STRUM ALONG: Niño Brown released a new single last week named “Dizzy.” Longtime listeners of the artist born Cortez Garza will immediately recognize this as the first instance of the reappearance of his acoustic guitar since adopting the Brown moniker. It serves as a strong undercurrent for the nicely melodic pop-R&B track which, once heard, isn’t nearly as incongruous with his other singles as it appears on paper. I’m just gonna go ahead and say it, though—it’s time for Brown to release a full album. Singles are dandy, but it’s time for a collection of songs arranged in a specific order. So, consider my order placed. Find this on all major streaming services, and find its video premiere on flagpole.com.
GENRE JAM: We’re smack dab in the exact middle of Aubrey Entertainment’s RPM series at Southern Brewing. Hosting exclusively rock, punk and metal (RPM, get it?), these shows are conveniently hosted on Friday evenings. Upcoming dates are Feb. 3 with Swear Jar, Grawks and Commune; Feb. 10 with Bleach Garden, Beat Up and Deaf Condors; Feb. 17 with Bastardane, Klept and Parathion; and Feb. 24 with Rosie & the Ratdogs, Wyld Staleyz and Sleezy Cheetah. Doors open for each of these at 7 p.m., and music starts at 8 p.m. For all other questions, call ahead or bug the grown-ups involved in booking this via social media. For your convenience, the necessary information is sobrewco.com and facebook.com/AubreyEntertainmentAthensGA.
SWEAT LOAF: I gotta say, I’m really digging the slow slide back into semi-anonymous music happening in certain corners of the music scene. This week’s example comes courtesy of the nearly excellent Rubber Udder, which itself comes courtesy of “SuL E. HoLmSs.” It’s been many years since this type of heavy, acid-crisped, freak-scene, heavy-metal-punk-slush was propagated in Athens, and I welcome it. The new album is named Mechanically Separated Chicken, and it’s actually the third collection of songs from Rubber Udder since 2021. I’m not even going to go into individual tracks here, but suffice it to say if you dig Butthole Surfers, Bar-B-Q Killers and/or Melvins, you should be able to cuddle up next to something here, if not the whole thing. Find it at rubberudder.bandcamp.com.
SING IT TO ME, NOW: It’s been high time for a while for Patrick Brick to release some new tunes under his Futo umbrella. And he’s just done that with the five-song EP Behind the Kohl’s. His last release was 2021’s Outstanding in His Field. This is perhaps the least obviously electronically oriented release from Futo, which is understandable considering his habitual collaboration with Four Eyes. That said, this doesn’t mimic the lilting acoustic heights of that project, but it does approach a similar level of emotional depth. Significantly, listeners are able to enjoy Brick’s songwriting up front and not behind a sheen of production. Even so, this wasn’t recorded in a paper cup, and it’s a sharply produced release. Highlights here for me are the opening song “Little Life” and the surprisingly rocking title track. Explore on your own at futo.bandcamp.com.
KAZOOS AND BEATING DRUMS: What do you get when you combine one sweater, an acoustic guitar and Dunkin’ Donuts? Neutral Milk Hotel, what else? And just in case your attention has been diverted somehow from this particularly singular Athens-via-Ruston, LA legend, the kind folks over at Merge Records have got you covered for the interminably foreseeable future. On Friday, Feb. 24 the artists’ longtime label will release the whopping 54-track vinyl release The Collected Works of Neutral Milk Hotel. This set contains both proper NMH albums (1996’s On Avery Island and 1998’s In The Aeroplane Over The Sea), 2001’s Live at Jittery Joe’s, the EPs Everything Is (1995) and Ferris Wheel on Fire (2011), and select other bibs and bobs. All told, this is a stellar collection of a great songwriter and formidable performers that deserves all the care and attention I’m certain Merge provided. Find this at local record shops. If they don’t have it, just keep bugging them until they do. If you want, you can still pre-order directly from the label for $156.98. If that’s your way of dealing with this type of thing, head to mergerecords.com/product/the_collected_works_of_neutral_milk_hotel.
THEY COULD BE HEROES: Set your dials for Saturday, Feb. 4 at the Lab at Ciné, because this is a bill straight from the valley of impossible dreams: three bands that have defied all generally accepted rock music odds and come out on top. On top of the bill we’ve got the Pylon Reenactment Society, which has managed to turn every pre-conceived notion of what a tribute band is on its ear. Then we’ve got death-rockers Tears for The Dying, who have slogged it out across two decades now, but still kept their heads up and sights polished, and are now achieving breakthrough status. Finally, there’s the thoroughly authentic post-punk Go Public, which is a refreshing thrill of a band courtesy of dudes who have been in a lot of bands. Basically, these three acts have done what no one ever really does: reinvent and reimagine work so foundational it could be chiseled on City Hall; maintain a vision and purpose for 20 years, all the while battling reactions from shrugs to outright indifference; and forming the best band of the individual member’s lives decades after each began playing music. That might well be an overly romantic way to look at all this but, hell, that’s where I’m coming from. Doors open at 9 p.m. and the price is 10 bucks.
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