Now, July may not have been the greatest month of the year as far as big-name bands releasing big-name chart crushing records - this is normally always the case, mind - but there has been a steady flow of excellent little records from equally excellent little bands.
Here's seven of the best from July plus the DiScover album of the month:
Magnetic Morning - A.M
Says Radhika Takru: "A.M. buzzes and drones, floats and wafts. It’s cloudy skies and open roads. It’s hypnotic and swirly, it’s warm and cosy. It’s static eyeballs and minimal movement. It’s spellbindingly gorgeous."
Acoustic Ladyland - Living With A Tiger
Says Rory Gibb: "Paradoxically, despite – or perhaps even due to – its directness, Living With A Tiger is a challenging record, only revealing its full depth on repeated visits. After several listens the slow-burning melodic pieces towards the end start to make more sense, acting both as the calm after the early storm and as a gradual build to closer ‘You & I’. Closer inspections reveal the crucial role played by Rochford’s drumming; throughout the course of the album’s length disparate strands of instrumentation constantly threaten to rip away from one another and head off in wildly divergent directions."
Tobacco - Fucked Up Friends
Says Phillip Bloomfield: "Fucked Up Friends is a blissful reminder that the practice of absorbing rather than regurgitating influences – innovation and invention - is alive and well. This debut might not be a complete masterpiece, but it is a telling reminder that it’s possible to make an album that is neither wholly derivative nor indulgently experimental. All hail the new wave of cosmic kraut pysch hop."
The Manhattan Love Suicides - The Manhattan Love Suicides: Longer And Louder
Says Dom Gourlay: "If you're yet to discover their music, ...Longer & Louder is a perfect introduction, and even as someone who owns the original pressing of The Manhattan Love Suicides, the two bonus discs here make both fascinating listening and viewing. Let's hope that follow-up album isn't too far away from the finishing line.Wonderful stuff."
The Embassy - Tacking
The fact that Tacking is such an ideal summer soundtrack may be its biggest drawback. In fact, it almost feels like the album should cease to exist when autumn begins to draw in. It's also extremely brief, barely scraping past the half hour mark, but then there is that saying about how good things never last although their memory lingers on. Thankfully, Tacking is such a delightful listen you'll be happy for it to linger into even the darkest recesses of winter.
Magnolia Electric Co. - Josephine
Says Alexander Tudor: "Rest assured – the band’s identity is taking shape. There’s a dash of humour in the title – suggesting Molina thinks of himself as Napoleon, whose beloved was Josephine – but this record could have happily kept its working title, reported early on as A Map Of The Falling Stars. There’s a nocturnal ambience in places, a mythic sensibility throughout, but plenty of light in the dark; especially on the gorgeous opener, ‘O! Grace’. With its lyrics about being “lonely as the world’s first ghost”, the song has stood out in Molina’s solo-sets for the past year-or-so, neatly bridging the lyrical preoccupations of late-S:O and MECo, which seemed to be about Work, and Love-as-Work."
Florence & The Machine - Lungs
Says Ed Miller: "What is not totally redundant, is Lungs. It could have been. With this kind of hype, the album didn’t need to be anything more than forgettable. We would have bought it anyway, probably at Sainsbury’s, and shrugged that the singles were quite good. As it is, they’re more than quite good, and all the better for the tracks that surround them. These days, we tend to judge art by the personality of the people making it. Lungs reverses this by giving a personality to Florence. Like a camera pans out in a film, we are suddenly presented with a wide shot of a real, complicated person, where before there was just a loud girl in a cape."
DiScover Album Of The Month
Kong - Snake Magnet
Says Sean Thomas: "Breathlessly loud, startlingly daring, intentionally different; Snake Magnet is not for those with no sticking power or love of rock at it’s most blisteringly raw. But after experiencing the frightening world that Kong have created, almost anything else feels strangely mundane and anaemic. Three minutes and 45 seconds into this record, you’ll know whether you love Kong or not. And by god, you ought to."