THIS IS THE ONE: Four Eyes, the ongoing musical project of Erin Lovett, released a new album last week named Welcome to Earth. Lovett, who has already clocked 12 previous releases, recorded this one at home with Patrick Brick (aka Futo), and it was mastered by Jesse Mangum at The Glow Recording Studio. Lovett has been an accomplished songwriter for quite a while, but this new album is just so strikingly lovely and tender, it’s a step above what fans familiar with her older work will expect. It’s surprisingly hopeful and happy, yet staunchly and carefully observant. Musically, it follows the same basic dark folk structure of her previous records, and Lovett’s strong, understated vocals carry each song along as if it’s a most important task. Lyrically, her deeply thoughtful and original expressions of love, proximity and distance, contentment, eschatology and the complexity of the human condition are unparalleled among her previous work. What I’m saying is Welcome to Earth is a beautifully wonderful thing, and I don’t think it’s possible for you to click quickly enough over to foureyesathens.bandcamp.com to grab a copy. For all other things Four Eyes, see facebook.com/FourEyesAthens.
JUNE BABIES: Heavy rock group Rat Babies is celebrating its 10-year anniversary by releasing a new EP this month and making its entire back catalog free for a limited time. The EP is named Mumbles, and the lead single is “Anchor.” The song is slow-churning, anxiously abrasive and easily among the most fully realized things Rat Babies has ever recorded. The band is self-described as “psychedelic-doom-noise,” and that’s pretty accurate, although I’d argue there’s a solid sense of melody in most of their stuff, even if it’s not laying right there on the surface. Rat Babies is populated permanently by the core duo of the impervious Mux Blank and Toby Brodie (aka Chodd), who are joined this time around by Dain Marx. This new recording was done at the Joker Joker Gallery and mixed and mastered by Kyle Spence (Harvey Milk). Check it out and get your free back catalog over at thecompleteguidetocaringforyourratbabies.com. Keep up with the Babies via facebook.com/ratbabies.
KEEP ATHENS WEIRD: In related news, the aforementioned Mux Blank is hosting his annual Classic City Fringe Festival Oct. 27–30, and performer applications are being accepted now. The scope of the CCFF is broad in spirit but particular in structure. Its artists are solidly on the “fringe”—that is, those who operate in areas of talent for which there are no regular venues, outlets or other means of exposure. For an idea of what I mean, explore the CCFF Facebook page at facebook.com/classiccityfringefestival and read up on the history of fringe festivals at classiccityfringefestival.com. Incidentally, that second URL is where you’ll file your application if interested. There are no application fees. Although this event was founded by Blank and it’s his tenacity and guidance that have seen it through, there are several folks working behind the scenes to make this happen, so hats off to everyone involved.
BIG CITY VIBIN’: Georgia State University radio station WRAS 88.1 FM (aka Album 88) is hosting its WRASFEST 2016 this Friday, June 10. It happens at Atlanta’s Mammal Gallery (91 Broad St. SW) and is notable for its inclusion of a few Athens acts: Muuy Biien, Dip and Futo will play the upstairs stage this night. If you’re not a GSU student it’ll cost ya 10 bucks, but if you go to GSU it’s a mere $7 for this 16-band bill. This year’s event celebrates 45 years of student broadcasting by WRAS, and all money raised benefits the station’s programming and promotional work. To learn more, see facebook.com/wrasalbum88 and grab advance tickets at wrasfest.com.
BUY NOW, PLAY LATER: Michael Lesousky (Grassland String Band) is currently taking preorders for his solo debut EP, Deep Shade of Blue. The seven-track release comes out Aug. 16, but you can preview the song “Don’t Walk Away” at michaellesouskymusic.bandcamp.com. Everything was recorded with Matt Tamisin at Japanski Studios and mastered by Jason NeSmith at Chase Park Transduction. Singer-songwriter Mamie Davis appears as a guest on one track, and that’s a plus by any standard. For more information, see michaellesousky.squarespace.com.