GOODBYE, FRIEND: Longtime Athens musician, songwriter and friend Todd McBride died Monday, Jan. 16 after a short period of intense illness that began in early December. Although he played with many groups over his nearly 40 years in Athens, he was best known for his role in Dashboard Saviors. Known for his poignant songwriting and sharp lyricism, McBride was a friendly shepherd of sorts who never failed to bring new musicians under his guiding wings and be a beacon of encouragement for those trying to gain footing in our scene. I can personally attest he was one of the first Athens “band guys” that remembered me at his gigs and greeted me by name when I was still just a very young pup around these parts. Further, he was one of a relative handful of Athens lyricists whose words I found eminently relatable and which sincerely touched my heart. I was very glad to know him and thankful to remember him as a friend. He was 58 years old.
PLACE YOUR BIDS: The nomination period is open for The 2023 Vic Chesnutt Songwriter of the Year Awards and runs until Mar. 23. These annual awards, sponsored and presented by Classic City Rotary, have become an established and anticipated event each year. There are a few specific requirements for qualification, but none are unreasonable or particularly cumbersome. Please see vicchesnuttaward.com/nominations for more information. This year’s awards presentation will happen May 4 at the 40 Watt Club.
COMING AROUND AGAIN: As promised just before the holiday season of 2022, the Michael Guthrie Band’s classic album Direct Hits is now reissued on CD and available for purchase. First released in 1981, the original LP has become a collector’s item for British Invasion-inspired power pop fans across the globe. In other news, the previously unreleased collection of tunes Love Conquers All is out now. This collection comprises the last tracks recorded by the final lineup of the Michael Guthrie Band whose members were Michael Guthrie and the late bassist John Guthrie and drummer Herb Guthrie, who died in 2009 and 2013, respectively. While I suspect these are available in local stores, I can guarantee you they’re available at michaelguthrieband.com.
NEW PLASTIC IDEAS: An ambitious, and successfully so, EP just slipped out from new project Split Silk. This self-titled, six-track release was written, performed, recorded, mixed and mastered entirely by Lucca Cassandra Anastasia Carver (McQQEEN). Sonically, it treads the same choppy waters as Unwound, Sonic Youth and select screamo bands of the 1990s. Its release in the beginning of January may strike listeners as somewhat incongruous because this is a sweaty pile of noisy rock more closely associated with warmer temperatures. In any case, it’s a driving force of an EP from a project that will hopefully be fleshed out into a live performance lineup in the near future. Highlights for me here are “Gilded (2013)” and “Dreamdagger.” Find this at splitsilk.bandcamp.com.
BURGERS WITH DUMFRIES: Bob Hay & the Jolly Beggars will play its annual “Burns Concert” on Wednesday, Jan. 25. This event, which is the group’s tribute to Scottish Bard Robert Burns, takes place at The World Famous from 9–11 p.m. There’s not a whole lot else to say about this, but if you’re unfamiliar with either, you can easily get up to speed via facebook.com/Bobhayandthejollybeggars, jollybeggars.netnik.com and scotland.org/features/scotlands-bard.
BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ: Almost as if to say “Happy New Year!” Daniel Shroyer (Mandible Rider, Shadebeast) let loose another collection of tracks from his ongoing noise/experimental project Ixian. It’s titled Along The Gel Dorva Line, which I believe is an Anime reference but I cannot be bothered to care enough about whether this is the case to investigate further. What I can tell you is that it opens strongly and propulsively with “Where Is The Sun?” and remains strong throughout. That said, it disintegrates structurally as it goes along from starting out with relatively recognizable beats and melodies to grinding its way through the static-laden “The Current State Of Bulgarian Football.” Find and enjoy over at ixian.bandcamp.com.
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