Slingshot Opens TONIGHT

Slingshot Festival returns to downtown Athens March 26-28. The lineup spotlights international, national, and local acts, artists, tech innovators, comedians, films. Thursday, the Georgia Theatre plays host to Andy Hull, Roadkill Ghost Choir & Ryley Walker for a night full of folk and rock. What better way to kick off your Slingshot weekend?

Andy Hull, singer and guitarist of Atlanta indie rock band Manchester Orchestra, headlines. The band released two albums last year: Cope this past April, followed by a stripped down acoustic re-imagination, Hope in September. In his solo show, Hull expertly weaves guitar heavy music with his meaningful lyrics to create a magnetic sound.

Unfortunately, Athens transplants Roadkill Ghost Choir are no longer playing tonight due to illness. The indie-folk rockers originally from DeLand, Florida, released their first full-length album, In Tongues (some of which was recorded in Athens) this past fall. Andrew Shephard’s lyrics inspired by life on the road, drifting fall against Kiffy Meyers pedal steel guitar to create “unsettling, powerful American rock” that sounds a little something like “Tom Petty by way of Radiohead and Cormac McCarthy.” In their place at Slingshot is Atlanta indie rockers Tedo Stone who are sure not to disappoint!

Ryley Walker, a folk-rocker from Chicago, opens the night. Walker, who’s set to release his sophomore album
Primrose Green March 31st (within a year of his debut!), seems like he arrived straight from the ‘70s a la Tim Buckley and Nick Drake. His unique melodies and playing style put his sound somewhere between jazz and folk, pairing well with the simplicity of his voice to create gorgeous summery psychedelic music.

Doors open at 8!

Get your tickets here!

~ Jenna Hegarty

Gimme More, Public Access

Public Access, the people who brought us 10 Bands in 10 Minutes last month, were at it again last Saturday night. Normaltown fixture Hi-Lo Lounge played host to a packed line-up of crunch garage rock duo Eureka California, punky Deep State, and indie rock trio New Wives.

New Wives, who will be featured on this year’s AthFest Compilation, loudly kicked off the night. A few songs into their set lead singer Drew Kirby’s guitar string broke, but Deep State’s Taylor Chmura was there to save the night. The show went on with songs from their forthcoming album Hi I’m Alive, which fits their doom pop label better than their previous material.

Eureka California
, fresh off an East Coast run, took the stage next. The two successfully played songs both catchy and poppy while keeping it jagged and a bit reckless. With Jake Ward’s lo-fi jangle backed by Marie Uhler’s mesmerizing drumming, it’s hard to go wrong. Art is hard, but they make music look easy.

Deep State, who shares members with Little Gold (Christian DeRoeck) and Brothers (Ryan Moore), closed out the night with songwriter Chmura’s compelling pop punk. Propulsive guitar heavy songs showcased the group’s sunny yet sad lyrics.

The only thing I regretted was forgetting my earplugs.

~ Jenna Hegarty

A Night of Euphoria: Walden

You’ve just seen a live show. As you walk back to your car and put on the CD you just bought after the show, there’s almost a sense of disappointment that the night’s already over and your concert-euphoria is slowly draining. And as you drive home, you try to satiate yourself with the recorded version, only to quickly turn down your radio in order to savor that last bit of live-music memory before its freshness wears out. And as soon as you walk through the door, you want to wake up your entire house in an attempt to convey the nirvana you just experienced, only to find that their reactions aren’t enough to satiate your appetite.
That feeling is precisely what I experienced last night after I got to see Walden at the
40 Watt. To be honest, I wasn’t really prepared for the evening – I had had a long night of studying the night before and more than anything wanted to be in bed watching Netflix and eating Chipotle. But- OH, WOW. These guys had an energy that wouldn’t quit, garnering the entire room’s attention and pulling everyone out of their seats within 2 songs of their set. This show was in celebration of their new EP Painting Planets, just released on March 1st. And, you could tell they brought their A-game.
Not only did their excitement for the night cross into the audience, but their ever-changing stage show kept me interested and unwilling to leave early. At one point, they pulled two floor toms into the crowd, getting a few audience members to hold the drums up while they played together in perfect unison and simultaneously sang a well-crafted 4-part harmony. Now if you don’t think that’s talent then you should stop reading now.
Sometimes its hard when it feels as though an artist or band isn’t giving a performance their all…but these guys completely tore it up and left the crowd begging for more. They managed to cross several boundaries – from killer guitar riffs to sweetly melodic vocal harmonies – all while maintaining an edgy Americana vibe that brought the entire crowd to its feet. So, don’t miss their next show! Like them on Facebook

~ Rabekah Hansen 

The Sister of Athens: Explore Atlanta, Y’all

Let’s be honest. Athens has one of the best music scenes around. I mean, we’ve got crazy-talented local artists and some of the coolest venues ever. With places like the 40 Watt and the Georgia Theater, every concert in Athens is a good one.

