One week from today, Secret Stages kicks off its second year in downtown Birmingham, AL, just a couple of hours away from Atlanta via I-20. Just like last year, the lineup pulls together carefully curated bands from all over the Southeast, with a few wild cards thrown into the mix, too. This year’s big name is cultishly adored Merge institution Lambchop, an appropriate headliner for a festival that tends to feature a lot of skewed americana. Other names of note are Savannah metal trio Black Tusk, Florida electro-poppers Sunbears!, Memphis rapper Cities Aviv, and warped noise rockers Dope Body from Baltimore.
The rest of the lineup is all over the place, ranging from indie rock to punk to jazz to folk. Hip hop and the avant garde are making particularly strong showings this year, too. Atlanta will be represented by Lucy Dreams, Brainworlds, Social Studies, Arablak, Baby Baby, Bare Essentials, and Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel, a surprisingly eclectic group that should give you some idea of the breadth of the lineup.
This festival is one of my favorite regional events. Most of these bands have yet to break out of their respective local scenes, but the lineup is largely dud free. It’s a great chance to wander around and discover a bunch of new music. And it’s cheap. Weekend passes will only set you back $25, and for $60 you can go VIP, which includes free food and drinks. Definitely worth the trip to Birmingham.
Check out the full lineup after the jump.
You’ve might have noticed that things have slowed to a crawl around here. I just haven’t been able to carve out enough time in my daily schedule to write. It’s time to own up and turn this neglect into an official hiatus. This isn’t retirement, just a temporary break until my schedule stabilizes enough for me to starting blogging regularly again. That should be sometime in early May.
See you next month.
The new album from Athens’ The Viking Progress is a collection of character sketches, with each track adopting the point of view of someone facing the end of the world. That sounds like a drag, but the record is a lot less ponderous than it reads on paper. Viking Progress mastermind Patrick Morales uses his central conceit to paint distinct, humane portraits of eight different points of view, and the focus is more on core values and past experience than it is on the impending end times. Morales sings these sketches over carefully sculpted folk, tastefully decked out with strings and the occasional horn line from Neutral Milk Hotel’s Scott Spillane. Check out lead single “The Couple” below to get a feel for the project.
The Viking Progress will be celebrating Whistling While The End Is Near‘s release with a show at The Earl tonight. The opener is Adron, and the headliner is Oryx and Crake (who generously lent out cellist Matt Jarrard to Morales for Whistling). Oryx haven’t played a show since December and will be debuting new material at tonight’s show, so it should be a good one.
Tonight is the second ever Atlanta Music Roundtable showcase, and I’m really excited about this lineup. Our goal with AMR has always been to celebrate local music, and I think the 3 acts on tonight’s bill are among the area’s best emerging bands. The night will begin with some left field weirdness courtesy of drone enthusiast The Electric Nature. He doesn’t play locally often, so show up early. Next up is shoegaze upstarts Lucy Dreams, who pair their dreamy washes of sound with an underlying current of propulsion. Closing it all out is Nigredo, the mercurial post-metal outfit that might still be Atlanta’s best kept secret. We’re happy to have all three contribute to what we feel is a pretty diverse and exciting lineup. Plus, it’s only $5, and what else are you going to be doing on a Tuesday anyway?
See you at The Earl. Doors are at 8:30, show at 9:00.
Sorry for the recent break in blogging. It’s been way too long since I’ve posted here. Real life has been hectic. I should be back on a more regular posting schedule now. Here’s what’s going on this week….
A Storm of Light, Mustard Gas and Roses, Demonaut - Monday (3/19), The Earl, $10.
Brooklyn’s A Storm of Light does post-metal that doesn’t skimp on the metal. Their sound is plenty atmospheric, and expansive enough to include elements drawn from a range of non-heavy genres, but they remain a metal band above all else. This isn’t just post-rock with a little extra distortion. I don’t know much about openers Mustard Gas and Roses beyond the fact that it’s the solo project of Mike Gallagher, former guitarist for departed post-sludge titans ISIS, but that’s all I really need to hear.
SwingSet, The Magic Math, High-Water Railers - Wednesday (3/21), The Earl, $7.
Locals SwingSet produce the kind of crunchy power pop that inevitably leads to Superchunk comparisons. But that’s pretty good company, right? Lots of words and lots of guitars. They play The Earl tomorrow night with The Magic Math, a folk-pop unit out of Birmingham that infuses their bright acoustic numbers with a healthy dose of smartass wit.
SBTRKT, Machinedrum - Thursday (3/22), The Masquerade (Heaven), $20.
My interest in dubstep pretty much begins and ends with SBTRKT. I don’t hold the crimes of the aggressively dumb brosteppers against those who are doing interesting stuff on the fringes, but it’s just not a genre that really appeals to me. I’m a big fan of SBTRKT’s self-titled debut, however. It’s packed with airtight songs where the bass supports rather than overwhelms, and you don’t need a PhD in the last 20 years of electronic sub-genres to dig into it.
More shows worth checking out after the jump.
Our December show went so well that we couldn’t wait 12 months to do another one, so here we are. The second ever AMR show and the first of 2012. We chose three acts that we feel are among the area’s most promising up-and-comers. Come out and hear tension and release from post-rock pummelers Nigredo, dreamy waves of shoegaze from Lucy Dreams, and expansive psychedelic soundscapes from The Electric Nature. This is a group that might not typically share a stage, but there’s a sonic adventurousness to all three that we feel ties the bill together. Cover is $5.
If you are unfamiliar with the Atlanta Music Roundtable, go here to catch up. Then check out samples from all three acts below.
The Electric Nature