Welcome to our July “Local Music Singles Roundup,” where we look to our ever-trusty music community to bring in the summer heat!

Local Music Singles Roundup: July 2021

Local Music Reviews

Welcome to our July “Local Music Singles Roundup,” where we look to our ever-trusty music community to bring in the summer heat! This month, we have everything from seething pop bangers (Detzany) to beachy indie rock (Get Born), from summer-angst pop punk (Surrender Rome) to trap that overflows with playful personality (Phobia the Greatest). With eight wonderful tracks like these, what more could a summer playlist need?


Detzany | "don't want you around | Self-ReleasedDetzany
don’t want you around

Self-Released
Street: 03.28
Detzany = SZA + Demi Lovato

Hearing a vocalist capture the delicacy of specific emotion is a metaphysical event. Of course, lyrics have their meaning, but there’s a point when lyrics can’t say everything. This is what Detzany manifests in “don’t want you around.” It’s an R&B-pop single that captures those dating-around days when a woman finds her power. It emits a Beyoncé-esque feel, intimate and energetic at the same time. It’s the powerful story that R&B gave in the ’90s along with the movement-oriented production that’s hot in our decade. In the end, the song premieres a tasteful and unexpected guitar solo, compressed vocals and a beautifully produced descent of sound. –Mary Culbertson

NARC | "Territorial Pissings" | Self-ReleasedNARC
“Territorial Pissings”

Self-Released
Street: 04.05
NARC = Bikini Kill + PUPIL SLICER

For the anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death, powerviolence trio NARC let themselves loose upon Nirvana’s “Territorial Pissings” with a cover that rages with relevancy in the internet era. Plowing into your ear with the help of their defibrillating instrumentation, NARC gives the track’s refrain, “Gotta find a way, find a way, when I’m there / Gotta find a way, a better way, I’d better wait,” a revived ire to duel with the reign of the infographic industrial complex and other tools of social-media slacktivism. NARC’s burst of fury, while even shorter than the original, offers a much needed reminder to tear away the phony aesthetics and virtue signaling of modern social justice and actually give a damn. –Aidan Croft

Slender Dan | "Pay With a Gift" | Self-ReleasedSlender Dan
“Pay With a Gift”

Self-Released
Street: 05.24
Slender Dan = (Mooninite x Matchess) ^ House of Balloons–era The Weeknd

Spreading out like a calm breeze over a sea of chilly synthesizers, Slender Dan’s “Pay With a Gift” tracks in ambiguous, nocturnal beauty. Heather Dickson’s repetitive refrains flirt with distorting autotune, eventually taking on a more blended instrumental role during the slow-burn ecstasy of the song’s chorus. If the verses feel sly and subtle, this climax rushes out like pulling the plug from a bath. “I gave it all I had and now you want to throw it away,” intones the roboticized Dickson, emphasizing the single-syllable punch of each word and gasping for air between utterances. Each new layer of sound bolsters the song’s restrained urgency—the thrill of release without losing zen composure. –Audrey Lockie

Surrender Rome | "Summer Vacation" | Self-ReleasedSurrender Rome
“Summer Vacation”

Self-Released
Street: 05.28
Surrender Rome = Green Day + The Starting Line

Surrender Rome’s debut single, “Summer Vacation,” is reminiscent of early 2000’s pop punk. The lyrics in the first verse are emotive and angsty, speaking to the universal struggles of schoolgoers nationwide: What’s the point of being young / When we can’t have fun / I’m tired of working all day / No more fucking essays.” Although “Summer Vacation” wears its influences on its sleeves, it refreshingly conveys the suffocating nature of school with catchy, sing-a-long hooks. After the world has endured a global pandemic for over a year, “Summer Vacation” takes on a new meaning, propelling us into a summer we all need more than ever. –Andrew Christiansen

Bri Ray | "Tough Love" | NoteWorthy MusicBri Ray
“Tough Love”

NoteWorthy Music
Street: 03.17
Bri Ray = Kehlani’s You Should Be Here era + (SZA x Solange’s “F.U.B.U.”)

We’ve all got exes we wish weren’t a part of our history, so damn if Bri Ray’s “Tough Love” doesn’t speak to me. The slow, sensual beat highlights Ray’s vocal prowess, and when I thought it couldn’t get better, Ray’s lyrics proved me wrong: “Trust me, it’s tiring being alone / I am no longer your home / Don’t say you took me for granted / I already know,” she sings, inspiring righteous anger. Even more poignant is Ray’s refrain, where she sings the single’s strongest line—“Loving you doesn’t mean I am staying here.” “Tough Love” is a song for people who have experienced life and love in all its complexity, and I’m definitely grateful for it. –Alexis Perno

Get Born
“Laguna (feat. Hannah Kynaston)”

Self-Released
Street: 06.21
Get Born = Connan Mockasin + Faye Webster

A saving grace from the tortures of Salt Lake’s soul-melting heatwaves, Get Born’s Mason Feurer has crafted a new track that’s as cool as a cucumber in the sea breeze through its playful drums and drippy guitars. This silky serenade features Hannah Kynaston, whose vocal performance intertwines with Feurer’s in a pairing of soft harmonies that delightfully entangles the ear in a bed of warm beach towels. The track builds toward a soaring guitar solo that’s as dreamy as it is irresistible to groove to. Taking us all along for the most pleasant day of ocean antics, “Laguna” is a surefire soundtrack to your next beach adventure. –Aidan Croft

Phobia the Greatest | "Hate Me Now & Love Me Later" | Self-ReleasedPhobia the Greatest
“Hate Me Now & Love Me Later”

Self-Released
Street: 04.16
Phobia the Greatest = Lil Uzi Vert + Gunna + Lil Boat

The standout title track from Phobia the Greatest’s Hate Me Now & Love Me Later EP possesses all of the artist’s characteristic flair and charm. Producer Damon Vitucci’s beat strips away any fuss into the skeletal basics of rumbling kicks, whipcrack snares and an airy assemblage of synthesizer pads, foregrounding Phobia’s electric personality. The delirious autotune runs, the baby-voice ad-libs that pepper the background, boastful lines like “While you’re over there on the bleachers / I’m number one MVP” and the way the rapper’s closing bars often linger behind the beat like it’s all too easy for her—”Hate Me Now” feel like a revelation of hip-hop playfulness. –Audrey Lockie

Thom Darling | "Evidence" | Self-ReleasedThom Darling
“Evidence”

Self-Released
Street: 04.28
Thom Darling = Milky Chance + Modest Mouse

I’m a sucker for a solid bassline, and Thom Darling made me a sucker with “Evidence.” Taking on the topic of injustice, Darling harnesses this bassline for a darker edge while maintaining a funky vibe. “Evidence” is deceptive this way: Superficially, it’s an upbeat, indie-pop track you want to dance to: listening deeper, Darling sings about corruption in the court system: “We took a / Good hard look at that evidence / Sure seems things ain’t in your favor,” they sing satirically. Hearing all the phrases that attempt to justify injustice is fuel on the fire, elevating the track’s energy. “Evidence” will make you want to take on the world and dance while you’re doing it. –Marina McTee