YEAR-END REPRISE: There’s a new two-song release from Derek Almstead (Faster Circuits, Olivia Tremor Control), who released his debut solo EP, Boxes, in March. These new songs are a departure from the sounds of the EP, which were largely a comfortable blend of psych and indie pop similar to mixing, say, Belle & Sebastian with The Free Design. Instead, Almstead leans more into heavier synth sounds on “Suspended Animation” and then into soulful new wave on “All This Time I Played The Beast,” which would not be out of place performed by Blondie or Sade, and at certain points even reminded me of “Driver’s Seat” by Sniff ‘n’ the Tears. Each song features vocals by Emily Growden (Faster Circuits) in the lead, and this is a very nice addition. Find this over at derekalmstead.bandcamp.com.
EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS WILL HAPPEN TODAY: Robert Schneider (Apples In Stereo, Obligatory Refractions) is just about the most effusively kind human being you could ever meet. So, it makes complete sense that the liner notes to his new album—in which he discusses some rather complex math while describing his journey toward creating his own “mathematically defined ‘non-Pythagorean’ musical scale”—are as conversational and layman-friendly as possible. The album, Songs For Other Worlds, is a 14-track record, and each piece sounds exactly like that. Or, rather, what I imagine they should sound like. Functionally (i.e. as a listening experience), this swings from the pleasant (“Space Song of the Blue Sky”) to the decidedly not so (“Suspended Animation”). Schneider handles all the instrumentation and, indeed, the album notes credit him with “sine waves, synthesizer, re-tuned kalimba while standing in the ocean at night.” Please keep in mind that this is decidedly not easy listening. Nor, however, is it aggressively off-putting. In all honesty, it’s there for you to experience, and what you take from that will vary possibly even within the same listening session. This is released courtesy of Cloud Recordings and can be found at cloudrecordings.bandcamp.com.
PEOPLE TAKE PICTURES OF EACH OTHER: Practically right on the heels of releasing the album Somewhere Sideways Same As You, Drew Beskin & The Sunshine have upped its own ante. On Dec. 16 the group releases a one-off single where it covers The Kinks’ beautiful 1967 song “Waterloo Sunset.” While its performance is more jumped-up than the original and the guitars are more pronounced, there’s an obvious effort to give this tune its due. Still, though, it’s an enormous challenge tackling something like this, if not from a musical perspective then certainly a cultural one. Not only is it among the most revered signature songs of composer Ray Davies—imagine someone attempting to cover with any degree of confidence “Stairway To Heaven” or similar—it’s also geographically and experientially specific. Find this and spin for yourself over at drewbeskin.bandcamp.com.
GATHER TOGETHER: On Wednesday, Dec. 21 a holiday benefit show for Project Safe will happen at the VFW (835 Sunset Dr.) at 7 p.m. Admission is $10. The event, appropriately titled Project.Safe.Christmas will feature vocal performances from The Priestie Boys, Reginald Willis and Eric Johnson (both of The Athens Voices of Truth), Claire Campbell (Hope for Agoldensummer), Andreana Williams, Todd Burton and Tommy Jordan. Live musical accompaniment is courtesy of Micah Lewis, Mindy Towe, Sally Coenen and Dick Daniels. Attendees should expect a “spirited show of classics, choral music, and some singalongs.” The masters of ceremony are Alzena Johnson and Shawanda Johnson. Dinner and desserts will be sold courtesy of Tricia’s Office. For more information, please see facebook.com/PrjectSafeInc.
TAKEN BY STORM: At long last, the vinyl LP of Monsoon’s latest album Ghost Party is available. However, due to being a limited edition of 300, and the fact that it’s been on sale for about a week, it’s likely very close to selling out. If you’re interested, then run your stubby little fingers direct to monsoonband.bandcamp.com and hop on it.
STUBBA HUBBA: Tickets are on sale now for the 2023 HeAthens Homecoming from the Drive-By Truckers. This annual multi-night stand at the 40 Watt Club is basically ground zero for the most ardent of Truckers fans and is a regular pilgrimage for many. The 2023 run is happening a little later this time around and will occur Wednesday, Mar. 29–Saturday, Apr. 1. These shows will absolutely sell out—even at the going price of $50 per ticket—so don’t be caught wanting, cowboy. Head to 40watt.com, and grab you some.
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