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
November is for getting out to vote, protecting your friends’ rights, and enjoying some cannot-miss concerts. Atlanta is making national news as Stacey Abrams continues to make headlines and give hope to many.
In the midst of this political atmosphere, make sure to take time for yourself and enjoy some sick concerts coming to Atlanta.
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Nov. 3 / Girlpool / The Masquerade
Girlpool is back in motion since their 2017 album Powerplant after releasing two new songs this October, “Lucy’s” and “Where You Sink,”devoting this Fall to touring with PORCHES. Co-vocalists Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker each bring out ghostly harmonies on these tracks, with a Nirvana-like intro on “Lucy’s” coincides with the soft moodiness of “Where You Sink.” “You look like a kid from outer space / Always trying to plan your next escape,” Tividad serenades on “Where You Sink,” bringing up the everlasting theme of figuring things out while feeling a bit lost.
Nov. 13 / Half Waif and Sandy (Alex G) / The Masquerade
Nandi Rose Plunkett brought us one of the most unique and affecting releases of the year. Under the moniker Half Waif, she released Lavender, a record that talks candidly about both love and loss, and everything in between. Lavender is glitchier and more dynamic than anything on Kotekan or Probably Depths, and Plunkett’s voice seems stronger than ever, too. She coos softly but strongly, and begs and pleads with us to listen to her -- and it’s impossible not too. This November, she brings the album to life at The Masquerade alongside Sandy (Alex G).
The former DIY-scene artist has become an indie staple in the past few years, consistently bringing us genre-breaking, unique releases. With a sound that teeters from freak folk to punk rock, his 2017 release Rocket merged these sounds more than ever, and showcased some of his most melodic and innovative tracks to date. Half Waif and Alex G are sure to put on a show full of star power that swings from tender to raucous.
Nov. 14 / Mitski / The Masquerade
Over the course of her past two LP releases, the mononymous artist Mitski has rocked and expanded the playing field of the ambiguous genre of “indie rock.” Throughout her rise, she has maintained her authenticity and shown musically that she has more than one side. She consistently lays herself bare, whether it’s screaming into her guitar, or singing delicately atop thick instrumentation. Her highly anticipated 2018 release, Be The Cowboy is the perfect example of Mitski’s versatility. In place of her usual noisy rock breakdowns, are tracks that seem more composed, with an emphasis on piano and clear inspiration from 80’s disco, she has mastered the happy-sad feeling that her fans crave. Her fourth studio album shows us a more confident and romantic Mitski who has taken ownership of her sadness and her solitude, and knows what she wants and what she doesn’t want. This mood is evident in songs like “Lonesome Love” as she slowly crescendos into the line: “Nobody butters me up like you; nobody fucks me like me.” A live performance of Be The Cowboy is bound to be the same: a slow crescendo with a cathartic payoff.
Nov. 16 / Ty Segall (Solo) / Terminal West
The king of rock is back in Atlanta at Terminal West on a solo tour, something special to be seen if you are a regular at Segall’s mosh-filled events. The solo tour will give die-hard fans a chance for a more intimate setting with the psychedelic rocker, offering up a space for new and old tracks from a vast amount of discography. After quietly released his fifth album of 2018 on October 18th during an opening reception for his art show “Orange Rainbow” in Los Angeles, Segall sold a limited amount of 55 tapes also title Orange Rainbow. There is no telling what will come from this mastermind of hard hitting guitar riffs and chaotic vocal rhythms. While Segall has already give us three albums in 2018 let alone- Freedom’s Goblin, collab albums with GØGGS and White Fence, and an all-covers masterpiece entitled Fudge Sandwich, we wait patiently to take the stage on November 16th here in Atlanta.
Nov. 19 / Jim James (Solo) / The Tabernacle
The My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James has been busy making 2018 one for the books. From announcing his short but motivational “Future is Voting Tour” in swing district college towns, to recording an amazing rendition of “Over and Over” with boss bad rocker Angel Olsen, James has proven that he is a progressive and caring music man. After releasing his 2018 solo album Uniform Distortion, James announced a follow-up album just three months later. Uniform Clarity, features acoustic versions of the songs from Uniform Distortion. As heavy rock anthems turn into light-heart acoustic melodies, it’s crazy to think how much Jim James has accomplished this year, and what the future still holds for his music career. As Jim James prepares to take the stage on his solo acoustic tour, we are reminded that these albums reveal each other's rawness and realness of James’ craft to compel great stories into thoughtful songs.
This month's concert calendar brings a steady lineup of artists, from a big name at The Tabernacle to local and regional up-and-comers at 529. Read on for a glimpse into what not to miss this month.
Groovy dream pop trio Fantasy Guys return to 529 with Berndsen & Hermigervill, Raindeer & and Atlanta’s own True Blossom. Fantasy Guys’ 2017 EP Cruisin’ Around Respectin’ Babes is the perfect tropical follow-up to On Poppy Island (2016). Following their debut EP Surfin’ on A Wave of Juice (2015), Fantasy Guys have continued to create lush chillwave against the grit of the Atlanta cityscape. It’s almost too enthralling to be able to transport listeners to beach daydreams, filled with smooth vibes of sun kissed sensations. – Katie Lipsiner
The female-fronted group Speedy Ortiz released their third full-length, Twerp Verse, on April 27. Prior to unveiling the album, the noise pop outfit released three singles, all of which are marked with the grimy 90’s-esque guitar lines that characterize the group’s sound. On “Villain,” frontwoman Sadie Dupuis sings about the unfortunately commonplace harassment that women experience on a daily basis, describing a scenario many of us can relate to: “We ride the same bus, he knows my name / I wanna know what kind of games you like / He talks like he knows me, so I’m being polite.”
