New Album from HOSTS

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HOSTS came on my radar after meeting it’s singular core member, Miles Patzer, last summer in Nashville. Take a second and educate yourself about Patzer by reading our interview with him! At that time, HOSTS’ debut album Hearttaker was indeed taking hearts but gave them back by the end of “My Greatest Love”. Yesterday the long-awaited follow up Last Night of Gold hit everyone music can hit these days. It starts off with a completely a capella track that makes you hold your breath. Is in anticipation for the next line, or just a reverence for the soon-to-be death of the one lamenting? What you hear next is HOSTS’ new found movement of looking back at the country sound of the past and pushing it up in front. And, the steel guitar quite appropriately foils Patzer’s roughly textured voice. My personal favorite is “The Shark in You”. You can tell someone’s a Justin Vernon fan as soon as the electric guitar pipes up with that four note riff… you’ll know what I’m talking about. To completely switch gears- there is absolutely no way you can resist movin’ and groovin’ along with “Pioneer, Come Back Home”. In conclusion, buy Last Night of Gold (and Hearttaker). Sure, stream it on Spotify but you should just buy it. HOSTS has graced Athens with his presence once before, but we sure hope it’ll happen again. If you still can’t get enough, check out the band on DayTrotter! Also, follow HOSTS on Facebook and Twitter.

~ Elizabeth Barrett

New Tunes from Sylvan Esso

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The seeds of Sylvan Esso were planted when Amelia Meath asked electronic producer Nick Sanborn (Made of Oak) to remix her song “Play It Right.” Sanborn obliged and his remix made each feel they had found a new creative partner. The two reconvened in Durham, N.C .and formed Sylvan Esso. A year later, they released their eponymous 10 song debut, an electropop gem of bedroom recordings.

Their album met with much critical acclaim from NPR, Spin, Billboard and Paste magazine, but they didn’t focus on pleasing music’s elite. The duo aimed to write catchy pop songs that would appeal to a wide audience, and succeed they did. No doubt you’ve heard Meath’s soulful hum in “Coffee” and rhythmic chants in “Hey Mami” and spent the day singing those radio-ready hooks over in your head.
Sylvan Esso plays at the 40 Watt this Monday with Flock of Dimes. Get your tickets online or at the door. You won’t want to miss this show!

~ Jenna Hegarty

Show in Review: Andy Hull

As an avid Manchester Orchestra fan, I’ve been to plenty of their concerts over the years. And from the annual Stuffing to smaller local performances, the band always knows how to put on some loud and crazy shows. With Andy Hull’s vocals and Robert McDowell’s energetic guitar-playing, these talented guys can easily fill a venue up with dedicated fans. Some of my favorite nights ever have been swaying back and forth in a throng of people as the crowd shouts out the lyrics to “Simple Math” or “Where Have You Been?” with passionate fervor.

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But Andy’s lone performance Thursday night wasn’t anything like that. The intimate crowd that gathered around the Georgia Theater stage was tame and quiet as Andy stood at the mic, guitar in hand. At first I was disappointed by the lack of attendance, but I forgot all about my dismay when he opened up with a stripped back version of Manchester’s new song “Top Notch.” Immediately I knew what an amazing and powerful night was in store for the people fortunate enough to be there.

When singing solo, Andy Hull truly has a chance to showcase his natural talent. I was amazed at how comfortable he seemed by himself on the stage, creating beautiful music with only a raw vocal and the strumming of his guitar. Not only did Andy perform exceptionally well, but he also knew how to make the audience experience true emotion with his music. Pain, anger, happiness and humor existed in all the right moments throughout his songs.

bad booksOn top of everything, the set list for the night was expansive, containing some chillingly perfect picks. Not only did he play some of Manchester’s best songs, like “I Can Feel Your Pain” and “Everything To Nothing”, but on top of that, he also sang songs from his other band Bad Books, including one of my personal favorites, “Pyotr.” And even if he did mess up a few of the words to “Colly Strings”, it really didn’t matter. Each song he played felt like a personal story set to music that not only sounded incredible, but dug deep into the bones of his listeners.

