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25 Atlanta summer jams

Flamingo Shadow, Janelle Monáe, and more music to keep you moving

Music SummerJams21 1 11
Photo credit: Courtesy Suicide Squeeze
COATHANGERS: Live

Coathangers (Suicide Squeeze). A live album is a true test of a group’s strength and chemistry. There’s no faking it on stage. The Coathangers’ LIVE album, recorded over two nights at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach, captures the group’s savage energy and abandon on stage, touching on everything from recent numbers “Burn Me” and “Squeeki Tiki” to classics “Tonya Harding” and “Hurricane.” The delivery occasionally transcends the lyrics, but it only adds to the impact — these songs come straight from the heart and the gut. — Chad Radford

Janelle Monáe.
Janelle Monáe.

Janelle Monáe | Dirty Computer (Atlantic, Bad Boy, Wondaland) In April, Janelle Monáe released her most accessible work to date, Dirty Computer, furthering the genre-bending aesthetics that define the empowered pop/R&B singer. Over 14 tracks, Monáe delivers a braggadocious rap song (“Django Jane”), an ode to the wonders of vaginas with experimental artist Grimes (“Pynk”), a playlist-friendly R&B cut produced by Organized Noize (“I Like That”), and a title track featuring Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson. The most infectious cut, “Screwed,” features Zoë Kravitz and a luscious guitar riff as a backdrop for the political message Monáe sings: “The devil met with Russia and they just made a deal/We was marching through the streets/They were blocking every bill.” Fans who watch the accompanying “emotion picture” will get the most enjoyment from the album — at 48 minutes, the short film brings to life Monáe’s unapologetic ode to women, blackness, and queer identity. — Jewel Wicker

The Rock*A*Teens.
The Rock*A*Teens.

The Rock*A*Teens | Sixth House (Merge) Eschewing the juggernaut wall-of-distortion that defines the Cabbagetown quartet, Sixth House (out June 29) strips the ornamented abode to its bare frame. The Rock*A*Teens’ first proper full-length since 2000’s Sweet Bird of Youth is distinguished by expressions of angst and stark-raving romanticism delivered with wailing swagger. Singer and guitarist Chris Lopez’s frazzled spiritual fervor leads guitarist Justin Hughes, bass player Will Joiner, and drummer Ballard Lesemann deeper and higher. — Doug DeLoach

Reptile Room.
Reptile Room.

Reptile Room | Reptile Room (Reptile Records) Reptile Room’s eponymous EP oscillates between wet, reverb-y soundscapes and stuttering beats; “Lights,” the EP’s first track, shines with a sultry sensibility, enhanced by deep bass. — Annika von Grey  

Fantasy Guys.
Fantasy Guys.

Fantasy Guys | Cruisin’ Around Respectin’ Babes (Skeleton Realm Records) Suave, chill, and groovy, Fantasy Guys’ 2017 EP transports listeners to a beachy pastel soirée. The bass line maintains subtle motion and the vocal melodies jump around with relaxed ease, making Cruisin’ Around Respectin’ Babes an all-around pleasant summer listen. — AVG

Danger Incorporated.
Danger Incorporated.

Danger Incorporated | Birds Fly By Night (Awful Records) Louie Duffelbags and Boothlord release Birds Fly By Night, their second album as Danger Incorporated. The slow, free-flowing rap duo matches elements of melodic R&B with double-tracked harmonies and dream-pop electronics. — Lily Guthrie

Lil Baby.
Lil Baby.

Lil Baby | Harder Than Ever (Quality Control Music/Capitol/Motown) Lil Baby’s 2018 Harder Than Ever is a grounded, effortless hip-hop record that dismisses frivolity in favor of simplicity. It may not shatter any musical boundaries, but Lil Baby’s relaxed melodic style and ability to score a Drake feature sets him up as a down-to-earth artist with an exciting future. — AVG

Lunar Vacation.
Lunar Vacation.

