HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY INDEED: Hats off this week goes to Athens label HHBTM Records on the occasion of its 17th year of continuous operation. Beginning humbly in 1999 as a one-off compilation included with the final issue of owner Mike Turner’s zine, The Bees Knees, the positive reaction was such that Turner decided to keep going. Of course, the record industry occupies a much different landscape today, and Turner’s dedication to keeping his own course, his deft sense of when to be frugal and when to splurge, and just doing the work have all helped HHBTM thrive through fat and lean years. Although there’s probably a sense of internal pride after having released more than 180 records, there’s also the fact that this paragraph is getting too long and Turner’s probably already embarrassed by it. Sorry, Mike, and congratulations. For more information, see hhbtm.com and facebook.com/HHBTM.
SHOW ME THE MONEY: Applications are open now for the fall 2016 grant season from AthFest Educates. Anyone from school teachers to nonprofit organizations to local and state governments may apply, and priority is given to applications highlighting music and arts-based programs. Typically, funds are used for musical equipment and experiential instruction for students, but there is no requirement that applicants be music or arts instructors. Applicants are encouraged to incorporate these disciplines into any area of education. The deadline to apply is Aug. 19, and awards will be announced Sept. 19. For more information, see athfesteducates.com or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
KEEP ON ROCKIN’ ME BABY: There’s a new cassette version of the nine-song record This Isn’t a Sun from guitar-’n’-melody-driven local band Linda. Honestly, that’s the best way to describe the group, because the normal go-to points of “pop-punk,” “Superchunk-ish but kinda more Replacements-y” and “house-party-core” seem too conversational and obvious, even though they’re all true. Linda is the latest among a new breed of bands influenced by early '90s college rock (before it was called “alternative”) and operating where digital practicality meets workmanlike aesthetics and a sense of purpose. The whole thing was recorded in a single day back in March at The Glow Recording Studio. The tape comes courtesy of Loud Baby Sound, and you can stream it at lindaband.bandcamp.com. Keep up with Linda at facebook.com/lindascones420, and check local record stores for copies of the tape.
LOST IN SPACE: A couple tracks were recently made available without fanfare or hype from hip hop collective Space Dungeon and member Lingua Franca. Under the Space Dungeon moniker comes “That Whole Thing Is Heat,” credited to rapper Lex Callahan and producer WesdaRuler. It’s an easy-flowing beat, but the vocals definitely provide a slightly agitated vibe. It’s all very reminiscent of the generally genre-less but constantly pigeonholed intelligent underground New York hip hop scene in the early-to-mid 1990s. Check it out at soundcloud.com/spacedungeon, and stay in tune with the collective at facebook.com/spacedungeon. Next up is “Gold Bike” from Lingua Franca, which actually came out back in February. It’s a tight groove of a track with jazzy punctuations, head-noddin’ horn samples and Lingua Franca’s superbly steady and soulful vocals. Listen in at soundcloud.com/linguaafrancaa, and be a fan at facebook.com/liiinguafranca. In other news, Lingua Franca will perform as part of the “Boom-Bap and Backpacks” show Friday, July 29 at Live Wire. Other featured performers include Emissary 89, Last Trip, Blacknerdninja, Son1, Scott Sutton and DJ Luke Highwalker.
SECRET COMPARTMENT DEPARTMENT: Falling solidly into the “rumors” category are the recent rumblings concerning a revived social media presence of Kindercore Records. The label began in 1996, thrived until 2001, changed its aesthetic course from pure pop for now people to a more aggressive rock and post-punk stance, went dormant and flirted with a brief digital revival circa 2007. Since then there have been only dribs and drabs with regard to releases. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the label’s start, and it has been posting tons of archival photos at facebook.com/kindercorerecords and on Instagram at kindercorerecords. Curiously, @kindercore on Twitter remains trapped in a time warp from a few years ago, and kindercorerecords.blogspot.com is in the same position. Both are fine, though, for catching up on stuff you might have missed. (Full disclosure: I have twice been employed by Kindercore, but haven’t been involved in any way for over nine years.) In the interest of journalism, I made the proper inquiries concerning these new developments and was advised that news is forthcoming. So, for now, enjoy the pictures.