July’s over, and as it exits, the Olympics enter. August is sweaty, we know, and your ears are going to be full of gold this, and racing stats that. But there’s loads of good stuff coming up too, promise! And, in the spirit of optimism, we’ve compiled a list of the best albums, songs and other delights the last few weeks have given us. Read on to remember what great tunes came out of July, and listen to our Spotify playlist at the end of the page. Don’t forget to let us know your highlights, too, by leaving a comment below.
Dirty Projectors Wigged Out
Hot on the heels of single ‘Gun Has No Trigger’, Dirty Projectors didn’t disappoint with ‘Swing Low Magellan’. The sixth album by the US group, lead by founder Dave Longstreth saw the group ‘at their most puffed-chest proggy yet; their most exquisitely popwise; and, if not quite dancefloor-friendly, their most obvious nod to dance music’. Listen here.
The Killers Brought Their A-Game
After the side-projects that all sounded a bit like the Killers (looking at you, Brandon), the gang finally got back together and released ‘Runaways’, the first taste of upcoming album ‘Battle Born’. On the track, The Killers sounded more, well, Killers-y, than they have since ‘Sam’s Town’. And it’s pretty excellent. Listen here.
Frank Ocean Blindsided Us All
Frank Ocean’s surprise wasn’t his statement about his sexuality- it was the stealth-release of ‘Channel Orange’. Released on iTunes a week early, ‘Channel Orange’ was startlingly original. Smooth r’n’b competed with 8-bit and prog, while Ocean’s seamless vocals tied the whole project together. Sure, there were some niggles (like the John Mayer-featuring ‘White’), but overall Ocean’s talent shone mercilessly through. Listen here.
The XX Opened Up
Taster track ‘Angels’ showed The XX in cuddly form, with Romy crooning ‘I think I’m ready, as long as you’re with me’ above Jamie’s trademark stripped beats. If that’s not enough of an enticement, it was announced that the deluxe edition of their second LP Coexist will be housed in a die-cut gatefold sleeve with a rainbow mirrorboard cover beneath. Fancy. Listen here.
You Voted, We Listened
NME.com users voted for the best tracks of NME’s lifetime. Your choices didn’t disapppoint. Amy Winehouse’s ‘Rehab’ came in at number one, with ‘Mr Brightside’ by the Killers a close second. Listen to the Spotify playlist here.
Plan B Showed Us Ill Manors
From the film, to the soundtrack, Plan B’s ‘Ill Manors’ project was a slap in the face. Though it wasn’t perfect (NME said ‘cherry picking horror stories from an imagined underclass is what Drew accuses the Daily Mail of doing. At times he is no better’), ‘Ill Manors’ was a brave step from a former nation’s sweetheart, earning it 8/10 in the magazine. Listen here.