Opening for Speedy Ortiz is 20-year-old Sophie Allison, who began playing and self-publishing music under the name Soccer Mommy in 2015. The young musician signed a record deal with Fat Possum after her first show under the moniker at Silent Barn in Brooklyn. She released her second full-length LP, but first studio release, Clean this year to much acclaim. The album includes tense tracks like “Your Dog,” which draws a frighteningly accurate metaphor between a dog and her owner, and a girl and her partner in a suffocating relationship. Allison sings, “I’m not a prop for you to use, when you’re lonely or confused / I want a love that lets be breathe, I’ve been choking on your leash.” Although “Your Dog” is undoubtedly aggressive, on the track “Cool” Allison shows us her versatility with a pop-style vocal hook that effortlessly turns into earworm you’ll find yourself singing all day long.
Together, Speedy Ortiz and Soccer Mommy are geared up to put on a show led by women, charged with angst, and bound to make you bob (if not bang) your head. – Erin Patrick
Listening to Hop Along, lead singer Francis Quinlan’s voice is the first thing to stand out. It isn’t gentle – it grabs you and holds on tight as she wails on notes and lets her voice crackle. But make no mistake, that crackle is by no means a sign of weakness. Quinlan’s vocals are strong, as are the words she sings alongside the other 6 members of the Philadelphia-based rock band. The band released their follow up to 2015’s Painted Shut last month. Bark Your Head Off, Dog is 40 minutes of start-to-finish raw emotion, with guitar and strings that prove that rock music is alive and well. On this record though, Quinlan and co. also dabble in new sounds like the autotune used during “Somewhere a Judge” the LP’s driving second track.
Hailing from Ohio, folk rockers Saintseneca will open for Hop Along. Signed to ANTI- Records, the group is led by songwriter Zac Little, whose distinctive voice and captivating melodies have earned the band recognition in the indie rock scene. Saintseneca finished recording their forthcoming album this spring, and their most recent single, “The Wandering Star,” features misty vocals above twinkling guitar that builds as the song progresses and percussion is added. The track takes on an ominous feeling, as Little sings “I guess you never know what you never know,” and “You will never know firsthand what day you're born on.” – EP
If there’s one thing Cicada Rhythm exponentially excels at, it’s their ability to effortlessly mix blues, jazz and folk. As Georgia natives, the sound of Andrea DeMarcus and Dave Kirslis points to the modernized folk that hone in on soulful harmonies. The duo released their sophomore full-length, Everywhere I Go, on April 27 via Athens’ New West Records. Songs like album opener “America’s Open Roads” evoke the feeling of a breeze floating in from an open car window in the dead of summer, with DeMarcus’ arid, soulful vocals. – KL
Over the past year, Neighbor Lady has slowly taken over the Atlanta DIY scene with an arresting blend of indie-rock and country western, fronted by Emily Braden’s warbling vocals. Too nervous to play solo, Braden looked to fellow Athens, Ga. musician Jack Blauvelt for support. Neighbor Lady has grown massively since – popping up on dozens of local show bills and opening for the likes of Lomelda – all the while lacking a substantial online presence or any recorded music.
In January, the eclectic quartet announced their forthcoming debut LP, Maybe Later, due out May 11. The seven “country kissed alt-rock” tracks embody the spellbinding energy of Neighbor Lady’s live performances, with fiery guitar riffs and heartbreaking melodic lines. “Wring Me Out” brings Maybe Later to a volatile end, as Braden nearly yells over apprehensive instrumentation, before resolving into a minute of ambient synth. Neighbor Lady brings their twang-tinged vigor to 529, to celebrate the highly-anticipated release of Maybe Later. – KG
Dr. Dog returns to Atlanta with their 10th studio album Critical Equation – due out April 27 via Thrifty Tigers – proving to the world time and time again that they are the kings of sweet and soulful rock n’ roll. The Philadelphia-based psych rockers are back on tour after two years away from the road, in support of the new 2018 record.
The follow-up to last year’s Abandoned Mansion retains the band’s signature Americana influences, such as on Critical Equation’s debut single, “Listening In.” The track begins with a bobbing bassline, before co-frontman Scott McMicken’s twangy vocals stealthily appear. Whether you’re a die hard Dr. Dog follower, or just looking for a transformative psych-rock musical experience, the band’s show at the Tabernacle this month can’t be missed. – KL
With steady opening slots for groups like Twin Peaks, Whitney, Melkbelly, et., Deeper has been heavily rooted in the Chicago indie scene for the past four years. But, with the forthcoming release of their debut self-titled album – due out May 25 via Fire Talk Records – the agit-pop four-piece is widening their gaze beyond their local circles.
Deeper’s first single “Pink Showers” is bursting with angular guitar riffs, reminiscent of fellow art-punk groups Omni and Palm, overlaid by Nic Gohl’s speak-singing vocals. The track’s pointed nature is softly contrasted by the dreamy synth and heavily reverbed guitar of follow-up single “Pavement.” Deeper will hit 529’s newly renovated stage, ahead of post-punk Atlanta natives Small Reactions, Trashcan and Omni. – KG
With lush surf rock riffs and catchy melodic hooks, it’s hard to believe that the members of Lunar Vacation aren’t yet old enough to drink, and that frontwoman Grace Repasky is still burdened by 18+ show age restrictions. Atlanta’s own “pool rock” five-piece formed during high school, and quickly went on to self-release Swell, a sharp EP that’s wise beyond their years. With hopes to soon record a follow-up project, Lunar Vacation are hard at work touring and writing new tunes. The band will perform a graduation show at Westside’s new DIY venue the Bakery, in honor of Maggie Geeslin (guitar) and Repasky (vocals, guitar) finishing high school. – KG