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Joi wears her angel wings

The funk priestess self-releases Tennessee Slim Is the Bomb

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"Stunning" is the word that comes to mind when I think of Joi's performance during the monthly urban love fest SolFusion, held at Motion last Fri., April 28. Clad in a black bustier that accentuated her model-thin figure and a pair of angel wings, she performed plenty of fan favorites such as "Missing You" and "Lick" (though, sadly, no "Sunshine & the Rain"). She brought sterling guests with her: Trina Broussard, Algebra and Sleepy Brown.

Joi played SolFusion to promote her new album, Tennessee Slim Is the Bomb. What can people expect to hear on the disc? "Well, I don't know what people can expect," says Joi a few days later during a phone interview. "As far as what I put into it and what I did, I just continued on doing more of the same with what I've always done. I try to make music that's pure, unpretentious and not contrived. I keep it pure, and I keep it funky."

Tennessee Slim Is the Bomb was completed in summer 2004. Raphael Saadiq, her one-time partner in Lucy Pearl, planned to issue the disc on his own Pookie Records. Before he could put out Tennessee Slim, though, he dissolved the label. Charitably, he gave the master tapes for the album back to Joi, who decided to form Joilicious Records and release it herself.

If Joi is beloved as ATL's high priestess of funk, she's equally known for rotten luck with record labels. Her fabled second album, 1996's Amoeba Cleansing Syndrome, never came out after the two companies scheduled to issue it (EMI and Freeworld Recordings) folded. Meanwhile, Universal Records poorly promoted her third album, 2002's Star Kitty's Revenge.

At least with Joilicious Records, Joi will finally get a chance to do for self. "I'm gonna work out all the kinks with myself, and make sure I do a really good job of getting Tennessee Slim out there and giving it a fair shot," she says, laughing. "Once I figure all of that out, I'll be able to aid other artists."

It was bound to happen. With Ciara's super-hit Goodies, producer Jazze Pha turned crunk into pop. Now he wants to do the same for snap music. His new proteges, Cherish, have a single called "Do It to It," featuring a rap from Sean Paul of the Youngbloodz. Better yet, the four young ladies -- sisters Farrah, Neosha, Felicia and Fallon -- made a "how to snap" video (with help from choreographer Jamaica Craft) so everyone can learn how to lean wit it, rock wit it. The video is available on the quartet's MySpace page, www.myspace.com/cherishsisters. Cherish's debut album, Unappreciated, is due in stores Aug. 1.

It looks like Athens duo Jucifer will finally issue a proper follow-up to its 2002 album, I Name You Destroyer. The group just signed with metal heavyweight Relapse Records, so the oft-delayed At the Hands of Our Intercessors should see the light of day this fall. "It's been a long wait for us to get our record out, but worth it," says Amber Valentine, who shares the group with Ed Livengood. "We've whipped out a few of the songs on tour already and can't wait to play more!" Hey, that's the spirit!

Instrumental music duo Montana Skies performs Fri., May 12, at the Red Light Cafe for its new album, Lift. The Jeni Fleming Trio opens. ... Pop-rock band Acres debuts For the Lost and Found on Fri., May 12, at 10 High Club. Princess headlines the bill. A portion of the show's proceeds benefit local comedy troupe Sketchworks. ... Indie-rock band Hot Young Priest celebrates its Fiendish Freaky Love on Sat., May 13, at the Earl. Soft Collision and Hubcap City join in the fun. ... We don't usually promote CD release parties in Athens (sorry), but we're making an exception for the Sat., May 13, celebration of the two-disc AthFest 10 compilation. The free show takes place at Georgia Theatre in Athens and features Five Eight, the Bearfoot Hookers and Lona.

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