This is It: Pinecones released its debut studio album last week. It's titled Sings For You Now, and it is such a wonderfully realized collection of emotionally poignant rock and roll that I'm not even sure how to describe it. There's all sorts of mid-1990s touchstones that seep out—Fugazi, Young Pioneers, Lungfish, et al. But it's a shortchange method to merely compare Pinecones to other bands, so I heartily encourage you to take the wheel on your own. It was recorded by Athens engineer Joel Hatstat, and its timeline is reported by the band as being "recorded on April Fool's Day, completed on Good Friday and released on Labor Day." Even if that isn't true (though I'm sure it all is), it makes a good story, and, you know, rock and roll myths are generally always better than the real thing. This record, however, is the real thing, and that's no myth at all. Dig it at pinecones.bandcamp.com.
Tonight, Let it Be Low-'n'-Loud: He may have put the kibosh on his Efren project, but Scott Low is still out there making music. The Handpicked Artists, uh, artist, is releasing a series of digital singles beginning Sept. 16. These songs will come out in pairs each month until the end of the year and comprise both live and studio material. Hence the series' title, “Dead & Alive.” The live stuff happened at Sullivan's Island, SC venue Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ, and Low tracked the studio joints at Jacksonville, FL's Firehouse Studios. A preview listen of the lead single and B-side in the series (“Little Nicky” b/w “Make Some Enemies”) is about as night-and-day as possible, with the first being one of those gently plucked Low numbers reminiscent of the early Efren days and the second being a torchy screamer of a thing that surely made everyone at Home Team BBQ spill their tipple. Wait for the date, then head to soundcloud.com/scottlow to give a listen.
There You Go A-Wassailing: It's not often I get to mention the awesome Rose of Athens Theatre company, because most of their news doesn't fit the exact range of coverage for this column. Do you sing? Do you like traditional Christmas caroling? Well, auditions for Rose of Athens' Victorian Carolers Ensemble will happen Monday, Sept. 15 and Tuesday, Sept. 16 from 7–9 p.m. at ATHICA (160 Tracy St.). Please note that these auditions are by appointment only, you must be prepared to sing a cappella for two minutes and sight-read a Christmas carol in the SATB (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) voice you are most comfortable with. Further, you'll need to let them know if you have any conflicts between mid-November and the third week of December. This is a really neat thing. Carolers wear full Victorian garb, and it's something I'd consider doing myself if I had any singing talent at all. But you do, and you should. The ensemble is directed by David Matthews-Morgan. For more information, see roseofathens.org, and to schedule an audition, drop a line to Associate Artistic Director Danielle Bailey Miller via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fill it In: The submission period has begun for the 2015 Slingshot Festival. The annual convergence of music, electronic art and technology will happen Mar. 26–28 throughout downtown Athens. The process is exceedingly simple and consists of a simple web form to fill out with all your relevant information. Your actual music should be uploaded elsewhere, as you'll be asked to provide links to tracks. Head to slingshotathens.com/submission and do your thing.
The Serious Moonlight: On Saturday, Sept. 13, the Moonlight Gypsy Market takes over the patio at Max downtown with a vast collection of "outsider, weirdo, macabre, erotic, abstract artists, crafters, junk vendors and performers," according to organizer Mux Blank. Live music for the evening will be provided by Rainy Taxi, The Honey Sliders, Polly Panic, Dendera Bloodbath, RoHit, Antlered Aunt Lord, KUSA87, PsyLents, Ken Squatt, Doug Aldridge, Mr. Blank, Sequestered Citrcuitry Aesthetics, The Steak Place and In Sonitus Lux. Whew doggie! Everything kicks off at 7 p.m. [Gabe Vodicka]
One-Two Punch: Next week will see twin events conceived by Fort Collins, CO nonprofit SpokesBUZZ hit Athens. They are the SynchroniCITY networking party on Friday, Sept. 19 at Hendershot's Coffee Bar and the BandSwap show Saturday, Sept. 20 at the Caledonia Lounge. The first night is a casual mixer for music industry types, musicians, fans, civic leaders, etc. All attendees will be treated to free food, drinks and a bevy of contact information from the nine cities participating in BandSwap this year. It runs from 7–9:30 p.m. and will feature a panel discussion titled “Making Indie Touring Work” that will be moderated by the Music Business Program at UGA's David Barbe and feature publicist Alyssa DeHayes, HHBTM Records label owner Mike Turner and Andrew Rieger of Elf Power and Coley Dennis of Maserati. The mixer is free, but please RSVP via bandswap.org/about/synchronicity-at-bandswap. The next night is the live show featuring Colorado's Eldren, the band Athens drew in the “swap,” and the band we're swapping, k i d s, along with opener Spirit Tramp. Full disclosure: My event Athens Intensified is a promotional partner with SpokesBUZZ and endorses its model of seeking creative "models and philosophies for navigating a changing music industry as a local musician." For more information, see bandswap.org.