Friday, January 30, 2009

Library Thing

I like to inform the Westminster community when we add new books to the collection. I used to spend a looooo-ooong time cutting and pasting reviews from Amazon into an e-mail, as well as typing the titles and authors. It was such a time-consuming process and the end result, while informative, wasn't very snazzy.

I first heard about Library Thing last year. I went ahead and made an account, but didn't play around with it that much. Then, about a week ago, I was inspired to play around with it again. The result? Well, read on.

I heart Library Thing :) Now all I have to do is type in the title of a book, click on the correct one, and a record is automatically created in my Library Thing "library". All one has to do is click on the record and one will be taken to a page with, among other entries, a review from Amazon. Library Thing will also post a picture of the book's cover. It is fast, easy to do, and the end result is really nice. Check it out: !

Kimberley Barker

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Few Notes of Interest Regarding Folk and Punk in Georgia

This Saturday, January 31st, the Atlanta music label Dust To Digital is hosting a concert in Athens, Georgia to celebrate the release of their new box set entitled Art of Field Recording: Volume II. The concert will host a number of gospel, blues and country artists from north Georgia who are featured on the box set including Sister Fleeta Mitchell, Mary Lomax and a plethora of other artists who are unknown to many. The box set and concert are the culmination of many years of field recordings and research. Many of the musicians are performers who played locally but never had a chance to make an official recording. This is a chance to hear and see a part of Georgia's musical heritage that is quickly being lost to both age and changing tastes.

My music listening tastes run the gamut so I thought a blog entry noting the Art of Field Recordings box set release concert would be a good place to talk about some other local music groups and resources falling outside of the mainstream. Westminster's own Black Lips have gone from being a local garage rock sensation to being hyped by the music press as the wildest thing to come out of Atlanta in recent memory. The Black Lips, along with local groups such as The Selminaires, Mastodon and Snowden, are certainly gaining in national attention as newer groups such as The Balkans step up to fill the local music breach left by bands who have moved beyond the Atlanta circuit. All of these groups, to some degree or another, are products of the Atlanta punk and indie scene that seems to of been overlooked in the past as groups from Athens, Georgia garnered a large amount of local press attention.

To gain a better perspective on the Atlanta independent scene from the mid 1980s to the near present I really like the Beyond Failure blog done by an Atlanta local active in bands and the scene since the early 1990s. The blog has a ton of rare flyers, photos, sound files and interviews from a time that meant a great deal to those of us who sought out an alternative to mainstream culture in the '90s.

Another favorite of mine for independent local music news and information is the now long running Stomp and Stammer. The monthly periodical features lots of insightful interviews featuring local and national acts, coupled with great writing concerning everything from movies to upcoming shows in the Atlanta area. A recent article featuring the history of soul and R & B music in Georgia was especially informative for those of us who had no idea such a scene existed here in the past. The Atlanta edition of Creative Loafing also features some great music writing and lots of information concerning upcoming shows and happenings in the area. I also like the Atlanta Music Blog for timely posts on a pretty diverse array of local musicians.

Atlanta's musical past and present are certainly extraordinary as new and challenging artists emerge to build on the framework laid by older local musicians, many of whom we are only beginning to learn about.

- Black Lips image courtesy of Paste Magazine
- Mary Lomax Image courtesy of Oren Rosenthal's blog

- Christopher Bishop