Monthly Music Round-Up — August 2020
August 2020 has been an absolutely crazy month. To start off, this month is of-course the one in which I went through a massive creative overhaul, and essentially split my artwork and writing into two seperate accounts.
But oddly enough, with the month starting off depressingly scarce in the music department, the very last thing I had been expecting was for August to hold the shared record of most projects reviewed in a month, alongside the very productive month that was February.
With that being said, sorting the thirteen records I had reviewed in order of least favourite to favourite, along with selecting 20 tracks out of a seemingly bottomless pool of amazing material, is certainly no cakewalk.
But needless to say, I hope that you enjoy this revamped edition of my Monthly Music Round-up series, with a hefty amount of music to really beef this article up.
1: Ranking Records That I’ve Reviewed
With the most records to be reviewed by myself in a month since February, ranking each of them from least favourite to favourite was a tricky task. But I am confident with my final ranking. So without further ado, let’s start.
#13 — The Killers — Imploding The Mirage
Thankfully, this month didn’t have a single record that was downright unenjoyable. But if I had to choose one to place at the bottom of this list, it would unfortunately have to be the latest release from The Killers. While their debut album Hot Fuss remains my favourite to this very day, the underwhelming and overly-contemporary feel of this new album does well to reflect why I’m not to crazy about this band nowadays.
#12 — Hudson Mohawke — B.B.H.E
Believe it or not, this isn’t even the only album that Glaswegian DJ Hudson Mohawke had released in August 2020, but I didn’t even bother to really delve into the later-released Poom Gems, as I feel that B.B.H.E had already cemented that Hudson Mohawke’s overly-experimental, chaotic, and disjointed style was something I didn’t enjoy very much.
#11 — LibraLibra — Hail Mary
Already moving into enjoyable territory, LibraLibra’s debut EP is nothing to scoff at, despite only being placed eleventh on this list. And while this EP indeed feels like it could’ve had just that little bit more substance added in, there are a handful of tracks on this thing that were very enjoyable.
#10 — Stand Atlantic — Pink Elephant
This album just about squeezes past the likes of LibraLibra’s Hail Mary EP, mostly because of how much more substantial it feels. But don’t let that fool you into thinking that it is this album’s only good quality. There is so much emotion poured into this album, especially in terms of the amazing vocals, but lyrically, and in terms of narrative, it still felt very rough around the edges.
#9 — Creeper — Sex, Death & The Infinite Void
After a long hiatus following their debut album, Creeper return for their sophomore album, which ramps up the affiliation with My Chemical Romance all the more blatantly. But despite its enjoyable blend of moody and campy gothic emo rock, the contextual aspect of this album does feel a little slippery.
#8 — jimbo — Jimbo’s House Party
Jimbo’s House Party is an excellent example of a completely independently made project, that truly feels up-to-scratch. I also feel that this EP perfectly captures the rawness and slightly goofy aesthetic of the YouTuber known on that platform as Jay Swingler, who is the mastermind behind this project. And while I feel that simply adding the later released single “Honda” would’ve made this EP even more enjoyable, it’s still a very solid effort as it is.
#7 — Eyedress — Let’s Skip to the Wedding
While Eyedress’ Let’s Skip to the Wedding is still a fair bit away from being my favourite album of the month, I would still say that it was contextually one of the strongest. I really enjoyed the warmly psychedelic, bittersweet, and versatile vibe of this album. I also loved the coming-of-maturity type of impression I got from this project. It was just unfortunately a case of having an amount of musical duds that almost matched the highlights that stopped this album from being so great.
#6 — Tkay Maidza — Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 2
This is honestly the first I had heard from the artist that is Tkay Maidza, but the sheer level of versatility that her newest EP offers is genuinely on-par with the likes of Rina Sawayama’s debut album which was also released this year. The raw level of talent that Tkay Maidza has is loud and clear on this awesome little project.
#5 — Ho99o9 — Blurr
After a few years of being more consistent with the more hardcore-punk side of their signature style, it was very refreshing to see the collective known as Ho99o9 switch things up a little stylistically with their newest mixtape. Many of the tracks on this thing feel more reminiscent to the early-day material of Ho99o9, while still keeping that sense of edge that they have been sharpening over the years.
#4 — Nas — King’s Disease
I genuinely went into this project at first, thinking that I could confidently place it as my favourite album of the month. But despite the appeal of King’s Disease going fairly stale in a short span of time, it wasn’t enough for it to lose its enjoyability altogether. This album is still a consistently good listen, which I still believe is on-par with the likes of the previously released NASIR.
#3 — Fantastic Negrito — Have You Lost Your Mind yet?
