GROUND CONTROL TO MAJOR DON: The ongoing musical concern Space Brother, brainchild of composer Donald Whitehead, just dropped its third sizable release of the year. Back in January, listeners were treated to the whopping 25-track album Rotunda, followed by the 13-track release Atmospheres in July. This new release, Lullabyes: Beats to Relax & Vibe to, is a short five-track EP. It leans heavily into Whitehead’s signature language of ambient hip hop and, while his other albums are generally stylistically aligned, this one leaves out many of the harder-edged elements of his tunes. Check it out and relax over at spacebrother.bandcamp.com.
REMEMBER WHAT THE DORMOUSE SAID: Rabbit Hole Studios (1001 Winterville Road) will host a huge Winter Solstice Festival on Tuesday, Dec. 21. In celebration of the shortest day of the year, organizers have put together the longest possible program, so you’ll barely even notice. Official event information imparts that this is “a free, family-friendly festival featuring art and crafts vendors, live painting, fortune telling, massage booth, caricature drawings, drum circles, a bouncy house and live bands,” which should be more than enough for everyone. While the event technically begins at 1 p.m., entertainment is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. Performers, in order of appearance, are Squeeze the Squid, Cath & Embris, Joe Orr, Freeman Leverett, Fake Zappa, Athens Middle Eastern Orchestra, MYNAWA, Timi Conley and the Wonderland Rangers, The Almighty Strange Ducks and White Rabbit Collective. From 1–2 a.m. there will be fire pit jams and a drum circle as well, just in case you’ve still got some energy left. This casual and wide open event would be a great opportunity for those who haven’t seen it yet to visit Rabbit Hole and find out what a cool community-driven space it is. For more information, please see facebook.com/whiterabbitproductionsllc.
WATCH IT, BUDDY: The Flicker Theatre & Bar will host a smashing double-bill of Don Chambers and Dave Marr on Thursday, Dec. 16. It’s being promoted as “The Holiday on Thin Ice Show” and, while I have zero idea how they mean this, I can attest most positively that this should be a swell time with two of our town’s most talented dudes. Doors are at 8 p.m., music starts at 9 p.m. and it’ll run ya 10 bucks.
CAN’T KEEP A GOOD MAN DOWN: Although strongly promised over a year ago, Donny Knottsville is not actually retiring from music. Indeed, he’s got a new album coming out this Friday named Stranger Still, which he describes as a companion piece to his January 2021 album My Strangest Adventure. This new album is outtakes and B-sides from that album and boasts an impressive list of guests including Joel Hatstat, former Deaf Judges members Cubenza, Louie Larceny and Sawmill Slang, Sienna Chandler, Annie Leeth, Tom Visions, Pensacola, FL’s Big Lo and Bronx, NY hip-hop legend Kool Keith. I’ve not yet been able to hear this new collection but if it is, indeed, work collected during the same time as My Strangest Adventure, then it’s going to hit hard, swing through some dark themes and give only brief moments of respite. I’ve been convinced for a long time that the only thing keeping Knottsville from fame is lack of promotion and word of mouth. So catch up over at donnyknottsville.bandcamp.com, and then grab the new one this Friday.
VISIONS OF SUGAR PLUMS: Composer Andrew Steck barely comes up for air these days. In the past 12 months, he’s founded his record label, released five collections of tunes and now has just released his nine-track version of The Nutcracker Suite. Specifically, he notes, this is a keyboard arrangement of his rock band arrangement of the Tchaikovsky standard. That said, Steck’s arrangement and execution of this is quite 20th-century contemporary and in many ways what used to be described as MOR (i.e. “Middle of The Road”). Basically, this is just as easily enjoyed by Grandma as it is by any of your friends. For the month of December, Steck will donate all proceeds from downloads to Athens charity Children First, Inc. So do a good deed and surf over to andrewsteck.bandcamp.com to throw down some bucks.
WE WISH YOU A MEMEY CHRISTMAS: Phillip Brantley (Terminally Phil, Palace Doctor, Modern Skirts) has made a nice side-identity as Athens meme-maker Philthrottle. In this role, he has dedicatedly thrown poignant, albeit generally good natured, spears at nearly every possible target in Athens. On Saturday, Dec. 18 at Flicker, he’ll present a show billed as “Horny Holidays,” and, from the promotional posters, I’ve been led to believe this involves horns somehow. At any rate, the full bill is composed of Heffner, Small Reactions, Drew Beskin and Well Kept. Doors are at 8 p.m., music starts at 9 p.m. and tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door. Keep up with all things Philthrottle via instagram.com/philthrottle.
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