SHINE ON: Athens rapper Squalle released his newest album, Iconic Soul, a few weeks ago, and while it’s not available via his Bandcamp page as of this writing, you can search for it on Spotify and find it pretty easily. Yet again, Squalle shines through the static and noise of both the internet hype machine and the music scene in general. Just like Athens’ rock scene, where there’s generally only a handful of artists at any given time that seem like they could really break out, so goes Squalle. Which is to say, no matter how hard he reps Athens, he’s got this star quality that covers everything from his choice selection of beats to his lyrics to the overall quality of production and presentation. While my personal favorite release of his remains 2016’s Black Picassoul, there’s a solid handful of tracks here (“Goin’ Hard,” “Local Politics” and the deeply personal “Legendary”) that make this worth more than a single quick spin. Word from Squalle himself is that this’ll land at dakidsqualle.bandcamp.com soon, so either search the service mentioned above or park it at Bandcamp for a while and check out his earlier stuff.
UP FOR AIR: The brand new album from Deep State comes out this week courtesy of Sacramento, CA label Friendship Fever. It’s titled The Path to Fast Oblivion, and its 13 tracks are mostly populated with the hyper-tuneful, irresistibly catchy, guitar-driven songwriting the group has perpetuated since forming. At this length, though, and with such a decidedly house-style of songwriting, it can be difficult to pick standout tracks. But dammit if “Son” doesn’t punch the air distinctively and, by the same measure, if “Paint” doesn’t reinvigorate memories of, say, The Replacements’ early shows. Album closer “Captain” is ambitious enough simply due to its length—a completely non-punk-rock eight minutes—but it grooves along in this kind of swagger-y, Stones-meets-Dinosaur kind of way. Plus, there’s approximately 30 seconds or so of silence between the song’s end and the track’s end, and you know you haven’t dealt with anything like that since the 1990s. Deep State will celebrate the album’s release at Flicker Theatre and Bar Friday, Feb. 1 along with Blue Bodies, Shepherds and Baby Tony and the Teenies. Check it all at deepstate.bandcamp.com, and take a look at friendshipfever.com for more information.
ZIPPADEE BOP BOP BOP: JazzAthensGA (aka JAGA) is deep in the, uh, swing of things with its current run of hot jazz and swing nights at The Globe. These happen each Wednesday until Feb. 20, except the first Wednesday of the month. Y’all know how to read a calendar, so I’m not gonna explain that one to you. These nights are hosted by Mary Sigalas and the Hot Hotty-Hots and feature performances of tunes from the 1910s–1930s. Everyone is invited to listen and/or dance, so go have some fun already. For more information, see facebook.com/JazzAthensGA.
START IT UP: The first First Tuesday hip-hop event of 2019 happens Tuesday, Feb. 5 at The World Famous. Featured acts are AD Santana, LB, Joe Peeples, G-Money, Tru Thought, The Gifted, Solo 10K and Kyng Kilo. As always, this networking event is hosted by the leaders behind AthFactor Entertainment, Montu Miller and Chief Rocka. Doors open at 9 p.m., and the whole idea is for y’all to arrive on time, hang out and meet some folks while Rocka spins warm-up, then enjoy several performances while still getting home only a few hours later. For more information, see facebook.com/athfactor.
SCHOOL’S IN: Congratulations are due to the hardworking dudes in AFTM (“A Few Too Many”) for their debut album release show last week at the Georgia Theatre. The record is named Around for the Moment, and it remains to be seen how many different meanings they can come up with for their initials. The group has been fairly fast-rising over the past year, and having personally met at least one of them, I can attest to their sincerity and overall dedication. While the album itself is only available via the major streaming sites, you can check out the single “Get Down” via aftm.bandcamp.com. It’s a jazzy-funky type of thing that fits more with the Georgia Theatre tradition of yore but has been coming back in a big way. It’s not likely to turn your townie heads all the way around, but it’s not bad at all if you wanna check out what’s getting hot around the UGA Music Business Program these days. To this end, see facebook.com/music.aftm.