Storm the Gates of Heaven by Canopy Joc
Canopy Joc mastermind and True Blossom songwriter, Chandler Kelley, contextualizes the singles he’s been doling out in the first half of 2021 with his first full-length release, Storm the Gates of Heaven. The result is, for lack of a better word, vibes. Storm the Gates of Heaven is moody, funky, playful, and can easily usurp your “Lo-fi Beats to Study to” playlist you’ve needed to retire for years.
“Making a Superhero” by Black Bobby
Larry Harris Jr. wears many hats: he’s an activist, ivy league graduate, entrepreneur, political analyst, and podcast host. Harris is also a prolific MC who performs under the moniker Black Bobby. “Making a Superhero” is one-third of The Superhero Pack, a trio of tracks including “Headlock” and “Iller Noise.” Inspired by being “high at the High Museum,” the series is chalked full of Atlanta references and a perfect introduction to Black Bobby’s work, complete with a self-shot music video.
“Rival Minds”/”Thirst” by Mirth of Moon
Mirth of Moon is the brainchild of artist/producer, and Breathers synth master, Jake Thompson. On his double feature release of singles “Rival Minds” and “Thirst,” Thompson skillfully toes the fine line between paying homage and imitation. Self-aware and playful, Mirth of Moon embraces being 70s soft rock-inspired, but exercises expert subtlety and restraint as Thompson croons over sultry, jazzy synths without ever devolving into full yacht rock corniness.
“Too Old to Die Young” by The MLTYS
The MLTYS evoke an all-but-lost memory I have of watching a friend’s attempt of beating “Hangar 18” by Megadeth on expert mode in Guitar Hero 2 as a teen. “Too Old to Die Young” has an imperturbable density that borders on arduous. But, like any good video game, it’s laborious in a way that’s engaging, super fun to play, and ultimately satisfying.
“Forget Me Nots” by Mallbangs
Josh Smith understands the importance of fostering a supportive musical community. In constructing their new project Mallbangs, they’ve enlisted the help of Grouplove members Daniel Gleason and Benjamin Homola, Grace Repasky of local act Lunar Vacation, and Phoebe Bridgers-collaborator Matthew Vore. “Forget Me Nots” has a contemplative sweetness and comfortable nostalgia, with a musical lineage that could be traced back through the twee-er parts of classic 2000s indie rock, and further to 60s baroque pop. “Forget Me Nots” precedes Mallbangs’ first EP, Put Me Out, released on July 2nd.
I Know I’m Funny haha by Faye Webster
Faye Webster has certainly matured on her fourth studio album, I Know I’m Funny haha, but sometimes getting older and becoming jaded naturally come hand in hand. Where 2019’s Atlanta Millionaires Club is wistful, melancholy, and pining, I Know I’m Funny haha is more plainly sad. Fortunately for Webster, with age also comes wisdom. Her songwriting is tighter and more polished, and the 70s easy-listening influence we’ve come to expect from Faye is newly filtered through a 90s Lillith Fair-esque lens.
“Ip Man (Skate)” by Barry’s Dead!
“Ip Man (Skate)” reminds us that Barry’s Dead! is a disciple of rap, baptized in the spirit of Illmatic and The Shining. He’s clearly on a mission: it’s only been two months since Barry’s mixtape The Death Tapes, Vol. 1 dropped; he released the first track from his (actual) band Do You Feel Lucky? in May, and rounded out June with the single “Blacked Out” in addition to “Ip Man (Skate).” It doesn’t look like Barry’s going to stop spreading the good word anytime soon.
Today I Had a Good Conversation by Keron
Today I Had a Good Conversation is Keron’s opportunity to explore and find his footing, but he’s confident in the sounds and conventions in which he’s become interested. Specifically, Keron pulls from the best parts of the transitionary period between late 90s alternative and early 2000s indie. We hear some wise choices: the confessionality of American Football’s 1999 self-titled album, bass lines that would fit into the last two Pavement records, and chord progressions reminiscent of Is This It by The Strokes.
“Shrug” by Lunar Vacation
Lunar Vacation’s “Shrug” is perfectly primed to be swept up in a social media trend in the vein of what TikTok has recently done for Dr. Dog’s “Where’d All the Time Go” and “Swing Lynn” by Harmless. It’s youthful, light-hearted, and ideal for the viral treatment. It would also be excellent timing for Lunar Vacation as they seem to be on the edge of having a watershed moment; they recently signed with Austin label Keeled Scales, and announced they’ll be playing Shaky Knees this Fall.