EXPERIMENTAL | PROGRESSIVE ROCK
629 - Dust Storm EP – Star Period Star
Pat Hamilton, Patrick Hussey, Greg Stark, and Dan Sweigert continue their tradition of mind-bending prog that feels like a mechanical lava lamp of sound: swirling, chunky, funky, and fascinatingly strange.
The rhythm guitars are tough, the lead riffs fed through effects that let notes stretch and pop like gum. "629.3" pings between full-charge-ahead drums and wall-of-grit, grunge style guitar, flipping into falling-up-the-stairs piano, and Sweigert's melodic-yet-dissonant vocals. Movements are crisply stacked alongside one another—yet somehow, as it escalates, we're pulled into a centrifuge of sound.
Stream & download:
Get a physical copy: Available on CD with alternative takes and bonus material. Includes unlimited streaming of the EP via Bandcamp's app and high-quality downloads. $5 via bandcamp.
HIP-HOP | RAP | SPOKEN WORD
W0nky - Cunabear
Trippy and riveting, Cunabear's Matty Dass blends hip-hop, experimental, jazz, lyric rap, spoken word poetry, and electronic influences to create a mind-bending record that journeys through mind, body, community, and spirit. As heard on the smooth, jazz-influenced "May The Metaphors Be With You": "It takes King Kong instincts to avoid tripping into black holes/while traversing through negro spirituals of doom and gloom/History pages for the third-eye blind hidden inside a dark room/But I hold my search light steady in the best manner/With a blood-stained banner while my homies riot in the name of love at the local pizza tavern."
What originally began as a soundtrack accompaniment to a manga Dass was writing—a Cowboy Bebop/Cosby Show/ Final Fantasy/Atlantis: The Lost Empire mashup—changed in light of Bill Cosby's arrest, the death of a close friend, and the crash of a computer that halted writing and recording. In that time, the artist found life's important lessons brought to light. The album is dedicated in memory of Susan Allen Bartoletti and released on fledgling label BearTooth Collective.
Stream & download:
Get a physical copy: Order a limited-edition cassette (run of 24), hand-dubbed by Spoke Ashem. The tape arrives with a seashell from Tybee Island, a random Magic: The Gathering card, and an original illustration by Cunabear. Includes unlimited streaming of w0nky via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads. $5 or more via cunabear.com/album/w0nky.
SPOKEN WORD | HIP-HOP
"Twisted America" (produced by Durty Deez) – Valore
On Independence Day, local rapper/spoken word poet Valore dropped a searing call-out of the American political system.
"This shit gets so fucking twisted!" she shrieks over a foreboding trap-style beat created by Atlanta's Durty Deez. Her tone is malicious, infuriated, and unsettling, and tightens up to deliver lines decrying police brutality, checking politicians who skirt the truth, and challenging stigma and capitalistic hunger. Even when she's dismantling the system, though, Valore cuts to the core to find love and power as a creator and artist: "Darling you have so much inside of you/Unleash yourself into the throes of love and desire/Transpire into bliss as you dismiss ignorance/Smile with the sun on your lips/This is happiness this is freedom right here in this moment," she urges.
It's Valore's stylistic versatility—seamlessly vacillating between sultry coos and furious roars, Regina Spektor-style jazz-fueled singing and tenacious spitting—that makes her a fascinating artist to watch.
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NOISE | ELECTRONIC
"Arm Trans Women" - Rainé Rainé
Rainé Rainé performs with House of Gunt, co-facilitates queer safe(r) space and DIY venue QuoLab, writes, creates visual art, performance art, and much more; now, they're making music. While Rainé has created background tracks for performances in the past, they're currently working on a debut EP, Oppressive Heat, to be released, fittingly, at the end of July.
Having obtained a looping station, Rainé's created hypnotic tracks rooted in repetition and lyric, as seen in single "Arm Trans Women." It's immersive and rhythmic, building and swelling until it creates a kind of snowball effect that intensifies with each chant.
"its [sic] hard out there for a femme," "Arm Trans Women" begins, cycling into "its hard out there for an amab femme/arm trans women/no one cares what you did."
Rainé's layered vocals range from conversational, almost observational, to declarative and confrontational as the song progresses.
"I really appreciate noise for the way that the genre can change a lot," the artist shares. "The way the songs have an emphasis on things changing slightly and, by the end of the song, you realize they're very far off from where they started, but you didn't necessarily notice it happening because you were listening."
Whittling ideas down to key phrases and limited verbiage is a creative challenge; Rainé finds the distillation of a chant or repetition of a key phrase that's relevant to one's identity to be inherently empowering. Live, they contextualize and explain the work after a performance (no two are alike), and include descriptions with tracks posted online. Clarity is key.
"['Arm Trans Women'] is me getting overwhelmed about dialogues about pacificity," Rainé explains. "I didn't want to militarize or objectify all trans women to be like, 'You have to have a gun,' but it's rejecting the idea that super-marginalized people don't have a right to act in violence."
Stream & download:
Get a physical copy of Oppressive Heat: Purchase the EP and zine release at Rainé Rainé's EP release party on July 31. Find QuoLab on Facebook for more information.
FOLK | BLUES
Painter and Poet – Painter and Poet
You may remember husband-wife team Anna and William Cusack as Casket Sharp. They've recently changed their project's name to Painter and Poet, a moniker that nods to Anna's visual art skills and William's way with words.
Their six-song debut showcases William's soulfully warm guitar picking and the duo's sharp harmonies. The Texas natives have fused a tone that pays homage to their Stevie Ray Vaughan-style blues roots and the slow-buzz Southern life they've found here in Georgia. There's a twinge of roots influence there, a smidge of folk, but the breezy, gentle sound the Cusacks have created is entirely their own.
Stream & share single "Chasing The Leaves":
Purchase and download the full album: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/painterpoet
ACOUSTIC | EMO
And The Wild, Blue Yander (Acoustic Demo) – Any Otherwise
Any Otherwise has consistently created a sound that lives at the intersection of emo, post-rock, and indie rock. By stripping down for an acoustic demo, the band shows a core of strong songwriting that evokes American Football, Brand New, and Jimmy Eat World. Fingerpicking and vocals warmed up with a touch of reverb may be quite a departure from their full-band show, but that intimacy is refreshing and perfect for the dog days of summer.
Stream and purchase download:
ALTERNATIVE | GRUNGE | PUNK
Edict of Rats – Generation Pill
"Every bridge will burn to ashes when I'm done with these matches," Generation Pill's James Lee sings on "Rat Heaven." The melody evokes childhood chants or nursery rhymes with its simple catchiness, and it's kind of perfect for the demented prickly mess of fuzz and hooky riffs on the band's second album.
The grungy trio blends beefy '90s stylings with folk-punk splash and dark poetic wisdom. Lyrically, Edict of Rats is world-weary and exhausted in experience, but the arrangements speak otherwise, so raw it hurts.
The band releases the album on Wednesday, July 20 at Sulfur Studios. The Lipschitz, Best Behavior, and Today Junior join the bill, with Valore emceeing between sets. Show starts at 7 p.m. $7 gets you admission and a CD of Edict of Rats.
Stream two singles from Edict of Rats: