Threats & Promises

Floral Portait’s Wilsonian Pop, And More Music News and Gossip

Floral Portrait. Credit: Andy Barton.

VIEWERS LIKE YOU: The prolific and electronically oriented Iodine Watt has a new EP named Shared History, and it’s just about the most background-oriented thing I’ve heard in, well, weeks. Which is to say, don’t expect this to capture your attention if you throw it on. It has neither immediacy nor urgency, and it drifts along at its own slow pace. That’s not to say, however, that it slogs along, which it definitely doesn’t. There’s a rhythm here, but it might take a few passes to discern it. Occasionally it feels like a subtle appeal to the cleanliness of mechanical reproduction (“Feel Me Feel You (Satyriacs)”) but that’s really just a vibe, and there’s nothing explicitly pointing my feelings this way. The final track, “Safe in Sound (Spacers),” does, however, sound exactly like the type of music that plays during pauses in public-access TV programming when those cards with community announcements are shown. If this particular release doesn’t do it for you when checking it out at, just stick around there for a while and click some other things. There are a lot of choices.

GIT ‘ER DUNN: ATHICA (Athens Institute for Contemporary Art) continues its free music night series, under the direction of Monty Greene, on Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. Featured that night is the irrepressible and thoroughly heroic Kevin Dunn. His resume is undeniable, and his talent nearly unquestionable. With no exaggeration, Dunn was a key player in the advancement of Southern new wave, both with his own music (The Fans, Regiment of Women, et al) and his production and support of peer groups such as The B-52s and Pylon. For the unfamiliar, get up to speed at, and if you’re already familiar, just get yourself to ATHICA. 

TICKLING THE IVORIES: The Performing Arts Center at UGA will host jazz pianist Matthew Whitaker Friday, Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the Hodgson Concert Hall. The blind pianist and former child prodigy will make his Athens debut with his quintet. His professional bona fides are without question, and he’s toured the world, including appearances at some of the most renowned festivals and stages on Earth. These include SFJAZZ Center (San Francisco), Monterey Jazz Festival, Newport Jazz Festival, Playboy Jazz Festival and Telluride Jazz Festival, among many more. Tickets for this performance are available online at as well as at the Performing Arts Center box office Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. For more information, please see or call 706-542-4400.

IN THE LAB: Longtime Athens-based publicist Michelle Roche will present a solid bill of Americana folk at Ciné on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. Featured performers this night are songwriter, guitarist and visual artist Abe Partridge (Mobile, AL) who is on the cusp of releasing his newest album Love In The Dark, David Childers (Charlotte, NC), and Athens’ own Ken Will Morton who hasn’t played live since 2021. Partridge has achieved a good amount of critical acclaim for his songwriting, which I find to be most effective at its slowest and most deliberate. Get up to speed via and 

EVERYBODY GET TOGETHER: The ambitious new album from Floral Portrait (formerly Sibylline Lover) is out now courtesy of Marching Banana Records. The project—populated by composers and collaborators from previous projects Jason Bronson, Jacob Chisenhall and Freeman Leverett—both explores and inhabits a particularly specific type of late-1960s orchestral pop. Specific examples include Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys, The Free Design and Harpers Bizarre. In fact, the song “Clarissa” is so “Wilsonian” (their words) that it’s a little on the nose. The group isn’t entirely married to this aesthetic, though, as the sonic disintegration at the end of “Spectacle in Paisley Park” makes clear. Highlights for me here are the gently wafting “Waves,” the Tin Pan Alley-ish “Portrait of E” and the spectacular album-closer “Silver Thread Lullaby.” Floral Portrait will perform at Flicker Theatre & Bar on Feb. 27, and an album release show will follow at Hendershot’s on Mar. 3. The limited-edition vinyl is already sold out and cassette copies are going quickly, but you can still grab your digital copy over at

WIND ADVISORY: When UGA’s Hugh Hodgson School of Music hosts the College Band Directors National Association national conference this week, Athens music fans are in for a treat. The UGA Wind Ensemble, conducted by Nicholas Enrico Williams and guest conductors Jaclyn Hartenberger and Shiree X. Williams, is scheduled to perform Thursday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. and play six pieces, two of which are world premieres. The first is a collaboration between Linqua Franqa (AKA Maria Parker) and Peter Van Zandt Lane (Dancz Center for New Music) titled “Ascendant Cycles,” and it’s a three-movement concerto. The second premier is “Triptych” from composer Joseph Turrin and will feature principal trumpet for the New York Philharmonic (NYP) Chris Martin as well as the NYP’s principal trombone Joseph Alessi. This performance is free, open to the public and will occur at Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall. You may reserve your free tickets online via or by calling 706-542-4400. In related news, a panel discussion titled “Athens Hip Hop Harmonic: Building a Bridge Between UGA and Local Music” will happen Saturday, Feb. 18 at 4:15 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center’s Ramsey Hall. Featured participants include the aforementioned Lane and Parker as well as Hugh Hodgson School of Music faculty Connie Frigo, Jaclyn Hartenberger and James Weidman. Also participating are Montu Miller, Celest Divine Ngeve and Ayako Pederson-Takeda. This discussion is also free and open to the public.