That being said, sometimes it’s nice to get a little change of musical scenery. And for us, the best -and closest- place to do that is definitely Atlanta.

Now most of you probably know about the bigger venues, like Aaron’s Amphitheater, Phillips Arena and the Fox Theater. But these places are crazy expensive, and frankly, Atlanta has a whole lot more to offer. So here’s a list of some of my favorite, albeit smaller, Atlanta venues.

Terminal West
Terminal_WestTerminal West is the bomb.com. It’s located at King Plow Arts Center in West
Midtown and won the “Best New Venue” award in 2012 for its eclectic vibes and diverse shows. Inside the venue, it’s warm and cozy, especially when you’re surrounded by 600 of your closest friends, all fist pumping to your favorite song. Plus, on top of all the great music, it also has a stocked bar and the Stationside restaurant. Nothing goes better with music than some good booze and a delicious plate of food.

Center Stage
Center Stage TheaterThis venue is made up of three stages: Vinyl, the Loft and Center Stage Theater. It’s an awesome place for music festivals because you can travel up and downstairs, catching bits of all of the performances on the various stages. Then on the regular nights where only one person’s performing, there’s usually a designated stage that the concert will take place at. The inside of the venue is dimly lit and all-around, it’s just a pretty chill set-up. Make sure to keep an eye out for their upcoming shows like Joshua Radin, Misterwives, William Fitzsimmons and Milky Chance.

Variety Playhouse
Variety PlayhouseVariety Playhouse in Little Five Points opened up in the 40s and is still continuing to rock on. It’s both a theater and a nightclub, and with seats, a large general admission section and a balcony, the place is big enough to fill a crowd of 1050 people for a concert. The building itself is a unique landmark that truly defines the culture of Atlanta’s music scene. And with all the cool musicians that have come to play, like Modest Mouse or Conor Oberst, the Variety Playhouse really stands out as a great Atlanta venue.

 

The Earl
the earlThe Earl is really more like a bar instead of a music venue, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a great place to see your favorite band. The little bar has housed some big-time artists. Iron & Wine, Blitzen Trapper, St. Vincent, Vampire Weekend and Bear’s Den are only a few of the performers that have made appearances at The Earl. And because the place is on the smaller side, every concert feels like an intimate get-together. If you decide to check it out, make sure to bring your ID because you gotta be 21 to get in.

~ Morgan Hughley 

So Much Entertainment, So Little Time: SXSW

sxsw

Even though none of us at Seeing Trees are out in the Lone Star State jamming to some of the finest emerging musicians at SXSW this week, here’s our picks for the artists and panels to watch out for (just in case you get to swing by Austin in the next few days)

 

Shows

  • Spring King – Wednesday, March 18th
    Like the pop-punk infused band of your dreams, Spring King brings a head-y bass line that feels like you should be in your friends basement bouncing up and down and moshing with a group of your closest strangers. Reminiscent of my emo-loving days in middle school, but with a grown-up sound, Spring Kings are kind of killing it when it comes to satiating the inner-punk in all of us.

  • Courtney Barnett – Thursday, March 19th
    The bass line and kit make this one feel like a perfect mixture of The White Stripes, Cage the Elephant, and Arctic Monkeys. The best part though? This girl kind of blows them out of the water as a woman in rock.

  • Meg Mac – Friday, March 20th
    Like gospel-fused piano fronted by a woman with a unique and powerful voice? Look no further than Meg Mac. She’s got killer vocals fused with a sound so dynamic, you can pretty much guarantee she’s on the cusp of fame.

  • HOLYCHILD – Saturday, March 21st
    Now, normally pop isn’t a featured genre here at Seeing Trees. But if HOLYCHILD isn’t the perfect fusion of indie-pop with a dash of punk, I don’t know what is. There’s also a perfect amount of sass mixed in to all their songs that speak to the inner queen of sarcasm in all of us.

