Best of July Playlist

By Maryam Hassan

July was a brilliant month wasn’t it? In the UK we had absolutely beautiful weather and then a heat wave that melted us all and there was a lot of good music to soundtrack those days where you were so hot you felt like Jabba the Hutt hanging out in Tatooine. Check out what team Punktastic thought was the best music of July!

Ghost Cub – ‘American Hymn’

‘American Hymn’ is the first track from Ghost Cub, a new project auteured by Southampton-based producer Neil Kennedy. Performed with a passion and honesty that can’t be simulated, the track takes as its starting point the fuzzy guitars and anthemic choruses of early-00s British rock but fuses these elements with a pop sensibility honed through years of subtly tweaking other people’s songs to help them reach their full potential. A four-minute exercise in beautiful, brutal catharsis. [ROB BARBOUR]

Dan Andriano in the Emergency Room – ‘Fire Pit’

Dan from Alkaline Trio is back with a second dose of solo goodness. It’s been a while since his debut solo effort, 2011’s ‘Hurricane Season’ and his new album ‘Party Adjacent’ sees him raise the bar in production and song writing. Fire Pit reminds me a lot of ‘Good Mourning’ era Dan Andriano; fast, catchy and plugs into everyone’s memories of loss and hopelessness. This song could easily make one of Trio’s main albums, but under the Emergency Room banner I feel it’s had proper room to breathe and evolve into something sounding amazing. [MARK GADONG]

Fuzz- ‘Rat Race’

It’s certainly no secret from any of my friends that I love Ty Segall. That includes his side projects. Fuzz is probably my favorite out of the bunch, as its members include Ty, Charlie (formerly of Epsilons and Charlie & the Moonhearts), and Chad from Meatbodies. Together, they put together some delicious, psychedelic, crunchy Sabbath worship. It’s been two years since their debut record dropped, and they are now streaming two tunes from their upcoming second record, out October 23 on In the Red. “Rat Race” is one of these, and the thick, fuzzy riffs and vocals that definitely channel Ozzy had me putting my entire workday on hold to write this literally as soon as I found out about it. THANK YOU BASED TY. [SARAH SCANLON]

Knuckle Puck – Pretense

As the hype machine begins to start up for the likes of The Wonder Years, Neck Deep and State Champs – Chicago’s up and coming pop punkers Knuckle Puck have set about proving they belong amongst the cream of the crop of pop punks newest breed. ‘Pretense’ sets expectations right from the off. It’s a complete anthem, from it’s spoken word bridge to it’s humongous chorus, don’t be surprised if Knuckle Puck absolutely knock it out of the park with their upcoming full length ‘Copacetic’ due out at the end of this month. [CHRIS MARSHMAN]

Thrones – Bring Me the Horizon

After the shock that most people felt at the release of ‘Happy Song’, Sheffield’s Bring Me the Horizon have brought out the raw, visceral, yet huge ‘Thrones’. Oli’s clean vocals are simply phenomenal, whilst the use of keys, synths, and programming gives them a completely new depth and level. It’s been said for a long time but, ever since their stunning sold-out show at Wembley, it’s clear that these guys are destined for even better things. [JESS TAGLIANI]

Lamb of God – Embers

Lamb Of God are clearly incapable of doing anything badly. Embers is a clear demonstration on how to do phenomenal heavy metal. When Lamb Of God first started putting clean singing in their music some of their fans thought that this was the beginning of the end – Embers, featuring the ever-stunning vocals of Chino Moreno from Deftones, does not have a bad second on it. The traditional Lamb Of God moments are still there, the riffs and Randy’s huge, bellowing voice are still kicking everything into pieces left, right and centre, and the aforementioned clean vocal section by Chino just pushes this song from a good song into a revolutionary track from Lamb Of God. [ANDY LEDDINGTON]

RATATAT – Abrasive

Ratatat’s new album “Magnifique” is a more relaxed take on their music, serving a sound that is a bit different from the big guitars + screechy keyboards + huge drums routine. However, This is a positive with a track like “abrasive.” Even though it doesn’t hit the usual crescendos like many of their songs it’s nice to just hear a song that doesn’t need to hit a forced intensity for once. It sits, subtly, and gradually building into a slow burn of synths, drum machines, and guitar harmonies, causing your feet to start tapping and your brain to start thinking. Thus, I can get behind it. [MIKE PETRUCCELLI]

State Champs – ‘Secrets’

2015 very much appears to be the year that pop-punk has really kicked off, with new bands popping up here there and everywhere. However it’s New York pop-punkers State Champs that are absolutely slaying it right now. Having spent the first half of the year working on the follow-up to 2013’s ‘The Finer Things’, this month they went and dropped new track ‘Secrets’, taken from forthcoming album ‘Around the World and Back’ and it’s a CORKER. Brimming with solid pop-punk riffs and a chorus that’ll make you fist pump your pizza in the air, ‘Secrets’ flaunts State Champs at their utmost finest and if anything, it’s got us all a bit giddy with excitement for the new album. Bring on October! [TAMSYN WILCE]

