July was a month of blood moons and pissy clouds. But some good music came out as well, which helped ease the pain of all the cancelled picnics and werewolves. Country punk, string-tinged synth-pop, sunny psych, terrifying noise rap and much more. Get to streaming the 25 best songs of July below.
"It's close to the reverential moments of Jessie Ware and Blood Orange, though FKA twigs may be even more comfortable at using her sources as navigational tools rather than goalposts, as landmarks for exploring her own sound."
"...features none of the punishing apocalypse punk featured on their second and best album You're Nothing. Instead, they draw from the same well as rock revivalists like The Men and Pure X: a certain twang and screech played for devil for their soul even though they know they'll lose."
"Motoring the track is yet another strain of propulsion in their endless cache, with synths that dial your retinas all the way open and let in colours you're not really supposed to see yet."
"Vocal samples recently stolen from lungs are chopped amidst shattering crashes and alarm drone, all totally unrelenting until a wash of synths at the end hits like a runner's high."
"The original single's cover art fits Tim Hecker's craft: plumes of crackling drone fissure and spark against contact from the sound of sawing, like the gases of a sunset being carved without direction."
"You can also simply read the band's name for a sense of the competing emotional resonances it spars with: a concert hall rigged for demolition, or a priceless violin cutting through the fingers of its handler."
"Thick bass and synth winking like satellite flares quickly capture the essence of a good banger, and by extension us, though Palaceer Lazaro and Tendai Maraire refuse to compromise on what makes them guests in our dimension..."
"Beneath all the shock and awe, "Procrastination" is cinder techno."
"The track is another multidimensional charmer for the art-pop architect behind The Books, vivacious during its droney plods (Zammuto's billowy cooing helps there) and scattered during a candy heart string of synth zaps."
"Despite a hook which proclaims "I'm sorry for the time I made out with all your friends/ I'm really a shithead," there's at least as much not-giving-a-shit as regret..."
"He recorded his debut LP as Ken Park, You Think About It Too Much, last winter in Berlin, blending analogue synths with a sound influenced by the club world he's recently found himself in (a bit of a cry from the noisy guitar bands he's played in here at home)."
"David Sylvian-style mystery worn like a cape at the song's bubbly, roller-disco pace."
"On 'Queen,' the confessional element from previous records is still there, though the passion of his chamber pop has shifted from absolutory to defiant and fanged."
"It's the unexpected harmonies (tonal and otherwise) he teases between the everyday and the musical that make tracks like these so invigorating."
"Before The Unicorns broke up in 2004, they tended to perform a live cover ofDaniel Johnson's "Rocketship." In anticipation of the band's reunion shows (one of which takes place this September at POP Montreal) and reissue of Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?, a studio version of the track has been released."
"...death disco floating just above the wretched atmospheres it casts."
"...an odd brew of pity and summertime crush niftily marries the band's melancholy streak with their jiggy, synth-speckled grooves."
"...hypnagogic beats and moonshine-drunk vocals mumbling demonic oaths."
"On 'Blueberry' Darq E Freaker flipped a dapper organ sample into neon peel-out, and Danny Brown's verse responded in kind. Rustie's 'Attak' magnifies that formula, echoing with self-destruct sequence synths over a kit so huge Hudson Mohawke is probably sweating."
"Utterly swamped in the nihilism of the title, B L A C K I E spews his "verses" like a man clawing against the basement door of his captor, as a cyclone of shrill horror whirls around him."
"Half Japanese always felt like they were free-climbing their songs, thanks to a reckless and slightly wild countenance that disavowed unwarranted sloppiness. It's comforting to hear that disarming vibe return."
"Beer koozies. Dog-sitting for an hour in the park. A last minute death row pardon. King Tuff's unshaded, sweatstained rock is back and in full effect on "Eyes Of The Muse.""
"Will you dance to it and attempt to Ouija the spirit of 2005?"