If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music-Jimi Hendrix
Today I am skipping around the earth’s continents and seeking out beautiful music. Come travel outside of your quarantined space and experience a worldly music connection.
I have to begin with a sweet collaboration of 200 artists from 28 countries around the world. The video is Major Lazer + Marcus Mumford “Lay Your Head On Me”. It is filled with great music, great dancing, and captures glimpses of scenes around the globe. I love the new world intimacy of sharing personal/private home spaces with others. Zoom has become a new connection. Love it or hate it, we can all benefit from the kind faces we greet.
Our first travel spot is the United Kingdom. Bibio is Stephen James Wilkinson. He leans into a more folk-oriented, electronic, and experimental sound. His newest release, “Sleep On The Wing”, is dreamy and soothing. It showed up right when I needed it.
Next is a song with a chill vibe and a subtle dance beat meant for toe tapping and body swaying. Straight from Moroccan Rabii Harnoune and Frankfurt electronic producer V.B.Kühl, is “Baniya” which fuses traditional North African Gnawa with the sonic pleasantries of modern club music. It spans across the world, creating a sound that connects us all.
“It’s a telling about a journey by a father and his son, who are visiting different places and historical monuments, to collect wisdom for keeping the spirituality” Rabii explains.
The Beths, from New Zealand, have announced a new album Jump Rope Gazers out on July 10th. This song has been out for a couple of weeks, but I am gaga about all things Beths and their music never disappoints. I can’t wait for more and bet they continue to release songs up until their July date.
Let’s skirt over to another continent….Gym and Swim is a Bangkok-based tropical pop band featuring members from a host of different bands in Thailand. It is straight up fun. Don’t we all need that right now? Listen to “Round and Round”.
I recently heard from a young band out of India, Blood Brothers, and found their story to be pretty cool. They are more metal, hard rock than I usually share, but there was something kind of wild about how young they are and how they are writing their own amazing material. So I thought I would share. This is hot off of the presses, and it is beautiful and jam packed with hope in these uncertain times. Be sure to listen to the stellar guitar riff at @ 3:00 minutes in, and catch a sweet glimpse of the band at the end.
“Every time the song gets played, we pay the double of what we get to the COVID relief fund. This is because band wants their song to actually give people hope. Just that one word is all the world really needs right now. And what better way to spread that message than through the wonderful language that’s music.”
Juan Pablo Vega was born in Bogotá, Colombia. He grew up surrounded by music, and as a child he remembers accompanying his Dad’s piano performances at home with a Fisher Price gas station that he turned into a drum set. I listened to his latest release and was transported to another place instantly. I travelled without going anywhere, but in my head and my heart. I needed the outside force of a worldly influence. Perfect.
“Juan Pablo Vega’s fresh and original sound certainly agglomerates most of today’s independent music movements of Hispanic America into one unique style”.
Circling back to North America, I fell instantly for the San Francisco band, Field Medic. There is a perk to waiting out this pandemic safely in Atlanta, and I am one to benefit. Overhearing music from my closest music family has been a true plus to a tough quarantine situation. Through shared music, I find the brightest light in the darkness of it all.
“Any song that’s true is a good song in my mind,” says Kevin Patrick, the lo-fi bedroom folk artist better known as Field Medic. “That’s why I never find it necessary to add too much stuff to my recordings. I’m just into songs themselves.”
Savannah Stopover Saturday . The Joy Formidable and 11 other stellar bands gave us a closing night to remember.#happystopover
The Joy Formidable,Skylar Gudasz, Savannah Conley, Tallies, Living Hour, Surfer Blood, Deeper, Pylon Reenactment Society, Bad Bad Hats, The Beths, and Mike Krol
When the sun came up, I didn’t. I needed the extra morning sleep to recover from the miles of walking and running I did for the past two days. Saturday morning was recovery mode. But, looking over the schedule, I found that food was offered at the first venue! Eureka! Stopover did it again. Perfect planning!