City & Colour – ‘Woman’

Despite his busy workload with the recently reformed Alexisonfire, Dallas Green revealed this month that he has been working away on City & Colour’s follow up to 2013’s ‘The Hurry And The Harm’. ‘Woman’, the first and opening track to be taken from ‘If Should Go Before You’, is a nine minute opus that sees Green work closer with his band than ever before. With swirling electric guitars and Green’s seductive tones, ‘Woman’ is one of the most beautiful and atmospheric tracks to emerge from the City & Colour camp. Building to multiple crescendos, the track retains its delicacy even in the most powerful moments. [BEN TIPPLE]

Chelsea Wolfe – ‘After The Fall’

Following on from her stunning 2013 album ‘Pain Is Beauty’, the undisputed queen of darkness and despair Chelsea Wolfe will unleash her fourth album ‘Abyss’ this year, and ‘After The Fall’ leads us to believe it will be just as suffocating. It lures you in with a subtle, sparse introduction underneath Wolfe’s seductive vocal, which paints a bleak and harrowing, picture before evolving into a cavernous rapture of noise. Her sound is now far more inviting than it was at the beginning of her career, but no less devastating, as ‘After The Fall’ will pummel your innermost senses. [GLEN BUSHELL]

The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die – “Outer Heaven”

I gushed about the Death To New Years EP in my review, but here goes again. “Outer Heaven” is sprawling and complex, a dynamically orchestrated piece that is filled with warmth and calculated, yet unbridled passion. It ebbs and flows like a river of a song, exploding into an awesome mix of post-rock, indie and emo that both feels like home and something altogether new at the same time. [JASON SWEARINGEN]

Devereux – Collision Path

Devereux is the new band from various hard working UK band members – Actions, Northpaw and Black Sea Fleet members are involved. Its too gloomy sounding to be the Pop Punk its marketed as. More grunge than anything else. This is the second track from their pay-what-you-want EP debut – there’s a lot going on right there. Good stuff. [MIKE SCOTT]

Steady Hands- Tropical Depression

Sean Huber’s new-ish project Steady Hands just released their new EP “Tropical Depression” on Lame-O-Records. The title track leads you down a winding folk-punk inspired road of depression and loneliness with lyrics like, “I ain’t got no home now in this world anymore…I’ve been on the road for far too long” This then leads to wanting to find something better and more importantly not to end up dead. [DANIELLA HEMINGHAUS]

Antarctigo Vespucci – Save Me From Myself

Chris Farren and Jeff Rosenstock are two best friends who also happen to be fairly prolific song writers. As evidenced by their first full length, and third release in just over a year, when these two get together, they just can’t stop. The music is lively, fun, and brilliantly written. From the opening keys, to the subtle, but driving guitar during the verse, to catchy sing alongs Farren cries in the chorus, “Save Me From Myself” really puts the power in power-pop. It’s a perfect summertime track that is so darn catchy, it will linger well through the seasons. [MATT STOKES]

Shit Present – Anxious Type

OH, BOY! ‘Anxious Type’ is the first song from new band Shit Present, headed up by Iona from Great Cynics and featuring members/ex-members of Gnarwolves, OK Pilot, The Computers and The Smith Street Band. Hot damn, this is so great. The opening riff is so catchy and the song is so driving and then Iona’s vocals come in and, holy shit, it’s everything you ever wanted. There’s so much energy and enthusiasm and it makes you feel every emotion you’ve ever felt all at once. Anyone who has listened to Great Cynics knows how great Iona’s songs for those guys are and it’s so awesome to hear her switching instruments and slaying guitar on these songs. This EP will be the best EP of the year, there isn’t really any doubt about that. If you think otherwise, you’re a daftie. [CONOR MACKIE]

Craig Finn – ‘Maggie, I’ve Been Searching For Our Son’

Sneaking its way onto this month’s playlist by the slimmest of margins is the second offering from Craig Finn’s forthcoming solo album, ‘Faith In The Future’. More laid-back and lo-fi than anything released by The Hold Steady or Lifter Puller, ‘Maggie I’ve Been Searching For Our Son’, still possesses the incredible knack for storytelling that Craig Finn is famous for. What it lacks in immediacy or sing-along choruses, it more than makes up for with subtle guitar riffs and brilliant lyricism that transports you straight into the fully-realised world that Finn has created.[CHRIS HILSON]

Spraynard – Buried

The first time I heard this Spraynard record I had to lie down on the floor to regain myself a little. It is absolute perfection in pop punk. ‘Buried’ is the stand out track for me, so I was thrilled when it got just as awesome a video to go with it. Punk songs dealing with anxiety issues always hit home with me and this song is particularly cathartic especially with lines like “I JUST WANT TO KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE ALRIGHT”. You won’t be turning this album off anytime soon, and you won’t be getting this song out of your head at all.