Panels

  • 21st Century Patronage: Brands Empowering Artists – Wednesday, March 18th
    What previous generations considered “selling-out” we now call “branding.” Looking towards the future, company sponsorships are no longer a question of “if” but “how much.” Its effect on the future of the music industry is one of the most prevalent questions the business is facing today.
  • Self-Releasing for Success – Thursday, March 19th
    Looking at the current build of the industry from the Indie perspective, is it such a bad idea to self-release anymore? Hell, Macklemore has one of the biggest arguments to advocate for independent artists. So what does it look like for someone to put their stuff out there and succeed without the backing of a label? This panel is looking to answer that very question.
  • The Art of the Interview – Friday, March 20th
    Of course we had to include the panel that looks at how to interview – that’s what this blog was built on! This one’s gonna look at “the art of the interview” and how media relations affect the artist and vice-versa.
  • How College Music Business Programs Can Help You – Saturday March 21st
    Since most of us at Seeing Trees are soon-to-be graduate of UGA’s MBUS program, we’re all interested to see how the industry itself looks at music business programs and how we get to use our certificate-based knowledge to get a leg-up in the music world.

~ Rabekah Hansen
@RabHansen

AthFest 2015 Compilation

This year, AthFest Educates decided to partner with UGA’s Music Business program to produce its annual compilation album that showcases local talent.

AthFest brought the project to MBUS because they were confident the students would deliver an album representing today’s music scene in Athens. Project Manager Kelsey Kirpich said when she first heard about the project, she knew she wanted to be involved, “…simply because I have so much love for the Athens Music scene and consider myself an advocate and supporter for the musicians, songwriters, composers, and artists that record and perform here. I know that everyone that was involved in this project could say the same about themselves,” she continued.

The group brought a few innovations to the process, including adding a “People’s Choice” track, where the community could listen and vote for one of 63 entries in an online poll. With that addition, the group was left to select the rest of the tracks themselves. After a few weeks if heavy solicitation, the group had over 120 eligible entries. Making the final decisions was not an easy task. Laura Hegarty, who spearheaded the selection and sequencing of the album, said “It was really hard to narrow it down to just 21 songs because there are so many great artists in the Athens music scene.”

The compilation, which will be released in digital and CD formats, is set to be mastered as Chase Park Transduction this weekend.

Stay tuned for Flagpole’s announcement of the official track list this Wednesday!

~ Jenna Hegarty

Modest Mouse Are Strangers To Themselves

Even if you weren’t able to snatch up tickets to their sold-out concert on Monday at the Georgia Theatre (like I sadly wasn’t), you should still GET EXCITED because on March 17, Modest Mouse will release their first album in 8 years!

And I know, I know. I’ve heard the nervous concerns from fans, afraid that the album won’t be up to par with their earlier music. So, let me just start out by saying that nothing can ever really compare to the songs on “Good News” and “We Were Dead.” But that still doesn’t mean that their new album, titled “Strangers to Ourselves,” isn’t going to be great. And from the snippets they’ve given us, I really think the it will be.

Here are the songs that Modest Mouse has released so far:

“Of Course We Know”
Their most recent song expresses all of the feels of your inner angsty teenager. The essence of the song is pretty gloomy and the music creeps slowly by, intertwining with some mysteriously haunting lyrics. On the whole, I like the song the more I listen to it, but you definitely need to be in the right mindset to enjoy it.

“The Ground Walks With Time In A Box”
Now this is the total opposite of depressing. Listening to the track, I can immediately hear Modest Mouse’s original vibes. Though, I do think this specific song might be a little more energized and fast-paced than their previous stuff. But with such a lively beat, it’s a pretty fun tune that would be great to dance alone in your room to.

“Lampshades on Fire”
Okay, this is pretty catchy. Like, won’t stop playing in my head catchy. And while it might not be the best song they’ve ever come out with, the chaotic drumming mixes well with the lighthearted sounds of the keyboard. Add on the animated vocals and it’s enough to get anyone pumped.

“Coyotes”
This little number might just be my favorite. “Coyotes” comes off natural and raw, and I mean that in the best kind of way. It’s jam-packed with emotions and almost has a Bright Eyes-esque kinda feel to it, which I’m totally into. Plus, the song is about a real coyote that took a joyride on a Portland train, so that’s pretty cool too.

“The Best Room”
It took Isaac Brock 20 years to write “The Best Room.” It’s inspired by the time he saw the Phoenix Lights, a supposed UFO sighting, so the song definitely has an unearthly feel. It’s quick, a bit political, and altogether thought-provoking. The song’s truly reminiscent of their earlier music.

If you want to hear more, be sure to preorder their album here.

~Morgan Hughley