ANOTHER 5 Prog Bands You Have to Hear - The Best of Atlanta Prog Part Three
Help! Computer is yet another jazz fusion ensemble par excellence which just so happens to be based in Atlanta. The group comprises five virtuoso musicians with a passion for crafting the most unique, groovy, mind-bending music possible. At times mellow and reflective, at times intense and forbidding, but always great fun, the band’s compositions demonstrate impeccable taste, tact, and technique, all of which come together to whip up a perfect storm of bright, irresistibly catchy saxophone melodies, blistering guitar solos, smooth, serpentine basslines, and driving, but calculated and perfectly balanced drumming. Their live shows are utterly captivating and have earned them acclaim, locally. A year after their first single, “Turtle on a Trestle” made its debut, the group released their first proper demo tape, a collection of seven live improvisations entitled Viva v-Viral v-Virus (VV VV VV.) (Jam Vol. I), in November of 2017. They followed it up with a second, called Anti/Virus (dmo.), earlier this year, in February of 2018.
Help! Computer’s entire current discography is available on Bandcamp.
Anti/Virus (dmo.) is also available on Spotify.
There are few (if any) bands that sound quite like Floral Print. The self-described “sissy rock/deconstructionist pop” group, who released their first EP, Woo, in 2015, occupies a sort of sonic crossroads where moody, soft-spoken indie songwriting laced with loose, jazz-tinged drumming and the kind of rhythmically jagged guitar riffs common to math rock collides violently with garage-style punk energy and brash, noisy avant garde experimentalism. And this is especially true of the trio on their 2017 full-length Mirror Stages. Though the band’s sound is a far cry from, say, the symphonic grandeur of 70’s first wave prog, nor is it easily traceable, really, to any other subsequent movements within the “traditional” schools of the genre, it is unquestionably fitting and accurate to call them progressive. Their fearless and wildly creative collective spirit sets them apart and has placed them on the cutting edge in the local scene. And this has not gone unnoticed at higher levels in the music industry, as the group even recently landed a spot opening for critically-acclaimed Boston, Massachusetts art rockers Bent Knee on the Atlanta stop of their “Paper Earth” tour.
The wonderfully bizarre artistic collective which goes by the name Identikit draws on a vast array of musical traditions from across the world. A veritable chamber orchestra of sorts (the band’s six-piece lineup includes a violinist, a saxophonist, and a clarinet player in addition to the traditional rhythm section of bass, drums, and piano), Identikit utilizes highly unique instrumentation and compositional techniques to craft adventurous, genre-bending opuses that challenge conventional notions of just what popular music has the capacity to be. The group seems to demonstrate a particular affinity for jazz, acoustic pop, and broadway/musical theater, but they have also been known to venture into soul, indie, and even punk territory. They also frequently incorporate more global elements: Gregorian chants, melodies constructed using Middle Eastern concepts of tonality, French balladry, Latin rhythms, etc. With two five-track EPs (both released in the same year – 2017) already under their belt, Identikit released their latest single, “Horizons”, this summer to universally positive reviews (including this one from Georgia Local Spotlight's own Adams Mitchell).
As their name – the Portuguese term for a Brazilian film movement rooted in the racial and economic unrest of the 60’s and 70’s – might suggest, Cinema Novo is a band on a mission. With passionate urgency, lead vocalist Haseena Peera delivers thought-provoking and insightful lyrics covering topics ranging from social injustice to sexuality to mental health and more over a bed of richly textured guitar (at times biting and angular, at times spacious and ethereal), earth-shaking bass, and aggressive, but nuanced drumming. The group’s music is perhaps best described as a sort of progressive post-punk – raw, visceral, and of-the-moment, but highly creative and infused with art rock ambition. More than merely talented songwriters and performers, Cinema Novo is also widely recognized for their visually stunning, conceptually driven music videos, particularly those for recent singles “Horse Eater”, “Isonade”, and “Patasola”, all of which are components of the band’s ongoing multi-media anthology, Seven Headed Lion, which explores the darker side of human nature as symbolized by mythological monsters from various cultural traditions.
An exciting, brand new addition to the Atlanta prog scene, Challenger Deep is a band to take note of and keep one’s eye on. The four-piece instrumental math rock outfit – named after the deepest oceanic region on Earth – achieves a remarkable balance between technicality and accessibility, also managing to craft some truly memorable melodies and maintain an infectious groove, on their debut (and currently only) single “Welcome to the Show” (which you can find GLS contributor Drew Thomas’ review of here). With a busy live schedule and an already steadily growing fanbase, Challenger Deep is off to an explosive start.