Photo Credit: Ben Searles
If you’re seeking a soundtrack for summer 2016’s front-porch throwdowns and late-night pool runs, look no further than Jianna Justice. The 20-year-old Athens singer-songwriter crafts earnest, impossibly charming music permanently situated in those few fleeting moments between youth and adulthood, complete with all the joy and chaos that transition entails. Justice became a fast Flagpole favorite with 2015’s stylishly lo-fi Party Songs and Penny Lame EPs; the recently released “Twenty,” an emotional gut-punch of a song that introduces a shinier, full-band version of her wistful folk-pop, suggests even better things to come.
In honor of the season’s change, and ahead of her show at Caledonia Wednesday, we invited Justice to curate a mixtape of her favorite warm-weather jams. “I don’t know if this playlist makes sense in any conventional way,” she says. “Instead, it taps into my personal summer memories: long drives with the windows down, nights spent on porches lit with street lights, walking back from Go Bar down an empty Prince Avenue, early mornings at Ideal Bagel, swimming in pools that you don’t belong to. It is at times quiet, yet very much alive.”
So, find yourself a body of water—even a kiddie pool will do—pop the top on a can of something and dig in. [Gabe Vodicka]
1. Nana Grizol: “Tambourine-N-Thyme”
“Summer in my town is nice/ My front porch is my paradise.” One of my first Athens-music memories is seeing Nana Grizol at Orange Twin in the light heat of a summer night with glimmering lights covering the stage. There was a certain reverence to it all, and they quickly became the single most influential artist to my personal writing. Love It Love It, their first full album, is summer in Athens, and I usually have this album on repeat during the months of June and July.
2. Frank Ocean: “Sweet Life”
“Palm trees and pools/ The water’s blue, swallow the pill/ Keepin’ it surreal.” Channel Orange is one of the few albums I always keep in my car (CD No. 6, I believe!). “Sweet Life” is a lighter track that is perfect for car rides. I have so many memories of my best friend Emily singing this track at the top of her lungs while we drove to grab late-night McFlurries.
3. Beat Happening: “Indian Summer”
Calvin Johnson’s lazy vocals over a pounding kick drum embody a certain longing and nostalgia embedded in summer heat. It taps into the slowness of a July day and of a childhood slowly slipping away: “We will never change/ No matter what they say.”
4. Frankie Cosmos: “Fool”
Frankie Cosmos is bright and refreshed. Her new album, Next Thing, is a little bitter in a still redeeming way. The third track, “Fool,” is about waiting on someone and feeling, well, foolish. It’s light, relatable, yet still serious. You’ll find yourself humming this for days after.
5. The Stranglers: “Golden Brown”
This is one of those bizarre little songs I used to put on every mix CD for boys I liked in high school. The harpsichord is camp, and it has a shimmery '70s sunshine thing going on that reminds me of watching Harold and Maude at summer sleepovers.
6. The Beach Boys: “Cool, Cool Water”
What is a summer playlist without the Beach Boys? The drummer in my band, Jonny Williams, introduced me to this lesser-known track off of Sunflower. It is pool days, it is cool nights, it is everything you want from a Beach Boys track and more.
7. Erykah Badu: “Danger”
Erykah Badu is a badass, and everything she touches turns to gold. This track is no exception. It’s the perfect soundtrack to a vibrant summer night, going out with your closest friends and coming back way too late. I’d recommend listening to the entirety of Worldwide Underground.
8. of Montreal: “Drachnids”
I stumbled upon this early of Montreal track a few years ago after seeing them play at a summer jazz fest in Montreal. I can’t put my finger on what I adore about this track, but maybe the magic is in its simplicity. It exists outside of the bizarre world usually associated with of Montreal and instead feels poignant and sweet.
9. Brothers: “Aline”
Without a doubt, Ryan Gray Moore is one of the most brilliant artists in town. We had the pleasure of playing a solo show together at The World Famous, and I haven’t been able to stop listening to his tracks since. This song is understated and stunning.
10. Daniel Johnston: “True Love Will Find You in the End”
Summer is a time for love. Daniel Johnston finds the fragility in this moment and captures what it feels like to love and long all at once. This song is near-perfect in my eyes. “Don’t be sad, I know you will, but don’t give up until/ True love will find you in the end.”
SCOOTERBABE Scrappy, jangly local noise-pop/emo group.
FREE CAKE FOR EVERY CREATURE Female-fronted lo-fi pop group from Philadelphia.
JIANNA JUSTICE Athens-based lo-fi indie-folk project. Formerly known as Gal Pal and Penny Lame. See story on p. 12.
BROTHER MARY Producer Ivano Milo of Downer plays "vacuous Muzak."