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For University of Georgia students, and probably others, finals ended yesterday. Luckily, Shaky Knees Festival in Atlanta is only a few days away. The festival this year has an impressive lineup of up-and-coming artists and well-established bands. Here are a few of the performances I am excited to see.

First up is Mitski. I really enjoyed her most recent album, Bury Me at Makeout Creek. I would love to hear a live rendition of the angsty “Townie,” my personal favorite from her album. After her performance on Friday, I hope to catch Tennis, a sweet husband-and-wife duo from Colorado. Their 2014 album Ritual In Repeat is fun indie-pop and showcases the couple’s musical talent. Alaina Moore, the female vocalist, has a beautiful voice that sounds amazing live. I can definitely see this being one of the most enjoyable performances of the afternoon.

Many people will probably debate whether to see The Kooks or Wavves on Friday, but it’s The Kooks all the way for me. As a fan since high school, the chance to see them live is too good to pass up. Their music has always made me feel edgy and soulful at the same time. Their energy is fun and the music is carefree, making for a great concert experience. A variety of genres are incorporated into each song, making their music so enjoyable. You can hear rock, pop, ska, funk, and much more mixed each track.

Neutral Milk Hotel performs Saturday and is a highly anticipated show for many. The band plays obscure, but very popular music among the indie music scene, particularly in Athens. Most exciting about this performance is that the band disbanded in 1999 and reunited for live touring in 2013. They’ve announced that this Spring/Summer tour will be their last, which means this show will be sentimental for many of their Georgia fans. If that’s not reason enough to see them, I don’t know what is.

Best Coast performs on Sunday and is the only group attending Shaky Knees that I have already seen live. When I saw them in 2013, the California duo was playing their newest album, The Only Place. Their music is heavily influenced by a variety of groups and artists, such as The Beach Boys, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Drake, and Weezer. These musical influences combine with their love of California to create their fun, carefree music style. Their third album, California Nights, is set to release on May 5th, just days before the festival, so we may be some of the first audiences to hear tracks from this new album live.

With Shaky Knees fast approaching, I recommend that you look up some of the artists’ live performances on YouTube and create a playlist to get familiar with their songs. The festival is May 8th to May 10th, so if you haven’t gotten tickets already, do so soon. See you all there!

-Valerie Voswinkel

 

Photo from The Dell New England on Flickr

 

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We’ve  partnered with Counterpoint to give away a grand prize package to the mid-May festival, which includes a pair of 3-day passes along with three nights of camping. Tune in and check out our Facebook and Twitter pages throughout this week for chances to enter our drawing for the passes. We will announce the winner Friday afternoon!

For more about Counterpoint and the full lineup, check out http://bit.ly/1K2OQAp

  • Posted in Music on 5-1-2015

American Football

 

One of the biggest trends in major music festivals over the past few years has been the return of artists who’ve been in the shadows for many years. Artists like OutKast, Pavement and the Stone Roses have used the American festival circuit to begin touring again to huge audiences. Shaky Knees has been no exception to this trend. Last year, The Replacements announced Shaky Knees as one of their few initial dates for their high-profile reunion. This year, the Atlanta festival has brought in several acts that fans have been waiting to see in the Southeast for a long time, including some making their Atlanta debut.

 

The Strokes

 

It’s difficult to believe but it’s been around four years since The Strokes reconvened after their extended hiatus, which began after 2006’s First Impressions of Earth tour ended. During that break, the band focused on solo projects, but eventually reunited for 2011’s Angles followed by 2013’s Comedown Machine. Throughout The Strokes’ second stint together, touring has often been sporadic while the band took breaks to work on other material. Singer Julian Casablancas recently released a record with his band, Julian Casablancas + The Voidz and spent some time working with Daft Punk on Random Access Memories. Shaky Knees marks The Strokes’ first appearance in Atlanta in almost 10 years. Despite the breadth of more recent material that the band has at their disposal– and rumors of even more songs forthcoming–fans can expect plenty of old favorites from the band’s Friday night headlining set from 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Peachtree Stage, including “Hard to Explain” and the band’s iconic hit “Reptilia.”

 

Ride

One of the biggest lineup additions to the already packed Shaky Knees lineup was the return of British shoegaze legend Ride. The band announced their full reunion in late 2014 and made a high-profile appearance this year at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival to great reception. Shaky Knees marks the only opportunity to see Ride in the Southeast. Their set at Coachella, and at surrounding venues in California, heavily favored the band’s first two albums, Nowhere and Going Blank Again,  both widely regarded as classics within the shoegaze genre. Ride plays the penultimate time slot of the festival on Sunday from 7:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Piedmont Stage. They will also play a separately ticketed show on Friday May 8th at Terminal West.

 

American Football

 

One of the most pleasantly surprising reunions of the past few years has been the return of the Champaign-Urbana, Ill. group American Football. Their self-titled album, and still their only LP, is now 15 years old. The band reunited last year for a small number of shows so fans who discovered their album long after the group disbanded could have the chance to hear “Never Meant” live. While American Football sold little when it was initially released on the beloved Champaign-Urbana based label Polyvinyl, the record has since gained a devoted and rabid following as a classic of emo and math rock. Fans can hear the group’s only currently scheduled Southeastern appearance on Friday from 7:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. at the Boulevard stage.

