Back in 2009, I listened to approximately 75 records that came out of Atlanta that year. This year, I blogged about roughly 75 records, and for every album I discussed, there were at least five I listened to and didn’t blog about. The quantity of music being made in this city is growing exponentially, and the Atlanta music scene runs extraordinarily deep. So needless to say, this was the most difficult year-end list to put together yet.
On a technical note, my 2011 year-end list eligibility extends through the 2010 holiday season because I like to be able to spend enough time with a record to properly evaluate it. So, any record that was not widely available before Thanksgiving this year will go into consideration for 2012.
Here are my twenty-five favourite albums from Atlanta this year:
25. Cassandras : Hari Pari Mandala Gosthi
24. Dark Room : Gothic Picnic
23. We The Lion : Boy Oh Boy
22. Easily Suede / Carey : Good Health Guide
21. Cassandras : Cassandras: 3 Songs
20. Book Club : Ghost
19. Warning Light : Wild Silver
18. Djarum : Don’t Let Me Down
17. Places : The Future
16. Nomen Novum / Magicicada / Tree Creature : Three Way Split
15. The Back Pockets : Fast Cloud Slow Cloud
14. Lid Emba : Terminal Muse: Blue
13. Vocabulary : Faded Days
12. Time Wharp : later.
11. Atlas Sound : Parallax
10. Mastodon : The Hunter
9. Places : Half-Dones
8. New Animal : Eleven Songs
7. Places : March
6. Spirits and the Melchizedek Children : We Are Here To Save YOU!
5. Lyonnais : Want For Wish For Nowhere
4. The Electric Nature : Mount Analogue
3. Today The Moon, Tomorrow The Sun : Wildfire
2. Little Tybee : Humorous To Bees
1. New Animal : New Animal
The story of Atlanta’s independent music scene in 2011 was the rise of a new wave of artists that came out of nowhere and upped the ante on everyone else. Only four acts on this list (veteran mainstays Mastodon, Atlas Sound, The Back Pockets, and Nomen Novum) have appeared on my best Atlanta album lists in either 2010 or 2009. That’s a symptom of the fact that there’s a new generation of local musicians dominating the scene. And at the head of this new class is New Animal.
New Animal‘s meteoric rise over the course of 2011 is unparalleled. Without a label backing them, with very little major publication support, and without even playing a single show ever, New Animal became one of the Internet’s buzziest bands early on in the year solely based on the strength of their 75-minute self-titled masterpiece. It’s hard for me to think of another record with fifteen songs where I love each and every single one. And what’s even more impressive is that they continued to output new material seemingly on a monthly basis, creating a catalog in one year vaster and more compelling than most artists do over a lifetime. There is simply no musical artist in the world that’s had a more impressive year.
My #2 and #3 spots went to outfits that have been on their own upward swing lately, each respectively creating an epic record that delivered on all the brilliance and potential they had displayed in recent years. My #4 is probably the most inaccessible record to come out of the city this year, but if you can find your way inside, it’s a monster. And my #5 goes to a band that I had previously written off, but there’s no denying what an amazing album they’ve put forth.
Of course, everything on this list is spectacular, and if you missed one, be sure to pick it up.
- Posted by Davy Minor on December 8, 2011 at 4:24 pm
- 1 Comment
Now that this blog only covers local music, I decided that all of my year-end lists this year will be Atlanta music specific. There’s plenty of sites that do national/international lists anyway. So then, this is my 40 favourite songs of the year by artists affiliated with Atlanta. I spent a lot of time with each of these songs, and if you are unfamiliar with any of them, I strongly suggest you click on the song titles below to give them a listen.
40. “Black Leaves” by Slowriter
39. “A Letter To The FDA” by Where Are We?
