Heroes x Villains comes back from the VAVLT

Plus Shaky Knees ups the festival ante, and new releases galore

The 2015 music festival season looms large on the horizon. Last week a handful of annual gatherings including Shaky Knees, CounterPoint, the SweetWater 420 Music Fest, and Gulf Shores, AL's Hangout Music Fest all rolled out the rosters of their respective stages this year. The award for most impressive lineup goes to Atlanta's very own Shaky Knees, which runs Fri., May 8 through Sun., May 10. With acts such as Wilco, the Strokes, Panda Bear, Ryan Adams, Neutral Milk Hotel, James Blake, and dozens of others on the flier, the third incarnation of what has quickly become a homegrown institution is giving Bonnaroo a run for its money.

Meanwhile, on the club circuit, Daniel Pollard, aka Daniel Disaster of Heroes x Villains, is giving back to the city that launched his career as a successful touring EDM DJ and producer. On Jan. 16, Pollard relaunched his legendary VAVLT parties at the Music Room on Edgewood Avenue. This rebirth of VAVLT is set up to serve as a monthly showcase of burgeoning local electronic talent supporting more established headlining DJs. Before the relaunch, Pollard spelled out his mission statement:

"For 2015 I'm coming back to Atlanta and reconnecting with my home, my roots, and my original source of inspiration. I will work to help curate and develop the next wave of Atlanta's creative movement consisting of producers, DJs, artists, and designers. I will use my resources to help facilitate and help them navigate as they build their own success. Atlanta is a great city full of creative and inspiring talent. I'm making it my mission to help guide them through the doors that were once locked for me and had to break down over the years. I have learned some through success and learned the most through failure. 2015 is the year of giving back."

The next VAVLT showcase is scheduled for Fri., Feb. 27.This one will be the official release party of HxV's Vultures EP. BLKKMORRIS also performs.

In other new releases news, the top of the year has seen a deluge of new music coming down the pike. Forming at the intersection of crust punk and breakneck Southern metal, Dropout's rancorous debut LP, Turn Away From the Light, launches the year in Atlanta metal and hardcore. Virulent soundscape "Wade Into Wolves" sums up the album's strengths — screams of righteous indignation, backed by blasting drums and Entombed-style riffs. Dropout plays an album release party with Get Damned, Cryptic Hymn, and Waste Layer at the Union EAV on Sat., Jan. 24.

Desperate times call for drastic measures when you're leading a poverty-stricken life and selling drugs to keep Georgia Power happy. For the "Wire"-esque visuals to his Big Gipp-assisted single, "Anotha Day, Anotha Dolla," Scotty ATL takes viewers from the kids on the corner to the dope boy robbing his own preacher. In the street life, no one is safe.

Scotty ATL also recently signed to B.o.B's No Genre label. He's all over the B.o.B. Presents No Genre: The Label mixtape.

Marietta-based garage-psych recording project Eli Pop has parlayed a few years' worth of SoundCloud postings and CDRs into a Burger Records cassette. Digital single "Step into the Dream" achieves a chill vibe, usually captured in electronic bedroom recordings, constructed instead with traditional rock instrument target="_blank"he Scavenger of Death guys' love of Swedish metal, Japanese hardcore, and domestic punk deep cuts is on full display yet again on Evaporated Brain's demo cassette. Helmed by vocalist and guitarist Ryan Bell (Ryan Dinosaur, G.G. King, Bukkake Boys), drummer Corey Long (Bukkake Boys) and bassist and former CL music intern Kelly Stroup (Manic), the project is more metal than punk, in both inspiration and execution.

Richie Hayes, who played guitar with Black Lips in 2004, breathes new life into Southern rock with "Warcry." The track starts as a harmonica-driven blues stomper before turning into King Louie inspired swamp music.

DJ Burn One and Five Points Music Group's latest mixtape, Greenwood is now making the rounds on the Internet. The project is an ode to the house where he started his Five Points production team in Atlanta. The compilation features everyone from Miloh Smith and Rittz to 8Ball and MJG and SL Jones." Chances are you know DJ Babey Drew from "Love and Hip-Hop Atlanta," or as Chris Brown's personal DJ and that's unfortunate. Well, depending on whom you ask. Regardless, dude knows his way around a set of turntables and this latest track, "Up in the Air" comes from his forthcoming electronic-reggae mashup project.

Of his latest track, "Fly," Raury says: "I wrote 'Fly' right after hearing that Darren Wilson was not being indicted for murdering Mike Brown. I wrote it so instantly that the words and music didn't even feel like mine. I knew that this track belonged to the universe."

Synth-pop trio Breathers has released "Closer to the Bone," the first track from its upcoming EP, Transitions. The song pulls off the difficult feat of reviving '80s nostalgia without sounding dated. All of the elements of the archetypal '80s dance hit are present: dayglo synths, mechanically precise 808 percussion, and saccharine sweet melodies. Breathers succeeds by reinvigorating synth-pop's tired tropes.

Transitions is out Feb. 20 on the newly minted Skeleton Realm Records.

And last, but not least, Book Club's latest album, One-Way Moon, is due to hit the shelves of a record store near you on Tues., Feb. 17. The album is a joint offering from the good folks at the Cottage Recording Co. and Bear Kids Recordings.

With additional reporting by Paul DeMerritt, Bobby Moore, and Gavin Godfrey.