25 Georgia Bands You Should Listen To Now

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We started The 50 States Project two years ago, and today, with a list of great bands in our home state of Georgia, it comes to completion. All told, we’ve highlighted more than 500 up-and-coming bands throughout the nation, some of which are no longer our little secret. It’s been a tremendous amount of fun looking at music scenes in unexpected places, but the fact that music is thriving in Georgia cities like Athens and Atlanta is no surprise at all. This is the state that gave the world James Brown, Otis Redding, Ray Charles, The Allman Brothers, The B-52’s, R.E.M., Outkast, Trisha Yearwood, Indigo Girls, Ludacris, Widespread Panic, Neutral Milk Hotel, Usher, of Montreal, Janelle Monae and both halves of Gnarls Barkley. Since it’s such fertile ground for music—and because it’s home—we expanded the list to 25 up-and-coming acts worth checking out. We could have made it 50. As always, we didn’t include bands that we’ve covered significantly in the past, and we tried to represent more of the state than the obvious choices. Here are 25 great musical acts from Georgia worth checking out.

1. American Roommates

Hometown: Columbus
Members: Will Bishop, Jacob VanHorn, Zach Ward, TJ Sanders, Curtis Alderson
Current Album: Tomahawk EP
Columbus may not boast the music scene of Atlanta and Athens, but that hasn’t stopped American Roommates from calling the West Georgia town home base for their well-crafted indie rock. With just an EP to its name, the band hasn’t ventured much outside of Georgia, but with distinctive vocals and Modest Mouse-inspired tunes, there’s no reason these five actual roommates shouldn’t be making more noise across America.—Josh Jackson

2. Book Club

Hometown: Atlanta
Members: Robbie Horlick, Rachel Buckley, Matt Jarrard, Todd Kerstetter, Gus Fernandez
Current Album: One-Way Moon
Book Club is an indie-folk band that doesn’t feel like it was manufactured to churn out songs for bank commercials. Instead the twangy five-piece plays shuffling folk-pop still connected to the Georgia red clay. There’s fiddle and walking bass, but Wurlitzer and electric guitar give some of the tracks of One-Way Moon some real oomph. Featuring veterans of Atlanta bands Oryx & Crake and Cassavetes, the guy/girl lead vocals of Robbie Horlick and Rachel Buckley blend together with true Southern charm.—Josh Jackson

3. brothers

Hometown: Athens
Members: Noel Brown, Ryan Gray Moore, Michael Gonzalez, Stephen Pfannkuche
Current Album: Beautiful
An Athens outfit that makes shoegaze-inspired indie pop, brothers thrives on catchy music that still feels textured and fresh. Its most recent EP, Beautiful, out on the Athens based Moeke Records, has the band going into a tighter style with more straightforward songs and some of the band’s most energetic work yet. However, the distant vocals and soaring guitar work of past releases still give the songs personality, and the band keeps getting stronger with every release.—Joe Youorski

4. Dalmatian

Hometown: Macon
Members: Burgess Brown, Michael Suhr, John Ewing, Sean Williams
Current Album: Obscure Discoteca
While so many indie folk groups try to chase the success of Mumford & Sons, Dalmatian plays great old-school folk rock with enough soul to remind you that their hometown of Macon was the home of Otis Redding. Their debut full-length album Obscure Discoteca came out last year. The band’s music patiently unfolds with some lovely guitar shredding—to remind you that Macon was also the home of the Allman Brothers.—Josh Jackson

5. Dana Swimmer

Hometown: Athens
Members: Jack Blauvelt, Parker Lusk, John Riccitelli, Maggie Blauvelt, Matt Martin
Current Album:Veloce
A band that’s adopted “dad rock” as its genre from an off-hand critical remark, Dana Swimmer is all about energy. The group’s songs build around catchy guitar riffs with group vocals and head bobbing rhythm, and the band’s debut Veloce is a trip from start to finish. Well known around Athens for frenetic live shows, Dana Swimmer’s music loses none of its energy on recording. What comes next from the act should prove even more interesting as the band expands its sound.—Joe Youorski

6. The Darnell Boys

Hometown: Athens
Members: Austin Darnell, Caleb Darnell, Gus Darnell, Patrick Weise, Eljah Neesmith
Upcoming Album: Workman’s Will
Somewhere, deep in the woods, a drum beats. No, not a drum, a suitcase. Someone is drumming on it, and the sounds of a twanging guitar and hands clapping resonate through the trees. The Darnell Boys are a musical blend of folk, bluegrass and Americana, and they’re here to make you dance. Tracks from their upcoming LP Workman’s Will lament the drudgery of an old-time life while providing a foot-tapping anthem present in even the modern era.—Sarah Lawrence

7. Dasher

Hometown: Atlanta
Members: Kylee Kimbrough, David Michaud, Kelly Stroup
Current Album: “Go Rambo” 7-inch
Featuring ‘70s-style punk fueled by psychedelic noisy guitar and goth punk overtones, Atlanta-based trio Dasher has been thrashing their way to the top. Led by drummer, songwriter and vocalist Kylee Kimbrough, the band released their well received single “Go Rambo” last year, a track which perfectly demonstrates their raw, ecstatic nature, and experimental tendencies.—Brittany Joyce

