DANCE OF LIFE: Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year is Athens’ original set of rockers, Ravenstone. Originally formed in 1971 as part band and part student political party, Ravenstone was as well known for its political stances as it was for its rousing live performances. The band has just released its newest album, its first full-length since 2005’s Back On The Rock, and it’s named Dirty, Dusty and Divine. This new record swings with an R&B vibe of the first degree, and careful listeners will notice a direct lineage to the band’s original influences, such as the unmistakable MC5-type melody and thrust on “More Love” and “Finger Puppets.” Look for a future article in these pages catching up with the band, but for now, enjoy this over at ravenstone.hearnow.com and keep on keeping up at ravenstoneband.com.
TALES TO TELL: Athens flutist (or, if you prefer, flautist) Kelly Catlin’s debut album is named Backstory and is available across all major streaming services as we speak. This ambitiously crafted album features its functional focal point at its very beginning. Specifically, the four-part “Memory, Movement” with its attendant parts being “Backyard,” “Shore,” “Backstage” and “Marketplace.” True to this section’s title, these movements actually, you know, move. They’re accompanied by unsettling bits of children’s laughter, audience applause and other outside noises. The album’s most immediately accessible tracks are “The Clocksmith” and “Lilac and Snapdragon,” but it’s most important is probably “In The Forest.” While it’s not even close to a one-to-one comparison, I feel comfortable mentioning that this record—due to its arrangement, complexity and use of breath, the spoken word and select electronics—reminds me most strongly of Laurie Anderson, and that’s always welcome. For more information, please see kellycatlin.com.
WELCOME TO TOWN: Label owner, musician and composer Marcel Sletten just relocated to Athens from Lodi, CA and brought his Primordial Void label with him. Although it’s nearly, or just barely, three years old, the label has a slate of 20 releases under its belt. Emphasizing the experimental and esoteric, its most recent title comes courtesy of Finnish artist Maria Rossi (aka Cucina Povera) and is named Lumme. I mentioned to Sletten via email that there is an existing community of like-minded artists and label folks here in town, so y’all be friendly and reach out or something. Also of note, Lodi boasts approximately half the population of Athens so that’s an adjustment as well, for sure. Wave and say hey over at primordial-void.com and get up to speed at primordialvoid.bandcamp.com.
PUBLIC SERVICE: Informational Tape Announcements (aka ITA) is the long-running project of musician and filmmaker Thomas Bauer (Sad Dads) and Joe Hopper (aka DJ JoFi) as well as Lloyd Handy (aka DJ Boring). The reason I’m telling you all this is because there’s a brand-new, 17-track album from this crew out now named Death 2. While Hopper and Handy contribute all the beats, vocals are all handled by Bauer. There’s a certain demo quality about this, but that doesn’t really detract from anything. The tunes themselves are varied and range from straight click-style beats to nearly GBV-adjacent pop (“What Ifs”). I have to give a hat tip to Bauer in particular, who could have very easily slid into totally stupid King Kong-ish vocals given his penchant for sing-speak on this. But he doesn’t. He delivers pretty discernible melodies on each track and, more than anything else, exhibits a creative sense of lethargy. Check it out at informationaltapeannouncements.bandcamp.com.
TRAIN KEPT A’ROLLIN’: Atlanta’s Terminus Records is on a reissue tear right now and has a few titles that should be of particular interest to Athens music fans. First, in conjunction with Record Store Day they’re rereleasing Col. Bruce Hampton’s 1987 album Arkansas on colored vinyl. Then, on July 2 and Aug. 13 respectively, they’ll be putting out—again on colored vinyl—Slang’s Bellwether Project (2001) and More Talk About Tonight (2004). Slang was a collaborative project, albeit sometimes with a host of guests, between composer Layng Martine III and Dave Schools (Widespread Panic). For more information, please see terminusrecords.com.
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