The last couple of weeks have been a pretty dire time for album releases, but happily, there’s respite to be had in August — there’s a fair selection of worthwhile records due out over the next four weeks, and as ever, we’ve pored over the release schedules to bring you our selection of the 10 best, along with a quick roundup of other notable upcoming releases. There’s an eclectic selection to be found after the jump: everything from cerebral piano-led ambience to neo-dreampop and the return of Ariel Pink — and at least one genuine album of the year contender. (Spoiler alert: SWANS.) Let us know in the comments section what’s on your shopping list for August.
Willits & Sakamoto — Ancient Future (August 7)
Anyone who enjoyed Japanese visionary Ryuichi Sakamoto’s work with Alva Noto will find much to like here — this record shares a similar stately beauty and a similarly reflective mood. We’ve had a copy to listen to of late, and have found it to be excellent music for writing/reading/general contemplating.
Antony & the Johnsons — Cut the World (August 7)
Nearly a decade after I Am a Bird Now brought him to the attention of the world, Antony Hegarty’s hyper-theatrical voice remains something of an acquired taste, but if you’re partial to his charms, then getting hold of this record — a collection of live symphonic recordings that makes up something of a best-of compilation — will no doubt be on your to-do list.
Nü Sensae — Sundowning (August 7)
This Vancouver trio has been slowly building an excellent reputation on the road, which means its second album is sure to find a bigger audience. At least, we hope it will, because it’s got all the neo-grunge churn and pathos of Hole and Nirvana, with an added dose of hardcore energy.
Dead Can Dance — Anastasis (August 14)
Early word on this is that it isn’t great, which is a shame, because at their best, Dead Can Dance truly sounded like no one else. Their atmospheric and decidedly spooky music was a huge influence on the development of goth, and they were a key component of 4AD’s ’80s roster. We’ll still be picking up a copy of this to make up our own minds, and we suggest you do the same.
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti — Mature Themes (August 21)
The evolution of Ariel Pink from home-recording oddball into genuine international pop star has been one of the stranger and more heartening musical developments of recent years, although judging by the ill-disguised contempt with which he was singing “Round and Round” live by the beginning of last year, you do have to wonder what the man himself made of it all. Still, he’s forging forward — according to the advance press on this album, Pink says, “There are definitely not any links to my lo-fi origins… It’s really the record I wanted to make back when I made [2010 album] Before Today, but couldn’t.” We’ll be intrigued to hear it.
Yeasayer — Fragrant World (August 21)
We’ll also be intrigued to see where Yeasayer’s career goes with this, their third album — we were rather partial to their debut record, 2007’s All Hour Cymbals, but the pretty-much-180-degree creative turn they took with 2010’s Odd Blood was less to our taste, even if it did end up selling a heap of copies. At first listen, Fragrant World leans rather toward the latter than the former, but still, it’s a notable release, and your mileage may vary, and etc etc.
Four Tet — Pink (August 21)
We’ve always been partial to Kieran Hebden’s cerebral take on electronic music, and thus a new Four Tet album is always a welcome development. From what we’ve heard so far — i.e. several tracks that have already been released on 12″ — this should definitely be worth hearing.
Swans — The Seer (August 28)
Behold August’s contribution to the album of the year debate. This is basically like being punched repeatedly in the head by a large man with an oversize cigar — and loving every minute.
Dan Deacon — America (August 28)
It’s good to see that Baltimore’s resident hyper-talented composer hasn’t retreated entirely into the world of classical music — and the thought of Deacon doing a sort of state-of-the-nation concept record excites us rather a lot, to be honest.
Holy Other — Held (August 28)
And finally, more Tri Angle-y goodness to round out August’s release schedule. This continues the Frank Ocean-led trend of R&B-influenced music that’s actually, y’know, good — what’s the world coming to, eh? Admittedly, Holy Other’s ethereally beautiful productions are a long, long way from Bel Biv DeVoe, but still, we’re liking this trend a great deal — and we can’t wait to get hold of this record.
Also out this month:
Sweet Valley — Stay Calm (August 7) In which Nathan Williams and brother get really stoned and decide, “Dude! Duuuuude! What about, like, a side project?”
Antibalas — Antibalas (August 7) The whole idea of a Brooklyn-based Afrobeat band is more than a little incongruous, but hey, if you’re going to take inspiration from someone, you could do a lot worse than Fela Kuti, eh?
Turbonegro — Sexual Harassment (August 7) Look, we loved Ass Cobra as much as anyone, and we still take great pleasure in bellowing along with “I Got Erection,” but Turbonegro without Hank Von Helvete? It just ain’t right.
Insane Clown Posse — The Mighty Death Pop! (August 14) This was meant to be out in June, but it got pushed back. Fuckin’ release dates, how do they work?
Kreayshawn — Somethin ‘Bout Kreay (August 14) It says something about the Internet age that the Kreayshawn backlash started about three microseconds after “Gucci Gucci” dropped, and that she feels like ooooooooold news, even though it’s barely a year since she released said track. Sigh.
Bloc Party — Four (August 21) NME readers, rejoice.
Six Organs of Admittance — Ascent (August 21) Plug in, turn up, wig out.
The Darkness — Hot Cakes (August 21) We’re going to leave this one to Morrissey.
Matthew Dear — Beams (August 28) Good lord, finally an “also out this month” we can actually get excited about. Dear’s productions are always good, and we’re looking forward to hearing this.
Wild Nothing — Nocturne (August 28) And another! Yay for neo-dreampop/shoegaze-y stuff — if genres are to be revived, they might as well at least be good ones.
Alanis Morrissette — Havoc and Bright Lights (August 28) New album out late August is.
Hoobastank — Fight or Flight (August 28) How does this band still exist? Matter of fact, how did they ever exist? God help us all.