Sure, you’ve heard Tame Impala’s surprisingly dancey new one. Sleaford Mods’ gnarly latest. Albert Hammond Jr’s new solo effort and album number four from the Maccabees. But what about the low key July releases that might have slipped you by?
Sea Of Bees – Build A Boat To The Sun: Julie Ann Bee – aka Sacramento folkie Sea Of Bees – brought a break up to life with warmth and honesty on her last album, 2012’s ‘Orangefarben’. On its successor, those qualities are still richly evident. The emotions might not be quite as strong on this record but Sea Of Bees still manages to wrap you up in her words.
Best Friends – Hot. Reckless. Totally Insane: Sheffield slackers Best Friends’ debut has been a long time coming. Singles ‘Happy Anniversary’ and ‘Nosebleeds’, released in 2013, still sound raucously catchy alongside newer cuts like ‘Shred Til You’re Dead’. These tracks are standard Best Friends – upbeat garage pop full of scraggy guitar melodies and fuzzed-out power chords.
Fraser A Gorman – Slow Gum: “I’ve got no soul/Cos country music to me sounds like rock’n’roll,” admits Fraser A Gorman on ‘Broken Hands’. On his debut album ‘Slow Gum’, the singer-songwriter and part-time carpenter shows that, like the country luminaries he idolises, the 24-year-old Melbourne resident has a knack for vivid storytelling.
White Reaper – White Reaper Does It Again: The first track on White Reaper’s debut album is called ‘Make Me Wanna Die’, but the Kentucky quartet are far from maudlin. Instead, ‘White Reaper Does It Again’ is crammed full of punchy punk chaos, all feral and fuzzy and euphoric. White Reaper’s modus operandi is simple, unruly and riotously fun.
Frankie & The Heartstrings – Decency: Frankie & The Heartstrings have become a Sunderland supergroup of sorts, with The Futureheads’ Ross Millard joining their ranks alongside Hookworms’ MJ on production duties. This reshuffle adds bite to the band’s Orange Juice-inflected jangle.
Ratatat – Magnifique: Brooklyn instrumental duo Ratatat have spent four years recording the follow up to 2010’s ‘LP 4’, and the result cycles through disco, yacht rock and Van-Halen-gone-chillwave-synth-metal.
Samantha Crain – Under Branch & Thorn & Tree: When you learn that Samantha Crain is of Choctaw Indian heritage, a certain symmetry rears up. Bobbie Gentry sang about Choctaw Ridge on 1967 classic ‘Ode To Billie Joe’ and Crain shares Gentry’s haunting voice and way with a story. This is intimate country-folk that’s utterly seductive in its stillness.
De Lux – Generation: Last year, LA duo De Lux released their debut album ‘Voyage’, a glistening mash of post-punk, funk and disco. Its follow-up is darker but just as much fun. ‘When Your Life Feels Like A Loss’ has Guerin crooning “You’re not special/You’re just an average guy” but even that sentiment can’t dim De Lux’s sparkle.
Gwenno – Y Dydd Olaf: Inspired by and named after a 1976 sci-fi novel about a robot uprising, this is a revolutionary feminist concept album full of righteous political ire – sung almost entirely in Welsh by ex-Pipettes singer Gwenno Saunders.
Evvol – Eternalism: Dubliner Julie Chance, Sydney native Jon Dark and French drummer Valentin Plessy have been creating darkwave electropop since 2010, previously as Kool Thing and, since the beginning of this year, as Evvol. Under that moniker comes the refreshing sound of ‘Eternalism’, combining Krautrock melodies with ’80s synth-pop.
Strange Wilds – Subjective Concepts: Pronoia is the opposite of paranoia, essentially the happy delusion that there is a conspiracy that exists to help people. It’s also the name of the hellish four-minute blast of noise that’s the best song on the debut album by Seattle trio Strange Wilds. ‘Subjective Concepts’ sounds like it was raised on ‘Bleach’-era Nirvana.
Vinyl Williams – Into: Visual artist and video director Vinyl Williams’ music bridges bedroom chillwave and multimedia art. Second album ‘Into’ is a rich mix of glowing electronics and hazy vocals underpinned by soft basslines and shuffling rhythms.
Field Music – Music For Drifters: This specially commissioned instrumental album places Field Music’s unique brand of realist art-pop in a whole new context. As an instrumental score, fans may miss the clever kitchen sink turns of phrase that have populated Field Music lyrics since 2005’s self-titled debut, but ‘Music For Drifters’ breaks down the band’s distinctive sound to its raw DNA.