“If my Southern heart’s still pumping blood/I’ll bury my money in the mighty Mississippi mud,” sings The Weeks’ Cyle Barnes on Dear Bo Jackson’s “Brother In The Night.” “If my Southern lungs won’t let me breathe/I’ll wait for the cicadas and I’ll let ‘em push it out for me.”
With that powerful verse, The Weeks staked a claim as heirs to the timeless tradition of Southern rock. In 2013, the band released their label debut album, Dear Bo Jackson, on Serpents and Snakes Records, spent the year on their “Thick As Thieves Tour” and were included in Rolling Stone magazine’s “Hottest Live Photos of 2013” feature after a raucous set at NYC’s Mercury Lounge. During the summer, the band hopped over the pond for a UK/European Arena tour with Kings of Leon and then they came home to play at the Voodoo and Austin City Limits festivals.
Since then, the band headlined the Communion Tour, which was handpicked by Mumford & Sons’ Ben Lovett, played direct support to Jake Bugg at The Ryman, sold out the Mercy Lounge in Nashville twice, and have barely left the road with no plans to do so soon. Headed now into the festival circuit, they have already confirmed Shaky Knees, Mountain Jam, Wakarusa, Firefly, Spring Jam and Middle of the Map.
The Weeks are about to release an EP to celebrate the 7th anniversary of the band (formed when they were 15). The highlight of this EP will be a re-recording of the first song they ever wrote, “Buttons.” To this day, it is a fan favorite and their most-requested song. It was never properly captured on tape til now. The follow up to Dear Bo Jackson will be recorded over this spring and summer.
Born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, The Weeks (Cyle Barnes – vocals; Sam Williams – guitar; Damien Bone – bass; Cain Barnes – drums; Alex Admiral Collier – keyboards) came together in 2006 and instantly came to define the sound of Southern Rock in the 21st Century – their grunge- powered, high-octane anthems rich with a bottomless Delta soul far deeper than the boys’ teenage years would suggest. Like any great rock ‘n’ roll outfit worth its salt, The Weeks played as often as humanly possible, with countless club dates across the Southeast and tours alongside such like-minded acts as Local H, North Mississippi Allstars, and the one and only Meat Puppets. Their extraordinary energy and outsized performances – not to mention a series of well-received independently issued releases – earned them a fervent fan following and ultimately, a deal with the like-minded Serpents and Snakes Records, who reissued the band’s second full-length outing, Gutter Gaunt Gangster.
By summer 2010, it had become clear that sleepy Jackson could no longer contain the mighty Weeks. The band left their old Mississippi home for the bright lights of Nashville, and, as Williams says, “it’s been non-stop ever since.”
Where GGG – like all The Weeks’ previous recordings – was recorded fast and on the cheap, the band opted to take a more leisurely tack in making Dear Bo Jackson. They spent six months at pre- production, resulting the most fully articulated demos of their career. When time came to record the album proper, their search for a producer led them to Paul Moak, a Grammy Award- nominated producer/engineer/mixer and perhaps most importantly, a fellow Jacksonian.
The Weeks set to work at Moak’s Music City studio, The Smoakstack, determined to push themselves further than ever before. Drawing inspiration from such iconic works of Americana as The Band’s Music From Big Pink, the band’s first goal was to incorporate new musical elements into their own inimitable take on Americana.
Much of Dear Bo Jackson’s all-inclusive sound can be credited to The Weeks’ very own Garth Hudson, Collier, whose compositional background and proficiency on an array of instruments enabled the band to build their inventive arrangements from within. Adding color to such standouts as “King Sized Death Bed” and “Gobi Blues” are legendary pedal steel guitarist Bucky Baxter – “the most unbelievable musician I’ve ever seen in person,” says Williams – as well as their buddy Carl Gatti on trombone and faux French Horn. What’s more, friends from throughout the new Nashville rock scene – including Jonny “Corndawg” Fritz – dropped into The Smoakstack to lend backing vocals and a collective stamp to the proceedings.
