WELCOME BACK: It’s been a long time since we’ve heard anything new from Lord Gordon-Gordon. There’s a brand new eight-song, self-titled release that’s been spending some time in my ears lately, though. The oddly named project is the brainchild of James Leon Davidson. Once you get beyond the cumbersome moniker, it’s really smooth sailing. Davidson pulls inspiration from two distinctive, if not deliberate, sources: the 1960s-style pop of The Lovin’ Spoonful/John Sebastian variety and the acoustic numbers of David Bowie’s early-’70s period. Honestly, that’s about as succinctly and accurately as I can describe this. Highlights are all over this relatively short release, but if you need some direction, click over to “Will That Get Me Anywhere With You?”, “If You’re Lonely (See the World)” and album opener “Troglodyte”—which has an unmistakable Bowie musical quote right in the first seconds—for a solid primer. Enjoy this thoroughly at lordgordon-gordon.bandcamp.com.
THE STARS AT NIGHT: Athens rapper and songwriter Squalle is back with a new album named Alpha Lyrae. It’s a tight collection of only seven songs, but it comes out of the gate strong with the title track. In pure Squalle style, “Alpha Lyrae” doesn’t so much take swipes at others as much at it questions their motivations. Even so, Squalle’s lyrics are often aimed squarely at himself. He drops into cruisin’ mode on the second track, “Transport,” but it’s not in any way a lighthearted party banger. Squalle is an artist who seamlessly blends styles and makes a compelling case for his owning each one. The semi-slow jam “Late”—even with its blush-worthy confessions—is the sound of a writer fully in control of his art. Similarly, he’s about the only songwriter in town who could spin a triple-X track like “Sext” such that it sounds like a fully committed love song. There are criticisms to be leveled at Alpha Lyrae, but most of them center on the beats, which have an overwhelming tendency toward sameness. They’re also comfortably resting on the shoulders of beats that have come before and sometimes have a sense of “Yeah, that’s good enough” about them. That said, as an emcee and storyteller, Squalle is among the Classic City’s best and, honestly, has been for a while. Check this out on Spotify, Apple Music or any of the other big services.
TAKE THIS NICKEL, MAKE A DIME: On June 22, 1985 in Milton Keynes, England—approximately three weeks before Live Aid—England’s Spear of Destiny played a now-legendary, rain-soaked show billed as The Longest Day. Also on the bill were Billy Bragg, the Ramones, Faith Brothers, Athens upstarts R.E.M. and near-superstar headliners U2. Now, a mere 35 years later, Spear of Destiny, which specializes in huge, anthemic guitar songs, is taking Athens band Feather Trade out on a 20-date tour of the UK beginning Sept. 4. Guitarist and singer Chisholm Thompson has been living in Manchester, England for a couple of years now, so he can teach his Yankee bandmates how to drive. Anyone who ever caught a Feather Trade show here in town knows how they, too, navigate the world via huge, anthemic guitar songs (albeit of a more angular and dark variety). I’ve no doubt there’ll be older folks at each of these shows walking away happy to see a “new” band carrying the torch bands like Spear of Destiny lit years ago. Get up to speed at feathertrade.bandcamp.com and facebook.com/feathertrade.
AHEM, I’M ON THE LIST: It’s time again for y’all to buy raffle tickets for the 2020 Nuçipass, presented by Nuçi’s Space. This is a pass that grants the winner free admission—plus-one, even—for an entire year to a ton of music venues in Athens, Macon and Atlanta. Specific clubs include the 40 Watt Club, Caledonia Lounge, The Foundry, Live Wire and Hendershot’s. Macon’s Hargray Capitol Theatre, a particular favorite among Athens travelers, is also on the list. Oh, yeah, Atlanta’s Terminal West, Variety Playhouse, Buckhead Theatre, Red Clay Music Foundry, Eddie’s Attic, Smith’s Olde Bar, Center Stage and Waller’s Coffee Shop are in this, as well. Ain’t that enough? Raffle tickets are $5 each, and if you spend $100 on them, Nuçi’s Space will double your entries. The tickets aren’t tax-deductible, but who cares? So far, there’s not an announced deadline, but it’s gonna end sometime, so jump on it at nucipass.org.