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Banned 37

Banned 37
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PV-40

As Andy Summers once said, a band is only as good as its original songs. And in Newt Carter, Banned 37 from Athens, GA had a highly talented songwriter. They also a loyal following, due in no small part to the magnetism of frontman Kenny Aguar (cast as Jesus Christ in his youth drama troupe’s production of 'Godspell' – need I say more?). Rounding out the Banned were: Rob Neal, powerhouse drummer; Eric Agner, melodically inventive bassist and second songwriter; and Mark Craig, second guitarist and also founding member of scene stalwarts Kilkenny Cats and Mercyland.

Listening over these recordings now, the promise is undeniable. Back then, it wasn’t an ordinary day in Athens without hearing the indelible “Ordinary Day” on WUOG 90.5 FM (“The Last One Left”). But I had completely forgotten about “I’m Waiting For You.” It feels like I’m hearing a familiar FM smash of yore instead of a track from an unsigned band’s demo tape. 


Alas, Banned 37 broke up not long after recording that would-be hit. But that’s the way it was in those days. Musical styles swirled in and out of fashion as groups sprang up and dissolved overnight. 


Maybe Banned 37’s demise was timely. Their melodic, clean guitar pop was giving way to a more nihilistic scene spearheaded by the punky Bar-B-Q Killers. Or maybe Banned 37 would have fit right in if they’d stood pat. When I first encountered Newt, Rob, and Eric in the early ’80s (we were all Athens townies), they were playing convincing renditions of Sex Pistols and early Clash material. And songs like “Ragged Dog” point to a harder edge emerging. 


A year ago, I would have said it doesn’t matter anymore. But with this magic archival release, it does! Listen and be dazzled. - G. Burnley Vest



Newt had this low-key thing about him – a heavy lidded Southern gentleman with a devilish gleam in in his eye and measured delivery that belied all the wild musical stuff going on at a million miles per hour in his head. The instrumental 'Drive Safely' kinda sums Newt’s sensibilities up to me – fading in at the beginning with moto perpetuo guitar picking and a slow undercurrent of bass and drums, building tension until the joyous major key jangle release of the bridge – there’s so much happening musically in such a short amount of time. - Jay Gonzalez, Drive-by Truckers



Observing from Atlanta in the mid-’90s, the Athens scene seemed to have so much community and willingness to create space for weird offshoots. Kenny Aguar's 8-Track Gorilla character and his citywide war with the spy car community appealed to my love of the absurd. I brought him to the Star Bar for a show with Orange Hat.

After I moved to Athens I would see Kenny and sometimes his brother Dan around town. I soon set up my studio, and Kenny brought me some of the Banned 37 tapes to transfer. I was surprised to hear such tunefulness from the Gorilla! Some of the material like ‘Guns & Cameras’ should have gotten them on John Peel's radar. They weren't afraid of branching out into some Chilton-esque country. You can also hear the beginnings of what folks were calling college rock – someone called it kudzu pop which fits even better to me.

These demos and live tracks capture the transitional spirit of their time as channeled through four or five kids steeped in the Athens scene who would become lifers. Banned 37 held the mantle for a moment. I'm glad someone rolled some tape. - Jason NeSmith, Casper & the Cookies



The mid-’80s Athens, Georgia group Banned 37 remains one of the Southern music mecca’s best kept secrets. Between 1983 and 1986, the dynamic quartet of Kenny Aguar, Newt Carter (who was replaced by Kilkenny Cats' Mark Craig in 1985), Eric Agner, and Robert Neal produced some of that decade’s finest jangle and power pop, in addition to sharing bills with the likes of Alex Chilton and Love Tractor. Andrew Rieger of Elf Power once compared Banned 37 to contemporaries Hüsker Dü and Rain Parade, highlighting the group’s distinctive blend of post-hardcore and Paisley Underground styles.

This self-titled compilation marks the first time any of this material has been officially released. Lovingly remastered by Jason NeSmith (Casper & the Cookies, of Montreal), Primordial Void's Banned 37 cassette collects seven tracks recorded 40 years ago at the legendary John Keane Studios (R.E.M., Indigo Girls, Widespread Panic), as well as seven live cuts recorded at the 40 Watt Club Uptown. An enthralling time capsule; a glimpse into the world of mid-'80s Athens; the never-before-heard sounds of one of America's greatest lost bands. - Marcel Sletten, Primordial Void

Athens, Georgia • Est. 2018

Found tracks

Banned 37 - Guns & Cameras
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Banned 37 - I'm Waiting For You
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Banned 37 - Rudy's Walk
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Banned 37 - Ragged Dog
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Banned 37 - Ordinary Day
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Banned 37 - Sleep Of Reason
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Banned 37 - Badlands
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Banned 37 - Somewhere Down The Line
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Banned 37 - Watch The Rain
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Banned 37 - Drive Safely
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Banned 37 - Oh Sheila
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Banned 37 - Pick Of The Tricks
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Banned 37 - Picture This
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Banned 37 - No Encore
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