Look, we know we throw a lot of new music at you. We also know that not everyone who comes to this site has the time to be as involved with or informed about the local scene as maybe they’d like to be. So for those casual readers who either can’t or have no interest in keeping up with the parade of artists we try to cover, who may not know the difference between Bitter and Biters, we have created our TRIPLE THREAT feature. The premise is simple: every Friday our writers will put their heads together and come up with three tracks that grabbed our attention over that week. Then we tell you why the songs are great and worth listening to. That’s it. Maybe some weeks we’ll have a guest commentator come in and share their favorites, but the format will always remain the same: three songs, some words, and we out. Enjoy.
CLAVVS – “Electric Feel” (MGMT Cover)
From the standalone single
The mere fact that someone penned a cover for “Electric Feel” stings like a wake-up slap. When were those guys last relevant, again? How long ago were those days in pep band, when this would blare from the gymnasium speakers, and I had to force my keyster DOWN so I wouldn’t sashay all over the stands? When did I first gather the nerve to dance, before all those mirrors in my parents’ basement? When did I first feel like a woman?
So, to say the least, I was wary. However, once CLAVVS step to the plate with that glacial snap, any initial sting or doubt melts like cool, cool ice on yr hot, hot back. Fans of the trippy duo already know what enchantments Graham Marsh and Amber Reneé can cast upon the average pop song, and here that wizardry thrusts a kinky disco throwback straight into the modern R&B oasis where CLAVVS hold court. Mind, I can’t dance to it, but that’s beside the point — both producer and singer capture that steam, that encouragement to tap into one’s inner sexuality, with more conviction and more genuine mmmm than MGMT could ever conjure. That perky soft rock guitar thing? Those little muted trumpets that peek in like the smoothest jazz mo-fo? That rock-solid synth oscillation? Yes, and yes, and yes. But of course, Reneé might be the most enabling force of all (ergo, the steamiest), as our divine yet oh-so-earthbound guide bows to and basks in enlightenment all at once. Honestly, she makes me wish that CLAVVS existed much earlier, because bless MGMT, but why did young women like me begin to explore their own bodies to the music of other men? – Lee Adcock
CLAVVS will perform on Sat., July 8 on the Rooftop at the Georgia Theatre. Doors open at 9:30 p.m. Admission is FREE. 21+ to enter.
Small Reactions – “Sessions Street”
From the upcoming LP, RXN_002
Small Reactions have been intrinsic to the Atlanta music scene for nearly a decade, but until the release of Similar Phantoms a few years ago, their output had been mixed and sporadic. Not only did that 2014 LP help define what the band meant by “nerve pop,” it cemented the group’s status as a key link between the growing crop of post-punk bands in the city and the old guard of ’90s inspired noisy pop groups. Their newest track picks up where Similar Phantoms left off, as the band prepares to release their second LP RXN_002 later this summer. “Sessions Street” balances repetition with energetic blasts of discordant pop, but the overall presence of the track is amplified by the band’s Deerhunter-esque precision. – Russell Rockwell
RXN_002 is out August 4 on vinyl and CD, as well as cassette and digital via Bear Kids Recordings. Pre-orders are available here.
Small Reactions will perform on Sun., June 25 at Park Tavern in support of Surfer Blood and Winter. Doors open at 7 p.m. Admission is FREE.
Jarrod Milton – “Sage”
From the standalone single
Quiet bedroom pop normally isn’t my thing, but Atlanta crooner Jarrod Milton has such a deep instinct for building moody tension and atmosphere that it’s hard not to get pulled into his muted, pensive universe. I suppose some of the credit for his beguiling body of work should go to producer Oliver Blue, whose steady, understated production helped Milton’s debut LP achieve a cohesive unity that was wholly immersive and fully realized. On “Sage,” the duo combine forces once again, offering up a stark, gut-wrenching track that lingers over the tiny agonies and messy details of broken romance. It’s a haunting yet beautiful effort, confidently delivered by an artist who’s quietly emerging as one of the city’s most engaging songwriters. – Avery Shepherd