My Five Favorite Albums Released in July 2023

 I thought I had a draft for this posted at one point, with two of these five albums ready to go.  Apparently I did not and I had to push to get everything done much quicker.  Oopsie.  At least it's making its way into the world at some point. 

Celestial North "Otherworld"

With big sounds that build, Celestial North might be compared with some other artists like Florence + The Machine and even Adele, but to me this sounds more like a mix between Polly Scattergood and Enya.   There are ways in which this is pop, but it is also hypnotic.  It just swirls around like someone pulling you in on the dance floor.

The percussion is not to be overlooked here either.   This has strong and diverse musical qualities to it, demonstrated by the rhythm of "When The Gods Dance".    For some reason I always feel like this is a softer, more ambient album when I think about it but the actual sound is fairly fast moving and fun to put on for whatever the occasion because you're just going to move or chill.  Celestial North could really pull you either way.  

This album makes me think of melodic rock from various times in my life and I really do enjoy that.  Names like Plain White T's, The Break and Yellowcard all come to mind.  But this is just that pop punk that's pure in the way that it rocks hard and just feels like such straight forward rock music but with that punk edge. 

To some extent, this has that MPLS feel to it as well.   A song such as "Cyanide Stories" can remind me of Day At The Fair while I also have this overall feeling of Cadillac Blindside.   Still, this just overall feels like a lot of my favorite bands from since I began listening to music really and hopefully there is something in here for you to appreciate as well.  

B L A C K I E "cassette tape music"

One thing I really loved about living in Houston, Texas some twenty years ago is that B L A C K I E was very much beloved in the music scene and I don't think anyone quite knew the affect this music would have on the world all of these years later.   This is a perfect album for me because it's called "cassette tape music" and that's right up my preferred way of listening to music.  Each song can be around a minute long and it has these loud distorted electronics along with B L A C K I E screaming.

Back in the early '00's, it was an experience to listen to B L A C K I E because most people considered this music to be some sort of aggressive hip hop.   To some extent, I suppose it is, but the more I listen to music which is under that harsh noise banner and then dives off into powerviolence and grindcore, I can see B L A C K I E as being someone who is more a part of that scene than of the hip hop scene.   Still, this is very much in your face and very much something which you should be listening to as often as possible.  

MisterWives "Nosebleeds"

There really isn't a good way to describe the sound of MisterWives, as I feel like they've really come into their own now.   But I imagine sometimes when listening to these songs that I'm listening to a rock band such as Metric.   That vibe which comes with them just hits here as well.  At the same time, I hear these pop elements inside of these songs which make me also think about Lady Gaga (and by proxy Madonna)

I'm not sure I've ever really felt that pop world colliding with the rock world before and if I did then it wasn't something that came out sounding like this because overall this still feels like it has rock roots while somehow not really being pop rock.   There are bands that are definitely pop rock and you can hear it in their sound, but MisterWives has just found their own way about making catchy songs without sounding like everyone else making catchy songs.  

Marc Ribot, Ceramic Dog "Connection"


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