Summer is a bittersweet occasion for music nerds worldwide. On the one hand, people might have more time to peruse the surplus of new releases. On the other hand, it is exceedingly difficult to stay on top of the best releases. The Sheaf, however, is willing to take on this challenge so you don’t have to. Here is a short compilation reviewing some of the more remarkable releases that dropped this summer.
Modern Pressure by Daniel Romano: If you haven’t heard of the Canadian country crooner Daniel Romano, Modern Pressure will be a great treat for you. As Romano’s seventh and newest album, Modern Pressure contemplates the roles that art and love play in our lives. What many might assume to be a quiet, inquisitive record, it is quite the opposite. Modern Pressure is a rambunctious, rockabilly, alt-country masterpiece that at times disguises itself as a pop album, and it may just be one of the most contemplative country records you’ll hear this year.
Lust for Life by Lana Del Rey: The queen of melancholia, Lana Del Rey prescribes another dose of summertime sadness with her newest album, Lust for Life. Like her previous works, Lust for Life sees Del Rey contemplate love, fame and an assortment of millennial worries. Even after three albums of similar thematic and lyrical content, Del Rey still manages to establish a romantic and undeniably cool feeling when you listen to her. For your greatest listening pleasure, Lust for Life is best paired with long drives down the freeway or with a good old make-out session.
Surf Manitou by the Garrys: Although Saskatoon is far from any big body of water, the easy-going and friendly disposition of surf culture is strangely at home in Saskatchewan. Acknowledging this synergy, the Garrys — Saskatoon’s seminal surf-rock sisters — perfect this feeling in their sophomore LP, Surf Manitou. The album is filled with spooky riffs and haunting harmonies juxtaposed with silly, innocuous lyrics. Perhaps the strangest part of this odd coupling of influences is that the album works — real well. All this is plain in the infectious track, “Manitouna.”
Flower Boy by Tyler, The Creator: Everyone’s favourite jokester MC Tyler, The Creator produces and delivers what might be his most polished work yet with his newest LP, Flower Boy. After releasing his less-than-stellar Cherry Bomb — we all know it wasn’t that good — Flower Boy is the album that Tyler fans deserve. The album is produced entirely by Tyler himself and features an all-star cast with the likes of Lil Wayne, A$AP Rocky, Frank Ocean and Estelle. Be sure to check out the exquisite single, “911 / Mr. Lonely.”
Minimum R&B by the Dirty Nil: Hamilton heavyweights the Dirty Nil released their high-energy, lowfuss sophomore album Minimum R&B this summer. Do not be confused, though. This is not a rhythm and blues album. This is a rock album. If you’re into music that’s a little heavier, the Nil’s grungy guitars and poppunky hooks are definitely for you. After winning a Juno in April for Breakthrough Group of the Year, and after touring with the likes of Billy Talent and Alexisonfire, these Steeltown strummers are some of the best in the Canadian alt-rock scene. Sometimes we all just need to kick and scream, and Minimum R&B can be your soundtrack for it.
The Siren’s Song by Kacy & Clayton: The Siren’s Song is the third release from this Wood Mountain, Sask., duo. Produced by Jeff Tweedy — of Wilco fame — The Siren’s Song sees Kacy & Clayton perfect their old-timey folk style. Kacy’s lilting vocals and Clayton’s intricate guitar picking are enough to turn anybody into a lover of folk music. The album has followed a very successful year for the duo. Aside from collaborating with Tweedy, they have also played with the likes of k.d. lang and were nominated for a Juno in early 2017. So, grab your favourite denim jacket and your best dancing shoes — preferably those old cowboy boots in the closet — for the best listening experience. Be sure to check out “White Butte Country.”
Tanner Bayne / Culture Editor
Graphic: Lesia Karalash / Graphics Editor