June 2023's music blogger roundtable
Bringing together music bloggers to discuss music highlights from June
Our assembled cast of music bloggers and broadcasters return to share their thoughts on June 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.
Adam Reeve is an editor/writer + other things-er for various places over many years. Currently for Dead Good Music - a music blog that pairs music and oranges together like you wouldn't believe.
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.
5-9: Last month, Adam said he was taking the day off so he could listen to Queens of the Stone Age's new record, In Times New Roman, all day. So, firstly, was it worth it?!
Adam: Haha! I decided against it in the end! Couldn't justify it to myself or my other half. Opted to work from home and listen to it all day instead!
5-9: Ah - that's disappointing. But take it nothing got in the way of seeing Harry Styles and Arctic Monkeys this month?
Adam: No! Both were insane, although I think the level of excitement and participation from fans for Harry Styles is never going to be topped. It was insane. I'm used to my ears ringing after a gig but this was ridiculous. Arctic Monkeys were very good. It was quite similar to their set at Glastonbury but with a lot less hate!
5-9: And not to be outdone, Matthew also saw Arctic Monkeys this month. What did you make of them?
Matthew: Arctic Monkeys were fantastic! It’s funny, their Friday Glastonbury headline set was so slaughtered on social media that I went into the gig with less enthusiasm than usual for a gig this size. Yet I think Glasgow reaped the rewards of this criticism. They came out all guns blazing, less uptight and full of energy than they had been two nights before. A great rundown of hits from their seven albums and four new tunes complimented the older material perfectly. My fifth time seeing the boys and their Bellahouston show rivals their best.
(You can read Matthew's review for Blinded by the Floodlights here: Arctic Monkeys redeem their Glastonbury criticism with faultless Glasgow performance (blindedbythefloodlights.com))
5-9: Sophie, you were most looking forward to Lost Under Heaven's new album, Something is Announced By Your Life!. How was it?
Sophie: I am probably not fully objective of course, as I am a patreon of the band. I had the pleasure to see the album develop during the last two years and really love the end result. This is their third album and I think they have reached a certain maturity in their creative process. Ellery J. Roberts’s voice might be less bold than on Wu Lyf which for me is actually an interesting evolution. I think Ebony Hoorn’s lyrics are a beautiful addition to the songs and I love the harmonies and melodies on the songs. And I must say that I rarely hear a B-side on an album as good as that. They did it all by themselves after leaving the label Mute and I have lots of respect for artists trying to do it all on their own. I know this is is difficult as you get less coverage by the media. For me it is a good example of a perfect DIY band with a strong artistic ethic.
5-9: And Andy, how did your picks for June [Protomartyr, Dream Wife and Gengahr] stack up?
Andy: Protomartyr have never released a bad record and I never expected them to reverse that trend with Formal Growth In the Desert. It even contains Joe Casey's first love song. Dream Wife I didn't get much time to hear although I liked 'Kick In The Teeth' and and 'Hot (Don't Date A Musician)'. Gengahr's Red Sun Titans was less of a departure than they probably planned, but worth a listen.
5-9: What's been the best album for you this month?
Átta by Sigur Rós is Matthew's favourite from June
Matthew: I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to really enjoying the new Foo Fighters album, But Here We Are. Easily their best in over a decade which deals with the death of drummer Taylor Hawkins and Dave Grohl’s mum Virginia. I had a lot of time for Squid’s sophomore release O Monolith too.
But for me the crown has to go to Sigur Rós’ first album in a decade: Átta. Absolutely stunning stuff from the Icelandic band, giving us this overwhelming feeling which is hard to place, sitting somewhere between sadness and hope.
Sophie: Apart from Something is Announced by Your Life! by Lost Under Heaven, I love Versions of Us by Lanterns on the Lake. As I write this, the vinyl just hit home.
Adam: I mean, it has to be In Times New Roman. It is a return to form for QOTSA. Each song is a banger and with all the context available to us by the time it arrived, it makes it hit a lor harder. It's genuinely up there with ...Like Clockwork and Songs for the Deaf.
Andy: Protomartyr's Formal Growth in the Desert.
5-9: What's the best song you've heard this month?
Zivi's 'Move Along' is Sophie's favourite track from June (photo credit: Describe the Fauna)
Sophie: A new American artist called Zivi with the title 'Move Along'. One to follow for the dream pop/indie music lovers. Debut album coming on 15 September on Mama Mañana Records.
Andy: Aphex Twin's 'Blackbox Life Recorder 21f'. So good to have him back.
Matthew: ‘Swing (In A Dream)’ is the opening track on Squid’s aforementioned second album and its haunting vibes provide the perfect introduction to the record. STONE’s edgy single ‘I Gotta Feeling’ has been getting heavy airings on my Spotify as has ‘Blooberg’ from Sigur Rós - Átta’s most beautiful track.
Adam: 'Paper Machete' by QOTSA is the one that's currently tickling the fancy at the moment. It feels like a song I've heard for years, but still sounds so fresh and exciting. Love the riffs, the lyrics, the pace - so good.
5-9: What's the best gig you've been to this month?
Kraftwerk - Andy's gig of the month
Andy: Kraftwerk in Dublin.
Adam: Arctic Monkeys were excellent although I'd say in terms of performance, The Hives delivered on all fronts. Considering they were a support act, they commanded the Emirates Stadium like it was their own and certainly won the crowd over in their first couple of songs.
Truly, a bucket list moment ticked off for me – it was everything I had hoped for and more.
Sophie: A new shoegaze band from Belgium, EOSINE - winner of a prize in Belgium and Slowdive at Glastonbury (as seen on iPlayer).
Matthew: Arctic Monkeys, of course. A support set from The Hives was a load of fun to set things up nicely for the main event. And what else is there to say about the Sheffield icons? They totally redeemed any criticism they’d received after their Glastonbury set with a banging set of old, new and modern day classics.
5-9: What are you most looking forward to next month?
PJ Harvey's I Inside the Old Year Dying is eagerly anticipated by Sophie and Andy (photo credit: Steve Gullick)
Sophie: Looking forward to the new PJ Harvey album, I Inside the Old Year Dying.
Andy: Has to be Blur and PJ Harvey jointly, although Blake Mills's last album Mutable Set was fascinating so Jelly Road is one to keep an ear out for.
Matthew: I’m very much looking forward to the highly anticipated return of Blur and their new album The Ballad of Darren which is released on 21 July. Aside from that, I’ll probably grab a last-minute ticket to Glasgow’s TRNSMT festival to see Pulp, Sam Fender and Kasabian.
Adam: Don't have much planned although I'm interested in seeing how Mad Cool Festival goes this year. The line-up is really good and weird in places (RHCP, The Black Keys, Rina Sawayama and... Robbie Williams). It's great to see live music in full swing again.
Thanks for taking part in 5-9's June 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 out in mid-July.