Street Gnar, for those unfamiliar, is a recording project of Case Mahan, a Kentucky native who’s been vacillating between the very different worlds of Lexington and Brooklyn for some time now. Almost paradoxically, Mahan’s newest tape, Blue Healer, which was recorded in Lexington and Atlanta, is arguably more “Brooklyn” than anything he’s thus far produced. While there’s a few signs of Street Gnar’s Appalachian roots in the new tape—a little bit of a twangy guitar on the album’s first track “Dream (It’ll All Work Out)”, the drawl that most of the lyrics are sung in—Blue Healer is at its core all about synths, crisp drum machines, and dreamy, distorted vocals. The effect is definitely one that makes you feel more like you’re in a chic area of Brooklyn than the Blue Ridge Mountains.
That being said, there’s still a little bit of everything on this tape: dancier songs like “Radio” along with the more ambient, experimental tracks like “Sundowner” usually follow on after the other. In this way, Blue Healer sets up a cool dichotomy that has you rocking out and moving your hips one moment, and breathing in smooth synth sections the next. The common thread that ties everything together, however, is a well orchestrated approach with a particular focus on each song’s shimmering lead.
Blue Healer is available now on River Girls records, and you can stream the album in its entirety below: