August 2023's music blogger roundtable
Bringing together music bloggers to discuss music highlights from August
Our assembled cast of music bloggers and broadcasters return to share their thoughts on August 2023 in music.
Joining 5-9 editor, Andrew Belt, to answer the questions are:
Sophie (otherwise known as Purpl Mac) who is a new music fan lover from Belgium.
She likes to support new indie & alternative music bands by featuring them on her show/podcast, playlists and on social media.
She is also a lover of music on vinyl growing her collection of physical copies and digital copies on bandcamp.
Andy Peterson is a music writer for Live4ever Media and runs the Voice of Unreason music blog. In his own words, he says: “I’ve been writing about music for various places on the internet since 2007. So many records, so little time.”
Matthew McLister is a freelance writer and music fan based in Glasgow with a degree in History (University of Glasgow). Passionate about new guitar music and indie bands, he writes features for Gigwise and HeadStuff Media. During lockdown he launched the Blinded by the Floodlights indie website and has even produced his own podcast. By day, he works in Corporate Communications.
Xenia Evans is the founder of WHAT A TUNE.
She is a former A&R manager, with a background in music PR, editorial, publishing and synch licensing. Xenia is currently part of the team at This Is Music, a management agency which represents some of the biggest names in electronic music.
WHAT A TUNE was started with the ambition of introducing new audiences to the rich world of non-English language music, be it Mexican folk, French hip hop, or Mongolian heavy metal.
5-9: Sophie, you mentioned you were going to a festival in August. So, tell us more! How was it?
Foals at Rock en Seine as shot by Sophie
Sophie: I was in Paris for the Rock en Seine festival. I attended the last day and saw performances by the Murder Capital (very good live, people were very enthusiastic),
The Reytons - a British band performing in France for the first time, Wet Leg, where the rain invited itself towards the end but the crowd and the band were no less enthusiastic, Foals on the main stage (they are excellent live), Bonobo and the headliner, The Strokes which I enjoyed a lot despite having technical issues.
On a side note, the festival has become bigger and big corporate stands having nothing to do with music are present too which is not very rock 'n' roll but, overall, I had a great time.
5-9: Onto albums now and The Death of Randy Fitzsimmons was Matthew's pick for August, so what did you make of it?
Matthew: I absolutely loved it. I saw The Hives support Arctic Monkeys back in June and was pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable they were live. The new one is full of quirky garage rock tunes and it's already up there with my favourites for 2023.
5-9: Andy, you mentioned three anticipated albums for you in August. How were they all for you?
Mick Jenkins's The Patience - an 'absorbing' listen for Andy
Andy: Mick Jenkins's The Patience took few risks, but what it did do - including give some advice for aspiring rappers - was absorbing. Drab Majesty's An Object in Motion was a real departure, leaning more into shoegaze and featured slowdive's Rachel Goswell, whilst Art School Girlfriend's lockdown album wasn't as angsty as that sounds.
5-9: Xenia, firstly, welcome to the blog! How was August for you music-wise?
Green Man Festival - a 'fun' experience for Xenia (photo copyright: Stewpots90)
Xenia: Good! I went to Green Man festival in Wales and the Four Tet all-dayer at Finsbury Park, both of which were very fun.
5-9: What was the best album for you in August?
Intercepted Message by Osees was a 'bold' effort according to Andy
Andy: August I think we knew was a thin month, but you have to credit John Dwyer for making the Osees's Intercepted Message yet another bold stylistic switch up.
Xenia: Karol G's MAÑANA SERÁ BONITO (BICHOTA SEASON) .
Karol G is really having a moment right now. Her follow-up mixtape, MAÑANA SERÁ BONITO (BICHOTA SEASON), follows her record-breaking album MAÑANA SERÁ BONITO (the first Spanish-language album by a female artist to reach number 1 on the US Billboard 200), is nothing short of brilliant. The highlight for me is the lush cumbia track 'MI EX TENÍA RAZÓN'.
Sophie: Something About This Place by Thrillhouse.
Matthew: As mentioned earlier, it has to be The Hives's The Death of Randy Fitzsimmons. I couldn’t stop listening to their latest! I've also enjoyed the new one by The Sherlocks - hardly the most complex of stuff but they’re probably one of the most consistent crowd-pleasing indie bands.
5-9: What's the best song you've heard this month?
'Punk's Dead' by SOFT PLAY is Matthew's favourite track from August
Matthew: Has to be ‘Punk’s Dead’ by SOFT PLAY (the band formerly known as SLAVES). Been five years since their last album and this tune is another fiery effort which takes aim at those mocking their name change.
Sophie: 'Swim Deep' by Felix Hill from the independent scene.
Xenia: I'm actually very into Thai country music at the moment, so I’d have to say Bug Samong Noi (in Thai: บักสมองน้อย) by DiD Kitty (in Thai: ดิด คิตตี้).
Andy: Best track came from Son Lux, which will mean little to most, but were the composers of the Oscar-nominated soundtrack for Everything Everywhere All At Once. Working with the consistently sublime Anna B. Savage made 'Pyre (Alarm Bells)' the track of the month.
We've now collated the monthly song picks into one, easy-to-find playlist, which also includes picks by 5-9 editor, Andrew Belt, and 5-9 Album of the Month hosts, Karl Blakesley and Kiley Larsen. Listen below:
5-9: What's the best gig you've been to this month?
Foals were the best live act in August for Sophie (image: Edward Cooke)
Sophie: Loved The Strokes but Foals were my favourite at Rock en Seine.
Xenia: Desert blues band, Etran de L’Aïr, at Green Man Festival were amazing.
5-9: What are you most looking forward to next month?
Bleach Lab's debut album is exciting Matthew in September
Matthew: Definitely Slowdive’s everything is alive, as well as new ones by James Blake and The Coral. Jangly rockers Bleach Lab are a band I’ve been excited for for some time now after seeing them support We Are Scientists and their debut arrives later this month too.
Xenia: In September, I’ll be at gigs for JD. REID (Carpet Shop, Peckham) and James Ford (Walthamstow Trades Hall). What I'm most looking forward to, though, is going to Pitchfork Paris Festival later in the year for work. I love Paris (aka my spiritual home) and I’ll be sticking around in the city a bit longer to catch rising Hungarian pop artist Azariah in concert.
Andy: I'm looking forward to seeing experimental sound producer, Craven Faults. In a matinee show, no less(!).
Sophie: The new albums by Pale Blue Eyes and Slowdive.
Thanks for taking part in 5-9's August roundtable and look forward to catching up next month!
For Matthew: @matthewmclister on Twitter.
For a further deep dive into last month's music, keep an eye out for 5-9's Album of the Month podcast, coming soon.