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Morning State

Atlanta-based outfit with a penchant for catchy, tottering guitars, drop debut album recalling blue-chip sonic of early '90s indie rock.

What? Much like fellow Georgia-bred act the Whigs, Atlanta’s Morning State have an affinity for nuts-and-bolts, guitar-centric pop-rock. But where the Whigs plow straight-ahead into the barroom, Morning State opt for wobbling riffs and pop-punk urgency, recalling the dawn of indie rock with loud and soft dynamics, and plenty of artsy minutiae to boot. And their debut record, You Know People I Know People (out May 6), tells all; “Out For A Walk” rubs elbows — thankfully! — with Nada Surf’s underrated debut, High/Low, while “Never So Strange” bounces on a clusterfuck of raw guitars, and a head-bobbing chorus. They’re far from revivalists — Morning State simply know what works.

Who? The four seemingly regular dudes of Morning State are vocalist/guitarist Russ Ledford, guitarist Dave Williams, drummer Zach Sharenko, and bassist Aaron Stephenson — which collectively wowed this journalist at Spin’s CMJ party last year with a set of down-to-earth, gut-punching rock tunes.

Fun Fact: After signing a deal and recording their debut last year, Morning State’s label collapsed and — surprise! — was seeking money for the master rights to the band’s album. Rather than putting up the cash and succumbing to the fallen imprint’s wishes, the quartet ended its relationship with the label and hit an Athens, GA studio with friend Asa Leffer (The Whigs, Dark Meat, the Pendletons), and re-recorded the record in 11 days.

Now Hear This: “Never So Strange” (DOWNLOAD MP3)

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