The best album releases of the month, July edition

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July is traditionally a quiet month for new releases, and nothing has changed this year. Usually for this feature I listen to around 30 new releases each month, but during July I only listened to about half of that. I don't think there is any point making a top 10 or 12 for the sake of it, so this time around I have just concentrated on the albums that I really rate this month. Unfortunately there are only six. Fortunately they are all very good.

Meursault 'Something for the Weakened'
My review (the 405)

"I can already imagine people saying that Meursault have "gone mainstream" with this release, although these songs have a heart and soul that will stay with you for ages. It's a warmer album, but I think that adds something to its appeal, and I think it will gain them quite a few new fans."

Dirty Projectors 'Swing Lo Magellan'

More direct and accessible than some of their other work, this sixth album from the Brooklyn is still very intriguing. My early impressions are that this is just as good as predecessor 'Bitte Orca', and I would argue that it is unpretentious and more raw than a lot of people might expect.

Laetitia Sadier 'Silencio'
My review (the 405)

"There is much to admire and lose yourself in, and in this age when a lot of bands are steering clear of politics, I'm glad to hear Sadier remaining true to her original blueprint of intelligent socialist pop."

Aesop Rock 'Skelethon'

His sixth album, but his first self-produced release. It sounds more raw and less cluttered than previous albums, although the familiar clever lyrics twists and turns are present and are hugely impressive. I'm only on my third listen as I just got it, but this could be his best yet.

Frank Ocean 'channel ORANGE'

Impossible to ignore, and perhaps a surprise inclusion for this blog, but I can't deny that 'channel ORANGE' is both a great record and a hugely important release. Presumably this came to a lot of people's attention as Frank came out just before its release, although there are such obvious hints to his sexuality throughout that I'm not as cynical about this decision as some others have been. More in tune with prime period Stevie Wonder than anything else, it's worth it alone for 'Pyramids', an epic piece which is this generation's 'The Message' or 'The Crown'. Essential.

DIIV 'Oshin'

As far as I know this is the debut release from DIIV, a band formed by Beach Fossils guitarist Z. Cole Smith. It is a woozy, fuzzy dream-pop album, which as you might expect tends to flow over and around you. It is initially hard to recall and identify the tracks and the songs seem to merge together effortlessly. Musically it belongs somewhere between '80s post-punk and the prettier end of shoegaze, and ends up as very promising debut.

Here is a Spotify playlist for five of these ('Silencio' isn't available on it yet)

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