Atlanta Music Writers Roundtable 2010 (Day 3, Part 5)

If you’re unfamiliar with the Atlanta Music Roundtable 2010, check out a brief overview of the project here.  Then go read the first four parts over at Wholly Roller, Ohmpark, Latest Disgrace, and Atlanta’s A-List.

We begin the second half of the roundtable by discussing bands we think are primed to break out, both locally and nationally, in the next twelve months.  I was honestly expecting our answers to this question to overlap more than they actually did.  Some of the responses surprised me, but they all make total sense.  The upcoming year should be another good one for Atlanta music.

See what we came up with after the jump.

Rube (Atlanta’s A-List)

Breakthrough 2011.  First, I don’t think I am the least bit qualified to make this call but I will tell you my thoughts on what it means to break out.

Sometimes we fall so deep into our music obsessions and our indie roots (though for me it might be better called “college rock” roots – yeah I know, not so cool anymore), that we forget how far much of our taste varies from the mainstream.  As much as I might might argue that Pavement and Superchunk are iconic, I also have to admit that they are not truly mainstream.  Recent albums by The Dirty Projectors and Titus Andronicus might be breakthrough albums but only in the relatively small world of musicheads like ourselves.

I may be all alone here but I still associate an artist’s true breakthrough or breakout with a certain degree of mainstream success.  They don’t need to sell a million records but they do need to be able to quit the day job and take on a mortgage.

Having said all that, I think we also need to recognize how narrow the mainstream has become.  No need for me to rehash the revolution (read Greg Kot’s “Ripped” – he covers it quite well), but the top of the long tail has gotten quite small.  There ain’t much room up there anymore and the climb is steeper than ever before.

Who can do it?  Deerhunter.  Halcyon Digest has broad based appeal and I think it will continue to grow in popularity as more people discover it through best of lists, etc.  She may be a couple beats behind, but Janelle Monae has that potential too.  Her live performances are fantastic but I think she is still searching for a signature sound to accompany her signature style – 2011 will be too soon for her.

A local bands that might get more attention in the next 12 months is Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun. They are slated to release a full length and their sound is very accessible.  The Back Pockets seem to have the energy to move up the ladder a rung or too by this time next year.  In all events, it will be fun to watch (and hear).


Davy (Ohmpark)

In terms of who I think will break out in 2011, I’ll keep my part of the discussion local. I’ve heard the new Little Tybee record coming out in the spring, and I think they have a good chance at being next year’s Oryx and Crake in terms of producing an album that could be potentially universally acclaimed. I think From Exile is poised to do big things next year now with a slew of new material on the horizon. The new songs that This Piano Plays Itself are unveiling live right now are spectacular and I think their next record is going to blow everyone away. I think as soon as All The Saints drop another record, they have an chance to catapult to the national conversation. I think the Back Pockets, Today The Moon, Tomorrow The Sun, and Roman Photos all have an opportunity as well to take a big step up next year. And then I think we’re going to see a lot of new faces come out of nowhere, especially from the suburbs, built on the success of the Suwanee kids like Soft Powers and Red Sea, who I think both will continue building on their momentum.


Emily (Wholly Roller)

As far as local bands, I feel like Oryx and Crake, Roman Photos, Book of Colors, and Mermaids are really going break out in 2011. Oryx and Crake’s self titled debut is excellent, they are able to pack a house in local venues, and their music is very relatable to a wide audience of people. Roman Photos also had some blog love with their releases this year. I saw Book of Colors a couple of times and I’m really excited to see what they release in 2011. I also think Mermaids will do well in 2011, their LP Tropsicle sounds great and they have proven to be fantastic live.

Nationally, I’m really excited about GOBBLE GOBBLE, Cloud Nothings, Teen Daze, and Coma Cinema. Each of those acts were able to release songs, cassette tapes, EPs, etc this past year that were very strong. They are getting lots of love on the blogs. And they are putting themselves out there. I can’t wait to see what they do in 2011. It’ll be a big year for them I think.

I’m ridiculously stoked for Smith Westerns‘ upcoming 2011 release, Dye It Blonde. The single “Weekend” is great and shows a lot of promise. Another Chicago-based act, Save The Clocktower, is also winning me over. The band sent me a copy of their yet-to-be-released LP and it’s great. It should be out in February.

I think 2011 is going to be huge, I mean, it has a lot to live up to because 2010 was so incredible. I think we will see a lot of under the radar acts pop up and wow us and I think some indie veterns will release new albums that will be great. And Atlanta’s venues are starting to book shows for January, February, and March. It’s going to be a great year, I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen.


Denton (Little Advances)

I would say Qurious seems primed for a breakout in 2011, and it has as much to do with the current indie climate as it does the quality of their music.  It wouldn’t be fair to call them glo-fi or chillwave or hypnagogic pop, but they do share certain tendencies with some of the bands that have recently found success under those labels. Basically, indie audiences are accepting samplers, synths, and dreamy vocals with open arms right now, and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t take to Qurious’ icy electronic pop just as enthusiastically.  It might have already started, too – I’m taking part in Cream Team’s Secret Santa Vinyl swap, and I was fairly shocked to see that the blogger I got paired up with has recently featured one of their songs on his site.  And he’s based out of the UK.

It feels like cheating to mention Reptar, since they’re mostly an Athens band (with a couple of members off at colleges along the east coast).  Athens is close, though, right?  I get the feeling these guys might be on the verge of a Passion Pit style breakout.  Their live shows already draw huge local crowds, and their high energy performances and accessible synth-pop seem destined for larger stages.  All it is going to take is the right single from their upcoming Ben Allen-produced debut, or a string of talked about shows at SXSW or CMJ.

I’ll agree with Davy and Rube about the Back Pockets, too.  If they can successfully take their spectacle on the road, they will build a fan base.  They put on the kind of show that knocks you on your ass and inspires you to drag along a group of friends the next time they roll through town.


You can check out part 6 later today over at I’m a Bear! Etc.

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  1. December 28th, 2010

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