Lunar Vacation | Swell (Human Sounds Records) The sprightly quintet dropped its first EP with five sherbet-flavored songs on Swell. These easy-listening bops, comprised of wistful instrumentation and honey-coated vocals, have a fresh taste that sounds best with the windows down and a couple of friends along for the ride. — LG

Hospice.
Hospice.

Hospice | Hospice (Scavenger of Death) Atlanta’s D.I.Y. super producer Graham Tavel (Material Girls, Floral Print, Elysian) teams up with Brannon Greene of Predator and Nag for a synth-punk excursion into the dark recesses of the psyche. Greene is the principle songwriter, and as such, “Alone In My Head,” “Walk the Night,” and “Arcadia” break from his hardcore and post-punk past. With Tavel, the two flesh out a haunted, industrial-grade soundscape that brings a little darkness to your summer soundtrack. — CR

Tiger! Tiger!
Tiger! Tiger!

Tiger! Tiger! | Backing The Wrong Horse (Chicken Ranch Records) Tiger! Tiger!’s newest album offers the vocal attitude and sneakily snarky lyricism that fans love and expect along with a newfound energy and charisma. With production by Jeff Walls and multiple tracks featuring Brann Dailor of Mastodon, the band’s latest provides a gust of the typical Tiger! Tiger! coolness, laced with catchy melodies and a cheeky wall of organ. — AVG 

Hoodrich Pablo.
Hoodrich Pablo.

Hoodrich Pablo Juan | Rich Hood (1017 Eskimo Records) Inspired by other artists in Atlanta’s underground rap scene, Hoodrich began putting his own thoughts to music in 2015. His latest album, Rich Hood, reinstates his place under Gucci Mane’s label with effortless rhyme and sheer charisma. — LG

Neighbor Lady.
Neighbor Lady.

Neighbor Lady | Maybe Later (Friendship Fever) Neighbor Lady’s tangled, organic rock ’n’ roll delivers copious amounts of wisdom, punctuated by occasional bursts of sunlight wrapped up in passionate vocals. Singer Emily Braden’s plain-spoken lyrics and polished hooks meet pastoral, heartland rhythms that leave the listener swimming in waves of nostalgia. — Russell Rockwell

St. Beauty.
St. Beauty.

St. Beauty | Running to the Sun (The Wondaland Arts Society, LLC / EMPIRE) Describing their genre of music as “confetti,” Alexe Belle and Isis Valentino released their first album, Running to the Sun. They cite many 1970s Motown greats as influences on their music, but the pair isn’t afraid to add their own modern hip-hop spin to illuminate each colorful, featherlight note. — LG

Charolastra.
Charolastra.

Charolastra | Passenger (VLSC) Inspired by a trip to Cuba during which producer Peter Roglin immersed himself in the culture without a familiar face in sight, Passenger is as much a concept album as it is an innovative musical statement. Featuring half solo work and half full band recordings, songs such as “No Plans,” “Real People,” and “Reminiscent Alonso” blend ambient, prog, jazz, house, and post rock influences with recordings from Roglin’s journey into a place both harrowing and beautiful. — CR

Indigo Girls.
Indigo Girls.

Indigo Girls | Live With the University Of Colorado Symphony Orchestra (New Rounder - UMG Account) The Indigo Girls revisit, refresh, and revive their catalog with a complex mix of harmony, interlocking lead lines, and lavish backing that creates stirring and unpredictable versions of their intricate songwriting. The creatively restless veteran folk rockers flesh out their hits with frilly, swelling background strings and often percussive horn charts that punctuate and infuse the tunes with fresh life. — Hal Horowitz

Midnight Larks.
Midnight Larks.

Midnight Larks | Midnight Larks (Midnight Larks) This self-titled debut steps boldly onto the glowing frontier of psychedelia and garage rock with a stylish gait, reaching beyond those genres’ sonic limitations. The group ushers in a thick, atmospheric blanket of swirling obsession, paisley melodies, and a bewitching magnetism, and the visceral rock ’n’ roll momentum never fades. — CR

Subsonics.
Subsonics.

