14 Songs, 49 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

As indie music has changed and grown, there are frequently discussions about its evolution and commercialization. Bands like Surfer Blood—which employs the deliberately detuned guitars of early-'90s Pavement and Sebadoh—are often called “classic indie.” So where does that leave slickly produced electro-pop acts like Australia’s Atlas Genius? When its shimmering indie pop tune “Trojans” was featured on the Neon Gold site, the three brothers and their keyboard-playing friend landed more than 45,000 downloads. Atlas Genius’ debut album, When It Was Now, still balances the group's glossy production with singer Keith Jeffery's earnest inflections. The opening song, “Electric,” leans more toward neon synth tones and a near-danceable rhythm section that rests comfortably in the crosshairs of The Killers and Kings of Leon (much like the latter band, the brothers Jeffery grew up in a musical family). Conversely, the standout song “Through the Glass” is more organic in its catchiness, with acoustic guitars and handclaps bolstering the radio-friendly melodies. Maybe indie's commercialization is its evolution.

EDITORS’ NOTES

As indie music has changed and grown, there are frequently discussions about its evolution and commercialization. Bands like Surfer Blood—which employs the deliberately detuned guitars of early-'90s Pavement and Sebadoh—are often called “classic indie.” So where does that leave slickly produced electro-pop acts like Australia’s Atlas Genius? When its shimmering indie pop tune “Trojans” was featured on the Neon Gold site, the three brothers and their keyboard-playing friend landed more than 45,000 downloads. Atlas Genius’ debut album, When It Was Now, still balances the group's glossy production with singer Keith Jeffery's earnest inflections. The opening song, “Electric,” leans more toward neon synth tones and a near-danceable rhythm section that rests comfortably in the crosshairs of The Killers and Kings of Leon (much like the latter band, the brothers Jeffery grew up in a musical family). Conversely, the standout song “Through the Glass” is more organic in its catchiness, with acoustic guitars and handclaps bolstering the radio-friendly melodies. Maybe indie's commercialization is its evolution.

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About Atlas Genius

Another example of how influential blogs can be in a band's career, sharp-edged Australian indie rockers Atlas Genius experienced a massive surge in their popularity when their song "Trojans" was featured by the site Neon Gold, resulting in offers from record labels and over 45,000 downloads in the U.S. alone before they even signed a deal. Hailing from Adelaide, South Australia, Atlas Genius were the brainchild of the Jeffery brothers -- vocalist/guitarist Keith, bassist Steven, and drummer Michael -- and their English friend, keyboardist Darren Sell. The Jefferys were raised in a musical family; their father came from an engineering background, and he and the boys' mother were both big Beatles fans and encouraged them to form a band of their own. Starting in 2009, for two years Atlas Genius built their own studio and worked as a cover band to pay the bills. After completing the studio, they began recording in earnest, with "Trojans" becoming the first song they recorded. After the song was distributed online in May 2011, the blog Neon Gold featured it, and the response from fans and the music industry generated buzz around Atlas Genius. After airplay on MTV's 120 Minutes and Sirius XM's Alt Nation channel, the band visited the U.S. in early 2012 to decide on a label. By the time Atlas Genius signed with Warner Bros., the band was a trio consisting of Keith and Michael Jeffery and Sell. The label released the group's debut EP, Through the Glass, in June of that year. The band's debut album, When It Was Now, was also recorded in their own studio and was released in early 2013. It cracked the Top 40 of the Billboard 200 and led to continued, extensive touring and multiple late-night TV appearances in the U.S. The band took a break from performing in 2014 and returned in the summer of 2015 without Sell. Recorded in Adelaide and Studio City, California, their sophomore full-length, Inanimate Objects, arrived in August 2015. ~ Heather Phares

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