As the temperatures rise, and we near the start of festival season, it’s only appropriate that the number of live shows also grows. Luckily, Atlanta has a healthy music scene, with a diverse range of genres and musical perspectives, as well as endless options of venues to choose from. So, as the pollen count continues to break historical records, you may as well enjoy some live music while hiding out inside.
College radio has long been a haven for the weird and wonderful; a foundation for music discovery, curated by the most strange and spectacular members of the next generation. Georgia Tech’s student station, WREK 91.1 FM, is bringing this sense of sonic unearthing to life, by partnering with The Bakery for WREKtacular 2019. This year’s fest lineup is chock-full of experimental electronic and deconstructed club acts, featuring DJ sets from Rabit, TRAXMAN and Leonce, along with live performances from MHYSA, SCRAAATCH and Celines. Support college radio’s esteemed lineage by discovering new music and dancing your ‘lil heart out. — Kristy Guilbault
Moving from London to Los Angeles to Chicago, where she attended the Art Institute of Chicago, Lillie West began Lala Lala after being inspired by the DIY scenes in the cities she moved through. West uses music as a way to examine relationships, and come to terms with things like addiction and the loss of those close to you. Opening for Phoebe Bridgers’ and Conor Oberst’s new project, Better Oblivion Community Center, Lala Lala will perform tracks from 2018’s The Lamb. Her second LP is emotionally straightforward and musically uncomplicated. The album teeters on lo-fi bedroom pop at times, but West’s voice is more rough than sugary, and the hooks she produces are more comfortable in a dive bar or warehouse than between bedroom walls. — Erin Patrick
Massachusetts’ Boy Harsher released Careful just last month, and already the album has received critical acclaim as a standout DIY electronic album in a time where that’s hard to come by. The duo creates dark pop that is both groovy and reflective. Often described as “minimal synth,” Boy Harsher does a lot with a little. From the beginning of Careful, the listener is immersed in an almost cinematic soundscape; as the album continues, you find yourself beginning to dance, but in the dark. The music Boy Harsher creates feels personal and private, and even as the groove picks up, each track feels like a secret whispered with lips to ear. — EP
Atlanta’s blis. is no stranger to the dark stages of the emo scene, making its takeover at The Masquerade — alongside a collective of fellow locals MIGHTY, Tenth Row and Pike Co. — all the more inviting. Growing its sound through a culmination of experiences, the members of blis. have created powerful narratives through its songwriting and stage presence. Blis.’ debut full-length album, No One Loves You (2017), was a long-awaited follow-up to 2015’s stark EP, Starting Fires In My Parents House. Through the band’s sonic-melancholy screams stripped down tales of dark intimacy. Blis. embodies the friendship and community that drives Atlanta’s arts scene, making the band a true local powerhouse.— Katie Lipsiner
In an era of constant contact and a 24/7 newscycle, it’s easy to get swept up in the constant chaos of the world. Hand Habits offers refuge from the digital storm, with mesmerizing songs touching on mental health, heartbreak and the need for taking a deep breath. Duffy’s second album as Hand Habits, placeholder, is a polished step up from the band’s 2017 debut, yet retains the same sense of humbleness and sincerity.
Opening for Hand Habits is Atlanta’s Jordan Reynolds. Under the moniker Rose Hotel, Reynolds creates expansive lo-fi pop, which expands past the walls of her bedroom through the addition of trumpet, flute, vibraphone and backing vocals from fellow Atlanta musicians. Reynolds recently announced the forthcoming release Rose Hotels’s debut full-length album, I Will Only Come When It’s A Yes, due May 31. — KG
New York musician Caroline Rose’s transformation between albums is absolutely remarkable. First known for take on Americana, with America Religious and 2014’s I Will Not Be Afraid, Rose’s latest release, LONER (2018), elevates that twang with raging rockabilly. LONER was created out of Rose’s dissatisfaction with the misalignment of her musical sound and her personality. Feeling as though her project didn’t properly represent herself, Rose pivitted to something louder and funnier. With songs about death, misogyny and late-stage capitalism, LONER dives deep into Rose’s dark sense of humor. — KL
Meg Remy, of the moniker U.S. Girls, was successful in bringing us one of 2018’s most interesting R&B-adjacent albums. In A Poem Unlimited is a rolling wave of sound, as Remy incorporates everything from synth to horns to strings, all adorned with her rhythmic, dark vocals. Nearly every track is danceable, while also under a veil of something duskier. Tracks like “Rosebud” seem to draw influence from dark, 80’s disco-pop — think Kate Bush. “Rosebud” leads into “Incidental Boogie,” a grimy, guitar-coated track that feels like the climax of the album. A U.S. Girls live show is bound to have you bending your knees and shaking your head to a slow groove that feels at home in a Roadhouse scene from David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. — EP