CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE: Community kudos are due to the folks at Kindercore Vinyl for their enthusiastic support of the Athens-Clarke County Library’s summer reading program. This year, the program was dubbed “Libraries Rock!,” and each child who completed 50 books or 25 hours of reading received the prize of a 7-inch record. The two artists who recorded songs for the single were Kishi Bashi and Blacknerdninja (aka Eugene Willis). In the additional edification department, this record was chosen as a finalist—one of five out of 237 entries total—for the Making Vinyl Packaging Awards, which will be decided in Detroit in October. Out of 2,000 participants in this year’s reading program, 800 kids completed the task. For more information, see athenslibrary.org and kindercore.com/vinyl.
THE MAKERS OF SMOOTH MUSIC: Experimental project Social Circle just released a new album named Lost Voices. I’m pretty sure this was all done by founder Scott Sapp, even though the credits list a whole bunch of names that are pretty obviously pseudonyms. At any rate, yet again with Social Circle, it’s absolutely impossible to discern what’s sampled and what’s played, so don’t even bother. That said, everything except one track is noted as being original. The most appropriate approach is just to throw on the headphones and groove. There’s a real trashy, lounge-act feel to most of this that recalls nothing so much as the song-poem compilation of the 1990s named Beat of the Traps. That record was sourced and compiled by the late NRBQ member Tom Ardolino, and I just have this gut feeling he’d likely have dug a bunch of this stuff, too. So, give it whirl out of respect, if nothing else. Head to socialcircle.bandcamp.com and do your thing.
IT’S GOOD TO BE THE KING: Working at the rate of deservedly legendary producers like Lee “Scratch” Perry, Athens’ Razzi King just dropped his 17th (!) release in two years. It’s named Rasta Vibe, and this time around, he kind of splits the difference between straight-up classic reggae styling and his dub skills. Like all prolific artists, not every release is gonna be essential, and this is, perhaps, where this record falls. It’s a totally solid listen, but is also fairly comfortable and doesn’t really push the envelope the way so many Razzi King records have. That said, this impression likely comes from my being exceedingly familiar with his work. If you’re not, this is a fine introduction. Go introduce yourself at echobassrecords.bandcamp.com.
HEAR YE, HEAR YE: The deservedly well-praised documentary series Athens Rising will be screened at Live Wire Wednesday, Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. and Trio Contemporary Art Gallery Thursday, Sept. 13 at 8 p.m. Significantly, the film is focused on what’s happening in Athens right now, not on our storied, mythological history. Further, it takes the entire creative community into account, not just a handful of popular rock and roll bands. Look, as much as I have an enduring and abundant affection for the days of yore that brought me to town in the first place, I’ll also be the first to insist that a scene is an organic, living thing that necessarily changes, grows, expands and diversifies, or… it dies. So, hats off to the filmmakers and participants for recognizing such with unbridled enthusiasm and depth of perspective. For more information, see facebook.com/AthensRising and athensrising.com.
CLASS NOTES: Athens Creative Theatre is hosting a six-week course named “Music for Actors.” Its weekly sessions run Saturday, Sept. 8 through Saturday, Oct. 13. The goal of the course is to help actors and singers who would like to have more of a grasp of the concepts of music reading and, with this skill, become more confident and capable as musicians. The class will include lessons in reading music, selection of audition music, sight-singing and more. It is led by ACT program leader Daniel Self and open to registrants ages 13 and older. The cost for ACC residents is $83, and for out-of-county folks it’s $124.50. You can register online at accgov.com/leisure and find out more via facebook.com/AthensCreativeTheatre.