Albums Of The Month: August '20

Albums Of The Month: August '20

A spectacular month for new releases...

Such is the chaos that has engulfed 2020 it is easy to miss out on new releases.

Each new headline feels dystopian in nature, tailor made to distract us from some of life's simpler yet more seductive pleasures.

August brought a landslide of amazing releases - indeed, compiling this column was incredibly difficult, forcing Clash to include 12 albums, instead of the usual 10.

Even then, we left out firm favourites with the writing pool, LPs that might rank highly in our End Of Year poll.

Was August the strongest month of the year so far? Find out below.

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Nines - 'Crabs In A Bucket' // REVIEW

"One of Nines’ most notable characteristics is his ability to stay true to his experiences despite growing commercial success, so I can’t be disappointed with a tape that exudes such authenticity. Although the whole album has clear themes, each track tells a story of its own and here, Nines anchors himself as one of the UK’s best storytellers."

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Dream Nails - 'Dream Nails' // REVIEW

"Helter skelter songwriting that deals in short-sharp-bursts, the band’s scratchy punk sound is gleeful, joyous, and revealing. Beneath each burst of caustic Bikini Kill noise lies a heart of gold, while Dream Nails’ more open, melodic songs often mask their most complex take-downs of modern life."

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e.m.m.a - 'Indigo Dream' // REVIEW

"A fantasy record that thrives on world building, ‘Indigo Dream’ is a gorgeous listen, its use of space forever inviting you to fill in the blanks, to allow your own sub-conscious to intermingle with her Pointillist electronics. Succinct but endlessly suggestive, e.m.m.a seems to invite you to walk down endless corridors, the restrictive palette of ‘Indigo Dream’ simply amplifying the intoxicating strangeness of her work."

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Kelly Lee Owens - 'Inner Song' // REVIEW

"'Inner Song' is an atmospheric journey around peaks and valleys, from ethereal vocals that transcend reality to riotous head-banging ballads that invigorate the senses. “The power of conceptualising who you are has really informed this album,” Owens states about Inner Song‘s essence, and her second album executes it perfectly. This album is an eye-opening discovery of self, laid bare for all to see."

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Nubya Garcia - 'Source' // REVIEW

"The consistent thread that runs through the album is the exceptional quality of Garcia’s playing, which can be equally taut and forceful as it can be soft and luxurious, and the generosity with which she offers space to her collaborators. Source may be a solo debut but it has community and collective expression at its heart. Garcia allows these songs to ebb and flow without a clear end point in mind, allowing the interplay between her band-members to become this album’s primary draw. She has proven herself to be just as formidable a composer as she is a performer."

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Nas - 'The King's Disease' // REVIEW

"‘The King’s Disease’ finds Nas grappling with a raft of contradictions, contrasting the opulence of his lifestyle with the need for vitality in his message. It’s not perfect, but it’s less an end product, and more the search for creative process – by the end, you become convinced the Queens rapper has found his throne."

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Angel Olsen - 'Whole New Mess' // REVIEW

"Like its mirror sister, 'Whole New Mess' is a record about disentangling from love, and the exquisite agonies that go along with that. And though raw-edged and rougher, it doesn’t stew in its sadness. Less production simply means less interruption to what she’s transmitting to us. We can better hear the other story being told, that underscores these songs and their subjects."

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The Killers - 'Imploding The Mirage' // REVIEW

"Sheer, unabashed stadium sonics delivered with a heart of gold, ‘Imploding The Mirage’ finds The Killers providing one of the biggest – in both a sonic and emotional sense – albums of their career. It’s a propulsive achievement, pushing their songwriting to the limit in a thrilling, Devil-may-care manner. Irony-free and infused with feeling until it bursts, ‘Imploding The Mirage’ is the counterpoint to quarantine claustrophobia – it’s the sound of countless doors being opened, with The Killers stepping away from their limitations in a blast of undiluted ambitions."

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James Dean Bradfield - 'Even In Exile' // REVIEW

"The result is a collection of absorbing, sometimes understated songs that are quite a leap from his previous solo record, 2006’s ‘The Great Western’. Textures play an important part in building the mood of each track here, as highlighted by early teaser release ‘There’ll Come A War’ with its ominous piano and shuffling, uneasy drums. It’s an exercise in not overloading a song, leaving space where he might otherwise have been tempted to apply a polish that is unnecessary."

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Victoria Monét - 'JAGUAR' // REVIEW

"A record that feels incredibly refined, ‘JAGUAR’ is an expert piece of R&B engineering, with each individual part interlocking perfectly. It’s a wonderful experience, with Victoria Monét’s stellar artistry balancing the sensuality of sound with a killer lyrical flair that aims straight for the heart."

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Willie J Healey - 'Twin Heavy' // REVIEW

"Wistful and wise, ‘Twin Heavy’ offers a portrait of the young man as a record collector. With his magpie-like eye for treasure and eagerness to share, Willie J Healey has conjured something special."

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Glass Animals - 'Dreamland' // REVIEW

"A brave and ultimately bold move, it’s hugely effective – direct yet sumptuously nuanced, ‘Dreamland’ is a triumph."

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