8. Doria Roberts

Hometown: Atlanta
Current Album: Blackeyed Susan
A Philadelphia native, Doria Roberts moved to atlanta nearly two decades ago, getting her start at the famous Eddie’s Attic open mic night, winning the bi-annual shootout. Driven by nimble fingers on acoustic guitar and a powerful voice, her music is rooted equally in blues, jazz, folk and soul. And lyrically the activist/poet pulls no punches on songs like “Poor Man’s Blues.”—Josh Jackson

9. Eliot Bronson

Hometown: Current Album: Eliot BronsonEliot BronsonJosh Jackson

10. Floco Torres

Hometown: Macon
Current Album: Floco’s Modern Life
Relocating to the small town of Macon when an internship with a major label fell through had to have been a bit of culture shock for New Jersey native Floco Torres. But the rapper captured the spirit of his new hometown in the track “Cherry Street,” Downtown is where it’s poppin’ at / When you drop in Middle Georgia, this is where you stoppin’ at / Chain stores is everywhere, this is where you shoppin’ at / Atlanta took the crown, it’s lookin’ like we got it back / Every time I’m downtown.” The song chastises Macon’s famous sons and daughters who are slow to claim their city—the home of Capricorn Records and a whole new wave of hip hop, led by his own DIY operations.—Josh Jackson

11. Gold-Bears

Hometown Members Current Album:DallianceAre You Falling in Love?DallianceJoe Youorski

12. Grand Vapids

Hometown: Athens
Members: McKendrick Bearden, Austin Harris, Paul Stevens, Chris Goggans
Current Album:Guarantees
Listening to Grand Vapids’ brand new debut album is like a crash course in indie-guitar-rock school. Fuzzy, droning guitar recalls everything from Pixies and Built to Spill to Beach House and Wavves with the mellow vocals of McKendrick Bearden and Austin Harris—filtered through an echo chamber of effects—giving everything a lush, layered vibe. It’s the distillation of three decades of college rock radio, appropriately coming out of a town like Athens.—Josh Jackson

13. Gurufish

Hometown: Atlanta
Members: Jimmy St. James, Matty Haze, Steve Dixon, DeWitt Ellis, Matt West, Eugene Russell IV
Current Album:Soul Treaty
Jimmy St. James calls his band’s brand of psychedelic funk “glitter soul.” It’s an appropriate term for a band that combines the excess of glam rock and the excess of ‘70s funk into a gloriously excessive good time. Titling song titles “Get On the Funk,” Pimp St.,” “Funky Queen” and “SunshineHappyDay,” the band wears its party-band moniker proudly on its velvet sleeves. Get on with the funk.—Josh Jackson

14. Monsoon

Hometown: Members: Current Album: Ride A’RollaJosh Jackson

15. The New Sound of Numbers

Hometown: Athens
Current Album: Invisible Magnetic (2013)
Fronted by Hannah Jones on 12-string electric guitar, the ever changing cast behind Athens’ psych-pop outfit The New Sound of Numbers makes it something of a Georgia power group. Featuring members of Pylon and The Olivia Tremor Control, the band churns out minimalist punk guitars, experimental synth textures and microtonal elements. And Invisible Magnetic, the follow-up to their 2006 debut LP Liberty Seeds, celebrates all of it—through tribal rhythms and instrumental interplay.—Brittany Joyce

16. Pinecones

Hometown: Atlanta
Members: Bo Orr, Ben Salie, Brain Atoms, Ryan Evers
Current Album: Sings For You Now
Atlanta-based Pinecones may be slated to release their debut next week, but the band’s roots date back almost a decade. With a background in punk and hardcore music and a current penchant for more accessible, guitar-heavy jams, the band brims with good energy—and why shouldn’t they? Frontman Bo Orr, drummer Ben Salie and bassist Ryan Evers have been playing music together since their teens, and it’s obvious when you see the band’s good-time vibe during performances. Sings For You Now, their debut, is set for release on April 14 via Arrowhawk Records.—Dacey Orr

17. Powerkompany

Members: Marie Davon, Andrew Heaton
Current Album: I Am More Than This
Fearlessly personal synth-pop that’s equally haunting and uplifting, Powerkompany will leave you swaying on your feet in public without even realizing it. In a life before this one they were biomedical researchers in a university lab, and their attention to detail and thoroughness is present in their music. Their 2013 debut LP I Am More Than This is triumphant and sad; it’s vulnerable and powerful.—Sarah Lawrence

18. The Quiet Hounds

Hometown: Atlanta
Current Album: Weathered In The Sun
Originally playing in masks and hiding their identities, Atlanta sextet Quiet Hounds play indie rock, but that’s just the start. Their shows are “performances,” including last year’s dramatic telling of The Last Days of Snake Nation, an area of the city which saw The Free and Rowdy Party wrestling with The Moral Party for control. but the music stands on its own—epic swells of gripping melodies supported by layers of guitars and keys and gorgeous harmonies.—Josh Jackson

