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Astronauts soar with debut album

Special photo
Albany band Another Alien Astronaut set to release debut.

Special photo Albany band Another Alien Astronaut set to release debut.

ALBANY — Nothing against Rock 103 or our few other local favorites that keep rock music pumping on terrestrial radio, but it’s a shame there’s not an alternative rock station in Southwest Georgia.

They’d love Another Alien Astronaut’s debut album.

Yes, AAA wear the influences of classic rockers like Black Sabbath, ZZ Top, Deep Purple and Alice in Chains like badges of honor on “... What’s in Your Heart,” due out in August, but getting a new and/or local rock band on the air these days is like having a million-selling album if your name’s not One Direction.

Very difficult, indeed.

Still, lovers of rock music — especially lovers of guitar-fueled rock music — are going to have fun with “... What’s in Your Heart,” 10 tracks written by Astronaut frontman Jon Gosa and recorded at his home studio and at Chase Park Transduction Studio and Pig Pen Studio, both in Athens. By the time listeners are three songs deep into the disc, tripping out to guitarist Frank Daniel’s water-dripping tremelo effects on “The Only Road Home,” realization will sink in: Rock ain’t dead; it’s alive and well in Albany, Georgia, thank you.

While the multitalented Gosa is the heart and soul of AAA, Daniel is the star of “Heart.” The laidback axeman, who typically trades cleanliness of tone for histrionics, steps front-and-center from the exciting intro notes of the album-opening title track and doesn’t let up until “Tonight You Should Hang Around” has faded out. In between, he — with Gosa providing ample support on his own six-string — pulls out all the stops, leaving an indelible mark on listeners’ ears.

Not that Daniel is a one-man show on the AAA debut.

Drummer Lance Barnes comes into his own on tracks like “Take a Piece and Go,” “The Only Road Home” and especially on the “Deeper Than You” showcase, and he locks into some fat grooves with bassist Chris Hayes on the Alice in Chains-ish “Muddy Water” and “When the Sky Comes Down.”

Gosa, whose voice settles in somewhere between Ozzy and Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan on “Muddy Water” and is tracked to excellent effect on “Just Let Go,” has concocted a suite of songs that fits AAA’s talents perfectly. Perhaps his inspiration comes from some unseen force as he sings on “They Keep Talking to Me:” “In my head I’ve got voices that just won’t stop. They keep on talking to me, They keep on talking through me.”

Another Alien Astronaut didn’t reinvent the wheel with “... What’s in Your Heart;” they took the guitar-bass-drums-voice blueprint perfected by the Beatles and wrapped their individual talents around the concept.

Pick up a copy of AAA’s debut at a band show — they’ll play the Oglethorpe Lounge Aug. 2 and Sept. 13 — or off all the usual Web music sites and follow Gosa’s advice: “Just let go!” If you’ve been waiting for someone to give rock music a kick-in-the-ass reboot, this is as good a place as any to start.