Making music out of Atlanta 

You get out of a music scene exactly what you put into it

The idea behind the 2014 Music Issue was inspired by the title of Atlanta band Lily and the Tigers' third album, The Hand You Deal Yourself. Back in January, I sat down with the group for an interview about the record. It quickly became clear that the stories about writing and recording the album, and the theme of self-realization found throughout the band's earthy and stripped-down songs, can also be found in every nook and cranny of Atlanta music. In many ways, the story of Lily and the Tigers' third album is the story of the independent and creative local music scene that spawned the group.

There seems to be a renewed sense of civic pride among Atlanta musicians; a DIY spirit inspired by the simple understanding that you get out of a music scene exactly what you put into it. Over the last year, that's played out in new venues such as Mammal Gallery, which opened on South Broad Street and turned a derelict stretch of South Downtown into an arts and music destination. Likewise, after being rechristened Erosol, Old Fourth Ward's Department Store building has cemented the corner of Edgewood and Boulevard as the gateway of Atlanta nightlife that we already knew it to be.

Through feature stories and interviews, the 2014 Music Issue offers insight into the music that surrounds us: Lily and the Tigers reveal the meaning behind the title of their album; 18-year-old singer-songwriter/rapper Raury talks about coming out of the gate strong; and Pubic Enemy's DJ Lord speaks on the value of perseverance, dedication, and brotherhood. We took an in-depth look at new local label Mission Trips' goal to foster a community for experimental music. You'll also find a list of the 20 best (so far) and most-anticipated albums of the year selected by a team of CL music scribes.

For this year's photo essay, we spent a night at the Yellow House getting shoved around in a pit of sweaty kids working out all of their aggressions to the local sounds of Polish Nails, Warehouse, Blacc Market, and out-of-towners Designer and Palberta. The kids who call the Yellow House home recently learned that the building will soon be leveled to make way for a mixed-use shopping/condo development. Documenting this one night of exuberance seems all the more poignant knowing that all of the energy bottled up in that house is about to spread across the rest of the city.

But perhaps the most telling feature about the state of Atlanta music is found in our survey of more than 30 local artists answering one simple question: Why do you make music in Atlanta?

This Sat., June 21, we're hosting our annual Creative Loafing Throwdown at MJQ with Small Reactions, Warehouse, Concord America, Goldyard, Joe McGuinness, the Wheeler Boys, MK Ultra, iNDEEDFACE, Eddie Gold, and 10th Letter. See you there! And one last thing: Voting for the annual Best of Atlanta issue begins with the arrival of this Music Issue. Polls for the After Dark section open on Sun., June 22, and remain live for a week before switching to Oral Pleasures, so make your voice known and let us know who you think is Atlanta's best of the best.

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