The month of May is festival galore for Atlanta.
It brings Brew at the Zoo, the Decatur Lantern Parade and two major music festivals− Shaky Knees and Shaky Beats. But if you find yourself needing a break from the, at times, over-zealous crowds or don't have the time and money for a three-day weekend of music, there's another option for you: a chill night at one of Atlanta's smaller venues with artists just as talented.
There's a pretty long and diverse list of lesser-known bands this month, including a visit from Australia's Tkay Maidza, the return of Dead Man Winter (Dave Simonett of Trampled By Turtles), and the rise of Faye Webster. Whatever you decide to do this month, May promises nothing but a good time.
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488 Flat Shoals Ave. SE, Atlanta
The very first booking for The Artisanals was opening up for Band of Horses in Washington, D.C. this past New Year's Eve, despite that, you've probably never heard of them. This newly formed rock band, based out of Charleston, South Carolina, got their start in the events where Johnny Delaware (lead singer, guitar) and Clay Houle (guitar) kept crossing paths on the tour circuit. They were in two different bands and two different cities but the strange coincidences meant something to them — they quickly became close friends and started creating. Together they came up with what sounds like a fantasy blend of George Harrison, The Beach Boys, and a little bit of Tom Petty.
At the moment, the musicians are still forming the group and are recording their debut album entitled, "Literally, Anywhere". It will be the first LP to come out of the Magic Barn — a studio-converted barn in middle-of-nowhere Iowa that recently acquired the board and gear from New York City's now-defunct Magic Shop Studio.
515 N McDonough St, Decatur
Atlanta native Faye Webster has been channeling her creativity through various media for years− and she's only 19. After graduating from Grady High School (and befriending classmate Lil Yachty along the way), she took off for Belmont University in Nashville to pursue a degree in songwriting. Throughout her first and only year at Belmont, Atlanta was heavy on her heart. Faye decided college wasn't for her and headed back home to pursue her music career.
Since returning home, Faye signed to Awful Records, a record label that includes some of her friends and fellow artists Father and Ethereal. Her music is rooted in Americana but she's got an R&B style. The Carole King sound-a-like has talents beyond music. Her avant-garde style photography has been published by dozens of media outlets including Rolling Stone.
887 W Marietta St. NW, Studio C, Atlanta
A full-bodied blend of Americana and indie rock, Dead Man Winter is a group led by Dave Simonett, best known as one of the founding members of bluegrass group Trampled By Turtles. Dead Man Winter officially began in 2011 as Simonett's rock & roll project; one record was released but the band stayed at a stand still until gaining momentum a few years ago in the wake of Simonett's divorce and the 2016 hiatus of Trampled By Turtles. "Furnace," is the band's second LP released in January of this year —an album that paints a voyeuristic view into Simonett's most closeted emotions. Weeping pedal steels and swaying rhythms are found in the record's tracks, articulating something beautiful in the wake of destruction.
9 p.m. May 20 @ 529. Tickets can be bought at the door for $7.
529 Flat Shoals Ave. NE, Atlanta
Art School Jocks is a lo-fi indie rock quartet group made up of scene vet members from Places to Hide, Savant, and the Wild. This fairly new Atlanta band describes themselves as "existential basement pop," which does justice in their hooky melodies and weighty subject matter. The little that has been officially released (their self-titled EP comes out June 2) has a quirky and raw kinetic energy that’s danceable by way of pulsing drums and basement pop hooks.
736 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta
Takudzwa Victoria Rosa Maidza (Tkay Maidza) was born into a musical family of miners in Zimbabwe. They moved to Australia when Tkay was five-years-old. Her first experiences in music involved watching her dad play in African folk bands and him teaching her guitar. In the past few years, the young 20-year-old has seen her star rise− emerging as one of Australia's most electrifying artist.
Maidza brings inventive lyrics and dance pop melodies to each of her tracks, shifting spacey synths and jagged beats. She continues to stay grounded in her grooves while pushing the edge of chaos − collaborating with Atlanta's Killer Mike and joining forces with producers like Dre Skull, who has work with Major Lazer, Snoop Dogg.
75 M.L.K. Jr Dr SW, Atlanta
Black Sabbath's end may be upon us, but Zakk Wylde (of Black Label Society) is keeping the classic jams alive with his cover band/super group Zakk Sabbath. Wylde isn't new to the music of Sabbath and neither is his band. He along with bassist Blasko have played with Ozzy Osbourne for years. This will be the band's first ever U.S. headlining tour with support from Beastmaker. If the sound of Zakk Sabbath doesn't get your metal blood rolling, you might need to check your pulse.