David Barbe Sails 10th of Seas

Few figures in the long, storied history of Athens’ rock underground can touch the long and diverse resume of David Barbe.

The ‘80s rocker with Mercyland and other bands went on to tour the world as a member of Sugar, alongside my should-be wrestling buddy Bob Mould. A second career as a producer and engineer made him a secret weapon of sorts of Drive-By Truckers, Deerhunter, Harvey Milk, and other great regional acts. If that all isn’t enough, Barbe also molds young minds as head of the University of Georgia’s Music Business Program.

Talents sharpened along the way prepared Barbe for his first solo album in seven years, 10th of Seas. He performs everything heard on the album, piecing together his instrumental and vocal tracks like an ambitious punker making home demos.

The result, as readily evidenced by the video for “Why You Got to Make It So Hard,” resembles Deerhunter’s more pop-accessible material off their last few albums – it’s brainy stuff, but you can dance to it. Truly, that description suits most of the better rock music that’s ever come out of Athens.

For live performances, Barbe’s been working of late with a new band called Inward Dream Ebb, occasionally covering R.E.M.’s song “Pilgrimage” to boot in addition to ripping through the 10th of Seas material. Keep an eye out for them.