Threats & Promises

Sparkle/Trauma’s Analogue Nights, Digital Days, And More Music News and Gossip

FIVE ALIVE: Volumes Hip Hop is cranking up again and will host its first event in a long time, a Volumes Patio Party, at Athentic Brewing Company (108 Park Ave.) on Friday, May 7. Founder Sam Lipkin told me, “Honestly, I took 2020 to feel out the best direction for Volumes and how to help artists as things opened up. We’re excited to finally bring back the shows.” This first show back will feature Caulfield, Trvy, Convict Julie, Anime Zayy and Clark County. It’s free and runs from 8-11 p.m. In other news, earlier this year Lipkin launched Volumes Media, which she describes as a vehicle to “[help] artists market themselves and their music.” She reports, also, that while the print version of Volumes Hip Hop will likely not return, the online publication is back in full swing, and this first show back “definitely symbolizes a return of Volumes as an entity.” To find out more, please see and

UNNATURAL HISTORY: Experimental metal catch-all Ixian has a new split release out this month with Kalamazoo, MI’s Via Ferrata. Our local hero’s sole track is the 14-minute opus “Haunting Creatures Festering Within The Rotted Recesses,” which is exactly as gloomy, overbearing and heavy as it sounds. It’s fully instrumental and kind of lost me when I listened to it without headphones so, if you want to stay in the moment, keep ‘em plugged in. Via Ferrata contributes three tracks which, all things considered, reminded me more of Coil than anything else, and I mean that as a compliment. Check this out at and

AGAIN, ALREADY: It’s only been a few weeks since I told y’all about this project named The Vet’s Fetching. While there’s still no publicly available information about who or what is behind this drifty ambient music, there is, however, a new EP out courtesy of Super Carnival Recordings. The only possible clue regarding personnel involved with this is the note that it was mastered by J Anderssen of Ihlyatt. This new six-track collection is titled Pinball Cosmos. The tracks here that resonated with me are the ones with something discernible under their gauzy surface. So, that means “A Comet Chases Its Tail,” with its bass-y drone, and “The Last Laugh Alone,” with its pretty, simply stated melody. I can say that this release is a little more put together and coherent than last month’s The Vet’s Sketchings which, in light of this EP, sounds more like a demo than it did before. Check it out at 

SUM OF THE PARTS: Duo Sparkle/Trauma, composed of longtime musicians and experimenters Leslie Grove and K. Ken Johnston, released its debut EP this month and named it Analogue Nights​-​Digital Days. While only running a mere four tracks, this hits on all points. Self-described as “Style Independent Genre – or SIG Wave,” they nonetheless retain many aspects of traditional minimal synth and early ‘80s electro. Importantly, to me at least, they don’t consciously point toward any other artists even as they traverse familiar ground. I’m especially fond of the bass lines that run throughout “Anthem,” which are as icy as they are potentially funky. In related news, the duo also just released a live EP they recorded at Flicker Theatre & Bar back on Jan. 8, 2020. Honestly, maybe it’s quarantine or maybe it’s Maybelline, but they sound like a totally different band, maybe coming across as a little campy, their cover of Phillip Glass’ “Opening” notwithstanding. It’s not “bad,” per se, but totally unrepresentative of what they’re doing now. You can check both of these out at

GENTLE REMINDER: Don’t forget that the 2021 Vic Chesnutt Songwriter of the Year Award live show and presentation is happening Thursday, May 6 at 7 p.m. at the outdoor pavilion at Creature Comforts. The show will also be live-streamed. Limited tickets for the in-person event are $25 and only available at the door. The night begins with performances by last year’s winner, Jim Willingham, and those who have led and participated in the program’s Seminar and Workshop series: Caroline Aiken, Sylvie Simmons, Marc Anthony Thompson and Jim White. And, of course, audiences will enjoy performances by all the finalists: Bo Bedingfield, Cassie Chantel, Jim White, Charlie Hartness, Kxng Blanco and WesdaRuler featuring Louie Larceny. For more information and to stream the event please see Hats off and good luck to all involved!