Photo Credit: Mike White
SAY IT AIN’T SO: Longtime Athens rapper Donny Knottsville has reiterated his oft-threatened promise (see what I did there?) to retire completely from performing by the end of the year. But before any of that happens, he went ahead and released a new 18-song album named The Ghost of Don Dada. This makes the second full-length he’s released this year. As usual, he does a great job of wrapping poignant lyrics inside what appear as spoofs of pop culture. To wit, the remix of his previously released “Uncle Buck,” as well as “JFK Drop Top,” “Caveman Movie,” “Flash Gordon,” et al. Lots of locals are included as collaborators, such as Christopher Ingham, DK, Sawmill Slang (aka Austin Darnell) and Louie Larceny, who spins turntables on one track. This was recorded between Joel Hatstat’s High Jump Media studio and Zeke Sayer’s Gypsy Farm. If you feel like demonstrating against Knottsville’s impending retirement, make your voice heard when he performs at Flicker Friday, Sept. 20 with Harry Carey, Tabloid and Balding. Before then, check this out at donnyknottsville.bandcamp.com.
HOW THE EAST WAS WON: Los Angeles artist Lola Jean, who performs and releases records under the name Death Hags, is coming to Flicker Thursday, Sept. 19, and her bill is stacked. You probably couldn’t ask for a more seamless bill than her, and Athens artists Lambda Celsius (aka AC Carter) and Sarah Swillum. I’m more partial to Death Hags’ explorations into minimal synth work than I am tracks that are more traditionally arranged with guitar and drums, but there’s a solid handful of stuff to explore at deathhags.bandcamp.com, so choose your own adventure. Swillum and Carter should need no introduction, because I know all of you read this column religiously and go out and see shows all the time. But if you find yourself in need, head to jimjim.bandcamp.com and lambdacelsius.bandcamp.com to get acquainted.
FARTHER DOWN: White Rabbit Collective, having presumably recovered completely from its public drum circle held only a handful of days earlier, will bring its live art-’n’-music to the 40 Watt Saturday, Sept. 21. Also on the bill are Timi Conley and Wonderland Rangers, as well as Moonlight Theatre Company. As usual, there’s an open jam portion of the night. Not necessarily as usual, there will also be an opportunity to enjoy some snacks from Eden’s Café. Learn more and lift yr vibes via rabbitholestudios.org, facebook.com/thewhiterabbitcollective and whiterabbitcollective.bandcamp.com.
MOONAGE DAYDREAM: In what will be a relatively rare live performance by her in a relatively rarefied performance space, songwriter and musician Lydia Brambila will play the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens (UUFA) Saturday, Sept. 21. Brambila is the recent winner of the 2019 Vic Chesnutt Songwriter of the Year Award, and she also took home the 2019 Flagpole Athens Music Award in the singer-songwriter category. This performance is part of UUFA’s Autumn Eventide Equinox Service, which is described as “a contemplative evening service to acknowledge the changing season and coming autumnal equinox.” So, go forth and contemplate these things, y'all. For more information on UUFA, see uuathensga.org, and to keep up Brambila, see lybram.com.
A HARD DAY’S WORK: Songwriter Derick Thompson, under the banner of Candid Coal People, just released a new album named Death Comes Off. Now, on paper, at least, this could be filed under Americana and left there, but the arrangements are far more robust than one might infer from that simple tag. Thompson’s vocals can occasionally veer too far into clipped-pronunciation Dave Matthews, and there’s a bit too much “whoa-oh-oh” on this record. Both of these aspects are on full display—with violin, even—on the title track. I dig the horns and overall presentation of opening track “American Love,” which reminded me of early-to-mid-period Chicago. Similarly, “Devil” is movie soundtrack smooth, with an even-keeled mood that winds up being rather uplifting even as it navigates through a sea of minor chords. Find this at candidcoalpeople.bandcamp.com, and check in at facebook.com/candidcoalpeople.