What do a punk band, a string quartet, an old-timey country-pop siren, a quirky-hip songwriter, and an Iranian IDM producer have in common? Pretty much nothing. Except they all released tracks in the last month that have been on heavy rotation in Soundfly HQ ever since. So read on to discover my favorite tracks release in July! (And if you’re interested in what else we’ve been digging lately, check out all our past lists here!)
Titus Andronicus — “Dimed Out”
(off of The Most Lamentable Tragedy)
Titus Andronicus, the NJ-based punk outfit fronted by the ever-illustrious Patrick Stickles, has gone above and beyond with this record. But is that really news? They’re not known for being shy and short-minded with their songs nor their live performances, which always feature energetically sprawling, genre-fusing punk-filtered instrumental passages alongside sung-screamed group vocals. Playing off the dramatic inspiration for the band’s name and album title, The Most Lamentable Tragedy is a 93-minute triple LP with close to 30 songs and plays like a veritable rock opera of grandiose yet definably relatable storytelling. It’s intense. Lyrically, there aren’t a lot of high-energy bands out there these days that can cut right into your heart like T.A., and that’s why I’m super happy they put out this lyric video for “Dimed Out”.
Quatuor Élysée — “String Quartet No. 2 in A Major, Op. 37: I. Allegretto moderato”
(off of Benjamin Godard: Les Trois Quatuors)
The Elysée Quartet’s newest recording, a collection of three string quartets by 19th century French composer Benjamin Godard, came out last month and it has had me ensconced in beautiful picturesque fields of sunflowers for weeks. Godard was a prolific composer despite only living to be 45 years of age, but has been largely forgotten. Some attribute this to his outspoken criticisms of Wagner’s anti-Semitism, and as Godard was Jewish, the cultural appreciation of his work suffered in the generations following World Wars I and II. Nonetheless, this release brings his music into the foreground, performed by one of Europe’s most beloved string quartets. Elysée practices an erudite marriage of French and Russian repertoires, continually chiseling out the last two century’s most melodic passages (founded in 1995, they’re pretty prolific themselves). The expressiveness of this Quartet’s playing breathes much deserved new life into these dusty old pieces, and makes for such an enjoyable listen through and through.
Eleni Mandell — “Someone To Love Like You”
(off of Dark Lights Up)
Eleni Mandell has this old-fashioned country-pop thing going on. When I think about it, that doesn’t sound like something I would really opt to listen to, and yet whenever I do put any of her music on, I just end up getting so swept away. It’s pretty hard not to with tracks like “Magic Summertime”, so romantically folky and jazzy yet difficult to pin down as any of these in particular. Her music is all-encompassingly nostalgic and we’ll leave it at that! Mandell has worked with immense producers and artists like Jon Brion, Nels Cline, Joey Waronker, and Joe Chiccarelli among many others and it shows in her professionalism. She’s been around the block a few times but it feels like now she’s really on the way up in a big way.
Mocky — “Whistlin’”
(off of Key Change)
Mocky’s been on our radar for so long, since he’s worked with Feist, Gonzales, Jamie Lidell, Peaches, Architecture in Helsinki, and so many others. Key Change is a solid record, through and through. There are no bad cuts on this entire album, and honestly, for a single, “Whistlin’” isn’t even the strongest track! His music is extremely soulful and bouncy, but has such a wonderful instrumental density to it that I often put some of his tracks on repeat just to go back and find new parts I hadn’t heard before. Buy the album and leave it in your car for a couple months, it will make traffic more enjoyable for sure. I won’t go into Mocky’s past so much, this mockumentary gives you everything you need to know, shrouded in glorious mystery. He also did one in 2009, he’s a bit of a quirky fella.
Ash Koosha — “Phorever”
(off of GUUD)
Iranian producer Ashkan Kooshanejad, or Ash Koosha as he is known, is brilliantly breaking down waveforms and pulses into meshes of Eastern and Western musics and sound design and firing it back at us in a post-post-IDM kind of way. This reminds me of Flying Lotus chopping up Muslimgauze, and Giant Claw reworking that. GUUD is an immense sonic experience, and unless you’re like me, trying to type while you listen, you’ll have no problem leaving your waking consciousness once you delve into this masterwork of electronic production. Stream the whole album here on Olde English Spelling Bee’s bandcamp page!
Benjamin Clementine’s voice is unlike anything we’ve heard at Soundfly for a long time. His new album At Least for Now is going to mark a new era in male pop vocal songsmithing, by upping the creative ante amongst his peers. Watch out, world, Clementine has you in his scope and he’s coming.
Prefuse 73 came back with a vengeance and released three records in 2015. One is coming out soon, they all rule. Props to Temporary Residence for locking that down and releasing all three with gorgeous corresponding artwork and helping to visually express this new, exciting phase of Guillermo Scott Herren’s career.
Soundfly Alumni Madam West released their new album Loves You on August 1. It’s got urgency, beauty, soul, a little bit of everything.
Did we miss your favorite track of the last month? Share it in the comments below! And catch on everything else we’ve been digging with the full series, here.