Homebody by Bill Jr. Jr.
Needless to say, these are unprecedented times. Our Athens music scene and all related industries (food, bar, etc.) are struggling mightily right now on two fronts: wanting to do the most good for the most people by encouraging isolation, and needing to keep staff paid and the lights on. This bizarre moral quandary is not normal, and should not become the new normal. Huge swaths of shows and record release events are cancelled or “postponed.” A lot of these won’t ever actually occur. As trying as it might be at times, let’s remember that—by and large—the reason many of us came to Athens was the music and arts scene. Now, more than ever, is the time to support it when we can and as we can, either through directly helping a friend in need, buying some merchandise or records, or maybe ordering food from a local place that is doing its best to accommodate both staff and patrons. None of this is easy but a little here and a little there goes a long way. Bless all y’all, and take good care of each other.
ONE DAY AT A TIME: As temporary closings and shortened operating hours have wrapped around Athens, some establishments have set up processes by which you can still support the staff of a favorite venue or restaurant by continuing to tip and contribute, albeit online. So far, GoFundMe campaigns have been established for Flicker, 40 Watt Club, World Famous, Classic Center, Church, 5&10, Home.Made and Viva. I will continue to publish fundraising efforts of this sort for any Athens restaurant, bar, club, service organization, etc. until we’re out of the weeds. So please send any and all information to me. Thank you.
PAC: The UGA Performing Arts Center canceled the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s performance scheduled for Mar. 28. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, originally scheduled for Mar. 29, is rescheduled for Fall 2020, date TBD. All tickets for the original date will be honored for the rescheduled date. The Performing Arts Center is actively contacting all existing ticket holders to alert them of this situation, but if you have any questions please call 706-542-4400 or visit them online at pac.uga.edu.
NORTH BY NORTHWEST: Vancouver, BC project Bill Jr. Jr.—helmed by Russell Gendron—will release its new album Homebody on Apr. 2. I know what you’re thinking. Where’s Vancouver, right? Well, it’s up and over aways, but this record is packed with Athens stars. We even premiered the first single, “Renaissance Man” last November. But that was during Thanksgiving week, and you most likely never saw it. At any rate, to get you back up to speed, this record has Dan Nettles (Kenosha Kid), Seth Hendershot, Jojo Glidewell, Claire Campbell, Ansley Stewart, Serena Scibelli and Luca Lombardi, as well as producer Daniel McNamara. Oh yeah, it’s pretty danged well-arranged mid-tempo NPR-ish kinda pop that might be exactly the thing you need this spring. But, I mean, how am I gonna know what you need? Decide for yourself over at billjrjr.bandcamp.com. If you like the preview tracks then lay your money down.
IT’S IN THE CAN, MAN: It’s been a hell of a long time since I actually promoted “gossip” in this column, even though that’s part of its title. But now I will! Powerful indie rockers Blunt Bangs have finished their album and are currently in the shopping-it-around process. While I can’t share any tracks or point to where they’re hidden online, I can tell you this: This thing smokes! Oh, it’s also titled Proper Smoker, too. The songwriting is totally inspired by the permanent power-pop sweet spot ‘79-’89. I mean, these are the songs you’ve heard them play live for years, so you’ll agree. There’s also a very deft cover of Teenage Fanclub’s “Everything Flows,” which is a song so special to the pop canon that most bands who try this fail. The Blunt Bangs version is laid back and reflective to an extent that the original isn’t. It’s a fine interpretation that’s both original and respectful. Anyway, wish I could tell you more but, for now, just know this exists.