Photo Credit: Kelly Doyle-Mace
DOWN HOME TOWN: Roughly 50 miles northwest of Athens sits tiny Murrayville. Up until six months ago, that’s where singer-songwriter Tyler Sloan sat. But before coming to Athens he also sat for, and did quite well in, competitions such as “American Idol” and “Rising Star.” Since that time, he’s gathered no moss and has been gigging locally. This month, he released a new EP named The Glow that was recorded, appropriately enough, at The Glow Recording Studio. Sloan has made no secret of being heavily influenced by the late Elliott Smith, and he even covers that artist’s “King’s Crossing” on the EP. This influence bleeds deeply into his original songs, too, with regard to melody and vocal phrasing. The most original-sounding track on the five-song release is the final one, “Sea Meets Shore”; here’s hoping his future releases follow this trend. Sloan has a pleasant singing voice that’s finely matched for his acoustic compositions and, if necessary, could probably do well with more aggressive material. He has tons of stuff posted at youtube.com/tylersloanmusic, but again, his cover versions of songs are largely unneeded and threaten to overshadow his original stuff. I’m looking forward to hearing more from him, though, and want to welcome him to town. Get social via facebook.com/tylersloanmusic. Stream the new EP over at tylersloan.bandcamp.com.
BUZZ BUZZ: Sean McDonald, the brains behind the experimental MMM Sound imprint, as well as various projects on that label, just released a 14-minute track titled “Early Grey Tobacco.” Honestly, though, the track functions much more like an EP, and there are even relatively discrete sections where it could have easily been edited as such. That said, the first four minutes are warbly and melodically compelling, with the second half acting pretty much as a formal coda for the first. The rest blends static and electronic glitch with chorus-like vocals that break the piece into fairly distinct movements. Upon reflection, I realize this is likely the desired effect of the entire track, in which case it shouldn’t have been cut as an EP at all. All things considered, it’s another excellent addition to the MMM catalog. Dig it at soundcloud.com/mmm-sound and keep up via mmmsound.com.
KEEPING ON: Longtime Athens songwriter and visual artist Jack Logan is releasing his new album this Friday. It’s titled What Is This Some Kind Of Joke? and was created by Logan culling 1990s-era recordings he did with longtime friends Terry Rouch and the late Jamie Rouch; thus the album’s billing as Jack Logan & The Roach Brothers. You’ll be able to score this on vinyl, too. It comes courtesy of Failure Records & Tapes out of Fulton, IN, and the first song (“Enough Already”) is streamable over at failurerecords.bandcamp.com. Logan’s been posting updates and giving a nice look into his history over at jacklogansmysteriousbasement.blogspot.com, so hang out there and read awhile.
CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME: AthFest Educates, the charitable parent organization that presents AthFest and hosts the AthHalf half-marathon, announced its winter grant recipients recently. The organization, charged with “advancing high-quality music and arts education for Athens area youth in grades K–8,” gives a pretty wide berth to applicants so long as they fall within this area of concern. This time funds went to the UGA Performing Arts Center for concerts for 2,000 local students; Nuçi's Space for Camp Amped scholarships; the Lyndon House Arts Center for a portrait photography workshop in collaboration with the Athens Area Council On Aging; and Chase Street Elementary School for contrabass chimes to build a music garden. Teachers at Winterville Elementary, Hilsman Middle School, Timothy Road Elementary and Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School received either instruments or cash for instruments, too. In all, the grants totaled $25,469, with the bulk of that going toward instruments. For more information, see athfesteducates.org.
SEND 'EM IN: Speaking of AthFest, it's compilation submission time for all interested Athens-based artists. This is the second year that the AthFest comp is being coordinated by students in the UGA Music Business Program (MBUS). Surf over to athfest.com/music-festival/compilation/submission and ignore the unruly URL and the fact that the page says the deadline is Feb. 26. It's not! The deadline is Feb. 19! Keep in mind that mp3s are the easiest format to submit, unreleased material is strongly suggested, and if you're selected, be sure to have a WAV audio file (minimum 16-bit/44.1 kHz) available for mastering within 72 hours of being notified. If you have any questions, contact Lindsey Broscher via firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, AthFest announced that this year’s compilation will come in the form of a two-CD set, with the other disc featuring a “best-of” playlist from the past 19 years of compilation albums, as selected by MBUS students and Director David Barbe.