i started out this month in norway and i’ll end it in bozeman, montana en route to my new home in the pacific northwest.  kind of a whirlwind month.  over the past four weeks i’ve digested a fair amount of music in between unpacking, repacking, and panicking about life decisions, but august seems to have been just the calm before the storm that is september and its abundance of releases.  while you brace yourself for that inevitable future, scroll through to find out what may have passed you by in august.  as always, albums first.

august 5th: twin peaks – wild onion 

august 12th: fka twigs – lp1

august 19th: dragonforce – maximum overload 

august 26th: j mascis – tied to a star

twin peaks is fun.  their second release, wild onion, is a bit sloppy and their band name is still a bit ridiculous, but the young chicago quartet have proven themselves as apt songwriters and charismatic musicians.  the second week of the month saw the gaslight anthem take on unabashed, polished rock music and porter robinson make his contribution to the grandiose electro-pop world, but it most importantly saw fka twigs deliver her landmark debut full-length, complete with a no-bullshit title mirroring her previous eps.  armed with heavy-hitting singles “two weeks” and “pendulum,” lp1 is an eclectic trip-hop force to be reckoned with, and probably will be come the end of the year.  august capped off nicely with a new solo effort from j mascis, which leans a bit more towards his electric and jam-band influences than its predecessor, 2011’s several shades of why, did.

 

our pals at orchid tapes had a busy month, putting on a showcase in los angeles and releasing a gorgeous album by ex-confusion while also unleashing new tracks from the upcoming foxes in fiction and mister lies records.  los angeles-via-wisconsin-via-maine rapsmith milo shared “you are go(o)d to me,” the first taste of his upcoming album a toothpaste suburb, and slow magic dropped another cut from his impending release on downtown records.  the focal point of the month, however, soon proved to be sea oleena and her new single “if i’m,” the first taken from her long-awaited debut album shallow, out at the end of september via lefse records.  with a commanding voice, the right chord progressions and an expansive instrumental palate, “if i’m” embodies a singular, haunting persona that places oleena at the forefront of album releases this fall.

 

music videos also saw some resurgence this month.  danny brown hacked away at the lyric video format in the visual representation of his collaboration with rustie, and kool a.d. hung out with toro y moi and amaze 88 in the easygoing, chillwave meets old-school hip-hop music video for “the front.”  the war on drugs all sat in a room and played through “under the pressure,” and the weeknd dropped not one, but two music videos.  in “king of the fall,” abel tesfaye moves in slow motion throughout toronto, crooning about his sexual prowess as usual, but for once he actually seems a bit happy.  maybe it’s because of all of those amends he alludes to, like making nice with doc mckinney (and hopefully returning to a house of balloons aesthetic) and getting buddy-buddy with drake again.  we’ll see how long that lasts.

 

september brings a potential abundance of fantastic music, with releases from slow magic, milo, death from above 1979, sea oleena, and foxes in fiction all slated to drop.  inevitably there will be more, because there’s always more, so check back again this time next month to get all caught up.

early in july, nick zanca released “flood you” and “medusa” as mister lies, a pair of tracks that served as teasers for his impending album on orchid tapes.  due out october 28th, shadow has immense promise to fit nicely within the label’s canon; its lead single, “deepend,” is a lush exercise in ambiance, with the warmth of sweeping synths and triggered drums augmented by zanca’s earnest vocals and the timbral benefits of ansel cohen’s cello lines.  take a listen below.

slow magic has been unbelievably consistent this summer, releasing a new track from his upcoming full-length how to run away at the end of each month.  august is no exception; today the mysterious producer has shared “waited 4 u,” his brightest and most upbeat single yet.  those adjectives are relative, however, as “waited 4 u” still hinges ever so slightly on slow magic’s penchant for eerie, trembling melodies.  how to run away is out via downtown records september 9th.  stream “waited 4 u” below.

tom krell returned as how to dress well earlier this summer with “what is this heart?,” an effort that found krell enthusiastically exploring all of the pop potential contained within his carefully crafted aesthetic.  “words i don’t remember” was one of the first tracks to surface from the album, and it’s one of the most indicative of his new direction.  watch krell and his live band tear through a soaring rendition of the track during a visit to the kcrw studios below.

kid trailspatrick jeffords routinely finds himself playing bass guitar and looking cool in both toro y moi and painted palms, but over the past few years jeffords has also been sporadically releasing music of his own under the moniker kid trails.  his latest effort is an ep entitled out here, a decidedly complete offering in comparison to his various mixtape appearances.  while jeffords supports lush, exquisitely-produced acts in a live setting, his own work in the studio is comparatively raw.  besides enlisting the help of fellow toro y moi bandmate andy woodward to play drums and mix the ep, jeffords handles all of the chores on out here, from the squealing synths and bouncing bass lines on “along” to the poppy guitar work on “care to.”  stream and download out here below, courtesy of kid trails’ bandcamp page.

 

in light of the subconscious grouping of these mixtapes into sets of three, this installment feels extra satisfactory.  the ninth lazy sunday mixtape kicks off with “two step,” the wonderful new track from adelyn rose off of their summering ep, a tour-only release that will eventually make its way to the masses.  other offerings include an old sea oleena cut, an understated alvvays jam from their self-titled debut, and b-sides from vampire weekend and the national.  check it out.

atsuhito omori records lush, ambient music under the moniker ex-confusion, the kind that cherry-picks specific emotions and at times sounds downright cinematic.  the japanese musician has teamed up with brooklyn’s orchid tapes to release his new album, flow, out on cassette next tuesday.  take a listen to the serene title track below, and pre-order flow from the orchid tapes store here.

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