In a little over a week, Portland schools will let out for a much-needed breather, and the city will embrace another season of park hangs, backyard grilling, garden putzing, block partying, and glorious river sits. Because I intend to maximize my outdoor time during these summer months, and do not want to be too tied to my computer, I am offering a preview piece - same as I did last fall. Below, check out thirteen releases I'm excited to hear in June, July, and August, and as I wrote in my post earlier this week, consider em when these artist-friendly Bandcamp Fridays roll around. Oh, and you'll see that my recommendations are June and July heavy, as many August albums are yet-to-be-announced. You'll have to keep your eyes open for new drops as we move deeper into the dog days of summer.
Panic Girl - Memories (out 6/3 on i u we records) - Besides a couple of already-streaming singles, Bandcamp doesn't offer much information about Panic Girl's upcoming release. The liner notes simply read, "This album is about nostalgia, melancholia and childhood memories." But a little bit of research reveals that the Munich-based composer and electronic musician dedicated this deeply emotional work to the memory of her father - someone who always supported her artistry. It's out tomorrow on the ever-excellent i u we records.
Memorybell - Membranes (out 6/10 on Hidden Shoal) - For much of 2020, Grant Hazard Outerbridge (who records as Memorybell) was bedridden due to pain caused by multiple surgeries and the side effects of various medications. Membranes was written and recorded at the artist's home during this recovery period, and the album's title is "a reference to staring through pain while imagining one is somewhere else." I've known Memorybell as a modular synth droner, but here we see the musician return to his minimalist piano roots.
Justin Wright - A Really Good Spot (out 6/20-ish on Beacon Sound / First Terrace Records) - I was just sent this one a few days ago, and loved it immediately. A Really Good Spot is a cello-based work at its core, which might push it into the "modern composition" genre, but just a couple tracks in, you'll realize that Justin Wright paints well outside of those lines. Sure there are additional strings across the album, but Wright also experiments with overdriven synthesizers, spoken and sung voice, and various raw sounds. It's got Caroline Shaw's stamp of approval, so what else do ya need?
*The Bandcamp preorder is not yet live, but hit those label links around the 20th, and the album should pop up.
Alexandra Spence - Blue waves, Green waves (out 6/24 on Room40) - I've highlighted Spence a number of times on the site already, but still cannot wait to hear what DC's favorite aquatic sound artist chooses to share next. Apparently it's not enough that I spend chunks of my summer on the Oregon Coast. I've got to fill my ears with Pacific noise when the waves aren't immediately nearby.
Martin Courtney - Magic Sign (out 6/24 on Domino) - To me, Real Estate (the band which Martin Courtney fronts) has always made perfect "company music" - a genre which I just made up, characterized by clever lyrics and interesting song structures + smooth melodies. Spin it while you play Settlers of Catan, on the bluetooth if you grill for your neighbors, or through the car stereo when you drive to fetch more watermelon LaCroixs. I bet Magic Sign, Courtney's second solo album, falls within this genre - surely an excellent summer companion to memorable times with friends.
Liew Niyomkarn - I Think of Another Time When You Heard It (out 6/28 on CHINABOT) - I've been following CHINABOT since Neo Geodesia's 2562 Neon Flames caught my attention about a year ago. I'd spent some months in Cambodia back in 2007-ish, and the snippets of the frenetic folk-noise collage brought me back. Liew Niyomkarn is currently based in Antwerp, but her soon-to-be-released album is a dreamlike postcard from rural Thailand - a corner of the world she once called home. Awash with field recordings, object samples, and folk melodies, her ode floats along dreamily.
Andrew Tuttle - Fleeting Adventure (out 7/1 7/29 on Basin Rock) - Like Alexandra Spence, Andrew Tuttle is another name that has popped up a few times here on DC, and I am so looking forward to his next release. Fleeting Adventure is an imagined journey through the subtropic landscapes of Tuttle's native Australia, and the multi-instrumentalist has recruited quite a cast of fellow travelers. Expect a wondrous tromp into the jungle with some stringed plucks echoing off the cathedral canopy.
Joseph Allred - The Rambles & Rags of Shiloh (out 7/1 on Worried Songs) - And let's bring some of those Americana textures back stateside! Joseph Allred grew up a few miles from Shiloh - a rural community tucked into the Appalachian foothills near the Tennessee/Kentucky border. This collection of instrumental guitar and banjo pieces recall scenes and stories, both real and imagined, from that region.
The National Park Service - Rescuers' Loops (out 7/1 on Lily Tapes and Discs) - I just heard this album for the first time yesterday and scrambled to include it as a last-second addition. It's a perfect summer release, really - warm guitar with nature-based and vocal field recordings woven throughout the patchwork construction. A neighborhood walk companion for your Fourth of July weekend, just like another favorite.
Madeleine Cocolas - Spectral (out 7/15 on Room40) - Australian composer and musician Madeleine Cocolas began work on Spectral by collecting sounds in her immediate surroundings - on walks around the block and such. Soon, she began to notice links between some of the noises, as if they were arranging themselves. Adding additional melody and sonic flair, the resulting tracks are astounding. The album includes moments which are delicate and beautiful, but also peaks of cacophonous drone.
Florist - S/T (out 7/29 on Double Double Whammy) - Emily Sprague and co. are releasing their self-titled album to mark a decade's worth of friendship and music-making. I adore Sprague's solo ambient works (Water Memory / Mount Vision is an all-timer) as well as this dreamy indie folk project, and can't wait to catch Florist when they come through Portland in August - just a couple weeks after the album's release!
Rich Ruth - I Survived, It's Over (out 8/12 on Third Man Records) - Rich Ruth, a dear friend to the site, gets a late summer shout out. Like new blooms sprouting after wildfires (y'all westerners know this scene), I Survived, It's Over developed after a devastating 2020 tornado in Ruth's Nashville neighborhood. He explains that the album “is a meditation on healing, confronting trauma, surrendering, and finding peace. I wanted to encapsulate the tranquility and disarray found within this process." A big congrats on the Third Man debut, and we'll catch ya with S.G. Goodman at Pickathon a week before your album drops!
Why Bonnie - 90 in November (out 8/19 on Keeled Scales) - I thought Why Bonnie's Voice Box EP was a marvel back in 2020, so you better believe I was excited to learn about their full-length debut on Keeled Scales, out later this summer. The band plays this pure form of rock, and to me, few are doing it better these days. Check out the advance singles and circle August 19th on your calendar, because you won't wanna miss this end-of-the-season gem.
That's it for now folks, but there's sure to be more as the summer glows on.