38. “Nerve Pop” by Small Reactions
37. “Tomorrow’s Garden” by Imagination Head
36. “Barcelona” by Dark Room
35. “Islands” by Kinisi
34. “The Battle of East & West Virginia” by Mediocre Machine
33. “Santa Maria” by Beachtapes
32. “mandelbrotset” by Time Wharp
31. “Control” by Young Again
30. “Who’s In Bed” by Jungol
29. “Children” by Vocabulary
28. “Black Lion” by Places
27. “Movie Night” by Easily Suede
26. “Edita V” by Balkans
25. “Passion Seekers” by Little Tybee featuring Adron
24. “Q ‘n’ A” by Spirits and the Melchizedek Children
23. “Lights lights” by Beachtapes
22. “Breathe” by Exact Index featuring Casey Harper
21. “No Tomorrow” by Places
20. “Far From The Best” by Cassandras
19. “Things I Like” by Vocabulary
18. “I Think It’s Working” by New Animal
17. “Pacer” by BOSCO
16. “Rise Up” by Cassandras
15. “Creature Lives” by Mastodon
14. “They Don’t Know” by New Animal
13. “Sweet Melinda” by Places
12. “cuspcake” by Time Wharp
11. “Out There” by New Animal
10. “Ivan” by We the Lion
9. “History” by Little Tybee
8. “Old Monster” by Today The Moon, Tomorrow The Sun
7. “Wicca Chimes” by Nomen Novum
6. “Lift You Up” by New Animal
5. “Distinguished Critter” by Places
4. “Still In Mind” by New Animal
3. “Water Story” by Wowser Bowser
2. “Millennials” by Nomen Novum
1. “Two Faced” by Living Rooms
- Posted by Davy Minor on December 5, 2011 at 5:39 am
- 3 Comments
- Posted by Davy Minor on June 2, 2011 at 1:34 am
- 1 Comment
Most of the time in this city, bands rise and fall based on who they know and how exciting they are live. But for this list, I’ve considered only what is contained on their recordings. Over the course of the year I’ve given roughly 75 records from inside the perimeter a spin, and these are the essential twenty that I recommend listening to most. There are actually many records that I really liked that just missed the cut, so this was very tough to piece together, especially the final spots.
Looking at this list and comparing it back to my favourite local stuff over the two years before, it’s apparent that music in this city just keeps getting better. Atlanta’s independent music scene is running deeper than ever both in terms of quality and quantity of music being produced. Outside of Brooklyn, you’d need quite a compelling argument to convince me anywhere else in America has a better scene right now. Promising young bands keep popping up out of nowhere, and the veterans keep delivering the goods. It sure makes my job here a lot easier to have so much great music to blog about.
On a technical note, anything that has been released over the holidays I’m grouping in with my 2010 lists, and so a couple of albums on this list were released over the holidays last year. Take a gander:
20. Noot d’ Noot: Cash For Gold
19. Harken The Hands Askew: Thou
18. Slushco: Sometime Tonight
17. Sound On Film: The Eloquent Reginald
16. Thy Mighty Contract: Thy Mighty Contract
15. Club Awesome: Dynamos
14. Jungol: Places
13. Lee Harvey Oswald: Lee Harvey Oswald
12. The Selmanaires: Tempo Temporal
11. Tealights: Take Us By Sea
10. Deerhunter: Rainwater Cassette Exchange
9. Slushco: The Silver Surface Demos
8. The Orphins: Wish You Well
7. Mastodon: Crack The Skye
6. Lotus Plaza: Floodlight Collective
5. From Exile: Monolith
4. Nomen Novum: Paradises
3. Untied States: Instant Everything, Constant Nothing
2. Atlas Sound: Logos
1. Nomen Novum: November
In the Atlanta music scene, 2009 was the year of Nomen Novum. While most musicians take a whole year to scrap together enough decent songs to fill a good EP, the prolific Nomen Novum were able to drop two virtually perfect full-lengths, plus a great live EP, and they’re already posting new stuff to their myspace.
Although, all five records at the top of my list were legitimate contenders for Atlanta album of the year, and I would have probably been content with any ordering between them. The other 3 records to round out my top 5 each happened to be crafted over about 2 years, and the extra time and care in putting them together just right payed off. A big mistake I notice younger bands make is trying to push out a record too quickly on some arbitrary time scale and in the end get stuck with something that is less than what they are capable of producing. Atlas Sound, Untied States, and From Exile all spent more time than they probably wanted to on their respective albums, but the extra effort was well worth it in the end.
Looking back over this list after I finished it, I noticed that it is almost entirely dominated by veterans of the scene, and mostly by artists I was already familiar with before starting this blog. There is only one true first recording from its respective musicians to make the list. If I were to make a “Best Atlanta Artists of the Decade” shortlist, most of those artists would have an album included on this list, so I feel like it is a good snapshot of not just where the scene is at today, but where it has been heading for the latter part of the ’00s. There is so much diversity in sound and so much talent in this city, and if you have any interest at all in Atlanta’s music scene, don’t let anything on this list slip by you, because all twenty are well worth giving a listen.