The newest release from the insanely underrated funk/soul/blues artist Fantastic Negrito has been something that had been highly anticipated from myself, and it’s definitely great to say that it did not disappoint. Have You Lost Your Mind yet? has a brilliant array of different moods to choose from, which allows the album as a whole to really burst with a dynamic colour.
#2 — Biffy Clyro — A Celebration Of Endings
The newest release from Biffy Clyro is nothing less than a furthering for letting us know that the band absolutely have their style and aesthetic down to a T, and we do not want it any other way than that. Nevertheless, A Celebration Of Endings add an even more regal and intellectual atmosphere t their already remarkable formula.
#1 — Disclosure — ENERGY
So even with all of the great music I had reviewed over the course of the month, the very last one to be reviewed still managed to swiftly creep into the number one spot. However, it is more than deserved.
It’s fair to say that there was a lot of pressure on ENERGY to be an album that still captured Disclosure’s aesthetic, a whole five years after their previous album Caracal. But not only do they retain their aesthetic; Disclosure actually go beyond that, to sound even more similar to their debut album than Caracal.
Along with this, the extra hype created by the fact that I aim to see them live properly for the first time in March of next year, ENERGY ended up being a completely solid continuation in the Disclosure discography, and overall just an incredibly fun experience.
2: Top 20 Tracks of the Month
You best believe that whittling all of the amazing tracks in August 2020 down to just 20 was a very difficult task. Not just from well-known artists, but from independent upcomers as well, you should 100 percent listen to all of thes if you haven’t already.
#20 — LibraLibra — Listerine
A wonderful, and slow-burning way to end the awesome debut EP from LibraLibra, this tracks sees the band go full-on Kate Bush, and listeners are blessed with some god-tier vocals.
#19 — Joji — Daylight (feat. Diplo)
Only heightening my excitement towards the upcoming Joji record even more, “Daylight” feels both theatrically ambient and infectiously catchy.
#18 — ToyQueens — Miss That Mind
The debut single from the solo side project of one of the members of Talkslow (who we’ll get into later); “Miss That Mind” has an awesomely astral and bewitching feel to it. And while I love both the styles of Talkslow and ToyQueens, I also love how different they are as well.
#17 — jimbo — Baby Don’t Go (feat.Yxngxr1)
I feel that this track best represents just how genuine this EP sounds. And thanks to Yxngxr1’s feature, this truly does feel like one of the most complete songs on Jimbo’s House Party.
#16 — Tkay Maidza — Awake (feat. JPEGMAFIA)
While the newest EP from Tkay Maidza does indeed have a versatile range of styles and moods, “Awake” feels especially unique for being one of the most hard-hitting and gritty tunes on the project. The kind of beat that this track has really suits both JPEGMAFIA’s and Maidza’s own vocal styles as well.
#15 — JPEGMAFIA — Living Single
From a song that features JPEGMAFIA, straight to his own newest track, “Living Single” is a vibe-filled tune with a nicely slow pace, but also with enough bite to keep it engaging, so the best of both worlds really.
#14 — Billie Eilish — my future
While this track is a bit more lacking in the whole spooky aesthetic that billie Eilish usually champions, “my future” is a very refreshing change of pace for the artist. There’s still quite a nocturnal atmosphere to it, but one that feels a lot more serene and gorgeous in its melody.
#13 — Talkslow — Orbit
the third 2020 release from Talkslow feels like the kind of tune you would listen to on the plane to your hypothetical holiday destination. In other words, t has an incredibly warm and festive energy, whilst still being stripped back enough in its soaring electronic sound to make for an equally accessible and enjoyable listen.
#12 — Travis Barker — Forever (feat. Run The Jewels)
Let’s just say that Travis Barker’s beat on this track absolutely goes hand-in-hand with RTJ’s unrelenting and gritty aesthetic. There’s such a raw evel of engagement with this track, that it was one that I fell in love with almost instantly.
#11 — Travis Scott — The Plan
From one Travis to another, we now have Travis Scott’s newest track, that serves as part of the soundtrack for the upcoming movie Tenet. At first, I struggled to imagine how Travis Scott would successfully create a track that fits well with a movie like Tenet, but he really did managed to pull it off perfectly, with the track being a fine balance of Travis’ style, and the sense of theatrical gravitas needed for a good movie soundtrack.
#10 — Dizzee Rascal — L.L.L.L (Love Life Live Large)(feat. Chip)
From one of my all time favourite UK rap artists, we finally have a brand new track, which really succeeds at bring a warm and dynamic energy thanks to its awesome beat. I think that lyrically, this track really excels too.
