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This month, the ATL will play host to the Music Midtown Festival, featuring the likes of Eminem, Zach Brown Band, John Mayer and Jack White.

The acts are as varied as this city’s musical history. Atlanta has long been hailed as the capital of hip-hop, but it also boasts a huge country scene. The indie and folk-rock scenes thrive here, but it’s just as renowned for its classical and gospel music scene.

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In a city with such an eclectic assembly of sound, trying to find a common denominator can be tough. But one thing all the genres have in common is that no matter the music, there’s a place in the ATL to hear it live. With spectacular weather most of the year, this city hosts outdoor festivals nearly every weekend, and there are also plenty of storied music venues that launched the careers of some legendary acts.

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So who are some of the ATL’s favorite native sons and daughters? A few notables:

  • The Indigo Girls - Amy Ray and Emily Saliers first met in grade school in Decatur, and began singing together in high school. They later attended Emory University and played acoustic duos at local clubs at night, while attending classes during the day.

  • OutKast - André “André 3000” Benjamin and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton first met at Lenox Square shopping center when both were 16 and attended Tri-Cities High School together. They signed with LaFace Records, formed by Atlanta duo Antonio “L.A” Reid and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds.

  • The Black Crowes - Brothers Chris and Rich Robinson formed the band while in high school in Marietta.

  • R.E.M. - Up the road in Athens, four UGA students came together to and played their first show for a friend’s birthday party in a converted Episcopal Church.

  • T.I. - He grew up in Bankhead, and began rapping at 8 years old.

  • Gladys Knight - She won the Original Amateur Hour TV contest at age 7, then later went on to form the Pips with her brother, sister and cousins.


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Don’t forget to check out more up-and-coming local acts at the Midtown Music Festival on Sept. 19-20. 

Autumn means a deluge of "serious" movies, new episodes returning to network TV, various Fashion Weeks, and - arguably more than ever - blockbuster season for new music. Perhaps due to the rise of festival culture in North America and the high stakes of summer tours, recent summers have been relatively light for key releases. In the current climate you have extremes of album launch tactics, from Drake's in-song announcement of an unrecorded album nearly a year away from release, to Beyonce's stunning instant release anti-campaign (U2's recent innovative / invasive approach seems to have been received more coolly). 

Here are a few of the highly anticipated event albums expected in 2014's fourth quarter. 

 

Aphex Twin – Syro (September 19th)

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The veteran of conceptual dance music comes back after 13 years, a move that was announced creatively enough via a blimp over London.

 

Jessie WareTough Love (October 6th)

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A year after the release of the single "Tough Love", the singer releases its parent album, her second full-length, with assists from Dev Hynes, Romy Madley-Croft, and Julio Bashmore. 


Caribou – Our Love (October 7th)

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After a well-received experiment as Daphne in 2013, Dan Snaith returns to the Caribou moniker. If the album splits the difference between headphone and dance floor listening like past releases, it should be a highlight of the season.


Charli XCX – Sucker (October 21st)


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With a number one single now under her belt (Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy”), it will be interesting to see where Charli’s quirky, over-the-top pop goes next. 

 

Nicki Minaj – The Pinkprint (November 24th)

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The significance of this album has already been frantically speculated on and debated months prior to its release. "Pills and Potions" and "Anaconda" have performed well, but will this be the album where Nicki meshes her pop and purest hip-hop sides cohesively? 


Here are some more albums to watch for this Fall:

  • Jeremih - Late Nights (The Album) (October 7th)

  • Lil Wayne - Tha Carter V (October 28th)

  • TV On The Radio - Seeds (November 18th)


About the author: Luke Bradley is an arts and culture writer living in Toronto. He's written for The Classical Magazine, Esquire.com, Myspace, Consequence of Sound, DJ Mag and This Recording. Tweet to him @Sloganear.

From the underground to the inescapable, our roundup of new music that must be heard.  


Album: Ryan Adams and1984 - Ryan Adams

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For a rocker with a long history of reckless behavior in Lower Manhattan and on the road, Ryan Adams has plotted his career meticulously, cultivating separate--and frequently antagonistic--fanbases in the indie and roots-rock realms. Like a guy with a girl in every town, he’s dodged major conflict with both camps by making sure they never meet. Nowadays he’s sober, living the good life at his studio in L.A., and seemingly as conflicted (and prolific) as ever, releasing two records this week -- Ryan Adams and 1984 -- that only further the defining tensions of his music. Single “Gimme Something Good” from Ryan Adams, is squarely--if somewhat ironically--aimed at the rockin’ dad crowd that pays Adams’ mortgage, while “Push It Away,” from 1984, taps into the compact aggression of indie saints Husker Du and early Replacements. Fans everywhere will be happy enough, and critics will have no problem diagramming Adams’ influences, but as usual, we know more about his record collection than the man himself.


