The future is now

A look at the most forward-thinking players redefining Atlanta's music scene

"When you walk down the street and the sound's not so sweet/And you wish you could hide, maybe go for a ride/To some peep-show arcade where the future's not made."

— Ian Curtis, "Leaders of Men"

Welcome to new Atlanta. In 2016, the city's music scene is simmering with more young blood than seemingly ever before. It only makes sense. Destruction is often an integral part of the creative process. As it turns out, the doom and gloom surrounding last year's wave of intown development that led to the bulldozing of so many cherished Atlanta musical institutions and practice spaces has culminated in a creative boom.

This year's Music Issue is a roll call of sorts, an introduction to some of the many leaders playing an active role in pushing Atlanta's music culture forward. Promoter Ari Fouriezos is building a new network for young and politically active punk, singer/songwriter, and experimental musicians. Acts such as Slang, Chelsea Shag, Man Up, Yancey, and others have flourished under the wings of her Sorry, Mom! Productions. Slug Christ's headlong dive into the horrors of drug addiction is a slow and often terrifying journey. Mr. 2-17's return to the bombastic sounds of early aughts hip-hop is undeniably funky. Coco and Clair Clair's mashups of meme insanity, feminism, and anti-holler culture are righteous, strong, and a whole lot of fun.

The open mic jam nights that Kevin Scott oversees at Elliott Street Deli and Pub are the kind of creative musical incubator that historians will look back upon and praise. Brock Scott's creative approach to marketing folk-pop outfit Little Tybee is changing the way independent bands thrive in a post-label music industry.

These progressive, sometimes messy strains of music are looking beyond the well-worn paths of music in Atlanta. From Victor Mariachi's Mexican-American rallying cry in "No English" to Blue Tower's noisy and abrasive guerilla DIY activities in the West End, new sounds and faces are being forced to look at the lay of the land differently. They've learned to work around the many obstacles this ever-evolving city throws their way.

Change abounds. It's an exciting time to be making music in Atlanta.

And finally: Voting for the annual Best of Atlanta issue begins with the arrival of this Music Issue. Polls are open now, and remain open until July 17. Make your voice known and tell us who you think is Atlanta's best of the best in 2016.

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