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Former Pinecones sign to Sub Pop

Callanwolde pushes to raise funds and more music news

Arbor Labor Union, the Athens/Atlanta-based outfit formerly known as Pinecones, has signed with Sub Pop. In May 2015, the group crafted a riff-heavy debut, titled Sings For You Now (Arrowhawk Records). There's also an intense live tape, recorded on 90.5 FM/WUOG, titled Plays Cosmic Hits (Southern Vision). Both are essential listens when getting one's head around this group.

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To put it simply, guitarist Brain Atoms, bass player Ryan Evers, drummer Ben Salie, and singer/guitarist Bo Orr craft driving post-punk and indie rock that taps into a murky and melodic sound that draws comparisons to Slint, Chavez, Lungfish, Hüsker Dü, et al. Keep an eye out for a Sub Pop debut to arrive in spring 2016.

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When Charles Howard Candler built Callanwolde Estate in 1920, music and horticulture were chief among his family's interests. Nearly a century later, Callanwolde Fine Arts Center is home to one of the largest Aeolian pipe organs in the country with more than 3,700 pipes in the attic. A recent fundraising campaign to raise $2.1 million to renovate three historic buildings on the estate's grounds — the Barn (restorations were completed in August), the Gardener's Cottage, and the Greenhouse — upholds Candler's original vision for the house.

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The public fundraising phase of the campaign kicked off in September and remains ongoing. Once complete, the refurbished Barn and Gardener's Cottage facilities will house the Rick Baker School of Music and Recording. The Greenhouse will host Callanwolde's School of Horticulture and Culinary Arts.

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Funds are being raised through a combination of foundation grants and individual donations. A crowd-funding project is set to roll out in mid-November as well. Thus far, Callanwolde has raised $1.5 million.

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In addition to donating all of the recording equipment for the program, Callanwolde's Director of Music Recording and three-time Grammy winning mixing engineer Phil Tan (Rihanna, Mariah Carey, Ne-Yo, Ludacris, Usher, Janelle Monáe) has created a three-month Music Recording Certificate Program consisting of 24 courses. Students who complete the program are prepared to apply to music recording, mixing, and engineering institutions and colleges around the country. Callanwolde is already working in conjunction with recording programs at Full Sail University, Georgia State, Kennesaw State, and Atlanta Institute of Music.

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Sad news arrived Mon., Nov. 9, when word spread that Rev. Johnny L. "Hurricane" Jones passed away. Jones was 79 years old. Jones was the vibrant leader of the Second Mt. Olive Baptist Church, and was known for hitting his congregation like a force of nature with a one-two punch of gospel singing and preaching — bursting with the passion of a man eternally in the spirit. In 2010, Dust-to-Digital Records released two compilation LPs of Jones' material: Jesus Christ From A To Z and The Hurricane That Hit Atlanta.

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In new music news, battling a rare form of cancer hasn't kept Grip Plyaz away from the studio. Between treatments and spending time with his family, the local MC has kept busy recording new material downtown at Castle Hill Studios. Last week, Grip unveiled the first taste of what he's been up to with a new cut titled "Dee Brown."

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Named after the 1991 NBA Slam Dunk champ, the song embraces Grip's penchant for matching catchy hooks ("They call me Dee Brown/ Trap jumping out the gym") with current trends, which in this case involves the dab dance. Produced by Afriken, the track came about after a conversation with the producer, Grip, and a friend named Deezy, after a day's work at Edgewood Pizza. Afriken told Grip he should "make a song people can dab to."

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Most tenants of the local music scene recognize Peter Webb as the saxophone player towering over <Faun and A Pan Flute. However, Webb's debut solo album, Liminal Space shows off a more personal side of his moody, acoustic songwriting, downplaying the edgy abstractions of his other musical endeavors. Throughout Liminal Space, songs such as "Spain," "Jared," and "Trees" are filled with spacious melodies, and a slow pace driven by Webb's subdued and strangely down-to-earth analysis of his relationship with the surrounding world.

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Some of these numbers predate Webb's time playing with Faun, Hello Ocho, Mediocre Machine et al, offering a more holistic look at what he's capable of pulling off with a guitar, his voice, and a solid cast of players, which, for the album, includes John Gregg (drums), Jared Pepper (drums), and Adam Mincey (bass).

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Earlier this year, folk and chamber pop six-piece Oryx & Crake released its sophomore effort, Marriage. The indie music mainstay employed its penchant for rich string arrangements and bookish lyricism to explore the marriage between members Ryan Peoples and Rebekah Goode-Peoples. The video for album standout "The Show" provides a visual parallel for the bleak way marriage is imagined on the record, but in an even darker context.

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Lush, slow moving shots reflect the double-edged sword of domesticity: ambivalent embraces in bed, washing dishes, joyless sips of alcohol. Images of smiling children contrast the quiet terror in Peoples' face, and the couple's rings are highlighted like bits of twisted metal weighing down their fingers. The music and visuals build an air of muted melodrama, creating a harrowing story arc worthy of Oryx & Crake's literary heroes.

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Oryx & Crake plays Fri., Nov. 20 at High Museum with Ruby Velle and the Soulphonics, and again on Thurs., Dec. 3 at Ponce City Market.

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With additional reporting by Gavin Godfrey and Paul DeMerritt.



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