On the way, I noticed how spring had already sprung in Savannah.
I also jumped in to a vintage mall. After seeing loads of wonderful stuff, I saw this curious display of all things horrifying. The booth was filled with bat corpses. Is there a market for this?
The day began with a nice rhythm despite the wild nightmare visions of critters in jars. The sun was out, the temperature was warm, and the first bands were at The Grey’s outdoor space. Lunch and libations were available. So, I purchased the only veggie choice on the menu…a pimento cheese sandwich. I was happily surprised it had a spicy kick to it. Yum! It was an easy way to settle into the crazy schedule I had ahead of me. So, I kicked back and relaxed, listening to the luminous voice of Skylar Gudasz. A favorite song of her set, “Play Nice”.
Me…doing my thing!
Up next was Savannah Conley. She was entertaining as she explained each of her songs and it provided us a glimpse into her life. She has a nice sense of humor, despite the somewhat sorrowful songs she sings. She recalled the first time her niece heard her sing her tune “All I Wanted”. Singing, “All I wanted was someone to share a moment, All I wanted was you.” But when her niece heard it she said, wait a minute….you don’t want pretty clothes, or baby dolls, or candy? She wasn’t quite sure how to explain the song to her.
I was very impressed by the band, Tallies, out of Toronto. Their guitar work was stellar, and the lead’s voice reminded me of one of my favorites, Alvvays. They recently released a self-titled album, and I love everything about it. It has jangly guitars which shine, and Sarah Cogen has a tone to her voice that is soothing and lovely. The combination is really amazing. They will be around Texas for a while and then on to LA. Give them a listen.
Waiting on the next band to set up, I couldn’t help but notice the flashing of gold out of the corner of my eye. I had to look for the source! An adorable gal was wearing the cutest gold boots. The picture was a quick one, so not super clear. But I am glad I was able to get a lovely shot of her and her friends.
All fashionistas, but the gold boot’s belong to the one on the left!
This band had a relaxing, chill sound. The perfect sound for a quiet Sunday afternoon when you are dreading the coming week. It is mood altering, meditative softness with a quiet emphasis of guitar strumming rhythms. They have a new album, Softer Faces, out now. When she brought out her trombone, I knew we were in for a treat.
This was the set of music which seemed to get the most love and had the biggest afternoon/early evening following. Surfer Blood is out of West Palm Beach, Florida. There were so many fans singing and dancing. I was mesmerized by the audience’s excitement and I think the band felt the energy too. They gave us an incredible show. There has been so much going on with this band, but now, it is time for new music! I believe it is in the works. Stay connected with them if you dig their sound.
So this is when John Paul Pitts began his trek singing through the tightly packed crowd. Everyone went crazy and I was trying my best to capture the moment with my camera (yeah, eyes behind the lens). That’s when he suddenly hopped up on the bench beside me, singing to me, and shocking the bejeebies out of me. I was pretty shocked! Good Gracious, their show has crazy surprises!
Yep, that is my silly shocked face.
If you look closely, that is my reflection in the light fixture. I was standing on a bench seat for the duration of Surfer Blood’s set. It was a great vantage point until it wasn’t…..heheheh.
Deeper, out of Chicago, proved to be a surprising joy. Their set was pure indie rock and they honed their craft well, as if they have been around for a long time. They have only one self-titled album, but they totally rocked the evening and set the tone as the opening band at Ships of the Sea. With a punk-like vocal delivery of singing shouts and twanging, chiming guitars, it is a band I will keep on my rotating playlist. The lead singer, Nic Grohl, sang with eyes closed most of the evening, putting emphasis on the powerful weight of their songs. I expect they will have new material soon. A band to watch for sure. A favorite of mine, “Pink Showers”, is in my snippet of a video.
