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Modern Skirts rock AthFest
The Modern Skirts will play Saturday at AthFest.
You would think the hard part was over. Members of the Athens band Modern Skirts, serving as one of the headliners at AthFest this year, have finished recording and mixing their second album. But they still have one more hurdle to get over: Coming up with a title for it."We're done with the whole mastering process and everything. We're still waiting on the artwork, and the biggest thing we've got to do creatively is come up with an apt title," said Jay Gulley, guitarist and lead singer for the band. "We were hoping it would fall in our laps and it never did. It's been the hardest thing."The Modern Skirts will play on the main stage June 21 in downtown Athens. Band members also include JoJo Glidewell on guitar, piano and vocals; Philllip Brantley on bass, guitar and vocals; and John Swint on drums.And while the band has made a name for themselves both in Athens and around the Southeast for catchy, piano-driven pop tunes and lots of vocal harmonies, Gulley said they've ended up taking a different direction on their new album, which he expects to be released in late August."We weren't avidly trying to go in another direction. I think we've just collectively come there on our own," he said. "It's been three years since the first album, and any band's going to grow with three years of being on the road."Their first album, "Catalogue of Generous Men," has sold more than 5,000 copies through word-of-mouth sales and intensive touring up and down the East Coast. Their high-energy, danceable concerts have made them a favorite among the Athens music scene.After their AthFest show, the band hops a plane to England, where they'll play the Glastonbury Music Festival, one of the largest concert events in Europe. From there they land in Amsterdam, where they'll be opening for R.E.M."They've been completely beneficial, and we owe a world of thanks to those guys," Gulley said. "More than we've already given them. They're good friends of ours, especially in the public domain."R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills produced two songs with the band during a recording session last summer in Athens, Gulley said, and one of those tracks ended up on the upcoming album. The song, "Motorcade," has also been released in Europe on a CD sampler from Q magazine.The European response to the band, Gulley said, has been nothing but positive."Great response, great his - hit on our MySpace, orders for our CDs, iTunes, all over the world," he said. "It's gotten its way out and about."The group did a smaller tour in England last October, Gulley said, but this year plans are much bigger."That was more of a low-key thing," he said. "We didn't do any of the big festivals we are this year, so I guess that's progress."