This month I’ll start with the disappointments, new albums from M.I.A. and School of Seven Bells both failed to deliver. Recent controversy aside M.I.A. gave us a lazy collection of half arsed songs and hide behind noise and dissidence or lightweight pop fluff. Lightweight was also a word that sprang to mind while listening to ‘Disconnect from Desire’ by School of Seven Bells, rather than experiencing a spiritual experience removed the daily wants or mores. Instead I found a cold, limp wash of sound that made little of the impact that the mainstream music media praised it for. In fact I’ve found that the critical acclaim afford to their début was also some what misplaced. I’d recommend checking out “We Fell to Earth” by We Fell to Earth a much deeper and darker proposition but one of that thrills and chills a lot more than School of Seven Bells. Better still just dropped the price to £4.99!!

Following on from Big Boi’s brilliant new album comes his protegé Janelle Monae and her album “The Archandriod” a concept album set in the future in which she plays the character Cindi Mayweather and veers between rap, classical, folk, funk, rock and many other genres and hybrids across 18 tracks. Though definitely over the top, Monae skillfully handles these schizophrenic breast and her versatility is a trump card showcasing an amazing vocal and songwriting talent.

Tobacco added to last year’s excellent Black Moth Super Rainbow (BMSR) “Eating Us” with “Maniac Meat” a seat of the joyride filled with greasy, distorted beats and bass lines, Beck guest slots, sticky, sweet analogue synths and some great song titles. There are too many titles to list here but here’s some selected highlights ‘Constellation Dirtbike Head’, ‘Lick the Witch’, ‘Unholy Demon Rhythms’ and ‘Grape Aerosmith’. I’d have to agree with Pitchfork’s suggestion that its nessels somewhere between Boards of Canada’s “Geogaddi” (a reference that had stuck me listening to BMSR) and El-P’s “Fantastic Damage”, matching the psychedelic synth swirls of the former with the dirty hip-hop beats of the later.

Finally I rounded the month out with Oneohtrix Point Never’s “Returnal” a mesmerising piece of ambient music, filled with wave after wave of synthetic sound and evoking images of oceans and distant memories. “Returnal” is a contender for album of the year.

Spotify playlist (plus some August extras):

July 2010 playlist

Recommendations for August:

El-P – “Weareallgoingtohellmixx3” (Gold Dust) 2nd August

Lloyd Miller and The Heliocentrics – “Lloyd Miller and The Heliocentrics” (Strut) 2nd August

Various Artist – “Afro Beat Airways: West African Shock Waves Ghana & Togo 1972-1978” (Analog Africa) 9th August

Matthew Dear – “Black City” (Ghostly International) 16th August

!!! – “Strange Weather, Isn’t It” (Warp) 23rd August

Mogwai – “Special Moves” (Rock Action) 23rd August

Bruce Haack – “Farad: The Electric Voice” (Stones Throw) 30th August

Maximum Balloon “Maximum Balloon” (Polydor) 30th August