25.0443° N, 77.3504° W RAIN (I’M SORRY): Earlier this month, R.E.M. let loose a previously unreleased song that was originally slated to appear on the group’s 2001 album Reveal. It’s a deceptively simple-sounding song named “Fascinating” that actually has a very complex arrangement and, in any case, is a treat to hear after all this time. It is being made available now in order to raise funds for Bahamian relief from the devastation of Hurricane Dorian. While you may stream it for free, a download costs a minimum of $2. The band recorded the track at the famed Compass Point Studios in the Bahamian capital of Nassau. Significantly—at least from a music history perspective—this was among the recordings done during the final decade of the Chris Blackwell-founded studio, which closed in 2010. Funds raised will go to global relief organization Mercy Corps. To buy your download, see remhq.bandcamp.com. To learn more about the history of Compass Point Studios, see compasspointstudios.com.
SING OUT LOUD, SING OUT STRONG: The new Dead Neighbors album is named Without, and it was released last week. It was produced by Terence Chiyezan (aka Murk Daddy Flex), and, compositionally speaking, it’s a step above previous releases, but it’s not like this is a whole new sound at all. If you were able to hang with the band’s distinctive, legitimately emotional tunes before, chances are good you’ll dig this one a lot. The level of detail is kind of astounding, especially the arrangements of tracks like “Nu Ew.” For the old folks in the back, you’ll hear threads of everything from Polvo to Sunny Day Real Estate. For those who couldn’t care less about a dumb history lesson, you’ll hear a well edited and executed collection of eight songs that operate inside the rock and roll framework but punch the sides pretty hard. Highlights are highlights, indeed, and include the hyper tuneful (with seriously nice vocals) “Sunless,” the inadvertently rollicking “Lack Thereof” and the every-pun-intended “Withoutro.” Grab this at deadneighbors.bandcamp.com.
PLEASANT VALLEY SUNDAY: Jason Bronson (Delorean Gray) is splitting the time-space continuum with his new project, Sibylline Lover. He’s planning on releasing a full-length album next year, but he’s got two songs available now. To record these self-penned tunes, he enlisted the help of a bunch of old classmates, as well as his Delorean Gray bandmates, Jacob Chisenhall and Freeman Leverett. Somehow, these tracks—“Clarissa” and “Winter Isolation”—capture the spirit and style of Burt Bacharach, Carole King, Lee Hazelwood, Harpers Bizarre and others without falling into rote mimicry. They’re really cool pieces of timeless and crafted pop music. I’m kind of ready for this whole album to be out now. Listen in at sibyllinelover.bandcamp.com.
SEVEN IS AS SEVEN DOES: Songwriter Greg Meredith, who was a finalist for this year’s Vic Chesnutt Songwriter of the Year Award, will release his new EP, simply titled Greg, this week. At seven tracks, it’s a bit longer than a traditional EP. I’d never heard of Meredith until the Chesnutt Award season was well underway and hadn’t heard anything from him since. Meredith’s songwriting is very big and very much along the lines of Snow Patrol, Imagine Dragons, et al. It’s earnest to a fault, with nary a mysterious lyric to be found. It’s as close to a wide-open confessional of musical self-healing as one is likely to find, especially in Athens. That said, there’s a sameness about these tracks that makes me redouble my criticism that the thing is too long. It’s a lot to get through. From a professional standpoint, several of these could be big hits by the right artist, and Meredith could take home huge bucks and awards as the writer. You can find this on Spotify beginning Sept. 27, and keep up with Meredith at facebook.com/gregmeredithmusic.
STRUM ’N’ SANG: The Piedmont Songwriters Society will host its September meeting Thursday, Sept. 26 from 6–8 p.m. at its Athens campus (595 Prince Ave.). The society is an initiative by Piedmont College faculty to get people involved in songwriting and songcraft. These meet-ups are for people of all ages, skill level and musical background. At these meetings, attendees share styles, techniques, etc. One caveat: I don’t have any actual idea what room this is in, so if you’re interested, drop a line to these fine folks via facebook.com/PiedmontSongwritersSociety.
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