PLEASE FORWARD TO CURRENT RESIDENT: Lockdowns and quarantines aside, the room here is getting very crowded. One of these days I’m gonna have to really tighten this ship back up and talk only about bands that are strictly Athens-based. There’s been a raft of this two-city, out-of-town, used-to-be-all-local stuff. That said, let’s welcome the new EP by Folklore. It’s been nearly exactly a decade since the band—which is sometimes more of a cast of thousands, really—last recorded anything. The new record is named The Curse and runs a comfortable seven tracks. There are some really nice tunes on this. Notably, the infectious and buoyant title track, which slides seamlessly into the similarly structured “To Be Born Now.” For the uninitiated, Folklore—in the loosest, most convenient terms—plays acoustic-based indie pop/rock with a keen sense of melody and nice lyrical surprises. After listening to this whole thing, I kinda don’t care where they live. It’s just nice. Check it out at folklore.bandcamp.com.

IN A METAL MOOD: Life wasn’t always so easy in town for metal dudes. Just you try attempting to rock out while the whole town is either soaked in mystical psych-pop or living in a twee-house. Not even an Olympic torch could light the way. It was under these conditions that Land Speeder released its album Buddha Motor Works back in May 1996. Though long talked about, the memory of the band has faded somewhat over the years. Now, label Local Records has rereleased the album properly as a limited edition, 300-copy LP. This release was remastered by Jesse Mangum at The Glow Recording Studio and is available on charming yellow vinyl. Preorders began a few weeks ago, and it’s available for all as we speak. Also, while always leading the metal charge during their time, Land Speeder wasn’t doomy, evil or any of those other things. They just rocked and had fun without being total goofs. All in all, good stuff. Head to local-records.square.site where you can preview the entire thing and place your order, too. 

NEW YEAR, NEW BEAT: It’s been a few months since AyoPaco (aka Paco Marquez) released his EP Planet Pac, but the sun is nowhere near setting on him. Working through the slow months of late fall, he prepped and has now released his newest single, “Ready Set Go (Skillet).” It was produced, mixed and recorded by Marquez and is, in no uncertain terms, a total club banger that’s just ripe for a longer remix. As it stands, the official track runs just under two minutes. Importantly, to me at least, Marquez uses tools like robotic voice effects in the way they were meant to be used—that is, as an enhancement to the underlying composition, not as a coverall gimmick to obscure lame songwriting. I’ve probably said enough good things about this now, so go listen for yourself at soundcloud.com/pacomarquez. 

HUDDLE UP: Another hardworking couple, the folky Americana duo Clay Babies, steadily released tunes all through 2020, each with an increasing level of social consciousness. Their final single for the year, released during Flagpole’s annual double issue in December, was “Brave Enough To Dream.” The song is part of the pair’s ongoing project named The Justice Jar. This project is an album in the works, so to speak, and as each song is recorded and released, it is added to the collection. The proceeds are directed toward different causes, which you can read about on their website. Check out the tunes via claybabies.bandcamp.com, and read up over at claybabies.com.

THE PITCH: Since it’s the start of a new year it’s not a bad idea to go over everything again. We here at Flagpole love (read: L-O-V-E!) hearing about your projects, shows, records, etc. In a best-case scenario, we’d cover everything all the time, even if we didn’t enjoy your particular hunk of art. That said, as a weekly paper, we’re often constrained by space and a week-ahead-of-time deadline for features, reviews, consideration for coverage in this column, etc. So, it’s always best to drop us some info at threatsandpromises@flagpole.com and music@flagpole.com as early as possible about what you’ve got going on. A few weeks is generally ample, but please don’t hesitate to get in touch, even if it’s much later. As always, there are no guarantees, but early action increases the chances exponentially that word will get out, and we’ll look like geniuses for being so on the ball. Thank you!

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