From Michaelmas 2011, Cherwell Music will be bringing you a weekly online mixtape – and to whet your appetite we’re compiling the best tracks each month, all summer long. The July weather went from so-so to scorching, so here’s an appropriately eclectic round-up of recent releases and summer anthems (with Viva Brother firmly off the menu). Play loud and outside – and come back next month for August’s installment.
Washed Out – Eyes Be Closed
If 2010 really saw the “summer of chillwave”, Washed Out’s climactic layered synth ballad from this July’s Within and Without proves it’s far from dead.
Ringo Deathstarr – Down On You
Austin, Texas isn’t the first place most people would associate with shoegaze, but ‘Down On You’ ably demonstrates that My Bloody Valentine’s influence has reached the Deep South. Re-released in July by London’s Club AC30, this is Ringo Deathstarr’s sunny response to New York’s recent noise-rock revival.
Wavves – King of the Beach
Fact: the best summer single of 2011. Lo-fi surf rocker Nathan Williams is lucky enough to hail from the endless summer of San Diego, California; the rest of us will have to settle for this fantastic track.
Beirut – East Harlem
Beirut is back, and he’s somehow managed to pack even more instrumentation into his compositions. ‘East Harlem’ is a teaser for his new album The Rip Tide, and we’re already excited.
Herman Dune – Tell Me Something I Don’t Know
French anti-folk duo Herman Düne have been extremely prolific in their decade of existence; their quirky songwriting could be compared to countless plaid-shirted counterparts (the Mountain Goats certainly come to mind), but their humour and endearing Franco-Anglicisms set them apart, as they do on July’s ‘Tell Me Something I Don’t Know’.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – FFunny FFrends
Unknown Mortal Orchestra provide the quintessential summer jam – don’t question the spelling, just enjoy the laid back psychedelia.
Trouble Books & Mark McGuire – Song For Reinier Lucassen’s Sphinx
The eponymous debut album from Trouble Books & Mark McGuire very nearly passed us by earlier this year but tracks like the sparkling ‘Song For Reinier Lucassen’s Sphinx’ have left us waiting with bated breath for their next move.
Common – The 6th Sense
Taken from 2000’s Like Water For Chocolate, Common spits his usual pearly wisdom atop one of DJ Premier’s most unashamedly gorgeous beats. Soulful hip hop for those long, lazy summer evenings.
Kendrick Lamar – Fuck Your Ethnicity
Up-and-coming Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar is tired of your bullshit. He’s got a message, and the flow to back it up.
Björk – Crystalline
Björk’s tenth studio effort Biophilia is due to drop in September, and we’ve only got this to sustain us until then. A return to the electronics of the groundbreaking Homogenic, ‘Crystalline’ is sure to satisfy die-hard fans (for five minutes, at any rate).
Chad Valley – Shapeless
Oxford’s very own Chad Valley mounts a strong challenge to chillwave’s poster boy Washed Out with this dreamy cut off his latest EP, Equatorial Ultravox.
Little Dragon – Ritual Union
The summer is for many things: one of them is sex. By far the most sensual release of July was Swedish quartet Little Dragon’s Ritual Union, whose title track is an exercise in warm electronics and soulful longing, courtesy of Yukimi Nagano’s stunning voice.
Twin Sister – Bad Street
A summer single par excellence. Abandoning the cosiness of their debut EP’s nostalgic dream pop, Twin Sister’s turn to groove-heavy funk has many excited for this September’s full-length In Heaven.
Jamie xx – Far Nearer
Coming off The xx’s incredibly successful self-titled debut and an acclaimed remix album of Gil Scott-Heron, producer Jamie xx continues his winning streak with this steel-drum-infused garage single.
The Horrors – Moving Further Away
Lead single ‘Still Life’ got all the attention when The Horrors returned last month with third album Skying, but this krautgaze monolith steals the show with its soaring vocals and unrelenting rhythms.
Mixer: July 2011 is also available on Spotify – click here to load the playlist.