MusicThreats & Promises

Jim Willingham Saves Students from Drowning

Three Is A Magic Number: Triple-threat rappers Mad Axes have a new video out for the track “Maple Branch.” The smooth jam is from the group’s album You Are The Real Monster, and you can find it in glorious black and white on Homedrone. In other news, Mad Axes has a new album slated for a summer release that’s being busily finished up, although it remains untitled for now. There’s also a new album upcoming under the name Hammer Squadron, which includes all of Mad Axes, Tom Television (Future Ape Tapes), Sawmill Slang, Mochasage, SOHI and DJ Triz. No clue yet as to when that’ll be released. I was about to make a smart-ass comment regarding proper squadrons versus the number of artists actually participating, and then I realized I don’t know a damn thing about any type of squadron. So I’ll just lead you toward and let you chew on that for a while.

Friday Night Lights: The gritty Southern rockers in Holy Liars will wrap up a residency this week at Flicker Theatre & Bar, where they’ve performed the previous two Fridays. In pure residency style, they’ve been hammering out some new songs, relaxing with some cover tunes and inviting some guests to join them. This is all kind of a big deal considering the band hasn’t played live in about a year. But it’s been busy remixing its 2010 album, Dirtbag, with Clay Leverett guesting on vocals and additional instrumentation, in anticipation of a digital release. The last time to catch the group during its Flicker stay is Friday, May 17, when it shares the bill with Woodfangs, Hot Fudge and Chris Pickering. If you’ve never caught Holy Liars before and wanna grab a taste of what you can expect, head to, tip your hat and say hey.

Kick Out The Jams: Sometimes the sweetest stuff happens at just the last minute. I got a wild tip on brand new Athens band The Honey Sliders just as this issue was going to bed and, damn, I’m glad we held the press. Composed of bassist Larry Aquaviva, guitarist Steve Hunter and Columbia, SC drummer Charles “CJ” Russell, this trio of veterans has exactly one gig under its belt. But that belt is a big ol’ leathery rock and roll master whip. I called Hunter to get the full scoop. “It’s Larry’s band, [but] we worked together for about six months before we found CJ. It’s this fat sound that just happens. A wall of sound. Like a wall of very warm, fat sound with a lot of energy behind it.” I immediately made mental references to old Athens rockers Refuse Factory, Cleveland’s The Styrenes and even a little MC5. There are no solid recording plans, because group members want to get “at least a dozen gigs done before [they] think about that.” Live show website recorded the band’s debut gig, but it’s not posted just yet, so keep clicking there until it is. There’s one video posted over at if you wanna check that out, too.

Five Guys: Athens supergroup Seize Novembre released a a couple of digital singles back in June and July 2012 and then… nothing! Except, now, each song—”Win You” and “Ah, Merde”—occupies a side on a brand new 7-inch single. The first 50 copies are available exclusively at the Project Safe Thrift Store on Hawthorne Avenue. After that, it’ll presumably be available elsewhere, but those first 50 copies have got to go first. The group includes Jon Lester (Radio:Tahiti), David Barbe, Patrick Ferguson (Five Eight), Steve Fitzpatrick (Unus Mundus) and Kevin Sweeney (Hayride). You can try to stream the tracks at, but I couldn’t get them going. They were more easily listened to at at

White Punks On Hope: Although now split between here, Tennessee and Mississippi, the remorseless punk rockers in Dead Dog still point their chins toward the sky and say “Yes we can!” as often as possible. To wit, the band has its third album at the pressing plant right now. It was recorded over a two year period in Bloomington, IN and is reportedly taking forever to get back, so bandmembers are making homemade copies on CD-Rs and cassettes and will sell those on the road as placeholders for the actual vinyl. Then they’ll just mail the records out when they’re back, because why lose only a few dollars on tour when you can lose all the dollars on tour? The new LP is to be released on Dead Broke Rekerds, to boot! Please see if you don’t believe me. All jibes aside, though, I’ve always thought of Dead Dog as one of the premier melodic bands in Athens. It’ll kick off its tour May 31 at Farm 255, which also happens to be the band’s first show since September. It’s kind of a knockout bill, too, with Portland, OR’s The Woolen Men (, Brooklyn’s Lame Drivers and Athens’ Eureka California. Dead Dog will be on the road for almost three weeks, hitting a lot of the Midwest and Texas and a bit of the deep South.

A Man For All Seasons: The kudos of the year, at least so far, go out to Athens teacher and musician Jim Willingham (Old Smokey, Ham1) for his selfless bravery in rescuing three Oglethorpe Elementary students from a potentially deadly rip current on Tybee Island May 1. The students were on a 4-H Club trip and were only allowed to wade into the water up to knee level, but the rip current pulled six of them out into deeper waters. “It was crazy, “says Willingham. “Two counselors dove in, I dove in and another teacher, Sarah Lewis, dove in. The last kid I pulled out only had his head sticking out, and my arms were going numb by that point. He pulled me under for a minute, but I was able to get him to shore and give him mouth to mouth resuscitation.” In all, six kids were rescued, with four being admitted to an area hospital. (All have since been released.) When asked how he was coping, both psychologically and emotionally, Jim said, “I’m doing pretty good. I had a car wreck about a month ago, and it was really rough. I started swimming a bunch since then, because it was easier on my legs. I used to be a lifeguard and a competitive swimmer. [But] it was weird. It was one of those God moments, where you just get this strength. It’s like wow, I’m here for a reason. I started swimming for a reason. I feel a little redeemed. Like a renewed [sense of] purpose.” Hats off, Jim!