From the classics to new releases, here are our Albums of the Month for July.

DOMi & JD BECK – NOT TiGHT

Words: Drew Manning

This album caught me completely by surprise. Sucked in by the insane list of features on the record I got stuck in. What I was met with was an absolutely mind-bending jazz record created by two painfully young prodigies. Under the eye of Anderson Paak., the duo has invited artists such as Thundercat, Herbie Hancock, and Snoop Dogg onto the project, but rather than kneeling to the style of these musical icons, they have brought the artists into their own style, creating something really special.

Top Tracks: BOWLiNG ft. Thundercat, U DON’T HAVE TO ROB ME, TAKE A CHANCE ft. Anderson Paak

Rico Nasty – Las Ruinas

Words: Olly Lyng

2020’s Nightmare Vacation blurred genres and pushed boundaries, and with this latest mixtape, Rico Nasty picks up where she left off. Her ability to bring together a spectacular variety of producers, samples, ideas, and features, which on paper should be a complete mess, and mould that into a coherent project shines through on Las Ruinas. Dylan Brady (100 Gecs) brings his signature sounds to tracks such as Gotsta Get Paid, which makes for a welcome addition to the overall sound, without clashing with the more mainstream producers elsewhere on the project such as Marshmello. Rico’s delivery is gritty and varied yet consistently polished throughout, which connects the harsher and softer halves of the mixtape well.

The transition itself, midway through the project, is somewhat jolty and raises questions about the track listing; the hyper-energetic remix of Fred Again..’s ‘Jungle’ leaves any listener craving more, yet at this point, the softer half of the mixtape takes over. This is quickly forgotten about as the second side to Las Ruinas proves itself to be just as diverse and infectious as the first, with tracks such as Skullflower proving that experimentation isn’t sacrificed along with energy. Perhaps the most impressive element of her most ambitious project to date is how effectively it all comes together. The two sides to this project, though conflicting, work together to form a truly brilliant sonic scrapbook.

Top Tracks: Gotsta Get Paid, Jungle – Rico Nasty Remix, Skullflower

Sinead O’Brien – Time Bend and Break The Bower

Words: Drew Manning

Sinead O’Brien is a creative in all manners of description. The London-based Irish-born punk poet has previously held roles with Dior and Vivienne Westwood, as well as having her writing published in various outlets and across various mediums. On Time Bend and Break The Bower O’Brien seems to synthesize all of her previous creative achievements into one 11-track manifesto. Her delivery is more rhythmic than melodic, perhaps a consequence of her poetic focus, but the instrumentation and musical work supporting her poetry is equally phenomenal.

Top Tracks: GIRLKIND, Like Culture, Multitudes

Spacey Jane – Here Comes Everybody

Words: Tom Martin

On the second album from Australian indie rockers Spacey Jane, they decided not to fix what isn’t broken. Keeping the same upbeat and clean guitars that were present on the first album it starts as a top-notch summer soundtrack. Not afraid to explore deeper topics though, the second half of the album becomes much more thoughtful and introspective. However, it manages this without compromising the positive feeling provided by the first tracks or feeling too downbeat, meaning the album has something for everyone. I also had a piss next to their lead singer at their Liverpool gig, and if that doesn’t convince you to listen I don’t know what will

Top Tracks: Pulling Through, Sitting Up, Lots Of Nothing

Maya Hawke – Blush

Words: Drew Manning

Maya Hawke is an absolute beam of talent. Much like the previously mentioned Sinead O’Brien, the creative mediums that she spans range far and wide from her work as Robin in Stranger Things, all the way to her musical pursuits as seen on Blush. This is a light listen as a result of Hawke’s delicate and understated delivery,

Top Tracks: Alewife, Sofia, Feel Something

Skepta – Konnichiwa

Words: Olly Lyng

Through the lens of a lone samurai warrior, Skepta takes us back to grime’s origins, pushes the boundaries, and sets out his future on his 2016 LP. This album follows 2012’s Blacklisted, a mixtape that served largely as a ‘fuck you’ to an industry Skepta felt had misled him and his art. Konnichiwa takes many of the same themes but often presents them more as a love letter to the genre, its roots, and its culture. Tracks such as Corn On The Curb and Crime Riddim recount some of the most pivotal moments in the complex but largely undocumented history of grime, the latter of which tells the story of his infamous Ayia Napa arrest.

As we move through the album it becomes clear that in returning from the mainstream, to what he saw as more meaningful music, Skepta had become bigger than ever, with A$AP Bari and Pharrell Williams making appearances over the next few tracks. This US-UK marriage would live on indefinitely and is arguably in some part responsible for the permeation of drill music into the US scene in years to come. The influence of Japan, and in particular Japanese video games is sonically apparent throughout, and makes for an exceptionally coherent project, something which was rare in grime at the time, thanks to the importance of pirate radio, and therefore singles, in the genres early days. Six years on the impact of Konnichiwa is clear and makes the album’s ability to look backward and forwards in time, recounting grime’s past while laying the foundations.

Top Tracks: Corn On The Curb, Crime Riddim, Shutdown

Viagra Boys – Cave World

Words: Drew Manning

The third record from the Swedish post-punks Viagra Boys arrived in the form of a chuggy, trudgy, muddy statement about modern society. Tracks like Revert To Monke call for a reversion of humanity to a theoretically simpler time, also implied in the album title, while Creepy Crawlers somewhat jarringly references conspiracy theories while holding on to the overarching callout of modern civilization. Maybe slightly short of a full-fledged concept album, Cave World still feels like it bears a strong overarching ethos, communicated through a wild, mercurial vocal delivery.

Top Tracks: Troglodyte, Punk Rock Loser, Aint No Thief

Hater – Sincere

Words: Tom Martin

Despite critical acclaim, the recently released third album from Swedish dream pop/shoegaze outfit hater has still gone largely unappreciated. With a shift in the lineup since their second album, the band has gone for a much heavier approach which has paid off in spades. There’s an air of melancholy and longing throughout the whole album which provides a beautiful, if slightly depressing, listening experience. Maybe one best avoided if you’re in a good mood but any other time have at it.

Top Tracks: I’m Yours Baby, Something, Far From A Mind

Courtney Barnett – Things Take Time, Take Time

Words: Drew Manning

The fourth offering from Aussie deadpan singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett. This album sees the peak of Barnett’s ability when it comes to wit, ramble, and allowing her guitar work to take the lead when it’s called for. Thing Thake Time, Take Time arrived to a somewhat disappointing reception, with some labeling the album as oversimplified and incapable of standing up to her original work. My advice is to take this album at face value and see its simplicity as something to celebrate. Just because Barnett is capable of digging a little deeper, she doesn’t need to to create a great record.

Top Tracks: Rae Street, Before You Gotta Go, If I Don’t Hear From You Tonight

The Chemical Brothers – Surrender

Words: Drew Manning

It would be no stretch to label this as one of the best dance/electronic albums of all time. Certainly one of the most influential. On 1999’s Surrender, the already established Chemical Brothers broke away from the template of DJ-friendly 7-minute loop-heavy tracks, and into a way of working that allowed these tracks to stand up on their own, away from the chains that a DJ deck can, unfortunately, imply in some music in the same world that The Chemical Brothers were operating in at the time. This project also boasts an eclectic range of collaborations including Noel Gallagher, Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star), and Bernard Sumner (New Order).

Top Tracks: Music:Response, Out Of Control, Let Forever Be