Photo Credit: Will Westbrook
Could there be new Neutral Milk Hotel music on the way?
According to a Reddit commenter who purchased some of Jeff Mangum's recent drawings, maybe. The black-and-white artwork, titled "The Book Cipher Sings," appears to contain the phrase "double album" in various permutations.
R.E.M. officially called it quits back in 2011, but the Athens band has infiltrated the music-news cycle sporadically since then. (Oh, hey: Mike Mills brings his new rock concerto to town Monday.) Most recently, the group released a profanity-laden statement in response to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump using one of its songs at one of his white-nationalist rallies on the campaign trail.
Photo Credit: Anton Corbijn
Last month we told you that former R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills was working on a classical/rock hybrid called Concerto for Rock Band, Violin and Strings. Rolling Stone premiered a movement from the concerto called “Sonny Side Up” on its website last week.
The concerto is a collaboration with violinist and Mills’ longtime friend Robert McDuffie. Backing musicians include McDuffie’s Mercer University music students and Athens music-scene veterans John Neff (Drive-By Truckers), William Tonks and Patrick Ferguson (Five Eight).
Photo Credit: Matt Pence
It’s not unfathomable that a currently inactive band like Centro-matic can have its legacy positively—and constantly—reconfigured in our digital age. Thanks to recently tweeted endorsements from artists like Jason Isbell, the indie darlings from Denton, TX are experiencing something of a renaissance, despite disbanding in 2014. Frontman Will Johnson is keeping his former band’s brand of rock and roll abstraction alive through contemplative solo releases and incessant touring. Johnson takes a break from an Undertow Music-endorsed living room jaunt around the U.S. to perform at Normaltown Hall on Sunday, Oct. 9.
The sad news rolled in on social media yesterday that Curtis Vorda, an Athens musician known for his free spirit, virtuosic singing talent and work with bands like psych supergroup Dark Meatand prog-tinged rockers American Mannequins, passed away after suffering a brain aneurysm.
Photo Credit: Sean Dunn
Sometimes, it takes a while. This statement might be something of a mantra for Built to Spill, the perennially under-appreciated indie band (by virtue of its sonic aesthetic, not its business practices, of course). Now performing live as a three-piece, the Boise, ID-based group proved that less is, if not more, plenty sufficient to captivate a nearly sold-out crowd at the Georgia Theatre Saturday evening.
There is an immutable elegance lying at the heart of every one of life’s struggles. The tension that binds the spaces between hope for retribution and total breakdown is rich fodder for Omaha, NE songwriter Simon Joyner. With his latest album, Grass, Branch & Bone, Joyner summons his most compelling stories via the derelict Midwestern landscape and the characters he finds there, lost in moments of hopeless abandon and glowing nostalgia.
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