Our favourite records of summer 2019

Eva Mackevic

As everyone's counting down the days to the new Lana del Rey or Taylor Swift album, make sure you don't let these five gems fall off the radar 

The Peyote Dance by Soundwalk Collective with Patti Smith 

Imagine wandering alone down the wild, sprawling Mexican canyons, hallucinating on peyote, following in the tracks of a tragic French poet who died in a psychiatric clinic a century ago. Now translate it into music and you have The Peyote Dance. A hypnotic, sacred mantra-like collection, it's the first in a triptych of albums entitled The Perfect Vision which take their inspiration from the writings of three iconic French poets: Antonin Artaud, Arthur Rimbaud and Rene Daumal. They’re the brainchild of the eclectic Soundwalk Collective who have brought Artaud’s writing to life here with a little help from Patti Smith and her angsty, raw voice that fits these uncompromising, sometimes-vulgar texts like a glove.

Listening to the album itself is an incredibly sensual, almost physically palpable experience; the rhythmic, repetitive chants lull you into a state of trance while the sounds of campfire flames and hushed whispers of the wind transport you to a higher plane; somewhere incredibly remote, mystical, where time has stopped thousands of years ago.

 

Can You Really Find Me by Night Moves 

As the longer, balmier summer evenings begin to lull you into a romantic, quietly electrified state of mind, you might find yourself looking for new tunes to complement that blissful mood. Enter Night Moves—a duo from Minneapolis who have remained largely under the radar since their 2012 debut, and now return with the smooth and buoyant Can You Really Find Me. A deliciously syrupy but sleek collection of ten poppy earworms, the record spans everything from dreamy psychedelia to 1970s folk-rock via Britpop and a pit stop in Hawaii.

Each song exudes a unique character that sets it apart from the rest but particular standouts include the elated, heart-warming ballad “Keep Me in Mind” that could’ve easily been written by The Lovin’ Spoonful, or the tuneful, longing “Angelina” that sounds like a tender prequel to the doomed love story of Stones’ “Angie”.

Can You Really Find Me is ambitious but not overbearing, sweet but never sickening, diverse without trying too hard—a low-key but robust candidate for your soundtrack to the summer of 2019.

 

EGOLI by Africa Express 

There are numerous reasons why you should listen to Africa Express’ new album, EGOLI. As with all the organisation’s past projects, the idea behind this record is a really cool one: through collaborations with such high-profile Western artists as Damon Albarn, Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys or Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner, Africa Express continue their mission of showcasing the vibrant and varied African music scene, this time travelling to South Africa (“eGoli” is the alternative Zulu name for Johannesburg) for seven days to record music with the local artists.

And the result is as pleasantly surprising and fresh as you’d expect. Spanning 18 diverse tracks, EGOLI joyfully toys with sunny reggae motifs, gets down and dirty for some hefty hip hop beats and boogies down to clubby electro numbers that give off strong Noughties’ Kylie Minogue vibes. It’s a clubby, warm collection of catchy ditties that shine a new light on traditional African folk music and are bound to get you moving your hips.

 

Lust and Learn by The Slow Show 

The Slow Show may not sound much different from your standard indie-pop fare at first blush; the pensive piano, the seamless song transitions, the carefully construed melodic build-ups. But once you’re lulled into a false sense of security, vocalist Rob Goodwin crashes into life with his gloriously croaky, outlandish baritone and nothing is ever the same again. Brooding, spine-tinglingly raspy and ripe, his vocals are so eccentric that you’d be forgiven for thinking that Goodwin had some rare (but brilliantly fortuitous) voice disorder that made him sound this way.

But the surprises don’t end there. Lust and Learn is a panoply of unusual, thoughtful touches like incorporating an angelic choir acting as a refreshing contrast to Goodwin’s earthy vocals, going for the soul where his voice reaches for the groin; or the weirdly nostalgic combos of up-tempo rhythms paired with melancholy strings that evoke memories of early Noughties’ Moby or Enya. It’s a one-of-a-kind, deeply atmospheric record, that will demand your time and attention—but don’t the good ones always do so?

Out on August 30 via PIAS 

 

Chance Versus Causality and 1974-76 by Cabaret Voltaire 


For those with a soft spot for the chaotic sounds of old school industrial, this double bill will be the perfect end-of-summer treat. Cabaret Voltaire are a pioneering electronic group who heftily contributed to shaping the uncompromisingly harsh sound of 1970s industrial. Their upcoming project is a moody, grimy duo comprising the 1979 soundtrack to Chance Versus Causality, available officially for the first time since the movie’s release, as well as the first vinyl release of their album 1974-76, recorded during the band’s formative years.

It’s an incredibly experimental, dada collection which the band referred to as one of their “ambient sets”—less rhythm, more tape. And boy, did they mean it. A subversive cocktail of distorted recordings, disjointed rhythms and bizarro effects, it’s a fantastically drony, neurotic collection that could teach its successors like house music or synth-pop a thing or two about originality and DIY flair. 

Out on August 30 via Mute 

Read more: A brief introduction to industrial music 

 

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