- Posted by Davy Minor on December 13, 2009 at 10:20 pm
- 3 Comments
Before I begin awarding the sounds of 2009, I wanted to give a little props to the best eye-candy I’ve seen. These ten videos clearly stood out to me above the rest of this year’s offerings. They are definitely all a million times better than that garbage from Beyonce and Taylor Swift. So, enjoy:
10. Of Montreal: “An Eluardian Instance”
This video has just got a really nice, fun vibe to it. The special effects are utilized just right and the whole thing matches up with the music beautifully.
9. Untied States: “Unsilvered Mirrors”
There are so many neat little video tricks in this one and the whole thing captures the mood of the song expertly. I love when it snaps into the end section with the band playing.
8. St. Vincent: “The Strangers” Lake Fever Session
This video wins solely on the rarity of capturing St. Vincent playing an acoustic, stripped down version of one of the year’s best songs. Totally gorgeous.
7. The Flaming Lips: “Watching the Planets”
Yeasayer tried their best to up the ante on nudity with their recent experimental video, but having a clothing-less mob feeding a naked Wayne Coyne to a vagina monster pretty much trumps anything. Warning, it’s very NSFW.
6. Mastodon: “Divinations”
I loved Mastodon‘s science fiction video for “Oblivion” too, but this one got the edge due to how brutal Brent Hinds is as a caveman.
5. Clues: “You Have My Eyes Now”
This one is just simply hilarious.
4. Grizzly Bear: “Ready, Able”
Grizzly Bear have a ton of amazing videos this year, both official and fan made. But this weird claymation vid is easily my favourite.
3. Here We Go Magic: “Fangela” Black Cab Session
Taking bands and having them perform stripped down versions of their songs in various settings is all the rage these days, and one of the best in the business right now are the Black Cab Sessions. This version of “Fangela” is just pure magic.
2. Bibio: “Top Soil”
Bibio has such a distinct sound, and this video matches his audio style with the perfect visual enhancements.
1. Thy Mighty Contract: “Conjugal Freelance”
I laugh my ass off every time I watch this. I absolutely love everything about this video and it was an easy choice for my best of the year.
- Posted by Davy Minor on December 6, 2009 at 5:10 pm
- 2 Comments
Mastodon are going on tour with Dethklok, Converge, and High On Fire this fall, stopping by The Tabernacle November 5th. This news made me realize I never posted this video for “Divinations”:
And while I’m at it, here is a 16 minute Mastodon live video from Download Fest:
I’ve been trying to dig a little deeper into the local hip-hop scene lately in search of something better than the Gucci infused “IgnorRap” that dominates this city. One fellow that I’ve stumbled across that has been impressing me is Spree Wilson. Here are a few videos on his myspace that you should check out:
Finally, IndieATL is a great project from Matt Rowles that captures local independent acts, and sometimes even some touring artists coming through the city, playing live performances in Georgia State’s Digital Arts Entertainment Lab. Here are a few choice videos to give you a feel for what this thing is all about, and then click the link below to dig on through all the goodies:
Today The Moon, Tomorrow The Sun:
All The Saints:
- Posted by Davy Minor on August 3, 2009 at 3:35 pm
- No Comments
Mastodon @ Scion Rock Fest
May 15, 2009
Atlanta, GA @ Center Stage
Taped By Chris Cage
Track list (tracking is weird):
04. The Czar
05. The Czar (continued)
06. Ghost Of Karelia
07. Crack The Skye, The Last Baron
08. The Last Baron (continued)
10. Colony Of Birchman
11. The Wolf Is Loose, Crystal Skull
12. Capillarian Crest, Megalodon
14. Iron Tusk > March Of The Fire Ants
- Posted by Davy Minor on June 19, 2009 at 3:15 am
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Mastodon has been marching along triumphantly supporting their new incredible album, Crack The Skye. They recently did David Letterman and he gave them this introduction: “ I won’t lie to you, I’m frightened.” Here is the video:
They have been doing a ridiculous amount of interviews and such, so here is a three part interview with drummer Brann Dailor:
Also, Brann Dailor is guest starring on the new album from Atlanta’s avant-garde musician Killick. Here is a short video teaser for the album, titled Exsanguinette:
In case you haven’t heard it yet, Deerhunter‘s upcoming EP Rainwater Cassette Exchange is yet another top-notch installment from Atlanta’s ever-amazing nu-gazers. They just did The Breeders‘ curated ATP festival and happened to team up with the Deal sisters for a little superjam. Here is a video of the performance:
Here is a nice fan made video for Deerhunter‘s “Famous Last Words” from the forthcoming EP:
Finally, I had totally missed the fact that Pitchfork.tv is showing the Atlanta music scene documentary We Fun until Friday of this week, so if you haven’t seen it yet, you can right now (as long as it isn’t already Friday): Click here to read the entire post…
Click here to read the entire post…
- Posted by Davy Minor on May 19, 2009 at 9:49 pm
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Last week I attended a screening of the Atlanta music scene documentary, We Fun, as part of the Atlanta Film Festival. Every good documentary I have ever seen either meticulously informs or tells a compelling story, and unfortunately We Fun does neither. The movie is a barrage of total randomness that ambles along playing show and tell for various ATL institutions. You see a badly shot band playing a song, you hear them say a couple of random things, then you see something else. For someone from Atlanta familiar with this scene, the kaleidoscope of sights and sounds will be nostalgic and enjoyable, but anyone being introduced to the Atlanta music scene for the first time will find very little in this movie to care about.
