Read about our 5 favourite new music releases for the month of July, plus an old favourite from 2016. Listen to the tracks at the end of the post or download these songs this month…
Let’s Eat Grandma
Song: It’s Not Just Me
From album: I’m All Ears
A pop band formed by two British teenage girls who are childhood best friends and with a name like Let’s Eat Grandma might not sound terribly enticing. Wait, don’t run away…10+ minute song suites and instrumental interludes are probably not what you’d expect to hear. I’m All Ears is already their 2nd album despite them being only 19 – their acclaimed debut came out when they were only 16! This time around they have cleaned up the production values and the result is both totally unexpected and amazing. The instrumentation is sophisticated, mature and thoroughly modern. The only hint at the tender age of the band’s two protagonists, Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth, comes via their harmonised vocals. Understandably, their tone at times lean towards the sound of Saturday-night teenage radio-singalong. Second single It’s Not Just Me is one of the shorter pieces on the album. The track is co-produced by Faris Badwan (of the Horrors) and SOPHIE, and is where the early blush of love meets crushing reality to brilliant effect.
(Also download from the album: Falling Into Me, Ava, I Will Be Waiting)
Song: Life On Earth
From album: Wildness
There are certain bands who critics love to bash, mostly because they’re crap. But sometimes it’s simply because they’re too well loved, super-melodic or overly sappy. And so it is with Snow Patrol, who possess large doses of all three of these. Therefore, even when they produce something truly great, it gets universally panned. Six years in the making, Wildness is a high watermark for the band. On a par with their breakthrough album The Final Straw, the one that actually did receive high praise. Go figure. Lead man Gary Lightbody has had a bit of a tough time of it of late. Battling alcoholism, working through his father’s dementia, various failed relationships. Little wonder then that the lyrical themes are a tad darker than before. While Lightbody has a knack for lyrics concerning matters of the heart, when he tries to branch beyond, he often flounders. Still, it’s difficult to argue with the refrain of: “it shouldn’t need to be so f**king hard, this life on earth” found in the chorus of the album’s opening track. Stadium-ready widescreen rock music at its best.
(Also download from the album: A Dark Switch, A Youth Written In Fire, What If This Is All The Love You Ever Get?)
Song: Broke My Own
From album: Shannon In Nashville
The American songbook is probably the most diverse of that of any country. The melting pot of cultures that is the USA has given us a broad palette of gifts, ranging from jazz to hip-hop, blues to rock ‘n roll. The sound of the 1950’s is now back on the radar. Shannon Shaw heads up Shannon And The Clams, a band hailing out of California that has produced a couple of records ploughing the Broadway-meets-torch-singer-meets-country vibe. They caught the ear of Dan Auerbach of Black Keys fame, who has ironed out the rough spots as producer for Shaw’s solo debut. He has wisely pushed Shaw’s stunning, powerful voice to the front of the mix. Her larger-than-life persona comes through on these tales of relationship’s greatest disappointments. No more so than on Broke My Own where she turns her anger inwards, finding self-blame for her own broken heart. Retro is the new future.
(Also download from the album: Bring Her The Mirror, Goodbye Summer, Freddies ‘n Teddies)
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
Song: Talking Straight
From album: Hope Downs
After 2 brilliant EPs, Melbourne Australia’s Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have now released their debut full-length album. Hope Downs is at-once totally at-odds with current trends and bang on with the current zeitgeist. With a musical palette that continues a long run of great angular rock bands from Down Under (think Hunters & Collectors or early Midnight Oil), their stock-in-trade is shout-spoken lyrics over old school guitar band backing. There are shades of modern classic sounds such as the duelling guitars made current by bands like Real Estate. But it’s in the lyrical tone where they’re firmly of the now. Spot-on reflections on the growing fortunes and culture gap between the lower and middle classes. This is 70s punk repurposed for the current decade. Lead single Talking Straight has the bounce and melody of early R.E.M. and is all the better for it.
(Also download from the album: Bellarine, Time In Common, Cappuccino City)
Song: Mother Maybe
From album: Childqueen
Kadhja Bonet (pronounced Kadya) produces music that is difficult to tag. Hers is a singular and idiosyncratic genius. Best attempt at a label is possibly ‘psychedelic soul’. Hailing from a Californian musical family, she is self-taught in both classical and contemporary instruments. Music is a solitary journey for Bonet. She wrote, produced and played almost all of the instruments on the album. Childqueen charts a journey of the ‘childqueen’ of the title, pondering where the energy, creativity and self-belief of youth disappears to. If this all sounds like highbrow experimentation you needn’t worry; Bonet’s music is never less than accessible. Particularly so on lead single Mother Maybe, a celebration of motherhood, from the multiple perspectives of being a mother, a child and even a prospective mother.
(Also download from the album: Delphine, Another Time Lover, Wings)
In case you missed it…
Song: Called You Queen
From album: Impossible Dream (from 2016)
Every so often an album comes along that you just can’t stop listening to. One where every track could be a hit. Where every tune speaks clearly in both melody and content. Where the balance between easy listening and thought-provoking is just right. And so it is with Haley Bonar’s 4th (and to date most recent) album, Impossible Dream. Canadian-born, but raised and living in the US, Bonar’s album is peppered with lyrics detailing her experiences as a single woman who suddenly finds herself in her mid-30s (sample lyric: ‘I was impossible when I was beautiful’). Bonar, who now goes under the name Haley McCallum, or even simply Haley, was discovered by Alan Sparhawk of the band Low while playing live to a mere handful of people and found herself plucked from obscurity. The sense of the underdog has remained intact throughout her career. Difficult as it is to pick a standout from this impeccable collection, Called You Queen possibly just edges it. A tale of faded glory, power pop at its finest and most self-deprecating.
(Also download from the album: Stupid Face, I Can Change, Kismet Kill)
LISTEN TO OUR PLAYLIST
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