• Georgia on my mind — and I don’t mean the Southern state Ray Charles so adored. Also known as Sakartvelo in its native tongue, this former Soviet satellite straddles East and West. Russia still exhibits phantom power in the conservative values of the country, but a vibrant rave and pro-LGBT-rights scene is gaining a foothold in Tbilisi. Here are five bands and artists whose messages should be heard.

     

    Bedford Falls

    Moody with a hint of folksy lightness, this alt-rock outfit from the capital city is known for their gung-ho spirit. They release song after slow-burning song with a frequency that Ryan Adams would admire, running from Bob Dylan hootenanny (the above tune) to metropolitan dirges (their 2017 track “Paradise Low”). Bedford Falls embody their nostalgic, cinematic name, evoking the hope and melancholy of the quaint town from the holiday classic It’s a Wonderful Life. (Thank you to these fine Reddit-ers for the suggestion!)

    Gacha Bakradze

    Offering a kaleidoscope of bass, flair and relaxation, this prominent producer has caught the ear of tastemakers such as the BBC’s Annie Mac. His heralded works transcend the clubs, bringing joy to commuters, shoppers and — we imagine — even soccer moms. His style is mellow and head-bobbing, a rhythmic dance of melody and beat. His most recent EP is dubbed Before Time Altered Them, but it sounds like Bakradze will have no problem withstanding the test of time.

     

    Tako Gachechiladze

    If powerful divas are more your speed, this stunning Eurovision contestant is your Georgian superstar. Known for out-Whitneying the immortal Mrs. Houston with her mighty and versatile vocals, Gachechiladze earned her spot in the 2017 competition with her bombastic “Keep the Faith.” Georgians will keep the faith in May 2017 when their aural ambassador represents against the dozens of other artists fighting for the Eurovision trophy.

     

    Psychonaut 4

    May the darkness inspire you as you go down the rabbit hole with these mind-altering tomes. Metal meets mental mayhem with songs of schizophrenia laced with acid-trip riffs. Since 2010, Psychonaut 4 have plumbed the depths of human psyche to deliver gut-wrenching works of art. Your brain might never be able to outrun the rabid screams of singer Graf.

     

    Eko & Vinda Folio

    Initially a side project between vocalist Erekle Deisadze (solo) and Temo Ezugbaia (Kung Fu Junkie), Eko & Vinda Folio is now gaining steam on its own. Reminiscent of the National, Interpol and the xx, this awesome twosome brings together 1980s reverb with modern-day cautious optimism. We are dreaming of the day these fellows come Stateside and play Coachella or FYF. (Lead image courtesy Talitres.)

     

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