Pylon Re-enactment Society
At last year’s Savannah Stopover, I was able to experience the post-punk dance rock of Pylon Reenactment Society in the midst of proud and serious fans of Pylon. Interspersed throughout the crowd were many who were like me, experiencing it for the very first time. It was a wild ride then, and it proved to once again be a wild ride on a bigger stage with a much larger audience of all ages and stages. Vanessa Hay’s voice hasn’t changed much over the years and her odd whistles, shouts and guttural screams simply emphasize the blazing beat. She came out on the stage barefooted and proceeded to entertain with gusto. Even though she works the crowd deftly as she prances and dances around the stage, I couldn’t keep my eyes off the keyboard player. Damon Denton was a feast of dance moves and wild facial expressions as he pounded on the keys. The spinning and jamming bassist, Kay Stanton also kept me quite entertained. There was so much going on and the music was just their fodder. Bringing back a sound from the past is one thing, but to breathe new life into it with dance and entertainment is quite another. If you are a fan of this compelling, cutting edge, punk period in music, you will be a fan of theirs!
The Joy Formidable
We all have our early music obsessions that might not stand up as our music tastes grow, and The Joy Formidable was one of those for me. Or so I thought. I was crazy about their album The Big Roar, but I haven’t really given their other albums much thought. The song, “Whirring” was my jam for so long. I can sing it by heart, as many of you reading this probably can. After seeing them live again, I recognize their timeless appeal. Rhiannon “Ritzy” Bryan is a tiny power force on stage. She is almost too small for a guitar, but she plays like it is just an attached extension of herself. Her tiny frame in her 6 inch stacks, becomes a smoking powerhouse while she insanely swirls to the music and strums her guitar. The Joy Formidable empower the perfect 90’s remeniscent sound. Bring good ear saving earplugs and the propensity to jump to music, and you will enjoy every minute.
Bad Bad Hats
Well, it took over three days of Stopover and more than twenty bands to decide, but this band might be my latest happiness and newest music obsession. Bad Bad Hats from Minnesota, is charming, creative, and talented. They have insanely catchy songs which express diary-like personal experiences with wit and humor, and yet each song they play has a different style or structure. So, I am never bored listening to their indie-bubblegum pop.
A highlight of their live performance was the distinctive vocals of Kerry Alexander. When backed with a talented band of musicians, they have developed a winning formula. They released an album just last year, Lightning Round, and it will be on repeat for the rest of this year for me, until new music arrives. They are touring extensively through April so don’t miss them.
I couldn’t resist this photo! Love her fun, playful vibe!
So, if you have been following a while, you would know that I am obsessed with The Beths. I placed their album, Future Me Hates Me, #6 on my top ten favorite albums last year. Lyrically the songs are solid and the delivery rocks. Each song exudes serious attitude and personality with a freshness that can’t be easily matched. What is not to love when it comes to popping hooks and strong songwriting? The Beths have it all, and I am hungry for more.
Their show had energy and the packed crowd had difficulty moving to the music as much as they all really wanted to move. I had a hard time focusing on pictures due to my nutty fangirldom. After their set I chatted with Elizabeth Stokes about their last song of the set, “Little Death”. I told her it gets me every time, because it is so truthful about infatuation! She looked generally worried, and apologized. OMG! I immediately explained that she captured incredible feelings in song….and it was genius. She smiled and looked relieved. Now, that is cool. They are touring at SXSW, then throughout Europe and on to Australia. Don’t miss them.
This guy seemed to be at every show I attended. He is a true music fan and scored The Beth’s set list! Way to go!
Mike Krol was the last show of the night and it did not disappoint. He has perfected the jam of punk/garage rock. When I saw his bass player with a bloody nose, I knew I was going to be in for a wild set. I was so busy trying to capture his movements and get some good shots, I didn’t even realize he also sported a shiner of a black eye. They were the perfect get-ups to promote his latest album, Power Chords.
