Spring is here, and the arrival of a new season is an opportunity to take stock of those resolutions you made at the beginning of the year and shed your callous, winter skin. Whether this is done through a change in lifestyle or sonic revelations, March gives us a chance to grow and refresh. We’ve heard this throughout the new releases of 2019, so follow suit and expand your musical horizons this month. Listen to something new, and support those silver and gold artists by checking out some shows this March.
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Berlin-based, Swedish artist Molly Nilsson is a believer in — and a master of — the DIY scene. From the start of her musical career, she has handled her own booking and promotion, in addition to producing her own music; in 2009, Nilsson started her own label, Dark Skies Association. Now, Nilsson has eight albums under her belt. The most recent, 2018’s Twenty Twenty, is an acknowledgement of the often unbearable twists and turns of our modern world, and an attempt to maintain some motivation and joy despite it all. Nilsson is proficient in producing dark pop that is both bouncy and reflective; she gives us glimpses into her experiences — the seemingly mundane ones, and the milestones.
Opening for Molly Nilsson is Atlanta’s electro-punk trio Shouldies. The show prefaces Shouldie’s upcoming tour and the release of their first full-length album, :), via Savannah’s Graveface Records. Frontperson Yancey Ballard has contributed numerous projects to the Atlanta music scene, but with Shouldies, Ballard has found their stride. Alongside John Pierce (Post Hunk) and Daniel Eberlein, Ballard has mastered their brand of dusky synth-pop, accompanied by vocals that at time stylistically border on spoken-word. Shouldies’ music is honest in ways that poke and prod at you, forcing you to look inward, while also inviting you to bust your weirdest move. — EP
Creating a world around melodic dream pop, Montreal’s Anemone thrives on emotional catharsis. The quintet’s February release Beat My Distance is a driven, coolheaded step forward from 2018’s Baby Only You & I EP, adding lucious vibrance to the group's psych-pop and melodic rhythms. Frontwoman Chloé Soldevila’s lyrics teem with longing for human interaction, resulting in music built to bear your soul and dance to. — Katie Lipsiner
Making SGC’s 2018 overlooked albums list, The Beths provided us a with refreshing a refreshing hybrid of pop punk and indie rock last year, with Future Me Hates Me. Members Elizabeth Stokes, Jonathan Pearce and Benjamin Sinclair exhibit their instrumental mastery on the album, ripping through guitar solos on songs like “Happy Unhappy.” Tracks like “Uptown Girl” display both percussive skill and hook-writing talent, as Stokes sings, “I will go out tonight / I’m gonna drink the whole town dry / Put poison in my wine in hope that you’re the one who dies.” She punches every word with clenched fists, in a voice that seamlessly transitions from head to chest. — EP
“If there’s a cool spot in hell / I hope you get it,” Matthew Lee Cothran sings during the hook of “Weird Honey,” and he carries this blithe energy throughout the rest of Elvis Depressedly’s discography. Cothran and Delaney Mills have been creating lo-fi pop under the moniker for just short of a decade. The duo has been laying low for the past couple of years, but Elvis Depressedly vows to make a return in 2019, complete with two headlining tours and new music. This will be Elvis Depressedly’s first release since 2016’s Holo Pleasures / California Dreamin’, and it’s sure to mark a period of growth and reflection. — KL
Since releasing As If to Say I Hate Daylight in 2011, Bellows has moved farther and farther from its original, lo-fi bedroom pop sound to something more refined and fleshed-out. Throughout this evolution, the group has managed to hang onto its DIY roots and the light, airy folk tone that makes a Bellows song identifiable. However, on 2019’s The Rose Gardener, Oliver Kalb brings us sounds that we haven’t heard from Bellows before, like the dancey, electronic bridge on “The Tower.” Kalb and Bellows bring a refreshing sincerity to the live show experience, and create a safe space to let both your pain and your joy breathe. — EP
Atlanta five-piece Yams Club is taking over 529 with their jazz-infused indie rock. The band originally started writing music during high school, drawing on how the fundamentals of familiarity can play a role in the musical process. Yams Club released its debut EP, Behind the Light, in June 2018, and has left listeners longing for more this year. “Like a moth drawn to a flame / Am I going insane,” vocalist Jade Thames bellows on the lead track “Flame,” coupling themes of anxious desire with hazy percussion. Yams Club pieces together different genres to make a sound all its own. This young Atlanta band is one to look out for. — KL
Korean-American DJ, producer, rapper and artist Yaeji (Kathy Yaeji Lee) is a force to be reckoned with. She has released a plethora of EPs and singles since 2016 that combine elements of hip-hop, synth-pop and house music. The sound that she has curated is not only entirely her own, it shows her versatility and breaks through the notion that an artist must stay within the bounds of a specific genre. Hopping from English to Korean and back again, her vocals rarely reach a volume higher than a forceful whisper. The juxtaposition of her bold merging of musical styles with her soft-spoken vocal timbre is powerful — she is both tender and strong, and the listener can’t help but pay attention. Although songs like “raingurl” and her cover of Drake’s “passionfruit” lean toward house music, Yaeji’s message is more weighty than superficial. She sings about hurt, change, betrayal and the balance of both her American and Korean influences. That she can create a track like “One More” that is simultaneously haunting and at home in a club reveals Yaeji exactly as she is: a renaissance woman. — EP
Folk trio Mountain Man released its stand-out second album, Magic Ship, in 2018 to critical acclaim. The 35-minute LP is nestled perfectly in the appalachian folk genre, and shows off the sugary, breathy voices of the three members: Molly Erin Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Amelia Randall Meath (Sylvan Esso). Tracks like “Baby Where You Are” and “Slow Wake Up Sunday Morning” have a sound that seems to mimic the way fog settles on blue ridge mountains — they are both light and heavy, with a chill and an unmistakable feeling of being almost home. On “Boat,” the trio brings us something more traditional, a song for campfires and porch gatherings. While the guitar on the album is beautiful and welcoming, we hear some of the most impressive sounds on the a cappella tracks, like “Bright Morning Stars.” The talents of Sarle, Sauser-Monnig and Meath are undeniable, and the three women are will undoubtedly bring us more critically-acclaimed music in the years to come. — EP
Under the moniker Homeshake, Montreal songwriter Peter Sagar has constantly been evolving his lo-fi synth-pop identity. Sagar’s latest release, Helium, swaps out his signature dreamy synth for darker dancehall elements. The album’s singles, “Like Mariah” and “Nothing Could Be Better,” gave listeners a taste of what was to come, following Homeshake’s breakout album Fresh Air (2017). Helium retains Sagar’s relaxed sound, while adding in darker R&B beats to create the ultimate dance tracks. — KL
After releasing its self-titled debut album in early 2018, post-punk trio Moaning are back in Atlanta with more melancholy synth-pop. Cutting its teeth in the L.A DIY scene, Moaning relays experiences of love and distress against a uniquely darkly driven sound. The band’s debut is sharp and enthralling, and hopefully points to more music in the future. — KL