Threats & Promises

Kuroma Releases The Color of Heaven, And More Music News and Gossip


INFORMALLY YOURS: If you’ve been paying even casual attention to the Athens scene over the past five years or so, it’s been clear that there’s a new generation of bands that have planted their big pop flag in the ground. Not the underground indie pop or even pop-punk, but huge sounding, arena-ready pop. The latest of these is Casual Americans. The band just released its self-titled debut album after releasing singles for a few years. Working in a crystalline production environment worthy of The Jonas Brothers or 5 Seconds of Summer while sounding like neither, the band ushers taut melodies through a trove of radio tropes. The effect is such that when listening to the album, it’s easy to think you’ve heard several of these songs before, even though you haven’t. The band is at its best when squeezing out 1970s musical touchstones, such as those on the piano-centric “Hold On,” and comes up shorter when pulling wildcards from the ‘90s/2000s, such as opening track “Somebody Famous.” The one track here that stands above all the others is the slightly bitter “Do Better,” and it’s also the most solidly of its time. Find this on streaming services including, and for more information, please see

WELCOME HOME: Parker Gispert (The Whigs) will play a full-band Athens show at Paloma Park Saturday, Mar. 30, and his set will reportedly be filled with both solo and Whigs material. Also on the bill is the brand-new group The Mountain of Youth, composed of Hunter Morris (Blue Blood, Gift Horse), Drew Beskin (District Attorneys, The Sunshine, Broasis), Nick Robbins (Palace Doctor, Velveteen Pink) and Phillip Brantley (Modern Skirts, Terminally Phil). This combination of players is something like a Pro Bowl team of Athens songwriters, so I’m pretty excited to hear what they’ve come up with. Doors are at 8 p.m., and the show is free. 

HELLO, AGAIN: This is the first week, probably ever, that two ex-Whigs members have something going the same week in this column. But Hank Sullivant (also of MGMT), who has released music under the name Kuroma since 2007, has a new album out named The Color Of Heaven. All the music was written and performed by Sullivant, and the album was recorded, produced and mixed by Nate Nelson. Within the confines of the record itself, it’s difficult to top the majestic title track, which features a piano backbone that’s both thrilling and percussive. But it’s also nice to relax into the familiar and sweet pop garden that Sullivant is so good at tending (“Rid You”). Mostly, the album is plaintive and thoughtful, and makes for a nice headphones listen. Find this at

KEEP ON TRUCKIN’, PLEASE: About once a year I start to bemoan in my heart that there’s no new music from Love My Truck. Then, nearly without fail, some new tunes show up. A mere handful of weeks ago the duo released a new five-song EP named SnowedInn. Typically, the band has shifted between lightly psychedelic Americana and futuristic electro sketches. This new record finally blends the two into a tasty concoction that feels neither forced nor out of place. Opening with a lullaby of a melody in “Intro,” then immediately dropping into the meditative Daft Punk dreamscape of “Stand,” this thing goes for the emotional throat right out of the gate. By the time it winds through its final track, the electronic jog of “is that pørq?,” it’s not only defined itself but placed another well-earned badge of achievement upon the group. Find this at

STYLE IS FOREVER: Hip-hop ambassador and Athens hero Montu Miller will host a special event titled “Fresh Dressed Like a Million Bucks” at the next instance of Ciné’s Roc Doc Bloc. This happens Saturday, Mar. 30, and the film is 2015’s Fresh Dressed. The night begins at 8 p.m. in the Ciné Lab with a fashion and artist panel featuring BYV_Trubb, Zorae Dunn, LB and Amun-Ra. After the panel is a pre-movie performance showcase featuring DJ Kountry setting the mood, after which Farin, Cardynal and Nony1 will perform. The film starts at 10 p.m. and is an exploration of the deep historical ties between hip hop and fashion going back to the 1970s. Ciné’s Roc Doc Bloc also includes Athens, GA: Inside/Out on Mar. 29 at 7 p.m., Bob Dylan: Don’t Look Back on Mar. 30 at 2:30 p.m., Amy on Apr. 5 at 10 p.m., We Jam Econo: The Story of the Minutemen on Apr. 6 at 2:30 p.m., The Elephant 6 Recording Co. on Apr. 6 at 10 p.m. and Jason Isbell: Running with Our Eyes Closed on Apr. 7 at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are available at

SATURDAY NIGHT’S ALRIGHT: Are you looking for a show that’s got two rock bookends and a folk palate cleanser in the middle? Well, buster, have I got news for you. On Saturday, Mar. 30, you can catch garage rockers The Grawks with folk-punk Here Be Monsters and sludgy metallers Rosie & The Ratdogs at Nowhere Bar. That should be all the information you need, but before you go I’d encourage you to check out The Ratdogs’ newest single “Peench,” as well as The Grawks’ new music video for the latest single, “Without You,” directed by Erica Strout. You can find the catalogs of all three acts via, and