August 2019

The end of the month means the unenviable task of picking August’s best five albums – this has definitely been the busiest month for new records this year, so it’s been even harder than normal to whittle them down. Click on the album covers to read our full reviews.

Cross Record’s difficulties are most certainly what makes it so charming. Every listen reveals another layer – another melody, another piece of instrumentation – underneath the murky Grouper-esque soundscapes that didn’t reveal itself on the previous play. This is an album that both requires time and deserves it.Cooper is testament to the ‘try, try and try again’ philosophy. For almost a decade and a half, he’s been releasing music. But How To Live really does feel like a record that he’s been building towards his whole career. It’s a true joy to be in its deeply engaging, thoroughly evocative presence. This is a quietly understated masterpiece.

Ty Segal produced August, and his experimental side can be felt in the composition. The alternative fringes of the ‘60s and ‘70s alternative scenes, which inform much of his own work, also echo through the record, lifting it out of a specific time and place. The album’s title track flourishes with a wild urgency. 

What Hackman has created is a wryly hilarious, dark, sumptuous pop record that is both self-depricating and self-agrandising at the same time. The music is a bonanza of stylish guitar lines and achingly catchy melodies, with structures that allow these facets to shine. In creating this record to help people “accept each other for being these brilliant, golden shiny things”, she has also made a new “brilliant, golden shiny thing” for us all to enjoy. You will read many reviews that try to boil it down to what is on the surface – and cynically headlining the sexual themes that are anything but cynical – but dig a little deeper, and you will be immersed in all the complexities that make us who we are, (genital) warts and all.

Anak Ko finds Duerte welcoming the influence of others, while managing to retain her own identity in uncompromising fashion. It is not abound with immediate standouts, but at just 34 minutes long, it’s one that totally engrosses across multiple listens.

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