Flamingo Shadow - Riding on the Wind
Flamingo Shadow
“Riding on the Wind”

There’s an ecstatic quality about “Riding on the Wind,” a feeling of emotional uplift that resonates beyond the song’s exuberant indie pop thrust. Written as a pick-me-up for a friend experiencing a difficult break up, the track serves as a kind of rallying cry for shrugging off fear and doubt and living fearlessly in the moment. As themes go, it may be a bit old hat, but the Flamingo Shadow’s energy is so irrepressible, their hooks so damn anthemic, that you can’t help but to cheer them on. – GC

Four Eyes - Everyone I Know (Will Die)
Four Eyes
“Everyone I Know (Will Die)”

Erin Lovett’s solo project has always maintained an Elliott Smith-like predilection towards airing existential laundry, and here the Athens songstress explores themes of fear and uncertainty in the face of an unknown future that will eventually swallow us all. It’s not all gloom and doom, however, because beyond the dark, pensive lyrics lies a gorgeous folk ballad rich in alluring melodies and stunning harmonies. – GC

Glare - EP
“Cult of Culture”

On their debut single, Atlanta’s Glare stick to post-punk orthodoxy while twisting their penchant for the morose into a three-minute slab of ferocity. The thunderous track invokes the smog-covered alleys and dingy clubs of late ‘70s London, but the band focuses the energy of “Cult of Culture” by deconstructing modern pop sensibilities and embracing latent punk aggression.

Vocalist and guitarist Rachel Pagillo delivers each line with all the confidence of Siouxsie Sioux. She cleverly toys with dynamics, swaggering over a pounding bassline with a vibrancy occasionally lost in the band’s guitar-laden live performances. Given its title and dark, brooding aesthetic, “Cult of Culture” may seem like a pastiche of early post-punk. But though the band has an obvious knack for distilling a wide range of influences into a single, they never resort to anything as predictable as Joy Division hero worship. The end result is both energetic and unsettling. – RR

Goldyard - Fuck Culture III
“MXE” (ft. Young Lyxx & Jarren Benton)

Goldyard are no strangers to crafting trunk-rattling anthems, and “MXE” can be counted among the group’s best bangers. Featuring production from Flick James, the track finds A.T. and In-Doe slinging their urban grime at peak capacity, ably supported by guests Young Lyxx and Jarren Benton. Personally, I found Fuck Culture 3 to be a hit or miss affair, but “MXE” has Goldyard firing on all cylinders. – AS

MOEKE Records - Summer Singles 2017
Harlot Party
“I Miss You”

Guys. I’ve tried to write this intro for three hours, to glorify Athens’ wondrous web-weavers Harlot Party, and each of my drafts echoes back to me false. What greater movement of quiet power, what wider picture of moving pictures, what pride in validation can encompass the butterfly metamorphosis in this single? Those arcs exist, but they overshadow the kindled flame in the sculpture at hand, the dynamic drums in the bloodstream of “I Miss You.” Rather than obscuring KyKy Knight’s raw emotions, these undulations mesh like veins with the delicate guitars, so that her simple pangs of loneliness surge into overwhelming loss. It’s the same symbiotic dissonance that made Mothers so compelling, yet even more seamless here because there’s no extra drama attached—instead of their slow burn, “I Miss You” soars swiftly by, enough to leave spectators (like myself) dizzy and breathless. – LA

Jay Americana - Pop Song
Jay Americana
“Pop Song”

I’m not sure what caused Jay Douglas to switch monikers from NEWMONEY to Jay Americana, but I will say the resulting evolution has led to music that’s less measured and more ecstatic. Although the rapper’s debut LP, Pageant, isn’t scheduled to surface until December 31, “Pop Song” provides and emphatic introduction to Douglas’ revamped sound and mindset. Over obliviousjake’s buoyant production, Jay Americana winds and weaves their suddenly dextrous flow, resulting in a cunning banger you’ll want to stream again and again. – AS

Kenny Mason - 4Real
Kenny Mason

Depending on its usage, “realness” can be a state of mind or one of being—an intrinsic quality or something earned and inevitably declared. There’s a mellowness to Kenny Mason’s approach here, or more so a confidence and ease to the way his rhymes seek out and find their targets. It’s blend of bouncing braggadocio (“Don’t want to sell out, but I want to sell out the Dome”) and cunning consciousness (“Shoutout to my niggas for buying me plates ‘cause I won’t slave for hourly wages”) that constantly loop around each other and catch you off-guard. Or as Method Man would say, “he’s on some now you see me, now you don’t.” But perhaps the track’s most endearing quality is how genuine it feels, how comfortable Mason sounds in his own skin. That mix of honesty and conviction is impressive in its own right, but when you combine with Mason’s steady focus and clever wordplay, the results are positively potent. – AS

Lingua Franca EP
Linqua Franqa
“The Con & the Can”

In an album of real talk and tough truths, “The Con and the Can” offers problems and solutions. When Mariah Parker chants “Next week is gonna beat the rest of them,” she pins a mantra on the wall for both the listener and herself: before anyone can talk about “fixing the system,” they need to check themselves first. Of course, because we’re talking about Linqua Franqa here, this ode to self-help goes down smooth with the low down bass and tight beat. – LA

Lois Righteous - RUDE EP
Lois Righteous
“Kill Your Masters”

The scrappy energy of Lois Righteous‘ debut single “Kill Your Masters” proves that the trio have more to offer than a clever name. The band, who snatched their moniker from the queen of Atlanta radio, WABE’s Lois Reitzes, disguise serious political furor in a mix of classic lo-fi punk. Though they self-describe as a Riot Grrrl band, the track feels more like a ‘60s garage deep cut, especially with the primal stomp that wouldn’t seem out of place on a Pebbles compilation. The call and response vocals are bound to invoke Coathangers references, but don’t be surprised if the band’s sound develops on upcoming releases to better suit their razor sharp social commentary. – RR

LONER - In the Tides of Time

It’s hard not to rely on plant metaphors when considering the lush choreography of LONER’s “Bioluminescent,” but references to organic textures and slowly blooming melodies can only do so much for a track which is rooted (oops) in cosmic mystery and spiritual longing. The atmospheric funk which powers the song is reminiscent of Herbie Hancock’s work with Kimiko Kasai, though “Bioluminescent” owes its sounds to a more typical collection of lounge instruments rather than mountains of synthesizers. – RR

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