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22 ATL summer jams for 2016

From Speakerfoxxx and Bosco to Nurse, Lyonnais, and Fantasy Guys, a survey of all the music to keep you moving this summer

EP by Nurse
Nurse | Four-song 7-inch (Scavenger of Death)
Nurse's debut 7-inch pushes the band's already dreary take on hardcore punk down a much darker path. The gut-wrenching riffs and blood-curdling screams of songs such as "The Anchor" and "Blood Breath" defy the sonic limitations facing most hardcore bands. Although the record escaped pressing plant limbo nearly a year after its songs first appeared online, it's still a vital listen that cements Nurse's place among the best and most inventive bands in Atlanta. — Bobby Moore


Lil Yachty | Lil Boat (Lil Boat Sailing Team)
In a style he calls "bubblegum trap," Lil Yachty chronicles the battle between his yin and yang alter egos, Lil Yachty and Lil Boat. Lil Yachty's melodic rhyming is the antidote to Lil Boat's aggressive behavior, which echoes many of Lil Yachty's predecessors in the Atlanta trap scene. Auto-Tuned vocals and catchy beats that sample the "Rugrats" theme song and Finding Nemo create the tender whimsy that sets Lil Yachty apart. If he can take to heart the wisdom of the album's closer, "We Did It (Positivity Song)," Lil Yachty and Lil Boat both have a bright future ahead. — Emily Kinzer


Jeff Crompton | "Tutwiler Depot" b/w "King Oliver in Savannah" 7-inch
A gloriously swinging mélange of baritone, tenor, alto, and soprano saxophones introduces "Tutwiler Depot," which describes in gracefully intertwined phrases the Mississippi train station where W.C. Handy first heard the blues. On the flip side, a buzzing hive of horns with a clarinet stinger distinguishes "King Oliver in Savannah," an impressionistic portrait of the once-heralded leader of the world's finest jazz band. It's all delightfully enthralling, relentlessly boogying music by one of Atlanta's most accomplished player/composers. — Doug DeLoach


Blue Fuzz by Man Up, Yancey
Man Up, Yancey | Blue Fuzz EP (Star Rats Records)
Man Up, Yancey's first official release introduces singer Yancey Ballard as a creative force of nature with a socio-political message. It's a surprisingly polished four-song collection, compiling songs Ballard, now 21, began writing as a disenfranchised teen. Overtly political live set fixtures "Opinion," "Oversensitive," and "Best Friend" showcase Ballard's push for acceptance of minority groups within the rock music scene. The lone curveball on the record is "Limestone," a high-octane rocker that shows off lead guitarist John Pierce's ability to shred. — Bobby Moore


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2 Chainz
COLLEGROVE (Def Jam)
2 Chainz has no problem giving credit where it's due. COLLEGROVE is his thank you letter to Lil Wayne that happens to feature Lil Wayne. The album is like a rap buddy flick where two friends celebrate their common interests (and vices), but on standout cuts "Bounce" and "Blue C-Note," the student (2 Chainz) outshines the teacher (Lil Wayne). — Gavin Godfrey

Grief Relic by Withered
Withered | Grief Relic (Season of the Mist)
Withered has defied genre classification since 2003, taking cues from Swedish and Floridian death metal and Norwegian black metal, without sounding entirely like any of them. The band forges its own path on Grief Relic, the follow-up to 2010's career-defining Dualitas. The drawn-out vocal notes, pummeling blast beats, and fear-inducing riffs in "Husk" and "Withdraw" paint a bleak picture of mere mortals succumbing to the harshness of the human condition. — Bobby Moore


Speakerfoxxx and Bosco | Girls in the Yard (Fools Gold)
Best friends don't always make great music together, but when they do projects like Girls in the Yard take shape. This collaboration showcases Bosco at her vocal best while showing off Speakerfoxxx's songwriting abilities. Girls in the Yard also functions as a re-introduction to upstart producer Mr. 2-17. Whether it's looking for the "Shooter" or riding together in a "Beemer," Speakerfoxxx and Bosco's melding minds give both Girls and boys some much-needed summer jams. — GG


