RESONANCE ATL: ‘Hometown Vampire’ — A record about everyone you know
Athens/Atlanta songwriter Elijah Johnston tries a new approach on his sixth studio album
What better name for an October album release than Hometown Vampire? Athens has been cooking him the past few years but rumor has it - Elijah Johnston is now an Atlanta resident. Johnston is no stranger to either scene, especially Athens where he is a graduate of UGA’s Music Business Program and now fast-becoming a Georgia indie scene legend. He has toured all over the southeast, been a featured SXSW performer and is the 2022 Vic Chesnutt Songwriter of The Year (Athens).
Somehow, with all he’s got going on, he’s had time to record his sixth and newest record, Hometown Vampire, which he is releasing via Strolling Bones Records. This refreshing, 11-song LP is a new twist on Johnston’s writing style, focusing on various fictional characters inspired by his lived experiences in a small town music scene. Historically, his writing tended to be stories and real tidbits from Johnston’s life. Now, he’s turning the pen to those around him.
“The characters lablled here as vampires refer to any of the lowlifes we see around us or in ourselves; the punisher at the bar, the chronic failure who’s always got a new scheme, the kinds of people who live in the past and stew in their bitterness. Hometown Vampire is a farewell to all the good and bad of music scene chicanery, late night shit-talking, and all the failed romances before.” — Elijah Johnston
This album is for everyone who has experienced a local music scene — the good and the bad — and for those who want a vicarious look behind the curtain. The songs are painfully-relatable and describe the many complexities of being in your twenties and watching everyone you know figure out what they’re doing with their lives or, rather, not figuring it out.
Recorded and engineered at Tweed Recording School and We Bought A Zoo Records, The entire album was produced, engineered and mixed by long time Johnston collaborator and friend Tommy Trautwein (Well Kept, Heffner) at Tweed Recording School and Trautwein’s studio We Bought A Zoo. There were over 10 contributing musicians including Trautwein, Johnston’s brother Gideon (Hallpass, Dinnertime, Hotel Fiction), Gracie Huffman (Lighthearted), Cannon Rogers (CannonandTheBoxes, Susto), Annie Leeth (Chase Park Transduction, Faye Webster) with mastering done by Matt Martin (COIN, Faye Webster, Wanderwild).
To ring in the new album, Johnston performed in Atlanta in late September (9/28) at The Eastern and now is celebrating on the actual release date in Athens at the legendary Georgia Theatre rooftop on Oct. 6.
Elijah Johnston, Georgia Theatre — See above.
$10. 11:00 p.m. Georgia Theatre, 215 N. Lumpkin St. Athens, 30601. georgiatheatre.com
Lorenzo & Co., New Weirdos, Fig Season, Boggs Social & Supply — Emerging out of the COVID quarantine came a lot of new bands, a lot of them friends who finally had the time on their hands to make music together. One such band is this group of five, Lorenzo & Co. I first saw these folks at a Boggs show where they convinced me they were ones to follow. Earlier this summer, they released a new single and music video, “Sleepwalking,” full of high energy rock riffs, funky beats and classic indie vocals. The music video is what I imagine a rehearsal night is like for these folks, fun and full of life. It’s playful, upbeat and fits the song perfectly. Don’t miss your chance to see them live at Boggs on Oct. 6 with New Weirdos and Fig Season.
$10-$15. 8:00 p.m. Boggs Social & Supply, 1310 White St. SW. 30310. boggssocial.com
Equal Creatures, Worriers, Talking Kind, The Masquerade — Equal Creatures’s indie sound and thoughtful lyricism hone in on the relatable struggles and complexities of navigating the world as a young and/or queer person. Their debut EP, Prey Animal, released earlier this summer, is the perfect combination of real sad lyrics and indie emo riffs. These folks rock on and off the stage. I can’t wait to hear what they release next.
$10-$15. 7:00 p.m. The Masquerade, 50 Lower Alabama St. #110. 30303. masqueradeatlanta.com
Rose Hotel, Mick Mayer, Dream Wave, The EARL — One of Atlanta’s favorite songwriters, Jordan Reynolds, has done it again with their project Rose Hotel’s latest EP The House That We Knew, released in February of this year. The five-song collection of dreamy folk explores Reynold’s most sincere thoughts through yearning soundscapes and thoughtful lyricism. Starting with “expansion,” which set the tone of the EP, Reynolds goes back to their roots with bedroom-style production, making for an intimate listening experience. Rose Hotel is a music visionary, with an equal onstage persona. You don’t want miss this Oct. 21 show.
$16-$20. 8:30 p.m. The EARL, 488 Flat Shoals Ave. SE. Atlanta, 30316. badearl.com
Monsoon, Nova One, Boyscott, 529 Bar — From their 2015 Super Bowl commercial featuring “Ride A’Rolla” to their sophomore album Ghost Party, the Georgia-based duo Monsoon continues to attract fans old and new to every show. I can’t think of a better album to dance to in the month of October than Ghost Party, a trip into Monsoon’s soul, or rather, that of Sienna Chandler and Joey Kegal. Chandler and Kegal are every voice and instrument on the album, which they co-produced and recorded in their Athens studio, “Pigpen” (also a song on the album). Ghost Party starts the listening journey with “Walking Legs’’ and sets the cohesive scene of this goth, alternative rock album full of wistful harmony, piercing guitar and perfectly chaotic drum beats. It is spooky, extremely danceable and the band equally as fun to see live. Chandler and Kegal are in another world when they’re on stage together. Their synchronized movements and interactions make their musical and personal chemistry undeniable. Their use of audio, lighting, props and stage presence make for a great performance..
$15. 9:00 p.m. 529 Bar, 529 Flat Shoals Ave. S.E. Atlanta, 30316. 529atlanta.com
Michael Myerz, Bob Log III, The EARL — Local realist rapper Michael Myerz is one of a kind. You don’t meet very many artists so young with as many albums as him, 31 to be specific. Myerz is a rapper and performer who writes about anything and everything. His energetic personality shines through his music — cool synths and absurdist sound effects that give listeners an immersive experience into Myerz’s mind. Mall Rat is a great representation of what it would’ve been like to grow up as the local skater kid or latch key mall kid in grade school. Myerz describes it as “anti-poser shit” and delves into these scenarios in songs like “Shop Lifter’’ and “Hot Topic Hootenanny.”
$16-$20. 8:00 p.m. The EARL, 488 Flat Shoals Ave. SE. Atlanta, 30316. badearl.com
Mallbangs, Teamdeathmatch, Totalwife, The Inner Space — Mallbangs is one of my favorite local outfits, not only for their alternative pop sound but also for their sincerity in both songwriting and in life. Their latest release, PMO REMIXED, dropped in early September, shows off Mallbangs‘ experimental sound and style in three different remixes. All the profits made from this bandcamp release will be donated to The Atlanta Solidarity Fund in support of fighting Cop City. Their 2022 album Checking For Daggers, is unique in its twisty indie sound and high quality production. When they’re not writing songs, front-person Aidy runs something called The Voicemail Project. There’s an Instagram page (@the.voicemail.project), P.O. Box and a phone number for folks to anonymously leave messages about whatever they want. It’s an outlet to vent, tell stories or admit things and feelings you’re too afraid to tell anyone else. With over 1,300 followers and daily messages, Aidy gives strangers a safe space with the platform.
$10. 8:00 p.m. The Inner Space in Underground Atlanta, 50 Upper Alabama St. 30303. www.instagram.com/innerspace_atl
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