Skinny Dippers is an indie/folk band based out of Birmingham, AL. With warm melodies and thought provoking lyrics, Sarah Bretz shares past experiences and emotions through her music. The songs are written in collaboration with bassist John Sims, guitarist Abby Anderson, keyboardist Jackson Gafford and drummer Seth Brown.
New Love Crowd is the music/design project of Travis Swinford. New Love Crowd’s project is to raise the question: How do you love the world? It’s a weird place, and a tough task, but it’s the only thing to do.
Before forming NLC in Brooklyn, Swinford was making music in several bands in Birmingham, AL, his own being Plains (Happenin Records/Lolipop Records/Noumenal Loom, now available on Spotify, etc, and also performed with Holy Youth, Drew Price, Dommel Mosel).
NLC’s first full-length, self-titled album (recorded at home by Swinford with longtime collaborator Drew Price on keys) takes a lot of moods & lessons and puts them into one tripping body strolling down planet Earth street. It’s available from Earth Libraries and Maintenance Records.
Over the past few years Los Angeles has been privy to the ever evolving, revolving creative cosmos that is jack name. Fluid future punk at home space boa , or surly sweats a real treat and bender of archetype and expectation but consistently fantastic and thoughtful. Having seen every rendition since weve been compatriots im always left with my ears and eyes in love. Painting a neon drizzled scape in his smithing, He takes a hazy and true freak approach to the live setting. His band has always a miasma of ringers and corner oddities that compliment each other in live action. Worth the trek the brackish wasteland to your local libations sound hall. Go get some.
“The sound: Icy “Lost in Translation”-soundtrack-style underground rock.”
Formed from the scattered ashes of garage rock nobodies, Alabama’s 4 piece SNACKS bring primal, violently catchy, unschooled jams to a thirsty southern market. The hypnotic, Spacemen 3-esque end of times single, “Kingdom” keeps an infectiously doomed view on life as we know it. Songs like “Anthem of the Dogs” and the Bundy-influenced grunge jam “Bunny” could end up somewhere in the ending credits of a True Detective episode. These unknown gum shoes are doing something worthy of your wet 5 dollar bill.
“Avoiding flagrant confessionalism for narrative detail, Simpson can project anger or irony or uncomfortable intimacy with equal ease…”
— Paste Magazine
Janet Simpson has been a part of the Birmingham music scene since transplanting from Atlanta to Alabama in 1999. Janet fronted and wrote the songs for the Fairport Convention-esque indie-folk band Delicate Cutters from 2002-2015, touring the Southeast and East Coast with albums Some Creatures and Ring (Skybucket.) Her participation as a collaborator in bands such as the pop/psych-punk outfit Teen Getaway and dream-folk duo Timber demonstrate Janet’s flexibility as a songwriter and performer, while her contributions as a recording and touring member (keys,vocals and bass) of the band backing the legendary freak-folker, Wooden Wand ( Briarwood, Blood Oaths of the New Blues, WWIV ) gave Janet a channel to exploit her love for jazz and blues.
Janet has lent her vocal and instrumental touches to numerous albums over the past several years (Will Stewart, Jason Slatton, Broken Letters) as well as scored original instrumental pieces for film and television. Now, Janet is set to record and release her first solo album in more than 20 years, featuring some of her most straight-forward, bare-bones songwriting to date. Featuring tinges of country recalling early Lucinda Williams and Iris Dement, but with stranger, darker swagger.
“…the trio doesn’t pull punches. It’s sludgy. It’s bluesy. It tells an edgy story, dark in tenor and penetrating in substance. Think The Stooges’ vigor, The Cramps’ attitude, and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s modern savvy”
— New Noise Magazine
Formed when members – Grant Curless, Wils Quinn, and Shawn Reynolds – were freshman in high school, Johnny Conqueroo’s early EP’s saw them writing long, grungy blues jams, spiraling in and out of swampy dirges as the band played what they felt, acting on instinct in a fervent rock’n’roll endeavor. The trio naturally shied from prototypical indie or hipster leanings, focusing instead on downtrodden street stories inspired by Southern surroundings.
The band’s 2018 EP, Haint Blue, was a mature expansion, without abandoning their roots. Challenged by producer Duane Lundy (Ringo Starr, Vandaveer) to pursue a collection of thematically similar material, Haint Blue tells an Appalachian tragedy of sorts, twining together stories of men and women in downward spirals, becoming homeless, being falsely accused of crimes and knocking on the door of purgatory like a ball of barbed wire.
The Bouquets are a group of friends from Birmingham, AL, who formed in Spring of 2018. They were founded on the idea that no influence should go ignored, and so the band enjoys incorporating a variety of musical spices into their songs. The band’s current favorite flavors are 60s garage and proto-punk groups mixed with surf and new wave. Lovers of Joe Meek, Dead Moon, Monks, Devo, CCR, Link Wray, and The Shangri-Las will be pleased. Name-dropping aside, The Bouquets want to make you dance. Love from Alabama.
“Caleb Caudle’s sound encompasses the wide expanse of America, as the best country rock always will.”
Growing up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, singer-songwriter Caleb Caudle was raised on rock n’ roll and Southern hospitality. Influenced by bands like The Clash and Velvet Underground, Caudle was playing North Carolina’s punk rock circuit by the age of 15. Naturally, his music matured with his age and he became more lyrically driven, adopting a love for music history and collecting vinyl.
