MusicThreats & Promises

Debbie Dahmer Gets Down and Dirty on New Album

OUT GO THE LIGHTS: Daniel Tanghal just strapped his new-ish project Debbie Dahmer on his back and dove straight into the dirty, grimy hidey-hole of greasy, half-insane primitive rock. His new full-length record, which I suspect was recorded in a fit of 24–48 hours of energy, is titled 1, and it’s an anger-fueled descent into incendiary rage that mostly sounds as if it were recorded via microphones placed outside a concrete bunker with Tanghal bashing away inside. Musically, it recalls the most punchy and teetering early records by The Oblivians, and thematically, it’s as rife with implied self-destruction, societal and personal injustice and bleakness as anything from Black Flag or The Germs. There’s not one single thing happening here that’s healthy other than, hopefully, some cathartic release. That said, what do you want? This is rock and roll, after all, not a health club. Tune in, turn on, and drop out at

OLD SCHOOL COOL: One of the founding fathers of Athens’ music scene, Vic Varney, will play Hendershot’s Coffee Bar Friday, Oct. 28 with percussionist Tony Oscar. Varney is best known for his work with The Tone-Tones, The Method Actors and Go Van Go (the three of which ran chronologically from 1979–1985), but before he spent about a decade in New York playing regular solo gigs and recording a reported 250-plus unreleased songs, he was playing them regularly here in town. At that time, in the late ’80s and early ’90s, it was a real treat to see Varney if you’d been a fan of any of his bands, but there were still enough remnants of the old scene hanging around to take his presence for granted. By the time he swooped down from New York in early 2015 to play at the aforementioned coffee shop, Athens had undergone several musical sea changes. Don’t look for anything to sound like his old bands, and remember that Varney is pretty much a songwriter’s songwriter, which is a better way of saying his music these days is more likely to grab your heart and mind than your throat. Earlier this year, he completed a new album, Home, in Nashville. For a nice history lesson, you can check out the Method Actors anthology This Is Still It, which came out in 2010. Friday is also Varney’s birthday, so be sure to wish him well.

SPIN THE BLACK CIRCLE: Athens record hound Kurt Wood will host a fall record sale on his front porch at 1080 Oconee St. Saturday, Oct. 29 (9 a.m.–6 p.m.) and Sunday, Oct. 30 (noon–6 p.m.). Wood is known across the world in the record-collecting and crate-digging communities. His good stuff is golden, and even his garbage is usually someone else’s treasure. His prices are reasonable, and he never has fewer than thousands of titles at at these sales across LPs and 45s. Take some bucks and have a ball.

OUR FRIEND DAMIEN: As reported on Homedrone: Longtime Athenian musician, chef and friend Damien Schaefer passed away the morning of Saturday, Oct. 15 after battling cancer. Although he was largely known for the past several years as a spearheading presence on the Athens—nay, the Southeast’s—food and drink scene, his first forays into Athens culture came over two decades ago, when he was an undergrad at UGA. His two main musical projects in the 1990s were the pop-punk trio The Pull Outs and the second-wave emo band The Walt Lariat. This is when I met him. We knew each other through our bands, which played shows together, and a veritable gaggle of mutual friends. Through the years, our interactions became less frequent, but significantly, I can’t for the life of me recall a single unpleasant interaction with Damien in the almost 25 years I knew him. I do remember the last joke we ever shared, though. I guess it was about five or six years ago at one of his Four Coursemen dinners. During a very brief respite from his cooking and presenting duties that night, we talked about his transition from music to food and laughed about how it wasn’t terribly different, except the foodie house shows he was throwing were a lot more expensive! My best guess is that everyone who knew Damien has at least one similar story of a shared laugh or thoughtful conversation. I, for one, am glad I have this one.