#9 — Seeva — Princess
While Seeva has seemingly been increasingly more upbeat with each tracks, this track offers a slow-burning change of pace, in what is possibly one of his most deep and intimate tracks to date. You truly feel every word of this gorgeous ballad.
#8 — Nas — All Bad (feat. Anderson. Paak)
While I feel that the beat on this track does much more of a service to Anderson. Paak than to Nas himself, I don’t really have much of a problem with that. In fact, I could genuinely see a track like this being on last years Andy .Paak album Ventura, without me even batting an eye.
#7 — Disclosure — Reverie (feat. Common)
While many of the tracks on Disclosure’s newest album have that strong sense of electronic dance familiarity, I actually really liked how different this track sounded from the rest. With its casual, interlude like pacing, but also with a psychedelic twist, this song definitely stood as one of the album’s most memorable moments for me.
#6 — Anderson. Paak — CUT EM IN (feat. Rick Ross)
I really love the kind of Anderson .Paak singles that show a more gritty attitude from the artist. “CUT EM IN” is most definitely one of those tracks. And with the awesome beat that lays the foundation for this bop, both Anderson .Paak and Rick Ross really shine through.
#5 — Fantastic Negrito — Your Sex Is Overrated (feat. Masa Kohama)
It’s definitely no secret that Fantastic Negrito always adds a very soulful and emotional flare to his songs. However, “Your Sex Is Overrated” sees the bluesy singer really give it his absolute all, both in his dynamic vocals, and the phenomenal guitar solo.
#4 — Psychedelic Porn Crumpets — Mr. Prism
While the grip that Psychedelic Porn Crumpets had on me with last years album has loosened over the months, I definitely feel that my attention is back on the psychedelic rock band, with what is possibly my new favourite song of theirs. With an almost Cage The Elephant like sense of groove, “Mr. Prism” stands atop the PPC discography.
#3 — Biffy Clyro — North Of No South
The opening track to their latest album, “North Of No South” does really well to embody what makes Biffy Clyro such an enjoyable and dynamic band. With both softer and more hard hitting moments, it is foolproof when it comes to getting the listeners hyped up for the rest of the albums content.
#2 — Ho99o9 — Firefly Family (Feat Mike IX)
While I appreciated the stylistic switch-up on Ho99o9’s latest mixtape, my favourite track on said project still ended up being the one with the most hardcore-punk influence. While “Firefly Family” is already explosive in the earlier segments, it’s towards the end of the track where things get completely chaotic, in the best way possible.
#1 — IDLES — Model Village
While there are many previous IDLES bangers to choose from, I can honestly say that I feel “Model Village” perfectly embodies everything that IDLES stand for (or stand against in the case of the lyrics within “Model Village”).
It is nothing short of pure and simple punk energy, that really took me back to the early days of punk. The sheer rawness and genuine presence of this track alone, make it a possible contender for being my favourite track that IDLES have put out to date.
And it is mainly thanks to “Model Village” that I cannot wait to take a dive into their upcoming album upon its release.
3: Music Video of the Month
Idles — Model Village
That’s right; not only is the latest IDLES track my favourite of this month, but it also has had my favourite music video of the month as well.
While the music video for Greentea Peng’s “Hu Man” was most certainly a noteworthy contender, with its brilliant use of transition, I could not deny that the music video for “Model Village” looked like it must’ve taken absolutely ages to make, with all of its 2.5 dimensional cardboard animation.
I also felt that this music video aesthetically fit with the song really well too, and really adds an extra layer to the narrative behind this ncredible track.
Directed by Michel Gondry and Olivier Gondry, in collaboration with WeTransfer
4: Cover Art of the Month
Tkay Maidza — Last Year Was Weird, Vol.2
While I didn’t have a solid idea for what album cover I’d be including, I remembered just how surreal, wondrous, and dynamic the cover art for Tkay Maidza’s latest EP was.
I feel that the artwork itself played a huge role in convincing me to listen to the EP anyway, and I thankfully managed to discover a brilliant musical piece thanks to it.
So that, along with…ahem…all the flying motorcycles, should qualify this cover art for being my favourite of this month.
5: Records I Almost Reviewed
Given how crazy this month has been musically, I’m glad that there weren’t a shed-load of projects that I had been too busy to review, but the following may still have a chance of being reviewed towards the end of the year;
Fontaines D.C. — A Hero’s Death
Gregory Porter — All Rise
Kiesza — Crave
So with that, it’s both the end of another month, and the end of a pretty surreal summer. And while, especially in regards to the lack of festival season, it hasn’t been as musically eventful, I am still more than happy with all of the amazing new music that the summer of 2020 has bought us.
Thank you for reading, and stay tuned for more reviews and round-ups.