In 2012, he decided to quit his day job and focus solely on music — seven years and four albums later, Caudle is gaining the traction he deserves. He was recently dubbed one of “10 New Country Artists You Need To Know” by Rolling Stone. He’s played Willie Nelson’s Luck Reunion, Nashville’s famed AmericanaFest multiple times, showcased to a sold out crowd at AmericanaFest UK in London, and has just returned from his month long Scandinavian tour. “Borrowed Smiles” was featured on the 2017 dramatic season finale of CMT’s Nashville and “Crushed Coins” was featured on Netflix’s The Ranch in 2018.
In 2019, he’s not slowing down. Touring over 150 dates per year, Caleb stays busy on the road sharing the stage with John Paul White, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Elizabeth Cook, Lera Lynn, Drivin’ N Cryin’, Courtney Marie Andrews, Corb Lund, Aaron Lee Tasjan, and The War & Treaty. Caleb currently resides in Nashville, TN.
“With a project that is beyond doubt metaphorical in many arenas, AC Carter is highly influenced by the past, the future, and the past’s vision of the future, all wrapped up in their individualistic standpoint, iterating concept with a batty and quirky playfulness.”
— Wussy Mag
Lambda Celsius (or Λ°C) is the musical avatar of AC Carter: visual artist, musician, producer, and costume designer currently working in the Tri-City Southern Region between Athens, GA, Nashville, TN, and Birmingham, AL.
Λ°C performs in self-designed garments alongside Alexa (yes-Amazon’s home device) as their DJ.They produce and perform original elf house and synth blop music inspired by 80’s goth and synth wave genres.When living in Nashville, TN, they originally conceptualized their music as the alias Lavender, only having Lambda Celsius came into fruition (as every trans-identity does) once finding their more earnest androgynous-self through the goth and experimental queer communities.
Now in Athens, bridging off the the likes of The B-52’s, and inspired by the futurism of Sun Ra, this Athen’s based (and Birmingham born) artist makes a stance for queer artists, for gender equality, and reminding the larger network of musical acts that the South too can harness experimental and note-worthy talent.
AC has performed at Big Ears Festival 2018, Athens Popfest 2018, has opened for artists such as John Maus, Molly Nilsson, Algiers, Hatchie, and Girlpool, and has worked with artist R. Stevie Moore.
In addition to their musical work, AC has made costumes for Jennifer Vanilla for her performance at MoMA PS1, and for the of Montreal music video “Plateau Phase-No Careerism No Corruption”.
“At one point Cakes brags that he can, “spit that shit that make a homophobe a hypocrite,” and I don’t doubt that he could. There’s something very compelling not only about the way he raps, but also about aggressive strain of hedonism at The Eulogy’s heart, this idea that simply making pleasure seeking the center of your existence can be a statement, even an art, and if anyone thinks differently then fuck ’em.”
Cakes Da Killa is a Brooklyn-based rapper & writer hailing from Teaneck, New Jersey. His signature 90s flow and cutthroat wordplay has garnered praise from HOT 97’s own Ebro & Peter Rosenberg to Anthony Fantano of the Needledrop. His sound is a mixture of hardcore technical lyricism marinated with heavy club beats. With a few mixtapes under his belt & a killer live show Cakes quickly became a must-see act on many festival lineups around the world.
This signature sound has kept Cakes touring glabally since he burst on the scene in 2012. Cakes is a key player in the recent conversation of LGBT visibility in the urban market and has been featured on various media outlets sharing his journey as an openly gay MC. In 2016, his much anticipated debut album Hedonism was released on RUFFIANS.
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“A common complaint among those who follow new rock and pop is that there’s too much good music to take in. An intimate festival like Secret Stages confirms that’s so by emphasizing discovery rather than highlighting a dizzying cavalcade of established artists and newcomers rocketing toward the top. In a convivial atmosphere among eager, open-minded fans, Secret Stages illustrated that what’s bubbling beneath contemporary music’s densely populated surface is worthy of attention, too.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“Secret Stages finds a way to blend every slice of Birmingham life. And doesn’t hesitate to remind you that uplifting something new still manages to honor the past.”
“If you want to find the unheard sounds of young, Southern musicians, the best place to do it these days is Birmingham’s annual Secret Stages Festival.”
—The Bitter Southerner
“In this age of instant gratification, the concept of a music festival where the main goal is for patrons to discover new bands – rather than see bands they already know and love – is risky to say the least. Yet here we are, in the fifth year of Secret Stages, and it’s going as strong as ever.”
“Secret Stages is already a far, far better music festival than anyone dreamed it might be.”
—Black & White
“…one of the biggest bangs for your buck you’re likely to find anywhere.”
"This festival is one of my favorite regional events. Most of these bands have yet to break out of their respective local scenes…It’s a great chance to wander around and discover a bunch of new music."
“Secret Stages succeeded in having more depth in regional and national indie acts than the recent Soundland (aka Next Big Nashville) and had the out-of-the-box feel that SXSW had 15-20 years ago.”
“Secret Stages is a testament to the vitality of the music landscape.”
“…one of the most exciting new music festivals in the Southeast”
“Despite the lack of marquee headliners, that are used to draw large audiences and boost attendance, Secret Stages continues to be a breath of fresh air in its commitment to local artists and their promotion. This ethic has proven to be effective as more and more people each year choose to attend Secret Stages.”
—The Blue Indian (Macon)
“It would have been anybody’s guess that Birmingham would host the best Indie Festival in the Southeast.”
—The Nashville Bridge
“With so many new or little-known acts coming to town, Secret Stages is shaping up to be Birmingham’s best event of the summer for discovering new music.”
“…At so many shows and festivals, the artists play their set and then get out. Not so with Secret Stages. I shook hands and spoke with nearly every act I saw. There’s a personal element to Secret Stages that I really haven’t seen anywhere else.”