“Sean Atkins is just a guy that writes songs and records them in his room. There’s really not much else to him. All of his music is free. He plays folky-indie-acoustic type music. He feels he’s been lucky enough to come across having been featured by SoundCloud, which led him to over 19k followers there. and well, that was really nice of them.. He was lucky enough to share the stage with the likes of The Low Anthem, Gregory and The Hawk and Joe Pug who are all really nice.”
Giving any kind of exposure to independent musicians (especially Pittsburgh musicians) is probably the main reason I invest time in producing this blog. Case in point, Sean Atkins. Just a guy doing his thing, and that thing is making cool, mellow acoustic folk. You can check it out at BandCamp, SoundCloud and Facebook. My sincere thanks to Sean for taking a few to participate in this edition of First/Last.
The first album you ever bought?
It was definitely Nirvana, “In Utero”. I wasn’t really into buying music until ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ came out, after that music was all I cared about. I mean, I liked listening to classic rock with my dad growing up, but it wasn’t until I heard heart-shaped box that I was really in love with music.
Your last album bought?
I recently bought (on the same day) the new mewithoutYou and the oldest La Dispute LP. I like them both reasonably, but I definitely listen to the new mewithoutYou more.
Favorite album of all time?
I don’t know if I could pick just one. Definitely “In Utero” stood the test of time, but I like “Wildflowers” by Tom Petty and “Brother, Sister” by mewithoutYou a lot. Also, “Heartbreaker” by Ryan Adams is an all-time favorite. And definitely “Hospice” by The Antlers. It’s probably between those…and I’d better move on before i think of more to add.
Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Probably the second and third Midtown records. I really liked “Save the World, Lose the Girl” but I never liked anything else they did. The second Antlers record too (“Burst Apart”, I believe). That was probably my biggest disappointment. And the funny thing is, it’s not a bad record, by any means but “Hospice” is so much better. It defies description and I guess I wanted another of whatever that was but that’s a lot to ask of any musician/band. I should just accept it for what it is and stop trying to compare.
First concert attended?
I’m going to give two because your first “show” is different from your first concert. My first show, EVER, was the Voodoo Glow Skulls at Graffiti. It was dank and smoky and gross. All of these things made it amazing. What made it more amazing is that my dad spent the night at the bar (yes, my dad took me to a punk/ska show) so anyway, he met the bands and introduced me to them. It was kind of hilarious. My first “concert” was the Smashing Pumpkins at the Civic Arena. It was just after Jimmy Chamberlain was kicked out and the drummer for Filter was sitting in. He was so tight and they sounded spot on. I mean, they were an incredibly tight band live. This was on the ‘Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness’ tour. So I got to see them play all of their best work, in my opinion.
Last concert was a David Bazan house show. It was neat, we got a picture after and he was super nice. He was a huge inspiration to me when Pedro the Lion was a thing and I think he’s a pretty consistently good songwriter.
Favorite concert ever?
Hmmm, this might go back to David Bazan again, but it wasn’t his show. I saw Bazan open for Over the Rhine and they were both so incredible. I was blown away. There was also a time that I saw mewithoutYou just in a fire hall somewhere (before they got any sort of national credibility) and Aaron Weiss was in the crowd singing. That was amazing too. I’ve seen mwY probably 10-15 times and they’ve always been good. They also played with Murder by Death once and that was a great show because it was two great bands. Ha ha, this is a hard question. I’ve been to a lot of shows.
Least favorite concert?
Hmmm, I don’t know. I saw Bright Eyes get pretty drunk a few times and it was pretty rough towards the end but nothing too bad or embarrassing.
Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I don’t know. I like Pittsburgh a lot. I chose to live here. I had some options and lived in a few other places but I like it here. I know where all of the good thrift stores are 🙂 I’ve seen shows here. I’ve had some nice friends here. I have a place here.
Thanks, Sean. I think I ‘saw’ that Smashing Pumpkins gig at the Arena. Funny thing is, I was there to see openers Grant Lee Buffalo and bailed before the Pumpkins ever took the stage. Some idiot threw a bottle at Grant Lee during the set and they kinda got mad and pulled the plug and left. And so did I.