Check out some of the best new releases this month including our Lotic, Bodega, Orchards and more.
AOTM – Lotic – Power
Tri Angle Records | 13.07
Visceral and mesmeric, Lotic’s debut full-length release, Power is an opus of warped, staggering, unsettling beauty. Purveying the Berlin-based artist’s essence in corporeal electronic swathes, the record explores multi-faceted notions of power, propelled by a formidable sense of empowerment pulsing throughout.
Opening with a myriad of spine-tingling, echoing chimes and shuddering, sonorous basslines, Lotic marks out their territory from the inception. Whilst the producer’s idiosyncratic, abrasive sonic intensity, that’s earned them acclaim on previous EPs, is present throughout Power, so too is a raw tenderness. And it’s as much in the moments of softness as in the harsh distortions that the record’s potency is projected. On ‘Hunted,’ Lotic confronts perceptions of femininity and masculinity as a queer poc through haunting, hushed vocals chanted over hypnotic, marching rhythms. ‘Distribution of Care’ melds cinematic, orchestral strings with an onslaught of thunderous club-beats, drawing you into an undeniable trance-like state. Elsewhere, ‘Fragility’ offers celestial, twinkling melodies atop mechanical oscillations that call to mind the whirring of insect wings. Imbued with emotive urgency and an authoritative dynamism, Power is an inimitable display of Lotic’s unwavering prowess. Kezia Cochrane
Poisonous Birds – Dirty Water
Be Softly | out now
With our own Jon Kean designating Poisonous Birds as a ‘distinctive sound for 2018,’ this month’s companion release, Dirty Water is an impressive counterpart, complete with brand-new tracks, abstract re-works and enticing remixes. ‘Schwer II’ opens the EP with hypnotic ambient soundscapes, picking up some steady, entrancing drum beats around the halfway point, before fading into the boisterous guitars of lead single, ‘Tangle.’
A handful of electrifying, synth-fuelled remixes later – including that of ‘Tangle,’ ‘Big Water’ and ‘Little Puzzle’ – Dirty Water becomes a perfect representation of the band’s unique sound, fitting together scattered, broken remnants and experimental ideas, and twisting them into something both beautiful and mesmerising. Kelly Ronaldson
Dirty Projectors – Lamp Lit Prose
Domino | 13.07
Throughout its career, Dirty Projectors has remained a tumultuous and progressive outfit, transcending genre definitions. In recent times, its sole constituent, Dave Longstreth, has presented the project as more of a part of his innate personality than a collaborative and inclusive machine. On ninth album, Lamp Lit Prose, this most certainly comes to the fore once again.
Longstreth’s wide-ranging, personal topics aspire to be comprehensive and naturally cohesive. His messages are undoubtedly emotive, yet on the whole his melodies are jarring and forced, overwhelming the record with a contrived nature. Paired with Longstreth’s mawkish perspective, it ruins the sense of authenticity he endeavours to express. Ross Jones
Bass Drum Of Death – Just Business
RED Music – 27.07
Garage rockers, Bass Drum Of Death return with their fourth album, Just Business, this month and it’s very much business as usual for the band. They might have switched up life in the deep south for the New York City grind before penning this album, but not much has changed in the sound department.
Big, messy riffs are hurled around throughout and it’s as easy to get on with as anything else they’ve mustered up so far. It ticks all the boxes for a garage album with attitude, but ultimately just lacks any sense of direction. Bit disappointed to report that our faithful Bass Drum have displayed they’re not willing to take any risks with this album. Rhys Buchanan
Jealous of the Birds – The Moths of What I Want Will Eat Me in My Sleep
Hand in Hive/Canvasback Music | 13.07
There is a certain maturity in the music Naomi Hamilton produces. At nineteen, she released her debut album, establishing a style and reputation which this EP builds on. Her literary background shines, combining poetic imagery with youthful wonderings. It swings between two genres – punkier tracks with distorted vocals are mixed with the rhythmic, downtempo folk ones. Highlights include the echoed riffs of ‘Miss Misanthrope’,f where melodies mirror dreamy lyrics. Darker meaning is hidden behind heavy guitars in ‘Russian Doll.’
‘Trouble In Bohemia’ combines both influences with punky choruses and hazy vocals. For this millennial from Belfast, it is an EP that firmly embeds her status as a talented and thoughtful musician. Eloise Davis
Orchards – Losers/Lovers
Big Scary Monsters | 06.07
Brighton’s Orchards combine the caffeinated rhythms of the math-rock genre with the fizz of indie-pop. Lucy Evers’ vocals feel part Desperate Journalist, part Cardigans in their energetic heavy lightness. Imagine math-rock in its party frock, dancing at the jittery disco, amped on Haribo, cherryade and pickled onion Monster Munch.
The band successfully rejects rejection. If you don’t want them, you don’t deserve them. ‘Luv You 2’ leaves cobwebs behind, ‘Double Vision’ suggests that relationships mar your perception and ‘Darling’ learns to keep its heart out of reach. As the album title reminds us, there’s a fine line between a lover and a loser, a line that is frequently crossed over. Jon Kean
Years & Years | Palo Santo
Polydor | 06.07
Knocking out catchy, synthy, R&B songs is an altruistic gesture for the summer season. Yet Years & Years have gone miles and miles beyond such simple endeavour with Palo Santo. If you’ve seen the trailer on t’Internet, you’ll know that they’ve created a whole ruddy dystopian realm, and if that wasn’t enough, Judi Dench is its queen.
