MusicThreats & Promises

DJ Variant Collabs With Clerks on New EP

WUB-A-DUB-DUB: Athens-based DJ Variant (aka Chris Thompson) and Atlanta bass artist Clerks (aka Dan Brown) released a collaborative EP titled Neva in September via Cleveland’s Sure State Records. The pair work together on the title track, and each contributes one additional solo track. Clerks’ “Past Away” is a dark, snarlingly moody exploration into deep, abandoned urban vibes, while Variant’s “Scratch” is both a tribute to and continuation of classic deep bass and original-era dubstep. Significantly, Variant is creative when he could very easily be lazy. That is, rather than just have perfect horn samples and defiantly accurate wobble bass, he guides the track through a birthing process that eventually gives way to mild deconstruction via backward tape loops around the two-minute mark and a full-on drop immediately afterward. This sets up a tension that’s almost unbearable for about 20 seconds, until everything comes back in, and the track is fully populated with every sound it previously introduced. Overall, it’s a great example of thoughtful track-building and respect for style. The collaborative title track is less fulfilling only in that its uber-chill downbeat vibe, while totally competent, doesn’t really break new ground. You can stream a veritable truckload of DJ Variant stuff at, Clerks at and learn more about Sure State at

TAKE ME TO THE RIVER: The Foundry will host a benefit for the Oconee River Land Trust Thursday, Oct. 20. This is the inaugural “Oconee River Belles” concert, and it’s planned to be an annual event. This first time around will feature the Grammy Award-winning banjoist Alison Brown, Claire Lynch and Indigo Girls, hot off the heels of their sold-out Georgia Theatre performance. Also on the bill this night are Sans Abri, which features Packway Handle Band Members Josh Erwin, Troy Harris and Michael Paynter. This event begins at 7 p.m., and tickets are $30. See for more information on the trust itself and to purchase tickets.

THEIR BACK PAGES: Psych-art powerhouse Orange Twin just uploaded a bunch of records for streaming and digital purchase to its page at As far as I can tell, this group constitutes either everything or most of everything the label has ever released, dating all the way back to co-head Andrew Rieger’s “holy grail” discovery, Elyse by Elyse Weinberg. Other records include forgotten-but-ready-to-be-remembered records by Zumm Zumm, The Gerbils, Geoff Reacher, The Good Ship, Great Lakes, The Late B.P. Helium and several releases from Elf Power. Go grab some or stream some or whatever the spirits guide you to do.

VULTURE CULTURE: Jazz and pop vocalist Marty Winkler will perform with Brazilian percussionist Tony Oscar at the third annual Vulture Festival Saturday, Oct. 22. This event is presented by Bear Hollow Wildlife Trail, the Athens-Clarke County Recycling Division and the Oconee River Audubon Society. The interesting thing is it takes place at the Landfill Outdoor Classroom, which is, as its name states, at the landfill at 5700 Lexington Road. It’s a small amphitheater-type facility, and I am edified to know that it exists. You can learn more about the classroom itself here. This event is free, runs from 8 a.m.–1 p.m. and features educational activities, an exhibition of trained birds, a scavenger hunt and a vulture-themed costume contest. For more information, see