Take my word and give it a listen, especially if you miss the sound of grungy rock with punk leanings like I do. Every song is head banging worthy, but surprisingly has a pop inclination. Therefore, Krol has tapped into something quite exceptional. It is early in the year, but I am guessing this album will be on my final 2019 top album list. Combine their sound with their awesome energy infused show, and it is golden! A must listen is, “What’s The Rhythm”. I captured a very small bit of it for you, below.
I have been dragging out my posts, because I have wanted to relive the entire experience of Savannah Stopover. It always delivers and brings joy to my ‘always seeking music’ heart, I hope you have been able to see what makes this Festival unique. I wish I could’ve made it to every band on the schedule, but as this festival grows it becomes harder and harder, even with my insane pace.
I want to shout out to the cute gal that stopped me late one night and offered to buy me a drink because she said I was the hardest working photographer she had ever seen. She made all of the hard work bearable with her incredible praise. Thank you!
Thank you Stopover for making a festival which rocks!
Saturday Stopover-Skylar Gudasz, Savannah Conley, Tallies,
Living Hour, Surfer Blood, The Joy Formidable, Lunar Vacation, Bad Bad Hats, Babe Club, The Beths, SUSTO, and Mike Krol
Saturday at Stopover is going to be difficult to navigate. There are so many great bands playing at the same exact time, but blocks apart. Here are my MUST SEE! (even if that means I will have to only catch part of each) Planning is incredibly necessary. Download the SCHED app. on your phone. Once you download search for Savannah Stopover. When connected, you will get schedule changes and updates, a necessity for festival followers.
So plan! Or if you have FOMO, listen.
Gritty and tough wrapped in warm luminous vocals, Skylar Gudasz is a singer/songwriter to watch. The NC singer explains her latest track, “Play Nice”…
“When I wrote it I was feeling a lot of rage at the idea that, as a woman, you have to play nice and smile and go along with certain things as sort of a survival mechanism,” Gudasz says. “I hope when people listen they come away with the feeling that it’s okay to be angry.”
What a way to begin my Saturday at Stopover!
Skylar Gudasz-Play Nice
I am hoping to capture a quick glimpse of Savannah Conley, but it will be a mad dash. Another country crooner, she has a brooding sound that captures her emotions and truth. Great melodies and great songs.
Savannah Conley-Never Be Ourselves
The Toronto band, Tallies, brings back jangly indie pop with a steady beat, twangy guitars, and a stellar lead female vocalist. It reminds me a little of Alvvays, and they just released a debut album of well thought out original music which makes them stand out. This is a band that will easily be a new favorite of mine. I hope they will gain traction and become one of yours too. Bring it on!
Float with me and listen to Living Hour’s dreamy track, “Bottom Step” from their latest album release, Softer Faces. Listening on this cold winter day, is like basking in warm sunshine. Living Hour has psychedelic shoegaze steeped in emotive vocals, and is just what the doctor ordered to chill and sink into music which helps me forget any troubles. Bravo!
Living Hour-Bottom Step
Perfect sunny surf rock helps pick up the tempo. Surfer Blood is well known for their signature hooks, nice harmonies, and shiny guitar work. Jump aboard and surf along!
Surfer Blood-Matter Of Time
Pinc Louds VIP show
Do you have your VIP pass? This is going to be amazing! Maybe you need to upgrade? See info on Pinc Louds HERE
The Joy Formidable
Every song from the Welsh band, The Joy Formidable, is a jam session in the making. Their grungy reverb guitars and soft vocals create a serious combo. They are still bringing it, and create one of the biggest rock sounds out there today.
The Joy Formidable-The Better Me
You need to step up and take notice, these indie darlings are going to literally steal your heart. Their tunes are the equivalent to a Sunday drive in the country, going round and round on a ferris wheel, or giggling with friends late at night like this video suggests, but they power punch with the lyrics and the display of emotion intertwined in the songs. I expect they will slay Stopover. They make pure magic.
