KING OF QUEENS: Queens, NY-based former Athenian—and still friend to many locals—Jeff Tobias (We Versus The Shark, Pegasuses-XL) just released his debut solo album Recurring Dream. The tracks here are loosely related stylistically but still fairly distinct from each other. The album doesn’t really kick in until the fifth song, “Transparency,” which is notable for drawing on influences as disparate as Steely Dan and Pinback. Tobias, who has a magnificent history as an improviser and collaborator, still shines best when he goes for obvious melodies and resolutions. For example, “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror” features a classically propulsive motorik-styled beat and a hummable tune, and should have appeared much earlier in the album’s sequence. Other highlights here are “Thank You For Your Service” and “Venezuela.” This is available as a vinyl LP and digital download. Check it out and do your shopping over at jefftobias.bandcamp.com, and for more information, please see jefftobias.net.
ASAMBENI!: The UGA Performing Arts Center will host Bulawayo, Zimbabwe a cappella female quintet Nobuntu Tuesday, Jan. 25. While they are a cappella, there is also very minimal accompaniment by way of percussion and a thumb piano known as the mbira. Tickets range from $30–$50 depending on seating, and the show takes place at Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m. with a free pre-concert talk hosted in the Ramsey Concert Hall at 6:45 p.m. For tickets and more information, please see pac.uga.edu/event/nobuntu. To learn more about the group, see nobuntu-music.com.
THROW IT ALL AT THE WALL: Musician Austin Emerson recently relocated to Athens from Brooklyn, NY. He writes and records under the name Golden Harmonium, and his full-length album, Subjects of the Cave, was released last September. There’s a real kitchen-sink quality to all his stuff, which can make it difficult to discern which way any of it is going. When he nails it, he’s got a great sense of melody, but the plot feels lost a lot of the time as if he’s deciding on which direction to go. Kind of like a shambolic T-Rex or hobo Bowie, in a way. That said, he’s got a brand new single out named “Change The Ending,” which is quite like his album work except more electrified and with a semi-anthem like quality to it. Your mileage may vary, of course, so give it a chance. Find this on Spotify and, presumably at some future date, goldenharmonium.bandcamp.com.
HAT TIP: One of Athens’ most consistently creative and rewarding bands, The Pierres, have a new single named “Runner And A Catch” out this week. On this, the band have dug deeply into the history of the US underground and come up with a gem of a tune. Recalling 1970s-era Modern Lovers and maybe even a little Iggy Pop, the song plugs along in a semi-sinister mid-tempo way where the only space for a breath of air is in its one-line chorus. It’s starting to feel like it’s time for a new full-length album from these dudes, and I hope that’s in the works. Find “Runner And A Catch,” as well as the band’s extensive back catalog, over at thepierres2.bandcamp.com.
WAVE AND SAY HEY: It’s going to be difficult to beat this bill on a Thursday night, but The Lewis Room at Tweed Recording will host Tyler Key & The Strangers, Hibbs Family Band and Nikki & The Phantom Callers Thursday, Jan. 20. Doors open at 6 p.m. and music starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are 10 bucks. Some important details need mentioning, too: This is a standing, non-seated show. Also, a negative COVID test or proof of vaccination is required for entry, and masks are required. Once you jump through these easily passable hoops, you’re in for an evening of very solid songwriting.
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