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The 8 best albums from the month where everyone melted

Slap this lot on like After Sun – our favourite July releases

July 2019 has been a strange one: it’s marked 50 years since the Apollo 11 expedition and the moon landing, everyone’s favourite sport suddenly became cricket and a smaller number of people elected a spontaneously racist Prime Minister to the UK than voted for Boaty McBoatface. While the hottest days on record might make you want to flock to the nearest park, it’d be much better to indulge in some of the month’s best music instead. These are eight of our favourites.

Artist: KAINA
Title:
Next To The Sun
Label:
Sooper
What is it?
A debut album that fully justifies her quick ascent through the ranks of Chicago’s rich and multi-faceted pop scene.
L&Q says: “A lavish fusion of neo-soul and RnB with elements of her Latin heritage weaving it all together… to quote the city’s most famous musical talent, an unmistakably summertime Chi’ album.”

Read Mike Vinti’s full review.

Artist: Africa Express
Title:
EGOLI
Label:
Africa Express Records
What is it?
An 18-track excavation into South Africa’s musical soil, founded by Damon Albarn and Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and transformed into a many-headed hybrid of new, rising and established Johannesburg rhythms.
L&Q says:
“So many of the artists enlisted on Egoli will be discoveries, each one bringing their own histories and traditions, their own visions of the endless possibilities that their new flavours can add to the global mix.”

Read Max Pilley’s full review.

Artist: Private Agenda
Title:
Île de Rêve
Label:
Lo Recordings
What is it?
Released in the final days of June, the blissfully downtempo debut from underground Berlin duo Private Agenda, and its accompanying Aura EP, sound like a safe space from which to watch the apocalypse unfurl. Known for espousing their own brand of queer house and disco with all the live absorption of your favourite guitar band, their dream island is a decidedly more tranquil and meditative affair. 
L&Q says:
We didn’t say anything on this one; we missed it. But that doesn’t mean you should.

Artist: Purple Mountains
Title:
Purple Mountains
Label:
Drag City
What is it?
The first new music from David Berman since disbanding his Silver Jews project over a decade ago. File next to: Mount Eerie, Sun Kil Moon, Father John Misty.
L&Q says:
“Where 2008’s Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea felt like a group affair, Purple Mountains re-centres the experiences of David Berman in a way unheard since his 90s output.”

Read Dafydd Jenkins’s full review.

Artist: Normil Hawaiians
Title:
What’s Going On?
Label:
Upset The Rhythm
What is it?
A reissue of one post-punk’s best kept secrets from a label that don’t do reissues.
L&Q says:
“Normil Hawaiians contained members who were accomplished musicians and members who had little natural talent – a combination of skill and naivety that’s produced some of our best radical music.”

Read Fergal Kinney’s full review.

Artist: BABii
Title:
Hiide
Label:
Death Waltz Originals
What is it?
A ghostly debut album filled of icy electronica about the feeling of being hidden in a relationship, where cutesy cartoons meet vampiric ex-boyfriends.
L&Q says:
“BABii’s talent shines strongest in the more introspective moments, like when her fragile vocals beautifully meld with chilly electro.”

Read Megan Wallace’s full review.

Artist: Jesca Hoop
Title:
Stonechild
Label:
Memphis Industries
What is it?
One part drowsy and bucolic, another part bucolic and full of sinister fairytales, titled after a woman who carried around her unborn foetus for 30 years.
L&Q says:
“A richly drawn, strong-willed record full of light and dark, sweetness and dryness, and gracefully broad multisensory intrigue.”

Listen to Jesca Hoop on Midnight Chats episode 20

Read Sam Walton’s full review.

Artist: Clark
Title: Kiri Variations
Label: Throttle
What is it? A spin off from tracks originally intended to score the Channel 4 show Kiri, the ex-Warp producer delivers an off-the-wall fusion of baroque instrumentation and experimental electronic sensibilities.
L&Q says: “This record is one of the richest, most satisfying electronic records of the year so far.”

Check out Alex Francis’s full review.

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