When nearly every waking moment is captured by a smartphone camera, documented in a tweet or archived via Facebook status, the truly unique experiences in life start to lose their flair. You’ve lived vicariously through your co-worker’s dog for weeks now in every possible filter, and you’ve read every hot take on Donald Trump’s presidency from both sides of the aisle. Sure, social media has made life more convenient, and the likes feel kind of nice, but at what price?
Atlanta six-piece Material Girls has had enough of the barrage of content—so much so that, save for a scant Soundcloud page and the relatively recent advent of a website that’s fairly buried in Google’s search results, they’ve gone without it over the year or so that they’ve been a band. “We don't feel the need to force-feed content to the masses, and honestly, the only con is people have to think 1 percent harder to find us on the internet,” the band writes collectively via email.
For the drag-punk ensemble—consisting of former members of Atlanta and Athens bands Chief Scout, Concord America and Slang—doing without what many deem a bare necessity in 2017 has only made it more enigmatic, giving the group an elusive edge over a saturated city scene. News of Material Girls began to spread by old-fashioned word of mouth in late 2016 before the release of a limited edition, lathe-cut 7-inch, “Drained” b/w “Tightrope,” which put to record the band’s enthralling live show. The two singles combined elements of shadowy post-punk and glamorous cabaret to dramatic and thrilling effect, proving that the band was more than just the sum of its make-up and high-heeled parts.
With punchy brass, ominous yet raucous guitar licks and a lead vocal that alternates between members while maintaining a distinct guttural growl, the band has carved out a niche that avoids most contemporary rock and punk trends. “Material Girls embodies all that is missing from current music and art,” the band writes. “Haven't you noticed your life before Material Girls and after Material Girls?”
Chunklet Industries aficionado Henry Owings sure did. The man behind music and humor rag Chunklet and a slew of Athens releases, including the recently issued Pylon live album, teamed up with Atlanta promoter and musician Kyle Swick (whose band DiCaprio will share Thursday night’s bill) to release MG VS IQ, Material Girls’ debut EP, in July. The EP landed following a long buildup of interest and speculation and, with just four songs—the two previously released tracks and newer numbers “I Just Wanna Fall in Love With Myself” and “Under the Sun”—left audiences even more intrigued.
The gears are turning behind the scenes and screens for Material Girls. Prolific Atlanta-via-Macon songwriter Meghan Dowlen, who plays and releases her own material as Jade Poppyfield, has taken up the role of bassist after Chief Scout frontman Trey Rosenkampff’s departure. Additionally, a string of East Coast dates is imminent, though talk of writing and recording plans is vague.
“All that needs to be known is that things are different now, and we will keep tweaking the knobs and tweezing hairs from between the eyebrows of our monster as we let it run free to roam the earth,” writes Material Girls cryptically.
As the band continues to beguile, make sure to keep a keen ear to the ground for updates on goings on, as “the social media whirlpool, the Cook Out drive-through window of inane quizzes and pictures of food” won’t be tipping anyone off anytime soon.
Or, as the band puts it, “Material Girls is far too exciting and engaging to be just another thing to scroll past in your endless quest to the bottom of the bottomless pit of mindless boredom.”
THE HERNIES Local riff-heavy rock band displaying influences from classic to indie rock.
MATERIAL GIRLS Atlanta band featuring current and former members of Concord America and Chief Scout. See story on p. 11.
DICAPRIO Atlanta-based indie rock trio.
DEEP STATE Local band led by songwriter Taylor Chmura, playing driving, punky, melodic guitar-rock.