It’s hot. I know this isn’t an original observation, but you can’t deny it. The die is cast. Our fates are sealed. It’s really, really, really hot.
Despite the fact that I’ve spent most of the past few days making sure I don’t burst into flames at my desk, I’ve had a good time! This is largely due to the fact that this week sees the release of some absolutely stønking Sûmmer jäms, and these records have helped me embrace the ultra-heat. Spin these as you sizzle away like a lil sausage upon the grill.
Becca Mancari - The Greatest Part
Louder Than War reckon Becca Mancari’s ‘The Greatest Thing’ is potential ‘album of the year’ fodder. Time will tell on that front, but this LP certainly is a very strong showing from the Nashville-based singer-songwriter. ‘The Greatest Thing’ maintains the heartfelt songcraft of Mancari’s 2017 debut ‘Good Woman’ but switches up the aesthetic, trading out that album’s rootsy country-cana for a chunkier, more streamlined sound which shares space with Angel Olsen, Porches and Deradoorian.
Deadbeat & Paul St. Hilaire - Four Quarters of Love and Modern Lash
Back in 2014 Deadbeat (Scott Monteith) and Paul St. Hilaire (Tikiman) linked up for ‘The Infinity Dub Sessions’. The collaboration made a whole lot of sense - Deadbeat’s electronics have always come heavily shrouded in dubby fogs, and St. Hilaire is one of the world’s best at handling vocals on that type of production. Now, six years later, the duo prove that ‘The Infinity Dub Sessions’ weren’t a fluke with new LP ‘Four Quarters of Love and Modern Lash’. This is a set of deep dub-techno poetics in which to disappear completely.
DJ Python - Mas Amable
DJ Python’s ‘Mas Amable’ has been circulating for a few months now, but the LP finally making it to vinyl means we now have the opportunity to wax lyrical about this glorious album. The New York-based producer brings his brand of ‘deep reggaeton’ to fruition here, turning out a near-fifty-minute epic which flows as seamlessly as one of his mixes. Atop unerring dembow pulses DJ Python spools out these gorgeous textures which have a lot of Balearic house and dub in their makeup. When the sun’s shining this bright, there really are few records I’d rather be listening to.
HAIM - Women In Music Pt. III
Why’d you only call me when you’re Haim? (Haim). The superstar sisters return after a few years away with the excellently-titled new LP ‘Women In Music Pt. III’. Always good for a hooky single, those who go to the trio’s music for sonorous soft-rock in the vein of Fleetwood Mac will not leave ‘Women In Music Pt. III’ disappointed. However, there is growth here as well, the band facing down some public and private challenges with quiet strength throughout.
Jim Sullivan - U.F.O.
Jim Sullivan’s legacy is full of mystery and intrigue. In 1975, a few years after the release of his debut LP ‘U.F.O.’ (1969 or 1970 depending on which version of the album you go with), Sullivan disappeared without trace in the New Mexico desert. The tale provides an additional layer of eeriness to ‘U.F.O.’, here reissued once more by Light In The Attic, a label which has put plenty of energy into trying to solve the Sullivan riddle down the years. As for the music, this is a wizened set of Americana which, given that Sullivan wasn’t yet thirty when it was released, is wise beyond its years.
Khruangbin - Mordechai
You lot absolutely love Khruangbin, don’t you? Every record that we’ve had in by the Texan three-piece has sold oodles of copies, and their new LP ‘Mordechai’ is no exception. This is another album that lands at exactly the right time - Khruangbin’s über-chill brand of psychedelic rock is perfect for sunshine vibesing. There are a couple of tweaks to the band’s sound here, the increased use of vocals being the most obvious, but even with the changes this is another dreamy and delightful salvo.
Okkyung Lee - Yeo-Neun
When someone talks about ‘contemporary classical music’ they usually mean the feathery pianos and tremulous warbling of people like Olafur Arnalds. However, there is also plenty of classical music being made contemporaneously which is much more supple, both aesthetically and emotionally. Okkyung Lee’s fantastic ‘Yeo-Neun’ is one such album. Backed by her ensemble of Maeve Gilchrist (harp), Eivind Opsvik (bass) and Jacob Sacks (piano), Lee leads with her cello through a set of vivid chamber music that touches on romantic, folk and avant-garde traditions.
Pinch - Reality Tunnels
Dubstep big-boy Pinch drops ‘Reality Tunnels’ a mere thirteen years on from his debut studio album ‘Underwater Dancehall’. Mind you, long-players don’t have quite the same cache in the circles that Pinch moves in, and he’s kept plenty busy with singles and EPs in the interim, so despite the long gap ‘Reality Tunnels’ isn’t so much a reintroduction as a taking of the pulse. Pinch’s sonic aesthetic is far more varied nowadays, with techno, trip-hop, jungle and dark ambient all in his locker alongside his trusty arsenal of LFO wobbles and half-time drum snaps. He has all of those balls in play on this consummate record.
Stephen Mallinder - Pow Wow
Stephen Mallinder surprised us all by releasing the excellent ‘Um Dada’ LP last year. In light of that record’s success, Ice Machine - a recently-minted Suction Records sub-label specialising in chilly synth sounds from the 80s - have got together a new edition of ‘Um Dada’s predecessor ‘Pow Wow’. This album came out way back in 1982, a time when Mallinder was still mucking about with Cabaret Voltaire on the regular, but there’s a definite throughline between ‘Pow Wow’ and ‘Um Dada’ given that both deal in an ersatz brand of industrial synth music.
박혜진 Park Hye Jin - How can I
박혜진 Park Hye Jin is a Korean producer, singer and songwriter whose clubby sound has caught the attention of Ninja Tune. ‘How Can I’ grounds itself in moody, propulsive techno - see ‘Can you’ and ‘NO’ on this count. From this core style Park makes moves into ruminative r ‘n’ b (the title track), shuffling house (‘Like this’) and an energetic uptempo style which is pretty close to juke (‘How come’). Her breathy, introspective vocals further help to unify ‘How Can I’s vibe. One to get hold of now before she becomes extremely famous.