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The Whigs split for tour

Athens band reaping success minus new release

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If all goes well for the Whigs this year, then you might not hear any new material from the ever-popular Athens band until 2008.

It's been a minute since the Whigs released Give 'Em All a Big Fat Lip independently in November 2005. The album eventually earned them a major deal with Dave Matthews' label, ATO Records, which re-released the disc last September. Since then, the band has been on the road constantly. This month, it embarked on a 45-date tour that includes major festivals such as South by Southwest and Bonnaroo. It also signed a deal with Australian label Ivy League Records. When the album comes out on that continent, the Whigs may do a tour there, too.

All the Whigs activity means the group won't return to the studio until July at the earliest, says band manager Josh Rifkind. Releasing a follow-up album before the end of this year seems remote. "Good things keep delaying us," Rifkind admits.

Rifkind is working on his projects as well, specifically the previously mentioned 500 Songs for Kids bonanza. "It's going to be crazy," he says. The event takes place May 3-12 at Smith's Olde Bar and benefits more than 13 charities, including numerous special-needs camps. The songs are from Rolling Stone's 2004 list of the 500 greatest songs of all time, and will be performed by artists of all genres.

"It's going to be all types of music," Rifkind says. He hopes to draw in some noteworthy national acts, but says he'll be satisfied if it's a purely local event. Either way, he promises, "It'll be the biggest music charity event ever." You can learn more at www.500songsforkids.org.

A MAN APART: Last week, in my item on Snowden and SXSW, I omitted details Jordan Jeffares gave me about his solo project.

"Right now I'm working on an album that's completely different from Anti Anti," says Jeffares, referring to Snowden's acclaimed debut. "I'm not sure if I'm going to call it Snowden or something else. But it will definitely be low-key stuff: Cat Power, Elliott Smith-type stuff, Nick Drake-ish. It's really minimalist and very unique."

Jeffares indicates that he'll quietly issue the material sometime before "it's time to do a big push" on the next Snowden album. In the meantime, the group recently compiled an Internet-only EP, Fuel of the Celebration. It features Anti Anti remixes by Treasure Fingers, Le Castle Vania (aka DJ DJ Dylan), Jeffares (as Stutter) and Captain Crunk. You can download it at www.kissatlanta.com.

POUR OUT A LITTLE LIQUOR: If you're waiting for the 585 Music Hall to reopen after city officials shut it down in January, you can stop now. Co-owner Deke Spears says he and his partners won't open it again. "Laws are laws and there's no way we can get around that," he says. They hope to open another nightclub in the near future, perhaps one outside Fulton County. "We're going to take some time to find the right place and the right space and get some money to do it right," Spears says. Wish them luck.

RANDOM NEWS: T.I. is prepping a new album, T.I. vs. T.I.P., for summer release. ... Congratulations to India.Arie, who won in the song category for "I Am Not My Hair" at the 38th annual NAACP Image Awards. ... Speech was a winner at the 2007 Independent Music Awards for his 2005 album The Vagabond.

CD RELEASES: Sixties-ish rock band the Booze introduces Easy Beats in Modern Time on Thursday, March 15, at Lenny's Bar. Trial by Fire, the Pillage and Thomas Function also perform. ... Folk sisters Rising Appalachia celebrate a new CD on Sunday, March 18, at Eyedrum. ... Eclectic band Hubcap City promotes Superlocalhellfreakride on Tuesday, March 20, at Drunken Unicorn. Magicicada, Gown and Sunburned Hand of the Man also play.

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