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 BronsonSturgill SimpsonEliot 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

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