There had been some premature criticism of the documentary that it didn’t cover enough bands to represent the whole city, and if anything, I wish they had put less bands in this movie so they could have explored the central characters more in depth instead of wasting our time being democratic about giving enough bands screen time. For instance, the part with the Coathangers starts with a clip of them playing a song, then you see a short clip of one of the girls massaging one of the other girls, which is only entertaining for someone searching for bad softcore porn. Then you see a clip of one of the girls getting hit on and then complaining about it. Then we never see them in the movie again. Nothing about it feels connected to any other part of the film. Outside of the Black Lips, every band’s relevance is completely left to mystery outside of the fact they deserved a couple of minutes to be showcased. The Mastodon “cameo” is a complete tease. It reminded me of the movie Executive Decision where Steven Seagal got top billing and was killed off in the first 15 minutes. Putting the band’s name on the poster and then only showing 60 seconds of an interview is very disappointing, especially since their brief conversation outshines almost any other artist’s banter in the film. Click here to read the entire post…
Click here to read the entire post…
- Posted by Davy Minor on April 27, 2009 at 11:42 am
- 10 Comments
The three best Spring 2009 releases from Georgia:
While Bradford Cox gets the lion share of credit and attention when people talk about Deerhunter, the band is far from a solo endeavor. The quiet genius of Lockett Pundt is the ying to Cox’s yang. His debut album under his code name, Lotus Plaza, demonstrates not only the impressive talent Pundt possesses, but the music itself parallels his seemingly humble, stoic stage persona. Everything has this weird, distant detachment to its sound and the whole thing feels like a background. What initially attracted me to Deerhunter in the first place were the ambient, instrumental jams on Cryptograms, and those ideas seemed to be fleshed out much further on The Floodlight Collective. I feel like I peel back a new layer every time I listen to this record, so be advised this is a grower that may not hit you that hard upon your first listen, but I think it is one of the best to come out this year.
Mastodon have returned with a record that is more psychedelic rock ‘n’ roll than metal. At times it reminds me of the best of Metallica, Black Sabbath, and Pink Floyd, but still remains completely a thing all its own. The record showcases just how successful this band is at straddling the line between arena rock massiveness and avant-garde artfulness. Crack The Skye is a logical progression for the band, and the best thing about this album is that it gives you exactly what you were expecting and hoping for from the follow up to Blood Mountain. I know I had some giant expectations, and they have been completely fulfilled. Here are the first two tracks to start your journey:
Venice Is Sinking
Athens’ Venice Is Sinking have finally unveiled their sophomore effort, AZAR, and it is a gorgeous yet surprisingly difficult release. Something about the pacing makes it hard to penetrate, and it has taken me a while to learn to love this record, but love it I do. It is simply unapologetic about its heavy employment of emotional builds and pushing dreamy lushness to its limits. Seven songs are strung together by the four part instrumental title track combing the best of both worlds between conceptualism and exceptional pop music. With Arcade Fire fallen back to Earth and Sufjan Stevens missing in action, the symphonic indie rock approach has become a lot less hip these days, but fashionable or not, Venice Is Sinking have created an outstanding collection of music that you should pick up:
- Posted by Davy Minor on April 13, 2009 at 6:06 am
- 1 Comment
- Posted by Ohmpark Staff on March 15, 2009 at 1:02 pm
- 2 Comments