Sweet, sweet summertime means outdoor concerts and summer anthems to me. There’s nothing like music in the summer. It sets the mood for your get-togethers, it feels good in the sunshine, and it provides the soundtrack for road trips. Let’s see who’s adding to the adventures this July.
The Soft Calvary – The Soft Calvary
Release date: 7/5
Slowdrive’s Rachel Goswell and Steve Clarke are come to us with this new project. Now, granted, this is on this list because no one really released new music the day after the 4th of July. However, upon general listening leading up to the holiday weekend, I have to say it’s fitting for that float in the pool I so sorely needed. In enter “Dive.”
“Bulletproof” still has the airy vocal tones with a much faster pace and beat. It’s not something I’d know how to move quite normally to at a show, but you know you’ll be swaying right along.
The final single leading up to the release was “Never Be Without You,” which has a mid-level feel between the two. Final impression? Let’s get this album into the world and kick back to it. There’s got to be some deeper message to absorb, and the feel is just right to drift away and take them in.
Other 7/5 releases:
Machine Gun Kelly – Hotel Diablo
Ed Sheeran – No. 6 Collaborations Project
Release date: 7/12
Oh Ed, thank you. I will take anything you have to give us. Anyone else see Yesterday and fall into shock like I did when I realized Ed Sheeran was going to be a main character to the story? Just me? Okay, moving on.
“I Don’t Care” had me groaning upon announcement, mostly because of the Bieber collaboration. I have to hand it to the gents though, it’s a fantastic and fun song. Just short of twisting nature of “Shape of You,” it will still get you moving and grooving and feeling great for the summer. And to boot, Ed announced this collaboration project that he’s been working on (I believe in order to hold us over till the inevitable Subtract that better be coming in another year or so…).
But nowadays, you don’t rely on one single leading up to the album (despite the fact that some of us may have pre-ordered the vinyl set a month ago upon its announcement). Instead, you keep releasing singles a week or two at a time with the thinking that folks are just going to fall into streaming the entire album eventually. “Cross Me” features Chance the Rapper and PnB Rock, and it’s another veer into a genre you rarely hear from Ed but he somehow can still make it work. Gone is the sweet “Thinking Out Loud” singer-songwriter and the singer with a flow comes back out.
I have a soft spot in my heart for Khalid, as his voice is just so smooth and lovely, so to have him come in on the gorgeous anti-fame song “Beautiful People” is a treat and a half. As the songs come out, I’m getting more and more excited for the possibilities, but have to wonder if we’re hitting the peak here.
Always loving to be proven wrong, which I’m convinced the music industry knows and exploits, Sheeran brought us Chris Stapleton and Bruno Mars together for “Blow.” Talk about surprising, as this is a hard, gritty, rock number that is in need of a live performance something bad. Wow.
All I can leave you with is the thought of how does a tour work on this album and what mega-powers in the music industry are coming along for the ride?
Other 7/12 releases:
311 – Voyager
K. Flay – Solutions
Scott Stapp – The Space Between the Shadows
Sum 41 – Order In Decline
Release date: 7/19
Yes, we are in fact both reading that right. Sum 41 is back for the first time in three years with a new release.
“Out For Blood” introduced them back into the world with some really clever production on those vocals, transitioning from one form to another while always keeping it interesting. In classic pop-punk fashion, you can feel the pit forming as they move through the song. But has anyone else ever noticed that Sum 41 always kept a slightly more rough sound to their music? I always felt it was a little unfair to group this band in with the likes of Blink 182 or Fall Out Boy because that’s not the sound they portrayed.
To continue to prove my point, “A Death in The Family” is the other leading single from the upcoming release. If these guys aren’t booked on something like Ozzfest (dear lord please tell me I’m not aging myself with that reference) it would be a mistake. They have got a movement in their track here that is going to get the crowd riled up in a great way. Bring it on back, gents.
Other 7/19 releases:
Thom Yorke – ANIMA
Andy Grammer – Naive
Release date: 7/26
Andy Grammer has been a artist near and dear to my heart for a few years now. My friend and I saw him with Gavin DeGraw a bit back, and it was a mind-blowing show in the best way possible. With a higher voice and playful nature, Andy’s had something unique about him from the start. Much like Gavin, he’s an artist you may not think of as a go-to for listening, but gosh do you enjoy it when you do have him coming through your speakers.
“Don’t Give Up On Me” came out of “Five Feet Apart” as a sweet anthem obviously fitting for the soundtrack that this called for. It comes with Grammer’s signature sound and great beats along the way, fitting for its purpose for sure.
Andy does have a unique songwriting style, in my opinion, floating up and down his range and holding notes that will hit your soul. “I Am Yours” is a great example of that. Longtime fans have watched him move through life, getting married, and having his first child in the past few years. Knowing that, this song hits so many lovely, serene notes for a life you can’t help but hope is the same.
Finally, we’ve gotten “Some Girl” with the harmonies you come to expect. Trust me and see him live and you’ll know what I’m talking about. This band holds up altogether along side his gentle island beats that exemplify his work. Again, I’ve got a feeling this album is on the feel good and relaxed vibes, as opposed to the party-time that songs like “Hallelujah” were treating us to. As we grow older with our artists though, Andy Grammer seems to have figured out the transition that leaves us all collectively feeling good once again.
Other 7/26 releases:
Of Monsters and Men – Fever Dream
Soundgarden – Soundgarden: Live From The Artists Den
Sugar Ray – Little Yachty
Violent Femmes – Hotel Last Resort