What a month August was- complete with break ups, plenty of festivals and many an announcement.
During August, this year’s Mercury Prize nominations were announced with The 1975, Skepta, Radiohead and David Bowie all in the running. This year there was the first ‘public vote’, where members of the public could vote for their favourite album among the shortlisted to go straight into the final five. It’s weird writing about this in retrospect, as it’s already happened, but more to come in next months post!
This year’s AIM awards took place in August. The AIM awards celebrate everything indie in the music industry. From independent bands, artists, labels and record stores, the AIM awards showcase the best in independent music around. Christine and the Queens won the Independent Breakthrough Artist of the Year award, Oscar won Independent Video of the Year for ‘Sometimes’ and Adele, of course, won Independent Track of the Year for ‘Hello’. Stormzy was hailed with the Innovator Award and, none other than Banquet Record’s, Jon Tolley won the Indie Champion Award- because that’s what he is. The full list of winners at this special awards ceremony can be found here.
Blossoms released their absolutely incredible debut album, Blossoms, this month. The album has been played on repeat throughout the month and has easily become one of my favourite albums of the year so far. It’s so easy to listen, doesn’t get tiresome at all (and I’ve played it a lot) AND every song is an absolute banger. You don’t get many albums like this- especially debut albums- and a follow up could be a mammoth task. I was lucky enough to see Blossoms play an intimate album release show at The Hippodrome, in Kingston, with Banquet Records. Not only do Blossoms produce albums and EPs where every song is a hit, they’re also an incredible live band too. The band are on tour in September and October, as well as later on in the year, where they play their largest show to date- at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
And from one Blossoms set to another! Reading Festival took place over August bank holiday weekend. Like every year, the festival was full of incredible live acts, new discoveries and a lot of surprises (including a Blossoms BBC Introducing set). My favourites across the weekend included The 1975, The Wombats, The Vaccines, Two Door Cinema Club, Twenty One Pilots, Foals and The Wholls. Reading Festival is a festival especially close to my heart, as I’ve been going for a few years now, and it’s one that I look forward to every year. I can’t wait to see what next year’s line up brings; I’m sure it’ll be brilliant. You can find this year’s review here.
Frank Ocean has resurfaced with new album Blonde. The album was released on the 21st August and was available with a magazine, Boys Don’t Cry, from pop-up shops across the world- and it was given away free. The album has 17 tracks and features appearances from huge artists like Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar.
Slaves, too, are back. The duo announced a new album earlier this month, along with two tours. The band will tour the UK on a 15-date tour in November, as well as on a small venue “Back in the Van” tour in September. All the tickets for the latter sold out within an hour of being on sale- and all tickets were £2.99. The latest album, Take Control, is released on the 30th September.
BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge month happens throughout September. The names for this year’s Live Lounge month include Christine and the Queen, Bastille and Biffy Clyro, among many others. The 1975 are set to finish off the month of live music with a stunning set at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom (yes, the one off of Strictly), accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Tickets are all sold out now and it’s set to be beautiful.
Sundara Karma also announced their debut album, Youth is Only Fun in Retrospect, in August. I’m beyond excited, as I’ve been loving Sundara Karma for what feels like ages now. The album is set for release early next year, on the 6th January, via RCA / Chess Club Records.
Finally, there’s The Maccabees. I’m devastated. After 14 years The Maccabees have called it a day and I, along with what seems as half of the world, am devastated. The band have had a huge impact on the music industry, with some of their albums and songs going down as classics. The band released a statement, which you can read here.
This month’s playlist features a lot of Blossoms, The Maccabees and bits and bobs from Reading Festival, along with Will Joseph Cook (because ‘Take Me Dancing’ is beautiful), Blaenavon (because ‘Let’s Pray’ and ‘I Will Be The World’ are tunes) and Twenty One Pilots (I’ve been pleasantly surprised by their latest album recently).
Next month there’s lots to look forward to in terms of Always the Sun Festival, in Guilford, more of Blossoms and album releases from Bastille and Jamie T.