With Dear Bo Jackson, The Weeks enriched their already well-seasoned sonic stew with the classic flavors of soul, R&B, funk, and heavy boogie to fashion a forward-facing sound all their own. Big brass, lush strings, and twangy pedal steel fused into their distinctive sludge pop, with Williams’ greasy guitars and the highly charged engine room of Bone and Cain as well as the ever- distinctive Collier. Throughout the album, Cyle rends his throat raw as he testifies dramatic and truthful tales of modern Southern lives, always full of hope despite often punishing circumstances.
The press on the record was filled with deserving accolades. Rolling Stone said, “The Weeks’ nervy, careening jangle and scraggily, Southern-stoner look immediately bring to mind Youth and Young Manhood-era Kings of Leon comparisons,” while the Associated Press hailed, “Here’s more proof Nashville, TN, is saving rock ‘n’ roll one band at a time.” Relix claimed, “The Weeks’ breakout album, Dear Bo Jackson, is a big-hearted rock stew – a delicious blend of Southern rock riffs, soulful horns and punk attitude,” and American Songwriter said, “The Weeks groove and grunt their way through this tribute to Mississippi, the band’s home state.” Blurt exclaimed, “Dear Bo Jackson is a remarkable collection of blazing southern rock, soul, funk, alt country and just about anything else that is still good about music today,” while Paste said, “The band’s sound blends classic Southern rock influences with a grungy yet soulful twist to give the band a sound all their own.”
As The Weeks barrel into the future without a net or a rulebook, they are not looking backwards for a second as they continue to explore their Mississippi roots and current place in the world, with all the profound joy and unfathomable sadness that entails.
For over 10 years, Mike Strauss has been a prominent character in the Charlotte music scene. Throughout the years, Mike has put together an impressive catalog of rural rock featuring songs described as warm, lyrical and gritty.
Appearing in different incarnations, the Mike Strauss band consists of a core trio along with 4 other members that assemble the ‘big band.’
If you’re playing in Miami, you’ve got to get bodies moving.
Over the years, the city has been home to Latin pop royalty and ascendant Soundcloud rappers; played host to bass-booming EDM fests and the golden years of disco legends. It’s also why Miami’s latest genre-defying dynamos, Magic City Hippies, are primed to take their infectious indie-funk around the world.
“We’re always out to entertain people,” promises singer-guitarist Robby Hunter. “Miami is a nightlife city,” he adds with a tinge of excitement. “People are oriented towards staying out all night. Anything you do has to make them dance.”
As Magic City Hippies approach the Aug. 16 release of their standout debut album Modern Animal — a mosaic of poolside grooves and lingering, sun-kissed melodies — the trio’s origin story remains central to its crowd-pleasing mission statement.
First it was just Hunter — hustling the Miami streets, plugging his guitar and looping pedals into whatever power source he could find. Sometimes crowds formed; sometimes others joined in. On a good night, he’d maybe earn a hundred bucks. The next stop was Barracuda Bar & Grill, a popular Coconut Grove dive where Hunter became a regular performer and forged a sublime chemistry with the rest of Magic City Hippies’ present-day lineup: guitarist John Coughlin and drummer-producer Pat Howard. They began playing ‘90s rock and hip-hop covers to weekend warriors and college crowd regulars, before live-testing their first original tracks in 2011. “There was something special when we played those sets,” Howard remembers. “We’d go for four hours, not even rehearsing. Then Robby came to the table with some originals.”
The easygoing psych-rap nugget “Corazon,” released when they were still called Robby Hunter Band, shot to No. 1 on the Hype Machine in 2013; after shifting to Magic City Hippies, “Fanfare,” the swaggering opening track off 2015’s Hippie Castle EP, topped Spotify’s Global Viral 50 chart, thanks to a burgeoning online fanbase. With brothers Ferny (keyboard) and Guillermo Belisario (bass) added to a now-indomitable live lineup, Magic City Hippies embarked on extensive tours supporting bands like Hippo Campus and Moon Taxi. Crowds doubled and tripled, confidence soared. Still unsigned and completely independent in their approach, Magic City Hippies pushed distractions aside and worked tirelessly towards their first LP.
