Atlanta rolls and rocks through the summer
8 local acts weigh in with their plans to beat the heat
Summer is here, which means it’s time to kick out the jams and beat the heat with some local music. This week, eight Atlanta rockers weigh-in with what they’ve got going on this summer.
Hot on the heels of headlining the May 24 release party at 529 for the group’s debut 7-inch “Ruby” b/w “Something Else to Drink,” the psych-pop ladies of Shantih Shantih will spend a good bit of the summer recording a yet-to-be-titled first full-length while readying themselves for a full-on European tour. The trans-European express kicks off in June and will see the group playing shows in France, Italy, Austria, and Switzerland in the midst of the dog days of summer. “We’re excited about the new songs we’re working on — they got a nice bite to them — and will continue writing once we get back from Dijon, France’s famed mustard museum,” bass player, drummer, and vocalist Valentina Tapia says.
After releasing a debut EP, Wowser Bowser lead singer George Pettis’ solo project-turned full-time endeavor 100 Watt Horse has grown its own legs. Pettis is spending the summer playing shows and will eventually get around to making a record. But first 100 Watt Horse hits the road in August to play a handful of dates with Asheville’s Cowboy Crisis. In the meantime, Pettis’ other band, Wowser Bowser, is going on an indefinite hiatus. According to Pettis, the group may reconvene to record a second album — and then again, it might not. In the meantime, keep an ear out for “The Garden,” from Wowser Bowser’s self-titled first album, which appeared in a recent Nutella commercial this year. “Everyone is doing different things these days,” Pettis says. “Jake Thomson is doing Breathers with Mike Netland from Qurious and T. Lee Gunselman. Ryan James is doing Dot.s with Joe Crabb from WowBow and Bonnie Hardie. I’m doing 100 Watt Horse with Maddy Davis and Anna Jeter and a rotating backing band, sort of,” he says.
The goal with 100 Watt Horse: To rediscover the minimalist pop music that piqued Pettis’ ears and made him want to start making pop music in the first place. “I’m stripping everything down and seeing what’s left, without all the synthesizers and backing tracks.”
Black Linen, featuring former Booze frontman Randy Michael and Pietro DiGennaro, is hitting up New York City and Chicago with shows this summer. The group’s main agenda is to make it over to the UK and Europe where its first two online singles, “Mental” and “Go Easy,” have been receiving podcast and radio play. “We’ll definitely have a 7-inch out by the end of June; working all of that out now,” Michael says. “Because the band is only a month old, and I’ve been tied up working with Curtis Harding, I’m hauling ass to get shows booked for July.”
Michael co-wrote the song “Keep On Shining” along with a few other numbers on Harding’s Soul Power LP. The group is hitting the road to share the stage with Harding in June. “If I play my cards right, I’ll come home from the Harding tour and jump in the Black Linen van for a few shows in Brooklyn and Chicago as well,” Michael says.
Besides focusing much of his time working up material for his Giant Skelly project, Aireon Grimes, aka Ployd, will be heading up to the Avalon neighborhood in Greenwood, S.C., to play the annual Gratifly Music and Arts Festival (July 24-27). It’s a camping fest with a lot of what Ployd calls “new age” electronic groups (e.g., Astronautica, Papadosio, the Polish Ambassador). “I should be releasing a good bit more original music by the end of July as well. Also, the IRIS crew is putting on a BIG festival held in ATL this summer at Atlantic Station called Imagine Festival, Aug. 30-31. I’ll be playing that as well.”
The Head has been hard at work on two new singles for this summer. Mitch Easter (R.E.M., Pavement) is producing one, titled “It Ain’t Easy,” and Big Star drummer Jody Stephens is producing the other, titled “I’m Lost.” The group is also playing as the house band in the Georgia Shakespeare’s production of One Man, Two Guvnors throughout the month of July.
Zoners’s song “Take It Back” was recently added to rotation at Sirius XMU. This summer the group, which includes bassist and CL Art Director Wes Duvall, will be recording, touring, and shooting a video directed by former CL music intern Kelly Stroup. In September, the group is heading to LaFayette, Ga., to play Andy Ani Male Meltasia Music Festival (Sept. 5-7) alongside Black Lips, Curtis Harding, and many more. Party in the woods!
Pillage & Plunder recently premiered a new track on Absolute Punk, titled “Keep Dreaming (It’s Not Gonna to Happen),” from its forthcoming LP, The Show Must Go Wrong. Since then the P&P crew has been working to finish up its first music video from the new album and preparing for a pre-album release regional tour in June. An extensive late-summer tour will coincide with the album’s release.
Gringo Star has signed a deal with Waxploitation Records (Gnarls Barkley, Danger Mouse, Broken Bells) to rep the group’s entire catalog. To celebrate, the Gringos are hitting the road for a 15-date summer tour around Brooklyn’s Northside Festival on June 14. The group also recently received the masters for a new 7-inch due out later in the fall and is finishing up the remaining songs for the band’s fourth album.