Savannah's Stopover is doing its best to kickstart the music festival season, in keeping with other traditions that begin every year in the south, like spring training or the Kentucky Derby. This year, Stopover touts a strong lineup of over 80 bands, including a handsome smattering of Georgia-based groups (Little Tybee), regional acts repping their own fledgling scenes (Turbo Fruits), the best of BK (the Men) and scenemakers from our great white neighbor to the north (Grimes). With shrewd showcase selections, the charming architecture of historic downtown, beautiful coastal weather and southern hospitality, Stopover looks ripe for becoming a serious festival contender.
While you may not have been able to plan far enough in advance, here's our list of emerging artists whose sets we're pretty pumped to catch:
"Human" by DIVE
The Lowdown: Though we'll be cutting it close, hopefully the plane will land in time for us to check out the late-night set of Cole Smith's Beach Fossils offshoot, DIVE. With luxurious dream-poppy guitar flourishes and dense atmospheric effects, DIVE's melodies should be heavy, intoxicating, and invigorating enough to keep us up for the after party.
Catch them at the festival: Wednesday at 11:30 PM at The Jinx.
Band: Fine Peduncle
"Glen" by Fine Peduncle
The Lowdown: Nashville you might expect, but there's a lot of great, weird shit coming out of Knoxville these days, too. One-man production experiment, Fine Peduncle is known for looping his tracks live, singing about bugs, and stripping down to his skivvies onstage. Plus, he fancies himself a "soul" singer. His set might be the best kind of humility-porn spectacle.
Catch him at the festival: Thursday at 11 PM at Dosha.
Band: Xray Eyeballs
"X" by Xray Eyeballs
The Lowdown: This is definitely one of those not-to-miss sets (along with Brooklyn garage cohorts, the Men), containing most of my favorite things: blastbeats, atonal scream-singing, and rad girls. Xray Eyeballs' ascendant Cleopatra Records–feeling jams should be a perfect late-night fit in Savannah's stand-in for a scuzzy punk club.
Catch them at the festival: Thursday at 11 PM at the Jinx.
Band: Cheyenne Marie Mize
"Keep It" by Cheyenne Marie Mize
The Lowdown: This Kentucky chanteuse has one of those silvery voices that draws you in like a magic spell. We were hooked on her EP of American standards duetted with Bonnie "Prince" Billy from a couple of years ago, and make sure to check out any kind of project she's had going on since. Not giving herself over entirely to whimsical folksiness or even plangent soulfulness (her pipes take on both genres with ease), Mize's live set will be something to see, if not for her vocal prowess alone.
Catch her at the festival: Friday at 8:30 PM, at the Sea Museum Garden.
Bands: Born Gold, Grimes
"Lawn Knives" by Born Gold
The Lowdown: You probably don't need to be told to check out Grimes, easily one of the best hype-where-hype-is-due kind of artists of the past year. However, at Stopover she appears with fellow Canadian dancepop-maker Born Gold, in a special "glam"-themed multimedia showcase taking place at Savannah's space-age Jepson Center for the Arts, where attendees are encouraged to wear gold. Sure, Grimes is a haphazard fashionista, but this might be one of the wackiest and best ways to experience her set. Plus, it's all ages, and if things go right, it might turn into a fist-pumping teen rave.
Catch them at the festival: Friday at 9 PM at the Jepson Center.
Band: The War on Drugs
"Coming Through" by the War on Drugs
The Lowdown: After catching a grip of local artists in the daytime showcases, we plan on chilling out with a set from critically beloved Philly outfit, the War on Drugs. Sure, they've earned comparisons to basically every Americana musician of note, but there's something truly enthralling and unexpected about their industrial-strength production and enthusiastic storytelling vibe. They're so unafraid of their big, epic sound, though, that it will interesting to see how they fare in an outdoor garden.
Catch them at the festival: Saturday at 10 PM at the Sea Museum Garden.
"Mayday" by PUJOL
The Lowdown: Here's a Nashville three-piece guaranteed to sate any thirst for high-school garage muck. PUJOL will probably be louder than any earplugs can censor, and hopefully they'll spout some political faux-Beatnik poetry between songs. If the mood strikes us, we might just spit a beer at somebody.
Catch them at the festival: Saturday at 11 PM at the Jinx.
Band: Delicate Steve
"Butterfly" by Delicate Steve
The Lowdown: It's hard to describe the general uplifting feeling of this New Jersey–based instrumental group. Their noodling, effects-pushing and varied percussion feels like listening to Ratatat enlisting some MIDI keyboards to cover Graceland. What exactly is intrinsically positive about that, we're not sure. But we're psyched to see the live transition and imagine more bliss is in store.
Catch them at the festival: Saturday at 12 AM at Loco's.
Band: Cadence Weapon
"Real Estate" by Cadence Weapon
The Lowdown: Canadian rapper, Cadence Weapon, rounds out the canuck contingent of Stopover. His flow borrows from smart-weirdo traditions (KRS-One, De La Soul) and his tracks have the party-jam potential of brilliant old school fare. In case you missed it, he just dropped a solid remix of a Grimes track, "88," which name-checks the age of hip-hop Cadence Weapon manages to expertly channel.
Catch him at the festival: Saturday at 12 AM at Congress Street Social Club.