“We’ve been touring for three years,” Hunter says. “The album has a lot to do with the toll it’s taken on our relationships and lives.” No kidding: Robby was fired from a full-time job and ended a relationship of over eight years. Swirling single “SPF” comes to terms with a cheating partner through beams of Toro Y Moi-inspired Auto-Tune and bass licks. “What Would I Do” rides a catchy bossa hook towards the sonic equivalent of a Miami sunset. The sultry “Modern Animal” explores the liberation of open relationships through an irresistible Tame Impala rhythm and a safari of synthesizers. Clearly, inspirations abound — Hunter occasionally raps a la Odelay-era Beck or Anthony Kedis when he’s addicted to the shindig — but their self-described “indie funk” sound remains uniquely their own. “People always say it’s hard to find another band we sound like,” Howard says. “I’m proud of that — any song could be a single.”
Modern Animal is set to crown Magic City Hippies as one of streaming’s ascendant indie bands, while taking their captivating live show to major festivals like Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, and BottleRock, alongside plenty of North American headline gigs through 2020.
Start Time: 9:00
“U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” Not what one would expect to hear chanted vehemently from the members of an indie rock band in 2019… But Sego seems to get off on doing things one wouldn’t expect from an LA indie band today. Being proficient at their instruments instead of relying on computer tracks to play their new album Sego Sucks live, recording said album in a church in far away Canada in the winter, thus committing to the deliberate notion of an album more than an amalgamation of ‘laptop studio’ singles. And yes, chanting “USA, USA, USA” as the main reprise of a reflective tune about entitlement culture. One must ask why? Why take it there? Or one may not ask and instead bounce and bop their way through each energetic turn, just happy to have their blood pump a little faster than the “everything chill all the time” pace that we’ve all become accustomed to.
And therein lies the trick of Sego. It’s a gosh-damn choose your own adventure story of music for adrenaline huffers and introspective socio-philosophical types alike. Not that the two are mutually exclusive.
I would say Sego hails from Utah, but when does anyone say that someone ‘hails’ from anywhere other than in gratuitous band bios, ya know? Sego is not only aware that their Utah upbringing is different from most Angeleno transplants, but they exhibit a sense of pride in the perspective it has given them. Perhaps this is why singer Spencer Petersen finds ways to separate himself from the status quo. Like using a flip-phone still. And recording interludes with one of the many tape machines he has stock-piled in his studio. Sego Sucks is the cathartic result of a person like Spencer sorting his way through a natural resistance to being smothered by Modernism.
Sonically, the 10-track LP is woven with the changes of becoming a four piece band. Originally Spencer Petersen and Thomas Carroll, the band added members Alyssa Davey on bass and Brandon McBride on guitars and keys in 2018. The sound became more focused, but the raucous spirit that has kept people sweating since the beginning is just as tangible and, dare I say, primal as ever. The extensive touring they’ve done throughout North America, Europe, and the UK has also shown to be a strong influence. There’s heat, there’s resistance, there’s intelligence. Did Sego fool us and write a modern day punk album that could be played on the radio?
To go to a Sego show is to be standing amongst very different people having very different experiences. To your left is someone intently staring at Spencer digging through his many acid-tongued references trying to decipher his cryptic slant on absolutism. Behind you is a gear-nut scratching their heads trying to understand what far corner of the brain one can write such dissonantly triumphant guitar parts. In front of you is someone falling in love with Tom, Brandon or Alyssa depending on who the light falls upon in any given moment… or perhaps all 4 at the same time, the way it was always intended to happen when a band is really a band. But perhaps most common is the person to your right, who is dripping in sweat, dancing with their eyes closed and losing themselves completely in an anoetic experience particular to when music is being played live. And loud.
While only on their sophomore album, Sego exhibits the kind of maturity in songwriting and pride in a live performance that makes for the band that your cool older brother worships and turns you on to the second your frontal lobe develops enough to spark your curiosity in taste. – Chris Hess (SWIMM)
TRIBUTE – a celebration of The Allman Brothers Band is a powerful 8 piece group that faithfully recreates the music of one of the finest bands of all time. Since its founding in 2013, Atlanta-based TRIBUTE has earned a reputation as the source for the authentic ABB sound around Atlanta and throughout the Southeast. Rigged with vintage equipment, they interpret the Allman catalog in such a way that these songs written in the ‘60s and ‘70s come alive again.
