Dubbed an Atlanta supergroup by locals, The Constellations officially formed when vocalist Elijah Jones teamed up with Grammy-winning producer Ben H. Allen (Animal Collective, Gnarls Barkley) to create Southern Gothic. Jones and Allen tossed ideas around for two years before finally recording. Now the band and its ever-changing line-up of Atlanta musicians is playing sold out shows in Atlanta’s most popular venues, from the Earl, Star Bar, Lenny’s, the Drunken Unicorn, and even Athens’ the 40 Watt.
Recorded at Maze Studios, Southern Gothic (?Make Records Not Bombs?, 2008) is a meandering tour of the underbelly of Atlanta, lead by Jones’ gruff delivery and parabolic lyrics. Lush production invokes the muscular rhythms of ‘70s Fela Kuti, the propelling pop sensibility of the Gorillaz and the vocals of a modern-day Tom Waits. Cee Lo of Gnarls Barkley and newly signed SRC artist Asher Roth are featured on the album, with a revision of Tom Waits’ “Step Right Up” as a centerpiece. Also on the album are Atlanta musicians Brand Hagen (Trances Arc) and Julian Dorio (The Whigs). The Constellations live show consists of a five-man band backing Jones’ trademark vocals and persona: James Arnold, Ryan Davis, Jamie Gordon, Wes Hoffman and Jason Nackers (Second Shift). A crowd-pleasing, all-girl “Clap Squad” covers back-up vocals and completes the spectacle. The band plays locally monthly and will begin touring nationally this summer.