Reptile Room

Published on August 3rd, 2019

Reptile Room

Atlanta has so much going right now: a champion soccer team; up-and-coming neighborhoods; that awesome aquarium; fire Ethiopian cuisine; enough diverse coolness to make you forget you’re in Georgia; and, of late, infectiously danceable electropop.

The only thing not hot about Reptile Room is the ice-coolness running through the trio’s veins. Formed by childhood friends Bill Zimmerman and siblings Sami and Sean Michelsen, Reptile Room have quickly risen to the top of Atlanta’s music scene. The band offers powerful performances on a canvas of psychedelic spirits. They take the best of the L.A. and NYC electropop scenes to create music that demonstrates an unsparing eye for detail.

Zimmerman and the Michelsens have been making music on and off together since middle school, with assorted projects leading them down separate paths and back into each other’s orbit. The siblings have a long-running project, the rock band Alchemy, embraced by Atlanta’s alt-radio community. Sami won season three of Atlanta’s “Sing for Your Life” competition in 2015.

Their collective chemistry, bolstered by those varied experiences, allows them to work quickly and productively on multiple fronts. In their short span as Reptile Room (a name shared with a title in the Lemony Snicket children’s book series), they’ve released an EP and a few digital singles and have done work for the likes of MTV, Redbull and E! The EP was high on the list of summer jams curated by the city’s alt-paper, Creative Loafing — the payoff of hard work across every available stage in town.

Reptile Room songs evolve from individual ideas developed collectively. The inspiration they draw from different genres and other media is audible in their recordings, videos and live sets alike. The Davids (Bowie and Lynch) are a clear reference point — pop sensibilities set against the dark undulations of quotidian Americana. Perhaps that is why Reptile Room feels like something more than just a pop band — a pulsating anomaly in the American south, if you will.

Whatever it is they possess, they’ve earned the respect of their city and the uncontested right to export their cool anyplace they like, and leave a trail of exhausted dancers in their wake.

Reptile Room perform 8pm Friday August 30 at Voltaire in West Palm Beach with Sohn Jamal, Ashiyushi, Sumsun. ~ Abel Folgar

Clip to Evernote