Subsonics | Flesh Colored Paint (Slovenly) The group’s eighth full-length, Flesh Colored Paint, summons the kind of simple, powerful rock ’n’ roll that Subsonics’ singer/guitarist Clay Reed has spent a lifetime honing. Subtle vibrato and happy-go-lucky rhythms accent their newest work, expanding beyond the garage-punk, glam, and rock ’n’ roll strut-and-sneer at their foundation. — CR

21 Savage.
21 Savage.

21 Savage | Without Warning (Epic Records) In collaboration with Migos’ Offset and producer Metro Boomin, Without Warning was unleashed last Halloween, an ominous day that parallels their sinister album. 21 Savage’s apathetic vocals complement Offset’s mellowed effervescence, and the haunting sound effects behind them create vivacious beats. — LG

Von Grey.
Von Grey.

Von Grey | TRINITY (Music VG Records, LLC) This tonic triad of sisterhood stews a concoction of vulnerability, fleshed out in raw forms of life, loss, and love. Each song off their EP Trinity is a humble anthem that lures listeners with enchanting melodies layered with sweet echoes of honest emotion and experience. Editor’s note: Annika Von Grey is a CL Music intern. — LG

Flamengo Shadow.
Flamengo Shadow.

Flamingo Shadow | Earth Music (Callosum Collective) The tropical pop-punkers, whose music is reminiscent of new wave dance and post-punk tunes, are set to release their first album, Earth Music, any day now. The pungent wails of lead singer Madeline Adams are kept in forward motion by the jangling of maracas, guitar riffs, and drum pulses. — LG

Mvjor Arcvna.
Mvjor Arcvna.

Mvjor Arcvna (The No One Faction)  Mvjor Arcvna’s Hermit EP combines moody electronic programming with rootsy acoustic guitars and live drums. Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls’ appearance on “Wolf’s Child” is a harbinger of Mvjor Arcvna’s foray into a brooding new musical territory that resists classification. — AVG

Nihilist Cheerleader.
Nihilist Cheerleader.

Nihilist Cheerleader (Perfect Attendance Records) Tracks like “Shark Fin Soup” display a penchant for Kathleen Hanna-esque vocals, slightly disenchanted lyrical content, and a willingness to make a lot of unapologetic noise. Riot, Right? gives listeners a few moments of thoughtful guitar/bass arrangements and drum fills, but is first and foremost a good listen for the release of some serious energy. — AVG

Future/Young Thug.
Future/Young Thug.

Future/Young Thug | Super Slimey (Epic/300/Atlantic Recording Corporation) This 2017 mixtape collaboration highlights the stylistic similarities shared by its two rappers — a relatively relaxed tone, heavy emotionality, and a devotion to Auto-Tune. At times, the collaboration risks becoming monotonous, but tracks like “Patek Water,” featuring Offset (Migos) and Mink Flow are notably strong moments. — AVG 

Material Girls.
Material Girls.

Material Girls (Irrelevant Music) In May, the reigning ringleaders of menacing, glam-tinged goth punk unveiled “Wade Into the Creek,” the first single from their debut full-length, Leather (out July 2 via Irrelevant Music). This time around, the group digs deeper into realms of scathing ambiance perversity and depravity with a saxophone. The Atlanta sextet embraces a thicker, full-bodied sound that opens newer and darker dimensions — more horns, more makeup, more variety in the group’s murky textures. Press play and let the bewitching begin. — CR

Future/Young Thug.
Future/Young Thug.

The Crush | The Crush Singer and guitarist J. Leslie Hedberg maintains the grit and distortion one would expect from a former Luchagors bassist. The Crush’s debut reveals songwriting prowess and meticulous attention to detail, whether in the perfectly tight vocals or the cleverly coordinated riffs between guitarist Eric Wilson, bass player James Arnold, and drummer Dave Gara. Hedberg says that The Crush is the culmination of everything he’s ever done musically, and songs like “Starting To Creep On Me” and “Made” showcase musical maturity while packing a hardy punch. — AVG



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