OUT OF THE BOX AND INTO THE STREETS: Composer T.S. Woodward has, at long last, prepared his album How To Breathe Underwater for release. For the past few years I've reported here on the record's development and its genesis as a senior thesis for Woodward's self-created interdisciplinary studies major Popular Music Composition, which he designed for himself after being denied admittance to UGA’s Hugh Hodgson School Of Music in 2012 because of his lack of formal music training. Through this route he was able to gain access to the music school's resources on a continual basis, and the results are great. Largely centered around piano pieces, the album combines three separate moods. The first four tracks are fairly traditionally composed, the second five function as interstitial music, and the final seven were recorded live at the music school's Black Box studio. The other cuts were recorded at Gypsy Farm Studio. Woodward is currently undertaking a fundraising effort to facilitate cassette duplication and booklet printing for the release, and the window of time to donate is quickly closing. He'll release the record Aug. 19 with a show at Flicker, but his full band will play at AthFest on Friday, June 24 on the Hull Street Stage. Click here to see the campaign and read further information.
BLACKFISH: The new release from Orca Mug is titled Yeah, The Void, and it’s the work of JJ Posway (Scooterbabe, Aprotag), but a couple of tracks feature poet Brett Bennett reading her work—it’s better than that sentence reads, so don't judge yet—and those tracks (“We Are Very, Very Small” and “Somewhere… Forever…”) are the most emotionally fulfilling on this five-song outing. After thoroughly enjoying Posway's other projects, especially the ambient/experimental Aprotag, I had higher hopes for this. It's a slippery, vaguely vaporwave-ish thing that mostly meanders around; it may indeed appeal to its presumably intended audience of recent graduates, but, to crib Gertrude Stein, there is no there there. Overall, it's disappointingly unfocused, and the whole project feels, at this point, unworthy of Posway's time. Your mileage may vary, of course, so click through to orcamug.bandcamp.com and press the gas or be a pal over at facebook.com/orcamug.
BUY NOW, SIGH LATER: Pre-orders are available now for the new Ruby the Rabbitfoot album, Divorce Party. And if the entire record is as good as the lead single, “Beach Flowers,” it's gonna be a nice way to ride out the last days of summer when this comes out Aug. 12. The track is a deft passel of synthesizers, acoustic and electronic beats, perfect pop vocals and arrangement. It's the best work she's done, and I'm looking forward to hearing the whole album. It'll come out on vinyl (both white and plain black) and CD, and prices range from $28 for the white vinyl down to $13 for the regular CD. Check it out at rubytherabbitfoot.bandcamp.com and facebook.com/rubytherabbitfoot.
CALL NOW: Dream weaver Dillon McCabe just released a new Stay At Home Dad album named, cleverly enough, Hit Singles In Ur Area. In this case I'm pretty sure he means “Ur” as in “your,” and not the ancient Mesopotamian city, the ruins of which are in modern-day Iraq, but who knows, right? In any case, McCabe does his beat-y best here, taking the listener through his synthy Ableton avenues of inside humor, a tad too many hip hop samples and sometimes-shimmering examples of telephone hold music (mostly on “That's Not What I Meant”). Hats off to McCabe for his foresight to include a sample of Gucci Mane's “My Chain” on the track “Glow,” which we can now all use as an anthem celebrating Gucci’s recent release from lock-up. Respect! This record worked better for me through the headphones than in the car in terms of mood displacement and vibe conjuring. So try it that way. Dig it like I did at 1800stayathomedad.bandcamp.com.
ZOO MUSIC: By the time you read this, one of Athens' darkest, heaviest and most effectively anguished bands, Vincas, will have released its new album, Deep In the Well. It comes courtesy of Minneapolis label Learning Curve Records, and it's just guts-out great. The band wears its Australian post-punk influences (The Birthday Party, The Scientists, et al) fully on its sleeve, but it’s also ripped up that sleeve so much that it's a bloodstained mess. It's telling that two of the most immediately catchy songs here are titled “Death March” and “Hammer.” The rest crawls and moans and sweats and howls and, you know, rules. Check out vincas.bandcamp.com for more info and learningcurverecords.com for ordering info.