Lunar Vacation-The Basement
Bad Bad Hats
Creators of fun bubblegum indie pop, Bad Bad Hats recently released an incredible album, Lightning Round. Infectious hooks and catchy choruses, they will be a sure bet. Don’t miss this one.
Bad Bad Hats-Nothing Gets Me High
With just one song streaming, I am very curious what might develop on the Babe Club stage at Stopover. “Hate Myself” is a power song, by the female bass player for SUSTO. She toured with an all male band to support SUSTO’s last album, but now has her own band and has something to say. I am listening.
Babe Club-Hate Myself
This is what it is all about. I have been listening to The Beth’s for a year now, and picked their latest album to be in my top ten album picks of 2018 (Look HERE). I am over the moon to see them live. I know every song by heart and expect their show to jam like the music does. Every song is catchy, relatable, tight instrumentally, and charms with Elizabeth’s vulnerable conversation-like vocals. Maybe some new songs? A wishin’ and a hopin’!
The Beths-Little Death
Justin Osborne of Susto is in the midst of incredible changes in his life. He has a recently released album, some of his band members have checked out to start their own projects, and now he is married expecting his first child. So much going on, but he brings it once again with his latest album, Ever Since I Lost My Mind. I know this album well, all because I wrote an album review for Soundblab (Check it out HERE). Let’s just say, I am wildly impressed with his growth and talent. His live show will bring down the house, and I will be up front stomping, clapping, and dancing with the rest of ’em!
When fuzz, grunge, and pop work hand in hand, be still my beating heart! Krol has a way of exposing his broken heart in overdrive on his latest album, Power Chords. He may appear a little beat up and wounded, but the music survives with amazing reincarnation. Head banging goodness.
Mike Krol-What’s The Rhythm
What band are ya’ll excited about? I want to know. Is there a band I need to check out, that I haven’t shared here? Reach out and give me a head’s up in the comments.
If you can’t be at Stopover this year check the band schedules, many of them are touring on their way to SXSW. So they may come to you!
Narrowing down the amazing music from 2018 has proved to be and incredible journey for me. Come ride along.
I hope you have been following my favorite indie albums countdown for 2018. I am getting down to the nitty gritty, the top ten. I have found a new appreciation for the bands that entered the arena early in the year. Looking back, they still remain strong. These bands made an impact on me and maybe you might find a new favorite among the awe-inspiring talent. It has been an incredible journey for me. Come ride along.
10. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Sparkle Hard
Malkmus cranks out lyrically witty songs with exceptional panache. For a guy with such a following (Pavement’s front guy and six + albums since), he has the difficult task of proving continued creativity without chasing long past glory. I expected Sparkle Hard to fall short because of his vast musical contributions, but this album cleverly captures what makes him so poignant without feeling like old replicated material. With a comforting familiar voice, he confidently remains present and masterfully innovative. He hits on #me too, black lives matter, and even references Facebook. Without sounding forced, he captures today with a comforting, cunning delivery. Adventurous yet sorta therapeutic in a rock and roll way.
9. Jeff Rosenstock – POST-
Post- is an album full of anthems and power pop-rock. It helps to make sense of the crazy world we find ourselves in and pointedly helps us deal with the anxiety of it all. Despite its early January release it has remained strong on my favorites list and seems to never grow old. The last song, Let Them Win, should be the anthem of our times. “We’re not gonna let them win, oh no!” To yell this, live in a show of his, would be my joyous crazy release. But since I have missed his tour and will have to wait until 2019, I just have to appreciate this jam in the privacy of my own little house. If you have a bit of anxiety about our future and love pure rock and roll, this is a must listen.
8. The Beths – Future Me Hates Me
The Beths from New Zealand are my new favorite band this year. I have been playing their music on repeat since their first single release. For a debut, this album rocks. Every song has merit, is played masterfully, and exudes serious attitude and freshness the indie rock world needs now. They are a “high energy indie pop with a lyrical bite”, full of confidence about their personal insecurities. Everything I can relate to. The album cover even has the female subject shy away from her own reflection. Popping hooks and strong songwriting, this album is pure from start to finish and should get serious nods from the pundits.
