In the first of a new series, we take a look at this month’s best new and upcoming album releases.
August is a veritable pick ‘n’ mix of styles, as husky vintage bluesman Nathaniel Rateliff rubs shoulders with the likes of pop’s latest darling, Carly Rae Jepsen, and surreal electro-pop Aussie Sui Zhen.
Dr. Dre – Compton
It’s a busy time for Dr Dre, what with NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton on the horizon, and the release of his long-awaited, chronically overdue third album, Compton (originally slated to be the ever-delayed Detox, before he decided to scrap a decade’s worth of work and start a fresh) – and it seems as though Dre hasn’t lost any of the fire that first launched his career, alongside Ice Cube and Easy E.
This is a bold, confident release that makes sure Dre’s influence will stick around for another generation.
Available now on iTunes, priced £9.99.
Straight Outta Compton Official Trailer #1
Jess Glynne – I Cry When I Laugh
The flame-haired London singer has collaborated with the likes of Clean Bandit, Tinie Tempah and Emeli Sandé, but is finally venturing out on her own with her debut LP, I Cry When I Laugh, which features her number one single Hold My Hand.
Tapping into the dance-pop wave that is currently storming the charts (see Years & Years), Glynne melds heartfelt lyrics with dance floor friendly beats and a rich, throaty vocal.
Available August 14 on iTunes, priced £8.99.
Jess Glynne – Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats – Self Titled
Rateliff has been winning accolades since 2010 – only back then, he was producing Mumford and Sons-y folk that, while proficient, was certainly not a patch on the stonking blues-laden, hootenanny-rocking Americana he’s crafting now.
Track S.O.B. perfectly captures what Rateliff and his seven-piece band are all about: it’s a foot-stomping floor-filler, powered by the frontman’s gravelly vocals and a playfulness that belies that grit and gravitas behind the swing (see the accompanying video, below, for further evidence).
But be warned – Rateliff is a dangerous man. One listen and you’ll be hooked.
Available August 21 via iTunes, priced £7.99.
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats – S.O.B.
Carly Rae Jepsen – Emotion
When Tom Hanks offers to star in your new video, you’ve made it. And yet, you’d be forgiven for not knowing much about pop’s latest wunderkind, Carly Rae Jepsen.
Chances are, you’ll have heard her monster hit Call Me, Maybe – along with the 700 million others ratcheting up her Youtube views – taken from debut album Kiss, in 2012.
Far from the usual tabloid-fodder of today’s pop stars, Jepsen is managing to stay under the radar, which is possibly why her particular brand of pop is such a hit with critics and fans alike. There’s real talent here, and her second album is set to burn up the competition.
Available August 21 in the US and September 25 in the UK via iTunes, priced $10.99.
Carly Rae Jepsen – I Really Like You
Beach House – Depression Cherry
Baltimore dream-poppers Beach House are back with their fifth album, Depression Cherry, the follow-up to 2012’s Bloom.
The band have recently said that the record is “a return to simplicity, with songs structured around a melody and a few instruments” – it’s a bold, and wise, choice for the pair, with Depression Cherry feeling more considered and accomplished than any of their previous material.
Expect the usual layered vocals and trembling guitars – but much, much more.
Available August 28 via iTunes, priced $8.99.
Beach House – Sparks (Official Audio Stream)
Yo La Tengo – Stuff Like That There
The indie rock veterans are back, and even without listening to this record, you know it’s going to be good – probably because you’ll have heard most of the tracks before.
Stuff Like That There features re-recorded versions of their own songs alongside re-workings of material by the Cure, Sun Ra, Hank Williams and more.
Available August 28 via iTunes, priced £7.99.
Yo La Tengo – Friday I’m In Love
Sui Zhen – Secretly Susan
From her hyper-stylised pastel-hued videos (featuring giant eggs and cats cavorting with loaves of bread) to her almost childlike vocals and alter ego, Susan, Australian Sui Zhen is the whole package: weird, without being ‘kooky’, chill without lacking chutzpah and new while sounding comfortingly familiar.
This is 1980s pop mastery with futuristic vibes, and no one is doing it better right now. If you love Grimes, make sure to check this out.
Available August 28 via iTunes, priced $9.90.