June 2020

June continues the trend that’s been set throughout 2020 with yet more phenomenal musical output. Normally, this time of year would be spent in muddy fields drinking overpriced beer, but while, unfortunately, live music still seems a distant memory, the litany of outstanding albums from artists old and new has raised the spirits at a time when music is more critical than ever. It provides balance, escapism and an opportunity to evoke the memories of previous summers in the fields or huddled round a late-night BBQ. Allow us to share with you our highlights from another remarkable month.

Tenci – My Heart is an Open Field

Secret Meeting says:

On My Heart Is An Open Field, Shoman has produced a country record which shelters under a darkening sky. Navigating a maze of echoes and shadows, she captures the fleeting feelings and moments that make up a life. Hers are tales of bleeding hearts not easily stemmed, and scars that will last a lifetime. But amidst it all, as in life, there are moments of hope and tenderness to be relished. As the click-clack beat of Joy 2 chimes in, Shoman remains as committed as ever to unearthing them. She knows there is joy to be found – ‘I’m gonna find you / Here and there’ – she plans to go out and seize it.

Owen – The Avalanche

Secret Meeting says:

The tone remains largely the same across The Avalanche – texturally it’s a beautiful sounding collection – bringing to mind Idlewild’s work – post The Remote Part. Granted, it’s not an immediate collection, but it is definitely all the better for it.The soft strings and gentle instrumental murmurings on Dead For Days again juxtapose Kinsella’s aching heart, as he recalls attempted sobriety, the failings of his marriage and hitting rock bottom. The Contours sees the songwriter once more facing loss, and finding it hard to get his thoughts out from his mind and onto the page. The fingerpicked I Should’ve Known finds the songwriter’s voice further forward backed by only plucked acoustic and piano.

Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher

Secret Meeting says:

Best listened to while gazing at the nighttime sky, the tension of existence permeates each lyric, pairing perfectly with its looming synthesisers. Punisher categorises Bridgers’ growth – something that strings along like vines – in all it’s strengths and failures. Bridgers wholeheartedly accepts these trials and mishaps in the most beautiful way; she shows absolutely how capable she is of harnessing and wrangling pain into something wondrous.

Camille Delean – Cold House Burning

Secret Meeting says:

While Cold House Burning is mostly sombre in tone, the songs do not merely wallow. Delean treads the line between haunting vocal and humorous annotations expertly. As songs teeter on the overpowering, she hauls them back into the light – and snaps of sunlight and hope creep though in flashes of joyful rhythm and melody. Her message is clear, and in current times relatable – however dark and difficult, you must nevertheless keep trying. This concept is non more evident than on the delightful lead single, (Fault Line) Late July. Arcade Fire’s Jeremy Gara’s drums pulse underneath her hazy vocals on a composition that recalls the collaborations between PJ Harvey and John Parish.

Gia Margaret – Mia Gargaret

Secret Meeting says:

As the record progresses, the synthetic nuzzles up against the ambient – field recordings of church bells softly bow on INWIW, and the waves lap on lake, while the theme of anxiety and social awkwardness drifts in again on barely there. In some ways, Mia Gargaret is like the doodles of a contemporary Jackson Pollock – throwing textures and tones at the canvas, and seeing what sticks. But at the same time, it doesn’t feel like an artist ‘dabbling’ – it is fully composed. Controlled. No two songs are the same – yet the whole thing is a moving song cycle that’s as one in harmony, mood and feel. Like her debut, complete.

June has been so packed with outstanding music that it feels wrong to limit ourselves to five recommendations. Once you have made your way through the albums above, we would point you towards the riotous, Welcome to Bobby’s Motel, the debut full length record from Montreal’s Pottery, and the sonic traverse of Annual – the latest musical journal from Jack Cooper’s Modern Nature.

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