‘Flagpole’ feature: First Tuesday connects homegrown Athens, Atlanta hip-hop

john.AVERAGE photo by Deseri Rice.

Tuesdays have always been hip-hop nights for Athens—at least where Montu Miller is concerned.

Miller is the COO leading the charge for local promotions company AthFactor Entertainment. Alongside DJ Chief Rocka, he hosts the First Tuesday hip-hop series at The World Famous. First Tuesday was built on a foundation Miller started circa 2005, when he launched Tasty Tuesdays at Tasty World. Over the years, the event has bounced around downtown venues such as Caledonia Lounge and Live Wire, until settling into its current digs at The World Famous. In September, organizers will celebrate the monthly gathering’s third anniversary there.

The aim for First Tuesday has always been to facilitate Athens’ hip-hop scene with an event that fosters creativity by strengthening the community through networking and friendly competition.

“For years, we’ve invited out artists from the Eastside, the Westside, the Stonehenge community—bringing everybody together, so we have a more cohesive scene,” Miller says. “There really is just one community with a few little satellites and branches, but it’s all moving together as one at this point.” Read the full story at Flagpole.

Tav Falco’s Panther Burns celebrate 40 years of howling at imperialism — Flagpole feature

Tav Falco photo by Peter Lee.

To the best of his recollection, it was sometime in the early 1980s when Tav Falco last tried to play a show in Athens. His band Panther Burns was a young, Memphis, TN-based rockabilly outfit, born in a cotton loft on the Mississippi River in 1979. In the beginning, Falco boasted little musical skill or experience, aside from chainsawing a guitar into pieces during an act of performance art. Yet he paired up with guitarist Alex Chilton of Big Star to create an “art-damaged” balance of their respective abilities.

Over the ensuing four decades, the Arkansas-born auteur’s career has flourished. On songs such as “Brazil” from 1981’s Behind the Magnolia Curtain LP, or his cover of “Strange Fruit” on 2018’s Cabaret of Daggers, Falco has mastered a singularly primitive motif. Blues rhythms carry his less-than-pitch-perfect singing, creating an off-center momentum in which songs feel as though they could fall apart at any moment. But he always keeps them together, creating a marvelous tension—at least when the group is allowed to play.

That fateful trip to Athens began when Falco and Chilton, along with original drummer Ross Johnson and bass player Rene Coman, piled into a ’64 Thunderbird and set out for a three-night run of shows in Nashville, Athens and Atlanta. The group hadn’t made it an hour outside of Memphis when Johnson “got scared” and turned the car around. When the rest of the band made it to Nashville, they recruited a “drunken hillbilly” named Alvin to play drums. Read the full story at Flagpole.

‘Flagpole’ feature: With New Album, Andrew Blooms finds balance in music and life

Andrew Blooms photo by Savannah Shaw.

Faith, spirituality and finding room for intellectual growth while parsing out a non-secular push-and-pull have long served as rich fodder for many an introspective songwriter. From country music’s enduring man in black, Johnny Cash, to indie rock stalwart David Bazan, the struggle has always been real—fertile ground for harvesting lyrical poetry that hangs in a balance of tension and resolve.

For Athens songwriter and producer Andrew Blooms, born Andrew Huang, this internal struggle remains steeped in quiet imagery and personal metaphors, ever present but never spelled out completely in songs such as “Humility,” “My Time Will Come” and the title track from Blooms’ debut full-length LP, Never a Waste, whose release he will celebrate with a show at the Georgia Theatre Dec. 3. Still, sweetness and innocence guide the billowing atmosphere and non-linear narratives that lie at the core of Blooms’ songs. Read the full story at Flagpole.