THE VINYL WARHOL: Fight seasonal depression with music
Be happy — holidays be damned
It’s getting to be depression season, the time of year people stop going out, the sun goes down at 5:30 p.m., and even your most happy-go-lucky friend has the blues. I, for one, am not immune to seasonal depression, or regular depression for that matter. But, I am from Florida. I never experienced winter for the first 25 years of my life. So the first few cold months in Atlanta were rough.
To be honest, I’m not sure what feelings this winter will bring, but I do feel more prepared to lift myself up when times get hard. Music has always been a source of joy in my life, and I’m leaning on it now more than ever.
One source of solace lately has been listening to music that lifts my spirits. I’m not talking about putting on The Smiths or some other sad sack shit. Some people like listening to sad music when they’re sad, but for me, it takes me deeper into those feelings and can make my depression a whole lot worse. Instead, my go-to upper has been City Pop, a ‘70s and ‘80s genre of Japanese music that incorporates elements of soul, jazz, funk, disco, and pop. It’s pure sweetness for the soul and never fails to brighten my mood. (City Pop also makes me feel like the protagonist of an anime cartoon experiencing something incredible for the first time.) If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, try out “Stay With Me” by Miki Matsubara, “Summer Connection” by Taeko Onuki, and “Straw Hat no Natsuomoi” by Yuki Saitou.
Live music is also a favorite pick-me-up. With the temperatures dropping, people stop leaving their homes, but live music can be the special event that gets you and your loved ones out of the house to bond over your favorite artist — or to support local musicians with whom you might become friends. Live music is such a communal experience, a whole room brought together to dance, sing, and experience the joy that is music. It never fails to pull me out a funk, because I’m a part of something bigger than myself.
I’m not a therapist. I have been through years of therapy and know that when I’m feeling myself slipping into depression, I have to immerse myself in what I love. I talk a lot about music, but I also find journaling, watching movies with friends, and cooking lifts me up. The point of this is to remind you to keep doing what makes you happy. Don’t stop connecting with people just because it’s getting colder. And if you’re starting to feel really, really low, contact a friend or a therapist. If you’re having thoughts of suicide, dialing “988” will immediately connect you with someone who wants to get you help. We can do this y’all.
Sun., Dec. 11
Leikeli47, Heaven, The Masquerade — Rap’s masked crusader is back! Leikeli47 may be the most underrated woman in hip hop. Perhaps it’s the music machine’s propensity to only promote women who are sex symbols, the opposite of Leikeli’s persona, as she wears a bandana mask over her face during all public appearances. This is my only theory as to why Leikeli isn’t more known than she is. Her music checks all the boxes. She has an incredible pen both for crafting thunderous rap verses and catchy choruses. Additionally, she has a masterful ability to choose beats that you make your face scrunch like you’re smelling a dirty diaper. Do yourself a favor and boost Leikeli47 to the heights she deserves. — Matthew Warhol
$20. Sun. Dec. 11, 8:00p.m., Hell at The Masquerade, 50 Lower Alabama St. masqueradeatlanta.com The Masquerade
Wed., Dec. 14
Corey Feldman, Hell, The Masquerade — The olds may know Corey Feldman as the ‘80s childhood actor who starred in such roles as The Goonies, Stand By Me, Gremlins, and The Lost Boys. For those of us who are younger and terminally online, we know him as the king of cringe, a mysterious figure who makes terrible music with seemingly no self-awareness. His magnum opus is Angelic 2 the Core, a mish-mash of genres and horrible musical decisions. The nadir of this deep, dark trench is “Go 4 It,” which went viral after Feldman performed the song on The Today Show. It is a dumpster-fire of a performance. Feldman skulks around looking like a 45-year-old who strictly shops at Hot Topic. Behind him are Corey’s Angels, his band of young women in dime store angel costumes. The album cut features Snoop Dogg, proving that he will hop on literally any song for the right amount of money. Why would someone chose to go see Corey Feldman live? For the same reason someone can’t help but look at a car accident. — Matthew Warhol
$15. Wed. Dec. 14, 7:00p.m., Hell at The Masquerade, 50 Lower Alabama St. masqueradeatlanta.com The Masquerade
Special Interest, The Earl — Punk and politics have always gone hand in hand, but rarely has it sounded this jovial. Special Interest perfect combine the aggression and activism of punk and the free-spirited, fun, and glittery sounds of disco and dance pop. However, the latter never dilutes the former. These aren’t faux revolutionaries trying to make leftism palatable for a wider audience. In fact, they vehemently criticize that kind of Neo-liberalism. “Liberal erasure of militant uprising is a tool of corporate interest and a failure of imagination.” A mosh pit never has never been this fun. — Matthew Warhol
$16-$18. Wed. Dec. 14, 8:00p.m., The Earl, 488 Flat Shoals Ave. S.E. badearl.com @badearl
Fri., Dec. 16
December Friday Jazz Night, High Museum of Art — Hands down, jazz nights are the best way to experience the High Museum. I love museums. But, my biggest complaint about them is that visiting a museum is too similar to going to the library. On jazz night, however, The High is alive. People are drinking and laughing and clapping. Everyone gets dressed up. The main corridor is buzzing from the energy produced by world-class musicians giving their all. And you’re free to walk through the exhibits as usual, but even that feels electrified. Somehow, Atlanta’s biggest arts institution gets even more creative. — Matthew Warhol
$25. Fri. Dec. 16, 6:00 p.m. High Museum of Art, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. high.org @highmuseumofart
Mon., Dec. 19
A John Waters Christmas, Variety Playhouse — Dreaming of a white Christmas? Well, that white material may not be snow at A John Waters Christmas. Baltimore’s B-movie icon and comedian John Waters loves Christmas. Not because of the capitalist bloat that occurs during December, but for the lasting memories and togetherness the holidays bring. His yearly Christmas tour is a stand-up celebration of the joy and madness of the holidays. According to Waters, the set is different every year with the same bones. So just like the holiday itself, even if you think you know what’s going to happen, the unexpected is sure to surprise you. — Matthew Warhol
$42.50-$48. Mon., Dec. 19, 8:00 p.m. Variety Playhouse, 099 Euclid Ave N.E. variety-playhouse.com @varietyplayhouse
Fri. & Sat., Dec. 30 & 31
Washed Out (360° DJ Set), Terminal West — What does a DJ set from a chillwave master consist of? I have no idea — I’m not entirely sure what a “360° DJ Set” is either — but I do know that starting your year with what will certainly be a memorable night is the recipe for a great 2023. For over a decade now, Washed Out has been the curator of good vibes. His music is perpetually stoned, an escape to sandy beaches. I can only imagine his DJing is the similarly relaxed. — Matthew Warhol
$30-$35. Fri. & Sat., Dec. 30 & 31, 9:00 p.m., Terminal West, 887-C West Marietta St. N.W. terminalwestatl.com @terminalwest