Best things we heard in June…

Fran Slater: After the relentlessness with which stellar releases have been coming out in 2022, the last month or so has seemed like a bit of a lull. I have little to say other than to add additional shoutouts to two albums I loved on our most recent podcast, and one that I’m due to review in the near future.

Tomberlin’s I Don’t Know Who Needs To Hear This grabbed me from listen one, with it’s perfectly measured tone, gorgeous instrumental flourishes, and transfixing vocal performances. ‘Easy’, ‘Tap’ and the title song are standouts in the genre.

The latest Bob Vylan continues to astound me with every listen. It’s just a banger. And with sooooooo much to say.

And then there’s the Angel Olsen. I’ll save most of my thoughts as I’ll be discussing it at length soon, but it’s fair to say that one of my favourite artists just became even more important to me

James Spearing: New albums from Irish acts Just Mustard (Heart Under)and Sinead O’Brien (Time Bend and Break the Bower) have dominated much of my listening this month, leading to two unexpected LP purchases. The longer I spend as a PB, the more I am discovering post-punk music I do actually like having previously dismissed the sub-genre pretty much wholesale.

Two new songs that seem precision designed for my taste jumped out of my radio in June. ‘Baby We’re Ascending’ from HAAi bears all the hallmarks of collaborator John Hopkins, with added dreamy vocals. Danger Mouse has teamed up with The Roots rapper Black Thought to create ‘No Gold Teeth’. It’s a classic rapper/producer powerhouse combination and they’ve made a classic sound to boot.

Lastly, Grace Lightman is back with her best new music since Silver Eater. ‘Catapult!’ is a fun, indie-pop singalong with some cracking guitar lines and festival-ready false ending.

Tom Burrows: A tale of two gigs for me this June. I saw The Smile at the start of the month with fellow Bastard Fran, and even though I moaned about the last minute venue change, I fully enjoyed an impressive performance. Notably it made me appreciate some of their recent album’s deep cuts which I’d previously been kind of blasé about.

The second was a terrific set from The Avalanches at Manchester’s O2 Ritz. Seamlessly melding samples and vocals into different tunes on the spot, they were everything I could have hoped for and more. When I became besotted with Since I Left You back in 2013, the idea that I’d ever see them live felt fanciful, given that we were nearly 13 years removed from its release. I left with the biggest grin on my face, and would wholeheartedly encourage you to see them if you get the chance.

Matt Paul: The past 2 months have been BUSY. I’ve been travelling, moving apartment, along with an onslaught of other things that have kept me from being able to just chill. To counter this I have had a constant soundtrack to help. Both upbeat to keep my body moving, even if I feel like a zombie. 

First up is Let’s Eat Grandma, with their euphoric album Two Ribbons. I love this duet. This album sees them lean less into their weird eccentricities, instead hitting some more straightforward synth pop. But they do it really really well. The stand out moment comes early with the opener ‘Happy New Year’. With its building synths it hits an emotional sweet spot for me, reminiscent of LCD Soundsystems’s ‘All my friends’. It may be my song of the year. 
The other album on heavy rotation is Tilt by Confidence Man. Their prior album felt like a fun novelty, though a little thin. This album feels a little more fleshed out. It is still wonderful tongue-in-cheek goofiness. But the songs are dancier and have even more personality.

Sam Atkins: There were some more really enjoyable albums that lived up to my own hype from the likes of Foals, George Ezra and Tom Aspaul. Even Drake delivered his most consistent ‘album’ in years, even if Honestly, Nevermind isn’t a fantastic album it’s definitely a step back into focus for me.

It was live shows that made my month though, the first one I didn’t even see in person, Kendrick Lamar’s headlining slot at Glastonbury. It felt like the culmination of a decade as THE hip hop artist of our time. The powerful and genuinely affecting finale has stayed with me in the days since and the entire set has made me rethink my mixed feelings on album Mr Morales and the Big Steppers

The other live moment I want to mention also headlined Glasto this year, but FINALLY being in an area full of adoring fans for the most exciting new artist to have emerged this generation, it was a joy to see Billie Eilish after all this time. These are songs and 2 albums that have defined the last 3 years for me and I felt so much expectation that surely she wouldn’t live up to it? My god she did and the Happier Than Ever tour was probably my favourite show since live music returned. I would apologise to anyone who heard me literally screaming ‘YOU MAKE ME HATE THIS CITY’ in her closing performance of Happier Than Ever, but everyone else was doing exactly the same. One of the greatest arena shows I’ve been witness to.

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