Mattiel LP

“Whites of Their Eyes”

In her breakout year, Mattiel delivered (and then some!) on the many promises of her early singles and demos. Her eponymous Burger Records debut was confident and assured, turning hard-charging garage rock and sixties soul into riotous anthems that sound as if they’ve existed forever. Lead cut, “Whites of Their Eyes,” is as badass and boisterous as they come, a gritty lo-fi stomper with vicious fuzz. – LA & GC

Michael Aristotle - Toni
Michael Aristotle
“Dapper Dan”

Born in Brooklyn and raised in a Belizean household, Michael Aristotle maintains a breezy urban vibe that’s perfect for turning up in the club or kicking back with your homies. Produced by partner-in-rhyme Wili Hendrixs, “Dapper Dan” traces the rapper’s roots and outlines his struggles, while still outlining a positive vision for his future and the success he’s already created for himself. – AS

Midnight Larks - Gunfighter
Midnight Larks

Even though traditional Westerns have more or less kicked the bucket, Midnight Larks kinda resemble the gunfighters of yore. They’re mysterious—prior to “Gunfighter,” the only traces of their psychobilly stomp and garage-psych showdowns exist as live recordings on YouTube, including a more rough-and-tumble version of this single from two years back. They’re deadly—dig how the sultry surfy chant rockets into a manic shoot-out here (and this is just their tamest cut!). Most importantly, though, they’re the kind of unsung heroes that should keep you glued to your TV set, because at long last a Midnight Larks album is in the works. Time will tell if the trio can wrangle all of their explosive live set into the studio, but they’re definitely on the right track. – LA

Moon Diagrams - Lifetime of Love
Moon Diagrams
“End of Heartache”

Out of all the side projects from Deerhunter members, Archuleta’s Moon Diagrams is perhaps the most mysterious. When Geographic North released his 2015 EP, Care Package, it was overshadowed by Deerhunter’s “comeback” album Fading Frontier. Yet, for all those paying close attention, the record was a thorough exploration of minimalist techno. “End of Heartache” reveals that even when Archuleta doesn’t stray to the experimental fringes of pop, his songwriting is no less ambitious. The track was written in a period when Archuleta was processing the collapse of his marriage and writing in self-imposed seclusion. Serene chords balance flighty samples, and the celestial result keeps the darker emotional trappings from sinking the track altogether.

It’s easy to hear the glitzy echoes of the time Archuleta spent touring with Ariel Pink within the sultry pacing of the track, but amidst the glamour there’s a detail-oriented introspection which clarifies his aeonian vision. It’s this persistent devotion to Lifetime of Love over the past decade which gives “End of Heartache” the enchanting authenticity most pop tracks never achieve. – RR

MonteQarlo - Melt

Dancing is life. You ask me what I think of MonteQarlo’s “Melt” and I will answer with the sequence of moves drifting through my head as I type this. It’s not a rump shaker, per se—we’re in that French mode of ultra suave, butter-slick house music better suited to long catwalk strides and slow body-rocking. Those with flexible backbones might try arching backwards in eight counts; those with solid knees might consider a careful crabwalk across the floor. Whatever your style, roll with it—cos trust me, dancing in public is one of greatest highs on this Earth, as MonteQarlo can likely attest. Practice yr moves with this number, so when you finally see them live (as you should), you’ll know just how to flaunt ’em. – LA

Mutual Jerk
Mutual Jerk
“He’s Harmless”

In the Atlanta punk scene, social commentary often takes a back seat to political angst and nihilistic rambling, but Mutual Jerk’s single “He’s Harmless” takes on an issue often swept under the rug by DIY communities. The problem of victim-shaming and rape/abuse apologists has plagued local music scenes for far too long, often with white boys getting a pass at the expense of the community. Tyler Roberts’ impassioned lyrics are snarky as usual, but on the new track they’re grounded in an awareness of how deeply this infection is rooted in Atlanta. Mutual Jerk’s deconstruction of hardcore might have roots in Saccharine Trust, but their willingness to take on a critical issue rather than direct their energy against the same tired targets punks have railed against for years is as refreshing as it is necessary. – RR

Nag - Chunklet
“False Anxiety”

The title of Nag’s new single might be “False Anxiety,” but the constant clatter of Ryan Fetter’s drumming and Brannon Greene’s machine gun vocals will disquiet even the most seasoned punks. The track grinds to a halt before it’s possible to sort chorus from verse, leaving the listener hanging from the jagged guitars and staring into a threatening abyss. The combination of skin-crawling melodies with mosh-ready rhythms has become a seemingly effortless formula for the trio whose bleak outlook echoes every waking hour of 2017. – RR

Nihilist Cheerleader - & She Takes It
Nihilist Cheerleader
“& She Takes It”

For a band that trades in sweaty dance punk anthems and speedy Riot Grrrl screeds, Nihilist Cheerleader have never been short on energy or fighting spirit, but “& She Takes It” might be the band’s most ecstatic moment yet. Guitarist and vocalist Flynne Collins delivers an emphatic performance, cooly maintaining her grit and composure, even as guitars flare, simmer, and burn all around her. But as the track hurtles headlong towards its fiery conclusion, she finally unleashes her anger and resentment in a vigorous display of defiance and female empowerment. – GC

Omni - Multi-task

It’s easy to understand how Omni continually get Devo comparisons, but even though the trio are well-versed in the art of detailed, mechanical pop, their music has never sounded quite as robotic as one might assume from the reviews. Nowhere is this truer than their on “Equestrian.” The song sizzles and bounces like oil in a pan, relying on warm, ecstatic rhythms rather than cold, plasticized repetition. While the track delivered more of the same detailed design as their debut LP, there’s a bit of soulful swagger lurking beneath the meticulous structure that imbues it with exultant energy. – RR

Pallas - 12"
“Render (Location 13)”

If any Atlanta band has embraced the art of leaving listeners wanting more, it’s Pallas. The local art punks attack in noisy, jagged screeds that come and go in quick ecstatic bursts. “Render,” the lead single from the group’s forthcoming self-titled debut, is essentially 74 seconds of off-kilter guitar eruptions and fractured grooves that somehow never feel forced or laborious. Hooks here are in short supply; instead vocalist Danielle Brutto peppers the track with earnest yelps and sneers while the band thrashes and flails all around her. – RR

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