If the band has learned anything from performing these songs, it is the realization that even though The Allman Brothers Band has shut down, their music maintains the same power over people just as it did 45 years ago. It is a phenomenon TRIBUTE gladly verifies every time they hit the stage.
With sold out shows at City Winery and legendary performances at Variety Playhouse, The Fox Theatre’s 40th Anniversary Block Party, Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre, a NYE show at the Strand Theatre, regular appearances at The Foundry in Athens, Atlanta landmarks Northside Tavern and Smith’s Olde Bar, a huge 4th of July concert in Pigeon Forge, TN, an all night jam at Alabama’s oldest juke-joint and over a hundred other shows, TRIBUTE has amassed a large and loyal following.
TRIBUTE recalls that unique period in American rock, when psychedelia ebbed and The ABB informed us what jazz, rock, country and blues could sound like. Comprised of musicians with decades of performance experience, the members of TRIBUTE bring their shared love of The Allman Brothers Band to life when it comes time for hittin’ the note.
From the moment Bryce Avary, better knownas The Rocket Summer, exploded onto the scene as a teenager in the early 2000s at the forefront of a wave of indie pop he has been a musical force. Charging out of Texas and onto the international stage he has never been in short supply of ear-worm hooks and effortless charm.Fans have flocked to Avary’s optimistic and exuberant songcraft and the community it inspires for years. Now,with a new album, Sweet Shivers, Avary’s musical evolution and the breadth of his songwriting is on full display.The albumis stunningly expansive, withhallmarks of Avary’s familiar songwriting style in lyrics that manage to be both extremely personal and universally applicable.“Writing is where I feel most normal, it’s where I come alive” he reflects. As with previous records, Avary’s musical virtuosity is apparent. He wrote, produced, recorded, mixed, and performed every instrument on the album. Seven albums into his career, Avary is just hitting his stride and leaving his mark as one of the most reliable songwriters and multi instrumentalists in rock music.
Start Time: 7:30
June 28, 2019–Today Royal Teeth release their long-awaited full-length sophomore album Hard Luck featuring five recently released singles and a slew of brand-new unreleased tracks.
Hard Luck marks the band’s comeback to indie rock, with a progression in their sound that exudes energy and conviction. No stranger to the ups and downs of the music industry, they’re signed to their third label in just over six years. “There were days where I just accepted that this was probably going to be over soon,”vocalist Gary Larsen recalls. “Something finally switched inside of me. I decided that if we are going down, then we are going down swinging.”Feeling inspired to create new songs with a new fresh sound, the quartet whole-heartedly decided it was worth a return to the music scene.
Though as their fans know, Royal Teeth are also no strangers to success. Their 2012 debut EPAct Naturally and their first LP, Glow, in 2013 spawned the hit single “Wild, ”followed by their 2016 EPA mateurs. They’ve turned heads at major tastemakers including Consequence of Sound and MTV, and have been featured in SiriusXM Alt Nation’s Advanced Placement, as well as appearing on Last Call With Carson Daly and American Idol. The group has played major festivals such as Austin City Limits, JazzFest, Bonnaroo, and Firefly; and racked in nearly 15 million streams on Spotify to date. Over the course of the last six years, they’ve supported acts such as The Wombats, Fitz and the Tantrums, The Mowgli’s, Rooney, and just finished a line of dates with Smallpools last month.
Since the group began recording from their homes in New Orleans and Nashville as farback as 2017, they’ve felt revitalized. Unlike their previous releases, the new album is rough around the edges. “We didn’t want to reference anything we had done before. We needed to move on and figure out what we are today,”Larsen explains.
“This line of work can be difficult. It requires you to be vulnerable and put yourself out there to be judged by others. It’s hard to get used to. We are using this album as a platform to face our fears, and to focus on the love we find through the music we create and those who connect along the way. Larsen continues, “I hope that this album gives strength to anyone who has a hard time putting themselves out there for the world to see.”
“Never Gonna Quit,” the first single, serves as a mission statement for the album, boasting loudly the ability to take a shot to the chin and continue pushing forward. Other album hits include the amped up track “It’s Just The Start,” “Show You What I Can Do” with the incredible Tunde Olaniran, the vulnerable ballad “Rivalry,”and theirlatest smashrocker “Get A Load Of This One.”