I Hear You by ARBOR LABOR UNION
Arbor Labor Union | I Hear You (Sub Pop)
Feel-good psych rests alongside '90s post-hardcore (think Lungfish) on the Sub Pop debut from Arbor Labor Union, formerly known as Pinecones. "Mr. Birdsong" is an ideal fit for any summer road trip playlist — drive down the interstate with windows cracked and "WOOO!" along with vocalist Bo Orr (Dead in the Dirt). "Hello Transmission" and "Belief'd" rock just as hard, with the swirling repetition of the guitars hitting like acid around a campfire. — Ben Braunstein


Demos by DEATH STUFF
Death Stuff | Demos (Self-released)
The first demo from avant-garde hardcore newcomers Death Stuff (featuring members of Street Violence, Lucy Dreams, and Twin Studies) is a truly depraved mess. It doesn't get much more nihilistic than songs such as "Surf Curse" and "Spook," the latter of which is a suicide note borne out of delusions and hallucinations of grandeur. The band's name, however, shows off a tongue-in-cheek approach to mortality, made poignant by the music's haphazard, sometimes unconventional quality. — BB


Anatomy of the Image by Lyonnais
Lyonnais | Anatomy of the Image (Geographic North)
Lyonnais ends side one of Anatomy of the Image with a cover of British group Section 25's "Friendly Fires." It's a nod to Factory Records' underappreciated minimal dance music counterpart to Joy Division and Durutti Column. It's also a family crest cementing Lyonnais' place within a lineage of bands that flourished in the murky spaces between late '70s post-punk, new wave, and industrial music. Songs such as "Pavilionism," "Pan Am Sun Isles," and "Hyperblues" drift along inside black clouds of stark atmospheres, harkening to an era when pop songcraft was a means of survival. Each song is a stone-cold monument to anxiety and paranoia, demanding patience and a deeper sense of intimacy than what most music asks of listeners. The rewards are boundless. — Chad Radford


Deerhunter | Faded Frontier (4AD)
In 2013, Deerhunter took a harsh detour with Monomania. Fans unfamiliar with the band's pre-Cryptograms days were unprepared for the album's abrasive sound. On Fading Frontier, the band reclaims indie rock hero status. Songs such as "Breaker" and "Living My Life" unfold at a deliberate, sprawling pace that returns to the warm ambience, chiming guitars, and catchy hooks. It's the group's most accessible album to date. — Sean Zearfoss


HIGHS / LOWS by Monkier
Monkier | Highs/Lows (Self-released)
Monkier embodies the style-swapping creativity emanating from fertile Atlanta jam sessions such as Kevin Scott's Tuesday nights at Elliott Street Deli and Pub. The skilled octet features instrumentation fit for a big band with drums, two saxophones, bass, trombone, trumpet, and guitar — all led by the twisting rhymes of leader Zac Evans. Highs/Lows traverses a whirlwind of electronic landscapes, frenzied improvisation, and tight hip-hop grooves. Evans and company continue to push Atlanta's jazz scene forward into new and exciting sounds. — Paul DeMerritt


pageWaking Astronomer by Waking Astronomer
Waking Astronomer | Waking Astronomer (Psych Army)
Fans were distraught when Waking Astronomer announced its recent hiatus. Thankfully, the trio bowed out after a formidable debut release. The self-titled eight-track album coalesces the individual strengths of Brett Andrew, Alexa Lima, and Afua Richardson into an atmospheric whole. "Br'er Rabbit" combines slices of cosmic hip-hop with soothing jazz inflections courtesy of Richardson's smoky voice. With any luck, Waking Astronomer will re-emerge soon. In the meantime, the genre-defying group has left behind a record that demands repeated listens. — PD


WORKING CLASS STREET PUNK LP by Antagonizers ATL
Antagonizers ATL | Working Class Street Punk (Pirates Press)
Antagonizers ATL's debut full-length harkens back to the late '90s — a time when street punks dominated Atlanta's underground. Streetwise ballads "Just My Luck" and "Hold Your Ground" capture the self-reliance and self-respect that have long fueled the music of singer Bohdan Zacharyj (Vibram 94), guitarist Richard Henderson (A.P.A.), drummer Eric Antell (the Breakaways), and bassist Billy Fields (Follow for Now, H.R. of Bad Brains). — Bobby Moore


