Updated Fri, May 4, 2012 7:21 pm
Seth Riddlebarger and Tim Peacock are no strangers to the Athens music scene. Having played in a myriad of musical acts over the past decade, the pair recently joined forces under the name Hex Net.
"Hex Net is basically made up of Tim and I, and a few other rotating characters," said Riddlebarger, who serves as the band’s front man and guitarist.
Riddlebarger and bassist Peacock were joined by keyboardist Nate LaReau and drummer Chris Aubell for Hex Net's debut album, Future Holds, which is available as a free download at www.hexnet.bandcamp.com.
Riddlebarger has been playing in bands since he was 15 years old, favoring orginal songs over other people's material.
"For me, it has always been important to play songs that the band actually wrote and not depend on so many covers," he explained.
Despite the album's sunny name, it's full of gritty guitar riffs, retro organ stabs and a driving rhythm section. For Riddlebarger, everything about the record--from its ominously-named songs to the seemingly juxtaposed title--is all about balance.
"I think that the record has a lot of dark scenes, and the title is sort of a comment on a more optimistic view of the future," he said.
Judging from conversations with the band, it sounds like Hex Net has managed to make an album of which they're truly proud.
“I really like a lot of the stuff we’ve recorded," said Peacock. "Seth is just a great songwriter."
Looking back, Riddlebarger said there might have been some things that they could have done differently, "but you can always say that about anything you're working on. I like the whole record, and I'm proud of the whole record."
The sound that Hex Net accomplishes on Future Holds is a complex one: Part Mother Love Bone, part Lou Reed, topped off with a dash of Dream Syndicate. Some of the tracks are darkly bluesy-- such as the meaty opening riff of “Vice Church Blues”--while others dash off into shoegazing territory.
Since the band has been busy finishing up the album, they haven’t had much time for live shows. However, they've started making the rounds, with a recent show at The Union and an upcoming slot at the 2012 Nelsonville Music Festival.
"Playing live really effects how I feel about the songs," Riddlebarger said, remarking on the atmosphere of a Hex Net show. "We never have a set list, so sometimes it ends up a bit chaotic. We play some sort of noise-improv stuff too; it’s all reactionary to how we're feeling and how the crowd is feeling."
Even though the band will most likely stick to material from Future Holds at the Nelsonville Music Festival, Riddlebarger doesn't think they'll be tied to those songs for very long.
"We’ve been writing new material, and hopefully we will be recording a second record very soon," he said.