JULIANNA MONEY | “Shrug”
As a child, Julianna Money was a poet. She later took up songwriting, but her poetic roots seep through every emotionally driven, humorous and heart-wrenching song. She grew up in a musical family in Alabama’s Chattahoochee Valley, learning from her mother and siblings. Her 2019 debut EP, Nickels and Dimes, solidified her blend of country, folk and soul. Her latest release, “Shrug,” recorded at Decatur-based Standard Electric studio, is a nihilist anthem. Her tender voice explores its lower range, entrancing listeners with each line. The song, she says, “is about reaching a point of darkness where it’s almost funny how pointless everything is, and realizing you love somebody who is never going to love you back.” The tune comes from her forthcoming record, In the Valley, which hits streaming platforms November 12.
BIG BRUTUS | “A Pale Woman”
Big Brutus is the brainchild of songwriter–guitarist Sean Brutus. Since 2016, he’s consistently released strong, folk-driven, satisfying indie-pop singles and albums. This year has been a slow time for most, but Brutus has spent the quarantine creating in both Big Brutus and Mango Cat, a dream pop duo with Bailey Crone (Bathe Alone). He began the year with the April release of Fun Times in Sadland, which is saturated with folk detail and ambient guitar strums. “A Pale Woman,” pulled from his upcoming album, is a love song about ghosts. “The song itself was heavily inspired by losing an important relationship and my step-grandmother passing within a few days of each other, right before the pandemic shut everything down, leaving me unable to bury those feelings behind schedule and structure,” he says. The new album will contain eight tracks, his shortest to date, and includes all-female backing, which he says, “brought a certain vulnerability to the sessions and allowed me to be more open and honest as a writer.” A second single, titled “Julia,” drops October 28.
STARBENDERS | “Can’t Cheat Time”
The Starbenders again dazzle listeners with the release of “Can’t Cheat Time.” It combines punk rock, glam and garage rock, evidence that group members cut their teeth listening to Atlanta’s Coathangers and Black Lips. The four-piece band — Kimi Shelter (lead vocals, guitar), Aaron Lecesne (bass), Emily Moon (drums) and Kriss Tokaji (guitar, vocals) — has consistently dropped power-packed music since 2014. Worth noting: The Starbenders’ manager is Atlanta mainstay and Lady Gaga alum Nico Constantine. Earlier this year, the group released Love Potions, a 14-track record that explodes with angsty nostalgia. The video to “Can’t Cheat Time,” pulled from that album, was filmed in Atlanta at such spots as Big House Guitars, Fantasyland Records, Smith’s Olde Bar and Gato. “The music video is a love letter to the mom-and-pop businesses that have shaped and supported our very existence,” the video description says. The quartet may be the most authentic punk rockers that Atlanta has to offer at the moment.
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