As a whole, Hard Luck rides the ups and downs of life’s challenges with an uncompromisable ambition that relies heavily on positivity and embraces life head on. Luck may be hard to find in the music biz, but it sounds like Royal Teeth may have found iton their own.
Royal Teeth is composed of singer and guitarist Larsen, singer Nora Patterson, guitarist Thomas Onebane, and drummer Josh Hefner. For more information visit royalteethmusic.com and follow the band on social media@RoyalTeeth and @RoyalTeethMusic for Twitter.
The Dirty Doors – the ultimate celebration of the music of The Doors – set the night on fire with the energy, excitement, and passion of the timeless music of Jim Morrison and The Doors like no other tribute band.
Based in Atlanta, The Dirty Doors faithfully recreate the magic of a Doors concert in sound and stage presence with all the classic hits like “Light My Fire,” “Riders On The Storm,” “Hello, I Love You,” and “L.A. Woman” for audiences across America.
“My heart is so blue,” sings Jade Bird on her song I Get No Joy. “I’m singing for nothing.” It’s a fakeout, of course: while the 21-year-old songwriter’s debut album certainly chases emotions from their depths to their peaks, there’s no lack of purpose here.
“I’ve never wavered in terms of wanting to do music,” she says. “But you often waver in terms of how you can change it, how you can add to a field that’s so saturated and if it’s worth it. Is my contribution going to do anything, going to help anyone? And it does. You get young girls coming up to you who want to play the guitar and listen to visceral music and play and shout, and that’s sick.”
It’s not so long since Jade was one of those young girls, searching for inspiration and release in music. Born to an army family in Northumbria, she moved first to London and then to Germany, before her parents split when she was seven, and Jade and her mother moved to Bridgend, South Wales, to live with her grandmother, whose marriage had also foundered.
In Bridgend, Jade learned the piano; one of her mother’s partners introduced her to the gothic, psychedelic, country-tinged alt-rock of Mazzy Star, her first love and the first thing she learned to play on guitar. That early taste of the good stuff led her on to classic country music – Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton. “That’s the stuff I really connected with, the struggling songs,” she says.
She began writing her own songs at 12, the beginning of a phenomenal drive that’s taken her around the world in the past couple of years. School in Bridgend didn’t offer her the opportunity to follow that ambition. “Unless you’re bilingual, in the arts, it’s impossible to get anyone to care about you,” she explains. “It was like, well, I’m 16. I don’t really wanna do a science A-level… and if you do a BTec in a normal college it’s kinda hard to get a good knowledge of the subject. So London was the place.”
Looking around the arts schools on offer for 16-year-olds in the capital, Jade picked on the one that seemed the best: the ultra-competitive Brit school. On her second try, she got in. “People are like, oh, you went to get famous,” she says. “Not really… or if you do, you soon realise that if you don’t work hard then that school does not get you favours.”
Jade’s work ethic mean she was far from coasting – most nights during her A-level studies, she was out gigging around London. “I was constantly ill, I was constantly tired from a gig the night before,” she laughs. At the Spiritual Bar in Camden, she learned to project her powerful voice, to grab an audience’s attention, and also, through a chance meeting with a lawyer, found herself a manager. Her debut EP, Something American, was recorded in 2017, the year after her graduation, at the Rhinebeck, New York studio of Simone Felice of the Felice Brothers, a few miles from Woodstock.
“I’d never been to America,” she recalls, “and I was going through quite a bit at that point, I was having huge anxiety, everything you get when you’re an 18-year-old girl, and I just always wanted to make things work. I’d seen my mum work really hard, and my grandma, and so I always had this ethic, you keep grafting. But then you stand there on this mountain, and it’s so cliched, but you see the ranges and you realise how small you are, and there’s this creative spirit… it was just kind of all perfect for me.”
