Hello, y’all. We’re in Austin, TX this week for South By Southwest, but the Athens music train never stops, and there’s always plenty going on. So, let’s just dive in now, OK?
FIRST THINGS FIRST: If you, too, are in Austin this week, do not miss the Athens In Austin Day Party. This year’s event is coordinated by Super Canoe, Strolling Bones Records, Athens Resonates and Bitter Southerner. It happens at Antone’s (305 E 5th St.) from 12–6 p.m. on Thursday, Mar. 16 with doors opening at 11 a.m. Featured artists are Susu, Alaska Reid, The Pink Stones, Tommy Lefroy, Hello Mary, Steele FC, Immaterial Possession, CDSM, Klark Sound and Tody Castillo. It is free and open to the public. Later that night, at the same venue, is the official Athens In Austin SXSW Showcase which requires either a badge or wristband for entry. Doors are at 7 p.m., and music starts at 8 p.m. Featured artists for this are Future Crib, Kibi James, Bonny Doon, Say Zuzu, Chickasaw Mudd Puppies, Call Me Spinster and Elijah Johnston.
SWEEPING UP: Every now and then I have to go back through my notes and resurrect something I’ve been meaning to get to. In this case, it’s the demo from hardcore propagators Snuki. This release comes courtesy of Futile Force Tapes and was recorded, mixed and mastered by label chief Reeth Dasgupta (Consec, Foodeater). On this, Snuki reminds us all that one of the reasons the best-loved hardcore bands in history are, indeed, best loved is they were able to lock into a groove while pummeling everything else. Before you brand me as a hippie for saying that, go reference Bad Brains’ “I Against I,” and you’ll hear what I mean. The songs here that best represent what I’m saying are “Snuki,” “Breaking Out Teeth” and “Laura Palmer,” each of which is so pit-ready it’s not even funny. The particular production decision of draping the vocals in just enough reverb to be noticeable was a great choice, too. Find this immediately over at futileforce.bandcamp.com.
I WANT TO SEE THE BRIGHT LIGHTS TONIGHT: The upcoming book on The B-52s by former Athens musicians and writers Scott Creney and Brigette Herron is available for preorder now and is slated for release on May 5. This hefty intellectual tome, The Story of The B-52s: Neon Side of Town, is published by British academic and trade press Palgrave Macmillan. At the moment, preorders are available through Amazon, but you should easily be able to stroll into your local book dealer and have it ordered for you—which is the preferred method, of course. As a heads up, do not expect this to be a fun-time/party-all-the-time book. It is a critical exploration of the band’s history and career in contexts not normally highlighted. Having been privy to early drafts of this manuscript, as well as deep familiarity with the authors’ previous work, I can attest fully that this is well worth your time and attention. For more information, please see palgrave.com/gp. Note that this book does not yet appear on the publisher’s website, but I suspect that will be remedied very soon.
RHYTHM FORWARD: The highly obsessive and work-oriented Henry Owings (Chunklet Magazine/Records) has undertaken an exceedingly deep dive into the history of one of Athens’ greatest lost mysteries, Limbo District. In addition to resurrecting the band’s 1982 Mitch Easter-produced demo tape and having it remixed by David Barbe, Owings has been in regular and close contact with photographer Marlys Lenz Cox. She was shooting the band just outside of town the day Jim Herbert filmed them for the now-legendary short film Carnival in 1982, which features her own hand-colored photographs. And that’s all just the tip of the iceberg from what I hear. There are reportedly multiple Limbo District-related events happening throughout the next year. The first is Saturday, Apr. 15 at Ciné. It will feature a screening of the 12-minute Carnival, additional footage of the band, and a Q&A between Herbert and journalist Richard Fausset. It happens at 5 p.m. and costs $5. Proceeds go to the newly formed nonprofit Chunklet Music Preservation Project. ATHICA will be on hand, too, selling reprints of photographs by Cox as well as reproductions of relevant posters by Bill Georgia.
LISTENER’S CHOICE: Athens band The Angelics just released its first six-song EP, Mom’s House, late last month. While the band has steadily grown its audience, both in Athens and Atlanta, it’s high time people stopped using the term “alternative” to describe any type of pop music. I assure you that every aspect of what used to constitute an alternative to mainstream music has been thoroughly absorbed by the machinations of the industry and utterly smoothed over by the sands of time. Anything that is actually an alternative doesn’t bother announcing itself as such, because the evidence is observable. With regard to this particular release, there’s absolutely nothing here that would have ever been categorized as such even back in “the day.” What is here, though, are three tracks of soft rock (tracks 1–3) and three tracks of only slightly harder jam band-style rockers. The actual playing and performance of these is fine and displays the band’s skills thoroughly, but what the whole thing is sorely lacking is personality. I can see pressing play on this once to check it out, as I did, but cannot for the life of me imagine pressing it again. As always, your mileage may vary so head to Spotify, find this, and judge for yourself.
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