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The Atlanta-based quartet The Sexual Side Effects defy easy categorization, seamlessly combining elements of ‘80s post-punk and New Wave with modern pop and indie, served with a healthy splash of space-rock psychedelia, but the band’s overriding focus is clear: bringing their haunting and majestic brand of music to the masses. Led by main songwriter Amber Taylor, a dynamic presence whose experiences as a transgendered person color the lyrical narrative, the group—also including Clay McClure (drums), Ryan McDougall (guitar) and Mike Sidner (bass)—are on a mission to touch hearts and minds with Taylor’s message, while captivating eardrums with the band’s breathtaking sound.

“I’m always trying to capture that memorable sound, like that hook that’s always in the air, almost like I’m a vessel for something greater than myself. I won’t say God, but it’s almost like that,” explains singer/guitarist Amber Taylor. “We have a mission in this world to spread our music and what we are and the unique qualities of who I am. That’s really the most important thing, what the band’s really about: There’s a sense of purpose we have. It’s time to go out and do what we’re really here to do now, and work hard for it.”

The band released their debut five-song EP High Maintenance in 2012, offering it to fans as a free download on Band Camp ( Co-produced by Taylor and ongoing collaborator John Briglevich (Drivin' n' Cryin', Edwin McCain), the EP is a lush, beautifully rendered introduction to the group, marked by the soaring, Middle Eastern-tinged “Aurora,” the shimmering “All She’ll Ever Hurt” and the humorously cheeky “I’m In Love With A Girl (But She Used To Be A Man).” Now, when not on the road playing an increasing list of live dates (including a recent Eastern U.S. tour, a Southeastern tour supporting Girl in a Coma and performances at Sarasota’s Harvey Milk Festival and Pride festivals in Houston, Savannah, Roanoke and Atlanta), the band is busy preparing a new release for 2013, tentatively slated for the spring. According to Taylor, listeners should expect more of the passionate lyricism and eclectic soundscapes that make High Maintenance so unforgettable.

“It’s all in the name of art, because we’re all going to die one day, yet something’s going to be left behind. Do you like what you left behind?” Taylor says. “I’ve spent a lot of time in my personal life changing into who I am today, and we are here now. Really the next step for the band is to take our music and who we are and help change society beyond us.”

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