We’re nearing the end of a blistering and memorable summer. The leaves are already changing — at least down where I am — and the weather is becoming increasingly unpredictable. However, before we put down our summer shades and switch over to our trustee melancholic college radios, we probably should debrief on the last projects of the season. Here are 4 albums released in August you really should be listening to.
Recommended Tracks: “I Just Called to Say I Hate You” and “Monica Lewinsky”
At the beginning of the month visual artist and musician Issy Wood released her first full length studio album. A high strung mix of art-pop and distorted loop-holes, My Body, Your Choice, sounds like a wholly realized vision.
Track after track, Wood guides you through unexpected, yet welcomed, twists and turns sure to thematically and musically stick with you longer than the record's running time. For example the third — and most memorable — track, “Trash,” couples a universal feeling of deception and slight masochism "I've got a talent for staring at people that will treat me bad (...) No wonder I feel like trash” with a rather interesting harmonic direction filled with dissonant peaks and valleys. Throughout the record, Issy Wood perfectly portrays the emotional imbalancement felt in moments of romantic angst and deception. Much like her art, My Body, Your Choice contains hyper realistic and cheeky undertones sure to stir up a chuckle or two.
Recommended Tracks: “Ignore Tenderness” and “End of A Friendship”
If My Body, Your Choice oozes tension and angst, Julia Jacklin’s Pre Pleasure, feels like a reassuring breath of fresh air. While her previous albums have gained traction and are well loved among fans, her third studio album effectively and rightfully smoothed every wrinkled thought, leaving room for nothing short of praise.
A sort of musical brain dump, Julia uses this record as a medium to sort through her youth, romantic and platonic realizations, as well as her journey towards self-actualization. From recalling a youthful obsession with Jesus Christ Superstar and healing her relationship with her body, to finding comfort in intimacy and reflecting on complex mother-daughter relationships, every track on Pre Pleasure could inspire an insightful and fruitful journal prompt. Ranging far and wide between the classic singer-songwriter sound, to hard-hitting tracks begging to be blasted through earbuds “I Was Neon”, the album flows quite naturally following the tide and intuitively mirroring its thematic essence. Ever so grateful and completely obsessed with the record, I wouldn’t be surprised if Pre Pleasure made it into my top 5 this year.
Recommended Tracks: “Cody Prince” and “Singapore”
Turning over the leaf to the internet's new favorite collective — and our honorary EP of the month — we have Junior Varsity’s sophomore project, SIDE B. Delivering on the premature hype they experienced prior to their debut EP, SIDE B validates said “hype,” while broadening their sound and impact.
Perfectly on beat with the current pulse of alt-rock, and 90s punk, hybrids sprinkled around the music industry these days, the EP offers a healthy balance between fervent and dreamy. Overall, SIDE B feels new but also familiar, a trait that only accentuates their magnetic qualities. While the scratchy and blip induced “Cody Prince” loosely reminds me of an alternate version of Alex G’s “Gnaw,” “Singapore” shows off a softer version of the collective's signature sound in brilliant new colors. If you weren't in on their magic — although it’s hard not to be — now is the time to listen to Junior Varsity, and get hooked for eternity.
Recommended tracks: “Still” and “Get Around”
Mid-August, Kenny Beats announced his debut album Louie. In a statement released alongside the announcement he shared, “I always said that I wouldn’t do a solo album because I didn’t have anything to say. Finally, I did.” Too much of a fan to relay feelings of judgment or skepticism I patiently waited for the release, and gave it a chance.
Created out of necessity, after hearing of his father's diagnosis, the final product is an impressive mix of colorful — and well sourced — beats and satisfying features. Nothing close to the bombastic and metallic approach he’s taken on in previous collaborative projects, Kenny presents a combination of timeless soul samples perfectly interwoven into lo-fi-esque beats. Contrary to the arrangement of most albums, the features almost serve as interludes joining the record together. While the album was unexpected, Louie allowed Kenny to accomplish something that felt close to a calling at the time, in return giving us an opportunity to see him in a new light.