Now that we can all put down the Christmas music (please!!!), let’s take a look at 5 Under the Radar Releases from this month that our staff believes needs to be recognized and heard. There were plenty of gems released this month just before 2016 comes to a close.
The Georgia Flood – People Like Ourselves (Dec. 2nd)
While technically an EP, The Georgia Flood‘s official debut People Like Ourselves consists of 7 songs the young Atlanta band whittled down from a collection of over 30 songs. Barely in their 20’s, The Georgia Flood are brothers Brooks Mason and Lane Kelly, and these 7 songs serve notice that this is a band that won’t be “under the radar” for long.
The band has already garnered plenty of attention from radio shows and more across the country behind singles like “Better Not Together” and “Whistle King”, both of which show different angles to the band’s genre-bending alt rock sound. “Better Not Together” shows the soulful and bluesy side with a dab of jazz on top of the Mayer-esque guitar riffs while “Whistle King” shows off a bigger hard driving alt rock sound that gets audiences dancing along. While it’s clear the young southern band has been heavily influenced by roots music, throughout the EP they continue to meld the modern alt rock influences with their love of the blues into a debut that’s not only compelling, but also has mass appeal. The Georgia Flood is a band that’s coming into their own, it’s time to get on board now. /- Mike Gerry
iLiKETRAiNS – A Divorce Before Marriage (Dec. 2nd)
ILiKETRAiNS refuses to ascribe to any individual mold. Despite first impressions to their child-like name, this dreamy, hypnotic band wields their initial innocence to lull you in, sneaking in layers of dreamy simplicity. As the songs develop, the sonic landscape of cognitive dissonance takes over. The stark contrast between the two identities inherited within the songs lends to their compelling sound. Whilst ILiKETRAiNS may have begun as your typical college band, their transition into the music industry has been anything but. Starting from their first set of album releases, this Leeds band heavily draws from controversial events surrounding them. Despite being around for the better part of a decade, iLiKETRAiNS has continued to coast just under the mainstream media’s radar, possibly due to the controversial topics their albums continuously embody. Due to the ever-changing world and slow decline of the majority of the music industry, iLiKETRAiNS were dropped by several well-known labels. They had the opportunity to fully develop their sound in 2010 by releasing their self-funded, self-influenced, independent, full-length album He Who Saw The Deep. iLiKETRAiNS manifests the captivating capability shown through crescending instrumentals and The National-esque vocals becoming a band that continuously intrigues and begs the question, “What’s next?”
On October 21st 2016, iLiKETRAiNS officially broke their four-year hiatus releasing their single “Bethesda” off of their forthcoming album, A Divorce Before Marriage. Widely known for their impressive and aesthetically pleasing cinematography, this album places itself as the backdrop for their documentary. This documentary features the long yet complicated history of iLiKETRAiNS following each individual’s journey throughout their four-year hiatus. Described by Open City London as a “coming of age story about a band stuck in the middle” the bands impressionable audience delves into the minds of the musicians and begins to look at the band members as what they are, human. Listeners often overlook the vulnerability in the musicians they consistently place on pedestals, disregarding the big picture. Following this documentary’s initial premiere, the soundtrack to the film became widely requested. Within moments of the recently released single, “Bethesda”, listeners are captivated by the Sigur Ros-inspired guitar riffs and Caspian-influenced buildups. While this single lacks the impressive and always awe-inspiring vocalizations of front man David Martin, we are expected to hear more of his confounding lyricism with impressionable vocals on Dec 2nd on A Divorce Before Marriage’s release date. /- Emily Hope Perlman
Check out the preview to the iLiKETRAiNS documentary which includes their album here:
Kevin Krauter – Changes (Dec. 2nd)
Let your imagination run wild with Kevin Krauter’s debut EP, Changes, released December 2nd via Winspear & Warm Ratio. Krauter is a member of Indiana indie rockers Hoops, but his melodic solo adventure Changes veers him into a more acoustic chamber category versus Hoop’s guitar pop; an album title that fits. The album was recorded while Krauter attended school in Muncie, and what resulted was a collection of songs that bring forth influences from Americana to bossa nova.
