New Squalls video, film screening and album release show

The beloved Athens band is in the midst of a reissue campaign.

In the early ‘80s, a Squalls gig was a reason to dance. In the 2020s, it’s time to dance to the Squalls again.

The band made its debut in late 1981 at the 40 Watt Club, joining a scene already brimming with talent. Two years before, the B-52s had put Athens on the musical map with their debut album, and Pylon’s debut “Cool”/”Dub” was released as 1979 turned into 1980. Earlier in 1981, R.E.M. made its debut with the single “Radio Free Europe.”

Credit: Courtesy of Propellor Sound Recordings

Credit: Courtesy of Propellor Sound Recordings

While they never achieved the widespread fame and acclaim of those bands, Squalls became a favorite on the local scene. Decades later, the band’s music is getting a chance to reach new fans with the release of a live album in August (”Live From the 40 Watt” on Strolling Bones Records) and the expanded reissue of the band’s self-titled 1984 debut EP with previously unreleased demos.

ExploreStill Squallin' after all these years

For a taste of what to expect, the Atlanta Journal Constitution is proud to present the debut of a new lyric video of “Feet Are Walking,” from the newly remastered EP.

Propeller Sound Recordings, which is releasing the EP on Nov. 4, also has plans to reissue the band’s 1986 album “Rebel Shoes” and 1988′s “No Time.”

“I never tired of working with them because their catalog of original songs was a treat to hear,” said T. Patton Biddle, the legendary soundman at the 40 Watt Club. “They are in the top 5 of my all-time favorite bands that I worked with in Athens, which is no small compliment.”

The band found its widest audience with an appearance in the 1986 documentary “Athens, GA - Inside/Out,” and there’s a screening of the film at the University of Georgia’s Hargett Library on Nov. 9 with filmmaker Bill Cody.

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“The first time I saw the Squalls I was hooked,” Cody said. “The music — with a bit of jazz, a bit of folk and a lot of fun — was the kind that made everyone dance. I mean everyone. When they played it was contagious.”

Credit: handout

Credit: handout

You’ll have a chance to experience a little bit of that magic again with an album release show on Nov. 18 at Cine Lab in Athens. Squalls founder Bob Hay will perform a solo set, then the Wild Jordan Tonk Cats (including original Squalls drummer Mark Cooper Smith) will take the stage followed by Hay and original Squall member Diana Torell joining in for a set of Squalls songs.

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It may not be exactly like the old days, but you should always expect a little magic when those songs are played live.

“I’ll never forget the atmosphere,” said 10,000 Maniacs keyboardist Dennis Drew of the first time he saw Squalls at the old 40 Watt, “hot, sweaty college kids dancing madly. The music was propulsive. It hit you like… well, like a squall. And living in the Great Lakes area on the shores of Lake Erie we know how a squall hits you. But there was always something idiosyncratic about Squalls. A sound no one else had.”


IF YOU GO

“Athens, GA - Inside/Out” film screening with Bill Cody

At 5 p.m. Nov. 9, join a guided tour of Hargrett Library’s newest exhibit, “Georgia on my Mind: Finding Belonging in Music History.” At 5:30 p.m., along with producer Bill Cody, watch Athens, GA - Inside/Out” followed by a brief intermission and reception. The sequel, “Athens/Inside-Out: Red Turns into Blue” screens at 7:30 p.m. UGA’s Hargett Library, 300 S. Hull St., Athens. libs.uga.edu.

Squalls album release show

9 p.m. Nov. 18. $10. Cine Lab, 234 W. Hancock Ave., Athens. athenscine.com.