MusicThreats & Promises

The Skipperdees Reunite, New R.E.M. Radio Doc and More Music News

Hey y’all,

This is the final Threats & Promises of the year, so before we jump into it, I just want to wish all of you a great holiday season and send you off with the hope that yours is merry, bright, etc. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the news…

HERE’S TO HOPING: If you’re really looking to start the 2018 right, you cannot go wrong by catching a very special reunion show of The Skipperdees at Hendershot’s Coffee Bar on Sunday, Jan. 7. The show starts at 7 p.m. and will run ya five bucks. Songwriters Catherine and Emily Backus’ folk—with a tinge of old-time mountain music—compositions are sharply written emotional landslides expertly delivered. It’s been a while since the pair have played together, so prioritize this. Also on the bill this night are LeeAnn Peppers and Harlot Party. Check out The Skipperdees at, and learn some history at

OF ALL THE NERVE: The old-school Athens experimental/noise/industrial/ambient crowd should be well edified Thursday, Dec. 28 by the bill of Nerve Clinic, The Mission Creep and Support Group. It’s going down at Flicker Theatre & Bar. Support Group is a “dark ambient/experimental project” coordinated by Steve Fitzpatrick (radio:Tahiti, Unus Mundus). For the faithful, know that Nerve Clinic founder Monty Greene (Damage Report) has stated that, due to technical limitations, his performance isn’t going to be anything like a live show, so he’ll be DJing a showcase of his music. The Mission Creep is an experimental solo project from Damage Report’s Ben Ferguson. Check out, and

INTO THE GROOVE: Live techno duo Group Grope (Michael Pierce and DJ Other Voices, Other Rooms) bring their particular fire back to Go Bar Wednesday, Dec. 20. Billed as the “Winter Solstice Show” due to the astronomical phenomenon happening at midnight, attendees can expect this to be as dark as possible. Sharing the bill is Chapel Hill, NC power-electronics specialist Housefire (aka Luciann Waldrup) and modular-synth funk player Mike Geary, who is also from Chapel Hill. Doom Ribbons and Goddess Complex, from Athens, round out the bill. Or square it out. Or whatever.

A SORT OF HOMECOMING: Athens singer-songwriters Mamie Davis and Simone ZJ are coming back to town during their winter break from Belmont University, and they’ll be playing at the Caledonia Lounge Wednesday, Dec. 20. I think the last time this pair played locally was all the way back in June, but I could be wrong. Along for the ride this time around is Nashville’s Emily Clement. Wanna listen in early so you can sing along? Head to, and

LET’S GO KWAZY, LET’S GET NUTS: I didn’t think I was going to have room to include this before the end of the year, but the new three-song EP from Kwazymoto is a gol’ dang hot fire. Titled The Death of Darby Crash and released on the 37th anniversary of the Germs frontman’s death, the band continues its amazing upward trajectory in terms of songwriting. This release in particular is a perfectly distilled blend of math rock and noise rock with dashes of classic punk. The highlight for me is the relatively short but lyrically epic middle song, “Family Sun House.” Give it a listen at, and be a pal at

THAT BEAT IN TIME: Well-established Irish print and radio entertainment journalist Ken Sweeney traveled to Athens in May to record a radio documentary on R.E.M. The extent of his research is pretty incredible. Although he covers a lot of well-worn ground for longtime fans, he went a few extra miles to grab original quotes and interviews and didn’t depend on already-published material. (Imagine that, digital vertical publishers!) Anyway, the whole audio doc, “R.E.M.: Out of Athens,” runs just over an hour and covers the band’s first decade (roughly 1980–1992). It won’t air in Ireland until Dec. 28, but you can listen right now at

THIS IS WHY: In 2015, the state of Georgia passed a law that allows municipalities to designate one Sunday a year when bars can be open, and the fine folks of the Athens-Clarke County Commission have designated New Year’s Eve as the date for 2017. So, that’s why you’ll be able to catch a whole bunch of shows at a whole bunch of places that would normally be slap shut on a Sunday. Where? What? Who? That’s what the Flagpole calendar is for, buddy. Thanks for asking! More in next week’s paper, including a New Year’s Eve concert roundup and a more detailed explanation of the Sunday law.