The Ain’t Sisters and The Pussywillows Pack Out Eddie’s Attic
Atlanta is home to a variety of talented musicians, from solo singer-songwriters to brass-heavy ska bands. Among them are a slew of female-fronted bands that have made a name for themselves around the city. On January 12th at Eddie’s Attic, I had the privilege of seeing two such up-and-coming acts, The Ain't Sisters and The Pussywillows, at the release party for The Ain’t Sisters’ debut album Marrow. The show was sold out, with eager fans being turned away at the door, causing the bands to open up spaces on their respective guest lists for more fans to attend. When I arrived and got settled in, I could only find standing room in the back by the door, and even there it was packed like a can of sardines. The hype was definitely real for this show.
As the opener for the night, The Pussywillows wowed the crowd and showed off what makes them one of the area's most impressive indie acts. From the first song, all of the patrons in the venue were hypnotized by their catchy jams, as the band dived into song after song brimming with what they describe as "Tarantino feminism". The Pussywillows are lead by the dynamic duo of guitarist and vocalist Carly Gibson and vocalist Hannah Zale, both spitfires in the local scene and centers of their own respective domains. With their combined talents in this new collaboration, this band brings a refreshing, renewed taste to the music palette that any fan of indie rock would crave. To me, they sound like a grittier, more southern version of Christina Perri’s band with a wild side that is unexpected but appreciated. Gibson and Zale's vocal harmonies sent chills up my spine, and I found myself captivated by the sharp, precise playing of the band's drummer, as well as the groovy licks of Gibson on guitar and of their bass player.
Following The Pussywillows, The Ain’t Sisters took to the stage with a full four-piece troupe. Once a pair of street performers who just so happened to frequently be mistaken for siblings, frontwomen Arrie Bozeman and Barb Carbon formed The Ain't Sisters to take their craft to the next level, naming the band after their usual response to compliments regarding their "sister act" - "We ain't sisters!". From humble beginnings, The Ain't Sisters have steadily climbed to fame, locally, making a name for themselves as one of Atlanta's premier original groups. Rounding out their lineup with additional members Justin Boudreau (bass), and John Cowin (drums), Bozeman and Carbon spent three years building up to the completion of their first full length studio album 'Marrow', and to the very release show I was attending. From the start of the set, every song featured a danceable rhythm that made Eddie’s Attic come alive as the dense crowd lost themselves in the groove. The Ain't Sisters boast a unique sound that blends folk, funk, and southern Americana, while striking a perfect balance between acoustic and electric instrumentation. Boudreau played an electric bass, but approached the instrument more like an upright, which was exciting for me, having grown up playing violin in school orchestras, admiring the deep, resonant tone of the bass section.. Bozeman and Carbon were both on guitar, one playing an acoustic and one playing an electric, with the duo intentionally playing off of one another. Carbon often took a stronger lead, with Bozeman's electric lines serving as icing on the proverbial cake. Each song The Ain't Sisters played contained deep lyrics rooted in experience, and as Bozeman and Carbon sang, one got the sense that they were engaged in a rich, soul-stimulating conversation. Cowin navigated the group through each song's transitions, building and changing up his rhythms to suit their mood and energy, laying a strong foundation for his bandmates. Additionally, the drummer played around with some padded mallets instead of the classic barebone wooden sticks brandished by most in his profession, and this added some orchestral depth to the percussion for a more rounded sound.
At the end of the set, the crowd showed their appreciation with applause and cheers for the culmination of hard work that was finalized in the night’s performance. The Ain’t Sisters wore proud smiles as they took their bow and packed up their gear for their after show party at Square Pub down the street. With the charisma these cats are bringing to the Atlanta scene, I hope you can catch the contagious energy of Bozeman and Carbon at their next show.
Top photo: The Ain’t Sisters - photo by Amanda Gardner