This Month's Vinyl Picks: July 2018
Tom Grennan, Years & Years and a classic reissue from David Axelrod are amongst the best new vinyl releases coming your way in July...
Tom Grennan – Lighting Matches
If Tom Grennan isn't a name you're familiar with, you might find that you've already heard his voice; he's the one providing the vocals on Chase & Status hit 'All Goes Wrong'. He's also featured on a track with Bugzy Malone and released a string of EPs and singles so far, but now he's set to release his debut album and show what he can do under his own steam.
Lighting Matches arrives in store on all formats on July 6th and includes the singles 'Sober' and 'Barbed Wire'. There are two vinyl versions available – a standard black vinyl and a limited edition version pressed onto red vinyl.
Years & Years – Palo Santo
Almost exactly three years on from the release of their debut album Communion, synth-pop trio Years & Years return this month with their sophomore album. Palo Santo – literally translated as 'Holy Stick' – sees the band deliver another set of polished, danceflooor-orientated pop in a similar vein to their debut and includes the singles 'Sanctify' and 'If You're Over Me'.
For their new album the band have roped in a heap of production talent including Greg Kurstin, Steve Mac, Kid Harpoon, Mark Ralph and Two Inch Punch. An LP pressed onto black vinyl is set to arrive in stores alongside all other formats on July 6th.
Mattiel – Mattiel
Anyone who's heard the music of Atlanta's singer-songwriter Mattiel Brown could be forgiven for thinking that they're listening to an artist from a bygone age, her gloriously retro stylings conjuring images of dusty westerns and vintage americana, sounding more like a 1960s chanteuse in the vein of Nancy Sinatra or Margo Guryan than anything you might find in today's charts. Nevertheless, the singer has justifiably won plenty of admirers, including Jack White, for whom she has opened on several recent tour dates.
Her self-titled debut album, which features the excellent arrived in the US in October 2017 and has been available digitally since earlier this year, but Mattiel finally gets a physical release in the UK and Europe this month, with both CD and vinyl versions set to arrive in stores on July 13th. The vinyl is just a standard black wax affair, but if you're a fan of Quentin Tarantino's lovingly curated soundtracks then you might well find this is right up your street.
Rex Orange County – Apricot Princess
Rex Orange County
BRIT School graduate and multi-instrumentalist Alexander O'Connor – better known by his stage name Rex Orange County – has been steadily making a name for himself since the arrival of his self-released debut Bcos U Will Never B Free, popping up on Tyler, The Creator's recent album Flower Boy and coming in second on the BBC's Sound of 2018 poll behind hotly-tipped Norwegian singer Sigrid.
His debut was a curious blend of jazz, hip-hop and soul which earned him plenty of admirers, and on follow-up Apricot Princess he takes things up a notch, delivering a more poloshed set with help from the likes of Jeff Kleinman and Two Inch Punch.
Shawn Mendes – Shawn Mendes: The Album
Virgin EMI Records
These days it's nothing particularly new for stars to emerge through one social media platform or another, but amongst the litany of available options from Youtube to Instagram, the now-defunct Vine seemed like an especially unsuitable platform for catapulting a singer to fame, it's USP being an extremely limited six-second timeframe with which to get your ideas across. But that didn't stop Shawn Mendes, whose series of short snippets featuring the singer performing various tunes caught the attention of Island Records, who signed him up in 2013.
Since then the singer has released two albums and his third, eponymous LP arrives this month. Featuring a string of well-crafted pop tunes created with help of such big-hitters as Ryan Tedder and Teddy Geiger, Mendes' latest is well worth a punt for anyone who's into singer-songwriters in the Ed Sheeran / Justin Bieber vein.
Alex Somers & Sigur Ros - Black Mirror: Hang the DJ
Anyone following the fourth season of Charlie Brooker's nightmarish anthology series Black Mirror might have clocked the score from the fourth season's fourth episode 'Hang the DJ'. Starring Joe Cole and Georgina Campbell as two people signed up to a system which purports to find your perfect romantic partner, the episode features original music written by Alex Somers - one half of duo Jonsi & Alex – with contributions from Icelandic avant-rock band Sigur Ros.
The folks at Invada Records - the label owned and run by Portishead's Geoff Barrow – released the soundtrack featuring Somers' score on CD in June, but a vinyl LP is also now set to be released and will arrive in stores on July 13th.
David Axelrod – Song of Innocence
Definitely not to be confused with the American politician of the same name, composer David Axelrod began his career in music as an A&R man and producer for Capitol Records, working with the likes of soul singer Lou Rawls and jazz saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, but towards the end of the 1960s he began releasing a string of albums filled with experimental fusions of funk, jazz, R&B and psychedelia, and while his work was championed at the time by the likes of George Harrison and Frank Zappa, the albums were largely forgotten until the early 1990s, when artists including DJ Shadow and Dr. Dre began sampling his work.
Sadly, Axelrod died last year at the age of 85 after a battle with lung cancer, but his legacy as an important influence on hip-hop lives on and this month will see the first of his groundbreaking LPs reissued on vinyl for the first time in the UK since its initial release in 1968. The reissue is due to arrive in stores on both CD and vinyl on July 6th.
The Beatles - Yellow Submarine
The last 12 months or so have been good ones for vinyl-collecting Beatles fans, with Giles Martin's anniversary remix of Sgt Pepper and a limited edition picture disc of their most famous album both arriving in 2017, but now there's more anniversary-related good news on the way as the Fab Four celebrate the 50th anniversary of Yellow Submarine with a limited edition 7” picture disc.
Not only that, the film itself is set to be screened in cinemas around the world in a one-day-only event on Sunday July 8th, including cinemas up and down the UK. (Check your local cinema listings for details...)