REVIEW: AthFest 2015 Compilation CD

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AthFest, Athens’ seminal music festival, is right around the corner (June 24-28) and with it comes another stellar compilation CD featuring highlights of the jam packed lineup. This year’s was the first ever to be produced by students of UGA’s own Music Business program, and let us to be one of the first to say they did a bang-up job.

The 21 track compilation has a clear theme, one that has naturally marked every AthFest but seems to be even more present this year: summer. Whether it’s the breezy Kokomo noodling of opener “Fools Like These” by Tongues or the lazy Sunday contemplation of WrennPop’s “Laundromat”, each hand-picked track perfectly encapsulates the slowed down pace of an empty campus and the heat of baking Athens asphalt. Even the obligatory Whigs song, “Hit Me”, is one of their substantially mellower tunes. Major kudos goes out to the MBUS kids for this superbly sequenced compilation. Each sampling flows evenly from one to the next, from bouncy pop to quiet, moody bedroom synth dreaminess; as befits any zen summer festival, nothing about this varied representation is misplaced or jarring.

The CD’s assemblers also made wise choices in including some lesser knowns of our local scene – of Montreal is headlining the fest, sure, but they don’t need to do much to get anyone to visit their sets. But for smaller indie bands like The Orkids and Playground Hero – and especially for oft-shafted Athens hip hop artists like Uncle Pizza and Showtime – this exposure ahead of the festival is crucial.

MBUS student and compilation project co-producer Kelsey Kirpich, along with fellow MBUS student Anna Reed, said a team of five students listened to all 150 submissions, eventually narrowing it down to the 21 tracks it features – a tough feat for most, but moreso for a group of music fanatics. “We kept narrowing down the submissions until we had a list we felt was a great representation of the diverse Athens music scene.” Kirpich said, “The Music Business Program at UGA is a community of passionate music lovers, so it made it a really enjoyable process for everyone involved.” MBUS director David Barbe was also an enthusiastic backer of the project, saying he “instantly loved the idea” of having his own students be part of the process. “[It’s] a great opportunity for students to see the nuts and bolts of a music release – selecting artists and material, mastering, manufacturing, promoting and distributing,” he said. With MBUS’ stature growing every year, it makes total sense to get UGA students more involved in AthFest, which more broadly serves the Athens community, one that is made up of so much more than academia and football.

The CD was produced by Russ Hallauer and is out June 18 on Ghostmeat Records (purveyors of the annual AthFest comp for the last 18 years) and available for purchase here or at the merch table on site. As with everything AthFest, it benefits Athfest Educates, so jump on this thing.

Click here to listen to select comp CD tracks!


Club Crawl Info:

After the free outdoor shows, a $30 wristband grants access into more than a dozen Club Crawl venues Friday and Saturday nights, as well as discounts at AthFest affiliated events and into a VIP viewing area to the right of the stage.  40 Watt has a wristband-only show Friday night featuring Thayer Serrano, Cracker and The Whiskey Gentry, and Shehehe, Mind Brains and Warehouse Saturday night.  The Georgia Theatre has two nights of wristband-only shows featuring headliners Blank Range and Roadkill Ghost Choir Friday night, and Darnell Boys and Surfer Blood on Saturday night.  Other participating venues include Caledonia Lounge, Cine, Flicker Theatre, Go Bar, Hendershot’s, Little Kings Shuffle Club, Live Wire Athens, Lumpkin Street Station, The Foundry, The Globe, and The World Famous. Club Crawl line-up here.

Though originally from Virginia, Kelsey recently graduated from the University of Georgia with a cavalcade of neat degrees. She's written for other sites like Wide Open Country, Half Past, Seeing Trees Music, The Cropper, InfUSion Magazine, and Blurt. Kelsey’s greatest weakness is a large bowl of pho, and though she doesn’t know it yet, her friends will soon host a soup intervention for her. In her spare time she enjoys exploring abandoned buildings, crafting dad-humor puns, collecting vintage key chains, writing long lists that utilize the Oxford comma, and acting like Larry David.

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  1. Pingback: 15 Must-See Artists At AthFest [PLAYLIST] – Vinyl Mag

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