Photo Credit: Craig Coleman
READY FOR THE HOUSE: Athens/Macon group Atria just released its newest EP, Familiars. While Atria can definitely be referred to as a band, all the songs are written by guitarist and vocalist SaVana Cameron. Further, they each function as vehicles for her vocals, which often fluctuate between mid-timbre throatiness and what I want to call falsetto, but I’m certain there’s a more technically correct term for what I mean. At any rate, anyone who’s dug deeply into, say, Mothers’ songbook over the past few years would do well to give this a fighting chance. This is deeper than it appears at first blush, too, as the tremeloed guitar on “Softly,” pixie jazz of “Ambition” and semi-operatic arrangement of “Chanson” make clear. Check this out thoroughly at atriamusic.bandcamp.com.
DIGITAL DOLLARS: Athens label Arrowhawk Records has spearheaded two fundraising initiatives this month. First, all proceeds from digital sales until May 23 were donated to the Yellowhammer Fund, which provides financial help to those seeking services at, or needing help traveling to, any of the three abortion clinics in Alabama. Second, all digital sales until May 30 are being donated to the American Civil Liberties Union. Started a handful of years ago, Arrowhawk has steadily proven itself to be a fine arbiter of taste, and has a great catalog to show for it. Available releases include titles from Juan De Fuca, Arbor Labor Union, Chris Crofton, Cinemechanica, Bambara, Hand Sand Hands and more. All digital purchases are available via arrowhawkrecords.bandcamp.com, and if you need more information, see arrowhawkrecords.com.
STORYBOOK: Somehow—and you can read more about it in the liner notes—singer-songwriter Brad Gerke finally completed his new album, Burden, and released it a couple of weeks ago. He reports that this was recorded between two studios and four different houses, which, along with the length of time spent working on it, might explain the sometimes-jarring changes in styles and mood. For instance, it’s a pretty steep drop between dark and slow opening track “A Bridge” into the somber but relatively sunny “Casting Lots.” That’s no slag, though—just a comment. Gerke’s songwriting does slide around the admittedly broad plane of folk, Americana, blues and the like. High points on this release include “Ready to Leave,” “Pillar of Salt” and “One Thing at a Time.” Grab this at bradgerke.bandcamp.com.
NOW READ THIS: The UGA Performing Arts Center, under the direction of Jeffrey Martin, just announced its 2019–2020 season, and, hoo boy, go ahead and start rolling your coins. Although ticketing for the PAC always features a dizzying array of options, they are never inexpensive. Nor should they be! All told, the upcoming run has 35 separate events spread across seven distinct series. A few highlights are Kronos Quartet, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Che Malambo, Aaron Diehl Trio, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn, The Second City, Wynton Marsalis and Patti LuPone. Head over to pac.uga.edu to explore your options, which might include taking out another student loan, selling a kidney or making friends with that nice older couple you know who are both rich and patrons of the arts.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS, INDEED: Newish Athens punk band Broken Windows dove straight into the deep end on its album Bleak House. While these dudes most definitely have a handle on melody and rhythm and can put a tune together in supremely crisp ways, there are a hell of a lot of nods to history that come across as hero worship. For instance, the positively Iggy/Richard Hell styling of “Crisis (Existential)” is a total bummer. Then, there’s the downbeat Jonathan Richman-isms of “Salten Sea,” which are pretty lifeless. Thing is, Broken Windows are totally fine when they sound like themselves. To wit, the screams through the chorus of “Windows” are chill-inducing and shocking in context. Similarly, “Fallen” rocks through its paces with total strength. Honestly, the best thing they could do at this point is not listen to anything I just said and vaya con dios. I mean, what punk band worth its salt listens to a critic, anyway? Cop this at broken-windows.bandcamp.com.