This is the first official mix of 2017, and I have ten new or new-ish songs from Southern artists. I’ve got Georgia twee, Carolina country, anthemic pop from Florida, lots of singer/songwriter madness, and much more. As always, this series serves to highlight the many Southern women and non-binary and trans Southerners making the music that keeps our big hearts beating in these dark days.
Georgia: Jianna Justice, “Enemy of Change”
First up is Jianna Justice, a twee devotee from Athens. Fans of Velocity Girl will throw their hands up for this one.
South Carolina: Nikki Lane, “Highway Queen”
Spartanburg-native Lane’s dreamy, DREAMY voice makes the hard lovelife of a highway queen seem like a practical plan for settling down. This is the title track from her upcoming new album.
Florida: DieAlps!, “Walking”
Austrian-born and Tampa-based Connie Calcaterra fronts this baroque pop band that’s been kicking around one of my favorite cities for about four years now. This song is from their 2014 self-titled EP, and they have a new album coming out this year on New Grenada Records.
Louisiana: Hurray for the Riff Raff, “Rican Beach”
Waiting for Hurray for the Riff Raff’s Alynda Segarra to release what will surely be a beautiful album has been torturous. Thankfully, she gave us “Rican Beach” last month.
Texas: Nina Diaz, “January 9th”
I’m a super huge fan of everything the San Antonio folks from on-a-break band Girl in a Coma are doing right now, and the latest from Nina Diaz does not disappoint.
Florida: Natalie Claro, “Mountains”
I had a hard time choosing which of Claro’s power pop anthems to put on this mix, but I went with “Mountains” because it sounds like your best friend trying breathlessly to tell you EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING in three minutes. This is one of my new favorite songs.
Georgia: Lorine Chia, “Let It Go”
Lorine Chia is from Cameroon and currently based in Atlanta, where she is constantly creating her brand of thought-provoking hip hop. This one is from her latest magical album, When Morning Comes.
Arkansas: Elise Davis, “The Token”
Young singer-songwriter, Elise Davis, has very old soul, and “The Token” is one of those devastating songs that sums up a lifetime of sacrifice and heartbreak. She hails from Little Rock but recorded this very sad, even by country music standards, album in Nashville where she’s currently based.
Tennessee: Lera Lynn, “Image”
Nashville crooner Lera Lynn has some deeply dark things to say on this Leonard Cohen-y (RIP) takedown of celebrity.
North Carolina: Lara Americo, “Life as a Gas”
Writer, artist, and trans activist Lara Americo’s new album is mind-bending and ethereal and reminds me of some of the best old school shoegazing out there.