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WonderRoot sprouts new fruit 

Nonprofit starts a label, Speakeasy throws a party

SMOOTH IN THE POCKET: Local collective Back Pockets become one of the first releases from new WonderRoot Records.

Joeff Davis

SMOOTH IN THE POCKET: Local collective Back Pockets become one of the first releases from new WonderRoot Records.

In addition to spearheading a performance space and recording facilities, the nonprofit community arts organization WonderRoot will soon launch a record label. Following an online campaign to raise $5,000 for its inaugural release, a six-band compilation (LP, CD and MP3) titled WonderRoot Records Vol. 1 will be released Feb. 19. Acts that have already confirmed their participation for the comp include Back Pockets, Jack Preston and Amy Godwin. The label is currently in talks with Oryx and Crake and Thy Mighty Contract as well. The same day the comp hits streets, WonderRoot Records will also release a new album from Back Pockets, titled Hello Dandelion, on all three formats.

On Jan. 15, the 10th installment of Speakeasy 10, the event that launched local promoter Brannon Boyle's Speakeasy Promotions, goes down at Apache Café. In less than two years, Speakeasy has become one of the more interesting local show promoters by mashing up the worlds of underground hip-hop, electronic music, psych and garage rock with bills that transcend genre boundaries. "I've always wanted to do a show that started off with metal and ended with dub/reggae," Boyle says. The hip-hop-heavy lineup for Speakeasy 10 includes performances from New York art rapper Homeboy Sandman along with Arablak, the Nice Guise and Headkrack, and DJ sets from Grizzly, and 45s for 45 (45 minutes of 45 records from the collections of Baka, DJ Throwback Soul, Ty-vicious and J-Ruckus). There will be a live graffiti display going on as well, and the whole thing is hosted by Fort Knox.

A handful of cassette tapes have come down the pike lately. Buffalo Bangers have a new self-titled cassette EP of brooding, low-fi tape hiss and haunted rock that settles somewhere between Neil Young and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Savant also has a new cassette tape out, titled Posthumous, even though the group is alive and well. The second offering picks up on the noisy, post-hardcore squelch and grind of La Macha, the band's one-sided LP from last year, but finds the group honing in on the more melodic side of those brash and sexually conflicted dirges. The Sunny Muffdivers, an instrumental psych-rock group rounded out by Chris Kaufmann of Gringo Star, Cyrus Shahmir of the N.E.C., and occasionally Paul McPherson (drums), have a new tape of bold and fuzzed-out drone jams, titled All Half Evil ([OVE:EVO]). The material on the tape was recorded back in 2008 and is the result of hours spent treating guitars, drum machines, tape players and pedals like percussive instruments.

On Feb. 15, Canadian folkies Cowboy Junkies will release Demons, an 11-song tribute to the late Athens songwriting icon Vic Chesnutt as the second in their four-part Nomad Series, released via their own Latent Recordings imprint. Hip-hop/electro producer and MC Ethereal released a new mixtape, titled No Saliva 2, at the beginning of the month. Check it out on his Bandcamp page.

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