 

Panda Bear

 

Despite having released 4 acclaimed solo records in the past 11 years, Noah Lennox has yet to appear as Panda Bear in Georgia. Shaky Knees brings Lennox’s psychedelic pop music to Atlanta as he continues to tour in promotion of this year’s Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper. That album features lots of pop gems, as it is perhaps Lennox’s most accessible solo album thanks to its soaring melodies, groovy rhythmic backbone and gorgeous production from Sonic Boom. The Baltimore native and current Lisbon resident will perform on Sunday from 5:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. at the Buford Highway stage, likely backed by a projection of psychedelic video.

 

– Andy Tabeling

 

Toro y Moi – What For

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Chaz Bundick of Toro y Moi trades in his electronic dance-pop for indie-rock  guitar and softer lyrics on his newest album What For?. More closely resembling June 2009 than his recent releases, the album is full of indecisiveness and quiet probing. Hazy electronic guitars, bass, and soft drums create psych melodies that compliment the ambiguity of his lyricism. He asks repeatedly,  “Does anyone know where we go from here?” on the track “What You Want” and “Do you understand what must be done?” on “Spell It Out”. “Buffalo,” said by Bundick to have set the precedent for the entire album, is full of 70s funk and gauzy melodies. Whether it’s lack of direction or a purposeful push towards a more laid back sound, What For?  shows Bundick’s range and thirst for musical growth.

-Camilla Grayson

The Mountain Goats – Beat the Champ

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Beat The Champ is the newest album from the Mountain Goats. The album is all about lead singer John Darnielles’ experiences with Lucha Libre wrestling growing up. With this fact in mind you might think that the album will be fun and lighthearted unlike many previous Mountain Goats’ album, but you would be wrong. The album encompasses the same confessional and heartbreaking lyrics that fans have grown to love. Darnielle escapes his horrible childhood through wrestling, and this album conveys that escapism. While the lyrics are sad, dark, and beautiful, the music itself is catchy and prompts you to sing along making Darnielle’s message easier to swallow. The album is quintessential Mountain Goats with a quirky topic.

-Will Jurgens

Shlohmo “Dark Red”

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Darker than his previous work, Dark Red is an abysmal and distorted melody. After a long period of personal loss, electronic producer Shlohmo’s second full length album ventures into a mournful place with its detachment from pop and admission into a realm of sluggish, monotonous expression of unhappiness. This sense comes out most in the middle of the album, the first five tracks being more dynamic and the last two more reminiscent of his earlier, more energetic work. The album reflects the discomfort he felt when he wrote it and with that energy in mind, the succession of variation and repetition throughout the album is telling of his attitude. In this iteration of his work, Shlohmo has stripped his sound of any collaboration or vocals, which creates an even more eerie, ominous, and almost tragic tone. Without a doubt this album explores the many dimensions of loss and the equally complex systems for coping with that.

Kira Hynes​

Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Think

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Courtney Barnett’s Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit glorifies the day-to-day mundane through deadpan, yet charming vocals. Barnett’s long rambling lyrics reflect intelligence and wit that compliment her slacker-rock aesthetic. “Elevator Operator” sings of a made-up man named Oliver, and “Depreston” tells of Barnett’s adventures apartment hunting. “Small Poppies”, set to the bluesy guitar, is about the harrowing task of mowing the lawn. Barnett’s clean strummed chords and her conversational lyrics give her music a laid back and relaxed feel, but her upbeat songs like “Pedestrian At Best” have the electric guitar and self-deprecating lyrics of 90s garage rock. With sharp melodies and storyteller lyrics, Courtney Barnett’s album has a unique sound that launches the listener into her complex mind.

-Camilla Grayson

Alex G – Trick

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Alex G is the sentimental songwriter best known for his minimally produced, bedroom recorded Bandcamp projects, where he has released numerous hard-to-get recordings. Trick was released via Bandcamp before his most recent album “DSU”; now it’s being re-released through Lucky Number. Trick is Alex G to a point: mundane stories looped into bedroom-pop lo-fi melodies, comfortably shrouded in an unobtrusive relatability. His songs range from everyday thoughts about his favorite animal (“Whale”) to an uneasy melody about infatuation/murder  (“Kute”). Placed in among the mix of simple acoustic songs is the instrumental namesake of the album, “Trick”. The rerelease comes with three bonus tracks that stay true to the atmosphere of Alex G’s previous recordings.

-Cassidy Reeser

Laura Marling – Short Movie

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Laura Marling’s 5th studio album, Short Movie has taken a turn towards a rock/alternative folk as opposed to the traditional folk, but she still retains her folk roots throughout the album.  Short Movie starts off stern and serious, but transitions to a more upbeat and lighthearted tone with the electric guitar. Most of Short Movie deals with Laura’s conflicting feelings about love and independence.  She jumps back and forth from needing to love someone to leaving for her freedom.  Laura’s new sound isn’t too far off from her previous works, but has a distinctness that makes it stand out from the crowd.

-Albert Moon