The Month in Music: July

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July may not have brought us Frank Ocean’s ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ (which has been pushed back – again – and is now rumoured to not be released until November) but it did bring us a lot more music that we can be grateful for. ScHoolboy Q dropped his album ‘Blank Face’ and Banks has come back out from the woodworks with a chilling new single, giving us a look into what we could expect from her next studio album. Here’s our highlights from last month’s music…


Rat Boy blew up earlier this year and is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. He channels vibes that echo Jamie T, however he tones down the rock influence and also showcases elements of pop like he’s sampled something straight from a Rizzle Kicks song. His latest single is very easy listening and has a catchy, light hook which has a feel good quality to it. Unlike many of his other tracks, the production is coherent and all elements seem to fit perfectly together, going against his usual anarchic and chaotic method of production.

ScHoolboy Q – Blank Face LP (ALBUM)
‘Blank Face’ is a collection of catchy, aggressive, gangsta-rap tracks. From first glance, the extensive list of features that appear on the album initially make the production appear weak; however Q holds his own and his voice marks the centre of almost every track on the album. ScHoolboy Q pins down the narrative and even with features from the biggest personalities in rap – Kanye West and Vince Staples – his gritty raps are never overshadowed. On the track ‘Overtime’, Miguel’s smooth hook clashes with Q’s harsh verses but the song appears to work nevertheless and the conflict between genres instead comes across as a carefully constructed production. Q raps from raw emotion all the way through the album, making his distinctive voice take unpredictable turns and consequently keeping us all on our toes.

Top tracks:

  • Blank Face ft. Anderson Paak
  • By Any Means
  • Ride Out ft. Vince Staples

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Clams Casino – 32 Levels (ALBUM)
Clams Casino became an internet phenomenon after he teamed up with Lil B for the track ‘I’m God’, which led him to high-profile production work but nevertheless he seemed to have faded out. Now, Clams has unveiled his debut album ’32 Levels’ – an album filled with his trademark mercy beats and strong rap elements with features such as A$AP Rocky. Lil B also features heavily on half of the album which sounds very much like a rap album. But the latter half has much more of a pop, radio-friendly feel which is significantly unsatisfying. The question which arises from this album is which side will Clams choose to take on his next step of his journey as a producer. This album sees his grow and showcases his versatility, while also tightening and polishing up his work as a gloomy rap producer. There’s still plenty of room for Clams to grow into his own.

Top tracks:

  • Be Somebody ft. A$AP Rocky & Lil B
  • Witness ft. Lil B
  • All Nite ft. Vince Staples

Banks – Fuck With Myself (SINGLE)
By crafting moody and sinister alternative pop mixed with shades of contemporary R&B, Banks has outdone herself and created a nightmarish hint as to what to expect from her upcoming studio album. Banks has kept a fairly low-profile since her 2014 release ‘Goddess’, but this single marks a hair-raising return for the singer. The track is enough to shake your core and the music video is equally as uncomfortable to watch as Banks finds herself being overly intimate and sensual with mannequins. She has a dark sound as an artist and does not seem to be losing the eeriness with her latest release. Banks’ captivating and sultry voice is heightened by compelling production.

Crystal Castles – Char (SINGLE)
Electronic professionals, Crystal Castles, have been teasing a lot of new music recently in the build up to the release of their new album and this track is the latest instalment in the series of surprises. Synths snare throughout the production, putting Edith Frances’ vocals at the forefront of the track but also cutting her off abruptly. The eery vocals overlapping the sharp, sci-fi-like soundtracks create a ghostly song which reinstates the luminaries powerful presence in the ever-growing EDM scene.

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M.I.A. – Go Off (SINGLE)
After not hearing from M.I.A. in what feels like a lifetime, she’s arrived back with a bang after featuring on Baauer’s latest album and releasing her first single since her real ease ‘Borders’ last year. M.I.A. teamed up with Skrillex for this loud, chaotic, and raw single which will appear on her upcoming album ‘AIM’, thought to release in September. The production is still addictive while featuring the clattering clashes of drums and typical Skrillex synths with the unmistakable tone of M.I.A’s boisterous vocals layered over the top.


Nao – For All We Know (ALBUM)
Despite creating a roster of impressive EP’s that have put her voice on the map of breaking new talent, Nao has previously failed to gain the widespread recognition she deserves. Producer, songwriter, and singer, Nao is best known for her self-written and produced track ‘Fool to Love’. The album opens with the into suitably named ‘Like Velvet’, as her vocals feel as though they are draped in the material throughout the album. Her super sweet and silky-smooth voice flows throughout the album as she draws on relatable experiences of lust, love, desire, and the pain that follows. Nao successfully marries electronic sounds with her effortless vocals with the help from pals A. K. Paul and Abhi//Dijon who also feature on the album. The production of the project mixes soulful and charming sounds with surprising intervals of spine-tingling and euphoric sound waves, creating poignant and powerful tracks. Nao nods her head to the genre of soul itself with her ‘Voice Memo 4 (Say Yes)’ snippet on the album which samples the iconic ‘Say Yes’ track by soul-sisters Floetry. Nao is on a mission to reinvent the face of soul music.

Top tracks:

  • In the Morning
  • Blue Wine
  • Get to Know Ya

Mac Miller ft. Anderson Paak – Dang! (SINGLE)
Mac Miller and Anderson Paak are a match made in heaven. Paak’s soulful voice and Miller’s soft raps over a dreamy and smooth beat full of heavenly light, yet electronic, chimes result in a groovy summer soundtrack. It’s irresistibly charming and it is impossible to keep your body from moving when listening to this track. Paak delivers a catchy hook while Miller spits the verses over light synths in a change of tempo. This bubbly song is guaranteed to brighten your day.

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Words by Sophie Nutt.

Megan Drew is your entertainment editor

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