edition of Unlocked. Download “Got The Knife” in Monday’s post, read Tuesday’s album review, watch an in-studio documentary in Wednesday’s post, read yesterday’s interview and check back for future installments of Unlocked on The Key.