After only an hour, the night ended all too soon. It was a truly captivating performance that I would love to someday experience again. If you haven’t heard of Manchester Orchestra or Andy Hull, you should definitely check them out.

~Morgan Hughley

Women Who Rock

Since March is Women’s History Month, I thought I would write up a post about some of the most powerful women in music. To start my research for the post, I began Google-ing the most influential musicians of all time. Automatically I was brought to Rolling Stone’s list of their 100 Greatest Artists, and I excitedly starting scrolling through, looking for some awesome women to write about.

That is until I realized how male-dominated the list really was. Out of the 100 artists, there were only nine females that made the cut (and I’m including the Talking Heads for their bassist here). So I decided to put together a small list of my own. Here are some influential women that have truly shaped the music industry.

The Runaways
Cherie Currie, Joan Jett, Lita Ford, Sandy West and Jackie Fox. At just fifteen and sixteen years old, these ladies proved that girls can rock just as hard as the boys can, if not harder. Even after the Runaways disbandment, the members were still making history. Joan Jett was one of the first female artists to create her own record label and she’s also one of the few gals inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Stevie Nicks
It didn’t matter if she was singing with Fleetwood Mac or if she was doing her own thing. Stevie truly knew how to make music. With Fleetwood Mac, the band received five Grammy nominations and their Rumours record won Album of the Year. Then, as a single performer, she accumulated eight Grammy nominations and was also nominated for Best Female Rock Vocal five time, more than any other woman. Stevie is a rocker legend.

Tina Turner
Tina has sold more concert tickets than any other solo artist in history. She’s won eight Grammys in total and her famous “Proud Mary” song is in the Grammy Hall of Fame. And just because she’s not really making music anymore, doesn’t mean she’s stopped being phenomenal. Two years ago, she became the oldest person to ever model on the front cover of Vogue, and at 73 she still looked impeccable. You go girl!

Madonna
She’s the Queen of Pop, and for good reason. Not only does she write most of her own music and produce most of her own songs, but by selling more than $300 million records, she’s the best-selling female artist and fourth best-selling artist of all time. She’s been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and if all of that wasn’t enough to show how talented she is, Madonna was also able to create a great acting career for herself.

Whitney Houston
This powerhouse has been awarded more times than any other female artist (415 times!!!). She was also the only singer ever to get seven consecutive #1 hits on the charts and her first ever album was the biggest selling album for any woman in history. In addition to her achievements in music, Whitney flourished with the success of “The Bodyguard” and her many other acting roles.

Annie Lennox
Annie was half of the Eurythmics but she’s also a whole lot of amazing. Not only did she embark on a successful solo career in the 90s with her album “Diva,” but she also has eight Brit award, four Grammys and was also once granted the Billboard Century Award by Billboard Magazine. On top of all that, she’s also a huge activist for HIV/AIDS awareness. It’s no wonder the Queen of England loved her enough to have her perform at Buckingham Palace.

Beyoncé
Of course this list can’t be complete without the Queen Bey herself. Beyoncé is all about women empowerment and feminism, breaking old school boundaries by showing the world that women have the right to embrace their sexuality. And then on top of her girls “Run the World” attitude, she’s won 20 Grammies, has been nominated more times than any other woman in music history and she’s also listed in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. Let’s be real, can she get any more fabulous?

And there are so many others. Janis Joplin, Christina Aguilera, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Lady Gaga, Aretha Franklin, Britney Spears, Diana Ross, Katy Perry, Patti Smith, Alicia Keys, Shania Twain, Amy Winehouse. And that’s just to name a few. So in honor of Women’s History Month, put on your best girl-power playlist and rock on to some great songs.

~ Morgan Hughley

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