METAL HEALTH: Heavy rock group Cinemechanica will release its first LP in a decade Sept. 23 via Athens' own Arrowhawk Records. It's self-titled, features nine tracks and is a sea change in terms of aggressiveness. Whereas the band’s 2006 album, The Martial Arts, clearly displayed its math-rock skills, this new album pretty much swallows that one whole and, honestly, sounds in many ways like a totally different band. If you've seen Cinemechanica live over the past few years, you'll get it, but new listeners will likely gravitate toward one sound or the other. There's no doubt this sheen of anger was midwifed by Kurt Ballou (Converge) and Kevin Ratterman (Young Widows), who each had a hand in the recording. The current lineup of Cinemechanica features longtime members Bryant Williamson, Mike Albanese and Joel Hatstat, as well as Bryan Aiken (Lazer/Wulf), who took the place of Jordan Olivera (Manray), with whom the new LP was recorded. For more information, see arrowhawkrecords.bandcamp.com and facebook.com/cinemechanica.
GONE FISHIN': After four straight years of Athens Intensified, the multi-day live music event I started in 2012, I've decided to take 2016 off. As any event organizer can readily tell you, this type of work may be ultimately rewarding but is utterly exhausting, even with a full staff on board. With my tiny staff of one, it's been that and more. Right now the event looks to return in the future, but who knows? At any rate, I wanna say a personal thanks to everyone who attended shows, sponsored the shows, covered the shows in the press, helped out here and there and was generally supportive. It all means an awful lot, y'all. Look for individual shows to continue to be promoted under the AI banner, but for now, larger things are sidelined. You can receive intermittent updates at athensintensified.com and facebook.com/athensintensified.
DREAM A LITTLE DREAM: Jake Chisenhall of indie rock trio Fake Flowers just released a new electronic album under the name Delorean Gray. It's supposed to function as a soundtrack/companion piece to a science fiction story about a guy named Delorean Gray, and when the comic book is out, it will be packaged together as The Mixture of Delorean Gray. Without going too deeply into it, the story takes place in the future, and the protagonist, bored of life on Earth, escapes to a pleasure-centered satellite, gets dosed with space LSD, trips out and starts trying to find his way home. Anyway, this music is written from Gray's perspective and features elements of futuristic electro-pop, vaporwave (which is, as a genre, exceedingly nostalgic and fitting for a project like this) and synth-pop. If you're not careful, you'll fall asleep listening to it. The music is pleasant and painless, even with the tension in its story. This release is titled Hokkaido Overwash, and a physical cassette comes courtesy of Marching Banana Records. You can check it out at graydelorean.bandcamp.com and order cassettes via marchingbanana.bandcamp.com.
MAKE A PLAN: You've got plenty of time to mark your calendar for the upcoming Thursday Scholarship Series presented by UGA’s Hugh Hodgson School of Music. The schedule for the upcoming 2016–2017 series was released last week, and the first performance is Aug. 25 with a “Golden Age Band Concert” (quotes are theirs, not mine). The combo features configurations and selections from what is often called the “golden age” of American bands (late 1800s–early 1900s). The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. The stated purpose of this series is to “make each concert into an event, with opportunities in and around the concert to deepen and enhance the experience of listening to the School of Music’s unparalleled talent.” See music.uga.edu for more information and tickets.
I WON'T STICK ANY OF YOU UNLESS AND UNTIL I CAN STICK ALL OF YOU: Athens powerviolence and noise-terror band Shiv has released its newest blast of bile and fury, Cellblock 1982. While it breaks no new ground musically or lyrically—it owes a hell of a lot to each genre’s history and overarching themes of judging society fiercely and without mercy—its place among the best Athens records of 2016 is assured. At least by me. I jammed this whole thing, which clocks in at around 13 minutes, at least four times before writing about it. Now it's your turn, so head to shivpv.bandcamp.com. A cassette version is coming soon via Atlanta label Murder On Ponce.