Kronos Quartet violinist David Harrington discusses the power, mystery of music in 'Penn State News'

Kronos Quartet photo by Jay Blakesberg

“The very last thing the great Polish composer Henryk Górecki said to me was, “I hope one day I will understand how music works.” And that’s been inscribed in my inner being. If Henryk — one of the most incredibly musical people on the planet — didn’t understand how it works, I don’t think anybody could. He had the presence of mind and the humility to say he didn’t understand it. And he confirmed what I feel. How does it work? It’s a mystery that I love to explore every day of my life.” — David Harrington

Read the full Q&A at Penn State News.

Atlanta Music News: Soul Food Cypher turns 8 + new music from Upchuck, Arbor Labor Union, DKA, and more in the February issue of CL

THE CREW: Soul Food Cypher is calling on 100 emcees to join their ranks. Photo courtesy Soul Food Cypher

Since 2012, Soul Food Cypher has convened on the fourth Sunday of each month to showcase the positive and constructive role that rap music can play in shaping daily life. By concentrating on expanding consciousness through the craft and ingenuity of freestyle rap and spoken language, SFC builds structure by facilitating regular cyphers (a group of freestyle rappers rhyming in a cyclical motion, following each other’s lead) that foster creativity and a sense of camaraderie within the city’s underground hip-hop scene.

“Our aim is to provide Atlanta’s lyricist community with a safe and nurturing environment where their voices and artistry can grow,” says SFC’s executive director Alexander Acosta. “We look to solidify the art of freestyling as a genuine aesthetic to the wider artistic community and carry this rich tradition to the next generation.” Continue reading at Creative Loafing.

Oh-OK, Love Tractor feature story in Flagpole Magazine

Oh-OK photo by Mike White

Love Tractor and Oh-OK are two bands inextricably linked by time and space—meaning, of course, that they both played hands-on roles in shaping Athens’ hallowed alternative rock scene at the dawn of the 1980s. Both groups shared practice spaces and stages and even brandished the mark of Atlanta’s DB Recs alongside the B-52s, Pylon and the Method Actors. But despite coming of age amid the same college town music scene, stylistically speaking, their sounds could not be more disparate.

Read the full feature story in this week’s edition of Flagpole Magazine.

Atlanta Magazine's favorite Atlanta albums of the 2010s

Deerhunter: Halcyon Digest (2010). Photo by George Mitchell, courtesy 4AD.

The good folks at Atlanta Magazine recently asked me for a list of my favorite Atlanta-based albums of the 2010s. I narrowed my picks down to one album per year, which, in some cases, was quite difficult. Hard cuts had to be made. In the end, some great music got shouted out. Read the full list here in which Christopher Daniel, Christina Lee, and I shine a light on some of our favorite releases from the last decade. Read the full list at Atlanta Magazine.

Rad/ATL’s Hidden Hand podcast: An interview with Randall Frazier of Orbit Service

Orbit Service photo by Matt Condon

Welcome to another episode of Rad/ATL’s Hidden Hand podcast.

The music you’re listening to is “The Coldest Nights,” taken from Orbit Service’s sixth and most recent album titled The Door to the Sky.

Currently based in Bailey, Colorado — a small town in the mountains near Denver — Orbit Service is the name under which Randall Frazier has created music since the early aughts.

Over the years, Frazier has crafted a spacious and drifting sound that’s bound by a singular and textured quietude. His voice blends with atmospheric drones, improvisation, elegant post-rock songwriting, and musique concrete to a psychedelic effect.

I spoke with Frazier on October 16, 2019, shortly before Orbit Service shared the stage with the Legendary Pink Dots at the Masquerade in Atlanta — his fourth tour with the group. For this conversation we talked about creating space with music, life in Colorado, and our shared affinity for the Legendary Pink Dots.

To learn more about Randall Frazier and Orbit Service look online at orbitservice.bandcamp.com.

Thank you for listening.

Rad/ATL’s Hidden Hand podcast: An interview with Thom Fuhrmann of Savage Republic

Savage Republic was born amid the Los Angeles punk scene of the early 1980s, when former UCLA students guitarist Bruce Licher and drummer Mark Erskine formed the band Afrika Corps. Before releasing their 1982 debut LP Tragic Figures, the group’s name changed and a menacing post-industrial clatter took shape around Middle Eastern imagery and surf rock ambiance. Savage Republic’s sound was contemptuous, noisy and politically-charged, settling in with song titles such as “Kill the Fascists!,” “Mobilization,” and “Attempted Coup: Madagascar.” They shared the stage with groups such as Sonic Youth, Public Image Ltd., Swans, Fugazi, and more.

Amid lineup changes, songwriter and guitarist Thom Fuhrmann joined Savage Republic in 1983, and first appeared playing keyboards on the song “Trek” from the group’s 1985 EP, titled Trudge (Play It Again Sam Records).

Over the decades, Fuhrmann has assumed a leadership role in Savage Republic. In 2019, he fronts the group, standing alongside drummer Alan Waddington, bass player Kerry Dowling, and long-standing guitarist and percussionist Ethan Port.

In 2014, the group released a full-length LP, titled Aegean, with songs such as “Arab Spring,” “Victory,” “27 Days,” and “Peloponesia” placing Savage Republic’s original aesthetic into a modern context. A 2018 7-inch single featuring the songs “God & Guns” and “Tranquilo” further sharpen the group’s stance against right-wing influences gaining a stranglehold on modern America.

After wrapping up a late summer Midwestern tour en route to record new material with Steve Albini at Chicago’s Electrical Audio, Fuhrmann made his way to Atlanta where we caught up over breakfast.

For this second part of my breakfast conversation with Savage Republic’s guitarist and frontman Thom Fuhrmann, we talk about the origins, evolutions, and tragic circumstances surrounding the work he’s recorded under the name Autumnfair, and more about what the future holds in store for Savage Republic.

To learn more about Savage Republic and Autumnfair look online at www.mobilization.com.

'Flagpole' feature: Magnapop comes full circle with sixth LP

Magnapop photo courtesy Crashing Through Publicity.

Speaking over the phone, Magnapop’s Linda Hopper and Ruthie Morris sound remarkably crisp for our 9 a.m. interview. Oh yeah—they’re in South Holland, a full six hours ahead of Georgia time, waiting to soundcheck before the evening’s show at Bergen op Zoom’s famed music venue Popmonument.

Magnapop is in Europe playing shows and preparing for the arrival of the group’s sixth album, The Circle Is Round, out Sept. 27 via Athens’ HHBTM Records. Belgium, Holland and the rest of the Benelux region have been Magnapop’s home away from home since the early 1990s, when Hopper passed the group’s Michael Stipe-produced demo tape along to a pair of Dutch journalists at a New Music Seminar.

“None of us are good networkers,” Hopper says. “I had two tapes with me. I gave one to someone’s dad and the other to these two guys. After that, we started selling out shows over here, which is really kind of miraculous.” Read the full story at Flagpole.