If previous years are anything to go by, then July is a notoriously quiet month for music. This year, however, there’s plenty to look forward as we surpass 2015’s halfway point. Tame Impala’s hotly anticipated third album, Currents, comes out next week, with We Came as Romans and Northlane also releasing new music later this month. For our latest New Music Roundup, we’ve rounded up six songs that have been rattling through the office speakers during the last two weeks. Read on for more.
BECK – DREAMS
Beck is a legendary cult hero whose back catalogue now spans almost 20 years, a mean feat of longevity in today’s harsh world. He’s even released a songbook which intends to let the listener interpret the music in his or her own way, as opposed to him releasing a conventional album. Sadly, the one thing which most of today’s youth will remember Beck for is “that time when Kanye interrupted him at the Grammy’s”. This surge in discussion about Beck has certainly proven an advantage for the LA musician, with new single Dreams an absolute summer hit which is already more than doing the rounds on radio playlists. A summery guitar jangle a la Nile Rodgers takes the helm alongside Beck’s anthemic vocals (which are complete with a dreamy vocal tone). “Shades making me high” he sings during a chorus which perfectly complements the underpinning. The song changes tack halfway as it slows down and enters the fringes of psychedelia, before Beck’s lone vocals make for an acoustic-led segment. Hints of early MGMT come and go during the end of the chorus, yet for the most part it’s very clear that Beck has just made his grand comeback with an absolute banger that sounds like everything we’ve ever wanted from him.
AUGUST BURNS RED – MAJORING IN THE MINORS
Heavy metal is slowly but surely working its way into the US mainstream, and August Burns Red are a perfect example of this modern phenomenon. Seventh studio album Found in Far Away Places has just landed at #4 in the US Billboard Top 200, shifting an impressive 25,000 copies in its first week. Although 25,000 isn’t a huge amount in the grand context of music charts, it’s still quite an achievement for a band of August Burns Red’s calibre. The clear highlight on Found in Far Away Places came from the shapeshifting post-hardcore track Majoring in the Minors, a track which hits you like a freight train from the moment Matt Greiner’s drums kick in. When it feels like the track can’t go any further, it disintegrates briefly and morphs into a Spanish guitar-esque mid-section complete with novelty cowbell. Although this is merely a bridge between two parts of the same song, it could be a whole new song on its own, completely autonomous and unrelated to the brutal –core music it’s sandwiched between. This song is an absolute testament to the hard work August Burns Red have put into releasing one of 2015’s finest albums.
EZRA FURMAN – WOBBLY
Cross-dressing New Yorker Ezra Furman recently put out his erratic and frenetic new record Perpetual Motion People, with the catchy-yet-absurd Wobbly one of its proper standouts. “I’ve been feeling wobbly, so wobbly” sings Furman alongside a mixture of catchy guitars and brass, the latter of which helps transport the song back into the late 1970’s. “Sometimes I want to feel down into a deep dark hole at the bottom of the ocean” claims Furman when the track slowly dies down, before picking up the pace and singing of his troubles with regards to gender and freedom. The happy-go-lucky feel of the track is complemented nicely by a saxophone solo which ultimately ends up stealing the show, proving that music can still be fun and serious at the same time.
WOLF ALICE – TURN TO DUST
Wolf Alice’s recent success has certainly not gone unnoticed, with the quartet’s debut album My Love is Cool charting at #2 in the UK, a mere 500 copies behind chart-topper Florence + the Machine. Ellie Rowsell and her gang may have spent the best part of two years working on their game and building themselves up for stardom, yet this has ultimately paid off, with the four-piece now one of the hottest bands in Britain. My Love is Cool’s opening track, Turn to Dust kicks off with some reverb-laced guitars as Rowsell pulls one of the finest lyrics of the year out of the bag. “If fear is in the mind, then my mind lives in fear” she calmly mutters during the first verse as faint police sirens and ambient sounds underpin her sickly sweet vocal. It’s a calm and subdued album opener, perfectly introducing the listener into the rest of the journey they’re about to embark on.
NORTHLANE – LEECH
Australian metalcore quintet Northlane may have switched vocalists last year (Marcus Bridge has replaced former frontman Adrian Fitipaldes), yet that somewhat shocking change has definitely injected a new lease of life into the Sydney quintet, who are currently gearing up to release new album Node. First came comeback single Rot, complete with fast-slow tempo changes and a brutal chorus. This was followed by the upbeat and heavy Obelisk, with Nortlane now having cryptically unleashed new single Leech. The song was split into pieces and spread across the internet, with it up to the fans to piece the audio fragments together. The result? A mix of calm, effects-laden guitars and vocals which morph into an anthemic, environment-centric chanted chorus of, “anthemic oceans, anthemic farms”. It’s a heavy step towards the ‘scene’ direction, something mostly down to Bridge’s unique vocal style. Northlane are here to save hard rock, and they’re currently doing a bloody good job.
WE CAME AS ROMANS – TEAR IT DOWN
Michigan sextet We Came as Romans recently unveiled the first taste of their upcoming self-titled fifth record in the form of The World I Used to Know. This track signalled somewhat a departure from the Romans of old, heading into a cleaner direction which leant heavily towards heavyweight contemporaries Linkin Park. To prove that it wasn’t just a one-off, the Detroit crew have done it once more on new single Tear it Down. Opening with electronic drums and a synthesizer melody, the song harks back to early Linkin Park more than anything else. It’s eventually wiped out by a Deftones-esque riff and Dave Stephen’s dark vocals, both of which lead into a mid-paced verse incorporating both clean and unclean vocals, the former courtesy of Kyle Pavone. During the latter part of the chorus, Pavone sings of a “kingdom of demise”, subject matter which couldn’t get more Linkin Park if it tried. Although it does sound a bit too much like a rip-off of Chester Bennington and co., it still bears enough elements of variation to keep the band refreshed and ready to take on the world once more.