Hello, folks. It's the week of Independence Day, and like all major holidays, that means checking out mentally all week long. But stay with me for just a bit and learn what's going on right now in the world of Athens music. Grab on below…
We Are In Dreams Awake: Derek Almstead's new project, Faster Circuits, made its live debut last week at Flicker Theater and Bar. The live group consists of Almstead, Emily Growden, Carlton Owens, Chris Herron and AJ Griffin, but the band's debut album, the years-in-the-making Tunes of Glory, also includes performances by Jeff Tobias, the late Craig Lieske and Andy Gonzales. Almstead is best known for his tenures with The Olivia Tremor Control, Elf Power, The Glands and Circulatory System, but he's also a crack studio and live sound engineer. The album was released digitally last week via Cloud Recordings and can be found on iTunes. All the songs were written, recorded and mixed by Almstead, but he enlisted Joel Hatstat to assist him with mastering. Oh, the tunes? A sweet assortment of psych-pop gems that get right into your head. Get on the good foot and grab yours soon.
Photo Credit: HBO
Written In Skin: Former Athens rapper and UGA Law School graduate Trav Williams is one of the subjects of a new documentary, Gideon's Army, which was an official selection at the Sundance Film Festival and made its debut on HBO July 1. Williams works as a public defender in Hall County, GA, and is so dedicated to his vocation that he actually tattoos the names of his clients whose cases he has lost on his back. This story has been spread pretty far and wide, but what few others have reminded you of is that Williams released his first mixtape, 2007's Reparations, at the Caledonia Lounge, that he was a founding member of Athens hip hop collective AthFactor Entertainment (along with Montu Miller, Reggie “Chief Rocka” Sykes and John Vereen) and that you can find all his music at travwilliams.bandcamp.com. Williams newest album, P.O.E., was released this past May (stream it, and watch the Gideon's Army trailer, on Homedrone). For more information on Gideon's Army, see gideonsarmythefilm.com.
Stay Spicy: Tickets are on sale now to see tunesmith Corey Smith, who will perform at the Classic Center Theatre on Sept. 6. The price points for tickets are $25 and $30, and I can pretty much guarantee you that they will all sell out. I've spent a whole lot of ink over the years bagging on Smith's tunes, and I made a begrudging peace with their existence late last year, so I'm not going down that road again. But I do want to drop the tip that he has a new thumbs-up endorsement from Texas Pete Hot Sauce, which you can check out by surfing to texaspete.com/corey. For tickets, head to classiccenter.com or call 706-357-4444. Or use your feet and go by the box office in person.
Dancin' Days Are Here Again: Sometime while I was asleep in the late 1990s, the long-running Athens R&B cover act The Common People Band split into two groups: The Common People Band and The Splitz. Apparently, too many booking requests were coming in for one band to handle, and while I'm no great fan of cover/tribute bands, I've always had a soft spot for these guys, for some reason. At any rate, the Melting Point is hosting its second annual Motown Downtown event July 18 and 19. The Splitz play the first night, and The Common People Band plays the second. Tickets for each night, which you can get at meltingpointathens.com, are only $3. More information about the two groups is available at thesplitz.com.
Punker Than Thou: Take a dip into Athens' punk past with the reunited-for one-night-only Carrie Nations at the 40 Watt on July 20. The band will be playing with their pals Future Virgins—who release records on Carrie Nations' former home of Plan-It-X—and Wade Boggs, the ongoing project of the Nations' Ian McCord. It won't hurt you a bit to catch this show, as it's highly unlikely to happen ever again. As an aside, if anyone was taken aback by Muuy Biien's shenanigans at the Flagpole Athens Music Awards a couple weeks back, just know that when Carrie Nations won the Punk award many years ago, the band sent a group of their friends onstage to impersonate them, because no one in the crowd had any idea what they looked like, anyway. The more things change, well, the more they just totally don't.
This-N-That: Lera Lynn's fund raising project for her new album, The Avenues, was totally successful, and donors should be enjoying their digital downloads as we speak. The rest of you will have to wait until its speculated winter release, though. Pitch in next time… Premier B-52's tribute band The B-53s recently played the Deerhunter-curated All Tomorrow's Parties at Camber Sands, UK. The three-day event also starred Steve Reich, Pere Ubu, Rhys Chatham and just enough other great artists to spike the envy of most thinking folks. Sure does pay to share a member with Deerhunter these days, doesn't it, guys?
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