As well as the EP, the majority of the songs on the album were written in that storied musical area, in a barn on Felice’s property guarded by a ferocious farmdog called simply “Girl”. The rattling, rambunctious “I Get No Joy” tracks Bird’s progress from nagging worry to release, but in its sound also demonstrates a broadening of her palette from the Americana and country inspirations that helped Something American get her noticed stateside (she toured the US with country artist Brett Cobb in 2017, and bagged radio playlists and TV appearances on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as an acclaimed set at South by Southwest) to darker, rockier tones. She’s “really into my 90s alt-rock” at the moment, she says – Sonic Youth are a current favourite – but her “holy trinity” are Tori Amos, Alanis Morissette and Patti Smith. “And I love what’s happening in the States with female musicians in indie, like Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus.”
Jade Bird is a perfectly constructed album of tight, hooky songs, from the bluesy garage rock of “Going Gone” and “Uh Huh” to the more reflective and melancholy “My Motto”, which stretches her remarkable voice, with its raw emotional and agile musicality, to the full. The track list was whittled down painstakingly in Rhinebeck from 200 songs written over the course of a year in which she’s toured furiously, testing every song out live. She was also longlisted in the BBC’s Sound of 2018, and performed the album’s lead single, the irresistibly soaring Lottery, not only on Jools Holland but on Tonight with Jimmy Fallon alongside the Roots. “That was ridiculous,” she enthuses. Her biggest thrill on the way up, though, has been closer to home: her biggest headline show, at Electric Brixton in London in November. “My mum said to me, we’ve seen bands like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club in smaller venues and got really emotional. I thought, it’s true. This is crazy.”
Another huge shift for Jade personally has been overcoming disillusion and falling in real love. “I didn’t really expect that, someone like me. I’m always, like ‘I don’t need no man!’ Or if I do have a man, I kind of make sure that I’ve got it and then put it on the side. I’m just very driven.”
The songs on Jade Bird dive into a welter of emotions, from sharp cynicism to fear, vulnerability and the rush of possibility on the likes of Ruins. “This album’s all of my past and my present,” she says. “It feels quite freeing… a lot of people say, how do you write certain things when you’ve not experienced it, or you’re so young? My parents split and then both grandparents… so yeah, I kind of saw all that all the way through. My mum had some tricky relationships… you just see things that make you grow up quite quickly and little details that you put in your songs eventually.”
For all her experience, the feeling you take away from the sharp statement that is Jade Bird is an uplifting energy; not bubbly blind optimism, but strength for the fight. “I’m an incredibly positive person,” says Jade. “Because the facts are we’re all fucked. The environment’s changing, politically we’re fucked. Great. But people who work in the arts are supposed to believe in magic, that’s your job: to believe in magic. To believe that imagination can exceed problems… I want people to have hope for a future.”
Even death, in the album’s final closer, finds a positive spin. Why exactly is a 21-year-old singing about being transformed into a song if she dies? “My mum and I, we’re close, she had me at 20, she pretty much brought me up by herself,” Jade explains. “And she always says if you left this earth, for whatever reason, I’m not staying… that’s always really upset me, and I was like, oh, if I was going to write a song to try to make someone stay on the earth without me, if I’ve already gone, what would it be?”
More than death, what Jade fears is “my potential and the music’s potential… I’ve always had this image of me at 80 years old, and I’m looking forward to getting old, but at the same time it’s fucking scary to me, to think, oh, I could have done that, I could have done that. I could have done that free jazz album and never did it. And that’s to me that’s where it comes from the drive, the biggest defiance of regret… that perfect album you listen back to, that’s why I’m doing it. I’m always chasing that.”
She won’t stop, of course, but listen and you’ll see that Jade Bird has left herself no room for regret in 2019, with so much more to come.
Start Time: 8:00
The best bands are formed not by people who decide on music as a viable career path, but by people who have no choice.
“When I was ten I got a nylon-stringed guitar and a Beatles songbook and that was it: I was going to be a songwriter,” says Will Taylor of Flyte, who have just made an album of perfectly constructed songs rich with deep harmonies, sunny melodies, and the happy/sad uncertainties of life and love. “I didn’t even do my A levels. I love reading, I’ll continue to educate myself, but I was so sure I wanted to be in a band that staying at school seemed completely pointless. Mum was a bit upset, especially as she’s an English teacher, but I think I made a good case for it.”