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Music Of The Month: The Best Albums And Tracks Of July 2022
Patrick Clarke , July 29th, 2022 09:25

tQ staffers pick out ten brilliant albums and six superlative tracks from the maelstrom of music released in July 2022

I had planned to take half of July off for a mid-year reset, a breather in which to take stock of the last six months' music, lay out my plans for tackling what the next six months have in the pipeline, and perhaps go for a nice hike. In the end, I in fact spent most of the month bedridden with a mystery virus, and arguing with my landlord who intends to raise the rent beyond what my meagre tQ wages can afford. C'est la vie!

It means that rather than delivering the poised and refreshed take on July's musical highlights that I was hoping for, the last few weeks' listening has been the usual tempest, exciting and interesting music sweeping furiously by like flotsam and jetsam to which I might cling.

I gather that this way of experiencing new music – a torrent with which it's impossible to keep up – is far from exclusive to those of us whose job it is to listen. All the time, I'll hear comments to the effect of 'I'm just overwhelmed by how much stuff there is out there'. With that in mind, the albums and tracks below should be read merely as our personal highlights rather than anything definitive, which we hope might provide moments to stop and spend time before surrendering once again to the currents.

All the below, as well as all the other excellent music we've covered at tQ this month will also be compiled into an exclusive, hours-long playlist exclusive to our subscribers. In addition, subscribers can enjoy exclusive music from some of the world's most forward-thinking artists, regular deep-dive essays, a monthly podcast, specially-curated 'Organic Intelligence' guides to under the radar international sub-genres and more.

To sign up for all those benefits, and to help us keep bringing you the kind of music you're about to read about below, you can click here. And read on for the best of the best from July 2022.
Patrick Clarke


Moundabout – Flowers Rot, Bring Me Stones
(Rocket Recordings)

In the same way a lump of rock is no force alone but may form an avalanche or a mighty cairn, the combined weight of the constituent parts on Flowers Rot, Bring Me Stones, the debut album from Moundabout, starts to suffocate deliciously. Impact comes not from the distorted guitars and pummelling drums that hitherto characterised the members of Moundabout's music (Paddy Shine of experimental rock collective Gnod and Phil Masterson of 'goat-punk' outfit Los Langeros, among others) but instead an incremental accumulation of organic sound including hyperreal samples, close-miked vocalisation, super-clean guitars, and primitive percussion.
Will Ainsley – read the full review here

Mejiwahn – Beanna
(Hot Record Societe)

In the summer of 2020, Oakland producer Mejiwahn retreated to a yurt in Montana. Here, he spent a week working on the music that would eventually make up the bulk of his debut album. But, thanks to various stints in different locations around the US, Beanna has transcended that one yurt in Montana. Instead, it's an album that encapsulates a sense of movement through its drifting narrative and loose textures, mapping out both personal change and physical journeys.
Arusa Qureshi – read the full review here

Diamanda La Berge Dramm – Chimp

Chimp is a conceptual album that, on the surface, seems to fool us. We listen to Dramm vocally performing poems by British contemporary poet Stephen J. Fowler, all of which are taken from his books I Will Show You The Life Of The Mind (On Prescription Drugs) (2020) and The Great Apes (2022). What appears to be the conquering of new musical territory – singing – serves the development of Dramm as a violinist and artist. All of the sounds and noises on the album are created on the violin, sometimes with the additional help of a Moog synthesiser. Dramm seems to take the violin apart. Strings are plucked and scratched, the bow glides up and down the strings, bass-drums are simulated by knocking on the instrument's body, notes from previous albums are sampled to create synth sounds. And who knows what else she did with her violin to produce all those undefinable, mysterious sounds.
Marthe Lisson – read the full review here

Jacken Elswyth – Six Static Scenes
(Neolithic Recordings)

Experimental musician and banjo maker Jacken Elswyth is of the firm conviction that, as Alex Neilsen puts in the sleevenotes to this collection of hypnotic and abstracted psychedelic banjo recordings, "folk music is a mongrel breed. Unreliable. Malleable. Promiscuous. The most exciting moments happen in its imperfections." Six Static Scenes is based entirely around those moments, with Elswyth finding examples of previous players' idiosyncracies and moments of strangeness – the brilliantly lopsided playing of the Irish Traveller Margaret Barry, for example, or the old time American player Dock Boggs' ambitious semi-improvisational techniques - and using them as jumping off points to create great, droning pieces of her own.
Patrick Clarke

black midi – Hellfire
(Rough Trade)

The appeal of Hellfire is that there is simply so much to it. Littered with alluring antagonists, absurd anti-heroes and a byronic narrator to match, it's a joy to find yourself lost in the Grand Guignol of the London group's latest opus. Each track Geordie Greep pens is a tilted vignette, an obscure and compelling short story – if Hellfire be the modern depiction of eternal damnation, it certainly retains the absurdity that it has had for all time. But perhaps most importantly, musically, Hellfire is a righteous maelstrom, a demon-stration of what this group can do when they allow themselves to be let off the leash. It's not just the skronking US Maple guitars, the cathartic squawking Aylerisms of the saxophone breakdowns, or the sheer mania of the best rhythm section operating in the world today. It's also the softer touches too: caresses of slide guitar and piano trills that colour in the album's quietest moments – the devil is all too often in the detail.
Cal Cashin – read the full review here