Each of the six songs flow magically into one another like they belong in Willy Wonka’s factory; crafted so delicately and thematically. The EP begins with “Shadow Boxing”, a tune that flairs with flamenca and turns listeners into gypsy dancers. “Fantasy Theme” carries a lighter essence of the Spanish vibes but still takes listeners to their own special little island. “Bachelor” and “Reckless” sound like a sunny drive through the best parts of America; pick-up trucks, white picket fences and corn fields. Krauter croons throughout the album over elegant sounds, including pianos and trumpets, and on “Changes” Krauter gives listeners a beautiful chamber-pop touch. “Diamonds” ends the EP on a more upbeat note. All the sounds you heard before come smashing together for a promising goodbye; the kind of goodbye that serves as a placeholder until the next time. I do believe we will be seeing more of Kevin Krauter in 2017, and I can’t wait to open my arms and say hello again. /- Avery Newmark
Small Feet – Dreaming The Dream (Dec. 9th)
After years of writing songs for himself and keeping tapes stored in a closet in his parents’ home, Stockholm, Sweden’s Simon Stålhamre connected with ex-pat American Jacob Snavely and drummer Christopher Cantillo to form Small Feet. The band recorded their debut From Far Enough Away Everything Sounds Like The Ocean in a home studio located in one of a cluster of historically protected, 18th century cabins on Södermalm, an island in central Stockholm. Small Feet released their debut album, From Far Enough Away Everything Sounds Like The Ocean, last year via Barsuk Records, showing off a voice and songwriter that has the makings of a timeless artist that truly flew under our radar last year.
As Small Feet work on their sophomore album, set to be released in early 2017, the band revisited a few unfinished gems from the From Far Enough Away.. sessions to bring the Dreaming The Dream EP. The new EP is 6 songs that should serve as a great intro into the band for those who haven’t heard the debut LP yet. It’s been said that Stålhamre “has a voice that can swim out of a sinking heart like Jason Molina.” That he has “the emotional subtlety that calls upon the dry humour of Bill Callahan,” while at the same time “allowing him to echo Daniel Johnston’s inspired innocence.” And really how can you say it any better than that? The Swedish folk trio brings a true melancholy and dreamy soundscapes with stunning minimalism around Stålhamre’s marvelous vocals, leaving listeners with an EP that sounds somewhere in between The Shins and Band of Horses at their most vulnerable. Small Feet is a true gem that we need to all hear. /- Mike Gerry
George Christian Pettis – Tallasassy + the Heavy Meadow demos (Dec. 23rd)
Surprise! A gift released right before Christmas, George Pettis released his first solo album on his Bandcamp with tapes to come via Wisconsin Chair Company. George Pettis has made a name for himself over the years in his hometown of Atlanta and beyond with projects such as Wowser Bowser, and recently, 100 Watt Horse. Since 2014, the experimental folk band 100 Watt Horse has released 2 EPs, including It May Very Well Do released in March of 2016, and 2015 debut full length Everything’s Alright Forever and Forever and Forever and Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou Amen, that’s shown George Pettis as one of my favorite songwriters around. Over the last few years, George has been living somewhere between Atlanta, maybe a little Tallahassee, maybe a little Nashville, and Olympia, WA while touring the country solo and as 100 Watt Horse as he made his way back and forth from home base to home base. With the release of George’s first official solo album he posted on Bandcamp: “These songs were written and recorded in the years 2014-16 in Tallahassee, FL and Atlanta, GA and Olympia, WA. They are songs about family, friends, (what’s the difference?) being sad, and relieving that sadness by driving back and forth across the country a couple times.” For a great songwriter such as George, those experiences had to be turned into an album. Tallasassy + the Heavy Meadow demos is another brilliant lofi experimental album that not only shows off Pettis’ abilities as a songwriter, but also the ability to arrange songs not only via his words and voice, but as total pieces that can challenge you while giving new surprises with each listen. /- Mike Gerry