It's that time again—a Source Material music recap for the month of July. The past month has really hit home for me that the pace at which we consume and talk about music is just at a stupidly fast rate.
Albums and songs released at the beginning of the month seem like they came out ages ago now, even though it's only been a couple of weeks. If you're on social media at all or read music publications, you'll notice the immediateness in reviews or even the need to call back to an album that hasn't even been out for that long. This came through for me in a tweet from Billboard on Aug. 1, where they stated, "Billie Eilish dropped her album 'Happier Than Ever' on Friday, and fans are still not over it." Her album came out July 30. That was only a two-day span—why would her fans be over it already? Because of how frequently we move onto the next thing, we are moving on from albums faster than ever. I believe it's important to sit with music longer than just a day or two, and here's to hoping we can slow down that pace and just enjoy something without feeling pressured to get on with it.
- Courtesy Beyond The Lamplight
We can all start with these album and song highlights below, which were some of my favorites from July.
What happens when members of Larry and His Flask spin off into a new band? Apparently even more kick-ass music. This self-titled EP marks the first from Beyond the Lamplight, a band featuring the likes of Flask singers Ian Cook (guitar, bass) and Andrew Carew (banjo, trombone, piano), Brandon Prinzing of The Old Revival on acoustic guitar/vocals, Dayne Wood of local studio the Firing Room on drums and Sam Fisher from the Roof Rabbits on bass. The project also features an assist from Kirk Skatvold on mandolin and trumpet. With the four-track EP, Beyond The Lamplight has landed a knockout punch by dipping its toes into bluegrass, rock, folk and jazz. From the fast-paced finger picking, group harmonies and their high-octane energy, Beyond the Lamplight really lets it all fly with an explosion of sound. The top two tracks, "What's Done is Done" and "Drink It On Down" are perfect examples of the band's ethos and how Beyond The Lamplight is going to get down— which is to say that they get down hard.
Regional Gem'In Spite Of...' - Mic Capes
- Courtesy Mic Capes
The latest effort and fourth album from North Portland's Mic Capes is special. Don't take my word for it; just look at the stats. "In Spite Of..." went so far as to climb to #2 on the iTunes hip-hop album charts. Numbers don't lie, baby. It isn't hyperbole to say he's one of the best rappers in Portland and all of the West Coast—hell, even the country at this point.
This project is an ode to the grind. He spits with passion about making his way and earning his keep on "Hunger," reflects on his journey and why he raps on "Reminders," and rips off a braggadocious (rightfully so) freestyle on "Reloaded," featuring samples from Damian Lillard's interview with Narduwar where he dubbed Capes as the best rapper in Portland. There's clear growth present on the album, and a certain realization from Capes himself when he opens up about on his place in the rap scene. It's beautiful to see and beautiful to hear. No doubt Mic Capes will be around for a while.
National BeatsI Used To Think ForeverEP - Porsh Bet$
- Courtesy Porsh Bets
Harlem's Porsh Bet$ is crafting his own version of alt-pop. At 21 he's already showing that spark of uniqueness and forward-thinking music. His first ever EP, "I Used To Think Forever," highlights the innovative spirit of Porsh and his ability to switch between styles seamlessly. There are hints of R&B, punk and rap intertwined with Porsh's catchy but thoughtful lyrics. "Peanut Butter" is Porsh's biggest song yet and a no-brainer to open the EP. It's a summertime crush-fueled jam that you'll find yourself singing hours later. Another standout is the closer "November Rain," which is the polar opposite of "Peanut Butter." It's a melancholic track about the end of summer, and the fear of changed feelings as the seasons move away from the moment of a relationship. With his versatility and ear for striking emotion into sound, Porsh Bet$ should find himself with a good career in music ahead.
Five For The Rotation"A Piece of Your Mind" - Jelani Aryeh
"Are You With That?" - Vince Staples
"Oh!" - The Linda Lindas
"Last Day On Earth" - Beabadoobee
"Stay High" (Childish Gambino Version) - Brittany Howard & Childish Gambino