Kode9 – Escapology

Escapology is eccentric, full of twists and turns, screechy, glitchy and ambitious – undoubtedly a rare breed. After you complete the final mission, you are finally immersed in the artificial soundscape of closer 'T-Divine'. The closing credits roll in. You have managed to escape and survive. Ultimately though, the listening experience (which is not ideal for repeated rinsing as much as for dedicated deep listening) does not transport me into a hyperstitional future. I feel more catapulted into an alternative past, which was polluted with fragments and ideas from the future that we are inhabiting at the moment.
Jaša Bužinel

Gwenno – Tresor

Tresor is Gwenno's second album primarily in the Cornish language. With her previous album, Le Kov, she established the power of a catchy hook even if her intended audience might not know what they were singing along to. Tresor is similarly not accessible in the way we have become accustomed to things being accessible. You cannot currently use Google Translate to interpret Cornish to English, so any offer of compositional familiarity is an invitation of welcome. Album opener 'An Stevel Nowydh' introduces a warm, '60s nostalgia in its production that threads through the first few tracks. Its Love-reminiscent arrangements feed nicely into the quirky organ punches of 'Anima' and the chiming percussion and inviting vocals of the title track. It's as if Gwenno wants the listener to know they are in familiar surroundings even if they can't read the street signs.
Amandah Farah – read the full review here

Naima Bock – Giant Palm
(Sub Pop)

Giant Palm is at once a statement of Naima Bock's enormous ambition as a solo artist – her first full release since an amicable departure from Goat Girl – and at the same time a celebration of the communal. Each of the record's unanimously entrancing songs, which range from climbing psychedelia to waltzing folk, demonstrates a different aspect of her range, but is helped along by a menagerie of musicians who provide its textural richness. When, on the gorgeously melodic 'Every Morning', Bock and her band sing back and forth to one another – "Are you crying?" the backing vocals ask. "Every morning," Bock replies – before their respective melodies suddenly dovetail in crescendo, it's like the voices that back her number in the millions.
Patrick Clarke - read an interview here

Emeka Ogboh – 6°30'33.372"N 3°22'0.66"E

On 6°30'33.372"N 3°22'0.66"E, Emeka Ogboh's second album, the Nigerian sound artist places his focus on Lagos' bustling Ojuelegba bus station and its surroundings. Billed as an ode to the bus station and the chaotic transport system that exists around Lagos' iconic yellow Danfo buses, the album is centred around field recordings captured by Ogboh a number of years ago at Ojuelegba. They include descriptions of bus stops, the area's history, the nearby red light district of Ayilara, and much more, all spoken in Nigerian Pidgin. As with his debut record, the Ostgut Ton-reissued Beyond The Yellow Haze, he pairs those recordings – of frenzied traffic jams, and bus conductors and drivers in conversation – with deeply hypnotic rhythms ('Verbal Drift', 'Ayilara') and chugging techno beats ('No Counterfeit') that, vitally, afford his other sounds significant space to breathe.
Christian Eede

Cromlech – Questionable Strategies
(Deathbed Tapes)

Replete with riffs, rhythms and things generally amounting to structure, the debut release by Cromlech – Questionable Strategies, an album-length cassette on US noise label Deathbed Tapes – is the sort of heavy-machinery industrial that flourished in the late 1980s, from Swans and Neubauten through to Big Black and Godflesh. It;s an alias of Chris Williams, who also plays in Primitive Knot, a blackened postpunk unit from Manchester: Cromlech could be either/both (or neither in particular) a nod to Darkthrone or his own Welsh roots.
Noel Gardner – read the full review here


Eden Samara – 'Madonna'

The precursor to a debut album due out via Local Action later this year, Canadian songwriter, vocalist and producer Eden Samara's new single is a sparkling piece of dancefloor pop loaded with left turns and bubblegum melodies.
Christian Eede

Gilla Band – 'Eight Fivers'

This song just made me physically puke. But in a good way.
John Doran

Nadia Rose – 'Recipe'

Five years on from the brilliant 'Skwod', 'Recipe' is another old school grime banger from Nadia Rose who has a lyrical dexterity like no-one else.
Robert Barry

Two Shell – 'Ghosts'

'Ghosts' sounds like someone fed the Dall·E mini AI the words "Koreless Livity Sound superband Four Tet Jamie xx SOPHIE's hologram tuuuuuune"
Jaša Bužinel

June McDoom – 'The City'

Inspired by transience and movement, 'The City' is a beautiful, layered and gently psychedelic treasure of a song – and remarkably only June McDoom's first single.
Patrick Clarke

Nick León Feat. DJ Babatr – 'Xtasis (Pearson Sound Remix)'

Miami producer Nick León has been churning out club smashers at an impressive rate of late, and Pearson Sound's take on one of his latest productions, 'Xtasis', takes the original's already brilliant blend of Latin-flavoured percussion and Balearic melodies to even greater heights with the addition of some typically killer basslines.
Christian Eede