This isn’t a sedate summer but a sultry one and now we’re lurching towards a British roast in mid-August. To lean into this theme, look to I’m God, where Imogen Heap and Clams Casino entwine. Another 2020 release is Her Love in which narou & iris pass between lolling lines aching for a summer gone, maybe one for those that missed Switchfoot’s rendering of Frank Ocean’s Swim Good – video shot in Malibu during lockdown with distancing measures in place.
As the northern Hemisphere drifts into the midst of Autumn, long evening light sets a gilded backdrop slammed shut fast by dipping temperatures. Thinking to wide sounds and high skies to capture this flux, try Mt. Wolf’s Burgs which has existential notes weaved in. Return to West Texan skies and Friday Night Light’s core First Breath After Coma from Explosions in the Sky. Another purely instrumental track, Tough Times in Hollywood from American composer and engineering graduate, Jeff Cardoni.
As summer weaves into autumn, orientate flecks of light around silky songs. CHILLS from Lastlings renders a monologue with a series of imperatives and a spinal shivering. Released in 2011, Mr. Little Jeans from The Suburbs tries to grab, etched in a chorus, Sometimes I can’t believe it /
I’m moving past the feeling. More recently, Bunny from William Phillips AKA Tourist makes an instrumental tapestry, including signature notes from the Londoner.
The sprinkle of an electronic keyboard makes cute. James Sallis’ 2005 novel “Drive” was amplified in the 2011 with producers lacing keyboards into the soundtrack. Dreams Tonite from Alvvays captures anyone not already convinced by Ryan Gosling. LANY, also of L.A., use a slower riff in ILYSB. ATTLAS find a midpoint with Jagged where a bridge calls for rhyming couplets So light the fire / Burning even brighter / Till your heart transpires / The feel in your fingertips / When the world feels like this.
Germany’s Assumption Day (Mariä Himmelfahrt, August 15th) provides a gute Zeit to check into songs that ooze Berlin. Burned from ATTLAS present a formidable entry point, ebbing and flowing as an ideal warm-up. Take a pause and retreat to the middle of the decade and Vessels’ “Dilate” LP from 2016 and select Vertical. And if all your friends have gone home, take up company with Thomas Høffding who offers some acoustics to Kölsch’s Bloodline.
Reggaeton has elevated the mainstream awareness of certain riffs, but other tracks place emphasis on the Spanish itself. James Blake and ROSALIÁ teamed up for Barefoot In The Park in sensual song that’s worth translating. There’s nothing wrong with looking back into Shakira’s “Dirty Laundry” album to pluck Suerte from the pile – the Spanish version of Whenever, Wherever. And at a moment for Tarentino, Ancori Qui (>YouTube) from Elisa retreats to a Texan landscape with Jamie Foxx recently released.
From Paris-based Ö, Nömak (formerly just “Nömak”), Lullaby leans on a choral entrance, sampling lines from Robert Bridges’ “The Idle Life I Lead”. The British band Blanco White are practically made of fire and earth, calling on landscape and vaulting horizons. Nocturne evokes South Wales, a tribute to Black Mountain. Then 715 – CR∑∑KS from Bon Iver’s “22 A Million” matches Blanco White’s lunar theme with a naked and poetic verse.
There is no time like summer grime, demarcated by British shores and owned by a small group of artists. M.E.N 2 from Bugzy Malone retreats into the artist’s rise and his grappling with the tugs of fame and a litany of things the artist can now do. Stomzy’s Vossi Bop provides a shuffle for the season, demonstrated in a music video that sees the artist pinned to the famous concrete of the Los Angeles River.
Summer and a time for pollinations of all kinds. With Let You Know, hemispheres are crossed by London Grammar where Hannah Reid’s vocals are set to a production from the Australian DJ, Flume. Ed Sheeran is the connector in an eclectic album featuring one collaboration with Chance the Rapper, Cross Me. Meanwhile one of pop’s new artists has paired with one of drum and basses’s household names, cue Mine Right Now.
Winding back to back to MGMT’s storming track from 2007 with Henry Green updated Electric Feel, updating a timelessly sexual lyric by removing the energised complexity of original to reveal its raw form. Aside from abuse of the “?” key, I Want to Know????? from Goss is a dexterous tune, weaving between percussion and a low humming symph. Lauv’s The Other is placed upon a simple tune that feels off-the-shelf, but with an enquiry into amicable break-ups, the listener is brought back onside.
Revisiting female vocals for some easy listening and tender lyrics. In What’s Good, Fenne Lily (singer-songwriter) loops through “Finding this is hard, fighting this is new” with increasing tempo. A cover of The Cranberries central song, Zombie, now updated by Ghostly Kisses. Smoke Signals forms a third trio Phoebe Bridgers and paces through a story full of episodes, starting with ambulant “Just long enough to walden it with you.”