Goodbye summer, we barely knew thee. As Reading and Leeds bring the curtain down on August in barnstorming style we have to face the fact that Britain’s golden summer of medals and music is over and all we have to look forward to now is the frosty embrace of autumn. Before you know it there’ll be Christmas decorations in the supermarkets and Slade on the radio. Still, at least we got a good month out of it, eh? Here we look back on the tunes that defined August. So much happened that we probably missed something, so let us know your highlights by leaving a comment in the appropriate place.
Muse dabbled in dubstep
After their much-maligned Olympic single, Muse returned properly with ‘Madness’, a track that took the ingredients of dubstep but cooked it up into “slinky, soft rock sex music.” Our review said it was a return to form “propelled by a crisp beat, coloured by a great Matt Bellamy vocal it even packs in a squealing, Brian May-style guitar solo.”
Animal Collective’s ninth LP sees them on startling form. ‘Centipede Hz’ is “schizophrenic; a custard pie of polyrhythms, jarring effects and melodic tangents” and while that makes for a chaotic and confounding, it’s well worth exploring. Check out our review here.
Dan Deacon’s incredible new album ‘America’ splices “Fuck Buttons with Sigur Rós in a state-of-the-union address balanced between hope, despair and an accomplished collision of strings, brass, soaring choirs and beats.” It’s the album he’s been on the verge of making for years, the sound of an artist truly coming of age. Check out our review.
Considered a contender for album of the year in many quarters and surely a solid bet for the Mercury Prize shortlist, Jessie Ware’s debut album ‘Devotion’ looks set to make a pop star of her without her really trying. The record found her smothering “the honeyed slow jams and of Neneh Cherry and SWV across crisp minimal house production from the likes of Julio Bashmore and Sampha.” Review.
Michael Gira’s resurrected “soul-eating New York noise outfit” Swans released a two-hour-long album with help from Karen O, who appears on the hushed ‘Song For A Warrior’. A grand statement of belief from a legendary band.
OK so it turns out the story about Barack Obama being a fan isn’t true, but Two Door are definitely having a moment all the same. In the afterglow of that Olympics opening ceremony performance, their second album ‘Beacon’ is out on Monday, and might just be destined for number one.
The Killers debut ‘Battle Born’ material
Brandon Flowers and the band are back with their fourth studio album after a short hiatus. They played new material at a comeback show at Leeds. Opening with new single ‘Runaways’, the Las Vegas quartet also treated the sold-out crowd to renditions of new songs ‘The Rising Tide’ and ‘Miss Atomic Bomb’ while another track from the new LP, ‘Flesh And Bone’, was aired during their encore. Here’s our track-by-track ‘guide’. It’s out on September 17.
Ahead of the autumn release of their album trilogy ‘¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, ¡Tré!’, the legendary pop-punkers brought Reading festival to a standstill over the weekend (August 25) as they played a surprise set on the NME/Radio 1 Stage. Watch a video of the new song ‘here’. ‘Uno!’ is out on September 24.
Bloc Party returned to show the world they’re still relevant with ‘Four. “At its best it excels with a glut of sensitive pop tunes which, although no substitute for exhilarating, provocative post-punk, prove Bloc Party are still capable of depth,” said our reviewer. Read our verdict in full ‘here’.
Despite not pitching up to his own gig in London recently (not actually unusual) DOOM released, ‘Keys To The Kuffs’, an album that exhibits “excellence as usual”.
Everything Everything have unveiled their comeback single ‘Cough Cough’, click here to ‘listen’. The track is the first to be taken from the Manchester electro-poppers’ second album ‘Arc’, which is due for release on January 14 next year.
Listen to a selection of our favourites below: