For music fans who like to explore new sounds, Athens, Georgia is the place to be. And if you want to dig into a bunch of new music in one weekend, then AthFest is what you’re looking for. AthFest compilations have always been something special for me… after listening to a number of them; I’ve been excited, enthralled, confused and bemused, but never bored. On this, the 13th AthFest compilation, the trend of offering something new continues: of the sixteen tracks, nine of them are previously unreleased.
This latest volume encompasses everything there is to like about walking through downtown Athens during AthFest, although it seems a bit more mainstream than previous releases. Then again, does mainstream even mean anything when it comes to Athens music? In the past we’ve had rap and blues and gospel and quirky experimental music, but this year the focus is rock and pop, with some country and Americana. Many of these bands have been around awhile, so the new and shiny factor is diminished. The quality, however, is not.
This is a fine group of songs that work and flow together in ways that many compilations can’t manage, from The Whigs garage-band raveup I Don’t Even Care About The One I Love to the new-wave pop of The Orkids or the speedy crunch of Pride Parade’s If You See Her, Say Hello.
The Packway Handle Band’s Outskirts, from their excellent What Are We Gonna Do Now? release, is a great addition, as is Five Eight’s The Ballad of Frankie Jr. and Timi Conley’s New Boyfriend. Also featured are Ken Will Morton, whose Tell It To The Wind quickly became one of my favorites, Venice Is Sinking, William Tonks, and The Incredible Sandwich.
Proceeds from the sale of this compilation benefit AthFest educational programs like AthFest InSchool, AthFest AfterSchool and Keys for Kids.