Track: ”Headbanger” - King Tuff 

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L.A. rocker King Tuff always knows how to cheer us up, and the hook of new single “Headbanger” offers the best advice yet: “Bang your head.” If your love for this group goes to 11, keep bangin’ til the new record, Black Moon Spell, drops September 23.


Track: “Castigadas en el Granero” - Deers

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If you don’t overdose on the cuteness of their sound and presentation, you’ll find Madrid girl group Deers a breezy addition to the garage-pop wave. New single “Castigadas en el Granero”--just the band’s third released recording--has a one-take rawness that supplies a slightly sinister edge to the girls’ sweet early-60s harmonies. 


Track: “Hanging from the Chandelier” - Dark Blue

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Conventional wisdom locates Philadelphia in the southern reaches of Springsteen Country--a metropolitan wasteland where bearded, flannel-clad dreamers cavort around trashcan fires and talk wistfully about getting their union cards. And to some extent, the emergence of Kurt Vile and his infinite clones bears that out. But there’s also a natural drama to the city, a haunted vibe that wears well on the old buildings and, in the right light, makes it a passable substitute for Manchester or even London. This is the world of Philly “supergroup” Dark Blue, headed by local malcontent John Sharkey, who imports Factory-style despair to his equally gloomy hometown. New single “Hanging from the Chandelier,” available to stream on Soundcloud, will be catnip for Britpop fans while also resonating with anyone who’s spent Halloween in a Northern Liberties brownstone. 


About the author: Spencer Shawcross is a freelance writer in San Francisco. He hearts the TL and its many music venues. 


Whether you're a born and raised local or a lost Bay Area transplant looking to find the best tunes in the city, we've picked out this week's best live shows in our home town of San Francisco for you to check out.


Vulfpeck at Brick & Mortar (Monday)

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Get Tickets

Earlier this year, the LA funk outfit released a entire album of silence on Spotify and asked people to listen to it while they slept in an effort to rank up royalty income to fund a tour. The result? Their entire Sleepify Tour is completely free, including tonight in the Mission. Though the trick is clever enough by itself to warrant your attendance, the group does make some groovy music. They also just released their fourth set of songs since 2011.


Fenech-Soler + Dear Boy + Sheppard at Rickshaw Stop (Thursday)

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Hand crafted English electro-pop headlines Popscene this week, supported by LA newcomers and, recent Republic signing, Sheppard from Australia. Dear Boy gained some traction in the blogosphere last year for their track "Oh So Quiet" and have since dropped a new EP and made a few well received trips to the Bay. Fenech-Soler have been around for a few years now and manage to continue creating explosive songs drum up thoughts of mild seizure-like dancing that will become out of your control.   


The Silent Comedy + Strange Vine + Down & Outlaws at Bottom of the Hill (Thursday)

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San Diego folk rockers The Silent Comedy bring on their whiskey soaked rock that would have been primed to soundtrack any worthy wild west duel. Even if this is not your style, go just to bask in the glory of that mustache. You may have seen Fresno's Strange Vine and their psych meets blues combo share a local stage with The Soft White Sixties. A full rock and roll bill is topped off with the city's own Down & Outlaws who know the ins and outs of this spot, giving them home field advantage in laying down a full set of raw blues rock.


Beck at The Masonic (Friday)

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In case you needed a new reason to go witness Beck, being a part of the re-opening of a massive San Francisco concert venue should do the trick. Supporting his latest, Morning Phase, it's highly likely your old favorites (whether Sea Change quiet or Odelay loud) will make an appearance alongside new standouts like Blue Moon and Heart is a Drum. The Nob Hill theater will be at its most spotless with a new stage and sound system, which allows you to bring just over 3,000 of your friends so go crazy.


The Y Axes + Survival Guide + Starover Blue at Hotel Utah (Sunday)

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Cap off the week with a night of rock and pop headed by three front women hailing from the entire length of the Bay. Starover Blue (formerly Cartoon Bar Fight) is a 5-piece formed out of San Jose State combining both folk and indie rock. Survival Guide comes down from Petaluma after taking the stage at First City Fest and sets of shows with Travis Hayes. As local as it gets, The Y Axes have ramped up the number of shows they have been playing, even further refining their quirky intergalactic pop. Their video for Neon Street about sums this up.