19. Raury

Hometown: Stone Mountain
Current Album: Indigo Child
The next class of Atlanta hip hop is already taking over with acts like ILoveMakonnen and OG Maco exploding. Next up may be Raury, hailing from the same Atlanta suburb as Childish Gambino. The 18-year-old was chosen as one of the opening acts for Outkast’s homecoming shows at Centennial Park last year and is now signed to Columbia Records. His range sets him apart from his contemporaries—he’s already released epic hip hop tracks, acoustic ballads and R&B experiments. He’s playing around with form in fascinating ways, and he’s just getting started.—Josh Jackson

20. Ruby the Rabbit Foot

Hometown: Athens
Members: Ruby Kendrick, Mckendrick Bearden, Jeremy Wheatley, Frank Keith IV
Current Album: New As Dew
Ruby the Rabbit Foot might call Athens home base, but these songs are rooted in the swamplands of her South Georgia upbringing. The video for “Misery” opens with a pile of burning Barbie dolls with music that recalls the folkie indie rock of Rilo Kiley—bubbly hooks with playfully dark lyrics. It’s Bohemian beach music, where the beach meets mangrove forest, filled with Ruby Kendrick’s mesmerizing, impish glee. And it’s really something special.—Josh Jackson

21. Seven Handle Circus

Hometown: Atlanta
Members: Shawn Spencer, Colin Vinson, Steve Bledsoe, Richard Burroughs, Jeff Harrison, Troy Harris
Current Album:And We Danced
Seven Handle Circus will tell you they’re not a bluegrass band—after all, the beat is set by drummer Jeff Harrison. But while they’re no traditionalists, they use all the string instruments you’d find in a Kentucky holler: banjo, stand-up bass, acoustic guitar, mandolin and fiddle. And the high harmonies give a lonesome vibe to songs like “Heartbroke.” Still, their classical training and teenage love for punk makes for something altogether different, especially when they’re covering Daft Punk.—Josh Jackson

22. The Shadowboxers

Hometown: Atlanta/Nashville
Members: Adam Hoffman, Matt Lipkins, Scott Schwartz
Current Album: Red Room
Yes, the band just moved to Nashville, but after spending their first seven years as a band in the ATL, we’ll still claim them. The Shadowboxers’ soulful acoustic songs have made them a staple among the Eddie’s Attic crowd, giving the coffeehouse genre a needed R&B boost (they do a fantastic cover of Frank Ocean’s “Super Rich Kids”). We expect big things from them in Music City—at least big enough to make it worth leaving Taqueria del Sol behind. At any rate, they’ll be back May 8 to play The Loft.—Josh Jackson

23. Triathalon

Hometown: Savannah
Members: Adam Intrator, Hunter Jayne, Chad Chilton, Alex Previty
Current Album: Lo-Tide
Savannah is quietly making a name for its post-rock music scene, but one of our favorite bands from the coastal town is the shoegazy rock band Triathalon, a quartet who’s been playing together since 2011. Surf-punk meets The Smiths on their full-length debut Lo-Tide, released last year on Broken Circles Records. They’re currently on the last leg of a nationwide tour, but will be returning to Savannah soon to record a follow-up tentatively due out this year.—Josh Jackson

24. Twin Studies

Hometown: Atlanta
Members: Jay Stanley, Jacob Armando, Aubry Meers, Jesse Kray
Current Album: Precious Places
Twin Studies makes ethereal, pleasant dream pop and while the band has only one EP out to date, the release already showcases the Atlanta act’s potential. As shoegaze and dream pop surges in popularity, Twin Studies may prove to be Atlanta’s prime example of the genre. Aubrey Meers’s light voice fits the band’s style perfectly, making for some beautiful tunes with just the right amount of dreamy atmosphere.—Joe Youorski

25. Warehouse

Members: Doug Bleichner, Alex Bailey, Elaine Edenfield, Josh Hughes, Ben Jackson
Current Album: Tesseract
15 years ago there was a band called Life Without Buildings. They were awesome, although they weren’t from Georgia. Today there is a band that is from Georgia called Warehouse who reminds me of Life Without Buildings. Warehouse is also awesome. Both play guitar-heavy melodic rock, with busy basslines underneath relatively clean two-guitar riffs and drums that are dancey without slipping into disco-punk schtick. The vocals seal the comparisons, though—just as Sue Tompkins rhythmically spoke fractured poetry all over Life Without Buildings’ sole album, Elaine Edenfield growls throughout Warehouse’s first album Tesseract in a talk-sing style that’s at turns guttural and fragile. If Tompkins sounded like Björk crossed with Mark E. Smith, Edenfield is more like Henry Rollins and Kate Bush struggling for control of the same vocal chords. Her vocals are beautiful and brutal, and a tense contrast to the band’s music.—Garrett Martin