7. Lucy Dacus – Historian
A heartwarming story filled album, full of characters and the emotionally deep attachments to those stories over time. I saw Dacus perform years ago in an empty bar where the bartenders almost outnumbered the patrons. She was shy and honest in her delivery, learning the ropes. This album shows her growth and maturity well, while remaining open, sincere, and talented. She has a way of lyrically digging deep and moving from a breakup, to the loss of a loved one, while shedding a warm light on the characters that make up her emotional world. Worth multiple listens and with each one you may have a different interpretation which might subtly suggest a songwriting genius. Yes, this is one artist to carefully watch and hold dear.
6. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Hope Downs
RBCF is another of my favorite breakout bands this year (yep have you noticed, they seem to all be across the Pacific). Every song on the album is a jangly, anxious panic of guitars and beats. The vocals rip in fragments, providing a warm nostalgic hop to a time and place where dancing and jamming to the unpredictable twists and turns of the beat meant everything. It still means a great deal today. They have blazed a crazy path across the states and garnished a huge following even though this is a foreign arena. If you haven’t taken a moment to listen….what is taking you so long to come on board this joyous revival of 80’s indie rock soft punk?
Here’s my updated Spotify playlist so you can follow each of these artists. Maybe you will find one that resonates with you.
Sifting through hundreds of submissions and these are my favorite right now.
Another week has slipped by and music has been hurled at me at a broken fire hydrant spewing force. Despite the amount, the songs rarely fit my stringent requirements….sorry y’all. Over the years, I have discerned what I am looking for and it has everything to do with it sparking my soul. Yep, I can sense it immediately….the spark. Then, over multiple listens and working through the band’s catalogue, I ask myself…”Does it spark enough to bring a fire of listens, desire to share, and does the back story show hard work and growth or maybe new innovative genius?”
So when I share music, you can bet that I have researched the band, all of their music and carefully considered the lyrics. It isn’t something I take lightly.
For the past few weeks, I have rarely found that “spark”. I sift through hundreds of submissions. When I do find a great sound, I share it with you all. Maybe the ones that don’t make the cut help me to immediately recognize amazing talent when I need it the most.
So, these amazing bands with incredible music showed up this week and I am listening to all of them on repeat. Check them out and listen.
The Beths is a band I stumbled upon and I am totally obsessed with them right now. They are out of Auckland, New Zealand and they just released their newest album, Future Me Hates Me. It was difficult to choose which song to share because they are all worthy of your ears. But somehow, I know there might be someone you think of when you hear this song. If you love the clever lyrics and jam of Courtney Barnett, you are going to be stoked to learn about The Beths, cause they take it to a fresh level.
The Beths-Little Death
Rubblebucket wasn’t really on my radar until I saved a Spotify algorithm chosen song that was cool. It was called “Fruity”, and I fell in love with the jazzy dance vibe right away. Then ironically, I was given the opportunity to write a review of their album, Sun Machine, for Soundblab and jumped at the chance. It just came out (click here-Soundblab). Oh, and they will be at Terminal West, in Atlanta, for Halloween. Bet it proves to be a crazy good show!
Rubblebucket-Party Like Your Heart Hurts
Found this artist on Bandcamp. Bandcamp is my go to when I have some time to explore and need a new music fix. It has the softness of the Appalachian sound passed down over generations combined with a folksy rock. Elephant Micah is so mellow and chill, perfect for a lazy afternoon.
Elephant Micah-Fire A
This is the ultimate dream team collaboration. With an EP, boygenius, out in November. Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacusare are all talented in their own right. Hoping they go on tour together and come to Atlanta!
Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus- Bite The Hand
BRONCHO is an indie rock band out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. All I know is that they are crushing it and I am glad I found them. They will come to the Masquerade on 12/08!