Book of Colors by Book of Colors
Book of Colors | Book of Colors (Deer Bear Wolf)
A decade in the making, Book of Colors' self-titled debut LP is worth the wait. Led by singer/songwriter Andre Paraguassu, the band has committed to tape 10 sprawling, free-spirited narratives. Layers of acoustic guitars, slide, percussion, strings, flute, grand piano, and more create an intricate patchwork beneath Paraguassu's stream-of-consciousness musings. Album highlights such as "Hologram of Thought," "Silence is Better," and "Oh Your Backwards Smile" could all easily be singles, but Book of Colors has to be taken as a whole to be fully appreciated. — SZ


EarthGang | Strays With Rabies (Spillage Village Records/EMPIRE)
EarthGang's Doctor Dot once told CL that outside onlookers "treat Atlanta like the zoo or circus" in terms of how they view the city's current musical output. Enter Strays With Rabies, a different look at what Atlanta has to offer musically by way of its new dynamic duo, whose sound is more Pharcyde than OutKast. Strays isn't just EarthGang's best work, it's one of the best local hip-hop releases of the last five years. — GG


In Portuguese by Hello Ocho
Hello Ocho | In Portuguese (Self-released)
Hello Ocho's In Portuguese is a confident move for a band that's become a scene veteran after just two albums. Songs such as "Tear Wagon," "Lurky Murky," and "Nail Tractor" traverse wild sonic hills and valleys filled with spooky sounds in the darkness and magnificent highs. The group's push for new sounds is palpable as each song pulls back and snaps on an elastic band of jazz-inspired psychedelic pop. — Billy Mitchell


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Fantasy Guys
On Poppy Island (Self-released)
If your summer involves riding bikes, skating, soaking up sun, kissing on babes, and/or having the best summer of all time, then Fantasy Guys' On Poppy Island is for you. The powers of Nintendo, Gloria Estefan, Cupid's arrows, and fruity drinks with straws combine into one unstoppable surfing beauty. Inyo Galatea provides improbably high falsettos while Mitchell Hardage grooves bass lines that would make a cruise director weep with joy. Couple those with Maddy Davis' '80s drum beats and too-cool-for-school vibraphone, and you get a roller blade-ready dance record that's as kind as a summer breeze. — Billy Mitchell


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The Coathangers
Nosebleed Weekend (Suicide Squeeze)
Atlanta punk vets the Coathangers have delivered once again with their latest LP, Nosebleed Weekend. The simple tune and pop-song lyrics of "Perfume," the album's opener, may surprise longtime fans who know and love the trio for its grit. Songs like "Squeeki Tiki" and "Excuse Me" soon assuage those fears, with scratchy guitar tones executed with their customary gusto. One of their most varied efforts to date, Nosebleed Weekend proves the group is far from slowing down. — EK


Frosted Orange | Frosted Orange (Self-released)
From the ashes — or, in this case, pile of leftover confetti — of Noot 'd Noot rises Frosted Orange. Mathis Hunter and Co.'s debut self-titled record is gritty, quick-paced, and direct. "Nobody Asked" expands upon the funky grooves of Frosted Orange's predecessor's greatest hits, but this album is more of a jazz-fusion effort. On "The Fifth Horseman," Lee Corum's drumming grounds the album as Dr. Kinje's tenor sax leads in "Boudin" show off an unmistakable John Coltrane influence. Whether you come for the funk or for the wicked after-party, Frosted Orange won't disappoint. — SZ



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Little Tybee
Little Tybee (On the Grid Creative)
Little Tybee channels the group's signature musical complexities like never before with its self-titled fourth album. Songs such as "Loaves of Bread," "Don't Quit Your Day Job," and "The Alchemist" carry frontman Brock Scott's adored falsetto and chiming, introspective guitar melodies into a mix of prog-lite chamber pop. Each song fits together like a puzzle piece, forming an endlessly intricate bigger picture look at Little Tybee's balance of worldly inflections and modern indie rock savvy. — SZ


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Omni
Deluxe (Trouble in Mind)
Omni's debut album, Deluxe, took everyone by surprise with its noise-pop precision. The trio features former Carnivores singer and bassist Philip Frobos, drummer and CL music scribe Billy Mitchell, and ex-Balkans singer and guitarist Frankie Broyles. The shared musical chemistry on display in songs such as "Afterlife," "Wire," and "Eyes on the Floor" takes shape as rollicking paranoia wrapped in simple, powerful hooks and distortion — an homage to the early post-punk, power-pop, and minimal dance aesthetics of such late-'70s and early '80s luminaries as Gary Numan, Shoes, Devo, and Orange Juice rendered for the modern world. — CR



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