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Those Darlins, Deerhunter and Wizard Smoke prep new releases 

Last week, Murfreesboro, Tenn., power-pop foursome Those Darlins finished recording its second album at Living Room Studio with producer Jeff Curtin and studio co-owner/engineer Ed Rawls manning the controls. Curtin, who drums for Brooklyn band Small Black, and worked as an engineer on both Vampire Weekend albums, reconnects with Those Darlins after producing their self-titled debut last year.

This time around the group is hacking away on a thicker rock 'n' roll sound. The songwriting is a bit more stout as the whole group is volleying writing duties. Drummer Linwood Regensburg, who plays a stronger role in the group's dynamic this time around, even penned a song for the upcoming album, titled "Let You Down."

After an unexpected break from recording (i.e., they locked themselves out of the studio for a few hours), I sat in while the group recorded backing vocals for the song "Waste Away" and another untitled number with a chorus that repeats: "You can prank call me anytime."

Curtin will finish production in Brooklyn at a couple different studios, and the group is aiming to self-release the album in March 2011. They still haven't decided on an album title. "The baby isn't born yet, and you can't name it until you see it face-to-face," says singer/guitarist Nikki Darlin. "We don't even know if it's a boy or a girl yet." In the meantime, Those Darlins and Funstix's (Jessi Darlin's side project with Linwood Regensburg) split 7-inch Night Jogger is due Sept. 14.

Stoner-metal monsters Wizard Smoke went into WizKid Sound Studios last weekend to begin recording their second album, tentatively titled Speed of Smoke. The group tracked three songs and will go back to the studio in December to record three more. The finished product will serve as the follow-up to the debut cassette, Live Rock in Hell. According to the group's Grim Reaper of a frontman, James Halcrow, the weed references in the music have been toned down a bit. "This one's more about Satan and shit like that," he says. No release date has been set.

Deerhunter will celebrate the release of Halcyon Digest — the group's fourth full-length, and the first U.S. release on 4AD Records — with a show at Variety Playhouse on Oct. 1. Former Deerhunter guitarist Colin Mee's prog-goth hybrid band Hollow Stars is set to open.

Caroline Engel, better known as the leading lady for country/rockabilly staple Caroline & the Ramblers, has organized a benefit show for the Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta. The show is a Patsy Cline tribute featuring performances by Slim Chance & the Convicts, Sonoramic Commando and more, including Karen Jo & Alan Vennes of the Delta Angels — with original drummer Paul Fallat and J.E. Garnett from the Swimming Pool Q's, Rick Richards from the Georgia Satellites, and Peter V. from the Roy's.

Each band will play two or three Patsy Cline songs and then a few of their own songs to give the night some variety. Caroline & the Ramblers will play a full set of Cline's songs, peppered by a few originals. It all goes down at the Star Bar on Sept. 11.

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