About Mike: Habitual Bay Area show-hopper and new music junkie. Currently Artist Relations at DeliRadio and occasional DJ at KALX. Follow the music based ramblings on Twitter.

Music from this week that channels your feelings and speakers from 0-100 like the famous words from your boy, Drake.


“Polo Tee” - Eyedress

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There is no doubt the legendary DJ Rashad’s passing from earlier this year affected people around the world. While there are many tributes and tracks dedicated to Teklife’s founder, Filipino experimental pop artist Eyedress ventured into the footwork territory and crafted a track ghetto housing those collared golf shirts that are making a comeback into the club scene called “Polo Tee."



“Difficulties” - Ryan Hemsworth ft. Trim

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As a track on DJ Oneman’s Solitare Vol. 3 mixtape coming out in September 29th, “Difficulties” is the alliance of Internet’s favorite sensitive music curator Ryan Hemsworth and London Grime MC Trim. Their result is a three-minute bittersweet moment of self realization and a brilliant combination of emphatic wordplay and beautiful pacifying beats.



“Try Me” - Dej Loaf ft. Wiz Khalifa

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Coming up quickly from Detroit’s hip hop scene is rapper Dej Loaf and on Wiz Khalifa’s 27th birthday (Tuesday night), he threw in a verse to her original song titled “Try Me." With rumors of Drake potentially remixing this track, check out Khalifa’s smooth contributions to “this new gangsta music.” according to a Soundcloud comment.



“Black Widow” (Darq E Freaker Remix) - Iggy Azalea ft. Rita Ora

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Australian superstar Iggy Azalea recently put out a mix pack of “Black Widow," a fierce collaboration with Rita Ora from The New Classic album. Three engineers worked on the remixes for “Black Widow” and one of them is from London producer Darq E Freaker who's worked with Danny Brown in the past. Freaker contaminated the track with raging dance music filth with fun synthetic warps in and out -- a club appreciated turn up.



About the author: Briana Cheng has a lot of feelings that she sometimes writes about but mostly she takes twitter screenshots of online dating apps, follow her @banacrisp.

Walking into the Manderley Bar at the McKittrick Hotel in New York City last night, the intimate room was balmy with a thick haze of smoke. As the setting for the immersive play Sleep No More, the venue already exuded a mysterious air. The wonder continued to build for over an hour as the audience stood staring at the glow of a neon “Crush Palace” sign hanging onstage and listening to a creepy continuous track of what sounded like breaking waves and ghost machinery.

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And just when the anticipation was about to be unbearable, musicians Holly Miranda and Moses Sumney appeared from the mist and began plucking gently on their guitars. Thus started Karen O’s live show for her new solo album, Crush Songs, a collection of lo-fi songs she’s been developing for the past several years.

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As the Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer stepped on stage and began singing, most of her set was like a hypnotizing lullaby filled with the fuzzy coos and whispery vocals of songs like “NYC Baby,” “OOO,” “Indian Summer” and “Rapt.” Nick Zinner, her self-proclaimed “musical soulmate” from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs performed on a few numbers throughout the night as well.

 
Towards the end of her set, Karen O occasionally shifted from an understated delicate delivery to reveal isolated moments of her cheeky characteristic punk side in the song, “Body.” Someone in the audience yelled, “You’re adorable!” which made her smile and giggle.

Overall, the haunting, dreamy performance truly captivated a soundtrack that ranged from feelings of loneliness to hope as echoed in the double entendre of the word “crush” in her album title. The live songs felt warmer and more intimate than on the minimalistically recorded tracks on the album. You still have a chance to catch her on the following live dates:


Sept 12 - Le Poisson Rouge (New York)

Sept 17 - The Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery (Los Angeles) 

Sept 18 - The Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery (Los Angeles) 

Sept 19 - The Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery (Los Angeles)

Sept 22 - Great American Music Hall (San Francisco)

Oct 4 - Bush Hall (London)

Oct 5 - Bush Hall (London)

Oct 7 - Heimathafen (Berlin)


About the author: Jin Moon has been affectionately writing about music and the arts since 2002 on her blog, Jinners.com. She also currently runs her own agency, On the Moon Arts. Tweet salutations to @jinners.