Dry for rain, dry for new albums – these are the best ones we salvaged from August 2018

What we've been vibin' this month

It’s that point in the year where someone walks into the room where the recorded music industry has been napping for the past two months and shouts in a loud voice “summer’s over sucker, time to get back to work!”

If June and July were quiet, then, by in large, August was almost silent. It’s taken until the final week for things to really crank into any kind of action. But now they have. However, if you’re looking for some new music to accompany the slow and mildly deflating feeling that autumn is lurking just around the corner, look no further than these…

Artist: Gabe Gurnsey
Title: Physical
Label: Phantasy
What is it? Factory Floor co-founder departs the club to write music about clubbing.
L&Q says: “Less cold and hostile but just as capable of creating unease with every twisted synth and detached vocal, tracks like ‘Temazzy’ take that Factory Floor relentlessness and contort it into something dark and delicious.”
Read Reef Younis’ full review

Artist: Kathryn Joseph
Title: From When I Wake The Want Is
Label: Rock Action
What is it? Songs of heartbreak and healing from the maker of 2015’s Scottish Album of the Year winner.
L&Q says: “Joseph has climbed out of her personal abyss, though the spectre of her pain lingers. The album lays all her wounds bare as she faces down, and eventually casts off, her own despair. Her heart has mended, but the scars are permanent.”
Read Alexander Small’s full review

Artist: Mitski
Title: Be The Cowboy
Label: Dead Oceans
What is it? Weary of an overly analytical media gaze, the indie songwriter returns with a persona-driven album.
L&Q says: “Stating upfront that she’s writing in character erects a barrier to intrusive personal questions and, as with any playwright or novelist, it places the onus on whether the role is played with conviction. In this respect Mitski is faultless, to the extent that it’s hard to ascertain where she ends and the persona begins.”
Read Susan Darlington’s full review

Artist: Blood Orange
Title: Negro Swan
Label: Domino
What is it? Dev Hynes adds another instalment to his great body of work on black culture and sexuality.
L&Q says: “In normal protest, you’re allowed a core belief but not the ability to expand upon it. But ‘Negro Swan’ takes a look at “Black Lives Matter” and carefully starts to add the “because”.”
Read Tristan Gatward’s full review

Artist: Tirzah
Title: Devotion
Label: Domino
What is it? Follower’s of the London songwriter know the wait has been long – but this Mica Levi-assisted debut has been worth the wait.
L&Q says: “A bold statement of intent from a young artist who already sounds as if she’s carved out her own niche.”
Read Joe Goggins’ full review

Artist: IDLES
Title: Joy As An Act Of Resistance
Label: Partisan
What is it? ‘Brutalism’ was the Bristol punk band’s breakthrough – ‘Joy’ is no less bludgeoning, but this time it’s less with frenzied riffs and more with honesty and relatable strife.
L&Q says: “It’s a punch-up and it’s a bear hug. It’s a less chic release than ‘Brutalism’, but the curse-of-the-second-album is not even a consideration.”
Read Tristan Gatward’s full review

Artist: Szun Waves
Title: New Hymn To Freedom
Label: LEAF
What is it? Underground experimentalists unite for LP2 – Luke Abbott (Earlham Mystic), Portico Quartet’s Jack Wyllie and PVT’s Laurence Pike provide the heady jams.
L&Q says: “Playfully connecting the dots between jazz, classical and electronic Szun Waves tastefully conjure the out-of-body spiritualism explored by legends Alice Coltrane and Sun Ra through the mingling of these genres.”
Read Stephen Butchard’s full review

Artist: School Damage
Title: A to X
Label: Chapter Music
What is it? Second album from the Melbourne DIY band who have more in common with the sounds of New Zealand 1988 or, well, most of UK post-punk.
L&Q says: “‘A to X’ is – appropriately given its title – a glossary lesson in how to pick apart post-punk’s past in a modern context and make it sound refreshingly new.”
Read Hayley Scott’s full review