Various artists June 13 2007

AthFest 2007

Since 1998, Russ Hallauer’s Ghostmeat Records empire has released an annual audio snapshot of the ever-evolving Athens music scene. This year’s set gets an opening jolt of grandiloquent townie-centric spoken-word commentary from Athens Boys Choir’s bruising “Athens, GA.” Music Hates You anchors the center square of the collection with the tumultuous “So Much Dirt in My Spotless Lab.”

The compilation includes the most satisfying selection of genres yet: The prerequisite gradients of Athens-style guitar rock: intelligent, ’90s and twee (King of Prussia, the Empties, M Coast, respectively); introspective singer/songwriters (Liz Durrett, Tin Cup Prophette); jam-frat-friendly (Bloodkin, Nelo); even country (Kimberly Morgan); and urban (the Renegadez, Travis Williams). Volume two, to be released June 19 on iTunes, will be available as a digital download of 15 additional songs. 4 stars