Olly Alexander’s voice is another world in its own right: transportive in its theatricality. The title track has the portentous loom of Sampha’s Progress. ‘Hypnotised’ sounds like the “perfect and blue place” in its lyrics. Opener, ‘Sanctify’ booms and bristles with frisky tension. Creative, cerebral and commercial, this feels like the beginning of something huge. Jon Kean
RVG – A Quality of Mercy
Fat Possum | 06.07
Melbourne’s RVG self-released A Quality of Mercy last year. Now signed to Fat Possum, it’s getting more of the exposure that its conscience-baiting restlessness deserves on its wider re-release. According to Shakespeare, the quality of mercy should not feel strained. RVG are worried that modern-day mercy might have migrated to Mars, along with empathy and perspective.
The title track, from the viewpoint of a death-row convicted smuggler, focuses on a merciless regime. Our damaging carelessness towards others underlies the track ‘Vincent Van Gogh’ and dehumanising computer love in ‘IBM’ reminds us that we don’t give ourselves enough mercy either. It’s Patti Smith meets Echo and the Bunnymen. It’s bonzer. Jon Kean
Bodega – Endless Scroll
What’s Your Rupture? | 06.07
Phone faff now seems as distractedly instinctive to humanity as nose-picking or hair-twiddling. Adult life can become one endless smartphone scroll, where fake news and pictures of cats stupefy. We forget to question the world around us. Consequently, “Everyone is equally a master and a slave,” as Bodega state on ‘How Did This Happen?’
Ben Hozie and Nikki Belfiglio’s vocals spar energetically. Heather Elle’s bass is portentous. The sunnier strum of ‘Charlie’ warms you up, but for a most sombre tale, whereas ‘Jack In Titanic’ ought to kindle a smile. Like a post-punk, krautrock Beastie Boys, these Brooklyn-dwellers should shake you out of any complacency you may be harbouring. Jon Kean
The Ophelias – Almost
Joyful Noise | 13.07
Named after a character pushed over the edge by a psychologically-abusive boyfriend and an endlessly-mansplaining Dad, the quartet is comprised of former ‘token women’ in Cincinnati ‘dude bands.’ You can hear the release and the powerful, collaborative creative spirit that their redefined musical identities bring.
As soon as ‘Fog’ kicks in at the very start, you’re on a baroque-pop/Belly/Breeders bed – the sort of bed you can’t bring yourself to leave. It gets restless at times. ‘General Electric’ reminds us that “Fun always comes at a cost.” Friday 13th? You lucky people. Let the day of superstitious dread turn to super-sumptuous delight with a summery blast of The Ophelias’ debut album. Jon Kean
LYDIA – LIQUOR
Weekday Records | 13.07
While Liquor’s distinctively cheerful pop flirts with dreamy synths and infectious guitar melodies, Arizona trio, Lydia never stray far from their signature style. Following up 2015’s Run Wild, the forthcoming release marks the sixth studio album from the indie-pop mainstays, opening with the uplifting beats of ‘Sunlight’ as it contrasts the unnerving complexity of the song’s lyrics. ‘Let It Cover Me Up’ and ‘Goodside’ mark album highlights, as Leighton Antelman’s haunting piano melodies are woven throughout, while labelmate, Lauren Ruth Ward lends her immaculate vocals for the nostalgic echoes of ‘Red Lights,’ before closing track, ‘Way Out’ takes on an almost ballad-like approach, bringing an emotional end to a heartfelt record. Kelly Ronaldson
Save Face – Merci
Epitaph | 13.07
Championed by Epitaph Records, a label renowned for unearthing future emo-rock heavyweights, New Jersey’s Save Face compound lofty ambitions with a comfortingly traditional approach on debut, Merci. Spearheaded by lead singles, ‘Bad’, an unstoppable two minutes of riotous fury, and ‘Heartache,’ a creeping ballad, the album explores both the emotional and sonic spectrum.
The quartet also produce a satisfying thematic progression across the record, emphasised by the opening title track and the homophonous Mercy, fitting of the grand intentions of the fourteen-track effort. Punctuated by Tyler Povanda’s controlled shrieks, the band successfully capture the nostalgia of early 2000s rock without reducing themselves to a pale imitation. Will Perkins
Deafheaven – Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
ANTI- | 13.07
Sunbather – like it or loathe it – was a watershed moment in experimental metal. Over the course of a single, bittersweet record, Deafheaven defined the conventions of the blackgaze genre, earning seminal status almost overnight. It’s the kind of release which casts a long shadow, and 2015’s New Bermuda couldn’t escape the feeling of a retread.
Comparatively, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love sidesteps the issue with a flourish, as the San Francisco bruisers twist the formula even further. If Sunbather was longing, OCHL is pure love, trading in misty-eyed shoegaze for twinkling alternative and indie. It’s a fine fit, and a worthy evolution of a pioneering sound. Grant Bailey
Jack River – Sugar Mountain
I Oh You | Out now
In the UK, Australia is known primarily for its surf-rock, a perception Jack River, the alter-ego of Holly Rankin, challenges. Hard to pigeonhole, it is a record that offers glimpses of dream-pop, with rock and punk influences. Acclaimed as the souvenir of her youth, it certainly holds some of the dark lyricism and dirgy influences reminiscent of growing up.
‘Her Smile,’ dedicated to her sister who passed away, is an atmospheric example of this. Meanwhile tracks like ‘Ballroom,’ ‘Confess’ and ‘Fools Gold’ are anthemic, catchy and powerful. Ballads like ‘Stardust and Rust’ showcase her voice, with piano chords building alongside echoing drumbeats. Thirteen tracks long and emotive at every turn, it’s a great debut. Eloise Davis