HOT MIC: Although it wasn’t slated to launch yet, the new iHeartRadio-platformed podcast by Linqua Franqa (aka Mariah Parker) and Dope Knife (Kendrick Mack) is now a living thing. It’s titled Waiting On Reparations and was always meant to be a broadly topical show discussing both current and long-term issues for both black and other underrepresented and/or struggling communities. More specifically, it includes the role of hip hop in shaping the political future, what hip hop can tell us about political currents, and the history that public policy has had in shaping hip hop culture. The events of last week sent up a flare, though, and the show was birthed sooner than expected. Both hosts wrote and recorded the podcast’s unplanned debut episode in a matter of hours. It’s titled “Emergency” and, honestly, that’s just about the only fully appropriate title imaginable. Philosophically and functionally, the rapid push-out of this show reminds me very much of past movements which—using the available technology of the day—would spend all night with a mimeograph machine, offset printer, or photocopier in order to distribute breaking news messages as far and wide, and as quickly, as possible. Think of this as the digital age equivalent. Waiting On Reparations is available on every major streaming platform, so go take a listen.
JOURNEYS TO GLORY: Longtime Athens musician and artist Jay Nackashi (Empire State) has a new collection of tunes out under his Brave New Citizen moniker. The collection, For Demonstration Purposes, runs nine tracks long, and its scope showcases Nackashi’s talent quite handily. This synth-heavy record surfs the crest between being blithely fashion-forward and tunefully abrasive. Overall, there’s a conscious darkness here reminiscent of the very first Spandau Ballet album, the earliest releases from OMD and Human League and, really, a huge swath of the whole 1978-1982 Euro-Wave scene before it became uber-commercial. He played and recorded the whole thing too, but Andy LeMaster (Now, It’s Overhead) remixed and mastered it. There’s only one slight fumble of a track here (“Concentrate”) which just feels too crowded, and the drums a tad off and too buried to boot. But next to the highlights like “Go Round Again,” “The Place We Used To Know” and “Let It Go,” who even cares? Enjoy this over at jaynackashi.bandcamp.com.
MIGHT AS WELL: Drive-By Truckers captured the light despair of urgent isolation perfectly on its new track “Quarantine Together,” which the guys recorded separately in their homes. Since its release back on May 1, it feels like the entire world has changed, and maybe it has. It’s odd how a folk song of such recent vintage, written during and about an event of nearly unprecedented measure, can so suddenly become a portrait of memory—a time that now holds a womb-like appeal in consideration of the stark alternative. This is available at drivebytruckers.bandcamp.com.
RE-LIVIN’ THE DREAM: And, speaking of whom, all three nights (Feb. 13–15, 2020) of DBT’s Heathens Homecoming shows—as the annual hometown shows are called—are now available at the same Bandcamp address above. You can purchase them individually or as one gigantic whopping collection. And it should be mentioned that if you are actually quarantining together with someone and try to play them 82 live tracks in a row, then they’re either really special, or you are.
IDLE HANDS ARE THE DEVIL’S PLAYTHINGS: Rachel and Grant Evans are best known for their music and label work (Motion Sickness of Time Travel, Quiet Evenings, Adversary Electronics, et al), but each are gifted artists in other media, too. And each has brand new projects out. First, Grant Evans has released his first novel, Convalescence, which I’ve not yet had the opportunity to engage. Former Athenian and author Sarah Colombo says, “This is not a traditional novel with a clear plot” and notes that the book, “gives the gift of the re-read, the knowledge that more will come each time, as you splice together the film of a life lived and a life lost.” So, sold! Next up, Rachel Evans just published her own set of tarot cards, Oddments Tarot, whereby she hand-collaged each one and included a bibliography of sources in the guidebook. The first set of these is already sold out, and Grant’s novel is limited in an undisclosed edition, so if you’re up for either you may want to jump on it now. Find Grant’s book at adversaryelectronics.bigcartel.com and Rachel’s cards at motionsicknessoftimetravel.bandcamp.com.
TALK OF THE TOWN: News about this has been passed around social media for a couple of weeks now, but I needed time to listen and absorb it for myself before I mentioned it. Brooklyn, N.Y.-based writer Kara Zuaro launched her podcast In Weird Cities on May 14, and the theme of the program is exploring different music towns and interviewing key participants. Although Athens is only one of the towns slated for this series, multiple interviews are scheduled to appear including Linqua Franqua, Squalle, Bit Brigade, Double Ferrari, Cinemechanica, Andrew Reiger and more. The inaugural episode features R.E.M.’s Bill Berry, who is gracious as always. Engineer Joel Hatstat has been key to the production of this series, too. I’m generally trepidatious with podcasts because so many of them do nothing but amplify the host instead of the subject, but In Weird Cities seems to be doing a good job of letting the subject speak so far. You can find this on all major streaming platforms.
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