Back in June, we published a Q&A with local grindcore workhorse Gripe, wherein band members revealed that their upcoming album, In His Image, would be the group's swan song. On Jan. 14, that album will finally arrive (via North Carolina imprint Hygiene Records), but you can hear the whole thing early via NPR's First Listen.
If you just did a double take: Yes, a record that its label describes as "nihilistic and blistering crust-influenced grindcore, like a hammer to the fucking face… 18 tracks of aural violence" is streaming exclusively on the home of "Fresh Air" and "Wait Wait…Don't Tell Me."
Of course, if you've been paying attention, you know that NPR's All Songs Considered blog and program has covered an impressive selection of nontraditional stuff over the past few years. This is thanks largely to the efforts of former Classic City resident and WUOG staffer Lars Gotrich, an All Songs cog who manages to sneak left-field music onto the airwaves with some regularity (hear his brilliant year-end program here).
Along with being a generally excellent resource for new harsh and/or experimental jams, Gotrich is also a steadfast supporter of all things Athens. (Gotrich's now-defunct experimental label, Thor's Rubber Hammer Productions, boasted a nearly exlusively Athenian lineup in its heyday; its back catalog is well worth digging through—and I'm not just saying that 'cause my band at the time was involved.)
So, that's how Gripe ended up on NPR.