This month's guide is belated but nonetheless, April's second half has a strong roster of shows to get you through the month and propel you into May.
Read on for more + keep an eye here for May's guide soon!
Over the past five years, Kevin Morby has made unbelievable strides with his solo career. The former Woods bass guitarist and the Babies frontman made his solo debut in 2013 with Harlem River, a stunning eight-song ode to New York City. Themes of big city living have continuously found their way onto Morby’s material, but never quite like last year’s City Music.
Morby’s fourth studio album is a matured continuation of the sound that was so loved on Singing Saw tracks like “I Have Been to the Mountain,” featuring vocals that are fondly reminiscent of the peaks and troughs in Bob Dylan’s iconic timbre. Morby’s sound is spare in the way that it seems to echo in even the smallest room, embodied on “Come To Me Now” with a percussion line that seems as if it's miles away.
Morby has been compared not only to Dylan but to Lou Reed as well, and on tracks like “Crybaby” that Velvet Underground-esque songwriting style is prevalent, as he croons effortlessly over rhythmic, cyclical guitar. Despite stylistic comparisons, what Morby does is very much his own in the world of modern folk rock. -- EP
Sometimes you just want to start a fight while listening to Ty Segall & The Freedom Band’s double album Freedom’s Goblin (2018). Packed with nineteen tracks of pure rock n’ roll revelation, Segall fully evolves with some of the most powerfully violent and rageful tracks he has ever created – from the hard-hitting guitar psychedelics of “When Mommy Kills You,” to the romantically sinister melodies consuming “Shoot You Up.” Over the course of his decade-long solo career – with a discography boasting 15 full-length albums, six singles and three EPs – Segall has become the poster child for living and breathing garage rock. --- KL
Mental health tends to carry a negative connotation within American culture, however, Nashville singer-songwriter Elizabeth Anne Odachowski, known as Liza Anne, amplifies that stigma into melodies you can’t help but dance to. Her third studio album, Fine But Dying (2018), explores every nook and cranny of depression, isolation, anxiety and paranoia, as well as the larger social issue at hand: “You brush it under the bed/Another time/But it won’t stay down,” Liza Anne sings on the explosive track “Paranoia.”
Although primarily mental health-centered, Fine But Dying also touches on less contentious concepts, such as comparing a lover to a favorite pair of socks that you can’t bear to throw in the wash and potentially lose (“Socks”). The 11 country-tinged tracks harken back to Liza Anne’s southern roots, as a Belmont alumnus and former longtime resident of St. Simons Island, Georgia, making her Atlanta performance a show you won’t want to miss. -- KG
Although both primarily drummers, Austin musicians Charlie Martin and Will Taylor found themselves bonding over an endearment for muted music in the fall of 2014. The duo promptly went on to self-record their debut EP and, later, the acclaimed full-length, Taster, that caught the attention of Brooklyn indie label Double Double Whammy.
2018 brought the release of Hovvdy’s (pronounced “howdy”) excellent sophomore LP. Despite its relatively monotonous sonic pallet, Cranberry deftly achieves a broad range of dynamics and emotions. Album opener “Brave” morosely narrates seeing a love interest for the first time, backed by hushed acoustic guitar; with organ-like synth and overdubbed vocals, “In the Sun” – Cranberry’s second track – evokes soaking up every aspect of a perfect sunny day. Hovvdy has proven that slow-moving doesn’t always mean sluggish, and that some of life’s moments are best experienced at your own leisure. -- KG
Los Angeles sweethearts Haim are back in Atlanta on their “Sister Sister Sister Tour,” in support of 2017’s Something to Tell You. The follow-up to the Haim sisters’ debut, Days Are Gone (2013), proves that the trio are hard-hitting rockers with a soul all their own. Partnering up with Rostam, Twin Shadow and Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes, Something to Tell You takes the love ballads and heartbreak bops that caught the music world’s attention in 2013 to a whole new level.
Songs like album opener “Want You Back,” or first single “Right Now” employ new elements of electronic vocal effects, while “Kept Me Crying” shows off Danielle Haim’s guitar prowess. With two excellent albums and a top Coachella spot under their belts, the Haim sisters are showing 2018 who’s boss, with their unique mix of 80s synth-pop and classic rock n’ roll. -- KL
90s indie rock luminaries Built to Spill have been virtually MIA since the 2015 release of Untethered Moon, the band’s eighth full-length album. However, their spring co-headlining tour, with Afghan Whigs, is hopefully hinting at new music on the horizon. Untethered Moon sustains the Idaho outfit’s signature sound, comprised of dark melodies and tethered emo ventures that reign true regardless of what decade they make music in.
There’s something exponentially thrilling about a band that can create a same comforting sound for their fans that have stuck with them through and through. “Like they're waiting for your guard to fall/So they can see it all and you're so/Occupied with what other persons are/Occupied with/And vice versa,” Doug Martsch sings, as “Carry the Zero” continues to bridge the gap of classic 90’s rock that is still so deeply centered around Built To Spill’s music discography to this day. -- KL