THE HITS JUST KEEP ON COMING: Just like death, taxes and new residents driving the wrong way on Clayton Street, you can always count on a new batch of releases from the Hooker Vision label. Due to space limitations, I can only concentrate on one of these this week, and that winner is the new release Labyrinth from Grant Evans (Quiet Evenings, Ornamental Hairpin, et al). This two-track release runs nearly 30 minutes, and opens with the buzz and gurgle of “The Idiot (‘a giant is hiding behind the bed. tell that giant to come out, come out.‘),” which is a large drone number that makes the walls feel like they’re inching inward. Next up is “Storm (‘and that tree was his house. and then no one found him.’),” which opens up from its predecessor only slightly, and is populated by tape hiss and manipulations. Between the pair, this is probably the most enjoyable, but please keep in mind that such a descriptor means something, perhaps, entirely different when it comes to these types of experimental noise compositions. Even so, I dug it. Figure it out on your own at hookervision.bandcamp.com.
WORTH THE WAIT: After what has seemed like a really long time—actually two years—the new full-length album from Garett Hatch is finally out. As mentioned in these pages a few weeks ago, it’s titled The Remover, and it stretches out what we’ve come to expect from Hatch. For example, the slithery title track easily falls somewhere right in the middle between Prince and INXS with its steady pacing, heavy bass line and seductively menacing vocals. The rapid fire vocals of “Rabbit Heart” are well-matched for its similarly moody instrumentation that is fleshed out with some groovy psych-surf solos. Of course, Hatch is known for being such a reliable rocker you could set your watch by him. He delivers plenty of his signature material here, too, including “Bones,” “Nobody” and “Ego Death.” It’s just an all-around really solid and creative release, so if you’re inclined go check it out at garetthatch.bandcamp.com. While you’re there, dig into his back catalog, too. Hatch will play live at Star Community Bar in Atlanta on Oct. 12 and at Nowhere bar here in town on Oct. 13.
PERSISTENCE PAYS: Songwriter and musician Kevin Murphy has certainly put the decades into his craft. Across a handful of cities and a major label deal with his old band The Lounge Flounders (Nashville, TN), he now calls Athens home and has a new album named Stare Down Stare Down that he released under the name Jones Murphy and the Indefinite Rest. Players on the record include members of old Athens band Michael, as well as members of current Athens bands Nanocar, Nuclear Tourism and Telemarket. This 11-song album does have a distinctly 1990s indie rock DNA even if it doesn’t show through on all songs. Perhaps the most readily recognizable of this sort are the album opener “Time” as well as “It’s A Drag.” Jones actually moves around quite a bit within the parameters of mid-tempo pop-rock and flexes some ‘60s folk styling on “Nosebleed,” softer singer-songwriter acoustic playing on “Always Blue” and even a Vic Chesnutt-ish waltz tune with “Persephone.” He celebrated this release with a live show last week. Find it on all major streaming services.
GET INSIDE: Hendershot’s is hosting a special pop-up event Saturday, Sept. 9. The popular coffee shop and performance space will host a visit from Chattanooga’s record store and label Yellow Racket Records. It includes performances from two Yellow Racket artists: the “90s alt-rock and shoegaze” influenced El Rocko and experimental pop band Telemonster. A pop-up record store will be open all night. Doors open at 7 p.m. and El Rocko plays at 8 p.m. followed by Telemonster at 9:30 p.m. The cover charge this night is $10.
FIFTY CENTS A WORD: Athens band Swear Jar released a new EP a couple of weeks back named What’s Your Problem?. And, honestly, most of my problems with this have to do with this awful band name. Outside of that, 80% of this record is 100% killer. The only songs that didn’t really do anything for me are the seemingly uncharacteristic heavy songs at the very end (the bluesy-grungy “Hypocrisy” and bar rocker “Deal With The Devil”). The first four tracks are a nearly perfect set of modern new wave (“Haunted,” “Unlikely Duo,” “Run”) and alt-folk (“Eyes Wide Open”). These songs are supported largely by a thoughtful bass guitar and, as such, provide an emotional underpinning that would be missing from other groups. Swear Jar’s lineup is Evan Ayers (guitar), Jon Ngo (bass), Ethan Houseman (drums) and Emilee Campbell Harden (vocals). A few weeks back, I mentioned Harden in relation to her vocalist duties in Way Past Cool. She shines here just as brightly and, while I’ve no doubt she’s committed to her groups, there’s just a feeling I get that eventually there’s going to be a long line of musicians whose main claim to fame will be having once played with her. In any case, this is worth a listen, so if you wanna take the plunge head to swearjartheband.bandcamp.com.
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